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contractions: the politics of midwifery
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contractions: the politics of midwifery

Author: Rodante van der Waal

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Contractions is a podcast about the politics of midwifery. All contractions address the analysis and practical change of one political issue surrounding childbirth, such as obstetric or reproductive violence, care, workload, sexism or racism. Every contraction is necessary to cope with in order to arrive at the birth of a midwifery care wherein all pregnant people feel free, safe, and emotionally and physically supported. Contractions' aim is to start an international dialogue with midwives globally, to recognise our issues as shared issues, and to learn from each others visions, critiques and practices. If you want to share your own political contraction that you're currently labouring through, or inscribe to our mailinglist to receive updates, please send an email to Contractions is produced by Rodante van der Waal and Vinny Tailor and is part of the Dutch midwifery platform SEASON TWO COMING UP END OF NOVEMBER 2021!!
6 Episodes
On international day of the midwife we focus on caring for ourselves with student midwife Madyasa Vijber. Madyasa is doing her final internship in midwifery, is a doula, and is regularly involved in feminist and anti-racist activism in the Netherlands.  She speaks out about our lack of resistance to the system in the form of self-care and raises awareness about mental health of midwives and midwifery students. Further reading:Websites Lorde, A. (2007). Sister Outsider. Crossing Press.- Beaumont, E., Durkin, M., Kirkham, M. (2000). The Midwife-mother Relationship. Macmillan Publishers.Nagoski, E., & Nagoski, A. D. (2020). Burnout. Penguin Random House.Brown, B. (2012). The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage (1ste ed.). Sounds True, Inc.Articles:Hollins Martin, C. J., & Carson, J. (2016). Compassion for others, self-compassion, quality of life and mental well-being measures and their association with compassion fatigue and burnout in student midwives: A quantitative survey. Midwifery, 34, 239–244., M., Beaumont, E., Hollins Martin, C. J., & Carson, J. (2016). A pilot study exploring the relationship between self-compassion, self-judgement, self-kindness, compassion, professional quality of life and wellbeing among UK community nurses. Nurse Education Today, 46, 109–114., J. C., Hoijtink, K., Noppers, M., Wiegers, T. A., de Cock, T. P., Klomp, T., & Hutton, E. K. (2015). An explorative study of factors contributing to the job satisfaction of primary care midwives. Midwifery, 31(4), 482–488., J., Sidebotham, M., Gamble, J., & Creedy, D. K. (2018). The emotional and professional wellbeing of Australian midwives: A comparison between those providing continuity of midwifery care and those not providing continuity. Women and Birth, 31(1), 38–43. is produced by Rodante van der Waal and Vinny Taylor. Contact:
Bahareh Goodarzi is a midwife, teacher and researcher at the Midwifery Science department of Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands. She has started two councils on diversity, inclusivity and anti-discrimination, one at the academy for midwifery in Amsterdam and Groningen, and one at the royal national  organisation of midwives in the Netherlands (KNOV). Goodarzi's research focusses on risk selection in maternal and newborn care, particularly on the risk of inequity in care outcomes. Further reading: Burnett (2020) Dismantling racism in education: In 2020, the year of the nurse & midwife, “it's time.”Zanting (2020) The ‘exotic other’ in medical curricula: Rethinking cultural diversity in course manuals.Zaidi (2021) From the “top-down” and the “bottom-up”: Centering Foucault’s notion of biopower and individual accountability within systemic racismLim (2021) Students’ perceptions on race in medical education and healthcare.Vyas (2020) Hidden in Plain Sight — Reconsidering the Useof Race Correction in Clinical Algorithms.Contractions is produced by Rodante van der Waal and Vinny Taylor. Contact:
