Most people who promote natural childbirth also promote that women educate themselves, but as I have said before, the problem with not knowing is we don't know what we don't know. Many women may think that they are educated about birth when they really aren't. And if you really believe that "birth is safe," then what do you really need to know? The same is true of under-trained women who act as "midwives"--many of them follow this same mentality and are unaware of the information out there that they don't have. To be clear, I do not mean all direct-entry midwives. Some are well educated. Some are not. And having the CPM credential doesn't mean anything. Having a state license may mean something, depending on the individual state's requirements--they range from having a CPM (which, as I understand, at minimum, can be achieved by doing an apprenticeship involving at least 40 births, getting CPR and NRC certified, and passing the NARM exam) and being required to graduate from a three-year program at an accredited midwifery school, attend at least 100 births, and pass the NARM exam (Washington State).
I mentioned the homebirth midwifery laws in Oregon in a previous post. A recent tragedy in Oregon has opened debate about these laws, and many are calling for mandatory licensing. I think that this unfortunate event may be a consequence of extremism--untrained midwives thinking they were qualified enough to attend births and a poor mom who didn't know or believe that looking into their training was important.
There will always be extremists in every movement. The internet, with its power to bring people together, sometimes gives the illusion of normalcy to the extreme. Sometimes it is necessary to push back against the influence of extreme ideas--to nudge the proverbial pendulum back the other way a little. Those who do so will often be accused of being "from the other side" or "causing division." I think voices of reason are essential. I have recently come across a circle of bloggers who fight to temper extremism in natural childbirth and homebirth, and to raise standards for midwifery in the U.S. They promote Certified Nurse Midwives as the optimal caregiver for a homebirth and believe that the Certified Professional Midwife credential should be changed to match the CNM standard of education or be done away with. Amber and Jessie are both former CPM students who have now chosen to pursue CNM education. Deb ("The Sensible Midwife") is a CNM with a homebirth practice. While I may not agree with everything these women have to say, I do believe the natural birth movement needs voices like theirs to help keep it in check.
Temper (verb): to dilute, qualify, or soften by the addition or influence of something else: moderate (merriam-webster.com)