For me this has been becoming a doula (actually not certified yet) and advertising in my neighbourhood. One step at a time. One woman at a time. I refer people to all the places I know that speak of natural birth. I suggest books to read etc. My goal is to foster the birth of a natural birthing community within our community. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community of women to embrace natural birth and support the pregnant and laboring woman. I live in a community where there are many natural birth advocates, but otherwise grouping together and meeting and spreading the word would be a good thing. If I were a speaker, I would organize childbirth classes to educate women about their choices, etc.
Thos women who want to hear will hear. I can't change those who don't :-(
I am sorry you struggled so much with putting aside' the grief and anxiety every pregnant mother feels with the heavy burden of responsibility of bringing a new life into the world.' as you wrote. Was this related to the c-section? I do not relate to this with normal birth unless you suffer from ppd.
Welcome to the ranks of
birth rights activists! One of the wonderful things that I see
happening is that the new wave of activists come with a wide range
of professional skills. The wave of which I was a part in the early
1980s, when the cesarean surgery rate started to skyrocket, did
not, which was a definite handicap. But now we have lawyers, and
doctors, and communications people, and accountants and tech savvy
people and so on. Their knowledge and experience are real
assets in making change, considering the forces arrayed against
Let me think (write?) out loud some ideas that would use your skills.
· Many grassroots groups are looking for Advisory Board members who bring special knowledge and credibility to the organization. Think about volunteering in this capacity for ICAN or CIMS or Citizens for Midwifery, and there are probably others who would welcome you.
· Whenever an article appears in the newspaper or magazine that gets it wrong, write a letter to the editor. The M.D. after your name will boost credibility. Monitor the medical journals and do the same. There too, the M.D. will give you, I think, a better chance of being published. That could be a full-time occupation right there.
· Join “Physicians for Midwives,” a doctors’ group that supports the Midwives Model of Care. The URL is http://www.well.com/user/zuni/pfm.html. (Note: I haven’t had direct contact with anyone from this group for several years. I searched on the name to get the website so it is possible it is defunct, but the website is still up.)
· Start (or join) a Birth Network. These are grassroots local groups looking to improve maternity care in their communities. You can find out more about Birth Networks by clicking on the “Advocacy” tab on the Lamaze home page at www.Lamaze.org.
· And, of course, feel free to chime in on this Forum.
Anybody else got suggestions?
Right now I have decided to forego the usual rhetoric on educating medical professionals. I feel the information is there. They know it, but it doesn't change anything. I am also not as enthusiastic about trying to "win" people over to our "side." I am, however, very passionate about focusing on those women who are already interested in ALL the options but do not know where to begin.
I really appreciated the last chapter of your book "Obstetric Myths." Now I am reading "Birth as an American Rite of Passage." It really does explain so much about why so many physicians and mothers "buy in" to a system that is so self contradictory. I'd like to think that we should be able to create an equally compelling alternative contemporary birthing ritual that is uniquely American and feminine especially in a time when our country seems to be yearning for a more family centered way of life.
I'm glad you found Ob Myths useful. The book is sadly outdated, though. Amy Romano, who is in charge of the Normal Birth website, and I have started work on a new edition. It'll be a couple of years before it is out, but we are really excited about our plans for the contents, which include chapters on obstacles to change and strategies for overcoming those obstacles.
Birth as an American Rite of Passage was an "Aha!" book for me too. Being a logical type, I couldn't understand why the evidence wasn't instigating change. Robbie's book helped me understand that it wasn't about logic or science; it was about beliefs, and beliefs don't change in response to logic or science.
-- PS, sorry but the computer won't let me format my responses! It's getting fixed supposedly but in the meantime pardon my single paragraph responses. :|
In my own community, Bay Area Birth Information, (BABI), (http://www.bayareabirthinfo.org/), one of the CIMS/Lamaze Birth Networks, has an annual BABI fair. The 3rd annual one is coming up, and it has grown every year. Besides exhibits, they have activities and food, and free mini-talks on various topics that go on during the day. The Santa Cruz Birth Network (http://www.birthnet.org/index.php) holds quarterly Pregnancy Information Nights. Two women have opened Harmony, a birth resources center (http://www.harmonybirth.com/). Various classes are held there. A marriage and family counselor who specializes in perinatal mood disorders has her office there. They just expanded their space, and a lactation consultant will now have office space there too.
