BNN Blog

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  • 20 Feb 2014 3:48 PM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Media Contact:  Michal Klau-Stevens, michal@birthnetwork.org
     
    BirthNetwork National Applauds New Guidelines to Prevent Primary Cesarean – Calls on Doctors and Hospitals to Implement Them Quickly

    February 20, 2014 – BirthNetwork National is praising new medical guidelines published by leading medical societies to prevent primary cesareans, and is calling for action from doctors and hospitals to quickly implement the recommendations into practice and hospital protocols.

    The new guidelines are based on careful research of the best available scientific evidence relating to birth and focus on preventing primary cesarean surgery.  They call for longer time allowances for first stage of labor, longer pushing stage of labor, increased use of instrument delivery, changes in managing variations in fetal heart rate as read with electronic fetal monitors, abstaining from inducing labor before 41 weeks without maternal or fetal indications, not using ultrasound late in pregnancy to determine if a baby is large, increasing continuous labor support and the use of doulas to provide that support, and increasing access to vaginal birth for breech babies and twins  in certain circumstances.

    “Much of this evidence has been available for years, and we are very pleased to see such a well-researched and comprehensive set of recommendations being offered as practice guidelines for obstetricians. The next step is incorporating these guidelines into hospital protocols and doctors’ practices so that women and babies can benefit from them,” states Cheryl Gates, President of BirthNetwork National.

    BirthNetwork National is calling on hospitals to change protocols by extending time limits for first and second stage of labor, promoting intermittent auscultation for monitoring fetal heart rate, restricting non-medically indicated induction of labor before 41 weeks, promoting the use of doulas for continuous labor support for mothers, and increasing access to vaginal birth with informed consent to mothers of breech babies and twins.

    BirthNetwork National is also calling on maternity care doctors to implement these evidence-based guidelines into their practice, including abandoning the use of ultrasound late in pregnancy as a diagnostic basis for requiring cesarean delivery for large babies.  BirthNetwork National encourages doctors to utilize all the non-surgical tools and skills at their disposal to encourage vaginal birth and utilize the option of cesarean surgery only in cases of clear medical need.

    The new guidelines will be published by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) in a joint Obstetric Care Consensus statement: Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery, in the March 2014 journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

    The ACOG and SMFM are the leading organizations of maternity care doctors, but not all obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine specialists are members, and doctors are not required to follow the guidelines.  For example, new guidelines for Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) were issued in 2010 by ACOG, yet few women around the country who are eligible to attempt a VBAC according to the recommendations are given the opportunity by doctors or hospitals to do so.

    BirthNetwork National chapters can provide neutral ground for hospital administrators, doctors, midwives, nurses, doulas, childbirth educators, and other birth-related service providers to come together with expectant parents and find ways to implement systemic change.  For example, the New Jersey BirthNetwork chapter is hosting its second symposium in March, Supporting New Jersey’s Birth Plan: Implementing Evidence-Based, Mother-Friendly Practices in New Jersey, to continue the work it began last year of developing a state-wide plan that engages hospitals, providers, and patients.

    The United States has the highest infant and maternal death rates relating to childbirth than any other industrialized country in the world.  Part of the reason for this appears to be from overuse of cesarean surgery as a mode of birth.  One in three women give birth by cesarean in our country now.  Cesarean surgery can save lives in certain cases, but is also associated with higher rates of negative outcomes for mothers and babies in terms of physical, mental, and emotional health as compared with vaginal birth.  The surgeries are also very expensive, adding to our nation’s already bloated healthcare costs.

    Fear of litigation is often stated as an underlying cause for the high rate of cesarean.  Current practice seems to seek to avoid litigation, but actually increases risk to the health of women and babies.

    “We understand that incorporating these changes into practice can be challenging, and we offer our encouragement and support to make them happen for the women and babies in our communities,” says Michal Klau-Stevens, president emeritus of BirthNetwork National.  “Changing practice and culture requires investment in training and engagement at all levels of the maternity care system, and we hope to see that investment made because the way women give birth truly does affect lives.”

