Making the best choice for Down Under

For those Down Under, May 12th is Mother’s Day.  It also means Term Two has begun for our schoolies, and winter is coming.  And this year, it also means: ELECTION!

The Federal election is on Saturday May 18th.  Do you know what happens to your vote?

It’s a big decision, and the order you choose is very much up to you.  Each electorate is different, with different options…many supported by a ‘party’.  There is lots to consider.  Our right to choose is precious.

Can you imagine what society might look like without democracy?

During our recent state election, at a Meet the Candidates event in Braidwood, the question was asked:

Why aren’t there more women standing for election?

The response from the re-elected incumbent was surprisingly insightful:

The problem is that society/culture is not supportive of women.  especially Mothers.  He can hold his seat, campaign and travel because society assumes he will.  The care work behind the scenes is managed by his dedicated wife.  He acknowledged this.  and wonder out aloud if indeed he could do the same in return: social conditioning must change to make it more acceptable for men to take on the care work, the support role.  Behind every campaigner is an enormous amount of support.  For women to be able to campaign, they need this too.  They need someone stepping into the care work (child rearing, domestic duties) because campaigning is all consuming.

This is why the consumer groups are so important.  It is through these groups we have a strong voice.  Consumer Representatives (from Maternity Choices and the Maternity Consumer Network) are invited to sit on boards, gain meetings with the Ministers, speak at conferences and influence outcomes.

These groups are essential, because without them Mothers would be unheard.

It is easy to ignore that which we take for granted.  The work of the carer is unsung and assumed…and yet it is the most valuable.  The core of our humanity begins and ends with care.

They are NOT my 'Wishes' or 'Preferences' They are my INFORMED DECISIONSI am collaborating with these groups to make ‘consumer-led’ maternity care mean CONSUMER-LED.  In order to do this, we need ‘consumers’ to be informed, supported and confident.  We can not do this unless we have unbias, neutral means to holding the power.  OUR power.  This means knowing the questions, understanding the landscape and being respected.   This is a basic human right.  We are socially conditioned to accept birth as a medical event, to disengage emotionally and (as much as possible) physically.  We begin with ‘consent’, rather than informed decision making.
These awesome consumer groups are influencing the language, and demanding change.  From improving the system to include more continuity of carer options, extending the insurance exemption for private midwives (still a long way to go here…this is just buying time) and reforming the way maternity funding occurs.  They are only going to be stronger with our support.  If you are keen to see change for the Mothers to Come, this is a powerful way to do it.

For my own part, my mission is to see an ‘Informed Pregnancy and Beyond Package’ created, you can read about it here.  If the Government is serious about women providing informed consent, they need to provide the tools and support informed decision making,

see also The Trouble with Consent

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