For the entire first year of our nonprofit, known then as East Alabama Birth Village, we struggled with how to target our message to clients, potential donors, and grantmakers. It's because we were doing so many different things, things that were needed and related, but still, too many things. It was impossible to give an "elevator speech" about our work.
Well, no longer. We've posted an explainer video on our site and are launching it today. Below, you will find a "short and sweet" run-down of all that we are about.
WHAT WE DO: We visit pregnant and postpartum women inside Tutwiler once per month, offering childbirth education, parenting information, emotional support, and a nutritious meal. This group was named by the mothers as the "Birthing Care Group."
WHAT WE WANT TO DO: We want to visit once per week to reach as many women as we can as often as we can. We want to bring healthy pregnancy foods each time so we can impact maternal and fetal health. We want to help these mothers empower themselves to make healthy pregnancy choices, avoid smoking, and realize that at this moment, during this pregnancy and birth, they have the capability to be the best mother for their baby. In addition to our desired weekly visits, we want to provide a means for these mothers to express milk for their newborns. Finally, we want to support them through the birthing process, when they have no familiar support in the birth room, and through the painful separation that follows.
WHY? Because it benefits their babies when the mothers have a less traumatic pregnancy and birth, when the babies are nourished to term with fewer birth complications. Because it benefits the mothers when someone invests in them and believes in their capabilities. Because it benefits the siblings when an emotionally healthy mother increases her letters and phone calls to them. Because it benefits the infants' caregivers as they enlarge their own families to temporarily take in a newborn and return the baby to an emotionally stable and bonded mothers. Because it benefits the prison culture when staff and administration see the inherent potential of these mothers to make good choices for themselves and their babies. Because it benefits the Alabama DOC by satisfying a requirement enforced by the federal government to provide trauma-informed care to a traumatized population. Because it benefits the State of Alabama by lowering health care costs right now for the mother's care and the infant's care, and later by preventing child abuse and neglect when mothers and babies are reunited. And finally, because it benefits humanity to prevent the cycle of poverty and imprisonment by offering a healing and encouraging birth experience - it prevents a problem instead of dealing with it later. Can you think of any other intervention that is a win-win for everyone?
HOW? We hope to secure grants, private donations, and government contracts to efficiently provide this intervention. We collaborate with other non-profits, universities, and agencies to bring the knowledge and heart to this program. We are efficient with our program delivery.