|BNN Board of Directors|
Monday, October 22, 2012
If this job matters so much, why doesn't anybody care?!
A few years ago, I was doing an interview with a local magazine and at the end of the interview, she said to me, "Wow, your job really matters." I patted myself on the back.
A few weeks ago, David and I were flying to NYC and got to talking with with a guy on the plane. He worked for AT&T and we had a great conversation with him about a variety of topics. After a while he asked what we both do for a living. I gave him my card and he said, "Oh wow, you have a job that actually matters!"
So, if people think that it "matters," then why don't people treat birth like it matters? This is something I think about a lot. A couple of years ago we were doing a production of "Birth" by Karen Brody. Many of you remember it as our BOLD Fort Worth event. We got a spot on Good Morning Texas, not because of what we were doing to bring awareness about birth and birth options, but because it was Infant Mortality Awareness month and Dallas and Tarrant County rates are some of the highest in the nation (7.1/1000 births). But no one wanted to talk about the possible correlation birth had to these dying babies.
Why are we so comfortable with the way things are? Why are we OK with non-medically-indicated inductions? Why are we OK with more than 1/3 babies being born via cesarean section? Why are we OK with moms and babies being separated at birth? Why is formula still pushed on moms in the hospitals and pediatricians offices?
If my job MATTERS, why do these problems still exist?! If it MATTERS, why do we not support moms in breastfeeding wherever and whenever she needs to nurse her baby? If my job MATTERS, why do moms have to fight to get access to care providers trained in normal birth?
Do people really believe that BIRTH MATTERS? If this is true, they should act like it. We care about how our parents leave this earth - hopefully treated with respect and dignity. I believe that babies deserve this same respect. They deserve a peaceful entrance and welcome without separation from their parents.
Birth matters for the baby. Birth also matters for the mom. I'm not sure that many women believe that. Perhaps that is the bottom line. Do women think birth matters? I'll be the first to admit that with my first baby, I didn't think it mattered at all. I was only focused on the end result - a healthy baby. I didn't realize that birth impacted me or my baby. After 3 unmedicated births, I know. I know that birth matters. I found my voice. My confidence. My power.
I'm just coming off a weekend with the Board of Directors for BirthNetwork National for our annual Strategic Planning meeting. Wow! Let me assure you, there are people working hard across the county to make change happen, to make women aware of their options. To create options where options do not currently exist. There is a lot going on. But more people are needed to make these things a reality. Check to see if your area has a chapter and how you can get involved. If there is not a chapter, start one. Seriously. There is support and we are coming out with better, clearer training to support Chapter Leaders in leading their community in the promotion of Mother-Friendly maternity care.
What is the "birth climate" in your area? Does birth MATTER where you live?