dr. Michelle Sadler is one of the forefront academics and activists globally fighting  obstetric violence. Sadler argues for the importance of recognizing obstetric violence and calling it out as such. She is an associate researcher at the Adolfo University in Chile, and Director of the Chilean Observatory of Obstetric Violence. We spoke on a philosophy of childbirth conference in Alcalá, Spain. Further reading: Sadler (2021) COVID-19 as a risk factor for obstetric violence. Sadler (2016) Moving beyond disrespect and abuse: addressing the structural dimensions of obstetric violence. Contractions is produced by Rodante van der Waal and Vinny Taylor. Contact:
Contractions is produced by researcher and midwife Rodante van der Waal and podcast producer Vinny Tailor. It originated from a three-year international Twinning program between Iceland and The Netherlands Twinning Up North wherein Inga María Thorsteinson and Rodante were paired together. During the three years of Twinning up North, both Inga María and Rodante graduated as midwives, thus slowly getting to know the world of midwifery. Our dialogues and shared experiences led us to the idea to start an international podcast, and we contacted podcast producer Vinny Tailor. After the Twinning program, Rodante and Vinny continued with the podcast. In this intermezzo, Vinny speaks with both Rodante and Inga María about our motivation to start Contractions. Twinning up North took place from 2018 till 2020 between midwives from the Netherlands and midwives from Iceland. It was organised by the national midwifery organisations of both countries, Mothers4Mothers, Edythe Mangindin, Liselotte Kweekel, and Franka Cadée, current president of the ICM who did a PhD on twinning between midwives. See here the Twinning Up North magazine to read more on what’s twinning all about and to discover the wonderful projects of all the other twin-midwives. Our story is on page 13. Inga María Thorsteinson graduated from nursing in 2016 and midwifery in 2018 from the University of Iceland. She has worked at the labour and postpartum ward at the national hospital of Iceland after graduation. She went on maternity leave for 9 months after having her first child in 2019, and works now in a small hospital just outside the capital while also doing postpartum home visits. She is the vice-chairman of the Icelands‘ Midwives‘ Association and will publish her first book on childbirth education at the beginning of the year 2021.@tailor.vinny is a freelance podcast producer and creator of audio documentaries. She is based in the Netherlands and started her career as a newsreporter and newsreader for different radiostations. During this time she made an award-winning radio documentary (Hustle: one day in the life of a drugdealer) and got accepted at the EBU Masterschool on radiofeatures. She currently has her own business wherein she helps people to tell their story through audio and she teaches students at the Amsterdam school of applied science (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) to do the same. Fun fact: while editing Contractions Vinny was 6.5 months pregnant, sometimes working  during long hospital check-ups on our first episode! See picture ;)Rodante van der Waal, MA, studied philosophy and midwifery in Amsterdam. She works as a community home-birth midwife in Amsterdam and is PhD-candidate in care-ethics. Her PhD study investigates the philosophy of pregnancy and the problem of obstetric violence through a postcolonial, feminist, care-ethical, and critical theory lens. 
Rebecca Ashley is a midwife and researcher studying the connection between neoliberal financial crises and the crisis of midwifery work. She imagines what a socialist model of midwifery care could be. Further reading The Albany model of midwifery care. Contractions is produced by Rodante van der Waal and Vinny Taylor. Contact:
dr. Elizabeth Newnham  is a midwife, researcher and teacher at Griffith University, Australia. She studies the way in which power and knowledge function in obstetrics from a Foucauldian framework. She is the author of the book Towards the Huminisation of Birth: a Study of Epidural Analgesia and Hospital Birth Culture.Further reading: Newnham (2015) Birth control: Power/knowledge in the politics of birth.Newnham (2017) Paradox of the institution: findings from a hospital labour ward ethnography. Newnham (2017) ‘It's your body, but…’ Mixed messages in childbirth education: Findings from a hospital ethnography. EDIT: In the episode we've stated incorrectly that dr. Newnham works at Queensland University. This is not the case. She works at Griffith University, which is in Queensland. Contractions is produced by Rodante van der Waal and Vinny Taylor. Contact:
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