ACNM Region 1 Meeting – A Student’s Perspective
I felt so honored to be surrounded by midwives in Kingston, NY, on October 14, 2017, at my first midwifery conference, the ACNM Region 1 Meeting. The drive up was glorious. The overcast and the changing colors of the mountains set the perfect tone for a midwifery filled weekend. My first thoughts when walking into the main room of the conference—I am underdressed, I should be networking and representing my school, what have I done. Quickly getting over myself, I sat down with other midwifery students from Columbia University, SUNY Downstate, and Frontier University. We all listened intently to midwives and other birth professionals as they lead lectures and discussions on medical ethics, midwifery at the end of life, global health, recruitment of midwives of color, and the association between oral contraceptive pills and sexual dysfunction. (As an aside, I want to mention that the ethicist began his lecture by muttering that standing before a group of women was like an adolescent boy’s dream—dude didn’t know his audience, and it was awkward). I appreciated how interactive the entire meeting was. People asked questions, raised issues, and spoke to their experience and expertise, and it felt so productive. While I wasn’t able to contribute much as far as my midwifery expertise goes, I very much enjoyed listening and learning from everyone around me. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought that I will continue to have these conversations and these brainstorming sessions for the rest of my life. If I took anything from this weekend, it is that midwives are a force and a movement in reproductive and maternal health care, social justice, and in individual family’s lives. We have a common set of values and a common language that allow us to think through tough problems regarding women, their bodies, and their rights. And that is radical.
Notable quotes from this weekend:
- “We can do midwifery any day, any minute, in any capacity.” Kathryn Carr
- “Midwives are the masters of autonomy.” –Paul Burcher
- “Women need all qualified midwives to be licensed.” –Karen Jefferson
- “Social service begets dependence. Social justice creates power.” -unknown
-Marlies Biesinger, DNP Nurse-Midwifery Candidate, Columbia University