    BirthNetwork National is a volunteer-run consumer organization with fifty chapters around the country with the mission of improving the awareness and availability of Mother-Friendly maternity care.

    A full media kit is available at http://www.birthnetwork.org/mediakit.htm

    Contact Details:

    BirthNetwork National  www.birthnetwork.org

    Michal Klau-Stevens, President Emeritus and Administrator
    michal@birthnetwork.org

  • 10 Jan 2014 6:13 PM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)
    Nashville BirthNetwork welcomes Rebekah Porter!

    Rebekah
    Porter is a mother of 9 kids and has been in Nashville since 2006. She is a birth doula and feels strongly that Nashville could be a place for better births. "As the new leader we are launching several new projects including Empowering Fearless Birth Conference, free childbirth education and doula training for the refugee population, doula apprenticeship program, meet the doulas night, and community out reach classes. It has been fun meeting groups like WIC, Metro Health, Julie's Village, CRIT, NICE, World Relief, and NOVA. I feel that if we join together, share our talents, and educate Nashville, women will be better able to advocate for what is best for them. "
  • 02 Dec 2013 12:18 PM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)

    Book Review by Michal Klau-Stevens

    NYU University Press

    ©2013 by New York University


    What is driving the high rate of cesarean section births in America?  This is the question that Theresa Morris seeks to answer in her book, Cut It Out.  The rate of births by cesarean section is so high now that the damage to women and babies is greater now than the risks it is meant to alleviate.  Morris calls it “a paradox” that obstetricians and hospitals, sworn to promote the health of individuals, know this yet continue to perform numerous surgeries. 

    While the current way of thinking places the lion’s share of blame for the cesarean crisis at the feet of pregnant women and the care providers, Morris suggests that, “the increasing c-section rate is a result of the way that health care organizations have responded to their legal and economic environments.”  Her work uncovered major stressors at the organizational level which constrain the choices of both expectant women and health care providers and which lead them to enact certain behaviors even though those behaviors do not lead to improved outcomes.  

    Morris is a sociology professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.  She applies the theories of Max Weber, a founder of sociology, who tells us that, “to understand societal behaviors and trends one must look at the meaningful action of people involved in decisions that lead to those behaviors and trends.”  Furthermore, to understand the organizational and societal roots of the problem, one must understand the experiences of the players involved in order to understand the reasons for their actions.  In order to gain this empathetic viewpoint, Morris interviewed fifty maternity care providers, including obstetricians, family practice doctors, midwives, and labor and delivery nurses.  Her team also interviewed eighty-three postpartum women at a Connecticut hospital. 

    In interview after interview with doctors, midwives, and nurses Morris found that the threat of liability was the most influential factor in how care is ultimately provided for birthing women.  Although the number of lawsuits against providers has not increased over time, the amount of money paid out has increased drastically.  This has led to crushing malpractice insurance costs that cause doctors to feel trapped in the profession of obstetrics; unable to practice in a manner they believe will lead to positive outcomes, fearing that the next birth they attend could be the one poor outcome that costs them their careers, their homes, and possibly their life-savings.  They are also unable to leave the profession without paying huge fees to cover the costs of possible future lawsuits from births attended up to 12 years prior. 

    Because the malpractice liability awards have achieved astronomical levels, up to a $58.6 million award in Connecticut in 2011, organizations try to standardize practice and minimize risk in every aspect of caregiving.  From the patient safety movement and its practice of standardization, to peer reviews, quality measures, the use of technology, and to the lack of adherence to high-quality evidence at the organizational level when creating care guidelines, Professor Morris finds that the liability threat consistently rears its ugly head.  In discussions of every aspect of care that birth advocates find to be areas of concern, such as continuous fetal monitoring and lack of access to VBAC, Morris draws out the lens and provides a much wider viewpoint that encompasses both the characters on the stage; the expectant parents and their doctors and nurses, and also shows the puppet masters – the hospital administrators and risk managers, insurers, and organizations involved in creating the rules that caregivers and patients must follow.  She then draws the lens out even further to encompass the theater where the whole show takes place; the malpractice system in our country and the regulations and health care laws that ultimately guide all decision making. 

