There’s a tipping point coming in birth. I can feel it – and I’ve been reading others who are sensing it, too. One of the omens? The growing body of accessible, readable, appealing, *and* evidence based information for women.
I’ve read a lot about birth. And breastfeeding. A whole lot, because it is my job and I love it. I’ve never met a birth story that didn’t move me. But much of it was written, well, for me. And I’m the choir.
What I’m really excited about are the growing number of blogs, websites and media outlets that are moving past the choir and reaching out to a broader audience. And those that are providing rock-solid evidence based information. And those that are just rocking it. I read and I do a little happy dance, because they just “get it” about putting a whole new spin on birth.
So what can we learn from the bloggers who are getting it right? Read on for the five ways influential birth and breastfeeding bloggers are bringing the message home. If we all incorporate even some of these ideas into our own work, we can build on the growing body of birth information that wins hearts and influences minds. Did I say tipping point?
1: Junk-Science Free Zone
Number one concern I hear from doulas, midwives and LCs concerned about women getting empowered online? “There’s so much misinformation on the Internet.”
This one falls into the category of if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Women are seeking health care information on the Internet whether we are ready or not. So let’s get to it, ladies! Let’s swamp the Interwebs with evidence-based information. The kind of evidence not funded by formula companies. Go check out the Lamaze blog Giving Birth With Confidence which pairs story-telling with researched, vetted information. The Unnecessarian helps us all sort through the latest data through the lens of the escalating cesarean rate.
Ask yourself: Are you up-to-date on the latest research? Integrating it into your work?
2: Meeting Women Where They Are.
Not where we are.
I’m a died-in-the-wool natural birth junkie. When I thought I was carrying twins after IVF the first thing I did was mapquest The Farm. But I’m not most moms. That’s why we love Jennifer Block’s blog. Check out her headers:
No talk about rushes here! Instead of talking about what *she* values about natural birth, she has asked herself a key question: what do other mothers care about most? She still gives rock-solid information, but told through the lens of what motivates your typical 2.0 mom.
Giving Birth With Confidence editor Cara Terreri told us in a BirthGenius twitter chat that she regularly checks out mainstream parenting boards to stay hip to what the average mom is talking and/or asking about.
Ask yourself: how can I provide high-quality information told in a way that appeals to my audience?
3: Spin It Up, Sisters
Best for Babes is giving breastfeeding a much-needed makeover. At their newly swanked up site, breastfeeding is so stylish even celebrities do it! They don’t put a new face on breastfeeding by dumbing down information – that would be insulting to the women they are trying to reach. They are doing the hard work of distilling complicated ideas into digestible, delightful sound bites that we can all get behind.
One reason for the homebirth rate uptick: the popularity of Ricki Lake’s and Abby Epstein’s movie, The Business of Being Born. Why so influential? Because the producers intentionally packaged the information for moms who weren’t already a part of the natural birth movement. They listened to what moms wanted and crafted messages that speak to “mainstream mom” birth goals.
Ask yourself: How are you working to make your key points easy to follow? Catchy? Viral?
4: You, Mama, Are Not Alone
This is where social media shines, right? There’s all sorts of reasons a mama might need to build a tribe online – maybe her local community isn’t lucky enough to have someone like Yael at PPD to Joy to launch a PMD group (check out her online group, too). Or your care provider can’t provide your partner with the in-depth information on mood disorders found at Postpartum Progress. The communities that get built – like Stirrup Queens for fertility – provide support you can’t get from your well-meaning but very fertile friends at book group. La Leche League was built on the sort of rock-solid mother-to-mother support that you can find online at The Leaky Boob. My Best Birth‘s social networking site continues to be a popular community for moms to discuss, share and learn from each other. And unless you’ve been to the Michigan Women’s Music Festival, you’ve rarely enjoyed the celebration that comes from the sharing of different women’s bodies that happens at Shape of a Mother.
Ask yourself: How are you facilitating and building community on your blog?
5: Hearts First
Why Authentic Stories Win Us Over
Yes, yes, we need to give mothers evidence-based information. But a beautifully told story from the heart that *illustrates* a key piece of evidence is powerful stuff. The stories that speak to our hopes, dreams, and desires for our childbearing and breastfeeding will stick with us when it is time to make the decisions that matter. As Amber McCann says on her 100 Words series at her blog, Nourish, “If one story here gives one woman an ounce more courage to feed one more time, we’ve done our job.”
Posts like this at Birthing Beautiful Ideas walk her readers through the real decisions she makes as she plans her VBAC, while Nancy Wainer’s new blog Birthday Midwifery gives us glimpse into the stories of a homebirth midwife. The Our Bodies Ourselves blog recently asked folks to share their video stories as a way to engage with readers.
We need more opportunities to share our birth and breastfeeding stories!
Ask yourself: Are you speaking authentically? Are you sharing your stories from the heart?