Ina May Gaskin, Midwife
I think the BWI Conference was really special this year. I found it very encouraging, educational and inspiring, so what more could you ask for than that? I’ll be happy to come back again. Being a presenter this year was easy, relaxed, with a congenial environment, and I met some good people who I think I’m going to keep on knowing. It was thoroughly a good experience. It was good to see so many people who are really dedicated and thinking about how we can take down the fear of birth and get at the big obstacles. It was good to see how can we multiply the effects so we can get better
informed, let people know what their rights are, and know that we have the power to do something about the things that are really upsetting that could be better.
BWI is an important organization because it’s about educating and networking educators. A lot of what we are misinformed about in birth comes from cultural assumptions that are rather strange. We don’t know our own history very well. So from this conference, I’ve gotten some good ideas about how we can address these issues from multiple directions. The conference is an essential meeting on getting together and figuring out how we can get the kind of results we want to see.
Karen Burzichelli, Labor and Delivery Nurse and Childbirth Educator
This was my very first BWI Conference and it was awesome! You’re never too old and you’ve never been doing this too long to learn and I learned a lot while I was here. As a presenter, it was just really special to be part of the whole speaker panel that was here. When you come to the conference, there are several breakout sessions you can go to, and I talked about Food As Medicine—how we can use nutrition to be more healthy. I think it was important because being a labor and delivery nurse and nurse educator in the maternity community for over 32 years, I see our population getting sicker and heavier, and it really has much to do with the food and environment that we live in. I wanted to present some facts and some ways to teach
others to bring it back to their patients, so they can be healthier, too. I was able to do a hands-on presentation of a cooking demo in front of my audience so I could interact and connect with them by showing a recipe, and allowing them to taste the food and experience the nutritional value of the food that I was presenting. BWI is a way for me to continue my education, and to learn more about how we can empower women, to look at
birth as something natural, something that they have within them, and to not be afraid.
Amber Price, CNM and Hospital Administrator
As a change leader in birth, the BWI Conference was a great opportunity to connect with other change leaders in the community. What I found was that there are many women who want to be a part of the changes we are going to make moving forward. At the same time, we looked at what was in our past so that we can have a greater understanding of what we are moving forward to and what the things are that can sustain us, who came before us to give us all that profound energy, and the history behind us that can help us to move forward. My take-away from this conference wasthat I was able to connect with people who inspired me, and those who can help me be a better change leader. I had the opportunity to meet with people who
give me such energy to move forward and help women and children in our country.
As a presenter at BWI, I felt welcomed. I felt valued by everyone from the first contact that was made by me, all the way through to the end. I’ve met so many great new friends and people. We cried together because we care about what happens to women in our country. Birth is important, and everyone who was here shared that with me. I’m leaving this conference with great friends. I learned that we are valued as speakers and with the materials we present. BWI has a great understanding that helps us to “capture” people and put a face to what birth is in our country. The BWI Conference is an opportunity for you to collect all the tools you need to be a change leader for birth.
Sally Dear-Healey, PhD, CCE/CD(BWI)
This BWI Conference was one of the most amazing conferences I’ve ever attended. I came with a lot of information and I’m leaving with more, and I have never been more inspired. More women need to be aware of BirthWorks and the wonderful work they are doing. BirthWorks is one of the most incredible childbirth and preparation programs. We have a doula program and an ACED (Accelerated Childbirth Educator Doula) program,
and BirthWorks is the only program I know of that combines body, mind, and spirit. I’ve been with the program for over 30 years, totally dedicated, and think it is the best program available. BWI is different than any other childbirth preparation program or doula training program that combines
body, mind, and spirit through experiential exercises. We meet with women where they are and cover things that nobody else covers, and when women leave our workshops, even if they don’t go on to become childbirth educators or doulas, it transforms their lives. One of the best things about this BirthWorks conference was getting together with other birth workers and people who are in the field, and sharing their energy, inspiration,
and the ideas about the work they are doing. The BWI conference was one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life.
