July 12, 2021
Series: Why I Advocate - Lesley Pascuzzi
By: Lesley Pascuzzi | 0 Comments
Today starts the beginning of a weekly series leading up to the Lamaze International 2021 Virtual Advocacy Summit on September 27-29. The virtual summit is an opportunity to connect with your fellow Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educators from around the world, who will be meeting to address the most critical and timely policy issues that affect prenatal care and childbirth outcomes. In this series, blog readers will have an opportunity to meet perinatal professionals and read their personal essays on why they advocate for evidence based care, improved policies and funding that impact birth outcomes. You can find the entire "Why I Advocate" Series here. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager.
It is too important not to. A decade on the road from pregnancy to parenting for me personally has opened my eyes to the importance of knowledge. Life is so fast paced nowadays; we rarely have time. We crave more time. I remember being pregnant in 2011. The trend was to read “What to expect when you are expecting.” So I bought the book. I used my time to read the book cover to cover. I thought I was ready. That’s the thing about trends and social expectations. We look out of ourselves to what other people are doing to prepare for huge life events and copy. We are influenced by what other people say worked for them and how other people prepared. I bought the book others said was good. In hindsight this was not enough for me. Fast forward six years to my third pregnancy in 2017, the voices around me were so different. I had knowledge. I had confidence. I had Lamaze. The outcome for my husband and I were polar opposite birth experiences and 2017 was by far the most positive.
So why do I advocate? I advocate because until the journey to pregnancy and parenting is equal for everyone, there is always more to do. I want to ensure the road traveled happens with support, knowledge, confidence, and empowerment for all. I advocate because I want to be a part of a new trend that brings a holistic and realistic influence to birthing families. Let’s say to women you will be heroic in labor and birth. Let’s say to their partners you have the power to create an experience where she feels private, safe, and unobserved.
My experience however over the last decade highlights as much advocacy is needed within obstetric and maternity care systems as it is for birthing families. White-coat syndrome is a thing. It is a real thing. Advocating for evidence-based childbirth education is the first step in greater system-level change. Preparing families for conversations where they can ask for options, they can say no and they can ask for time has become a greater focus of my Lamaze classes over the last year. It’s deflating at times but it is necessary.
I used to think it was about aiming for the stars. Change needed to be as great and vast as the galaxy! However, working with birthing families over the last three years with Lamaze has shown me greater appreciation for the phrase “one step at a time.” Advocating through birthing families and joining them on their journey to parenthood reminds me of small Lego bricks. One brick at a time becomes a wall. The wall might start small but it grows in stature and in strength.
The millennials of my generation have limited time. I advocate to make sure the time they have is wisely spent. I advocate to make sure Lamaze is an option and that one Lego brick at a time, Lamaze becomes a wall so strong that those in white coats on the inside have to stop and look over to see what is on the other side.
About Lesley Pascuzzi
Lesley became a Lamaze childbirth educator in 2017 with a specific interest in the psychological aspects of labor and birth and a passion for equality for all birthing families. In 2020, Lesley became the stakeholder representative to the B.E.A.R. (Birth Equity Advocacy Research) Program for Western Australia to help improve access to evidence-based education, develop partnerships within the Western Australia’s health department and other not for profit organizations. Lesley joined the Lamaze A+C Committee in 2021 and lives with her husband and three children in Western Australia.
TagsLamaze International Advocacy Lesley Pascuzzi Advocacy Summit 2021 Series: Why I Advocate