Monday, July 11, 2011
Got to see BIRTH in New Paltz, New York this weekend and meet the fabulous cast and director who put on a passionate performance that got the audience chanting "My Body Rocks!" not only during the show...but at the end of the show the entire audience and cast kept the "My Body Rocks!" going! I loved being there to witness theater-for-social change in action.
The post-show discussion was vibrant (practically the entire audience stayed!). There's so much I could share with you about the audience's thoughts on childbirth today and the need for access to better care for pregnant moms, and for the Medical Establishment to put mothers at the center of their birth experience - and mother to demand it. But the moment that moved me the most was when an 8th grader named Laura spoke up and said how because of this play she now KNOWS how powerful pregnant women are and that the wisdom to give birth is all there within women.
Hearing an 8th grade girl speak from her heart and say how she never thought the play was going to be so empowering ("Girl Power!") reminded me of exactly why I wrote BIRTH. To empower.
After the post-show discussion I pulled Laura aside (to the most quiet place we could find in a noisy theater!) so she could tell me a little more about how the play impacted her. Our interview is above.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
There is nothing nicer than to get out of bed and hear good news. And that’s exactly what happen this week to me when I opened my local newspaper and found this AP Story:
Despite Skeptical Medical Establishment, More Women Choosing Natural Birth At Home
I re-read the article several times before the reality sank in. Then I told my oldest son, who is well-schooled in birth politics.
“I guess women finally get that that their bodies rock,” he said.
cue: tear drops.
If you’ve read about my experience trying to even write an article about the maternity care crisis a decade ago, how the door was sealed, nobody would believe a rising c-section rate was cause for attention so I decided to write a play and show how in the United States the medical model of care for pregnant mothers is deeply flawed and at times downright abusive. Maybe this would wake people up. Maybe this would be the fuel pregnant mothers could use to make birth choices that put them center stage.
I think it’s working.
Not just by showing the abuse, which I felt I had to, but also by showing the possibility women have when they are pregnant to touch their true nature and honor their wisdom. If you’ve seen the end of BIRTH – Jillian’s home birth scene – you get the feeling that this feminine knowing is not such a bad thing to embrace during pregnancy.
And that’s what I feel is shifting. More and more pregnant moms are ready to embrace the feminine….to literally wake up and be more conscious about giving birth.
While a 20 percent rise in home birth is great news, my goal in writing BIRTH has never been to tell women home birth is best. My goal has always been to wake pregnant mothers up, clue them in to how powerful they are, and then let them make the adjustments in their birth choices to have an empowered experience.
I don’t think it’s surprising more and more are choosing home birth as they’re waking up. This only points out the desperate need for better childbirth options for pregnant mothers. And this can only come when the medical establishment wakes up too.
The skepticism around models of birth that work for pregnant mothers must end.
Mothers are finally starting to speak up and make birth choices that work for them. Let’s be BOLD and work hard to wake up the medical establishment too so they create birth choices that put pregnant mothers center stage. It’s time.
Photo credit: BOLD 2009 Charlotte, North Carolina
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Raise your hand if you’re diggin’ the Oxford English Dictionary! In June “doula” was officially entered as a word.
A woman who gives assistance and advice to a new or expectant mother, either informally or professionally; esp. a woman (typically without formal obstetric training) employed to provide guidance and continuous support during labour.
It’s about time.
Go see BIRTH this September to see how I changed the doula reference in the play!