Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Little Pebbles

Perhaps you do not identify yourself with the word activist.  That's okay, I didn't always define myself that way either.  And in our culture some days it is still a tough "label" to take on.   However, I find myself more and more comfortable with the role, the job, the purpose of an activist when I am reminded that activism takes many forms.  Significant social change rarely occurs because of one single event. Typically, it is a series of little events that compounded over time.  These little events, or pebbles if you will, are not insignificant by any means.  These little pebbles are still actions and they are every bit as much an intricate part of the process of change.

Even the smallest pebble will still make a splash in the ocean.

A story about a little pebble.
I am a doula.  For the past 4+ years I have encouraged all of my clients, and frankly let's be honest anyone who I talk to about birth, to request a CIMS recognized mother-friendly nurse on their birth plans.  Most of my clients are from Ames, that's where I live, so this meant Mary Greeley for a hospital birth.  I knew that Mary Greeley did not have any nurse recognized by CIMS as mother-friendly.  In fact, I was not even sure that the Birthways team even knew about CIMS to be honest.  That did not stop me from sharing this recommendation.  

My reasoning was this:  first, it will make whoever is reading that birth plan think about what is meant by this and how to find out about it - it gets the wheels turning.  Second, if they do know what a CIMS recognized mother-friendly nurse is, even if they do not have any, perhaps they will seek a nurse to "assign" to this women who is more likely to meet those standards.  Finally, if nothing else I believed that indicating this request on a birth plan was one means to suggest to the providers that this mama had done her research and knew what she wanted / deserved for her birth experience.  

I heard a few months ago that Mary Greeley was planning to begin the process of becoming a Mother-Friendly hospital.  Perhaps it was just a rumor.  Well, today I called Birthways directly and asked about what I'd heard.  Alas, it i true this is their plan.  Achieving this status is no small feat and will certainly take time.  There is lots to be done, but those details are for another post.    

The point is this.  Do I think that I am the reason for this decision?  No, absolutely not. However, I believe that maybe, just maybe, those little tiny pebbles (a handful tossed out over time) may have influenced the course.  Maybe.  

Social change takes time.  No act is too small.  The little pebbles are important and are valued here. 

Do you have a story about little pebbles you'd like to share?  We'd love to hear how you are being an activist in our state, country, and even around the globe. 

Please share.

~ Mandi Hardy Hillman

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