Scores of midwives; dozens of doulas and hundreds of mamas-to-be: We were definitely amongst our people when Heng and I traveled to Salt Lake City last weekend to appear at the Empowering Fearless Birth convention. This grass-roots conference has proliferated in size since its founding a few years ago—appropriately enough, it mirrors the highly prolific birth rate of Utah, which we didn’t know about until we arrived (seriously: “I have five kids” was said more times there in one day than we’ve ever heard in California!). And its founders have created a dynamic forum for women to grow confidence and clarity from all kinds of education about pregnancy choices, birthing options, natal care, and natural childrearing. The wealth of expertise on display was impressive.
Equally impressive was the commitment and consciousness of the midwives who’d labored intensely—pun intended—to bring this non-profit convention to life. What a great gang of empowered and often, bracingly unconventional women! Heng and I had the pleasure of presenting our talk, “The Small Gestures of The First Forty Days” to the Utah Midwives’ Convention on Friday night, which was happening in tandem with the public event the next day. We then presented to mothers and families twice on Saturday, and were happy to be the Keynote speakers at the event.
Our message about “circling up” as communities around new mothers and re-learning the lost art of caring for the mother after birth was enthusiastically received. Women shared their stories, their concerns, and their insights about what is failing our families today … and what works. We learned as much as we shared, and we loved feeding this hunger for authentic conversation about such an important time in women’s, children’s, and families’ lives. We’re ready to get on the road, mic in hand—let’s hope it’s the start to many more speaking dates!