Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wild and Crazy Ideas

One thing I love about being a mother is the multitude of opportunities I have for creative thought. Often when I am doing something routine and ordinary (dishes, cooking, driving, laundry, cleaning), I keep my mind busy with thoughts on social issues, education, public policy, philanthrophy, women's issues: the topics that I am passionate about and discuss frequently in my blogging. From these thoughts, I've come up with many ideas over the years--some bigger than others. Some of them impact a relative few (like Birthing in Zion) and others have the potential to impact millions. Some I possess the skills and education in order to make them happen but most would require me to have effective collaborating and networking skills to find the people who are trained in that area. And sometimes, I really just fly by the seat of my pants and figure it out as I go along (like the book I'm working on...)

Here is a sampling of ideas that I've had over the last couple of years:

  • In 2007: a birth trauma organization for the United States which offers a online discussion board for women who needed understanding support while facing PTSD/PTS. Its name? Solace for Mothers, in collaboration with Jennifer Zimmerman and Sharon Storton. 
  • Also in 2007: a consumer survey for maternity care providers. I was thinking it could be called The Birth Survey. This one actually already existed so I got involved for the launch in 2008 and I am now the Co-Chair of the Committee that oversees it.
  • In 2008, a political party with a platform of family and worker friendly public policies that prioritized investing in Americans. I figure I would call it The Family Party. This is probably one of the biggest ideas that I know next to nothing about. I'm pretty well versed in family policy but founding a political party? That's a little outside the scope of my training... 
  • Also in 2008: a research institute run by parents asking questions that parents care deeply to know the answers to. Studies would be conducted by parents who do have the skills to conduct research studies, the IRB would be staffed by parents trained in research ethics. Parents with questions propose the studies. Parents conduct the studies. Families participate in the studies (with parental consent after ethics review). It would be volunteer run and skills like publishing, marketing, graphic design would be needed. I love the idea, but I don't see it happening any time soon...
  • Another from 2008: become a children's book author. I have 4-5 children's books in various stages, some just concepts and others almost completely written and ready to submit. I've pursued finding out how to publish but it seems like a tough field to crack. 
  • And another from 2008: a homebirth friendly TV hosted on HGTV. That's when they were running their ad campaign called "Start at Home." When I heard that, I thought of homebirth is quite literally starting life at home. I outlined my concept and started an online petition here on my blog. This one still might happen, maybe not on HGTV, but I'm still scheming. Don't you worry. 
  • 2008 was evidently a fruitful year because this is also when I thought of The Birth Trauma Memorial. This idea has continued to be shaped over the years. My ideal is to plant a weeping willow tree and place a granite monument nearby remembering and honoring the millions of women who have been traumatized by their birth experiences and offer a place of recognition, hope and healing for us. In conjunction with the planting of the tree, I would like to host a conference on the topic of birth trauma and PTSD/PTS after childbirth, what we know can reduce the chances of it occurring, and information regarding effecting healing modalities as well as effective strategies to influence provider practices that contribute to antepartum trauma. 
  • 2009: get a PhD. I did apply for PhD programs but did not get into any due to not being able to find a good fit with an advisor in programs local to me. As time has gone on, I've realized that I don't feel the need for a PhD like I did a couple of years ago. Instead in 2010, I enrolled in midwifery school. 
  • Also 2009: create a community action group among the women of my church congregation. That didn't happen due to lack of interest (evidently radical LDS women are hard to find in small geographical regions...) But an opportunity did present itself in 2010 with the establishment of WAVE. I joined with the women there and become the Women's Service Mission Director where I have been focusing on social issues and demonstrable action that can address the issues.  
  • Nothing much in 2010, as I can recall. It was a busy year on its own. 
  • Early 2011, I had the idea for Birthing in Zion, the directory of LDS midwives and birth professionals. That launched a few weeks ago and already we have birth workers in 13 states in the US and more coming in every few days. 
  • Summer 2011, I had been thinking on ways that we could meet the needs of the most needy Americans in a political climate where the focus was (and still is) any other than the American people. I thought of a federal level effort to address the needs of the American people using private donations. I wrote it about it here on my blog, but have done nothing (as of yet) to pursue it. 
  • In August 2011, you'll remember my big idea to start a new business: a play and learn community center called "It Takes A Village" where facilitated playgroups, infant, toddler and preschool enrichment classes would be offered along side informational classes on parenting topics, with community services like in house lactation consultants and doulas. I may someday do this still but the surprise pregnancy made it bad timing and I can tell that some percolating is still needed for all the pieces to fall into place. 
  • A recent one: a new genre of ballet where the choreography teaches about biological processes. A ballet depicting the movements of the Solar System through dance and music, or another on the chemical properties of the periodic elements, or the shifting land masses through time and even today. I would love to be able to show this type of ballet to my children. I dream of a day when various movements would be available on youtube to show and discuss with my children. This one: definitely no expertise on my part. Just the interest of a one time dancer, lover of music, early childhood educator and homeschooling parent. 
  • Another recent one: Occupy Youtube. A grassroots campaign of Occupy Wall Street and I am the 99% supporters who record their reasons for supporting the efforts and post videos on youtube. I've been hearing from many supporters who do not feel that they can attend the rallies but do support the cause and share frustrations with occupiers. Recording, compiling and and then broadcasting the videos at the rallies would show that supporters are not just the people there on the streets, but are at home or at work. Occupiers would also see that the people they are representing agree and support them. I don't think I have the network for this, but I might just have the gusto to contact the people who might. 

So there you are. I come up with big ideas and sometimes I can do something about them, and sometimes I can't. And maybe on some, I just haven't learned what I need to yet to be able to accomplishment and I might in the future. Who knows?


Jenni said...

in late 2010 you (and I) jointly came up with the idea for the MotherWheel project. Perhaps it's not that big, but I know it has made a real difference for several people. :)

Jenne said...

Thanks for the reminder. It seemed unlikely that I had gone an entire year without thinking up something big.

Inkling said...

Just found your blog from Musings of a Redhead. Usually, I skip her list of birthing blogs because of my birth trauma, but for some reason decided to try yours. I find it kind of funny that I'd just happen upon someone responsible for Solace for Mothers. That site saved my life after a hellish birth that left me with an injury you usually only see in third world nations. So thank you. Without the emotional support gained from there, I might very well have given up hope and can only imagine what that would have entailed.

And because of Solace, another mama near me found me and we began corresponding. Because of my long journey to find healing (there was really no one out there who knew how to help me find practical means to regain physical health), I was able to help her. And through all of that, a new organization is being formed with about 8 women presently called Vancouver Birth Trauma. We wanted to have something like Solace, but one that was local and has the potential to change the way birth is done in our province. It is almost impossible to hold the medical community responsible and accountable in Canada, but we're determined to try anyway.

Anyway, I'm glad I found your blog. Funny how God works, eh?

Mormon Market said...

Great and innovative ideas that you've been working on! Thank you for sharing! It is very inspiring to others and their creative, innovative projects they are working on.

Caitlin said...

I love these ideas. I have really wanted to work on forming a playgroup-learning co-op when we get settled in one area. (Or finding an established one!)

The Occupy YouTube idea is great. Might need a website hub, maybe? Or a YouTube channel? Maybe not, that might make it too centralized? I don't know.

Keep the ideas coming!