I write to you from the exotic location of Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City is a medium-sized city surrounded by huge mountains. We moved here one year ago from Wilmington, North Carolina. It has taken me a while to settle in here. In fact I am currently in the “Where’s my midwife?” phase of the process. First I found a pediatrician for the kids, then dentists, and an eye doctor. Now I am due for my annual well woman care. In Wilmington the shortage of midwives made that decision pretty simple. I wanted a CPM and I had one choice. Here they have a whole section in the yellow pages for midwives, including some CPM’s. There are 15 CNM’s and two CPM’s listed in the phone book, a little surfing on the web introduced me to several other CPM’s. Wow, after fighting so hard for just a few midwives, now I can think about other things like convenience, personality, other specialties they offer, and the more subtle differences in midwifery philosophy.
Ultimately I am looking for a lot more than simply a gentle PAP smear. One of the things I miss most about Wilmington is the birth community. It started with the doulas and NCFOM and grew to include Where’s My Midwife? and then Women in the Center. There is a committed group of people actively striving to make birth better for the families in North Carolina. I am sure that when I prod a little deeper into my community here, actually talking to people rather than simply doing Internet searches, I will find similar things going on here. After all, there is a strong doula organization, Utah Friends of Midwives, La Leche League, an ICAN chapter, a birth center and even a MEAC accredited midwifery school; surely these are signs of a strong birth community.
However, somehow all of this seems less accessible than the birth community in Wilmington. Maybe it is because Salt Lake is so much bigger and I don’t know everyone. Maybe I have been too lazy and introverted. There do seem to be less public events. What if a more open community with less injustices to fight against breeds less active consumers? Whatever the reason, I am going to put in the extra effort to create community for myself and bring Where’s My Midwife? to a new city. Even though there are more midwives here there are also more people, the birth statistics probably aren’t that much different from in Wilmington. There are probably a few more percentage points of births being attended by midwives and a few less percentage points in the surgical birth category, but this is still America and we need more midwives and more normal birth. I am embarking on a new adventure, stay tuned for more from the beautiful city of Salt Lake. If you live here I would LOVE to hear from you!