On the Bright Side
by Bonita Katz, BA RN ICCE ICBD IAT CLC
I’ve decided to be a glass-half-full kind of woman… to stop and smell the roses… to look on the bright side. Yes, those are all clichés, but I’ve determined to look beyond all the negativity that seems to darken these days and make an effort to brighten the world I live in. That doesn’t mean that I ignore the bad news, but I will not allow it to overshadow the good news. So, even though there is much work to be done in the field of maternal-child health, what is the good news?
- Breastfeeding rates. In the mid-1970’s, only about one in three mothers made any attempt to breastfeed their infants. In 2018, that number was 83.2%. That’s a significant increase and something to be celebrated! In fifty years, the number of infants that begin life being nourished by human milk has more than doubled.
- Infant mortality rates have declined for the last century. One hundred years ago, almost one in ten infants died in their first year of life. While the death of any child is heartbreaking, the rate of infant mortality in the US today is down to 5.8 per 1,000 live births. This is life-saving progress.
- Doulas. When I had my first baby in 1988, I had never even heard of a doula. In 2012, about 6% of women had a doula with them for the birth of their baby – twice as many as had doulas in 2006. I couldn’t find more recent statistics, but the number is growing.
- Midwife-attended births have increased almost every year since 1989.
There is much room for improvement in the birth world, but please take time to appreciate the advances that have occurred. Progress may seem frustratingly slow, but we are moving forward. Education is essential for continued progress – and education is what ICEA is all about. We continually work to keep our programs updated so that they reflect the latest and best research.
- This year we updated the Childbirth Educator program. Now all references for the program can be found online making it easier for professionals outside the US to find the information they need. A wider variety of international resources give a broader understanding of the childbearing year.
- Many Position Papers have been updated within the last year.
- We chose conference content that reflects your responses to the survey sent out earlier this year. Teaching tips and comfort measures, maternal mental health, inclusivity/diversity, and infant feeding are the four main topics that will be covered. Also, in response to the survey, we have made the conference content available until the end of the year. You will not have to sit for days at a time in front of the computer. You can watch at your convenience.
Please join us for the Certified Professionals Meeting on 22 September to learn what we have accomplished over the last year and where we are headed as we move forward.
Have you been thinking of becoming more involved with ICEA? The Certified Professionals Meeting is a great opportunity to find the place where you would best fit. Come join us!
The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) is a professional organization that supports educators and health care professionals who believe in freedom to make decisions based on knowledge of alternatives in family-centered maternity and newborn care.