MANA has a great educational campaign going on right now called I am a Midwife. The campaign involves a series of short videos released once a week about a variety of topics. More than just a general education campaign, each video includes a variety of different women–midwives, mothers, public health activists, maternity care activists, authors—speaking out on important topics in maternity care. Each woman also identifies, “I am a Midwife.” This week’s video is about health disparities in maternity care, which is a very important and too-often ignored topic. It raises the concern that African American women and their babies are more likely to die than their Caucasian counterparts even when other variables are equalized (i.e. same socioeconomic status, same education, etc.) and moves into wider discussions about racism and the treatment of minority group members. It then focuses on the value and role of midwifery care in addressing these concerns.
As MANA states in relationship to this campaign: “For midwives, sharing is daring. We dare to challenge the status quo. We dare to speak up for women’s innate wisdom in pregnancy and birth. We dare to assert that there is a better way for our babies to be born. And we dare to insist that birth belongs to families.”
Absolutely! The I am a Midwife public education campaign is extremely powerful. I have to confess that when it originally launched, I didn’t personally make time to watch the videos right away, somehow assuming that they were “generic” videos with a “rah, midwives!” type of message. Don’t make the same mistake I did. These are quality videos with important messages, powerful voices, and essential education and information. You will definitely learn something from watching them!
The videos aren’t only of use to birth professionals, when I teach community organizing at the college level I show videos like this as examples of activism strategies. In fact, for the final exam in that course I show the Crisis in the Crib video about infant mortality and disparities from the Office of Minority Health’s A Healthy Baby Begins With You campaign. This MANA video could be an interesting follow-up addition to the video I already use. As a related side note, during this class I also show footage from The Doula Story, a project by the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Teen Pregnancy Prevention (whose program director I heard speak at the CAPPA conference in NC in 2010—she was amazing!). So, people do not leave my class without having heard of doulas and midwives and their relationship to community health. Go me and my mad birth activist skills! ;-D