Yesterday, both past and current presidents of the NC OB/GYN Society sat down (at our request!) with representatives from “Where’s My Midwife?” and the North Carolina Friends of Midwives to begin a dialogue about making the environment safer for families who choose home birth in North Carolina! We drove to Raleigh, gathered in their board room and talked like actual grown ups. They listened, asked questions and expressed concerns. We addressed their concerns and shared our personal stories about why this issue is important to us, and gently explained that we were not going away.
I cannot express to you how much this one meeting filled me with hope. Eight people (six of them OBs) came to the meeting to have a conversation! Honestly, before yesterday, I had been thinking about quitting this whole birth activist thing. The retreat was mind-blowing – it was so nice to meet others who are as fired up as I am about truly making change happen in maternity care! But after it was over, I got a bit overwhelmed at the task at hand. We realized that trying to get folks to work locally AND nationally was a huge undertaking.
Then, I saw this video and the awful comments posted underneath:
Here was a group of ladies who had tried to talk to their local physicians and hospital about being displeased with the type of care they had received. When going through the appropriate channels did not work, they decided to take to the streets to raise awareness and put public pressure on the folks who had mistreated them to address their concerns. . .sound familiar? The comments from the nurse who worked in the hospital were pretty typical, “no one is going to want talk to you if you stick with these methods.”
Then what are we going to do? When trying to ‘do the right thing’ gets us no where, we must stand up and say “Enough!” The whole reason nothing has changed thus far, is that the women who do speak out about being treated badly are then shamed or dismissed for telling the truth. And, in my experience, women are far more likely to be the ones doing the shaming. When I saw the same kind of discouraging language going on over at the Improving Birth Facebook page, I sincerely wanted to quit. How are we ever going to come together to make things better if we keep tearing each other down?
And then, one little meeting changed everything. If we can get a meeting with the NC OB/GYN Society to discuss home birth, anything is possible! So, come on folks, let’s put aside the judgement about how the message is being delivered and keep telling the truth about birth. Women and babies deserve to be treated better than they are, and we all need to work together to make that happen.