Name: April Kline
How would you describe yourself: mother, midwife, birth activist, founder of non-profit organization
1. What change(s) do you want to see in birth?
The two fundamental changes I would like to see are:
-For all women to know all of their options and feel supported in choosing the options that are best for themselves and their families.
-For ALL women’s care providers to work together in a respectful and collaborative way to provide the best possible care for all women.
2. What people/places/philosophies/things do you envision being some of the catalysts in birth change?
There are so many wonderful individuals, organizations, support groups and educational resources, it is difficult to choose! But the bottom line is this: The only thing that will really be a catalyst for change is each pregnant woman.
Each pregnant woman needs to calmly and firmly demand exactly what she needs to give birth in the way that feels right to her. And she needs to tell her story to everyone.
The more stories we tell, the more women will know the power intrinsic in all different types of births. And, if a woman feels that the birth she really wanted was not available to her, or was denied to her, or was taken from her, she needs to tell that story to everyone as well. And, finally, she needs to find ways, even small ways, to work to change that fact so her children and grandchildren don’t experience the same reality.
3. What is the first thing that needs to change with how the average person views natural birth? What are your ideas (big and small) to help this change?
The first thing that needs to change is that all women and men need to know that birth is not always a potentially dangerous medical event and that it is not a pointless exercise in living through excrutiating pain.
Again, my big idea is embarrassingly simple: we all need to tell all of our stories… a lot.
4. What is the best advice you would give a pregnant mama who is looking into her birth choices?
#1: Look into every possible option, whether you think it is for you or not. At the very least, you will learn a lot and, most likely, you will have a new respect for other women’s choices. And the possibility is that you will learn something that totally turns everything you thought you knew and thought you wanted on its ear.
#2: You don’t have to do all this research and exploring by yourself. You can do some of it with a friend, with an online community, with a support group, or you can hire a doula to help you make sure that you are really aware of *all* your choices.
5. If you could give a few words of advice to all the women (even those not pregnant) that haven’t found their voices yet, what would it be?
There is no right or wrong. We are all feeling our way, trying to listen to our bodies and our hearts, learning to give voice to our growing and changing truths. We are all here, walking the same path you are walking – some ahead of you, some beside you, some behind you. We all want, and need, to hear what you have to say.
6. What encouraging advice would you give anybody in birth (mama or any birth worker) when faced with that seems like the present “doom and gloom” situation?
Do your research very carefully and thoroughly. Hire a trusted advisor such as a doula who knows the ropes in your community. Do everything you can to be the healthiest mama you can be (whatever that means for you): exercise in moderation, eat an amazing diet, practice your faith, surround yourself with beauty, visit your chiropractor, massage therapist, and/or herbalist, talk to your baby, and listen carefully at least once a day for that small, still voice that will guide you as you make your choices.
7. What do you think “We” can do to help women find their truth, their trust and their responsibility in birth?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record: tell our stories to anyone and everyone. Tell them all: tell the lovely stories, the sad stories, the frightening stories, the stories of loss, the stories of redemption. Tell your stories with whatever voice you have to tell them, whether it is a whisper or a scream, a tentative “I’m not sure about this” voice, or a strong “This is what I have learned from this experience” voice.
If *we* are secure enough to share ALL our stories, in all their savage beauty and naked longing, then *others* will begin to feel safe enough to share their stories. This is the foundation for a new era of truth and trust and responsibility in birth.