Birthwise Mission and Philosophy
The Birthwise mission is to train students to be skilled and compassionate direct-entry midwives who provide care informed both by tradition and scientific evidence. We are an educational resource for aspiring and practicing maternity care providers.
Historically, women have been the primary attendants for women during childbirth, emerging from or chosen by their communities for this service. With the advent of modern medicine in the 19th and 20th centuries, midwives faced near extinction in North America, but have re-emerged to carry on the work of Martha Ballard, Anne Hutchinson, and many more nameless midwives into the twenty-first century. At this time when womens’ collective memory of giving birth under their own power is yielding to dependence on medical technology, midwives have an important role in safeguarding the power, dignity, and beauty of natural birth. Simultaneously, midwives look toward the future, conscientiously applying advances in medical science to the practice of midwifery where it benefits the mother and baby. At Birthwise we blend tradition and modern science with the intention of preserving and building on the traditions of family-centered natural birth practiced by our sister midwives before us.
- That pregnancy and birth are natural processes that work best when undisturbed. Normal healthy pregnant women often do not benefit from, and can be hindered by, routine medical intervention.
- That beyond the physiological process, birth has spiritual, aesthetic, and personal significance for women and their families.
- That midwives should be available as primary caregivers to all pregnant women and their infants.
- That giving birth at home or in a freestanding birth center are viable and safe options that should be available to women today and in the future.
- A woman’s right to choose and have decision-making power in her care, to receive continuous care from known providers, and to share in the responsibility for her care, are cornerstone concepts for midwives. This model of care encourages a relationship of empowerment and mutuality between the client and her midwife.
- Every family has diverse desires and needs when it comes to childbirth. At Birthwise we want to train midwives that appreciate, accommodate and reflect this diversity. Our faculty and alumni represent a spectrum of approaches to midwifery care and, in the Birthwise curriculum, these varied approaches are treated with equal respect.
- Midwifery is a positive force in both human ecology and global politics. As holistic practitioners promoting natural childbirth, midwives preserve a primordial cultural tradition. In the strengthening of family units and mothers in particular, and in the quality and cost-effectiveness of midwifery care, we see midwives as being a key ingredient in creating a sustainable birth culture in a sustainable world.