I look forward to hearing your adventures.
How do we change a culture? can we? I am a baby boomer who is a CNM. I find the culture that I am practicing in "Wimpy". I lived the life of trying to have a Lamaze birth in the 60's when women were put to sleep and forceps used to "drag" the baby out. Twilight sleep was the norm, we fought to have our wishes known and because more voices were heard they paid attention!!!
Then a shift happened, those children that I birthed in the 80's are having children but not like we did. they dont want to be strong and realize that birth does have pain but it is worth it. They want epidurals to Participate without pain and since Brittany Sprears elected to have a c/s hey, I want one too
Oh by the way I would rather have it on the fifth of the Month as my mother in law is coming and I want her to help.
These women grew up in the generation of text messages, computers( I had a typewriter in high school, and if I wanted to use the phone I had to find one, one that wasnt attached to my ear)DSL,Ipods etc,
We change the culture one birth at a time, one client at a time and hopefully the pendulum will swing the other way. I hope that I will be alive when that happens, because it was a glorious birth and I felt like I could take on the world and that was 32 years ago
I hope it doesnt take that long to change this culture of birth.
I hear you, but I think it is all too easy to blame the victim. We live in a culture that gives women the subtle and not-so-subtle message that their bodies are incompetent to grow and birth their babies and that labor is an unendurably painful experience. Conventional obstetric management is one long effort to pull the rug out from under the feet of pregnant women. Every visit basically consists of a bunch of tests and measurements asking “Is there something wrong?” “No?” “Come back next month and we’ll do it all over again. The obstetrician's skills and interventions, they are told, are all that stands between their babies and the ravages of that incompetence, while an epidural will spare them the agonies of labor. Better yet, cesarean surgery is the no-muss, no-fuss, pain-free panacea for it all. Why should we be surprised when women have no confidence in themselves and are willing to swallow that message whole?
You have to remember that things were much simpler back in the '60s and '70s. Birth educators and activists were bringing good news to women: "No, you don't have to be zonked out of your mind on narcotics if you don't want to be," and "Yes, you should be able to have a loved one with you in labor." Both of those messages were common sense ones easily understood by. But electronic fetal monitoring with the false promise of perfect babies and epidurals with the equally false promise of pain-free labor with no downside shifted the ground. Now we are bringing bad news: "No, all those interventions the doctor that you trust tells you guarantee a healthy baby (or, at least, the ob can't guarantee a healthy baby if you refuse them, which amounts to the same thing) do more harm than good," and "Yes, epidurals relieve pain effectively, which narcotics never did, but they carry a whole host of problems in their train." Why on earth would they believe us? It’s like criticizing your daughter’s awful boyfriend. A few teens might listen; most will just get mad at you.
Add on to that that we are well into the second generation of high cesarean surgery rates. They seem normal to women today. Many of their mothers and aunts and cousins had them as have their sisters and friends. Small wonder that today's women aren't listening to us. But let's put the blame where it belongs: squarely on the shoulders of the obstetricians who have successfully promoted a system of management that benefits them but is provably neither safe nor effective and is incredibly costly to boot.
For more on this topic, I recommend Marsden Wagner’s book Born in the U.S.A. and Jennifer Block’s book Pushed. They are both great exposés
Wow! I am so excited to hear about all you have accomplished! You are pretty inspiring yourself. I feel honored and delighted to know that I have been part of your journey. Please keep us posted on your activities.
I am looking into becoming a birth Doula and I am not sure what steps I need to take. I live in the Atlanta area and I am seeing things on line, but I'd love more information.
CAPPA(?) and DONA were the main two that kept popping up. What are you doing?
How many hours of classes or sitting in on births or training with another Doula makes you "certified" as a birth doula?
THANKS for your help!
I know you wrote to Maria, but I thought I'd put my 2 cents in. I suggest going over the DONA and CAPPA websites to see which seems to be a better fit for you. I would also look up local doulas on the websites and get in touch with them to find out what they liked and didn't like about their training and ditto for their affiliated organization.
All Times America/New_York
Please note that this Forum is intended to help women make informed decisions about their care. The content is not a substitute for medical advice.