The MAMA Grapevine

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Share your birth story with the MAMA Campaign!

As we put bandaids over our blistered feet from walking the halls of Congress last week, it was with the knowledge that everything we do makes a real difference that kept us going. Reading and sharing stories of true triumph and blessings as families across the country birth their babies into the waiting hands of Certified Professional Midwives reminds us that we truly make a difference in the lives of babies. Please enjoy this beautiful birth story and consider sharing your own!

Birch’s Birth – from a mother’s perspective


On Saturday, Feb 7th I awoke with a feeling of anticipation. It was the baby’s due date, although I didn’t think that he or she would actually come on this day. In fact, I was prepared for another 10 days of waiting. Still the anticipation was there. It is hard not to be hopeful when it feels like a basketball weighing 30 pounds is in your belly! And the fatigue!


Richard and I felt prepared both emotionally and physically for labor and for the early days of parenthood. We had gone to a birth class for six weeks which was based on the book “Birthing from Within” by Pam England. Our friends and community here in Vermont had blessed us in two different Blessingway ceremonies and many of them signed up to bring us food for the first two weeks after our baby’s birth. The cloth diapers were ready to be put to use. Our Certified Professional Midwife, Mary Lawlor, and doula, Natalie, were ready to come to our house at a moments notice. Although I experienced moments of anxiety about the pains of labor, I was able to get through those moments by reminding myself that my body was designed to give birth and that many women had gone before me. Most of the time I felt confident about labor because I knew that giving birth had the potential to be a very empowering experience. I was especially excited about giving birth in my own home.


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Fundraising for MAMA: Missoula, Montana

Here is the first in a series of stories about Mothers and Midwives in Action across the country. We hope these stories can inspire you to hold an event in your own community!


Missoula, Montana (population 60,000) is in the middle of the northern Rocky Mountains and the home of an active home birth community. This last May I hosted a public talk on on health reform, maternity care and Certified Professional Midwives and asked for volunteers to participate in local organizing. Five people signed up. We have met 3 times so far to generate ideas for a political action/fundraising event in our community. All volunteers are recipients of midwifery care for their combined 13 home births. 


The first meeting was an inspirational discussion about how the MAMA Campaign was trying to protect the right to have a birth at home with a Certified Professional Midwife by including CPMs in national health reform. The consensus of the group was to raise money to support the MAMA Campaign as well as engage in lobbying efforts with our state’s senior senator, Max Baucus, head of the Senate Finance committee. 


As a political action we decided to plan and sponsor an informal parade of mothers, dads, babies, children and supporters. The participants will meet with signs, costumes, props, etc. to march over the Higgins Ave. bridge into downtown and end at Senator Max Baucus’ local office. We will present Senator Baucus with a petition signed by all parade participants. The petition will state our support for Certified Professional Midwives to be named in the Medicaid portion of the Senate health reform bill. 


The next day will be a silent auction/pizza party to raise money and support the MAMA Campaign. We are in the process of finding a place for the auction and getting auction items donated. One person is the advertising genie, two are auction item genies, one person is the location captain and I am the overseer/blogger. Today, one business owner donated an auction item and stated, “I am still paying out of pocket for a hospital birth that cost $11,000 since I did not have insurance. I am all for this reform!”




Sensible Solutions to Better Health Care

If you haven't read it already, please review Atul Gawande's op-ed piece in the August 12th edition of the NYTimes. In his first three paragraphs, Gawande summarize's our nation's rhetorical dilemna and brings us to the priority focal point: "to change how [health] care is delivered so that it is both less expensive and more effective".
Since midwifery from Certified Professional Midwives has been proven to be both less expensive and more effective in the delivery of babies with less interventions, we at the MAMA Campaign couldn't agree more.

10 Steps to Better Health Care


We have reached a sobering point in our national health-reform debate. Americans have recognized that our health system is bankrupting us and that we have dealt with this by letting the system price more and more people out of health care. So we are trying to decide if we are willing to change — willing to ensure that everyone can have coverage. That means banishing the phrase “pre-existing condition.” It also means finding ways to pay for coverage for those who can’t afford it without help.

Both of these steps stir heated argument, not to mention lobbyists’ hearts. But what creates the deepest unease is considering what we will have to do about the system’s exploding costs if pushing more people out is no longer an option. We have really discussed only two options: raising taxes or rationing care. The public is understandably alarmed.

There is a far more desirable alternative: to change how care is delivered so that it is both less expensive and more effective. But there is widespread skepticism about whether that is possible.


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On the path with the MAMA Campaign

“Sometimes the most direct route to your heart’s desire is a path full of twists and turns…” (Anonymous)

Well, friends and supporters of the Mothers and Midwives in Action (MAMA) Campaign—we are certainly on a road full of twists and turns…We are also moving fast and keeping many apples in the air to ensure that the path is an upward, successful climb.

Health care reform action has EXPLODED this week in Washington, D.C. Support for federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives has been building and very much a part of the action this week. Even as we write to you all today, analysis of the status of amendments in the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee is neither complete nor final.

The House of Representatives has adjourned for the August recess and the Senate will adjourn at the end of next week. Lots of outreach to Congress members can happen during the August recess and that will be our focus. What is clear is that our work together will continue throughout the August recess and into Congressional debates in September. Fasten your seatbelts, sound the alarm, we are all in this TOGETHER!

For more about the process of overall health care reform in Congress, visit

NEWS of SUPPORT: MAMA is thrilled to receive full recognition and support from major national organizations this week:

National Women's Law Center
Our Bodies Ourselves
National Women's Health Network
Raising Women's Voices
Childbirth Connection
Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS)

FINANCIAL NEWS: MAMA is nearing the halfway mark in raising the minimum money essential for the success of our Campaign. We have roughly $70,000 in hand or pledged. ALERT! We must stay on our pace of raising $10,000 a week for the rest of the Congressional session in order to complete our goal. To ensure skilled help in Washington DC and well-organized coordination of our country-wide support, we must continue to call out to all supporters for help with this financial reality. Thanks to all of you who have already donated. Do send our message far and wide to your friend and family networks!


For more reasons to donate, watch this! Hear what moms, dads and grandparents across the country have to say about CPMs and choices in childbirth. Please watch this inspiring video and send it on to friends, family and clients.

NETWORKING NEWS: Join us on Facebook and Twitter!
Our network is growing and with your help we can reach more supporters to our cause. Please invite your Facebook Friends to join the MAMA Campaign Facebook Group. Visit our group and click on the "Invite your Friends" link on our page. You will be able to send a message to all of your Facebook friends asking them to join the MAMA Campaign!

Subscribe to the MAMA Grapevine—MAMA’s blog-- to get the latest updates on the MAMA Campaign, articles on Health Care Reform, and personal stories about how CPMs can be an integral part of quality maternity care. Link our blog to your Facebook, Twitter, and other networking site profiles with a simple click of the "share" button at the top and bottom of the page. 

Please help us help you! Support the MAMA Campaign TODAY






"Where's the birth plan?"

Check out Jennifer Block's post about maternity care and health care reform on RH Reality Check!

Here's a highlight:

A new economic analysis forecasts savings of $9.1 billion per year if 10 percent of women planned to deliver out of hospital with midwives. (Right now, just one percent do). If America is serious about reform, midwifery advocates are saying, "Hey, how about us?"

You can help the MAMA Campaign continue efforts to lobby Congress to include CPMs, experts in out of hospital birth, as part of the list of federally recognized practitioners reimbursed by Medicaid.

Have any of you had hospital AND home deliveries? How'd the costs compare?