I have been asked several times, "Whose idea was it to write this book?" In truth, the book is a synthesis of ideas expressed on the internet Yahoogroups list "midwivestrial." Although the group was originally formed to support a prosecuted Virginia midwife, it has expanded to support all midwives facing legal harassment and prosecution. A diverse and sometimes contentious group of people, we are united by our belief that the Midwives Model of CareŠ should be the standard for mother/baby care in this country. We are also united by our anger at the continuing civil and criminal prosecution of midwives who provide that care. The book reflects the diversity, knowledge, and experience of this group of extraordinary individuals.

When we decided to actually go forth with the writing of this book, we committed ourselves to two principles: 1) All those working on the book would do so without compensation and 2) The book would be available on the internet for free, and in hard copy at cost. Our primary authors are experts in their fields, and each time I read a new draft, I would think "Wow! I wish I had known this stuff years ago!" We have been working on this book for over six months, yet each time I look at it I find something new. A combination of practical and anecdotal information, you will find what is probably the most extensive and up-to-date resource section available, as well as the stories of midwives who have been prosecuted. The work involved in creating this book was freely and lovingly given in the belief that this knowledge is necessary to make midwives better informed about and prepared for the possibility of prosecution. I hope you agree that we have met that goal.

Although I somehow fell into the role of "coordinator" of this project, I have absolutely no illusion that this book could have even begun without the dedication and hard work of its authors, editors, proofreaders and researchers. What a remarkable group of people you are, and how honored I am to be associated with all of you! I am tremendously proud of this book, and of all those who contributed to it. Thank you for your love of midwifery and for your commitment to its survival now and in years to come.

Valerie Vickerman Runes
April 2004

Note on pronoun use throughout the book: Because the vast majority of midwives are female, we have chosen to use "she" and "her" for the sake of expediency. We in no way mean to diminish the contributions of our brothers, whose care of mothers and babies is clearly as compassionate as that of our sisters.