Essentialism as a Contributing Factor in Ideological Resonance and Dissonance Between Women and Their Midwives in Ontario, Canada

Mary Sharpe, RM, PhD, Annette Rudel, BA and Michelle Turner ,BA, BSc  

The social reform movement that led to the regulation of midwifery care in Ontario benefited from a discourse that tended to essentialize depictions of the woman receiving midwifery care, the midwife and the womanmidwife relationship. The Philosophy of Midwifery Care in Ontario document for women and midwives reflects this history and supports certain essentialist tendencies. Examining the experiences of women and midwives in midwifery care post-legislation through life history qualitative research reveals ways in which this culture persists within contemporary midwifery discourse. However, the experiences of women and midwives also reveal contradictions within the philosophy of midwifery care document which tend to create problems for essentialism while supporting the element of choice in midwifery care.

essentialism, informed choice, Ontario model of care, social reform, woman-midwife relationship

This article has been peer reviewed.


Download article