What is BOLD you ask? BOLD (“Birth” On Labor Day) is a global movement to make maternity care mother-friendly. Folks all over the world sign up to perform a play called “Birth” by Karen Brody over Labor Day weekend. Ms. Brody conducted hundreds of interviews with women about their birth experiences, and condensed them into seven interwoven monologues that paint a vivid picture of birth in our country. People all over the world are coming together to laugh and cry, to be entertained and educated, to discuss how to improve maternity care and to raise money for organizations doing the work.
The women in the play could be your best friend, sister, neighbor or coworker and their stories reflect the reality of giving birth today. There is ecstasy, pain, disappointment, rejoicing, and poop!
BOLD has been happening for 5 years and to celebrate they are honoring 5 people or organizations that have made creative contributions to improving childbirth choices for mothers in the last 5 years. Where’s My Midwife? was chosen alongside:
We are very excited and honored to be included in such an amazing group of creative activists! We hope that you will join us in New York City. Before you list all the reasons why spending Labor Day in NYC is impractical visit: www.GetBoldAboutBirth.com. The play and birthday celebration are being broadcast for free via the internet. All you have to do is sign up. You can even bake a cake and invite all your friends over to watch the play and celebrate with you!
After a busy spring of blogging, we have been oddly silent for the past couple of months. For that, we apologize. We know you enjoy reading our rambling (some of you even admit it in emails – and muchas gracias for the love!), and we love sharing with you.
Last spring we went through a bit of a restructuring, and I emerged as the primary blogger. Little did the rest of the group know, that beneath my exterior of overachieving auditor and mommy of four, I am a slacker. This summer I have totally failed to share the latest and greatest WMM? news with you. But while I have been busy eating bonbons and drinking margaritas (oh how I wish!), the rest of the group has been busy. Some of the things that have gone on since Memorial Day:
So now that we are updated, we are going to work on posting regularly so you can keep up with all our fun and madness – whether you like it or not!
P.S. – It has officially been two years since we found out that our beloved midwives had been fired. In case you missed it, or want to remember why we are still so fired up, here is our birth story:
“Where’s My Midwife?” from Kirsti Kreutzer on Vimeo.
The lovely and talented Missi Willmarth was awarded the 2011 Kitty Ernst Award at the 56th Annual ACNM Meeting and Expo in San Antonio, TX last week! We could not be happier for Missi, one of our biggest supporters. She is the lovely midwife who ran a half marathon last October to raise money for WMM? Ms. Willmarth is the coordinator for the University of Cincinnati’s nurse-midwifery and women’s health nurse practitioner’s program where she teaches and coordinates the fully on-line Master’s program!
Congratulations, Missi! YOU ROCK!
Our friends at Choices in Childbirth recently applied for a grant through The Foundation for the Advancement of Midwifery. As one of the 16 finalists for the grant, they are eligible to compete for an additional $5,000 Fan Favorite Award furnished by Floradix. Choices in Childbirth is a nonprofit that educates women about Mother-Friendly childbirth options like doulas, midwives, acupuncturists, and yoga instructors. They work to connect providers with women and families to make the most positive birthing, prenatal, and postnatal experiences possible. They are located in NYC and work as a national organization. Every vote will help them to win crucial dollars that support their educational resources for women: the online Mother-Friendly Provider Network and the printed Guide to a Healthy Birth. This is where you come in! Follow this link, and cast your vote. It’s an exciting time to be working as a birth advocate!
A quick, anonymous survey. We aim to have snapshots from all over the world. Here’s how it works: If you have given birth in the last five years, answer the questions and email your responses, numbered 1-10, to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s that simple! We will post surveys periodically so we all have the chance to get a brief glimpse of what birth is like in other communities. We hope that this will help to get women asking questions. Why are there so many options in ______, when I only have ______ to choose from in my community? To get responses from a large, diverse community, we need your help. Please click the share on Facebook and Twitter links on the left side of the page, and email the questions and instructions (or just send a link to this post) to women you know who have given birth in the last five years. If you would like to include a photo, you can email it with your answers. Just remember, a photo may take the anonymity out of your survey answers.
I completed the survey so you can see how it will look:
- Where are you? (city, state, provence, country) Wilmington, NC USA
- Within 25 miles of your home, how many Obstetricians? Midwives? 73 OBs (according to my health insurance provider), 4 midwives (licensed by the state and currently catching babies
- Within 25 miles of your home, how many hospitals with labor and delivery? Birth Centers? 1 hospital, no birth center
- How would you describe your community? (rural, suburban, urban) suburban
- Describing your most recent birth experience, who was your attendant (if any)? obstetrician or midwife? midwife
- How many home birth practitioners are available? OB or Midwife? 1 midwife
- Are there any doulas serving your community? How many? yes, 11
- Are childbirth education classes available? yes
- How happy are you with your maternity care options? (Very Happy, Pleased, Disappointed) Disappointed – not with my midwives, just the lack of options
- If you could change one thing about maternity care in your community, what would it be? I would love to have a birth center in Wilmington
In March, I had the great pleasure of hosting Faith Gibson, an extraordinary midwife and activist, at my mom’s house during the CIMS Conference (to read more about Faith, click here). She agreed to do an interview for our History of Midwifery series of shorts. I shot over an hour of footage because she has so many incredible stories to share – from her time as a Labor and Delivery nurse to her arrest as a midwife in California. We will be releasing her story in 4 parts.
Part One is Faith’s recollection of working in the ‘white ward’ of a segregated hospital in the 1960s in Florida:
Stay tuned for Part Two: the Black Ward, and Faith’s own Birth Story.
As I went to write this morning, I decided I would share the latest and greatest in midwifery news with all you lovely people. For many, a holiday weekend is fast approaching, and for all of us (at least on this side of the equator) spring is finally here. It seemed a perfect time to write about something heartwarming or joyous like the story that was shared with me last fall about a midwife delivering a baby on an airplane. So I googled “midwife”, looked for news, and hoped for the best. While I did discover another baby recently delivered by midwives on an airplane (I guess they are serious when they say to be cautious about flying late in the third trimester!), I also saw this:
Oh, maaaan. As soon as I saw the headline, I sighed, took a deep breath, and clicked on the link. It was disheartening to learn that Indiana is losing not one, but two, birth centers with the closing of Expectations birth center in Muncie and Nurse Midwives of Indianapolis on May 1st. While the closings don’t appear to be the result of a midwife getting arrested for attending a birth or anything horrible and traumatic, the giant banner on the birth centers’ website announcing the sadness of the closing is very believable. This is a sad time for Barbara Bechtel, the staff of the birth centers, and the many families who benefited from the services of the centers.
Our hearts go out to you, and if any of you live in Indiana, we would love to hear from you and help in any way we can to expand access to midwives and birth choices in your area.