round and round...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I read the news today, oh boy...

My previous post elicited some pleas in the comments (and even a couple emails!) for news about what this thing is I feel I've been called to do. Well, let's just say that I will be volunteering for a group that advocates on behalf of pregnant women in some pretty dire circumstances.

I am in the throes of a pregnancy that has thrown me for more loops than I can count and I know that I couldn't get through the hard times without my amazing support system and my wonderful midwives. The moment of clarity I had last weekend happened quickly. I was sitting at home, watching TV, nothing major happening at the time. It hit me like lightning that I am extremely lucky to be receiving the high level of care that I've gotten since the day we found out I was pregnant.

Many women, even some in my own neighborhood, don't get prenatal care. If they do get some care it's typically not of the caliber I've received. I know about my options. I know that there are birthing options available to me and that I don't have to go along with the dramatized television version of childbirth. I don't have to lie down on a bed with an IV in my arm and have men in white coats yell at me to push push push! Did you know that lying down is one of the hardest positions for giving birth? Why do so many women in this country think that's the way they should do things? Because they're told so by TV, the media, and even some medical staff. The uterus has a drive angle just like a piston and when the drive angle is off it makes pushing the baby out far more difficult. When you lie down to give birth you are essentially pushing your baby out uphill. I don't know about you, but I want the option to make things as easy as possible on myself.

I've bought books and I have friends who have given me great literature about pregnancy, birth, and babies. I have access to so much information it blows my mind. Every pregnant woman doesn't have the kind of surplus of information that I have and it's a severe imbalance. It's not only a question and economy and class and race and culture. It's a question of age and social circumstance and support network and employment.

Every pregnant woman should have access to what I have access to. No woman should think her only option is to wander to the closest ER when she goes into labor and settle for whichever obstetric team is on staff. No woman should have to be alone during the most intense experience of her life. No woman should be brushed aside because she looks different or she is poor or she speaks another language or she is scared of deportation. Each pregnant woman should be given the same respect I am given by my care provider.

I knew I needed to do something. I have bigger plans for the future, but for now I did some research and emailed an organization in NYC that I really respect. The Executive Director emailed me back the next morning. I meet with her on Tuesday. I couldn't be happier about it. This is going to be hard work and I am looking forward to it like you wouldn't believe.

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5 What people are saying:

Blogger Arial Ray rambles...

I think that's amazing!

Even where I live, in Ontario, where health care is accessible to all, and midwives are a part of the system, there are many people who think that the doctor is in charge of the process, that he or she is calling the shots in the pregnancy. The ones who suffer most are the marginalized, the very young, the economically challenged, who submit to the doctor's wishes, lie down on the tables and push, have unnecessary c-sections. They don't have the support of peers, women, people who care enough to help them through one of the most significant life challenges.

Bravo to you for doing something to change the world. Because it will, even if you only help one mother and one child have a better birth experience.

9/01/2008 09:45:00 AM

Blogger Lynilu rambles...

Kudos, Melissa, for your thoughtfulness and empathy. I wish you strength and direction for this.


9/02/2008 12:22:00 AM

Blogger Monogram Queen rambles...

Now WHY didn't I find out about this until now? Giving birth was very stressful, painful and I have to be honest not at all joyful (except the end result). I'm a grown, educated, professional woman. I suck!
Melissa you are so lucky to have these resources and so selfless to be willing to help other less fortunate!

9/02/2008 11:19:00 AM

Blogger Jenn rambles...

Yay you!

There's even more than the up front knowledge..there's the 'in the hospital' knowledge. I was completely informed...knew all the stuff...had a seriously detailed birth plan...and spent the ENTIRE time in the hospital fighting with the medical staff. And my hospital was supposed to be 'natural' friendly. You 'know' me...I'm a tough cookie. I was so exhausted by the sheer amount of energy I had to use to keep the birth natural - it was traumatic! The scare tactics the staff used would have knocked me off track if I had not been so informed when I went in.

I know you've got plans in place - but some of these women you're referring to - don't have the option of anything but the hospital.

Sheesh - 4 years later and I'm all emotional about it! I left the hospital a day early - against all medical staff - because I was so angry.

Once in a hospital - the birthing mother pretty much becomes a liability to the hospital and they're all about covering their asses. It's a darn shame.

There - stepping off the bandbox now. (Sorry!)

Back to you...I wish you the best of luck with this endeavor - you'll only do good with it.

9/02/2008 11:44:00 AM

Blogger Sandra rambles...

There are not enough people who see a disparity or a need and feel compelled to DO SOMETHING. That's why we like you, Melissa!

Oh and the Palin stuff you mentioned at my place...I haven't written about it because I get too riled up. It's all so infuriating, but I do agree with what you said!

9/03/2008 12:08:00 PM


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