Hannah Dahlen and Sheena Byrom think dead babies are “fake news”


Scores of babies died preventable deaths, nearly £2bn was paid out in compensation in the past year alone, and multiple investigations have put the blame squarely on the midwives’ “Campaign for Normal Birth.”

How have midwives responded?

Australian midwife Hannah Dahlen made this repugnant claim:


For all those UK midwives feeling hammered this week by Fake News remember “thinking is difficult which is why most people judge” #ENOUGH!

Not to be outdone, the utterly reprehensible Sheena Byrom piled on with this:

I see more ‘fake-news’ coming through this am about women’s bodies and birth …

Byrom included an image blaring, “yellow journalism.”

I’ve often remarked on the fact that no sooner do I write a post then its targets rush to prove my point for me. Such is the case with my recent post What the UK midwifery leadership has in common with Donald Trump: they’re bullies.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I’d ask Dahlen and Byrom if they have any shame, but what’s the point? Anyone who dismisses dead babies as “fake-news” is beyond reasoned argument.[/pullquote]

I wrote that UK Midwives, forced to shutter their Campaign for Normal Birth, were copying our execrable president in the following ways:

  • Although they purport to care about the people they are supposed to serve, they care only about themselves.
  • They smash things up, refuse to accept responsibility, then blame everyone else for their own failings.
  • They exist in a bubble, surrounded by sycophants, banning anyone who disagrees.
  • They are bullies.

In the wake of multiple preventable infant and maternal deaths, multiple investigations ascribing them to midwives’ insistence on privileging the process of birth (“normal” birth) above the outcome (healthy babies and mothers), and skyrocketing liability claims and payouts approaching £2bn in the past year, UK midwives have demonstrated no interest in those preventable deaths, refuse to accept responsilbity, hide away on Twitter where they endlessly praise themselves, and continue to bully anyone who disagrees.

Now they are copying Trump in his insistence that any news that doesn’t make him look good is “fake news.” It’s an ugly look for him and its an even uglier look for midwives who are ethically responsible for the health and safety of the babies who died.

Dahlen and Byrom are poster children for the moral depravity and self-dealing at the heart of contemporary midwifery. I know they read what I write so I have a message for them and their colleagues:

Dead babies aren’t fake news! Desolate parents aren’t fake news. £2bn paid in compensation is not fake news. It is all tragically real and I don’t have enough epithets to fully convey my moral outrage at midwives who wish to bury dead babies twice, first by letting them die on the altar of “normal” birth and then by trying to erase the fact that they ever existed, are still loved and will forever be mourned.

It’s difficult to imagine how midwives could adopt such a tone-deaf tactic … until you consider what the Campaign for Normal Birth was really about. It was never about what was good for babies and mothers, and alays about what was good for midwives: higher employment, greater professional autonomy and the increased freedom to promote their ideology. If you observe these midwives on social media, you will see them engage in an endless round of mutual congratulations over their “success” in promoting normal birth. The dead babies are an irritating impediment to this continued “success,” so they must be dismissed as “fake.”

Social media has allowed midwives to so insulate themselves from reality that they don’t seem to have noticed that no one is supporting them besides themselves. The public has met the shuttering of the Campaign for Normal Birth with relief, writing comments and Letters to the Editor about women who felt ignored and abused in midwives’ care. The families of the babies and mothers who died preventable deaths have been eloquent in their grief. How dare Dahlen and Byrom dismiss their babies’ deaths as fake news?

Anyone with two functioning neurons knows exactly what Donald Trump means when he bleats, “Fake news!” He doesn’t mean that it is literally untrue, just that he intends to ignore it and wants his supporters to ignore it, too.

The same thing applies to midwives. They don’t mean that the dead babies are literally fake — those babies are real and really dead — just that they intend to ignore dead babies and want their supporter to ignore them, too.

It also explains why midwives have not (to my knowledge) undertaken root cause analysis of these deaths. It doesn’t matter to them why these babies and mothers died. It only matters that they are allowed to maintain autonomy and commitment to ideology.

I’d ask Dahlen and Byrom if they have any shame, but what’s the point? It’s painfully obvious that they don’t give a damn about the babies and mothers who die at the hands of midwives and care only about themselves.

Anyone who dismisses dead babies as “fake-news” is beyond reasoned argument.