2009 PushSummit Day One: This is What Midwifery Looks Like!

Amie Newman

What's going on in Birmingham, Alabama this week? Midwives and activists from around the country are gathering to share stories, challenges and successes on legalizing and licensing midwifery in all states.

Thanks to Steff Hedenkamp of The Big Push for Midwives, we received this great report-back from the first day’s goings-on at the 2009 PushSummit, in Birmingham, Alabama this year.

Steff writes:

"Day One of PushSummit 2009 was excellent. Our state
activists made the tough decisions to leave their own frontlines and travel
enormous distances to come together to share their collective wisdom on how
best to educate policymakers, work with the media, and advance their respective
efforts to enact legislation to license and regulate Certified Professional

In our opening session, Pushers heard "State of the Push"
Reports from 14 states across the PushNation. We heard from states ranging from
those with long histories of having licensed and regulated Certified
Professional Midwives to those states who are "in the first trimester" of their
grassroots mobilization efforts.

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One of the highlights of Day One was a special screening of Bringin’
in Da Spirit
, a documentary film about midwives narrated by Phylicia Rashad and
directed by Rhonda L. Haynes. This was followed by the keynote presentation
by Nadiyah Seraaj of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing
(ICTC) in Portland, Oregon, which was created to support black women who
wish to become midwives. Seraaj urged all participants to join ICTC at www.blackmidwives.org.

From fundraising to bill language, to growing organizational
capacity and effective networking, Day One was a blockbuster event detailing
the various roles that grassroots advocates can play in the body politic. Stay
tuned for more from Birmingham, Alabama …"

But it’s not all Steff, all the time, of course! Here is some feedback from other attendees:

Lisa from Alabama said: "Awesome first day!  It’s just good to hear from states like
Idaho for example, where Certified Professional Midwives are now regulated and
licensed … as well as to hear from states that are looking at laws they already
have that could be stronger to better support increased access to
out-of-hospital maternity care … it feels like things are really coming together
nationwide for moms and babies."

Rachel from Missouri said: "This is the first conference
that I have ever attended that I didn’t want to leave the room at some point. I
just wanted to hear what everyone had to say."

Karen from Alabama said: "I wasn’t at the first PushSummit
in Chicago, but I have been really uplifted at this year’s. It was interesting
to hear the different reports from the states and to hear what everyone is

Russ Fawcett (from North Carolina) said: "What we heard today was a
chorus of resolve, many new brilliant ideas, and inspiring stories of success
from our state grassroots activists. These are real people with families who
have had life-changing experiences that have brought them to their advocacy
efforts, and we are so fortunate they choose to tirelessly give of their time,
talent and treasure to increase access to out-of-hospital birth.


Missouri delegation to the  2009 PushSummit: Rachel Williston, Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, Steff Hedenkamp, Mary UelandMissouri delegation to the 2009 PushSummit: Rachel Williston, Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, Steff Hedenkamp, Mary Ueland

Topics and Tags:

homebirth, Midwifery, The Big Push

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