    While we often focus on doctors and midwives as being the key decision makers in maternity care, the organizations that create the care environment, including not only hospitals and insurers but also the medical liability system and state and federal governments, are the true arbiters of acceptable care.  If the priorities at the highest levels of the organizations involved were adequately addressed to remove the organizational disincentives to practicing appropriate, less interventive care, the cesarean rate would go down.  Understanding the root cause of the high cesarean rate gives us the opportunity to redirect our efforts as advocates working to promote evidence-based care.

    At the end of the book Professor Morris offers a number of solutions which could be undertaken by maternity care participants at each level of activity.  She has suggestions for birthing women, care providers, hospitals, insurers, ACOG, and medical schools.  She also recommends two long-term societal solutions – reforming the malpractice system in the United States and moving towards a less medicalized system for birth that promotes midwifery care and out-of-hospital birth.

    Thoroughly referenced and somewhat academic in tone, Cut It Out is full of information that will be useful to birth advocates to gain a broader understanding of the organizational factors that influence the high rate of cesareans in the United States. There are numerous quotes from caregivers in the book which give a more nuanced understanding of the pressures, concerns, and thought processes that come into play from their perspective.  Some birth advocates may find that the book is overly sympathetic to the concerns of doctors even while they continue to cause women and babies harm by over-using cesarean surgery.  Professor Morris’ contention is that there are larger forces at work that are forcing doctors’ hands, and if we address those forces we will, over time, have more success in reducing the cesarean rate. 

    You can watch a video of Professor Theresa Morris discussing why she wrote “Cut It Out” by following the link below:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EtciBO4K3w

    Also, receive 20% off when you purchase the book by entering MORRIS as the promo code!  This offer is available until 1/1/2014.

  • 22 Nov 2013 2:22 PM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)
    Would you like to connect with other chapter leaders in a meaningful way while helping BNN on a national level? Would you like to be part of a core team of chapter leaders who will lead BNN through a new era of growth? We are looking for volunteers to be part of a new program that will strengthen our chapters. In the past the BNN Board of Directors was able to offer each chapter individual support. Now we have too many chapters for this to be possible, and with a greater number of new chapters this one on one support is more needed then ever before. To meet this crucial need we are developing a program where chapter leaders will mentor one another.

    This Chapter Leader Mentoring Program will provide nurturing relationships between the mentor and the chapter leaders. These relationships will also connect the chapter leaders to the BNN Board of Directors and the administrator, ensuring that each chapter is fully supported, doing the necessary things to be a chapter in good standing, and that communication is flowing freely between the chapter leaders and the board as well as between chapter leaders. The new mentors will be on the front lines, hearing the exciting things the chapters are working on as well as helping them work through their challenges. Each mentor will have a handful of chapter leaders they will be checking in with every month. This check in could be a simple “How are things going?” on Facebook or a more in depth phone call where you help the chapter leader troubleshoot a problem. Mentors will have opportunities to gather with other mentors and the board. The Mentoring Coordinator will be available to help throughout the whole mentoring process.

    We know you are all working hard to promote the MFCI in your own communities; now is your chance to share your expertise with other chapter leaders as you develop new friendships with amazing birth advocates all over the country. If you are ready to join the BNN leadership team and be a mentor, or if you have any questions please contact me at mentoring@birthnetwork.org.

    Thank you!

    Anna Van Wagoner

  • 21 Oct 2013 9:26 AM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)
    “Where there is no vision, the people perish” – Proverbs 29:18




    When I first became a doula in 2009 I tried to start a doula network, facilitating meetings and workshops. I desired a community of colleagues, sharing their experiences and encouraging one another in their journey to empower women during the childbearing year. Unfortunately after 12 months roughly hosting regular meetings and plus two workshops, it had not thrived like I had hoped. I live in Delaware, up until several years ago it was near impossible to find a doula.

