Editorial: International Networking
by Jan Tritten

[Editor's Note: This editorial originally appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 66, Summer 2003.]

The Netherlands conference photo

Midwives from all over gathered at our Netherlands conference in 2002, including country contacts Ana-Polona Skocir from Slovenia (fourth from left), Naolí Vinaver from Mexico (next to Ana-Polona) and Cornelia Enning of Germany (kneeling, center).

Here at Midwifery Today, we have been working hard on our country contacts. The goal is to have a contact person or persons in every country of the world. First, this will allow us to let you know what is going on in midwifery and birth in other countries. Second, it will give us a midwifery contact point for travelers, researchers and other interested people. Third, it will widen our view of the world of birth, allowing us to exchange ideas and inspiration and to help each of us make birth better in our own countries by the knowledge of possibilities. Fourth, it will let other countries know of Midwifery Today's activities.

We have begun to let you know about our colleagues and country contacts around the world in Midwifery Today's print and online publications: Midwifery Today magazine, the Birthkit, E-News and the IAM (International Alliance of Midwives) electronic newsletter. The upcoming conferences we have planned will also aid cross-cultural understanding and exchange, as well as birth change.

In the last issue of Midwifery Today, Andrew Ewere from Nigeria and Ana-Polona Skocir from Slovenia, both Midwifery Today country contacts, wrote about midwifery in their countries. In the past we have heard from Françoise Bardes, our France contact, Sara Wickham, our U.K. contact, Verena Schmid, in Italy, and many others. By the next issue, we plan to have a list of current country contacts with e-mail addresses for your international networking. You can also join IAM and be connected to all Midwifery Today country contacts with one hotlink, as well as getting the IAM newsletter, updates and access to the database of members.

By exchanging our strengths in midwifery knowledge we have learned about instinctive and physiological birth, how to facilitate it and what to do when complications arise. In other words, we share solid midwifery practice with the strengths of our colleagues around the world. This knowledge is multiplying as we find more resources and bring them together. I have met midwives from everywhere who are incredible resources of midwifery knowledge and ways. All are keen to share their gifts, understanding and techniques. It is my goal and my heart's desire to bring this exchange to every birth practitioner and activist possible.

Let me introduce you to a few who come to mind. Verena Schmid presented at our intensive in Eugene last summer for five days sharing her in-depth work on physiology. She also teaches new observational tools for maintaining women in good health and preventing risks. Her thinking and teaching are unique. She has helped transform education in Italy by organizing a school for midwives to learn the art of midwifery. She publishes a magazine for Italian midwives that is much like Midwifery Today. We are blessed to have her teaching at two Midwifery Today conferences this year: London, June 26–30, and Paris, France, November 6–10, 2003. Most of you know Michel Odent and his pioneering work in primal health and physiology. He will also be teaching in London and Paris. We are pleased to have him as contributing editor to Midwifery Today magazine. I love to sum up his vast contribution to all of midwifery and birth by his advice to pregnant women: "eat seafood and be happy." His contribution is beyond measure. Many of you have had the privilege of meeting and learning from Doña Irene Sotelo. She also taught us for a full five days on Mexican traditional midwifery techniques at the Eugene intensive. She taught us how to deliver breech babies and to use the rebozo in prenatal care, birth and postpartum. She also shared her vast knowledge of herbs. She will be at our Oaxaca, Mexico, conference along with many other maverick Mexican traditional and professional midwives. I could talk for days about the wonderful people I have met through the years, but I hope you can join us for one of the international events we have planned so you can meet some of these many "living treasures" yourself. [For full conference details, visit www.midwiferytoday.com/conferences.]

Their knowledge and insight can make us all better midwives, educators and doulas. Their lives and practices show us possibilities. But these are just a few of the millions of change agents around the world that are bringing us the knowledge and energy we need to re-claim birth and midwifery. You are part of the global picture to claim birth for women. Our country contacts and international projects are geared toward helping you with the goal of getting birth functioning the way it was beautifully designed.

Toward Better Birth,

Jan Tritten

Jan Tritten is the founder and editor-in-chief of Midwifery Today magazine and a midwife who was in active practice from 1977 to 1989. She became a midwife in 1977 after the powerful homebirth of one of her daughters. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world! [ PHOTO BY ANDREA NOLL ]

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