Jill Duggar Dillard is not a real midwife; she’s a CPM, a counterfeit professional midwife

Rooks quote

Cosmopolitan Magazine reports Jill Duggar Adds an Impressive New Job to Her Résumé.

According to her husband, Derrick Dillard:

It’s official; my wife is a midwife!

Not exactly.

Jill Duggar Dillard did not become a midwife. She became a counterfeit midwife. She was awarded an ersatz credential (CPM, certified professional midwife) designed to fool the public into believing that lay people who can’t be bothered (or can’t hack) the education and training needed to become a real midwife are “midwives” nonetheless. The CPM really means “counterfeit professional midwife.”

The CPM credential is a public relations ploy, not a medical credential and it is a testament to its effectiveness as a public relations ploy that most Americans don’t realize it is a counterfeit midwifery degree. It is not recognized by the UK, the Netherlands, Canada or Australia because it doesn’t meet the international standards for midwifery education and training. Indeed, the US is the only country in the industrialized world that has a second class of counterfeit midwives in addition to real midwives (certified nurse midwives).

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#e7c7a1″]Why are the minimum standards so low, especially in comparison to counterparts around the world?[/pullquote]

It’s hard to become a doctor.

It takes four years of college, followed by four years of medical school, followed by 3-5 years of internship and residency. That’s challenging.

Imagine if you couldn’t be bothered (or couldn’t handle) the necessary preparation but wanted to masquerade as a doctor anyway. I don’t mean simply pretending that you are a doctor when you are not, but rather awarding yourself a counterfeit MD degree (CMD) that involved only a correspondence course and trailing around after another counterfeit MD for a while. Would a CMD be a real medical doctor? Of course not; but with a “CMD” after your name, you might be able to fool the gullible and less knowledgeable into thinking that you were a real doctor and into paying you as if you were.

It’s hard to become a certified nurse midwife. CNMs are the best educated, best trained midwives in the world. They have an undergraduate degree in nursing, a master’s degree in midwifery, and extensive hospital training in diagnosing and managing birth complications. European, Canadian and Australian midwives are also well educated and well trained; they have an undergraduate degree in midwifery and extensive hospital training in diagnosing and managing birth complications.

Imagine that you couldn’t be bothered (or couldn’t handle) the necessary preparation but wanted to masquerade as a midwife anyway. You could simply take a correspondence course, attend a few dozen deliveries outside the hospital, pay money for an exam and voila: you are a CPM. Actually, you don’t even have to complete even those minimal requirements. You can simply submit a “portfolio” of births that you have attended, pay the money and take the exam, and voila, you too are a CPM.

The CPM (any similarity to CNM is unlikely to be coincidental) was created by a group of lay midwives who promptly awarded it to themselves. How do they justify calling themselves midwives, and charging thousands of dollars for their services, when they have no midwifery training? They insist that they don’t need real midwifery training because they are “experts in normal birth.”

That makes as much sense as a meteorologist who’s an “expert in sunny weather.”

No one needs an expert in normal birth; if the birth is uncomplicated a taxi driver can do it and legions of taxi drivers have done it successfully and for free. The only reason to have a professional birth attendant is to prevent, diagnose and manage complications. CPMs cannot do that because they aren’t real midwives, they’re counterfeit.

Judith Rooks, CNM MPH, a highly respected leader in the world of real midwifery was interviewed in 2013 about the CPM credential.

She noted that the CPM is a way to avoid the rigorous midwifery training required everywhere else:

…[M]any young women who want to become midwives seem to think it is too much bother, time or money to complete an actual midwifery curriculum and think it is enough to just apprentice themselves to someone for a minimal number of births, study to pass a few tests, and become a CPM that way.

Rooks gets to the heart of the matter:

The lingering questions then become why are the minimum standards so low, especially in comparison to counterparts around the world? Why is it acceptable for midwives to aim for the cheapest, quickest route instead of striving to be their best? Why are the “certifying” bodies (ie NARM/MANA) keeping the bar so low…as in only requiring a high school diploma as of 2012 instead of requiring a college level education to deliver our babies?

Why are the minimum standards so low? Because the CPM isn’t an academic credential; it’s a public relations ploy designed to falsely reassure women that CPMs meet the same international standards as midwives in the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, Australia and all other first world countries. It’s been an incredible success as a public relations ploy, but it is been a horrific failure by the measure that really counts: safety.

EVERY study conducted on American homebirth (including studies by homebirth midwives themselves) has shown that homebirth (planned, with a licensed midwife) has a death toll up to 800% higher than comparable risk hospital birth.

That’s just what we would expect if we were to replace real midwives with counterfeit midwives.

The CPM ought to be abolished, but until it is, it is literally a matter of life and death that women understand that CPMs like Jill Duggar Dillard aren’t real midwives, they are counterfeit midwives. They are women who couldn’t be bothered (or could not manage) to meet the international standards for midwives.

If some women want to hire counterfeit midwives, they are free to do so, but they must never forget they are hiring lay people masquerading as midwives, not real midwives and their babies may pay the price.