Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's not a job, it's a calling

I hope the Trust Birth folk don't feel like I'm picking on them. It's not my intention, really, it's not. I just never felt like I could pursue these topics on Facebook without resistance and well, that just doesn't sit well with me. :)

Okay, so I've seen this said a few times and whooooooa Nellie do I have some major disagreements with it. I don't think it's a TB philosophy (altho I don't know if it is or not, but I'm guessing not) that midwifery is a calling and NOT a job.

Wow, this lands for me in a really um... holier-than-thou kind of way. Now I'm not attacking, just saying how I experience this statement. Bear with me!

Why is making money doing something we are called to do a bad thing? What if a midwife is called to be a midwife and is so successful that heck, she makes a LOT of money doing it?

I want to understand this statement better and that won't happen without some dialogue so I hope someone will jump in and give me some background about what is behind this statement and what it really means, because I'm positive that I don't fully understand it.


Anonymous said...

Just saw that you'd posted another blog entry, and I hope you don't mind me asking you to clarify, because I'm seriously confused right now....

I am indeed one of the ''Trust Birth folk'', and I can't see how what you've said is related to us?
You said you hope we don't think you're picking on us, then said ''. I don't think it's a TB philosophy (altho I don't know if it is or not, but I'm guessing not)''

In which case I can't see why the job/calling question would be posed in relation to us specifically, by which I mean the ''picking on them'' comment?

Bettie said...

I honestly don't feel picked on at all Kristina. This blog post has nothing to do with Trust Birth.

You need to decide for yourself what you want out of your life choices. The fact that midwifery and other birth work is a calling does not equate it with being unpaid.

Seems you have a desire to taunt Trust Birth, or are you simply trying to learn and understand? I am confused.

RedSpiral said...

I'm asking the Trust Birth folk this question because it was in TB conversations on Facebook where I've seen this said (and directly to me, as well).

I think what I realized after I posted this was that 'job' in this context means 'just something you do to make money' and when I look at it from that perspective it actually makes perfect sense to me.

Originally the conversation was around licensing and why midwives would choose to license in order to make an income at what they do, and this comment "It's not a job, it's a calling" was tossed back, by more than one person. It was confusing to me at the time- I wasn't sure what it meant, even in that context, which is why I posted the question.

Bettie, I have lots of questions and am seeking to understand the TB philosophy and have been consistently coming to the table with an open heart AND direct questions.

When I ask questions on Facebook (and I am not pushy, argumentative, or disrespectful, at least that is not my intention at any time), I tend to get people pissed off, rather than open to sitting at a table with someone who doesn't see things the same way and willing to openly share. I don't know why that is.. I see it's happening again with you - I've offended you somehow and I'm not sure why that is, but that is what I am seeing (please do correct me if I'm wrong).

I don't think anything I've posted has been 'taunting'... can you help me understand what I've said that lead you to interpret my writing that way?

I have been keeping my thoughts to myself about things I'd seen and had questions about or disagreements with or wanted to understand better because it's just not fruitful on Facebook. I get yelled at, unfriended, told I'm 'wrong', etc. I figure I'll bring the questions to my own 'neighborhood' and hope that people who visit are either willing to trust that I mean simply to 'get it' and not to disparage.

Anonymous said...

I, too am a Trust Birth person. I myself have said that it is a calling. Meaning, most of the time you work, work, work, and you love, love, love it. No matter what it pays. I've never seen any of the TB stuff say that one should NOT be paid. Only that if you're in it for the money you're in the wrong profession.

RedSpiral said...

This is why I write! I start out with a question and oftentimes in the process of the writing (or the following discussion), I get an answer. Thank you, Anonymous TB person! This is exactly the conclusion I drew after this brief conversation. I'd almost say that anyone who is in a birth profession (other than obstetricians) who are in it for the money are going to be very surprised at how hard they have to work for little pay! LOL!

Bettie said...

You have not offended me...I am only frustrated by the way you weave innocent sounding questions with jabs at Trust Birth. If you struggle with it so much, then why not just toss the whole Trust Birth mentality aside and move on? There is room for all of us in this world. Trust Birth is not a cult, it is an Initiative based on improving birth for babies and mothers. It is based on one Truth alone, that Birth is Safe and Interference is Risky.

I am passionate yes, but just as I don't fault anyone for not having the same religion I have, I am willing to accept that you come from a different place about birth. However, I do believe that my religion is truth and that Trust Birth is truth.

BookwormMama said...

