I am a Midwife Public Education Campaign
I am a Midwife is a series of short, captivating, informative interviews profiling midwives across the country. The campaign will launch on May 5, International Day of the Midwife, will appear on the Midwives Alliance You Tube Channel, and be promoted through a variety of social media platforms
Purpose of the Project
Over the course of the last twenty to thirty years, having a baby in the United States has become a technology-ridden event, rampant with testing, intervention and surgery. “Normal” has come to refer less to the natural physiological process of birth and more to what is considered commonplace in American obstetrical practices. There is ample reliable evidence here and abroad to indicate that midwives are capable of providing the gold standard in maternity care. In fact, in most Western countries midwives do just that. However in the U.S., the general public is only vaguely aware of what midwives do, who they are, where to find them, what settings their maternity care services are provided, and how to evaluate those services. According to the Listening to Mothers surveys (2002, 2006, 2008), over the past decade increasing numbers of women of reproductive age obtain information about pregnancy and childbirth online. They use various social media to engage in communication, relationship-building and information-gathering.
We believe women make responsible well-considered reproductive health choices when they have access to evidence-based information. If the primary place women go to find information is the Internet then that is where we must be prepared to engage them. Social media is a powerful tool for public education. Social networks allow two-way conversations in which the Midwives Alliance can not only educate the public, but also listen to their needs, motivations and desires. This listening allows for more effective future engagement, which is the foundation of a robust and effective public education campaign. The Midwives Alliance intends to meet women where they are, harness the power of social media and thereby create social change. Given the current climate surrounding childbirth in America there is no better time than now to change the cultural discourse around birth and midwifery.
Video Interviews of Midwives
I am A Midwife campaign will provide a glimpse into the lives of everyday midwives and will answer questions about who a midwife is and what s/he does by profiling the diversity of midwives practicing in all settings—urban, rural and tribal areas, hospitals, birth centers, homes, and academia. By focusing on midwives in different communities and using social networking tools, we will raise public awareness about midwifery care, with the ultimate goal of increasing access to midwives. Our goal is to build the case for women to view pregnancy, labor, and birth as normal, natural processes, and encourage women to seek care from a midwife, and ultimately to improve birth outcomes in the U.S.
Geradine Simkins, CNM, MSN is a midwife, President of the Midwives Alliance and Interim Executive Director, and co-creator of the I am a Midwife public education campaign. Geradine is a writer, activist, and visionary with over thirty years experience working in maternal and child healthcare, women’s healthcare, and with community-based programs. She is the owner of Birthways Consulting in Traverse City, Michigan and has worked as a maternal and child health consultant, program designer and educator for organizations that serve American Indian communities regionally and nationally. Geradine is the editor of a new book entitled Into These Hands, Wisdom From Midwives (2011.)
Tamara Taitt , CPM, MS, MFTI, PhDc is a midwife, marriage and family therapist, board member of the Midwives Alliance and co-creator of the I am a Midwife public education campaign. Tamara has been working in Maternal, Infant and Child Health for the last five years focusing on perinatal health disparities and perinatal bereavement. Tamara has a keen interest in birth politics and advocacy, the sustainability of the midwifery profession and woman's reproductive health issues. Tamara is currently project manager of the Midwives Alliance Public Education Campaign. Tamara lives in Miami, Florida.
Nicolle Littrell, MA, is an independent broadcast media professional. She is a documentary filmmaker, educator, activist and producer/director at Woman in the Moon Films. Her recent project, "At Home in Maine," is an online film series about Maine's homebirth and midwifery community. Nicolle is the filmmaker for the I am a Midwife educational series.