Like all mothers, I wear a lot of additional hats–sister, daughter, wife, friend, midwife, academic, public health professional, advocate, and entrepreneur to name a few. But mother is my most treasured, and the one that is most often undervalued by the world around me.
I spent yesterday day wearing my mom hat–specifically my soccer mom hat–watching my 10 and 12-year-old boys, Max and Tate, play in a tournament. They love the game and I love the joy in their eyes as they run for the ball. They have games again today and I’d love to be cheering them on from the sideline, but today I march for moms….
I march because I’ve experienced firsthand how special birth can be and the impact that maternity care can have in taking the fear and anxiety out of pregnancy, instilling in women confidence in the process of birth, and setting families up for happy, healthy, strong starts. When I was pregnant with Max, I had already been a midwife for several years and attended more than 100 births, but that didn’t make me immune to the fears that most first-time moms share. Was I eating right? Was I taking the right vitamins? Was exercising too much, or not enough? Would my body know what it was supposed to do when it came time for labor? Would I be strong enough to stick to my plan for an un-medicated birth? Luckily, with both pregnancies had incredible midwives around me who guided my safe passage in to motherhood with kindness, respect, and love. But it shouldn’t be left up to luck. So, today I march.
I march because I want every woman to have an option for maternity that provides that kind of support and comfort.
I march because I think moms deserve compassion and loving guidance. I think they deserve to get the information they need to evaluate their own priorities in becoming mothers and to make clear choices about how they want to receive care.
I march because 1 in 3 moms do not need major abdominal surgery to have a baby. 75 women a day do not need to suffer from pregnancy related complications and 2 American families a day should not lose their mothers to pregnancy related deaths.
I march because I know we can do better for moms in this country and I help lead an organization that’s proving it.
My frustration with the disappointing, and sometimes dangerous maternity care that friends and family experienced gave birth to Baby+Co., a network of freestanding birth centers where we do all we can to provide the kind of care that I had with Max and Tate.
At Baby+Co. we help create communities of women who believe that we all deserve maternity care that reflects the very best understanding of what women need to become mothers, but Baby+Co. is only one small piece of the puzzle. To turn the tide on the maternity care crisis in this country we must come together– all of us; men, women, children, doctors, nurse, midwives, advocates, policy makers, insurers…every American–to recognize the critical value of mothers and commit to doing all we can ensure that women across our nation get all the information and care they need to enter in to motherhood as well and prepared as possible.