Many pregnant Filipino mothers aspire for two things: to have a safe childbirth and to give baby the best care possible. But however adequately a mother has prepared for the arrival of her newborn, the way she is treated during childbirth can have long-term effects on her physically and emotionally, as well as on her breastfeeding journey. Thanks to education and support groups, some mothers are learning that a safe, respectful, and dignified birth is possible.
Not everyone experiences a respectful childbirth. For mothers coming from marginalized sectors, access to respectful and dignified birth practices, as well as breastfeeding support and education, is still considered a luxury.
But this is not about luxury, this is about a woman’s human rights—her right to dignity, informed consent, access to quality health care and choice of birth provider, and her children’s right to breastfeed. Unfortunately, even with policies in place, these rights are often overlooked or altogether ignored. As the HumanRightsinChildbirth.org states, “When women come out of childbirth with post-partum PTSD from disrespect, abuse, or obstetric violence, the goal of a ‘healthy mother and healthy baby’ has not been met.”
Thus there is an urgent call for health care providers, community workers, and educators to work together to protect women’s rights in childbirth and protect breastfeeding. Together we can make a difference and make local health policies more responsive to the needs of birthing mothers and be genuinely “Mother-Baby Friendly.”
The University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) Office of Gender Concerns, in partnership with L.A.T.C.H. Los Baños, will hold a public forum entitled, “Respecting Childbirth. Protecting Breastfeeding: Working Together Towards Genuine Mother-Baby Friendly Care” on May 20, 2016 from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM at the Centennial Center for Digital Learning (CCDL) Auditorium at the UPOU Headquarters, Los Baños, Laguna.
Together with their invited speakers, birth professionals, and breastfeeding advocates, they want to encourage expecting parents to look into their birth options and make informed choices. And they want to encourage medical professionals to work together to make sure that every mother, every parent and every child has a respectful and dignified birth experience and ensure that breastfeeding is supported and protected.
To join the forum, sign up here.
The event will culminate with the opening of the birth photography exhibit, “Kaya Mo” at 5:00 PM. Birth photographer Isabell Steinert aims to encourage expecting mothers to trust their own bodies by showing inspiring birth photos of empowered Filipino mothers in the month-long exhibition “Kaya Mo”. She believes that the more we share positive birth stories, the less we will fear childbirth.
The exhibit will run from May 20-June 17, 2016 at the Galeria Sinag, UPOU Community Hub, Los Baños, Laguna.
In addition, L.A.T.C.H. Los Baños will hold a free BREASTFEEDING CLASS on May 21. Together with Deborah Gustafson, missionary midwife and co-director of Shiphrah Birthing Home, they will also talk about the impact of a positive birth experience in facilitating a smooth start in early motherhood and breastfeeding.
Sign up for the breastfeeding class here.
All events are FREE and open to the public but pre-registration is REQUIRED.
For more details, contact the UPOU Office of Gender Concerns at (049) 536-6001 loc. 451. You may also contact L.A.T.C.H. via email@example.com or check their Facebook page.