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  • Writer's picturemisha

Full Spectrum Midwifery

[Image Description: selfie of Midwife Michele wearing an Abortion AF shirt]

CW: hate speech, misogyny, transphobia, and general asshattery

I posted the picture above on Wednesday evening right after arriving at the Three Rivers Free Clinic for the People and setting up my little space where I see clients. It kind of exploded online and got some attention. Namely, it was positive attention and feedback and driving several potential sales in the direction of Abortion Access Front since folks wanted to know about where I got my amazing shirt. I was sent this amazing shirt by a past client of which I have attended two births for and I was happy to find out that it was available and created by an organisation that recently underwent a name change and rebranding to reflect the inclusive, intersectional beliefs of its members.

BUT... there were some haters, like always. If my inbox is not always full of transphobic SWERFs & TERFs and general transantagonists (I have amazing Google Mail filters, that is how I "deal with it all"), then it is usually topped off with messages from rabid anti-choice trolls. Wednesday night and Thursday were a little bit extra special, though. It was almost like the cis-het, "pro-lifers" were not sure what they were more upset about: me being a trans midwife or me being a unapologetic supporter of the right for pregnant people to have access to safe, legal, and affordable abortion and reproductive freedom.

I hope you die in HELL. I can't belive someone let a mentally ill freak like you become a midwife.I don't know how trannies even get pregnant but no midwife shoudl be allowed to help kill their babies or be so publiccly happy to do it. how can you talk about listening tobaby heartbeats while wearing an abortion shirt. you are a freak of nature and a baby killer what is so wrong with beinga woman that you want to pretend you are not one. is that why you help women and transgeners murder their babies. -- part of an email from "babyavenger" [copied & pasted as emailed to me]


I have the hardest time picking my favourite gems out, like the example above, when I decide to go looking through my filtered emails just in case someone unfortunately strung together the right combination of words to get them moved out of my inbox or when they slide into my Instagram & Facebook DMs. This one, though, it is extra.

Full Spectrum Midwifery

I have always believed in reproductive justice and bodily autonomy. For over 20 years now I have supported pregnant people regardless of the outcome of their pregnancies, be it birth, adoption, surrogacy, miscarriage, stillbirth, or termination (abortion) and helped many people with both their fertility and birth control needs. I consider this to be Full Spectrum Midwifery Care.

Spend more than five minutes researching the history of midwifery, you know, beyond the racist, classist, bio-essentialist, and misogynistic white-washed Ina May history and you will discover that midwifery is:

a) one of the oldest professions,

b) not always practiced by (cis) women,

c) host to a body of knowledge passed down that midwives throughout the ages have used to BOTH help pregnant people carry pregnancies to term AND help them avoid and end unwanted or unhealthy pregnancies, and

d) bigger than pregnancy and birth, as midwives care for people during times of loss and used to be one type of palliative care provider; bringing forth life and ushering it out

Midwives have been creating space for reproductive sovereignty forever. Midwives are who people have historically turned to for all of their reproductive health needs. And people of all ages and reproductive capabilities are still turning to midwives for their reproductive health needs. I am not sure that babyavenger is clear on what exactly midwives do and do not do, but I assure them and anyone else reading along, that while there may be some midwives or people fulfilling similar roles who are anti-choice and who do not believe in bodily autonomy or reproductive freedom, the vast majority of midwives value the lives of pregnant people and do not see their bodies as simply talking wombs without rights.

I have no moral or personal steak in how another person chooses to carry or terminate a pregnancy. I have a job to do: I am supposed to make sure they are as informed about their options, optimal health factors, and risk/benefits as humanly possible. While I can decide that there are certain decisions that a pregnant person can make regarding their health or pregnancy/birth plans that I am not skilled enough to assist with, it is never my place to tell them how to plan, what to plan, or to try and sway them one direction or another. That is how informed consent/refusal and autonomy work. I do not get to bully people or obscure facts with moralistic or religious feelings about their decisions or possible options.

So, yes, I am a midwife. I am a queer, transgender nonbinary midwife. And I LOVE listening to heartbeats and showing clients what baby parts are jabbing them in their ribs, I also LOVE holding space for grieving clients after a loss and making compassionate space for clients to make informed reproductive health decisions like terminating a pregnancy. It is all a part of being a midwife, a Full Spectrum Midwife.

If you liked this post or found this post informational or useful, please share it. If you want to recognise my labour and support me in creating future posts like this one, please leave me a tip.


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