    Most people had no idea what a doula was or did, if they had heard the term. The handful doulas I knew of lived an hour north of me bordering Pennsylvania. I had to surrender to the fact that the community I live in just wasn’t ready for a doula network. I put it on the back burner until the community was ready. However, I never surrendered my deep longing for a birth community.
     
    Over the years as a birth professional I actively sought out doulas in my area; aspiring, new and seasoned alike. I worked to keep communication going, by adding those with an expressed interest to my email list or newsletter; to inform them about activities and events they may be interested in. Rarely I heard beyond the initial email inquiring about how to become a doula. It was disheartening for me.

    This experience led me to change my approach a bit. Several times a year I attend events like baby fairs, holistic health expos and lactation educational seminars as a vendor so I can reach two types of audiences: consumers and health care professionals. It’s a really great opportunity to network with supporters in the community and potential advocates who can help promote your cause on a professional level within state health departments, health care practices, hospitals and various other organizations.
     
    You could also seek out networking opportunities with like-minded women through babywearing groups and breastfeeding groups like Le Leche League. While these groups are not directly birth related, they are still a wonderful resource. 8 years ago we had no Le Leche League, but today we have two! When Delmarva Babywearers, first formed about 8 years ago about 5 women attended monthly. Their babywearing group has exploded into 6 meetings a month (some social and some instructional) with 15-20 women attending! I encourage all new local moms and my clients to attend their meetings. I have found it to be one the best sources of passionate advocates to tap into. While they may not be actively involved in every birth-relative initiative, they can help spread the word to new members joining their group.
     
    Another fantastic option to creat a birth community is through an established organization like Birth Network National, who have chapters nation wide. The Birth Network is comprised of parents, professionals and advocates. Your state or community may be in need of you to start a chapter. An organization like Birth Network National has already done all the work to establish and can give you ideas on how to create a birth community. In Fall 2012 I started the Delaware Birth Network with great anticipation. In June the Delaware Birth Network hosted a successful “Doula Night”. Several women came out to support doulas, learn about becoming a doula and learn about what doulas do. I wish I could tell you our monthly meetings have a lot of people attending or even regular attendees. However, Delaware has tremendous obstacles to overcome to grow a thriving birth community. I firmly believe in time with a lot of hard work and creativity we will reach more people.
     
    At the end of May I had the great privilege of hosting a doula workshop for Birth Arts International, which 12 wonderful women attended. One of the most touching parts of the workshop was that one of the women who attended was a former doula client of mine! That is powerful and beautiful! I had planned this for nearly 9 months and been dreaming of ways to grow the birth community in Delaware for 5 years. For quite some time I have been the only active doula in central Delaware. While some may say by hosting a doula workshop I’m “training my competition”, I disagree, I believe there is power in creating colleagues so your impact may be greater. Helen Keller said it best, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
     
    In order to continue seeing growth in the community we must also facilitate opportunities for continuing education for birth professionals. Fall 2013 Delaware will be having its first placenta encapsulation workshop. In 2014 I hope to host a workshop with Lara Catone, to teach a workshop to birth professionals, about diastasis, pelvic floor health, scar tissue and it’s effect on labor. The neat thing about the workshop with Lara is that while I feel is vital information to all birth professionals, it will also be open to consumers. It’s a great opportunity to blend parents and professionals together!
     
    If you are waiting for a birth community to start thriving in your area, stop waiting and start getting busy! The “community” may be waiting for YOU to cultivate it! Reach out, network, prepare to be rejected and ignored but don’t give up. It may take years but it will be worth it. If you are so fortunate to live in an area where there is an existing and thriving birth community, count your blessings and please go hug those pioneers that paved the way. They will appreciate it more than you know.

    Cindy Collins is a native of the San Francisco Bay area but now resides in Delaware with her husband and 3 boys.

    Before she became a doula she was a professionally trained baker, holding a degree in baking & pastry. In addition to being a doula she volunteers as the chapter leader for the Delaware Birth Network. She is also an herbalist studying dually with Heart of Herbs with Demetria Clark and Herbal Medicine for Women with Aviva Romm.