Most women I have met personally who have said that midwifery is a "calling" tend to be Christian. They believe that God has called them to be a midwife and therefore feel terrible for taking money for something God has called them to and would do it regardless of getting paid.

I can understand that point of view, though I don't share it completely.

However, the view point that gets me riled is when those midwives who believe midwifery is a calling and not a job somehow believe that because of this viewpoint that they are more "righteous" or better than those who don't feel the same way and turn their noses up at the midwives who do make a living out of being a midwife. Some midwives feel a sort of badge of honor from going broke with midwifery as if that means that they have sacrificed more than anyone or that they are true, genuine midwives. I have heard other midwives who make a living out of midwifery referred to as "medwives" which also gets me riled. There should be little judgment, and a lot of room to accept all kinds of midwives, just as there are all different kinds of mothers who want different kinds of birth experiences.

Personally, I feel like midwifery is my calling AND my job. And I have no problem with getting paid for it either. It costs a lot of money fo r training and school to become a midwife and we are ofering a service so it is good to get paid for it.

We should place a value on what we do so others value what we do as well.

RedSpiral said...

Bettie, it seems that you and I have reached an impasse. You believe I am 'jabbing' and 'taunting' Trust Birth and I don't see it- I've asked for reflection from you on what I'm saying that falls within that and you haven't responded. I have NO intention of doing anything other than understanding this better. I am sorry that you don't appreciate my tactics and trust my intention, it's a loss for us because I believe there is still plenty of room for us to explore the other's point of view. I'm not afraid to have a debate or discussion when my intention is to learn, not to tell anyone they're wrong.

There ARE things with which Trust Birth and I align, I'm pushing on these other areas that feel unclear or that maybe I don't understand well.

If this is a frustrating endeavor for you I invite you to just not reply to me, that's always your option. I mean no disrespect, only that I have thoroughly gained and enjoyed from all of the responses and am not interested in the distraction of defending who I am as a person, or as a doula to you, when this is my blog and you've chosen to come here to answer my questions. It feels at times you are making assumptions about me and 'jabbing' at me (to use your word), and I'm not sure why that is, but that's what I'm feeling. I'm choosing to assume that you have good intentions and electing not to get pulled into a debate that detracts from what I'm trying to discuss. I'm an excellent doula who knows my place in the birth room. My clients would all tell you the same. I hope that answers any questions you have about me, and how I practice.

I really do wish you very well and appreciate your passion and clarity!

Blessings to you.

kristi Zittle said...

It is hard Kristina when so much focus is placed on what would TB say and what does TB mean. Perhaps you can get your answers from a face to face debate or discussion which is what I hoped you and I would do in July. Not during times when I am teaching the group as a whole, but in private sessions between the two of us. It is my desire to help you understand as much as you want to understand--but it is true that it seems you have a plot against TB--because even though you seem to be very genuine in your questions here and in your responses to even people who are going against you--on facebook, you have been caught and quoted to actually be encouraging those who are bashing and trashing TB and Carla specifically. This is the really bad part of the internet and email and the written word--but when you go to someone's wall (not a private message) and you make a hero out of someone who has just trashed Carla or the TB philosophy, it makes it seem you are doing the same.

I have been desperately wanting to meet you face to face because I have been accused so many times of feeling one way and saying something via the written word that did not truly express my heart and after our phone conversation I have wanted to meet you so we can chat face to face, heart to heart and you can get a real feel for me and my viewpoint as well as me from you; but I just want you to know why some of the TB gals are very suspicious of you. It is because of your own comments. Perhaps in your heart you did not mean them as they sounded or came off--but they were taken as direct jabs at Carla and the TB initiative and viewpoint and thus some are very tentative about your motives.

I want to simply have the truth. The truth is all that matters to me. I am not going to formulate my views based upon those of another--but this is why I want you to shoot super straight with me and let's not waste time. If you truly want the truth--I want to help you find it; and if you still believe differently--that will be ok; but I will not expect it being trashed on a blog here there or anywhere--which I am going to assume you will honor as we already discussed.

I do my best to give the benefit of the doubt until proven it is not deserved--perhaps much of this issue is that we are all only using the written word to try and understand one's heart and true motives and it cannot work that way. I think you are not seeing Bettie clearly and perhaps we are missing what you are trying to say as well.

Just as you said you don't want to have to give an answer for yourself and how you feel and where you stand--those who support and embrace the trust birth philosophy get tired of having to explain themselves as well. We all understand there will be some who embrace it and some who don't. We will all be fine as long as mama's can find the people they desire to serve them.

