Midwives and Nurses and Doulas – Oh My!

by Bonita Katz, BA RN ICCE ICBD IAT CLC

Remember the line sung by Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz” as they walk down the yellow brick road – “lions and tigers and bears, oh my!”? They are thinking of things that they fear as they travel. It’s what I thought of when I considered the triad that we meet as we journey through our childbearing years – “Midwives and nurses and doulas, oh my!” The difference is that these three reduce our fears or, at the very least, stand with us as we face them.

The World Health Organization has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. On 5 May, we celebrated the International Day of the Midwife. Since its inception in 1960, ICEA has supported midwifery. In the seminal publication, The Cultural Warping of Childbirth, published by ICEA in 1972 and authored by then-president Doris Haire, the benefits of midwifery care are highlighted. More midwives are needed all around the world.

My own journey toward midwifery began right here at ICEA. As a young mother, I was not in a position to go back to school but I could study independently to become certified as a childbirth educator. ICEA gave me basic information and a philosophy that supported family-centered care and informed decision-making. I continued with ICEA by becoming a certified doula a few years later. The education I received from ICEA was a wonderful foundation to have as I went through nursing school.

Midwives, nurses, doulas, and educators form a significant part of the circle of care that informs, supports, and cares for the family during the childbearing years. For some, ICEA certification is all that they need. For others, this training is a stepping stone to further education. We give our sincere appreciation to all who care for new families!

A few miscellaneous notes:

  • Some have asked if ICEA will issue guidelines for care during this pandemic. As we stated in the previous newsletter, ICEA has issued no guidance or opinion on dealing with COVID-19. Please keep in mind that ICEA is an international organization. Guidelines vary around the world. Practice is continually adapting as new evidence becomes available. ICEA still firmly adheres to the principles of informed decision making and evidence-based care, but because this current situation is still developing we feel it is best to encourage you to follow the guidance you are receiving in your area.
  • We have also received many queries about online classes and evaluations. We understand that in the present circumstances we may need to make exceptions to the rules. Please plan ahead when possible. Direct specific questions to info@icea.org. It helps avoid misunderstandings if we have conversations in writing.
  • We are making an effort to add more educational webinars for you. Please look under the Education tab on the website to see what’s new. Let us know what you’d like to see there!
  • We are looking for someone to chair the Lactation Committee. This person should have some background with lactation as a CLC or IBCLC. This position would take 4-5 hours a month. If you are interested, please email Elizabeth Smith at preselect@icea.org.

I know many of you have had to make significant changes to how you work (and even to how you do life!) in recent months. Change can be stressful. We are in this field because we are caring people. Here’s a friendly reminder to take care of yourself. Please let us know if there is any way we can help!