Work-N-Progress: A Better Form of Social Activism ~ Six Degrees of Seperation

June 24, 2016

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Extraordinary Street Art ~ graffiti on public retaining wall incorporated into this compelling pair of eyes, with the foliage on the top of the wall framing her face with what looks like green hair.

I apologize to anyone who is reading this unfinished draft. At the moment, it is more like “brain-storming”.

However, this “work-n-progress’ does nail down some of the most interesting ideas, which is useful until i can finish the post.

Come back again in a couple of weeks (our birth practice has 3 babies due in the next four weeks), and it should be finished.


People identified as possibly interested and to contact later on:

Angie Thieriot, founder, Planetree Hospitals; Don Creevy, MD, retired obstetrician, Myra Gerson-Gilfix, JD, Dr. Selva (midwife-friendly obstetrician, Santa Cruz, CA), Shelly Girard, LM, normal birth activist, Henci Goer, researcher and published author several books on normal childbirth, Muna Bastir, mother and birth activist, Katy Reckdahl, investagative reporter, New Orleans area, Kate McGovern, author “50-50 Chance”; Lidia Yuknavitch, author; Professor Dues {Great Courses’ The Art of Conflict Management}


Dear Long-Time Friends and Best New Acquaintances ^O^

I hope this letter/email/blog post finds you and your loved ones well and happy. Each of you is one of a very small handful of my friends and professional acquaintances — people that I have a long and strong connection with, or if we have only recently met, someone’s who has talents that are uniquely suited to a new area of political activism that I have been developing over the last few months.

The focus of this activity is to promote the normalization of childbirth practice for healthy women with normal pregnancies and to stop the ever-escalating, unnecessary and potentially dangerous (always expensive!) medicalization of normal childbirth in this same population of healthy women. However, this new perspective for activism can also be used to good purpose in almost every arena of modern life.

I describe this as a variation of “six degrees of separation”. This is an observation that an individual can get in touch (either personally or in an exchange of information) with persons they aren’t already acquainted with in the equivalent of 6 steps, usually as phone calls. As a former ER nurse, I was often had to track down the vacationing parents of an ER patient that wasn’t yet 21 and we need parental permission to treat. I usually accomplished the job in less than 6 phone calls.

When it comes effective activism without exploiting precious human resources, what is needed is a way to connect people with specific abilities to a particular need in a timely fashion. Each of us is quite naturally the hub of a web that connects to other talented people or otherwise useful resources. Most of us, myself included, have not made use of these opportunities because there was no organized structure for utilizing such talent and no one else to coordinate with on a particular topic. All by ourselves, our time, talents, creative ideas and energies are too limited to make much headway.

But this alternative model of political activism creates both structure and coordinated effort that at the personal level is satisfying and effective without being burdensome. I’m describing unrushed activity that uses the unique talents of each of you as individuals, is both respectful and conservative of your time and energies, and occurs in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace.

I hope each of you will consider the possibility of being such a ‘resource’ – both in regard to your own unique talents and to the functional gift as the hub of a web of your own “six degrees of separation” resources.

As long as you have access to phone, a computer, and internet service, it also won’t cost you anything and no, its not a pyramid scheme. I am not marketing anything (multi-level or otherwise) or in any other way ‘pitching’ an economic scheme of any kind.

faith-headshot-wedding_2011A bit of background about me and birth politics

 

As most of you know, I have been a health care provider for my entire professional life and social activist trying to normalize childbirth practices since graduating from nursing school in 1962. In 1964 I became a mother myself and since then have been even more committed to seeing that the right of self-determination in regard to normal childbirth in healthy, mentally competent adult women was not merely respected but was accepted as the standard of care with legal obligations of HC providers to respect.

After working unsuccessfully for more than a decade as an L&D nurse to correct the many excesses of hospital obstetrics, I left nursing as a profession. I wanted to ‘walk my talk’, that is, to exemplify the safety and social benefits of a physiologically-based model of care for healthy women by being on the front lines myself as a community-based midwife.

The basic purpose of maternity care is to protect and preserve the health of already healthy women. The basic goal is a cost-effective model that is able to preserve health and effectively prevent or successfully treat complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Mastery in normal childbirth services for healthy women with normal pregnancies means bringing about a good outcome without introducing any unnecessary harm or unproductive expense.