    Cindy is also a professional photographer who specializes in maternity, birth and nursing portraiture. For more information she can be reached at euphoricbirth.com and euphoricherbals.com
  • 03 Oct 2013 8:21 PM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)
    By guest blogger Barbara Rivera  -NJBN

      When you hear the words prenatal education, what comes to mind? A room full of expecting mothers and partners preparing for birth. But to Julie Ryan Gerland Chief United Nations Representative of the Non Governmental Organization OMAEP (also called the World Organization of Prenatal Education Associations -the initials for the organization are in French), prenatal education is a vital instrument for supporting a shift in the world regarding health, peace and sustainability.  During a recent event, held at Montclair State University, titled, “Fear & Stress to Wellbeing: How the nine months in the womb influence the rest of a person's life,” Dr. Gerland shared how prenatal education can impart scientific and psychological knowledge to empower parents and society to move from a survival mindset, to one of thriving.

      Most people know that environmental toxins and a bad diet can contribute to disease of the developing fetus during pregnancy but many don’t know that chronic stress, fear and violence will cause a fetus to develop in different ways.  Dr. Gerland says that,  according to the overwhelming scientific evidence, all efforts to fix the problems in the world won’t work unless we change the way mothers live and the way babies are treated at the beginning of life.

      Over 30 year of science shows that everything the pregnant mother lives will contribute to the formation of her baby’s physical and psychological well being, including how “connected,” a child feels to others and the world.  “How can we expect someone who has always known violence from the moment of conception through the most vulnerable time of development, the nine-months in utero, followed by a violent birth and early infancy to act peacefully?” Dr. Gerland asks, “It’s like not watering a plant and expecting it to grow!”

      Likewise a child who is wanted and loved unconditionally, as well as formed inside of a mother who feels supported and nurtured will develop to meet a world that is _GoBacksafe, with a brain geared towards peace and creativity.  Babies in utero are conscious and are constantly downloading information about themselves and their environment. Their mothers and fathers attention and interactions with them, even from conception,  is more important to development than we once realized.

    Some other key ideas Dr. Gerland shared were:
    -The mother’s experiences and perceptions informs the fetus of the environment s/he must prepare for. The baby develops in expectation of that environment. Is the world a safe place or will life be a fight for survival?

    -This womb time, birth and the baby’s first days, called the Primal Period, is of vital importance to the formation of human beings.

    -Real or perceived stress plays a huge role in brain development and health. Stressed and/or fearful mothers will form human beings whose brains are geared towards stress, aggression and survival.

    -A mother’s diet and environmental toxins will play a critical role in the health of her baby as well.

    - Because of this, how we treat and care for mothers during the primal period should become a nation’s imperative, especially if we want a world where the humans are geared towards creativity, wellness and peace.

      Dr. Gerland says that by integrating prenatal education into early schooling, health systems, and other governmental organizations, humanity would have the answers that it seeks; humans who are more able to feel connected, peaceful and creative.

    POWER OF CHOICE
      How can we best help parents use this knowledge once they have it?  Dr. Gerland says that we can start by giving mothers and fathers permission to want the every best for their baby. We can’t start to improve anything unless we can imagine a better outcome.  The next step is letting people know that their creative power as a parent goes beyond our circumstances in life. They can make deliberate choices away from stress and towards peace in our life. Here is more of what Dr. Gerland shared about stress:

    -Many people live in a constant state of adrenaline release, or stress. Adrenalin is a hormone of excitement, fear and danger.  Many people are so habituated to the sensations adrenalin that they don’t even realize that they are staying in the “survival mode,” of living.

    -When you stay in this state, your body’s energy is routed to survival. Healing and cell regeneration is halted or slowed by the hormones that create this state.

    -The opposite of a stressful state is feeling at ease, feeling connected, or feeling love. This state is ruled by adrenalin’s antagonists, endorphins and oxytocin.

