Last night, I sat down on the floor in my daughters’ bedroom and cried. My heart is broken. Reading the letter from the NC OB/GYN society was like a punch in the stomach. Coupled with this picture I saw on Facebook,
I felt like nothing we are doing is going to be enough to truly change things. If midwives cannot find their way to forgiveness and understanding until 2030, I don’t see how we can possibly get anywhere with improving maternity care in the US. What will maternity care look like in 2030, when my children are thinking of having babies? I can’t bear to think that it will still be like it is today – with care providers fighting amongst themselves over the ‘quality’ of their educations, while mothers and babies suffer the consequences of a system based largely on fear and ego.
After I wiped away the tears, I went to get out the stencil we cut out of plastic for painting our logo on car windows to prepare for Friday’s event. In order to protect it, I had placed it between two pieces of poster board. One of the poster boards was an original protest sign from nearly three years ago, a bit of our past. The other was this collage, a vision of our future:
In January of 2010, a group of fed up mamas sat down in the living room of our midwife friend and flipped through a stack of magazines looking for images that spoke to us. We were envisioning what our future birth center would be like. And here’s what we came up with. . .
Imagine a big, wooded campus with two buildings sitting next to a stream or lake with a path that meanders next to the water. One building is the birth center where all women go to see midwives from the time they start their period to the time they stop having one. All pregnant women come here to see the team of CNMs and CPMs, and have the option to give birth at the birth center or at home, only seeing an obstetrician if they become too ‘high risk.’ Centering – group pre-natal exams – is also an option for everyone.
The second building is the wellness center. A team of practitioners (social workers, massage therapists, acupuncturists, etc.) have their offices here. There is also a large room for yoga, childbirth education classes and various support groups. A self-esteem class for young girls is taught after school. At age 15 each girl is paired with a doula with whom they attend births. While doing this they can see what their bodies are capable of and will experience being at a birth before they, themselves, give birth for the first time. The girls will also attend the New Parent Support Group so that they can see what having a baby is like, first hand. Maybe they will want to sit in on the Wise Women sessions to learn from their elders. . .
What if women could go to a place like this from the time they were babies? A place where women supported one another, where young women learned from old women? What if we all witnessed women at the most powerful time of their lives – giving birth – and were not afraid? What if?