The ideal maternity care system seeks out the point of balance where the skillful use of physiological management and adroit use of necessary medical interventions provides the best outcome with the fewest number of medical/surgical procedures and least expense to the health care system. Ultimately, all maternity care is judged by its results — the number of mothers and babies who graduate from its ministration as healthy, or healthier, than when they started.

In my mind, the ultimate goal has always been a model of maternity care for healthy women that integrated the scientific principles of physiological management with best advances in obstetrical medicine to create a single, evidence-based standard for all healthy women with normal pregnancies, with obstetric interventions reserved for those with complications or if requested by the mother. Having scientifically identified ‘standard care’ characteristics, this model of ‘best practices’ would apply to all birth settings and be used universally by all categories of birth attendants when providing care to healthy women.

In such an evidence-based model, the individual management of pregnancy and child- birth would be determined by the health status of the childbearing woman and her unborn baby, in conjunction with the mother’s stated preferences, rather than the occupational status of the care provider (physician or midwife).

In practical and political terms, the cultural controversy over childbirth practices should not pit physicians and midwives against each other or pit obstetricians against family practice physicians. No healthy child- bearing woman should ever be forced to choose between a midwife and a physician-obstetrician or between a home and hospital birth to have a physiologically managed normal birth.

Over that considerable span of time I saw and experienced many dramatic advances in medical science, new trends in how health care was provided and paid for, and in particular, the political configurations that determined which patients did and didn’t get taken care of and how (particularly childbirth practices) that care was provided or withheld. As someone with a lot of “up and close personal’ experience, I have lots of opinions about this important area of modern life. At elevating the public discourse in the area of health and in the rehabilitation of maternity care for healthy women.


 

@@@@ unedited below – June 23, 2016 @@@@

 

Lady Liberty_2009Participatory Democracy & Grass-roots Social Activism: Ideas for using people and technology in new and better ways

 

 

 

Ideas for integrating people with professional expertise and extensive life experience as an ‘expert resource’ for authors who want to use fiction (i.e. books, films, television, etc.) as a medium for scientific information and education on various topics, but especially the normalizing of normal childbirth in healthy women.

Education in this sense refers to a general understanding of scientific principals as well as correcting wrong ideas & harmful assumptions. It that regard, this form of fact-based fictions also provides an opportunity to raise social consciousness relative to controversial topics.


@ Fact-based fiction as medium for science education and “six degrees of separation” as a complementary source of uniquely relevant information from


@ Before I marry these two strange ideas to make one big whole, let me explain each one by itself and then we’ll them back together.

@ First is fact-based fiction as medium for science education as part of an entertaining story by adding either ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ topics that usually are not a part of the public discourse

@I would like to see if we could get people already proven to have a certain talent or influence to together to work on a project in their area of expertise or loosely on big picture ideas that have the potential to move the conversation forward to a 21st century model of physiologically-based maternity care for healthy women.

@ While this can appeal to any type of audience, a particularly appropriate target audience are stories written for the young-adult age group (late teens, early 20s). This can address any interesting science topic, as well correcting specific wrong & harmful assumption and raising the general social consciousness of various issues (for example racial, ethnic and religious prejudice in the context of one’s family, schoolmates,and neighborhood

@ – that is, personally connecting up authors and screen-writers the profession expertize and life-experience of people with unique personal stories.

@ Six degrees of Separation — connecting the profession expertize and life-experience of people with unique personal stories into a people-powered grid the areas of fiction writing, investigative journalism, Hollywood and indie film makings, television, etc.

@@@ Other related ideas that bundle with this untapped pool of “unsung “experts” is idea I have been developing for an “off-Broadway” version of TED Talks — video presentations in areas of expertise (what I describe as “TeddyTalks”) for those of us who would benefit from the wonders of video-editing technology (ex. retakes, out-takes and ways to perfect a less-than-perfect first take performance.

@@@@ Last but not least I also an interesting in developing of a computer-based video teaching program relative to the biological principles of normal childbirth. Obviously an online computer generated video program allows you to make mistakes w/o anyone dying.

Students get to practice making decisions and finding out what happens when they make their best guess. It the ideal way to teach any healthcare discipline, in that it is effective, inexpensive and safe. (more about this later in this post). 

