from Karen Brody, leading a rejuvenation revolution for women through napping to wake you up so you can change the world. I'm also the playwright of Birth, founder of the BOLD movement to change the culture of birth, creator of Rock Your Birth, and proud mama of two boys who think women rock.
I no longer have to explain my doula groupie-ness to people.
Just this week I told several people I am going to a
conference with doulas
from around the world
and they get it.
"That's amazing," a friend who has never given birth said.
Even my mother gets it.
Have a confession about doulas - being one, lovin' one? Share your comments here. And if you're on twitter be join me in giving shout-out tweets to the doulas at DONA this weekend. Use #DONA12 so we know you're tweeting! :)
It wasn’t a surprising piece given the recent rise in articles proclaiming midwives as not only a smart, but hip option for
But when I saw the piece I thought: It's about time.
Okay, the piece wasn’t brilliant.
And the subtitle of Ina May being an “evangelical home birth
advocate” doesn’t resonate with me. Ina May is evangelical, but she’s evangelical about birth
being SAFE & HUMANE.
But wording aside, when I saw the Ina May piece and the
editor's name who brought it to life - Ilene Silverman - I flashed back to a story I thought I’d never tell.
Ya see, I don’t believe in media bashing.
If I told this story when I first wrote my play BIRTH that’s what
it would be.
But now it’s different.
This is not about slinging mud at the media.
It’s about TRUTH TELLING.
The story begins eight years ago in a Features Writing class
I took at the Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Chairs as hard as cement.
Ten writers sitting around a retangular Formica table.
Our teacher Denise coaxing every inch of journalist
out of us.
“I have an idea for a great story,” I announced to the
class. “I want to write about the childbirth crisis in America.”
Icky Dead Silence (IDS).
“I have interviewed around eighty women so far about their
birth experiences and done lots of research that supports a disturbing trend in
maternity care to promote and push over medicalized births on mothers.”
“There are human rights abuses going on.”
All heads except for Denise slow-motion down, a flock of journalists staring at the Formica.
“Really?” Denise responded. “Tell us more.”
So I did.
The c-section rate at the time in the United States was 25%
Naomi Wolf had just shown in her new book that a disturbing
number of privileged mothers were having “ordinary bad birth experiences.”
My primary research supported this claim.
“I want to write a piece that tells people the truth about the
maternity care crisis today,” I explained.
Then Denise spoke:
“This sounds important and you sound like the person to
I knew she was right, but I had just gone knocking on doors and
calling every editor I could reach.
No one was
“I have a colleague,” Denise told me. “Let me put you in
Enter New York Times editor Ilene Silverman.
Denise helped me craft a seriously kick butt query letter
for Ms. Silverman, who at the time was a young editor at The New York Times
Ilene wanted it.
In fact, she was pregnant which gave her the perfect sense of wonder and journalistic hunger to make me think, we got this.
I'm blowing the whistle on this topic.
Ilene got me to write more - a whole lot more. Before a piece from a freelancer is comissioned it takes months to provide enough data to convince senior editors.
It took me three months. I produced a 25-page
query letter-com-tomb of juicy information, primary interviews, research stats, etc.
We were good to go.
Hey, this was The New York Times.
I would wait until my first-born got to college if I had to.
Really, I only waited about a month.
“My senior editor won’t do it,” Ms. Silverman emails me.
“He said he thinks childbirth has already been done by The
New York Times.”
Did she mean "done" as in that recent article the weekday edition of The
New York Times had buried in the metro section on the popularity of
hypnobirthing among New York City women?
For me, after I got rejected by The New York Times, I stopped and listened to my whispers.
Write a play.
And then I responded.
Leave a comment and tell me about a tough moment when you could have thrown away your birth dream but didn't.
Sometimes the “knock downs” can be the best thing we receive.
It was for me.
_ _ _
PS: Years later Denise became a producer at The Diane Rehm
show for National Public Radio. Last year because of her she was one of the first high profile
media outlets to book Ina May as a guest. Just a little more magic in the
This morning my older son, who turned 13 last month, noticed
something on his face.
“It’s a pimple!” his younger brother exclaimed. “Use
How did he know about Pro-Activ pimple cream?
Not surprisingly, television.
“Justin Beiber uses it,” he tells me.
You’ve got to give me
a better reason than that, I tell him.
“Then people should use it because it gets results,” he says.
How do you know?
“They show before and after pictures on the commercial.”
Before & after photos.
My birth flood gate opens and all I can think about is
What if we showed women honest, clear RESULTS of giving
Of course YOU NEVER KNOW about anything in life.
Sometimes Pro-Activ works, sometimes it doesn’t.
But after millions of people have used it we do know the
LIKELIHOOD of it working.
Just like birth.
We know the likely RESULTS of giving birth without
interventions and using interventions.
We have a ridiculous number of BEFORE & AFTER photos,
personal stories, and more.
Just Google it.
So what if we did a commercial and like Pro-Active we tell
everybody that you can
ROCK YOUR BIRTH
And like any pimple cream, drug,
- Really, anything in life –
There’s a warning that says:
This may have side effects, it may not work, but in most
people it does. In fact, it’s common sense. No or low interventions with a
support team that trusts birth = a positive birth experience for you and your
Imagine how much quicker the birth paradigm would shift.
Hospitals & doctors might even endorse it.
Kids will tell their mothers to do it "because it gets
And if Justin Beiber’s wife-to-be uses it well then,