Sunday, September 14, 2008
BOLD Nashville - breaking down walls in middle Tennessee
Every year since BOLD started back in 2006 I'm blown away by the people in communities who bring a BOLD event to their hometown. And I'm heartened each time I get feedback from a BOLD organizer that the play had ripples of impact on their community.
BOLD Nashville this year is definitely a strong example of the BOLD spirit out there in 2008, PUSHING for better childbirth choices for mothers, PUSHING for community awareness of local maternity care issues, PUSHING for people to be BOLD and make maternity care the best it can be for every woman.
BOLD Nashiville's organizer and director, Nicole Deelah, shares feedback from her BOLD journey to bring the play to Nashville:
It was amazing. I cannot quite put into words how wonderful it was.
From the hardships to the blessings, it was such a labor of love, a work of the heart.
Finding our venue proved to be one of the hardest obstacles - as my location tends to be VERY political and hostile when in regards to anything 'birth' oriented. Finally, we found a small studio theater that was run by a man who was over 50, single, no children. I had no hope that this man would want to support our vision. I didn't pull any punches after having so many experiences with hard-sells that were later reniged on when 'certain key individuals' in our community encouraged them NOT to host this play. I told him the play was controversial, he would most likely be encouraged NOT to help us, and that I needed a yes that would remain a yes, or a no - but nothing in
between. He jumped at the opportunity to help.
Consequentially, two weeks before opening night, he was able to be at the birth of his niece, a homebirth - his first birth ever. He 'now got it' what we were trying to accomplish.
1 month from production, he let me know that the owner of the building (not him) had said he HAD to have SOME upfront financing for our use of this venue. He named a price. It was not in our upfront budget. Miraculously, within 24 hours, a sponsor came forward for EXACTLY that amount.
Then, we had one role which we continuously could not keep filled. We found our "Natalie" 2 weeks before production!
Opening night and every production afterward was amazingly nerve-racking, humbly empowering, and awe-inspiring. I had the privilege of looking out over the audience every night and watching women with beautifully ripe bellies; their chins would quiver with passionate emotion, their eyes would grow in anxious expectation, and
their hands would roam, independent of thought, their bountiful wombs. Mothers comforted their babes at their breasts and nodded in understanding and compassion at the triumphs, trials, and journeys of the women on the stage.
Beautiful irony, amazingly healing journeys, and poignantly painful sifting through "birth baggage" marked every heart and mind of the cast and crew of "Birth". A staunchly anti-establishment lesbian woman befriended an outspoken conservative Christian pastor. An avid home birther became great confidants with a strongly opinionated medically-minded mother. And the walls just kept falling down.
We saw two women who were both a part of the birthing profession in our area break down their differences and sit, together, on our talk-back panel - surprising each other and those in the audience when they found they were in agreement on most all subjects discussed.
We watched a husband beg forgiveness of his wife for not understanding her need to have her mom at the birth of their last baby - he hadn't'allowed it'. But now he understood.
And we saw a family, whose generational differences had previously alienated one young woman because of her birthing choices, surround her in support before leaving the doors.
You would not believe the responses I have gotten from this project (after the performance). In fact, let me share some of them with you:
"I always felt guilty that I secretly felt RAPED by my episiotomy. I asked my doctor not to do one, but she did it anyway. And I didn't even know until after my baby girl was born. Only afterward, when she started stitching me up, laughing about a 'honeymoon stitch' she would put in for my partners benefit, and refusing me local pain medication because I 'couldn't feel it because [you] had an epidural."
"I never knew that epidurals could make a babies heart rate fall. You know, I'm 3 months pregnant and no one knows. I didn't want to tell anyone because I am not ready to resign myself to another cesarean. I didn't know I COULD have a vaginal birth if I wanted. I was told my pelvis is too small to accommodate ANY sized baby. My doctor told me that any baby who I tried to push out myself would be squeezed to death... I never was willing to consider the 'coincidence' that his heart beat was fine until I got my epidural. And my doctor made me feel like I was the one who was broken - my body - not their medicines and policies"
"You can have homebirths in Tennessee? I didn't know that! Can I have some names? I would LOVE to have a waterbirth. I want what Jillian got [big smile]".
"You have no idea what it means to me that I have been given PERMISSION to be angry about my cesarean. I felt like a bad mom for feeling like a 'healthy baby was not enough'."
I cannot tell you how hard, overwhelming, frightening, frustrating, stressful.... BEAUTIFUL, REWARDING, HUMBLING, AWE-INSPIRING, SWEET,and CHERISHING this process has been.
I cannot wait to do it all again, I look forward to it in the way that all things of worth are looked forward to - with a healthy perspective on the hard work that accompanies a rewarding process that demands your heart, mind, and body.... and the personal fulfillment we all experience when we complete the task! We did it!
I like the sound of that... WE did it... We DID it! """
Check out a tribute to the BOLD Nashville performance on UTube: