This past winter, BuffaloBirth was formed as a community action group in an effort to turn the act of birth back over to mothers. BuffaloBirth seeks to educate women on reclaiming their childbirth rights(1)
, to aid in the promotion of those who are supporting healthy birth experiences, to lend a hand to get the birth center(2)
(scheduled to open in 2008) underway and to work with similar groups in New York state(3)
to overturn legislative laws(4)
that prohibit midwives from attending births in the way midwifery is defined(5)
The next BuffaloBirth meeting will be held at Woodlawn Beach, off of route 5 in Hamburg in the meeting hall. The date is set for May 12, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. This meeting is open to the public and media, and families are encouraged to attend.
Currently, the birth climate in Western New York is extremely restrictive. Limited resources and alternatives, as well as policies designed to protect OB/GYNs, hospitals and insurance companies outline how care is administered, and rely scantly on evidence(6)
of what's beneficial to the mother and baby. A woman is forced to either choose a hospital birth, where depending on her beliefs and researched ideals, her rights and the rights of her newborn may be challenged (as well as their health); or leave town to seek better care; or have an unassisted birth, sometimes under the care of a lay person skilled in birth but who is not licensed.
The mission statement of BuffaloBirth is as follows:
BuffaloBirth is a consumer-based grassroots organization whose mission is to support a woman's right to have a safe, peaceful and mother-friendly(7)
birth experience by: promoting the Midwives Model of Care and the advancement of safe birth resources and alternatives (including active support of an independent birthing center and participation in a statewide cooperative effort to reverse restrictive midwifery and homebirth laws), endorsing mother-friendly contributors in the Western New York birth industry (including doulas/labor assistants, retailers, independent childbirth educators, midwives, and obstetricians with low rates of intervention); and exposing the realities of a broken medical system that favors the bottom line over the health and safety of mothers and their babies.
The BuffaloBirth Head Team, Mindy Purdy, Rachel Zeller, Amy Creamer and Mary Scallon, founded BuffaloBirth in February, 2007. Though none of these women is a certified birth professional, each of them has had profound experiences with childbirth which have led them to the path of advocacy for other women. Each feels passionately about expanding a woman's knowledge about birth, options for where she can give birth, and what kind of care may attend.
BuffaloBirth is working to change perceptions of what birth should and shouldn't be. In turn, we hope to encourage new practices that work in favor of our mothers and their babies. Women are strong. When given the freedom and encouragement to listen to our bodies, our instincts, and ourselves, childbirth can be a defining moment in learning just how strong we are. http://www.buffalobirth.com http://groups.yahoo.com/buffalobirth
(1) The Rights of Childbearing Women: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10084&ClickedLink=0&area=27
(2) For more information on the proposed birth center, please contact Stacey Nazitto: (716) 481-0228
(3) Similar Organizations in New York State include:
Birth New York/ New York Friends of Midwives http://www.birthnewyork.org
Choices in Childbirth http://www.choicesinchildbirth.org
Homebirthers of New York (HoNeY) http://homebirthers.org
Friends of the Birth Center (NYC) http://www.friendsofthebirthcenter.org
(4) NYS Laws regarding Midwifery Practices http://www.mana.org/laws/laws_ny.htm
(5) Midwifery Model of Care http://cfmidwifery.org/mmoc/define.aspx
(6) Evidence-Based Maternity Care: Visions, Missions and Beliefs http://www.childbirthconnection.org/article.asp?ck=10080
(7) The Mother-Friendly Childbirth Initiative http://www.motherfriendly.org/MFCI