Sunday, August 24, 2008

Birth trauma shouldn't be a secret, but it is

Do you read Postsecret? Every Sunday a new set of secrets, mailed in anonymously on postcards, goes up. This week one of the secrets had to do with an unnecessary c-section (scroll down about halfway to see it). I noticed this woman mentioned that her son is healthy...a lot of women hear "as long as you have a healthy baby, whatever happened to you doesn't matter". But I think deep down they suspect that they DO matter. And I loved, loved, loved that on this website that millions of people read, they posted a response to that secret directing this woman to ICAN. I hope it serves to educate more women about unnecessary c-sections long before they have to deal with the prospect personally.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Trying again

I haven't done as much posting in this blog as I'd planned. That's not to say I can't think of anything to post - I think of things to talk about all the time! I've just put so much time and effort and thought into the posts I've written so far that to write another one like that feels exhausting to me. I think I need to dial that thoroughness back a notch. So if you feel like I'm not citing something or not thinking something through, ask and I shall expound, but otherwise I'm going to try to be a little more casual.

I started graduate school in maternal and child health this week. I'll be getting a master's in public health. "What can you do with an MPH?" everyone asks me. Well, sometimes I worry about that myself. I have a lot of interest in direct service, and an MPH often leads more towards policy, research, and program development. But the truth was, I was tired of working crap jobs and an MPH was the quickest way to get myself to a way more interesting level. I still contemplate other degrees like an MSW or even - still - midwifery, but an MPH will always be useful to me and it does have a very broad applicability when I'm out looking for interesting work.

I'm already glad I'm doing it on maternal and child health, vs. something more general like health behavior. The subjects we discuss in class already catch my ear - terms I'm already familiar with from doula work, issues I already am very curious about. So far I seem to be the only one in my entering cohort so devoted to birth issues - there's more of a family planning and child health focus. But I think that's OK. It just needs I mean to push myself to really seek out opportunities to explore those issues through my classes, and that there won't be a lot of competition for that area!

One class that seems like it will be great is international issues in MCH. Dealing with high maternal mortality in developing countries is something that I've been very interested in for a while. While maternal deaths in developing countries stem - in part - from lack of medical care, the challenge is to respond creatively with only appropriate medical care. A developing country cannot (and should not) provide an OB for every woman. Rather, one needs to train midwives to handle uncomplicated birth, and make OB services available and accessible for the 15% of women who will require them. The readings are already very interesting. It's astounding, and depressing, that reducing death rates for mothers and children is not that hard - we know how to do it effectively - and yet not happening.