From an Intern’s Perspective: My Semester at Choices in Childbirth


IMG_2400 By Shaina Herring

When I went to register for my final semester of graduate school at NYU Wagner, I began looking for an internship that would complement my coursework and provide me with hands-on experience. I had internships throughout graduate school, but this time I felt it was important for me to do something directly related to my interest in maternal health and my work as a doula. After a quick Google search I found Choices in Childbirth – and here I am!

The semester has flown by and I can now reflect on my experience at Choices in Childbirth. I learned so much in the past few months and I feel that my internship was essential to understanding the nonprofit sector and the birth world.  I watched The Business of Being Born: Classroom Edition several times, and each time I took in new information about childbirth in our country. I was amazed to learn from Eugene Declercq’s invaluable segment on birth statistics entitled, “Birth by the Numbers” that the United States ranks 42nd in neonatal mortality rates. I have been exposed to so many organizations and individuals who are doing great work in this area alongside Choices in Childbirth – places like The Brooklyn Birthing Center and the NYU Midwifery Program, which still teaches students how to do a vaginal breech delivery. I am amazed and excited by the many college campuses where conversations about maternity care in the US are taking place. It is encouraging to see that students are eager to talk about maternal health as both a domestic and an international issue.

Whenever a friend asks about my internship at Choices in Childbirth, I am always eager to share facts and to say something like “Can you believe how X was treated when she gave birth?” or “Did you know that Y can actually be harmful during labor?” or “Having a water birth sounds amazing!” Sometimes my friends respond with a grin and a comment like, “OK that’s great, thanks for sharing.” But more often than not, people I speak to are curious to learn more. I have a few friends who recently had babies, but for most of my friends our discussion is one of the first times they actually talk about birth and how we treat it in the US. While I have yet to turn someone into a “birth junkie” like myself, my friends have approached me with questions and an eagerness to discuss and learn more.

Throughout my time here, I have learned that people want to be engaged in this conversation. The work Choices in Childbirth does to engage college students through The Business of Being Born: Classroom Edition and other programs is so crucial in activating interest in childbirth rights. I am excited to be part of a movement composed of people bringing information about birth choices to the public and working hard to change the maternity care system in the United States.

This internship has complemented my graduate school classroom experience in a unique way. In class I wrote a paper about patient engagement programs at health centers in NYC, and at my internship I promoted The Business of Being Born: Classroom Edition in order to engage real moms-to-be. After graduation I hope to continue to stay involved in this work, either by managing a practice in a women’s health facility or working on women’s health issues at a policy organization. I also hope to continue to work with women in labor as a birth doula. Whatever my next step is, I know that I will take these lessons and conversations along and carry the momentum of this experience with me.

Shaina Herring interned with Choices in Childbirth from January 2013 – May 2013. To contact Shaina, please call Choices in Childbirth at (212) 983-4122.



4 Responses to “From an Intern’s Perspective: My Semester at Choices in Childbirth”

  1. The Pains and Sensations of Childbirth | Atlantamomofthree Says:

    […] From an Intern’s Perspective: My Semester at Choices in Childbirth ( […]

    • Cassandra Says:

      Je dirai même plus, qu’il vous en cuise !J’imagine Phil, j&eosuq;imaginr… Un crabe rêveur vaut mieux qu’un crabe dormeur…Et puis après tout, dans les « petites maisons », il y a des jardins… Pour un Salon de plein air, ce serait fameux non ?

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  3. Philly Says:

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