I was recently at a local birth circle. It was “Meet the Midwives” night, and I was one of the midwives asked to attend and answer questions about midwifery, home birth, and birth center care. One of the attendees asked this question:
What’s the difference between the medical model and midwifery model of care?
Wow, I could go on and on for hours about that one! But, a simple analogy came to mind. I remembered something a midwife said years ago: “No matter how nice you ask, when you go to McDonalds, they’re not going to give you shrimp.” True that!
The difference between midwifery care and medical model care is like the difference between having a personal chef cook you a gourmet meal vs. going to a fast food restaurant and getting a burger.
With the medical model, you’re getting care that’s one-size-fits-all. A fast food restaurant has food that’s made in a way that’s efficient, suits the masses, and has little (if any) room for customization to your needs or preferences. The food has the minimum level of nutrition (if you can call it that) to meet governmental standards. Any quality that surpasses that minimum is seen as going above and beyond. It’s all about getting people through the line as quickly and efficiently as possible, while avoiding any major food-borne illnesses. It’s convenient, fairly cheap, available on just about every street corner, and you’ll get the same food at each restaurant of that particular chain, so you know what to expect. It gets the job done, but you may not feel great afterwards, and you may not be very healthy in the long run when you make that choice.
Your personal chef knows your preferences and tailors your meal to your unique needs. The meal is all about you and your experience and your satisfaction. You can make it as healthy as you want – organic, paleo, grass-fed, gluten-free… the choices are up to you. It may take a little research to find the best personal chef for you. You may have to interview a few until you find just the right one. You’ll need to be involved in making the decisions about the food they make for you. It may be more expensive to hire a personal chef, but eating that really great food instead of the fast food is an investment in your health and in the health of your entire family. Pay now or pay later, so to speak.
So, what kind of birth experience do you want? A lot of women are looking for midwifery care, but they’re trying to get that care at a place where it isn’t offered. If you’re looking for shrimp at McDonalds, you’re not going to find it.