Childbirth experts, birthing networks, beginning experts, natural childbirth advocates…are all names used to describe the growing network actively advocating for childbirth as a everyday healthful a part of a female’s life cycle. via the use of childbirth education, this community’s lifestyles intention is to empower women to make informed selections around their being pregnant and delivery options the use of proof-based totally studies as the muse.As a member of this growing community, i am frequently caught among what I view as two worlds. My truth, wherein i am childbirth expert certified in childbirth schooling, perinatal fitness, and a breastfeeding peer counselor trainer. Then there is the other real international, in which my paintings in a community-primarily based agency lets in me to witness the politics of being pregnant and giving birth within the “internal town.”I listen to my professional daylight colleagues explicit opinions indicating that what we birth advocates do is ‘lovable’, however distracting to the bigger photograph, their picture. They ask if our offerings are unfastened, as though we should not dare dream of incomes a living this way. They even once in a while push aside our credentials with statements which includes, yes, what you do is pleasant, however customers opt to have someone certified with them.”, when they talk approximately imparting exceptional training.To be honest let’s examine the flip side of the coin. The same those who I treasure for their insightfulness and determination to mothers and their families can every so often be overwhelming with their crusade. Exaggerations are made about obstetricians and the first-class of hospital births and bashing every now and then will become part of the circle of sharing.what is childbirth education and why is it crucial?The definition of childbirth training may be as numerous as there are education modalities. even though definitions can range amongst educators and or certification establishments… it may be absolutely described as follows:Childbirth schooling classes put together a girl for the experience of pregnancy, exertions, and transport. thru using a sequence of lessons a woman is knowledgeable at the anatomy, physiological modifications, nutrients, risks and advantages of scientific interventions, pain coping techniques, cesarean danger discount, and breastfeeding. some educators also are taught to encourage girls to understand and use their innate abilties and intuition to beginning.Did you realize the healthful humans 2010 update segment 16:7 without delay addresses childbirth training? The wholesome humans 2010, a hard and fast of fitness goals designed to manual fitness professionals in attaining progressed health results for americans over the first decade of the new century, speaks to the significance of enhancing maternal, toddler and toddler health in this quote:segment 16:7As part of complete prenatal care, a formal collection of organized childbirth instructions performed through a certified childbirth educator is suggested for all ladies by the expert Panel on the content of Prenatal Care. those training can help reduce ladies’s ache  and tension  as they method childbirth, making shipping a extra great revel in and preparing girls for what they will face as they deliver delivery. A complete collection of classes is usually recommended for women who have in no way attended. A refresher collection of 1 or classes is suggested for girls who attended at some point of a preceding being pregnant. At a minimal, the childbirth training have to consist of information regarding the body structure of exertions and birth, physical games and self-assist techniques for labor, the position of assist folks, own family roles and adjustments, and preferences for care at some stage in hard work and beginning. The training additionally must include an opportunity for the mom and her companion to have questions replied about companies, prenatal care, and other relevant troubles, as well as to obtain records concerning beginning settings and cesarean childbirth. Attendance is recommended all through the third trimester of pregnancy so that facts learned can be used pretty soon after presentation. classes must start at the thirty first or 32nd week and be finished no later than 38 weeks. The refresher elegance ought to be finished at any time among 36 and 38 weeks.this recommendation is crucial and ought to be highlighted via all advocates and prenatal care carriers. It validates the want for childbirth schooling as a routine a part of complete girls’s prenatal healthcare. unbiased childbirth educators are an super desire for ladies who need to acquire unbiased data now not driven by means of health facility coverage and processes. For the ones educators whose work does come underneath the parameters of groups’ policy and strategies, they need to don’t forget their important characteristic is to work for the betterment of their consumer “the expectant mother”. In evaluating the excellent of childbirth training lessons, the curriculum have to be patron targeted and the substances and records provided must be sincere and imminent in providing the risks vs. blessings primarily based on proof-primarily based studies.what’s the lowest line?We stay in a quick paced society, specifically here within the new york metropolitan vicinity. As a end result, many customers are soliciting for shorter instructions and fewer classes. it’s miles our responsibility as birthing advocates to present them quality services, and if this indicates an increase in the quantity of time we dedicate to coaching then this is a obligation we need to fulfill. Many on line lessons and weekend intensives are actually replacing traditional 6 week plus classes. This new trend is basically depriving women of the guide that is historically found in longer face-to-face settings. even though the healthful human beings 2010 assertion does no longer in particular spell out what a full series of instructions includes, you will intelligently finish that based totally on the amount of encouraged facts to be covered a realistic time allotment is wanted for the human thoughts to acquire, take delivery of and digest.As childbirth specialists we want to continually refer again to the evidence-based totally literature round childbirth which incorporates research findings which may be observed on-line (at sites which includes Childbirth Connection (formerly the Maternity center), the Coalition to
enhance Maternity offerings and the world health corporation (WHO) to call a few).
