Back Door Birth Activism; Let Your Community Know about Midwifery
Anita, a midwife friend of mine, and I have been going around our city of just over 100,000 people distributing flyers for her birth center and homebirth practice and Midwifery Today’s Eugene conference programs. We take our flyers with pins and tape and tack them on bulletin boards in health food stores, community services agencies, the public library and many other places.
This has been a terrific outreach for both of us. We’ve learned a lot about our community’s resources while carrying out marketing efforts. It has been so fruitful and fun that I recommend that midwives and doulas do a similar outreach in their communities. One of the best parts is that while we’re driving around we are talking, ranting and otherwise solving all of the problems in birth today. The other delight is the amazing people we’ve met who are part of our community.
Today we talked with a nurse-midwife who started in midwifery when I did in 1976. She is now in public health. We had a lovely conversation about our current roles and, as all midwives do when they get together, we talked about interesting births. We were trying to solve all the whys of the human woman’s life that play out in birth.
Anita and I also stopped at the Nurse Midwifery Birthing Center and talked with them about “Centering Pregnancy” (also known as group prenatal care) that they are doing, as well as other birth subjects. In group prenatal care the women do their own urinalyses, blood pressure and so on. Then they talk in a group about various issues related to getting ready for their births. We also stopped in less obvious places, such as woman’s clothing store, the center that helps sexual assault victims and even a bar and a bowling alley. We had great conversations with very interested people in every place we visited. Anita and I felt like we were on a field trip.
We look forward to our time together in our community and with each other. I’ve been working in the field of midwifery—as a midwife, or putting on conferences and publishing Midwifery Today—for 32 years, and had never before ventured into my community. The experience has been so fantastic for both Anita and me that we highly recommend you do the same thing in your community. It will not only help your business, but has the added benefit of introducing people to the idea of natural birth and how special it can be. It is a kind of back door activism that we accidently happened upon.
We also recommend that you go with a partner, because it is much more fun that way. We also give each other courage. Next week we are off to the college and university where we hope to find aspiring midwives and soon-to-be mothers. So where are you going next week with your flyers?
Debra Pascali-Bonaro teaches one of her many useful techniques for doulas and midwives.
[Photo by Ricardo H. Jones] From our Eugene 2005 conference