    -The good news is that we cannot occupy both states at once. By consciously choosing to releasing endorphins a person can learn to keep themselves in a state which is beneficial for optimal health, healing, and well being.

    -Since oxytocin increases feelings of connection and love, this is the state of being that will nurture peace on this planet.

    RELEASING ENDORPHINS- POWER IN YOUR FINGERTIPS
      Dr. Gerland shared a technique in which endorphins, which are estimated to be 200 times more powerful than morphine, can be released by using physical touch. After learning this technique, one has the power to consciously choose and create a peaceful, healing, connected state of being at will.  This technique could also be used on their loved ones to create a healing state, pain relief, or feelings of well being as needed.

      (An aside:  During the writing of this article, my 9 year old daughter came to me with a headache. Usually her headache will last up to 40 minutes, with me massaging her head, until finally I resort to using a pain reliever.

      This time, I played a soft song on the computer and used the technique that Dr. Gerland showed us during the workshop. My daughter’s headache was gone in under 5 minutes, resulting in a very happy little girl, and an even happier mother!)

    IMPORTANT WORK AT THE UNITED NATIONS
      So how does prenatal education relate to the United Nations, peace and sustainability? Dr. Gerland says all efforts to fix the problems in the world won’t work unless we change the way mothers and babies are treated at the beginning of life.  Prenatal education will inform parents about their creative potential during conception, pregnancy and birth and how they can become to be deliberate creators in the formation of their babies and consciously create possibilities for their children.

      OMAEP is engaged and active within the United Nations because the members believe that understanding of the importance of prenatal life and the formation of human beings must be a part of every health, education, family and government initiative if we want a sustainable peaceful future. Below is a statement OMAEP recently released which was given to each of the 193 member states there stating why:

    “Recent scientific research in the fields of medicine, biology, genetics and psychology has confirmed that the prenatal period is of crucial importance for the health, stability and well-being of all children, the citizens of tomorrow. It is during the prenatal period that each human being lays the groundwork for his or her physical and emotional health, interpersonal skills and capacity for love, as well as his or her character and even creativity…
    …Unless we learn how to limit and ultimately eliminate what is toxic to unborn children, our attempts to fight against disease, crime, drugs, murder, pollution and self-destruction will all be doomed to failure.” - OMAEP


      Dr. Gerland reports huge and hopeful changes taking place in the main halls of the United Nations because of a desire to, “create outside of the box,” and make shifts in sustainability of the planet. More and more nations are waking up to the realization that what happens to one happens to us all, and that we must think differently and use new ideas to create lasting change.

      You can be a part of helping to raise awareness of the importance and impact of the primal period by participating in OMAEP’s, “Global Prenatal Initiative,” which will take place in 2014 in partnership with the UN 20Th Anniversary of the International Year of Families. You can find out more by joining the Facebook group, “Global Prenatal Initiative (GPI)” or sign up to the newsletter on http://naturalprenataleducation.com.


  • 02 Oct 2013 8:54 AM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)

    CLICK HEREFOR AN EXCITING ON-LINE EVENT ON NATURAL CHILDBIRTH

    I am very excited to share with you that Michal has recently collaborated with some of the top doctors, authors and childbirth specialists from around the world on a special project called The Childbirth Summit!

    Childbirth is one of the few, critical conversations that affects everyone and one of the most important conversations that I believe needs to be discussed.

    And today, we would like to invite you to be an important part of this conversation. 

    Everyday, we at BirthNetwork National see or hear about women wanting to give birth naturally, but are not sure where to seek advice. They have been bombarded with misinformation that only tells them every possible thing that could go wrong during pregnancy and delivery.  We have been working to provide valuable information and relate meaningful real-life experiences capable of changing their lives and the lives of their families.

    The Childbirth Summit is a unique event that was sponsored by The National Center for Wellness, 501(c)3 to help inspire and empower women about childbirth. Because you are very important to BirthNetwork National and are equally passionate about childbirth, I am excited to share with you this once-in-a-lifetime gift that can transform how you view childbirth and can give you (and the women you care about most) greater confidence in the innate ability to give birth with less fear and less pain.