The professional Panel at the content of Prenatal Care has formally validated the cost of childbirth training training basically confirming what we realize anecdotally. it’s far now our obligation to recognise what that fact is and communicate it boldly to our clients. The fact about pregnancy is that childbirth training instructions should be a recurring part of every girl’s comprehensive prenatal care. recognizing that every pregnancy and delivery is unique, for the lady who has introduced earlier than a refresher route could replace her on her options and also allow her and her help person to invite associated questions. those two eventualities are examples of information as power because they invent an possibility for the mother to be knowledgeable and as a end result make selections which are exceptional for her and her baby.this newsletter is a made from simply Us women Productions.
On one of the coldest days of 2014 I put on long underwear, a flannel shirt, my thickest sweater, a hat, and a scarf, and took the subway two stops down to 1059 Union Street to join the new Crown Heights Tenant Union’s first public action.
It was so bitterly cold that I couldn’t help but think about the previous winter, my first in Crown Heights and fourth in Brooklyn, when my heat would mysteriously shut off, often just in time for the weekend when my landlords didn’t answer the phone. My partner likes to say that most New York landlords operate on a continuum between greed and laziness. I figured at the time that mine were hovering closer to the “lazy” end with a bonus bit of cheapness thrown in; they just didn’t want to pay the extra money to really fix whatever was wrong.
One of my frustrated phone calls went like this:
“I spent two days without heat! I need to have someone to call on Saturdays if there’s an emergency.”
“Well, we’re Jewish—we don’t work on Saturday.”
“I’m Jewish too! That doesn’t mean I don’t freeze!”
I never chalked up that lack of heat to gentrification in action. But the folks standing on that freezing sidewalk on Union Street knew better. The disappearing heat wasn’t just a problem in my building. All over Crown Heights, tenants were shivering through nights without heat. Even the New York Times reported on the problem. The record cold in early 2014 saw complaints about the lack of heat nearly double from the year before.
As the residents exchanged stories, they began to conclude that it was more than just the usual neglect that working-class neighborhoods have come to expect from absentee landlords, that it was a calculated effort to drive residents out so that people who looked more like me—young, white, presumably more affluent—could move in.
Many at the rally held handmade signs with pithy slogans (“Affordable housing is a right” and “Resident power not REBNY dollars”) and specific demands or call-outs (“5-year rent freeze” and “ZT Realty Rank 58 Worst Landlords in Brooklyn”—that last one with a small toy rat taped to the cardboard). When I arrived, the crowd was chanting “We won’t leave!”
Last winter’s cold made my previous heatless nights seem mild by comparison. The weather phenomenon called the “polar vortex” had swept down on us with single-digit temperatures and mountains of snow for weeks on end. I couldn’t imagine one night of this with no heat, but some of the people standing out there with me knew that feeling well. Resident after resident stood to tell their stories, decrying constant harassment from new landlords who had purchased the buildings they had lived in for decades, big brick pre-war structures like the one we stood in front of, solid exteriors that often hid leaky sinks, clanking pipes, and crumbling plaster within. One woman wanted her landlord to stop threatening to take her to court if rent was late—“You don’t respond to us in a timely fashion! I waited thirty days for them to fix my ceiling that caved in.”
For another tenant, it was being charged extra for “improvements” to the building. “For months we had a truck outside our building to provide us with heat, a temporary boiler. They put in a new boiler and every day, every day we have no heat or hot water for some span of time. We are not paying for that boiler; that is not our responsibility.”
A third declared, “The only way we going to stop this is if we organize. In numbers there is strength.”
The rally wasn’t simply an opportunity for tenants to voice their grievances. Instead, through months of meetings, outreach, and debate between tenants from (at the time) twenty-five buildings, they had come up with a list of demands that they had formalized into a collective bargaining agreement that they were pushing for landlords to sign. Those demands, including a five-year rent freeze, a forty-eight-hour response time maximum for necessary repairs, tenant approval of renovations, and a limit to buyout offers, were printed on four-foot sheets of paper that the tenants pasted up inside the lobby of 1059 Union, where several of the union members lived. By organizing tenants from multiple buildings into one union, they hoped to wield more power against landlords who might otherwise ignore them and to be able to influence the entire rental market in the neighborhood.
The formulation “a tale of two cities” has been used a lot to describe New York at the end of the Bloomberg era, but it doesn’t entirely encapsulate the way some neighborhoods have been split into two by gentrification.
Crown Heights is on the razor’s edge of gentrification in Brooklyn, a West Indian and Lubavitcher Hasidic Jewish neighborhood with very little crossover between the two communities. Its boundaries are roughly Atlantic Avenue to the north, Washington to the west, Ralph Avenue to the east, and Empire Boulevard to the south. Its median household income, according to WNYC’s maps, is around $41,000 a year and on the rise; and it’s getting whiter.
