It would be nice if we, in the birth world, had a crystal ball and could see what is ahead for women and babies. I notice, as do many of my cohorts, that the only constant these days, is change itself. Women are changing, families are changing, the entire world is changing around us and we as servants to those women must figure a way to change with it. It is my opinion, after observation and a few years of personal experience, that doula, childbirth educator, midwifery and medical organizations find themselves at a crossroads. Change or become obsolete. Move into a new way of serving members and the women we serve or become irrelevant. The big question is not whether change is necessary, but instead, what does this change need to look like? and will those in places of opportunity allow the change to occur.
Growing pains are a necessary part of life, even professional life, but the ailments that plague our associations, at local and national levels, aren't simply about growth, they are also about sacred cows and talking the talk but being afraid to walk the walk. Change is scary and the type of change needed in the birth world is blind.... we don't know what is ahead, we can't see around the corners and there's no way to plan long term. Only the fearless and innovative will be successful in navigating these waters. Cling to the old ways of doing things, stick to what only works for yourself instead of what is necessary for the big picture, and you'll get exactly where you are going. Right back to where you started; no place NEW.
I don't feel the news is bad here. In fact, I see a new and exciting consumer groundswell happening and I do feel that wherever we are going, doulas will be part of the solution. Good, consumer based childbirth education will be part of the solution. Midwives and Physicians will be part of the solution. But for us to get to THAT place, we'll need to start looking deeply at ourselves and respecting each other. Above all, we'll all need to give authoritative knowledge back to the mother, and she will need to accept the responsibility of having it. That's a tall order. Until we get there, we will have to feel our way along, blindly and find a way to honor the brave change-making innovators among us instead of vilifying them; quit shooting the messengers and be willing to LISTEN to hard truths in order to figure where to step next.
As I said before, this all begins when we take the time to examine our own industries in the true light of day and with the willingness to leave behind what no longer serves us. Be brave and take a look. I'm very interested to hear what you find.