31 July 2009

If men had uteruses

There is an excellent NY Times op-ed piece by always-impressive Nicholas Kristof called "Crises in the Operating Room" about the utter lack of focus by world powers on birth resources in developing countries. While our fight here is against too much and unnecessary intervention, in other countries life-saving intervention can be hard to come by for those in poverty...the single birth story in the op-ed is chilling.

Here's the meat of the piece:
If men had uteruses, “paternity wards” would get resources, ambulances would transport pregnant men to hospitals free of charge, deliveries would be free, and the Group of 8 industrialized nations would make paternal mortality a top priority. One of the most lethal forms of sex discrimination is this systematic inattention to reproductive health care, from family planning to childbirth — so long as those who die are impoverished, voiceless women.Thankfully, there is the dawn of a global movement against maternal mortality. Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, are trying to work with the United States and other countries to hold a landmark global health session at the U.N. focusing, in part, on maternal health. If that comes to pass, on Sept. 23, it will be a milestone. My dream is that Barack and Michelle Obama will leap forward and adopt this cause — and transform the prospects for so many young women like Shazia.

Also check out a follow up piece, in which Kristof says,
"Interestingly, in the U.S., maternal mortality remained very, very high even as the United States enjoyed economic development and improved overall health in the 19th century."

Seriously, read all his stories on birth - I hope those in power start listening.

30 July 2009

"over here, Mr. President"

Check out Pushed author Jennifer Block's wonderful new piece, "Where's The Birth Plan",on birth as it relates to health care reform, or rather how it seems to be getting short shrift in the reform debate. Where's the outrage? Where's the common sense?

There are so many working models (at least where birth practices are concerned) from which to learn if we really want to reform...cheaper+better outcomes - isn't that what we should be after? No need to reinvent the wheel or keep limping along with this flat tire of a system we currently have.

Here's a quote to whet your appetite,
In other words, our for-profit system not only rewards the overuse of intervention even if it leads to more sick babies; in some cases, it depends on it.

So, if this system is broken, and this system is wasting public funds, and this system is harming women and babies, why isn't fixing it part of the national conversation on health reform?

23 July 2009

no gender stereotypes here

My 5yo has a play date over - a little girl from camp who is the sister of middle son's friend. They are so sweet together and seem to be holding hands a lot... Anyway, I just served a snack since the middle kids have a swim meet & we will all eat late; toasted cheese sandwiches and watermelon, in case you're wondering. I put the food on a pink plate & a blue plate...just happened to be what I took out but I assumed she would go for pink and he would want blue. I was wrong. I kind of like that they didn't notice or care.

Doula care: Midwifery Today interviews Penny Simpkin

20 July 2009


This morning my 8yo was teasing my 5yo about having a girlfriend - something the 5yo denies is true (and protested a bit too much, so he probably does have one!).

I said it was OK either way & nothing to make fun about. I asked my 8yo is he had one (and considered not using the term girlfriend but rather "someone special" - don't want to put him in any boxes - but I said girlfriend). His reply:
No...not yet. I'm not ready. A lot of people want them, but I'm waiting. Maybe when I get a cell phone. Or maybe on my 9th birthday.

17 July 2009

"and that's the way it is"

Another touchstone in American life has passed...rest in peace, Walter Cronkite.
My family frequently watched and discussed the news as we ate dinner and so I (felt like I) had dinner with Walter Cronkite often!
My Cronkite story: I was backpacking in Greece, getting ready to go back to London, where I was living (as a student) at the time. There were ferry hijackings & stuff happening so there was major security at the airport in Athens. Soldiers with machine guns and such. I guess jetways were a risk so they transported us to the tarmac on a shuttle bus. I was feeling a bit nervous until I realized that I was standing next to Mr. Cronkite. I looked at him with recognition and he smiled, nodded & said hi - and I felt completely safe...his voice was so calming. And somehow I felt if he was there it must be OK. I will forever remember him fondly.

03 July 2009

c-sections before 39 weeks - how you can help

Laura Shanley, of Bornfree/unassisted birth movement is looking to bring attention to the creation of premature babies via unnecessary early cesareans and she would like women to help...read on:
I am looking for women nationwide who can participate in media interviews to
promote a new educational campaign from The March of Dimes and United
Healthcare aimed at informing women and physicians about the risks
associated with C-sections before 39 weeks of gestation. I am looking for:
1. Women who are currently pregnant and feel strongly about carrying the
baby the full term (more than 39 weeks) and not having a C-section, unless
the procedure is medically indicated; 2. Women who have previously had a
C-section before 39 weeks gestation and felt the procedure was unnecessary
or had the baby end up in the NICU.

Please contact me at laurashanley@comcast.net
<mailto:laurashanley@comcast.net> and I will connect you with my son, Will
Shanley, who is the west coast director of public relations for United
Healthcare. Will is reaching out to print journalists across the nation and
encouraging them to write news stories about the new March of Dimes campaign
and the risks associated with early C-section.

Thanks in advance for your help in telling this important story!

Much love,

Laura Shanley
Bornfree! The Unassisted Childbirth Page