    We cant promise that an event like this will ever happen again, so make sure to take advantage of it right away!


    This special virtual event will specifically help you to:

    • ·       Learn about the benefits of natural childbirth
    • ·       Understand the difference between homebirths and hospital births
    • ·       Make informed choices regarding c-sections versus natural deliveries
    • ·       Learn how to improve your chances of becoming pregnant
    • ·       Learn about pregnancy health and nutrition
    • ·       Learn how to find the right midwife
    • ·       Feel confident in your bodys ability to deliver a healthy baby
    • ·       and so much more

    Click here to reserve your seat now!

     


  • 09 Sep 2013 4:44 PM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)
    June 2013

    (6/7-6/9) - Rock & Rest Stop @ Kenai River Festival
    Soldotna, Alaska

    6/13 - Homeopathy in the park Workshop;
    Soldotna, Alaska

    6/15 - Rock & Rest Stop @ Midnight Family Fun in the Midnight Sun Solstice Event
    Nikiski, Alaska

    6/21 - Rock & Rest Stop @ Dimond M Ranch Solstice Festival
    Kenai, Alaska

    7/24 - Babywearing in the Park Workshop
    Soldotna, Ak

    8/2 - The Big Latch On - Soldotna, Ak
    8/3 - The Big Latch On - Homer, Ak

    (82-8/4)Rock & Rest Stop @ Salmonstock Festival
    Ninilchick, Ak

    (8/16-8/18) Rock & Rest Stop @ Kenai Peninsula Fair
    Ninilchick, Ak

    Health Fairs:

    10/5 - Cooper Landing Community Health Fair

    Cooper Landing, Ak

    11/2/13  - Kenai Pen. College Community HF

    Soldotna, AK

    11/9/13  - Seward/AVTEC Community Health Fair

     Seward, Ak

    Central Peninsula BirthNetwork, Alaska
  • 03 Sep 2013 9:20 AM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)

    Financial Coordinator

    Essential Skills:  Must have a background in accounting and excellent bookkeeping skills.  Customer service skills are also required.  This position requires 2-3 hours/week with a larger time requirement during tax season.

    1.      Keep full and accurate account of the receipts, disbursements, and tax-related transactions of the organization.

    2.      Deposit and disburse all moneys relating to financial transactions for the organization.

    3.      Prepare and file all tax-related documents for the organization and individual chapters.

    4.      Prepare projected and actual budget in preparation for annual strategic planning.

    5.      Enter membership information into Wild Apricots.

    6.      Work with administrator in relation to membership and other questions relating to financial issues.

    7.      Report to the President and the Board at each Board Meeting an accounting of the transactions as Financial Coordinator and of the financial condition of the organization.

    8.      Perform such other duties as the Board of Directors may prescribe. 


    Technology Coordinator

    Essential Skills: Familiarity with a variety of technologies including membership databases, Google programs, website maintenance programming.

    Helpful Skills: Web design capabilities, graphic design experience, and graphic design software access.  This position requires 1-2 hours/week.

    1.      Maintain, update, and upgrade the technological needs of the organization as necessary

    2.      Train Chapter Leaders, Board, and administrator on Wild Apricot system for content, events, database needs as needed. 

    3.      Maintain BNN website including chapter pages.

    4.      Act as liaison with Technical Support on any technology issues.

    5.      Maintain BNN document templates.

    Fund Raising and Development Coordinator

    Essential Skills: Experience with (or enthusiasm to learn) fundraising, outgoing personality, good organizational skills.  This position requires a minimum of 2-3 hours/week.

    1.      Develop and implement fundraising plan for national organization.

    2.      Investigate and advise Board on income opportunities and act on them.

    3.      Grant research and writing.

    4.      Assist local chapters with fund raising logistics as needed.

    Please send a resume to cherylgates@birthnetwork.org to begin the application process.  Learn more at www.birthnetwork.org!

