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  • Writer's pictureDalia Abrams

Dalia's Soap Box - Introduction

[originally posted June 11, 2020]

Time to take the gloves off.

I’ve been living in Birmingham, Alabama for 20 years now, working in the birth world as a childbirth educator, breastfeeding counselor, birth doula, birth doula trainer, and director of a small non-profit community doula program called BirthWell Partners (www.BirthWellPartners.org).

In all of these spaces I have tried to push against some of the gender-role stereotypes of a Southern woman: lead from behind, defer to others, don’t offend, and speak softly. Today, in my 56th year, it’s time I faced the facts, I’m not good at “Southern woman”, I don’t know how to do that!


I’m not bashing that subtle approach by any means. In fact, using that approach is how things get done around here! There are many advocates in the birth field in Alabama who continue to take this approach - and do so expertly. Their efforts over the past 20 years have made a huge difference. They are the trail blazers who smoothed the way for today’s doulas in the birth room. More recently, after ten years of work, they got legislation passed to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in AL, opening the door for you to have your baby at home with a licensed provider. For years I have aspired to be like these leaders in the birth field (you know who you are)! For a long time, I have fantasized about being able to carry one of y’all along with me and have you whisper the right words in my ear. Maybe I’ve improved, but basically, subtle and southern doesn’t fit me and I'm no good at it!So, I’ve decided it’s time for me to stop trying to be that woman, and instead to embrace my strengths and style, however unconventional it may be. Because quitting isn’t an option. There is too much to do and too much that needs fixing!


Recently I had the opportunity to attend a Rebozo training with Gena Garcia Kirby. Gena is an international leader in transmitting the beauty of the ancient, Central American Rebozo tradition to birth workers. At the end of her wonderful training I was talking to her about being overwhelmed by the immensity of the problems we face in women’s health care. I told her I was tired of gently trying to make incremental change. In response, she told me about Marsden Wagner’s perspective. Dr. Wagner was the director of Women and Children’s Health for The World Health Organization (WHO) for 15 years. Gena told me that it was his opinion that things were not going to change until women got mad, and that when they do so, and get organized, they will be a power to reckon with. In his book “Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must Be Fixed to Put Women and Children First”, he talks about the barriers to making change within the medical establishment and says:


“Germany demonstrates that it is possible to change a maternity care system without the blessing of obstetricians, an important lesson for the United States. It seems there is at least one thing more powerful than the medical establishment: women, when they are angry and get organized.” p. 215

Gena’s message to me was to embrace my anger.


So here you go:

Even though our culture doesn’t like angry women… we need to get angry. If we want to see change, we need to get outraged. Otherwise we will just have to get used to how things are right now. Heather Heyer’s last Facebook post, before she was run down by a counter-protestor in Charlottesville Virginia was “If you’re not outraged, then you’re not paying attention.” (Read more here.)


To help you pay attention, to shine light on some of the issues I am angry about, I brazenly bring you this blog:


Dalia’s Soap Box: Dalia unleashed, uncut and unapologetic.


Note that the opinions expressed in this blog are mine and I take full responsibility for them.


I invite you to take what you like and leave the rest.


Just please… pay attention!


And if you’re so inclined, thanks for helping me spread these essays about what needs to change in women’s health care.


My plan is to write blogs written specifically to you: parents, birth givers, partners, moms, dads, and grandparents. Also to care providers, policy makers and activists. I hope you find something interesting here. Something that inspires you to speak out and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!   


                    Let’s get MAD                      


Let’s get organized                    

 Let’s make CHANGE!                            


    Love,                                         

Dalia

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