MANA Statement of Values and Ethics
Valuing women as individuals with unique worth, who have creative, life affirming and life-giving powers and the right to make choices regarding all aspects of their lives.
Valuing the inseparability and interdependence of the pregnant mother and her unborn child; the integrity of a woman's body, which should be supported to achieve a natural, spontaneous vaginal birth; the baby's right to be born in a caring and loving manner, without separation from mother and family; the sentient and sensitive nature of the newborn, and breast-feeding as the ideal way of nourishing and nurturing the newborn.
Valuing pregnancy and birth as an essential mystery; as natural processes that technology will never supplant; as integrated experiences in which the physical, emotional, mental, psychological, and spiritual components are inseparable; as personal, intimate, internal, sexual, social events to be shared in the environment and with the attendants a woman chooses; as experiences from which we learn, and as processes that have lifelong impacts on a woman's self-esteem, health, ability to nurture, and personal growth.
Valuing the art of midwifery and the right to practice it as an ancient vocation of women; as expertise that incorporates academic knowledge, clinical skill, intuitive judgment, and spiritual awareness; as the art of nurturing the intrinsic normalcy of birth; as a way of empowering women in all aspects of life, particularly as their strength is realized during and as a result of pregnancy and birth; as the art of encouraging women to express their strength so that they can give birth unhindered, with confidence in their abilities and the support of midwives; as including skills that help a complicated pregnancy move to a state of greater wellbeing or to the most healing conclusion, accepting death as a possible outcome of birth, focusing on supporting life rather than avoiding death. Holding these values leads to valuing all forms of midwifery education and acknowledging the ongoing wisdom of apprenticeship as the original model for training midwives and to valuing midwives standing for what they believe in in the face of social and political oppression.
Valuing women as mothers; a mother's intuitive knowledge of herself and her baby before, during and after birth; her innate ability to nurture her pregnancy and birth her baby; the power and beauty of her body, the awesome strength summoned in labor; the mother as the only direct care provider for her unborn child; pregnancy and birth as rites of passage integral to a woman's evolution into mothering; the potential of a woman's partners, family, and community to support her in all aspects of birth and mothering. Holding these values leads to supporting women in a nonjudgmental way, regardless of their physical, emotional, social, or spiritual health; broadening available resources when possible so that women can realize the desired goals of health, happiness, and personal growth according to their needs and perceptions; and valuing each woman's right to choose a caregiver who is appropriate to her needs and compatible with her beliefs.
Valuing relationship; believing that the quality, integrity, equality, and uniqueness of personal interactions affect individual choices and decisions; valuing honesty in relationship; caring for women to the best of one's ability without prejudice; exercising personal responsibility; honoring individuals' rights to make choices according to what they think is best for themselves, to true informed choice, not merely informed consent to what the midwife thinks is best; providing access to readily understood information, including the midwife's knowledge and understanding about birth; valuing the midwifery community as a support system and essential place of learning and sisterhood, diversity among midwives, mutual trust and respect, making decisions and acting ethically.
Valuing a relationship to a process larger than themselves; recognizing that birth is something midwives can seek to learn from and know, but never control; retaining humility in their work; recognizing their own limits and limitations.