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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Being the change you wish to see in the world

I talk here on Informed Parenting about change and about women (and men) standing up and fighting for their Rights- their Rights to Birth their children in peace and without violence or emotional trauma. Their Right to birth at home. Their Rights to Nurse their babies, in public and at home, without guilt and without worry, and to be supported in their journey of nursing their children for as long as they wish.  Their Rights to take their WHOLE baby home, intact and unmolested.  Their RIGHTS. For without taking a stand our Rights will be trodden on and trampled by the galloping hoards of faceless bureaucrats and the cold medical machine that suffers a god complex. If we don't speak out, who will? If we don't speak out, who will encourage others to raise their voices with us? It all starts with one voice.

There are people that stand out as activists of the first order.  People who were not afraid to stand up and be heard, who saw injustice and inequality and said "This is WRONG!" And they stood tall and proud regardless of the ridicule and persecution. Dr. Martin Luther King comes to mind when we think of this kind of activist. Dr. King was arrested 30 times for taking a stand and speaking out against racism in the 50's and 60's, yet now he is revered as hero and the changes he stood up for are accepted as the norm in society. It didn't happen over night and it wasn't easy but nothing worth fighting for ever is. 

Within the circles of Childbirth and Childrens Rights activists there are a few names that stand out. Gloria Lemay is one of our greatest activists and heros, who has suffered over and over, including going to prison for what she believed in, but has never given up or bowed to the pressure that was put upon her.  In "Jan's Corner" of Midwifery Today Magazine Jan Tritten writes about "Midwifery under Fire".  Jan writes:

"We’ve had a period of relative calm in the North American midwifery community since 2002. In an issue of Midwifery Today E-News from July 2001 (, Sandra Stine, CNM, wrote about the history of midwives under fire:
“I am thinking about Yvonne Cryns, Nan Koehler, Abby Odam, the granny midwives and every other traditional birth attendant in this country who has been crucified by the AMA or another source,” Stine stated. “Wonderful, loving, competent midwives have been jailed, lost their homes, spent thousands of dollars defending themselves, or were placed under house arrest while serving families competently. The AMA (American Medical Association) has a track record of prosecuting midwives in almost every state!”
In July of 2002, Gloria Lemay was imprisoned for contempt of court in Canada. A few months later, Mennonite midwife Freida Miller was arrested and imprisoned for contempt of court in Ohio. Thanks to easy Internet access in 2002, the stories of these imprisonments—and of the events that built up to them—were relayed around the globe. Both women were mature adults and both went to prison knowing they had widespread support in the international community. They went to prison with their heads held high and their supporters worked behind the scenes, fundraising and researching to free them. Money and well wishes flowed in from all over the world. North American midwives had entered a new era.
While in prison, Lemay learned that she would be given an award for being “the woman in Canada who had made the biggest contribution to midwifery care in the year 2002.” (Women’s Voice Award).
 ""We’ve had a period of relative calm in the North American midwifery community since 2002" Jan says.... yet it would seem that this period of relative calm is coming to an end, and not just in the field of Midwifery.  Recently there have been negative articles in the media about the safety of home births, negative articles in the media about Breastfeeding, and now articles about male circumcision that hint that the CDC and the American Paediatric Society might be about to do a flip flop and change their official recommendations that there is no medical reason to support Male Circumcision. (which is absolutely false BTW).

All around us we see the Medical Machine, Big Pharma and other professional associations, with their assumed godhead, trying to chip away if not yank right out from under us our Human Rights. But worse is that there are the innocent sheeple out there that are going to listen and are going to assume that this is how it must be.  They will tow the official party line and maybe not discover until much too late that their Rights have been burned at the stake on the altar of the big green buck. That they have lost something precious that can never be reclaimed because they blindly followed the recommendations of those who serve themselves while pretending to be working for the people. Some people might sneer that it's their own damn fault for not researching and educating themselves about their choices, but we cannot blame the sheeple for their blind devotion- children grow up only knowing what they've been taught by their elders and if their elders knew no better than how can they teach the younger generation to think for themselves?  The sheeple will never learn about their Rights and the real information and choices unless those of us who DO know better stand up and tell them.

It isn't easy being the lone voice.  It isn't easy being that person standing above the bellowing crowds on a soap box trying to make yourself heard.  But if you don't do it who will?  There are voices of reason out there that are fighting for YOUR Rights, and the Rights of your children, every day.  People like Gloria Lemay who even in prison kept educating women. People like Danelle Frisbie  of  "Peaceful Parenting" who Fights for the Rights of infant boys everywhere to keep all of their body parts and not suffer mutilation at the hands of those who deem it "OK".  People like Dr. Jack Newman and Edith Kernerman of the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic & Institute who continually challenge the government to provide more Breastfeeding support and better education for medical personnel.  THESE people are your champions and deserve to hear OUR voices!!!

One of the worlds greatest activists Mahatma Gandhi once said "You must be the change that you want to see in the world". 

If you think the world is wrong, that the need for change is great, then lend your voices to the few so that they may soon become the many. A whisper can become a roar if enough voices are heard at once and NOW is the time to raise your voice!