The Bullying Culture Of Midwifery

I have long spoken out against what I believe is a the destruction of women’s right to homebirth and the fact that the College of midwives and the consumer advocate Justine Caines are barking up the wrong tree.

There has been huge amounts of gossip this week from the public Ozmidwifery . Following a discussion about pushing for insurance and medicare. Two things that I am strongly opposed to.

I have been harassed and bullied. I have been gossiped about, called dangerous behind my back and to my face. The college of midwives have spread gossip about me which is malicious and snide.  I have been told I am too politically sensitive to have a say, I was removed from the speakers list of the HBA due to being unpopular with the powers that be. I have been dirtied to politicians who have been told I’m a danger.

This is bullying of the worst nature because it is nothing that you can grab hold of, prove or answer.

This week it has come to an all time high. Justine Caines from Homebirth Australia resigned citing that the vocal minority (really meaning me, and I know this due to people asking me if all the gossip is true) have bullied her. Is she kidding?

She is trying to say that all the College support she had, all her vast amount of supporters, all her connections with politicians and My lone voice saying that this legislation is not for the benefit of women and we should not have been asking for validation or insurance or medicare, is bullying.

I don’t even know or like the woman. I have no wish to. Birth is not an illness, it should not be in the medical paradigm We should be taking birth out of the medical establishment and not trying to negotiate terms for it to be in.

I’m sure I know why the AMA laugh at us, because we make ourselves look foolish. Not with diverse opinion or support for the women but with ostracising anyone who doesn’t toe the party line or follow like sheep.

I have felt for a long time I would be lined up to take the blame for the failure of this legislation. I just wasn’t sure how it would be played out. Now I know.

Getting close to D day and we have negotiated ourselves into a corner, everyone wants out but they need someone to blame. Lets scapegoat someone who is a thorn in the side of modern midwifery. Someone who is annoying and won’t shut up. Lets show her the force of our bullying tactics because she doesn’t show us any respect.

So when this doesn’t work for midwives and we all have to work unregistered, when it doesn’t work for women . When it doesn’t work for homebirth, we can turn around and say it was all Lisa Barretts fault.

21 responses to “The Bullying Culture Of Midwifery”

  1. Nuyanne

    We’ll I say ‘good on ya, mate’. Let them heap praise and not blame. For what have you done except speak the truth?

  2. Rachele Meredith

    You have more integrity than any person I have ever known, even when it comes at a price. Love you lots xx

  3. Erin

    Oh please don’t ‘shut up’ Lisa!! I think blame is one of those ugly faces of humanity… but know that your opinions ARE respected by both midwives, and women, who wish to have such a basic right as choice.

  4. Nat

    Keep being that vocal minority. Many women are listening to you, even if the politicians and vested interests are not. xxo

  5. Melody

    Sending love in a very dark time. It seems that a spiralling even deeper into the darkness is inevitable, may we all know the light of our own truth – and walk it will courage.

  6. Hannah

    It is so frustrating that they’re trying to silence you when you’re such a necessity to anyone trying to figure out what the hec is going on. Please keep going and never take the half-hearted-middle-ground-pandying to the AMA that so many others have.
    Love your work, you’re an inspiration.

  7. WiseWoman

    Lisa, don’t let the turkeys get you down. Luckily the babies don’t listen to any of the grownup babble. They get their little heads (or bums) down and come out. . . birth is ancient, midwifery politics is a relatively recent phenomenum.

  8. FeltUp

    well…i have just spent 4 hours reading and inspiring myself and feeding my confidence with my 8 weeks to go before homebirthing and i have to say….LISA…


    I AM RENAMING n RECLAIMING my pre labour contractions after you and bumping Bipolar Braxton out the door back to his surgery with the rest of them!!! I am tired of men being the heirachy and i am tired of being bullied by my GP and i am tired of being gasped at by system educated womyn for choosing to have a homebirth, and i am tired of falling witness and being a victom if birthrape and violence!…whats wrong with humanity?
    ~ Courage is fire, and bullying is smoke. ~
    TThe numbers of awareness can only ARISE in the face of insanity!

  9. Louise

    Keep going Lisa, we need wise women like you more than ever. Torching the midwife – nothing new really.

  10. Melody

    WiseWoman: love your work.

  11. Anonymous

    lisa although i work within a hospital system i am in awe of your knowledge and homebirth keep it up

  12. Heidi

    But more women would have access to home birth if it was funded through Medicare. Isn’t the end goal of all the campaigning that every women has the option of a home birth if she desires it? I assumed all private midwives supported that.

  13. DragonMumma

    You are needed, you are wanted, you are loved by SO many!! Take it as a compliment, that you are SUCH a powerful strong woman, that you make those lesser people more aware of their failings! You make those who KNOW that they are selling us out, guilty and ashamed. Stay strong, keep talking, so many of us are listening!!!

  14. Tanya@Womb2Grow

    From Canada to ‘Down Under’
    Rise up and stay strong…’till everybody sings our song!

  15. Lisa Barrett

    1. even after all this medicare will not be available for homebirth so even if we wanted it there is not an option. Homebirth is available to every woman there is a 5000 dollar baby bonus in this country. Even if we could access the antenatal and postnatal the payout is very small and there will be gap.

    I do not support medicalising birth in anyway or opting for more regulating of birth which is what government funding will do.

    I will eat crow if I am wrong but I think it is going to be detrimental to women and the regulations will mean many midwives can’t even register.

    You are being very mislead about this.

  16. FeltUp

    medicare will just be another massive hoop jumper i suppose…and i have always imagined this baby bonus being used as a boycot, trying to bribe womyn into following ‘policy’ (policing us) into the system aswell :/ so i wont be surprised when or if they introduce that, similar to the payment upon immunisation? btw-every 4th child in my sons school classrooms have whooping cough at the moment..My son doesnt and he was never immunised but they all were…does that say we should DO what were told???
    ergh GO LISA we neeeeed womyn like YOU!!!
    Igorance is truly an evil in this world.

  17. danni

    fundamentalism in any area is going to cause difficulty and exclude people.

    it is vital birth be viewed broadly. to remove any kind of medicalisation from it will only serve to increase the really bad adverse outcomes (while possibly decreasing other adverse outcomes). a balanced and integrated position is necessary to accommodate for more people – not less.

    i completely support homebirth – but i also support medical assessment, support and intervention. i don’t think these things need to be exclusive but i do think there needs to be a cultural change in the approach from both midwives and doctors.

    this legislation could go some way towards bridging that gap. i’m optimistic, not mislead.

  18. Sarah Stewart

    Hi Lisa, I think you must be an amazing woman if you (all by yourself) has derailed legislation :)

  19. Lisa Barrett

    The legislation will derail midwifery without my help. When that happens they need to blame someone so instead of looking at the path we have taken and understand that because we have never stood up and said No we are complicit in this it is easier to say that subversive elements of midwives created waves.

  20. Sarah Stewart

    Hi Lisa, I know you’re really busy but I wondered if there was any chance you could join us for the Virtual International Day of the Midwife. What would be fabulous is if you’d be able to start the day off at 12pm NZ time 5th May, with a short live presentation or discussion …something stirring to get us going…

    Thank you so much, Sarah

  21. Natasha

    Hi Lisa,
    I am a trainee/student midwife and i wonder at the sort of environment in which i will practice in the future – i first learned of you when i started my training and i am thrilled to see the amazing support you are finding as you continue to give a voice to women wanting birth their way and midwives wanting to provide their skills and support of women’s choices. Bravo and keep up the amazing work! You’re a star!