Happy International Week of Respecting Childbirth! Gabriela, from Argentina, sent us these photos from last Thursday of women standing up for their human rights in childbirth, and right to midwife assisted homebirth. In the middle of one of the main avenues in Buenos Aires, the women wore nothing but bodypaint over their breasts with signs that came together to read, “Si al parto en casa con parteras” – Yes to homebirth with midwives.
Gabriela writes, “The Independent Midwifes Association called for this protest in front of the Health Ministry because there is a new law being treated about home birth, limiting the way midwives work with lots of complicated rules, limiting the women that are able (no one after 35 years, no VBAC, etc). Maybe because number of women searching home birth is growing, families are discovering that they don’t need to be tortured to give birth.”
I have long been saying we need to all step up our activism, to speak up and speak out for every woman’s right to choose where and with whom a woman gives birth. It’s not about where we each would choose, but standing together to honor every woman’s right to choose and to give birth with dignity, respect and love. I am overjoyed to see how the Argentinian women are using art, their bodies and their voice to stand for every woman’s right to choose. I wish I was there to join them! Let’s join them in our communities this week of Respectful Childbirth to find creative ways to pass along what science tells us and human rights should guarantee us that women deserve to give birth where they feel safest, supported by a midwifery model of care in collaboration with caring physician and hospitals.
Please share your comments and your ideas for standing for and spreading a message of human rights in childbirth.
What do these 3 things have to do with International Week of Respecting Childbirth? IWRC is about speaking up and speaking out about all that is possible in childbirth so that we have more choices, receive more respect to create positive birth experience and lasting memories. The IWRC was initiated in 2004 by Alliance française pour l’accouchement respecté (AFAR), a French non-profit society entirely free from philosophical, medical, religious and political lines of thinking. Since 2011 its coordination has been handed over to the European Network of Childbirth Associations (ENCA).
The International Week for Respecting Childbirth is an opportunity to raise international voices on a specific topic related with the promotion of gentle birth. The IWRC takes place every year during the month of May. Depending on the theme, objectives and ideas for action are proposed. Individuals or groups may then work out the concrete steps taking advantage of material that has been collectively prepared and made available on the website: posters, folders, leaflets etc. Depending on people/group’s time and degree of involvement, many events can be organised at a more or less large scale: exhibitions, meetings, conferences.
It’s not too late to plan an event in your community. Here are 3 ideas:
- Show our film, Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret- we are happy to work with you to organize a screening and discussion. ENCA Nederland invites every midwife, childbirth educator, kraamverzorgende or doula to organize a screening of a positive birth film for pregnant women, their partners and others.
- Write your own blog about International Week of Respecting Childbirth.
- Share or create a meet-up of like minded mamas and/or birth workers and explore all the options for childbirth in your community.
IWRC from around the globe:
Vlasta in Prague: “Here in the Czech Republic we joined in 2005. Every year there is a great festival about pregnancy, birth and parenting, plus eco cosmetics, etc. in Prague plus different activities in other places around the CR as well. During the Festival in Prague doulas from the Czech Doula Association prepare an interactive program for children and students who come with their teachers.”
Daphne in Brazil: Last year, our International MotherBaby Organization Board of Directors member Daphne Rattner, also the president of the Brazilian Network for the Humanization of Childbirth (ReHuNa), spoke about the laws available and the ones needed for an optimal birth for women and babies at the House of Representatives of the Federal District in Brasília, by an initiative of its president, Wasny De Roure, and the Deputy Arlete Sampaio. During the event, the House of Representatives will honor ReHuNa for its 20 years of activist achievements.
In France – Avignon, Orange, Aix-en-Prove