SERIES 3 EP.10: Chai and chat with ASAMidwives

In this episode of Midwifery Hour series three, Sue Macdonald, Curator, Maternity & Midwifery Festivals; Co-editor, Mayes Midwifery was joined by Nafiza Anwar and Sundas Khalid, Co-Founders and Directors of Association of South Asian midwives CIC (ASAMidwives).

This episode focused on the platform for the South Asian Midwifery Workforce and birthing community.

This hour addressed statistics showing that South Asian women and birthing people are twice as likely to die from pregnancy related issues compared to their white counterparts and how to influence systematic change.

ASAMidwives was founded by three midwives, Nafiza, Benash and Sundas after discussions relating to issues witnessed, and situations experienced in the workplace and within their own South Asian networks.

This episode of the Maternity & Midwifery Hour – proudly supported by MATFLIX – focused on ASAMidwives.

Host Sue Macdonald (Curator, Maternity & Midwifery Festivals; Co-editor, Mayes Midwifery) was joined by Nafiza Anwar and Sundas Khalid (Co-Founders and Directors of Association of South Asian midwives CIC, (ASAMidwives)).

Watch the Maternity & Midwifery Hour highlights now:

Sundas Khalid and Nafiza Anwar

Q&A with Sue Macdonald, Sundas Khalid and Nafiza Anwar

Maternity and Midwifery Hour Review

Student, Rachel has reviewed the Maternity and Midwifery Hour in her own words.

This weeks Maternity and Midwifery Hour, hosted by Sue MacDonald, welcomed guests Nafiza Anwar and Sundas Khalid, co-founders and Director of the Association of South Asian Midwives (ASAM). ASAM is a platform that was created to give a voice to South Asian women, both birthing and in the workforce.

Nafiza and Sundas passionately discussed how important it is to raise awareness and understanding in Midwifery of South Asian culture and taboo, so every birthing person is treated individually and with respect according to their cultural beliefs. Nafiza and Sundas also raised awareness of the struggles South Asian Midwives themselves face in the workplace.

It is extremely important to have a proper understanding of South Asian culture and taboos in the Midwifery setting, to be able to provide the right care. Assumptions, stereotypes and misconceptions can lead to mistrust and sub-par care. We have a responsibility to care for these individuals as equals and provide them with a safe space. If we don’t understand a cultural belief or ritual, is it really that hard just to ask the woman about it to gain a proper understanding?

Why are women having their names mispronounced, the basis of their identity, when you can ask as many times as you need to to get it right? It only takes a couple of seconds to ask a question, which results in a lot of understanding and respect. There is no justification to not provide South Asian women with the treatment they deserve and the proper facilities, like LanguageLine. This can massively impact someone’s life, so why not do it?

It is also extremely important to promote Midwifery recruitment in South Asian communities. Nafiza and Sundas both agreed that they felt extremely lonely during their training, because of stereotypes and the lack of role models and mentors who they could look up to and aspire to be. There are many reasons why South Asian women do not want to join Midwifery, because of stigma, cultural thoughts and taboos, so there needs to be discussions with communities to see what can be changed and adapted to gain more recruits, and to provide South Asian students with a role model who they can relate to.

Something as simple as having more representation in University prospectuses could make a difference and help with inclusiveness. Sundas poignantly described the situation as a double-edged sword: on one side, there is racism and discrimination, and on the other side there is cultural taboos.

Thank you to Sue, Nafiza and Sundas for their very educational discussion, the biggest lesson I’d say is to JUST ASK AND DON’T ASSUME! The discussion is available online and I hope everyone watches it to gain a better understanding of how to provide the best possible care to South Asian women in Midwifer