Kristi Zittle said...


As for midwifery--calling or job, I think someone seeking a job ought to look elsewhere unless she is the most amazing thing ever to hit the midwifery scene because once the mama realizes it is a job and all about the money, referrals won't be good. But no one in the Trust Birth Camp said women who are called and feel led to serve in birth should not be paid! Many have given of themselves and sacrificed their lives (CARLA IS ONE) for the purpose of spreading the truth. She is not wearing it as a badge but simply saying the call or leading was worth it to her to sacrifice time with family and money. She has obviously been paid for her schooling--but it has never been enough to sustain her family or to really make a living--but that did not matter to her. I am so grateful for that as are many thousands of other women who have been drastically impacted by her contributions to midwifery and birth and mother/baby care. But she has never worn this like martyrdom on her sleeve. She just knows it was how it worked for her.

WHen I was practicing it was a calling/leading and yet I made money. None of us with TB believe it is wrong to be paid--in fact we talk about money making and ways to bring in income to help the home. SO this mentality is simply wrong, and perhaps just misunderstood.

I hope this helps clear things up.

RedSpiral said...

Kristi, I don't know what you mean when you say that I got 'caught' - I have not been confronted with anything so I'm not sure what I got 'caught' doing. Can you email me and clarify please?

I hear what you are saying and I appreciate it - I think we are still struggling to understand each other. I am really open to continue trying and I hope you are, too. I don't expect you to agree with me, but I do not want to have one more instance of my 'crimes' being held over my head without being told what they are, and no evidence laid before me.

I think I know the comment you're talking about... I will email you because I think I know how a) things went down and b) how they were misunderstood. This actually tells me why I was unfriended, because I have been wondering ever since but felt it would be inappropriate to ask when she has so much going on.

Interesting... it seems to be coming together why this has been so frustrating!! I'm so glad you posted. I am emailing you now.

RedSpiral said...

Oh and as far as not getting paid, I totally get that now! This is why I write, like I said - it's a part of my process (a HUGE part of my process). It's how I figure things out, gain insight, answer questions... and this is a fantastic example of that. After I walked away from the blog earlier today I was talking with a frienda bout the job vs. calling and I realized that it wasn't about *payment*, it's about the "I guess I'll do this midwifery thing to make money/get prestige/feel important". NOT about money.

I'm with ya, I get it!

BookwormMama said...

The reason why the focus is on "what would TB folk" say is because that is what she is trying to understand. I think Kristina has been pretty clear on that!

Why would everyone here tell someone to toss TB out the window if they don't understand it on the first or second try? Is that the tactics you use when someone wants to delve into this more, explore, and understand? You're so "persecuted" that you can't handle honest and open and respectful dialogue with a wonderful person like Kristina without personally attacking her and questioning her motives? Do you give up so easily on people? Are you not open to dialogue and helping someone else to learn your point of view? These are the very reasons she brought this discussion to her turf, because she received the same patronizing, condescending, and downright mean responses from everyone on FB as well. And I read what was written on FB walls. Kristina has been nothing but respectful. DISAGREEING WITH SOMEONE IS NOT BASHING SOMEONE! If Kristina disagrees with someone, she is respectful about it and has only ever done so, even while being shot down by others on FB and patronized by others and even jokingly being told, "Oh, I have hope for you someday, that you'll see the light Kristina." {I am paraphrashing here} As if she is stupid and ignorant, of which she is neither.

I am thoroughly confused and befuddled at the personal attacks at Kristina and the questioning of her motives. She explained what happened on FB when she tried to discuss these things with other TB folk and instead she was shot down, berated, and insulted as well pretty much ignored and told where to go where as she is basically having being done to her now on her own blog, all while she is trying to get some clarity here.

To help people understand what you believe and why, you have to start with where they are at. Mean them where they are and work from there. You don't tell them what you believe and then attack them for not believing it. That's insane.

Frankly, I am suspicious of TB's motives now... do you make it a habit to SPY on the people that come to your midwifery skills labs and check up on them to see "what their motives are" or see how they write/talk about TB because frankly that seems pretty cultish to me. I sincerely hope that is not the case. I am really really hoping for something so much more.

RedSpiral said...

I appreciate your rising to my defense (and you know I love you) - I feel like we're on the verge of understanding each other here and I'm hoping that is the case.

To be fair to Kristi and everyone else, I posted my blog on Facebook asking for people to comment! There's no spying, I promise. I do not feel in any way intruded upon and I think that Kristi and I have gained ground today through our conversations. I am hopeful about tomorrow.

