The Midwife Necklaces Are Back In Support of The Birth Sanctuary Gainsville

The Midwife Necklaces Are Back In Support of The Birth Sanctuary Gainsville

When Dr. Stephaine Mitchell


moved to Alabama earlier this year, her dream of starting the first birth center in the state was already hatched and growing. She envisions a cozy space that feels like home, has birthing spaces, a classroom, soaking tubs and a kitchen where birthers and their supporters can nourish themselves throughout the birthing process. A place where all the midwives in Alabama can connect in community.
 
The biggest difference between a birth center and a traditional maternity ward is fundamental but simple. “As a midwife, I believe in the ability of our bodies to be able to labor and birth without interference,” says Mitchell. Midwifery specializes in a non-medicalized, low intervention approach. This kind of care is nearly impossible in a space that has industrialized the birth process. “If you’re in a hospital for normal healthy labor and birth, the default is some form of care that increases your risk,” she observed.

Despite spending more than any other country on hospital-based maternity care, the US has a higher maternity mortality rate than most other developed nations. Between 2000-2017, the global maternal mortality rate decreased by 38%, however in the US, the mortality rate steadily rose. And the people suffering the most, you ask? Black families.

Black women are two to three times more likely to die during birth complications than other races while Black infants in America are twice as likely to die as white infants. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost Black babies. In Alabama, women die from pregnancy and childbirth complications at more than double the rate of women nationally. We can help change this. 
 
“I can’t underscore enough that we have a problem in general for Obstetrics in this country,” says Mitchell. “And we actually do have a solution. The answer is low intervention birthing. It’s not a money-making solution and it’s not a popular solution but the solution is reverting back to a place or standard in time when we were not interfering. If we return to the basis of normalcy – I believe we can see a turning of the statistics for the betterment of our country.”

The future site of The Birth Sanctuary Gainesville
“Ideally the most comfortable place for people [to give birth] is at home,” says Mitchell. The Birth Sanctuary will be a homey substitute for anyone whose house doesn’t support a birth or who would simply prefer to be there where all the details are taken care of. Future plans for The Birth Sanctuary involve a few cozy cabins where women can come spend the last few weeks of their pregnancy or the first few weeks post-partum, if that’s what they want to do.
 
The Birth Sanctuary is being renovated and remodeled as funds are raised. It just got a new roof - which Mitchell jokes looked like it hadn’t been touched since 1835. The next thing on the agenda is the demolition and restructuring of the birth center and classroom where Mitchell intends to offer a library and classes.

All funds raised from the purchase of your Midwife Necklace will go toward this next project.  
 
Says Dr. Mitchell: “We could really make a change in the outcomes of birthing people in this rural community”
 
Dr Mitchell dancing in the new birth center space.

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1 comment

  • Hannah Hewitt : January 12, 2021

    Yes! Love this necklace and love this initiative.

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