About Death Midwifery and our Death Midwife Certification Class
Our Death Midwife program has been moved to a different site.
For the last 100 years the care of our dead has gradually been turned over to business. The recent decade has seen a resurgence in families providing end-of-life care to loved ones through home hospice care.
Death with dignity and home funerals are a movement on the rise and are being embraced by the Pagan community as well as the mainstream. As a natural extension of hospice, more and more families are choosing to care for their loved ones - before and after death - in their own homes. The intent of the certification course is to focus and sharpen natural skills and to give confidence, credibility and recognition to the skills and inspiration that build community as we embrace the most sacred threshold in the spiral of life, our final passage; the last act we commit as a human being. This training equips participants to work with people before and after death.
The work of Death Midwives and home funeral guides does not duplicate the work of professionals such as doctors, nurses, hospice workers, or funeral directors; we work alongside them, filling in the gaps. Our skills are not medically oriented, they are community, spiritually, traditionally, hands and heart-oriented, We use the ancient and time-proven techniques of an open and compassionate heart, touch, and our voices to work with individuals and families on emotional, spiritual and practical levels. This work can be done in any setting, whether in a hospital, nursing facility or a home.There are currently no national regulatory bodies for a Death Midwife. This Certification class is offered through Earth Traditions as both a stand-alone intensive, and as part of our Ministry Training continuing education program. Certification does not designate that a person has sufficient knowledge in a subject area, only that they passed the test. Certification does not refer to the state of legally being able to practice or work in a profession. That is licensure. Usually, licensure is administered by a governmental entity for public protection purposes. Licensure and certification are similar in that they both require the demonstration of a certain level of knowledge or ability.
A more formal definition of certification follows: "One of the most common types of certification in modern society is a professional certification, where a person is certified as being able to competently complete a job or task, usually by the passing of an examination and/or the completion of a program of study. Some professional certifications also require that one obtain work experience in a related field before the certification can be awarded. Some professional certifications are valid for a lifetime upon completing all certification requirements. Others expire after a certain period of time and have to be maintained with further education and/or testing. Certifications can differ within a profession by the level or specific area of expertise to which they refer. "
Earth Traditions understands the general desire and preference to keep Death Midwives in the grassroots/folkway tradition of compassionate care and if possible to avoid "professionalization" however, as this movement grows, we foresee the potential for a need to streamline the training for those practicing under the title of Death Midwife, in much the same way the massage therapy industry was forced to do in the 1990's. We are hopeful that should the time come that we are challenged to regulate, we will be prepared to either successfully object, or to provide a strong voice toward self-regulation, using our training program as an example, andgrandfathering in those who have trained under us, or similar organizations.
Our program currently consists of three, 10-hour days of lecture, multimedia presentations, hands-on practice, ritual, and role playing; there is an exam at the end of the class. Graduates are added to our private community forum to share information and to support other Death Midwives in their work. The majority of our students have at least one death midwifing experience on their record. We encourage students to document 6 in order to keep current. When a loved one's death is dignified, peaceful and meaningful, it can be a sacred experience for those left behind. Often an event such as this heals family rifts and enables people to reconnect with each other in ways that are life-changing for everyone involved. When families are able to participate in the ending of a loved one's life it can be very empowering. The role of the Death Midwife to help facilitate this is becoming essential to communities everywhere.
If you have need of such support or know of someone who does, please contact a Midwife from this link: http://deathmidwife.org/directory/ or you may call Rev. Angie Buchanan, at 224-501-5443, or email her; Angie@EarthTraditions.org for a consultation or referral.
"Death is as certain and sacred as birth."