The Birth of a Future

by Elizabeth Kirts, MPH, ICCE, IBCLC, RLC

As I am writing this, our Virtual Conference, Surviving to Thriving is a mere 45 days and 6 minutes away.  I hope you are registered.  As we made decisions on the conference, we really thought about what the world has been through since early 2020.  My motto through all of this has been “who knew?”  Who knew it would last so long?  Who knew my whole life would be upturned and rebuilt?  Who knew that the inequities in the world would be so vividly revealed due to a pandemic?  Who knew we could adapt……? In the beginning weeks and months there was a lot of “when this is over.” What we didn’t think about was that there wouldn’t be a sudden end to the pandemic, but a gradual adaptation to the endemic phase we are now navigating.  In the beginning there was a lot of holding off on things waiting to see what would happen; waiting for the “end” and going back to normal.  Over time we realized that we couldn’t stay in survival mode but had to learn to thrive and grow.  That normal is not constant and that we recreate our lives continually.

I will be speaking at the conference about post traumatic growth and how challenges in life can bring us to place of greater empathy and support for our patients.  I have been very lucky that through this whole difficult time, my hospital administration recognized very early on that we would need support and set up a resiliency team to provide education and resources.  From this, I learned to appropriately deal with the situation we were in and then subsequently the tragedy in my personal life.  I really hope that my presentation will provide some tools and knowledge to help you all thrive. We have so many speakers who will also be giving insight, education, skills, and new information.  The conference will provide the DEI hours needed for certification and recertification.

September is Suicide Awareness Month which includes Suicide Prevention Week, and World Suicide Prevention Day.  One of the biggest causes of death for postpartum moms is completed suicide from Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD).  As educators and doulas, we need to have resources and referrals for our families. It is important to remind ourselves that men can also experience postpartum mood disorders and that non-traditional families including transgender, gay and lesbian or other identifying parents are also at high risk. Continue to educate yourselves so that you can be a source or referral and support when appropriate.  The birth of a family is the birth of a future and we are blessed to be working in this field.  It is a beautiful thing to be a part such a profound time in someone’s life.

As a Board of Directors, we are looking forward to the Annual Meeting which will be a part of the Virtual Conference.  If you are unable to attend the conference, you still will have the opportunity to attend this meeting.  We will be covering all the projects we have been working on this past year; and it’s been a very busy year for our Board.  We will also welcome the new Board Members for 2023.

As always, I thank you for the hard work and dedication you so lovingly give.  You make a difference!