by Bonita Katz, BA RN ICCE ICBD IAT CLC
We need a thoughtful celebration. Celebration comes in various shades – quiet personal times of joyful reflection, boisterous parties with friends, and everything in between. This month we have reason to celebrate – sixty years ago ICEA began, founded on the principles of family-centered care and informed decision-making. For sixty years ICEA has promoted evidence-based practice. For sixty years ICEA has been educating parents and professionals. That is something to celebrate. And yet at this time – in the middle of a pandemic and social unrest – it is hard to summon feelings of exuberance. It seems wrong to celebrate in the midst of such difficulty. But life is often like this – offering occasion for both joy and sorrow almost simultaneously. I remember a time many years ago when I went to the hospital to follow up with a doula client. I walked into a room full of joy. Everyone was tired, but happy – completely taken with their new little one. When I finished my visit there, I continued to another part of the hospital to visit with a friend whose husband was dying. I walked into a room full of heart-wrenching grief. Joy and sorrow were just steps away from one another – one life ending as another had just begun. We cannot allow sorrow to diminish our joy. To do so would render the world a dark and gloomy place. At the same time, to pretend that all is well would diminish our grief. So I am asking you to join me in a thoughtful celebration – one that acknowledges our accomplishments, but also challenges us to work toward a better future. ICEA has upheld the values of compassion, collaboration, and choice since its very beginning. That is something to celebrate. How can we better promote those values – ensuring that they are enjoyed by all? ICEA’s philosophy plainly states that family-centered care is more of an attitude than a list of protocols. How do we not only personally adopt that attitude, but also create the expectation of that attitude in others? ICEA’s vision of a nurtured world through professionals trained with these values requires persistent dedication. It is not enough to simply reiterate the words. We must continually demonstrate compassion. We must continually reach out building bridges of collaboration. We must continually educate others about their choices in maternity and newborn care. Together, let’s celebrate sixty years of firm adherence to this vision. Together, let’s work to ensure that this vision is accessible to all people everywhere. Let’s make this a thoughtful celebration.