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Women Need Options, Not Choices

Updated: Apr 3, 2019

I guarantee every one of us has heard it. Many of us have said it:

“My Body, My Choice.”

But what does that mean, really?

If you are a parent, you’ve surely played this game with your children on any given day...choices limited to the parameter of options provided. You give them a choice. But really, you give them the illusion of a choice...

“Do you want to go to bed now or after I read you a story?”

“Do you want to leave the park now, or in 5 minutes?”

Sure, they get a choice…they can choose how they’d like to comply with the choice you’ve already made for them. Regardless of their contribution to the decision, they are going to bed and you will be leaving that park sooner than much later.

But what does choice mean in terms of reproductive health care for women? Well, it depends on which women we are talking about—their socioeconomic status, their ethnicity, where they live, what type of health insurance, and/or if they have insurance. These are just some of the unspoken factors that largely will define a woman’s pregnancy care choices.

As one of the most medically advanced nations on Earth, the United States is one of two countries that continues to show an increase in maternal mortality rates, with black mothers being three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than white women. These statistics are alarming in and of themselves, but more shocking is the variance by state—and if that doesn’t give you pause, then consider the fact that the risk of maternal and infant mortality can be predicted in Michigan not only by county, but based on residential zip-codes within the city limits of Detroit!

These numbers are not coincidence. These numbers represent a systemic failure—or rather, many systemic failures—and women deserve better.

Jahmanna Selassie and myself - both home birth midwives in Detroit area and part of Detroit Pop-Up Midwifery Clinics

The Detroit Pop-Up Midwifery Clinic intends to explore the ways in which women and mothers living in the City of Detroit might be better served through a series of conversations which will take place in zip-codes that reflect the poorest pregnancy and postpartum outcomes for moms and babies. Each month, at each locale, food and dialogue will flow freely for three consecutive weekly meetups between moms, soon-to-be & someday mothers, and Midwives.

The goal of these Midwife hosted events is to improve health throughout pregnancy and beyond by creating a space where women and mothers can access information about their pregnancy-related care options to ensure that quality prenatal and maternal care is no longer limited by racial, geographical, or socioeconomic status. The Pop-Up is also an invitation for women to share their pregnancy and birth experiences with one another, a place to hear and to be heard. You can find more information on who we are, where we’ll be, and when we’ll be there here.

As always…

Birth Beautiful, Detroit.

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