As we move through the December holidays and into the New Year, I wanted to take a moment to encourage everyone in the Grow Midwives community to reflect on how they can give back. Even during this time of great political partisanship, we can all embrace the title of Former President Bill Clinton’s amazing 2007 book, Giving: How Each of us Can Change The World.
Between family obligations and professional commitments, giving back can easily get lost in the shuffle. Remember, no matter how busy you are, there are many ways you can give back this holiday season.
Here are a few of our personal favorites:
- Volunteer with your local American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) affiliate. Establishing a quarterly donation of hygiene supplies for your local women’s shelter is a great start.
- Volunteer to mentor someone earlier on in their career like a new midwife or student
- Offer to speak for free to local community associations on health topics
- Bring holiday snacks to your favorite hospital staff and thank them for their role supporting families choosing midwifery care
Giving commitments do not have to involve money or large amounts of time, but they can be incredibly fulfilling. This year, I am thankful to have the opportunity to give back by helping to mentor one of midwifery’s future leaders: Yuliya Labko.
I first met Yuliya, now a Certified Nurse Midwife, as a student in 2014. She was enrolled in the combined Johns Hopkins/Shenandoah University nurse-midwifery program. Early in her program, it became apparent that she was a savvy political activist with a genuine interest in ACNM. After observing this passion as a faculty member, I encouraged Yuliya to take on more as a student, and impressed upon her the idea that nothing should ever stop her from trying. And try she did!
During the last three years, we have become close friends while working collaboratively on several projects. Yuliya now serves as the Advocacy and Policy Director with the March for Moms Association. Her work includes overseeing all advocacy materials and stakeholder messaging prior to the National Rally event, coordinating lobbying and organizing our Congressional Briefing.
I know Yuliya would have found work at the national level within ACNM or other groups on her own. However, it may have taken many more years and experiencing closed doors to navigate this pathway. Thru mentoring, friendship, encouragement, and giving, I was able to share entrée into networks of like-minded colleagues and transfer key responsibilities, knowing she was eager to lead. Students may recognize Yuliya as the current Editor of the ACNM Student Newsletter. The paradox of life is the more you give, the more you get. Generosity, and giving, brings the most meaning to life.
We hope you will consider a variety ways to give. Still don’t think you have the time? Here are some ideas that are even more actionable than the ones above:
- Donate to a favorite charity online (go ahead, do it, you can spare $25 and not leave the house)
- Plan to volunteer in 2018 (anywhere, even if for a limited time)
- Take time to stop and listen to people’s stories
- Give a free lecture about the midwifery profession or a women’s health issue
And remember when you give, you are working in ways that ‘change the world’!
Grow Midwives commits in 2018 to continue sharing critical information with our community. Our mission is to change the perceived role of midwifery in the United States, to increase access to midwifery, and offer guidance on building teams that foster optimal outcomes.
We are also committed to addressing poor outcomes in maternity care by identifying the geographic populations in the United States with the highest need and providing tangible resources for midwives in those areas.
Stay tuned for an announcement regarding our recent requests for proposal.
Happy Holidays from the whole Grow Midwives team!
Ginger, Lesley, Joe, Peter, Bryan & Jay