@ into a people-powered grid the areas of fiction writing, investigative journalism, Hollywood and indie film makings, television, etc.

@ Brief part of the story – backstory, flash-backs, or short contemporary scenes from a few pages to an on-going thread intertwined in a fiction story of any kind – can interlaced into books, Hollywood and Indie films, TV sitcoms and dramatic series, mini-series.

@ A published example of this is Young-Adults author Kate McGovern. Her novel “RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES” is about a 17½ year-old high school senior whose mother is a carrier for the Huntington’s disease gene and has recently become symptomatic. At the age of 18, her daughter will have to decide whether she wants to take a genetic test for HD, knowing there’s a 50-50 chance it will be positive.

@ If she decides to test and looses this coin-toss, it means living the rest of her life knowing that she will literally follow in her mother’s footstep into increasing dementia by the age of 40 or so. If she doesn’t test, she and her loved ones will have to live different, but also difficult set of issues and problems. The format of a novel provides an extremely useful for exploring the science of HD, and the sociology and psychology of dealing with HD up-close and personal. (U can read more @ http://www.kate-mcgovern.com/#hello-there)

@@ My own personal and professional goals for fact-based fiction is to tell the last and most important UNTOLD story of the 20th century: How normal childbirth got trapped on the wrong side of history in America. Beginning in 1910, a perfect storm of unrelated issues turned healthy childbearing women in the US into the patients of a surgical specialty and normal childbirth into a surgical procedure. The result was the most profound and far-reaching change in childbirth practices in the history of the human species. This perspective, and the policies they engendered, continues to underpin the obstetrical model of care as applied to healthy women today.

@@ A Downton Abby type series/Call the Midwife to be produced in the UK

@@ Ask the midwife, an on-going series of 3 to 10 minute YouTube video dealing with all kinds of issues relative to normal physiological childbirth the controversy between Ob medicine, mfry and physiologically normal child birth etc.

@@@@ Game theory – actually what I would call a computer-based video teaching program that allowed not only information about the biology-physiology and other technical aspects of caring for women having a normal childbirth but also the ability to develop and practice using one clinical judgments. Obviously an online computer generated video program allows you to make mistakes w/o anyone dying.

Students get to practice making decisions and finding out what happens when they make their best guess. It the ideal way to teach any healthcare discipline, in that it is effective, inexpensive and safe.

@@@ Last but not least is the idea of Teddy Talks. Teddy Talks are like Ted Talks, only on topics that are much less global. Anyone can do a Teddy Talk about topics that are of limited interest or only pertinent to a special group of people.

Also it’s something that you can yourself decide to do, rather than waiting for the Ted talk people to invite you to prove to present.  It also means that you get to use notes, do a takeover and use the wonders of video editing. That means that you can take delete bad parts and rearrange the order in which ideas are presented. It’s really much more user-friendly than TED Talks and it’s much more achievable then waiting to get invited to do a Ted talk.

@@ I would like to see if we could get people already proven to have a certain talent, or influence to together to work on a project in their area of expertise or loosely on big picture ideas that have the potential to move the conversation forward to a 21st century model of physiologically-based maternity care for healthy women.

@@ What we are doing now (food fights in the NYT with Amy Tuteur et al are not working and frankly, can’t work. Pitched battles between two opposing side do not provide a suitable opportunity to inform people in ways that really make a real difference.

@@ As I and other midwives are found of saying “More of what isn’t working won’t work either. So let’s skip what doesn’t work and do the things that would work to change the public perception of normal birth from an obstetrical emergency to something that’s part of normal life. We want the next generation of childbearing women to NOT expect a surgical delivery unless there’s an actual present tense medical problem for which that is the appropriate solution.

========= parking lot for unfinished ideas/sentences, etc =============

@@ I want to harness the idea of fact-based fiction, and

@@ as an aspect of scientific education and raised consciousness of the public about childbirth practices and to appropriately portray midwives and midwifery as an important and historically honorable profession

@@ as known characters in the fiction story deal with pregnancy and a physiologically-managed (i.e. not medicalized) normal labor and birth in an OOH setting, and what happens to the new mother and baby in the first hours after the birth.