Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Funding for Alberta Midwives NOW
Today, Andre, Quin, & I went to Calgary to participate in a protest. Actually I would call it more of a rally. It was an event to protest the lack of funding for midwives in Alberta. I have always secretly wanted to be an activist, and this was my kind of rally, upbeat and positive.
I read about it in the local Banff weekly, The Crag and Canyon. May 6th is the International Day of the Midwife. A local woman, named Ulrike, planned this rally because she had her first child with the help of a midwife, in German, at no cost. Much like us, when she moved to Banff, she found out it would cost $3,250 to work with a midwife. She had her second child in Banff, at the Mineral Springs Hospital, with a doctor.
We had our daughter in Quebec, at a birthing centre, with two lovely midwives, at no cost, and it was the best experience we could ever hope for. Throw in on of my best friends, who was not only our doula but who was our chiropractor, and it was more than we could have ever dreamed. We moved to Alberta, the richest province in Canada, and found out that not only would we have to pay $44 a month, each, for our health care, but that if we wanted a midwife it would cost us over $3,000. Alberta is the only province in Canada that regulates midwives but doesn’t fund their practice. It is ridiculous when it has been proven that midwives save the province money, while providing women and men a safe, nature alternative to what has become the traditional, over medicalized North America way of birth.
These issues are something we are familiar with and are close to our heart. We are willing to pay the out of pocket cost if we have a second child because we believe in midwives. However, we would like to see the government fund this. In order for that to happen, in order to make a change, our voices need to be heard. I was thrilled when Andre read the same article, pointed it out to me, and said we should go to this rally. It is important that we be there. And if Ulrike, can arrange this whole event, while breastfeeding her 1 month old son, then we could certainly be there.
It was well attended by both the media and the public, the weather held out and even got sunny at the end. We marched once around the block, and I got extremely emotional, seeing all these people coming together to make their voices and beliefs heard. I will never forget it. Quin seemed quite happy to be there, she even commendeared someone's sign and held it for a long time. I think it was the flowers ;)