Christine Waters, CD (Dona), CCE (BWI) PPNE (APPPAH)
This year’s conference was amazing. We heard speakers like Ina May Gaskin, Michel Odent MD, Steven Pratt MD, and so many other experts, but the take-home message is that everybody is an expert. They imparted their wisdom and the participants really enjoyed it. It was all about finding action and then asking how we’re going to make that happen: how can we help to normalize birth? We had lots of fun. It was a time for reflection
and thought for prenatal life. We discussed how the birth experience for both baby and mother can be better understood in our society, and how we can all take that message out into the world. How you are born affects our world. We need to be together, and that is exactly what we did at this conference. We came together, and we hope to see you at our next conference.
Blair Conger, CNM
The BWI conference allowed me to make connections with people, which filled my heart and motivated me to go out and practice more fully. It filled up the places where I was tired, and the places where I had questions. I learned so much and I’ve been doing this for so long. As a presenter, I felt fully supported to come into this conference and speak about something that I feel very passionate about to an audience just as passionate
as I am. The BWI conference was a community of brilliance.
I had a fantastic time at the BWI conference. It’s such a unique conference because you don’t just get to hear the best speakers in the world, but I was in the presence of world-class maternity care providers. I talked with them and ate with them. I bumped into them in the lobby and chatted with them. This is not something where the speakers were “up here” and the listeners were “down there.” This was a place where attendees connected
with speakers, and where we could all have compelling and captivating conversations together. There is an interaction that is taking place at a BWI conference that’s not going to take place at many other conferences. If you have an opportunity to attend one, I highly recommend it. I left with more contacts and more friends than I thought possible, and the friends I made were the speakers I came to see. That is what made this conference
It’s been a wonderful four days. I feel emotionally and spiritually recharged. BirthWorks brings that all together, giving me lots of information to take home, reflect on, and incorporate into my midwifery practice, as well. When you come to the BWI conference, I think you can expect to have very experienced speakers on several different topics, and I think you’ll find something in each one of the talks that is going to fill your heart, fill your
mind, and give you lots of information to take away. Here at the conference it’s really hard to choose my favorite speaker. I really enjoyed Dr. Amber Price’s information. She is local to our community, so getting all that information and finding out how we can improve birth outcomes and serve women better is an important topic. Finding out about the microbiome and how that can impact generations to come is important, as well. And of course Ina May. Who cannot love Ina May Gaskin!? Every one of the speakers had something really important and valuable to say. At this conference, we had an unique opportunity to get up close to speakers, and I know I have made friends. I got to meet many like-minded people, and
made many new friends. A lot of information that was presented reawakens things we already knew, and will help revitalize our practices. There’s a lot of new information with statistics that is important to apply to evidence- based practice. I’m excited to do this—to take it back.
The BWI conference for me is really about taking in all of the information that was presented, feeling it, and being able to share it in my practice and in my daily life. I feel revitalized, and that is important when you leave a conference like this.
I’m a labor and delivery nurse from New York City, and I’m learning about things more prevalent in home birth settings or maybe in a non-traditional setting that I can take back to our big academic center in New York City. It was refreshing to hear Ina May Gaskin, who has been an inspiration for me, speak here live and hear some of the stories I’ve read about in her books. I realized even more what a truly inspirational person she is. The conference is a refresher in why we work in birth. It’s a way to bring instinctual birth back into academic hospital settings.
The BWI conference is an amazing opportunity where all birth work providers, regardless of being nurses, doulas, physicians, administrators, doctors, or midwives, come together and really empower each other. They shared their knowledge in how to help women birth babies the way that they want to. I recommend the conferences to anybody and everybody who is able to attend and encourage them to come and be part of it. It is a place to recharge your batteries as a health care provider and to just have fun. My favorite part of coming to the conference was learning something new, and one of the things I learned about was respectful maternity care. I was always respectful in maternity care with my patients, but here, I learned about different ways and values in which to make it more optimal in my practice. The BWI conference for me was empowering.