Note: This project list represents the visioning of more than 50 men and women who have volunteered more than 3,000 hours as founding Board members, Advisors and Working Retreat participants over the past several years.
Each project is being designed to be replicable in (and adaptable to) virtually any neighborhood or community in this country. Some may be adaptable to other countries as well. Each will be made sustainable by a combination of funding sources. Some revenue will be grants but most will be generated by the people each project serves and by community churches, synagogues, business, and service organizations.
Other projects in various stages of development.
- Our most important project to date is The Time Is Now, a four year international round-table project to create, disseminate, and evaluate a series of multimedia and social networking campaigns that will promote the new paradigm for how best to bring human beings into the world and care for every baby and every mother-baby and father-family bond from pre-conception to age 1. Project Phase: This project was begun in February 2010. Phase 1, a 6-day working retreat in Tenerife, Canary Islands, April 6-12, 2011, brings together 25 men and women from around the world with diverse backgrounds and expertise, to create the list of campaigns. Phase 2 will devise the media and social networking campaigns with the intention of their being given away to be used by as many individuals, groups, organizations and philanotropic organizations, and governments as possible. Phase 3 will be the launch of these campaigns, including a coordinated effort of international press conferences and regional conferences. Phase 4 is for evaluation of this project’s effictiveness for initiating positive social change in a short period of time.
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- Birthing The Future® ‘s International Symposia series and Film Series : “The Roots of Love & Violence – Birth and the Primal Period”These are full-day and evening-long events for up to 200 people, held annually or bi-annually in communities which have need of support for birth networks, resource centers, midwives and birthing centers. They may also include a large multi-media evening for the general public and post-symposium workshops. Local speakers, teachers and professionals from the U.S. and abroad are brought together to present compelling personal stories, wisdom, expertise and evidence in a theatre-style event that incorporates audience discussion at round-tables. DVDs are created from the professionally filmed footage of each Symposium. DVD sets will be used by Birth Advocates to put on inspiring educational events in their community. Project Phase: The complete set of films from Symposium 1 and 2 are available on our website store.
- Mother-Baby Sanctuaries: Special places offering 30-45 day stays for mothers and babies who have experienced shock or trauma at any time from conception through birth, including babies who’ve just come out of intensive care in the hospital.These home-like facilities, located in communities around the country, are specially designed to offer a full range of nurturing and support to serve mothers of any age and circumstance, and their babies at the same time. The purpose is for each mother-baby pair to rest, recuperate, heal, establish breastfeeding and bond fully. Run by grandmothers and doulas, these B&B-like homes will house 4-6 mothers at a time and make use of local practitioners (midwives, doulas, healers, therapists, body workers, nutritionists, etc.) who will come to the mothers with their skills and services. Each sanctuary will have a library and online resource center, as well as classes in self-care and infant care from nutrition to baby massage. Mothers will fully rest and devote themselves to their new baby for the duration of their 30-45-day stay. Adoptive mothers and their babies will also be welcome. Mothers and babies will be able to return to their community in a state of wellness, knowing what their local resources are and how to make the best use of them. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. Feasibility study initiated.
- Healing Homes for Mothers and their Newborns: Doulas, Grandmothers and “Aunties” providing in-home care for one or two mother-baby pairs for 10-40 daysGifted women, trained by professionals, will take new mothers and their babies (see the previous project) into their own homes, nurture and support them, and make use of local caring practitioners as well. The purpose, as with the Mothers B&Bs, is to foster optimal bonding between new moms and their babies. It will allow individual grandmothers and others in a community, who train as postpartum doulas and have special mother-baby and homemaking skills, to take women and their babies into their own home when they have the time and space. Project Phase: White paper available upon request.
- Birthing Villages: Educational retreat centers for childbearing men, women and couples from pre-conception through the first postpartum yearSmall retreat centers are designed to host weekend and longer retreats for up 40-60 people at a time, with housing for up to 20 adults, addressing spirit, mind and body and offering a blend of ancient wisdom and modern knowledge. Teachers will primarily come from each local area, and there will be one or two resident “wise women,” as each village will offer respite care for midwives. A small residential staff will handle bookings, maintain the property and organic garden, and cook simple organic meals. Courses at the Village will promote conscious and healthy conception, pregnancy and birth, pre- and post-birth connection and communication between parents and child, and teach postpartum care and parenting skills to boost the confidence of new parents. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. Feasibility study initiated.
- Community Homes for Single Mothers and Mothers-To-Be:Cooperatively-run homes will house 4-8 single pregnant women or single mothers and their babies/toddlers. The focus population will be women not otherwise well-supported in their lives. In-residence “grandparents” and couples will provide fine role modeling, support and an understanding of the unique sensitivity and consciousness of babies and their mothers. Community doulas and other caring professionals will offer services on-site. The home will provide services to the community in the form of running on-site businesses (e.g., used bookstore, café, laundromat, day care center), providing paid jobs for some of the residents and making the facility a center that is valued by the community. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. Feasibility study initiated.
- Healing Homes for Single Mothers: Doula and Grandmother homes to nurture one or two mother-baby pairs long-term (2 months to 2 years)Women in the community will offer long-term in-home care, support and mentoring to single pregnant women and new mothers with their babies/toddlers who do not have adequate family support. These women will also welcome mothers who need emotional healing after miscarriage, still birth or placing their baby for adoption. Nurturing the mother allows her to fully nurture her baby/toddler. Guiding her in healing from past trauma, breaking cycles of family dysfunction, and understanding the consciousness and sensitivity of the baby allows her to become the best possible parent. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. Feasibility study initiated.
