We’re Annaliese and Morgan- friends, student midwives, and founders of the ISMC. We’re so excited to be launching this project to create a supportive community of birth workers to go to the nations. The ISMC became an idea back when we were roommates just starting midwifery school as we began to see the need for unity among student midwives, and the need for birth workers all around the world. It’s only grown since then as we’ve stepped into apprenticeships and experienced many of the things that we learned about in school: both clinical and relational with the midwifery community.
We were lucky enough to get to apprentice together for a while, going to births and learning, before moving on to separate preceptors. We really saw the importance of students supporting other students during that time (and since then), as well as midwives believing that their students have the potential to also become midwives. We were shocked by the burnout rates among both students and midwives; many students quit before completing training and many midwives quit within the first three years of their career (or continue to practice but are so burnout that they dislike midwifery). Watching these things happen to our colleagues and peers showed us that the need is much greater than just sending midwives overseas to underserved areas. Training is an integral part of how you practice as a midwife; we believe that if you are trained well, have the right support in the community, and continue a healthy cycle, then you can be successful and have longevity in your practice.
The change has to start here and now in how we train students so that when they do go overseas, they can be sustainable. So many communities in the world have no maternal-child health care; this is something that we saw during school when we began to lay the groundwork of what has become the ISMC. We knew then, as we do now, that the research clearly shows that midwives trained for low-resource settings are the way to fill the need. What we didn’t realize though is that’s going to be especially (really impossibly) hard to do if our students never finish training and our midwives are burning out and quitting within 3 years.
The ISMC is really our response to the needs we have seen and experienced both in the world and in our communities. We’ve managed to find others who see these same issues and want to make a difference; Hannah (our treasurer who’s also on the board) was with us during midwifery school. And I, Annaliese, have been lucky enough to get to apprentice with Moriah under the same wonderful preceptor. We are so grateful for the community that we have found as we learn together, and we hope that this is a safe place for you to find a supportive community and learning resources. There will never be enough midwives in the world- and especially not when whole nations are underserved. Collectively, we agree that the stats on midwives burning out, on horizontal violence, and most importantly on maternal and infant mortality are able to be changed, but that the work has to start with how we train midwives before they ever go overseas. We believe that we can make an impact, and we invite you to join us!
Therefore, we present to you the International Student Midwives Collective! A place to share your experiences, frustrations, and honest opinions as well as a place to find your way into the nations as a birth worker and do so sustainably.