     

     

  • 19 Aug 2013 11:57 AM | Simone Snyder (Administrator)

    By Michal Klau-Stevens

    I love public speaking, and I didn’t want to mess this speech up.  I was asked to be the closing speaker for the 2nd Annual Birth Activist Retreat, and I decided to speak about the leadership concepts I’ve been integrating into our work at BirthNetwork National.  They come from the book, “Forces for Good: Six Practices of High-Impact Nonprofits” by Leslie R. Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant.  My talk was about “Adopting the Network Mind-Set.”

    I think the concepts are mind-expanding and game-changing in terms of recognizing the potential that exists within our own network and with the Birth Community as a whole.  The problem is that talking about these academic tools to people who have not read the book tends to sound too theoretical or outside the scope of the current vision to hold people’s interest.  I’ve tried to present the material to our chapter leaders through conference calls, but it’s hard to quickly and clearly demonstrate the potential of these big ideas with people who are unfamiliar with the concepts.  The few who have engaged with the material get benefit from it, but many just choose not to engage.

    Also, apparently reading a book these days is a pretty major thing.

    Not wanting to be a flop as a public speaker, and feeling very strongly about the content of the speech yet also having experienced resistance to it already, I was VERY NERVOUS about giving this presentation.  However, as the weekend progressed, every speaker mentioned at least one point of information that I planned to speak about.  I found that the network mind-set is already being thought about by many in attendance, and that we just needed to connect that it is part of a larger framework of best practices that have already been studied and can be conscientiously applied. 

    Suzanne Arms spoke about “cultural creatives,” who are integrating information in new ways.  Dawn Thompson, Cristen Pascucci, Barbara Rivera, and Adeola Adeseun all spoke about finding the center where many organizations have unity, even while great amounts of diversity coexist.  Social media experts Kate Donahue, Gina Crosley-Corcoran, and Jen McLellan spoke about how powerful it is to share the work of others and how it amplifies the work they personally do.  Sherry Payne addressed the weakness in the network when it comes to racial diversity, and the consequences of institutionalized racism and a lack of cultural sensitivity.  David Paxon spoke about the power of government and the role it is playing in our larger network as the new healthcare laws take effect.  Rebecca Dekker taught us about horizontal violence – the tendency to attack each other instead of working to change the oppressive environment surrounding us.  And, Karen Brody reminded us about the need to “step into our worth and claim our value;” that as birth workers and as organizations, we tend to struggle monetarily but “business” is not a dirty word, and the potential for abundance is right in front of us.      

    I saw the ideas supporting the network mind-set being organically put into action throughout the weekend.  It was exciting and affirming to hear and see these concepts being brought to life right in front of my eyes as leaders of organizations and birth activists from around the country shared ideas, tools, and resources.  And, at one point we saw a huge learning opportunity for network growth as the interests of individuals overtook the well-being of the greater community during a heated discussion about cultural sensitivity relating to religious circumcision.  Even that experience allowed for a pathway for attendees to actually experience the challenges and benefits of adopting the network mind-set.

    When my time came to speak, I felt confident that the words and PowerPoint visuals I was sharing about “Growing the Pie,”  “Sharing Knowledge,” “Developing Leadership,” and “Working in Coalitions,” were simply highlighting concepts we had lived during the weekend as we experienced “Adopting the Network Mind-Set.” We have many skills that we are putting to use and we are already engaged in building and strengthening our network. With the work we had done over the course of the weekend, adding the conceptual framework and common language was easy, because we had participated hands-on with the activity at the retreat.  I realized that I didn’t have to be nervous because I was with my “tribe” of birth activists, and we speak the same language.

    I think each chapter of BirthNetwork National can have a similar experience integrating the six practices in “Forces for Good” while doing the work of building the network.  In many ways we already walk the walk and talk the same talk.  Now, our challenge in growing and advancing our movement is to refine our vocabulary.  I’m working on figuring out a way to do that which doesn’t involve reading a book.     

    Michal Klau-Stevens is the President of BirthNetwork National

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