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Three women looking at a laptop with text written on a whiteboard behind them: The time to act is now

Creating your plan for change

According to Sara Wickham, a midwife and powerful birth advocate based in the UK, even everyday actions can create big ripples of change in maternity care.

Sara says:

  • The more people are exposed to hearing about midwifery and gentle birth, the more it will become a norm for them.
  • Attitudes are formed in childhood; therefore, we need to ensure that children are exposed to these ideas at an early stage.
  • Experience is an important part in attitude change - if you can encourage people to experience something for themselves, it is much more powerful than telling them about it.
  • Talking to people who support birthing women (partners, grandparents) is just as important as talking to women themselves, because these are the people who influence women’s decisions.

(Wickham, 2000)

How to get started

When you’re creating your plan, don’t worry if the action steps seem small or huge - the most important thing is to use this opportunity to start to make a difference. Be S.M.A.R.T. about your goals, and have a clear timeline.

Let’s say you’re a woman wanting to access care in this model. You’ve looked at the things that will help you achieve your goal and the barriers that might get in the way. Now it’s time to put it all together. What will your achievable action plan look like?

Similarly, maybe you’re a midwife. Perhaps you’re stressed, exhausted, worn out and you know something needs to change. What can you do?

Maybe it’s talking to the classes at your children’s school. Maybe you’re ready to start your own private practice as a continuity of care midwife. Perhaps you’re the director of maternity services and know it’s time to offer midwifery continuity of care to the women who access your service. Whoever you are - it’s time for an action plan.

If you’re not sure if you can achieve what you’ve set out to do, consider what Wayne Gretzky, a star hockey player from Canada, famously said:

You miss 100% of the shots you never take.

(W. Gretzky, 16 January, 1983)

Just have a go. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

Over to you

Based on the goals you created earlier this week, and considering the enablers and barriers you identified, create an achievable, clear, step-by-step action plan.

Don’t worry if some of those steps are very small. We know that small steps lead to big changes, while no steps lead to nowhere. So wherever you are now, take that first step.

Need some help or advice? Reach out in the comments.

References

  1. Wickham, S. (2000) 26 Ways to Change Birth Globally, Midwifery Today, 53 (Spring 2000), 28.

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This article is from the free online course:

Maternity Care: Building Relationships Really Does Save Lives

Griffith University

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