BookwormMama said...

Anytime Kristina! My shackles get raised when I see people attacking someone I love with no basis in fact or proof! And I will defend them as long as i have breath in my body. You are one hell of a wonderful doula- these people have no idea how awesome you are and the women you serve as a midwife will have a safe and amazing birth because of the work that you are doing now to prepare you for those experiences.

I truly hope for a better day tomorrow as well as clarity and peace of mind from all.

SheGotHipsLikeCinderella said...

Just so it is blatantly clear, the Trust Birth Initiative's "philosophy" is detailed on the website. Look at the "This is what we believe" page.
No, is isn't our philosophy that midwifery is not a job, nor do we believe midwives should not be paid for their skills. In fact the founder of Trust Birth, Carla Hartley, wrote in 'Helping Hands- The Apprentice Workbook,' "Experience proves that not getting paid usually creates an unfriendly situation and fosters hard feelings... When you expect payment for your services, you convey the message that you and your services are valuable." However, some that subscribe to the Trust Birth beliefs do feel "called" to midwifery and feel that payment is a secondary element (at best).
If you have further questions, email me, the Trust Birth Initiative's coordinator, at trustbirthmn at gmail dot com
~Jasmine Rae Ojala

Kristi Zittle said...

Bookwormmama--I spoke with Kristina via phone. I first apologized for not coming to her directly with my concerns over this blog issue and the things I had seen on facebook--I have 10 children, I don't have time to troll all over facebook--what happened was that she wrote on the wall of another facebook friend of mine at the time and the timing was evidently coincidental but appeared to be her praising this other person who had really just ripped a grieving widow a new one. That truly is neither here nor there--It grieved my heart that Kristina chose not to attend the MSL as I had hoped she and I would be able to meet face to face. As it was written in my post above--I believe so much of the issues that have arisen have been due to mere misunderstanding of the written word. It is near to impossible to read someone's heart into something they have written. For example--you all read my post above as being attacking and mean--that was never my intent and if you speak to anyone that KNOWS me, they could share this first hand that my goal is to always reach out, give the benefit of the doubt and do my dead level best to help them understand where I am coming from--I have no desire to make cookie cutter, Kristi's. I want everyone to serve on their level so each mama has a choice.

As for Trust Birth--Jasmine spoke so clearly to direct you to the website but my goal is to share the truth in LOVE. This is why I called Kristina. I realized that what I thought was a direct response in again keeping things from being blown out of proportion was read entirely differently. What she took, and you obviously from your red hot response, from my post was NEVER what it was meant to communicate. And so I knew I needed to speak with her directly. I wanted to share specifically what I had seen and why it caused concern and alarm.

And although you cannot understand my personal reasons becuase you do not know me personally, after having been raked over the coals by many well meaning women--I am very cautious about whom I share my personal struggles and triumphs with. But I simply want to say--I am not in any way saying my way or the highway. We will all disagree at times--that is ok. I love to discuss and chat--even viewpoints are different but sometimes when passions rise--we tend to strike out in anger. I have been guilty of this--never meaning to hurt or be that way. I have had to seek forgiveness when this has been the case.

The written word does not give a clear picture of one's heart. It is still my desire at some point to meet Kristina--and I pray she would have a desire to meet me. I believe we both have been misunderstood in many ways--and now that we share some friends--friends who KNOW her personally and now KNOW me personally--I am hoping this will bridge a gap where questions can be answered clearly and directly--without the black and white of words and emotions clouding things.

RedSpiral said...

Hey Kristi!

Just wanted to hopefully finish this conversation with the final note that there are no longer any hard feelings, sadness, anger or upset in my heart- what's done is done. It's all in divine perfection- we all learned much about each other and about ourselves, I know I did, anyway!

I did pop into the MSL during the evening on Friday and did a bit of henna on a few ladies- I wanted purposely for you and Carla not to be there because I didn't want to bring ANY sort of energy of confrontation, hurt, anger, sadness, etc. during what was supposed to be a transformative event for everyone. I arrived, gave some love and left- I hope that it came across that way to you both. It was important to me that there be NO distraction from what you were all creating together.

I hear what you're saying about a chance to be face to face with each other but I don't think I was quite ready when you were here for the MSL. Now I don't feel it's necessary. I've released a lot of the feelings I had and see us now in a larger light- we were brought together to be teachers for each other, and we learned a lot. Sometimes our lessons take a little thump on the head or the heart. ;)

I sincerely wish you the very best, and Carla too. :)