And now we wait. This process has been long, it has been demanding, frustrating and exhausting. It has also been, in a strange way, empowering and it has fostered a stronger birth community. I am proud to have been a part of this work, to fight for families; so they can have the option and right to choose where and how they will give birth. To be clear, the work is not over, simply that this step in the process is complete. However, we are at a point of respite, of waiting for the next phase. After all the work, I feel the need to sit on a beach, enjoy the sunset and rest up to re-gather my resources for the next push….
Where We Are
As a brief re-cap; we in the state of CO who care about birth and choice for families have been diligently working to update and re-write the regulations that govern birth centers. It has been a true labor of love to birth these new regulations. Back in August of 2016, the active phase of this labor began. (The early phase started long ago, and much like a first time birthing person it took time to get active.) Since then, we have had regular monthly meetings with the community stakeholders and the representatives of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). We have come together to, chapter by chapter, line by line and sometimes word by word create a document that best serves the community while maintaining the integrity of midwives who serve that community. It has been a painstaking process and sometimes I feel as though I can recite the entire document word for word! Overall, it has gone well but we have had several very heated discussions and discourse. Some words have been difficult to swallow and responding calmly and professionally has been taxing. In the end though, we have prevailed and have created a document that I can stand behind and support.
So, now what? As already stated; now we wait. The document is ready and will be presented to the full CDPHE board on May 17th. After that, it will be open for full public comment on the CDPHE website. This is when we will need the consumer community to step up and voice their support. It will be a critical time (between May 17th and July 19th); this is also when groups who do not support this work may choose to let their voices be heard and we must be ready to reply loudly and with coordinated strength. Then on July 19th, CDPHE will host the open public hearing to officially vote to adopt (or not) the new regulations. This is another critical moment, as we will need community consumers to be physically present to speak on behalf of the regulations and ask that they be adopted. Again, July 19th will be a day to be physically present at the CDPHE offices to voice your support and ask that the regulations be officially adopted. Please read below to learn how to get involved in these efforts.
For me, this process has been emotional and represents years of work and fighting for the basic human right of being able to choose a birth place and support team. I have spent long nights putting in the work and have sacrificed time away from my own dear family to fight this fight. At this stage, in the rest and recuperate phase, I feel the need to do both in my bones and soul. Sitting down to write this has brought tears to my eyes and heart; tears of pride and joy in the work our teams have done. And tears of exhaustion; the long hours and the continual need to still explain what midwifery is and what it offers, still in 2017 the ignorance is exhausting. I will do the rest, I will re-gather my resources and build back up my reserves for we are not done and we will prevail! I am drawn to a recent movement born from the work of many strong women, represented in a simple yet powerful phrase and I will…
nevertheless, she persists
Want to pitch in on this important work? We are now in the stage where community voices will be critical. The Colorado Birth Center Coalition has partnered with Elephant Circle to help coordinate those voices. Please visit their website and contact them to learn how to get involved. The most critical time for this input will be between May 17th and July 19th.
Are you curious about how this process was started and how it has evolved? Check out these links to read my previous posts, they are listed from the very first one to the most recent:
Image credit Aubre Tompkins, CNM