- Calling All Grandmothers – Moving our wisdom into service that transforms the future: A Circle Project for Wise Women (for Aunties and Fairy Godmothers, too!)We will bring together women from each community who are – or might become – grandmothers (or “aunties”) and provide a safe container in which they share their own birth experiences, to help them heal unaddressed trauma they may be carrying from childbirth or their own birth. We will then inspire them to go out into the community and serve childbearing women and babies with a new consciousness. Doulas and Birth Advocates TM (see below) will be trained to guide these circles, providing knowledge about the unique sensitivity and consciousness of babies from the womb through postpartum. The engaged grandmothers who benefit from the circles will provide sensitive care that honors pregnant women and new mothers (and adoptive mothers or women who’ve experienced childbearing losses) and relieves them of obligations and stress. Grandmothers will be encouraged to share their understandings with members of other groups (e.g., churches, professional and civic organizations) and also lobby for services and benefits for childbearing women. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. Feasibility study initiated.
- Birth Ambassadors and Birth Advocates for Better Birthing: Increasing the reach and power in the community of the grassroots birth movementDuring two 4-hour evenings of film and discussion, men and women who want to be more knowledgeable about birth and the primal period will learn to be ambassadors (“a messenger in service”) for better birthing in their community. They will get an overview of the most significant issues in birth today and how individual choices, societal values, medical and “alternative” practices, economics and politics fit together in the Big Picture of birth today. They will learn about resources including books, videos and organizations that can further assist them in going out into their community to inspire and inform others. On-going support will be provided.The Birth Advocate training will be a 20-hour intensive for those already knowledgeable in the subject matter (such as doulas, birth educators and Birth Ambassadors who want to increase their involvement), those who want to take a more-active role in social change at the community level. Process work will help them address their own unhealed issues, show them their strengths, teach them various skills, and connect to one or two others with whom they can partner in their work. They will learn how to give media interviews, write letters to the editor, speak to local groups, and put on effective public events using Birthing The Future® and other media, facilitate Grandmothers’ Circles and start Better Birth Resource Centers in their community. On-going support will be provided for Birth Advocates through national conference calls and various offered materials. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. The first trainings are planned for September ’06.
- Better Birth Resource Centers: An Outreach Project of Birth Advocates and Grandmothers’ CirclesStarted and run by Birth Advocates, doulas, grandmothers and aunties, these small centers will provide media, classes and support for expecting couples, parents and families to help them fully welcome birth and babies in their lives and meet the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs of themselves and their babies. A selection of products for gifts and self-care will be for sale or rent at the centers to provide income for Grandmothers’ Circles and Birth Advocates. Project Phase: White paper available upon request. Feasibility study initiated.
- Birthing in the U.S.A.: A Collaborative, Inter-Disciplinary, Multi-Ethnic Think Tank to Transform Birthing in the U.S.A. This strategic planning group will meet together in person several times for long working weekends and via phone and email over a 12- to 18-month period. The group will create a vision and plan that blends the best of ancient wisdom with modern evidence, about how our society can fully meet the physical, emotional and mental needs of every mother-baby pair from pre-conception through age one. The group’s vision will then be disseminated freely to organizations and public agencies across the country, to inspire them to broaden their focus and carefully select aspects they wish to address. The intent is to bring forth an adaptable document, one that changes with society, that will delineate what needs to occur in this country to support optimal wellness for all mothers and babies. Project co-designed by Suzanne Arms and Michael Schwab, PhD, Public Health Physician. Project Stage: White paper, with budget, available upon request.
- Birth Camps for Young Adults and College Students: Creating a vibrant learning community to share the wisdom of the Birth MovementThese gatherings will be held for a week or weekend during college vacation periods. In camp-like retreat, young men, as well as women, will become part of a learning community. The curriculum will include: the biological nature of the symbiotic mother-baby pair, prenatal and perinatal psychology, the differences between the midwife model of care and the technocratic medical model, the value of birth centers in every community and midwife care for every mother-baby, the necessity of maintaining home births as a viable option in every community, holistic principles with regards to maternity care, and the biological underpinnings of the process of birth and mother-baby development. They will also learn some of the history, sociology, politics, economics – and some of the songs – of birth and the birth movement. They will leave knowing the life-long significance the entire process of birth has had in their own lives as well as the lives of every woman, man and child, and the impact upon family and society. These camps will inspire future midwives, doulas, nurses, doctors, birth center administrators, architects, public health planners, and more. Project Stage: In the design and planning phase. White paper available upon request.
- College Road Shows: Multimedia-rich shows tailored specifically to catch the interest of, inform and inspire college audiences of students and facultyDesigned to inspire and inform 200-500 people at each venue, each show will be a blend of inspiring speakers, riveting information, extraordinary photography and compelling film footage. The show will have an “edge” which will attract students who might otherwise never give a thought to the significance birth will have – and has already had – in their lives. These shows will convey the “naked truth” about birth and give insight to beliefs and practices around the world and the politics of birth today, things the audience will likely never have seen or heard. Project Stage: In the design and planning phase. White paper available upon request.