California Nurse-Midwives Association May 2021: Newsletter
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Message from the President: Maternal Mental Health Month
May is Maternal Mental Health Month, and May 3-7, 2021 is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. This particular “awareness” month is particularly meaningful to me, as I, like so many others, am a survivor of postpartum depression and I live with chronic anxiety. Given that 15-20% of all women and birthing people in California will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder (PMAD), and that PMADs are the most common complication of childbirth, I’d bet money that many of you who are reading this right now have had similar experiences.
We as midwives aren’t immune from any of the complications of childbearing, nor for that matter do we get a free pass from any of the trials of this human life. I would argue, rather, that as midwives we are called upon to embrace our own vulnerability and to use our lived experiences as a catalyst for connection, engagement, empathy, and a whole hearted relationship with those we care for when we are being with woman. I’d argue further that being “with woman” in this whole hearted relationship is completely incompatible with the traditional medical hierarchy that places the provider in a position of unaffected detachment and above the patient. As we strive for deep connections with ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, our patients, and each other, I’d like to invite you to to examine your own fallibility with grace and radical self love; and then extend that to everyone in your circle. It is only through this self-examination and acceptance that we can be both humble and powerful enough to reimagine ourselves, our systems, and our policies. This radical self love, this vulnerability, this power is essential to giving birth to all we imagine.
As James Baldwin said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but... the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” This month, I urge you to dive into your truth and your vulnerability. Share your story through the Blue Dot Project, and by doing so, empower others to see themselves and their power in you. Join your siblings this June as we Climb Out of the Darkness and Make Over Motherhood together.
In power and vulnerability,
Paris Maloof-Bury, CNM, IBCLC
President, California Nurse-Midwives Association