Why do homebirth advocates tolerate emotional abuse from their midwives?

erasing abuse, hand written word on blackboard being erased concept

The stories, tragic as they are, begin to run together in my mind.

I’m not talking about the part where the baby dies an easily preventable death (nearly all homebirth deaths are preventable) … and according to the most accurate data available, homebirth increases the risk of perinatal death 9-fold or more.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Unprofessional, abusive behavior from a homebirth midwife during labor? Ditch her and head to the hospital.[/pullquote]

And I’m not talking about the part where the homebirth midwife is utterly clueless that, although the labor is progressing, the baby has been dead for hours. Most American homebirth midwives have no clue what is going on during labor; they “trust” birth and usually nothing bad happens.

No, the most striking aspect to their sameness is how many involve the abuse of women at the hands of their homebirth midwives.

Midwife Cindy Morrow, CPM is currently in the spotlight for recent disasters. What’s most remarkable is how contemptuously she treated her patients.

In one case, the baby’s parents are seeking #JusticeforAsa.

You can read the entire story of Asa’s tragic — and totally preventable — death here.

Asa’s mother’s labor began on Wednesday evening.

On Thursday evening:

Later in the evening, I lost my mucus plug and had bloody show. We told Cindy to come on to the home and I have messages showing that we were expecting for our midwife to be coming around 9:45 pm … [A]bout three and half hours from that timing. Midwife had not arrived … Gabe called Cindy, letting her know my contractions were tough and she could hear me in the background. Cindy said, “Oh! It sounds like it may be go time.” …

Friday morning:

5:50 am I was going through tough contractions and my water broke. The water was tinged green. We told Cindy, she came in the room twenty minutes later. She wanted to get ready before coming in to check on me. Said everything was fine and she went back to bed for a bit because she was extremely tired. Cindy and the assistant Zoe, left to go have breakfast, somewhere.

Friday evening:

… The doula said she thought I must be progressing but she wished Cindy would’ve been there to actually take care of me and to be checking on me… Gabe then called the midwife and said she needed to be at the house. She came back around about 1.5 hours … That evening, Cindy was telling me that I was about 8 cm dilated and that probably by morning I should be pushing…

Cindy and Zoe then both left again to stay at THE HOTEL (my emphasis).

Saturday afternoon (approximately 60 hours after labor had begun):

Midwife and her assistant went outside and started talking. Gabe came outside and they immediately stopped talking and seemed bothered that he interrupted. They told him to go rest and that they were going to try and help me progress. They asked him to leave the room, three separate times… They were not letting Gabe come into the room and would not answer when he asked about my blood pressure and baby’s heartbeat…


During all that time, nothing is progressing and so Cindy came into our room to speak with us… She said that she thought we ought to head to the hospital to maybe get an epidural to help me better progress … She always kept telling me…. “This isn’t an emergency. Everything is fine.” She wanted me to travel to a hospital that was 2.5 hours away, in ATL traffic. The key to this hospital is that this is where Dr. Bootstaylor is. The doctor who is for midwives and home births…

Asa’s father insisted on a closer hospital:

On the way to the hospital, Cindy told us this exactly,” When we get to the hospital, I am going to tell the front desk I had called ahead to let them know we were coming. But I’m not actually going to call.”


According to Cindy’s notes, which I have, Asa had a heartbeat of 120, an hour before we arrived to the hospital. We arrived around 8:45 pm.

But Asa had already been dead for many hours.

Asa had passed for over 15-24 hrs inside of me. She began deteriorating inside of me which led to a large infection. Her skin peeled completely off at the touch.

Asa’s parents will have to live with their grief for the rest of their lives.

Why did they tolerate such contemptuous treatment from the homebirth midwife? Why did it take them literally days to finally head to the hospital?

Homebirth midwives emotionally groom their patients and one of the keys to emotional grooming is isolation. They ensure emotional isolation of their clients by promoting distrust of real medical professionals and advising them to ignore friends and relatives.

When things start to go wrong — and Asa’s parents were suspicious things were going wrong DAYS before they went to the hospital — fear of opprobrium from medical professionals, relatives and friends, is enough to keep them from heading to the hospital until it’s too late.

Thinking about homebirth?

Think about protecting yourself from emotional grooming. Ditch any provider who speaks disparagingly of other medical professionals. Don’t let the midwife separate you from family and friends. Most importantly, if you experience unprofessional and abusive behavior from the midwife during labor, ignore her and head to the hospital.

Yes, you might have to deal with medical professionals who think your choices were irresponsible, but you can console yourself with your live baby … instead of keeping your pride intact while you bury your dead one.