I haven’t blogged much about what I talk about most days – childbirth – but today feels like the right moment. Sitting on my virtual desk this morning were two very important articles. The first I received from Robin Guy, the woman who organized a performance of my play “Birth” in Ottawa, Canada last year.
The play helped to raise money for the International Breech Birth Conference in Ottawa last summer. It was also performed at the conference. That’s why I was so excited to see a piece written in the Ottawa Citizen, “Giving birth, the natural way.” This is theater for social change in action! A group of mothers organized a play about childbirth to raise money for an International Breech Birth Conference and raise awareness on these issues and now the media, and others, are listening. (“others” meaning an audience member who saw the play told SOGC about it and they are considering using the play to raise awareness with their membership in the future!)
I particularly loved this quote in the piece:
“The safest way to deliver a baby has always been the natural way,” Andre Lalonde, head of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada.”
My heart tripled in size.
And then I read the next article on my computer, “With the Closing of a Hospital, Women’s Childbirth Options Diminish” and my heart sank. St. Vincent’s Hospital, the best hospital in New York City for pregnant mamas who want a natural birth, closed last week. How could this happen? And so wondered the journalist who wrote the piece:
“In a city where you can live however you want, as long as it’s safe — and sometimes even if it’s not — it seems absurd that there are so few places where women can give birth however they want, as long as it’s safe.”
A part of me wants to rally the troops, get the play produced by local mamas, make some noise and get this closing reversed. But I know effective change has to trickle up, not sideways. It can’t be my idea, it has to come from the mothers in that community – like in the case of Ottawa where they saw a horrendous situation, a tiny opening and went for it.
So while today intellectually I want t to just focus on Ottawa my gut tells me we also need to acknowledge New York’s loss and say a prayer.
Please watch over the pregnant mamas in New York. Help them stay safe. Find them new homes. (like the New Space for Women!).
I’ve been in the movement to improve childbirth long enough to know it’s a dance. A dance worth dancing because every victory raises us towards a culture where mothers and babies become more powerful through birth and every loss reminds us of what we need to hold on to.
If you think childbirth in your community needs to improve. Do something about it. We’re the best resource we’ve got to dance the dance.