Hello, birth workers. I’m talking to you – midwives, doulas, activists, advocates, physicians, nurses, bloggers, hospital administrators – anyone and everyone who can see what a mess our maternity care system is in. I want to congratulate all of you for working to make birth better for mommies and babies, and to ask if you are ready to ‘kick it up a notch’? For over a year now, I have been using the word ‘revolution,’ and calling on all of us to unite and begin actively engaging those who hold positions of power to effect change where it is needed (Let’s get it started in here, Time out for Bad Behavior, and Who Ya Gonna Call?).
Over the Christmas break, I read a post over at the Unnecessarean about ‘pit to distress.’ I had heard of this practice, but did not realize how pervasive it is. As the post points out, pit to distress (giving a mother high amounts of pitocin in order to send a baby into distress) was occurring in our country at such high rates, the act found its way into nursing text books. I was so angry after reading this post, I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I wanted to blog about it, but every time I sat down to write, I became afraid of my anger. How could this be happening in our country? How could people who had taken an oath to ‘do no harm’ be putting women and babies in danger for their own convenience? And what of the people who were carrying out the orders, knowing what the implications were for their patients? The post was written three years ago – is this practice still going on? And when will it stop? As a wise physician once said to me, “We [the physicians] are comfortable with the way things are. Nothing is going to change until the women ask for something different.”
We at WMM? have been emboldened by our successes. Twice now, when mommies and midwives have stood together and demanded change, the folks who have the power to affect change have listened. We believe the time for action is now. Let’s stop talking about how bad things are and do something. Let’s come together, gather our allies, learn from the people who have improved maternity care in their communities and lay the groundwork for a full-scale birth revolution! Join the national grassroots movement to change maternity care.
WMM? invites you to spend a weekend at the Farm in Tennessee, collaborating and brainstorming, coming up with activities that can be carried out in any community at any time for little to no money. These activities will raise public awareness about our broken maternity care system, and draw attention to the methods that are producing better results for mothers and babies. We need to put public pressure on the people, organizations and businesses in positions of power and hold them accountable for improving outcomes.
If you are ready to take the next step, join us June 22nd through the 24th at our first annual Birth Activists Retreat. For more information, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich