Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Choosing a Care Provider Education Class

November 26, 2013

Choices in Childbirth hosted our free monthly workshop this past Thursday (11/21/13) at the 14th Street Y; this month’s topic was Choosing a Care Provider.  As the CiC intern with no plan of baby in my near future, I have thought little of what my potential care provider will look like. Yet as the room filled up with expectant women and their partners, it became clear that this is a topic on a lot people’s minds.  Tanya, a member of our education and program committee, and a student midwife and child educator herself,facilitated the discussion and introduced couples that struggled to find their right fit.  As the stories accumulated, this idea of choosing the right care provider felt a lot like Goldie Locks and the Three Bears: you have to test all the beds until you come to the one that makes you feel comfortable and safe. 

Each couple shared their stories of starting with an obstetrician, midwife, doctor, hospital, birthing center, etc. and feeling as though they weren’t part of “the team”: they weren’t being included in the decision making process, despite feeling like they knew and trusted their bodies.  They also described the shame and embarrassment that their former providers caused.  For instance, all three women were told they had gained too much weight in a short span of time, and how this would negatively impact their pregnancy, labor, and baby.

Another common theme throughout their stories was their feeling disconnected from their provider. Their provider took no time to get to know them and thus learn what they wanted from their birthing experience.

All the women ended their stories with this pearl of wisdom: keep looking until you find the provider whose values align with yours. If you go into your birth experience with someone who doesn’t have the same vision, then it will likely be bad. But if you’re able to find the person who you feel understands what you want, then it will be good. That, and get a doula.

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CiC Chat on Pleasure and Birth, from our Director of Program Development, Khushbu Srivastava

August 21, 2013

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Last Thursday, Choices in Childbirth hosted our first official “CiC Chat”, a new bi-monthly gathering where we sip wine, eat cheese and talk all things birth- including sharing inspiring stories, discussing pressing issues for change, and deliberating on not, new trends within the maternity care world. More than anything else, these events are one way that we have prioritized fostering a community of folks around our mission of promoting safe, healthy, and deeply fulfilling birth experiences.

Last Thursday’s event was co-hosted by CiC Board Member and Ecstatic Birth Advocate, Sheila Kamara Hay. Sheila and Debra Pascali-Bonaro, visionary, birth activist, and director of the film Orgasmic Birth, led an open conversation about the potential for pleasure in birth.

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As someone who has worked in the maternity care/women’s right field for many years, and as someone who gave birth last year, I have to say that, even I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As the night began, I ensconced myself in a quiet corner of the room with a fluffy floor pillow, drink in hand, ready to learn. I found myself peacefully floating along as the night progressed, as Sheila shared her incredible birth story- a difficult birth, followed by a deep personal journey to reclaim her pleasure and strength in a second birth that was joy encapsulated. Debra showed a clip of the film- a beautiful birthing woman surrounded by flowers and greenery, birthing in a tub, with the most delicate expression of ecstasy- in a world that was completely her own. Debra’a laughter and easy jokes made me feel like I was sitting in a kitchen with my great-aunts and sisters, sharing naughty secrets and prized recipes.

Many women shared their own birth stories- the need for silence, the unexpected sexiness in the hospital room, the courage to stand up against those who may have tried to control our process, and the fear that perhaps this type of joy was for other women, not us. We held the many precious moments of victory and

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sadness, and laughed together.

If there is one thing that I learned that evening, it is that there is no one way to birth, just as there is no one way to be a woman. It feels really special to be part of a community that celebrates women’s innate ability to bring life into this world joyfully.

Miles for Midwives, an Intern’s Perspective

August 14, 2013

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Synthia Chowdhury, CiC’s Miles for Midwives Event Intern

They say that one of the best ways to learn and contribute to this world is by stepping out and making a difference. Not sure who said it; maybe it was just me talking to myself. But it’s one of the central thoughts that runs through my head on a daily basis. It’s as if my body is a wandering butterfly searching for a chance to show off its exuberance. I cannot explain the excitement and joy I received to be the Events/PR Intern for the 11th Annual Miles for Midwives!  I absolutely love the planning and organizing process of events. There is so much to look forward to, so much anticipation. I think the most exciting part of it all is the people involved. There is so much to learn from others, from watching the way they master their work to hearing about their personal experiences.  And there’s absolutely no hiding my feminist nature, so getting the opportunity to take part in an organization that empowers women and their families to make strong decisions about their childbirth experiences creates a competency within me, one that allows me to grow as an individual and less of a wanderer.

As a Public Relations and Advertising student at The City College of New York, I learned a lot about the communications aspect of an organization, from the history of communications, studying social media as if it were a religion, to gaining media attention through writing and interacting; but it really takes personal experiences to learn about the nuts and bolts of the work field. Interning for Miles for Midwives gave me the opportunity to grow as a professional by allowing me to utilize my knowledge and helping me gain valuable experience.

I never really thought there were so many choices when it came to childbirth. It’s such an important decision for families to make. From the options of having a midwife, doula, massage therapist, acupuncturist- these are only some of the many choices in the birth experience. Don’t even get me started on how amazed I was when I learned more about water birth! We all know the old saying, “you learn something new every day.” I strongly believe I do, and the opportunity to intern for Miles for Midwives makes each day exciting and dynamic.

I look forward to meeting all the midwives, families and supporters on Saturday, October 5th, for the 11th Annual Miles for Midwives! Best of luck to all the runners and let’s get our game faces on for a day full of fun and adventure! The countdown has already begun!

Find more information about the 2013 Miles for Midwives event and register to participate here!