The idea that white skin automatically means more money is both a product and a perpetuator of American racism. Before gentrification, you had disinvestment. Legally sanctioned housing discrimination both created segregated neighborhoods and kept home values and rents low; white flight saw middle-class people leave for the suburbs. Landlords and cities left black and brown neighborhoods to crumble. The recent return of white people to the cities their parents and grandparents abandoned means that prices have been on the rise, and neighborhoods once written off as “bad” and “scary” are now desirable lower-priced alternatives for mostly young people trying to make their city dreams come true. And landlords are ready for a chance to increase their profits—whether they are long-term property owners pushed out of absentee equilibrium into paying attention to their buildings and making improvements in order to raise rents, or they are private equity and hedge-fund hawks circling, looking for new “investments.”
But these days, new young gentrifiers are less and less likely to find a full-time job that pays them enough to cover those rising rents. Instead, they move from neighborhood to neighborhood, priced out of the place they moved into just the year before, following that wave further out. They leave, and someone who can afford the slightly higher rent moves in, and the cycle speeds up.
Being part of the first wave of gentrification means that you experience the abuse along with the benefit of cheap(er) rent. It means that as soon as you’ve moved in they want you to move out again, so they can raise the rent still more.
Not long after I moved into my Crown Heights place (my third Brooklyn apartment), my upstairs neighbor—who had warned me of shoddy repairs to my bathroom ceiling with a cheery “You live here now? My floor caved in through your ceiling a little while back!”—disappeared. I found out she was gone when I woke up one morning to the sight of broken furniture flying past my bedroom window, crashing onto the sidewalk below.
A new family moved in shortly thereafter.
A few months ago the folks in the apartment across from mine—a shy teenage boy, whose college information packets often mistakenly wound up in my mailbox, and his mother, who worked nights and came home in scrubs—disappeared as well. They were replaced by a crowd of those dreaded white “hipsters” who embody the worst loud-partying gentrifier clichés.
It’s almost too easy to write clichés about gentrification in New York. And yet you find contradictions everywhere—the bodega owner who tells you that it’s good to have more people like you in the neighborhood and the neighbors who invite you to their backyard barbecue, not to mention the white woman who is the angriest that there are “yuppies” in the neighborhood. And then there’s that feeling of rage I too get at my new white neighbors.
It is easy, for a somewhat self-aware person living in a gentrifying city, to either look for a way to blame yourself or absolve yourself. The impulses are two sides of the same coin: heads, you’re the “good gentrifier” because you like your neighbors and don’t blast your music too loud; tails, you should just move out of the city because anywhere you go you are destroying something. Neither answer is productive. Neither one is political.
I found out about the Crown Heights Tenant Union through an e-mail from a friend I met at Occupy Wall Street, telling me about that first public action. She invited me as a reporter, and I arrived with my recorder and camera in hand, but left with a stack of flyers to deposit in the entry to my building and the intention to go to their next organizing meeting as a member.
The meeting I attended a few weeks after the rally was at the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation on Classon Avenue. It featured hovering documentary filmmakers, an ever-growing circle of chairs spanning the atrium, and me sitting in the back trying to figure out whether to take notes or to simply be present as a participant.
We went around the room and introduced ourselves that day and instead of doing the usual New York thing of explaining who you are and what you do for a living, we gave our names and addresses and how long we’d lived in the neighborhood. Answers ranged from a few months to nearly fifty years.
That’s the thing about the Crown Heights Tenant Union (CHTU)—it aims to bring these two parts of the neighborhood together, the new residents and the long-time ones. Because our needs aren’t actually different. We need livable apartments at reasonable rents and landlords who respond and aren’t trying to drive us out. We need repairs done and the heat to be on when it is legally required to be. We need to be seen as important enough to deserve a decent place to live. Young people who are new residents—many of them radicalized by or before Occupy Wall Street started shaking up the city—need this too.
Because the problems of Brooklyn’s gentrifying neighborhoods won’t be solved by a housing-market version of “ethical consumption.” It’s going to take collective action.
It seems to be paying off for the CHTU. They’ve succeeded in bringing landlords to the table to make repairs, and they’ve also grown the union by bringing in more residents from other buildings that are both rent-regulated and leased at market rate. At a rally, march, and picnic on June 7 in Brower Park, state assembly members joined the union to call for affordable housing.
But the definition of “affordable” varies among elected officials, and it’s not simply construction that is needed. It was rent-stabilization laws that regulated rent increases, which could go up each year by only a small amount determined by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board (RGB); this allowed tenants to be able to afford to stay in their rental apartments for long periods. But landlords could raise rents based on a percentage of what they spent renovating a vacant apartment. This incentivized those landlords to undertake renovations only when they could profit from them, leaving long-term residents in lousy conditions that the landlords could then use to lever residents out of their homes. Policy changes can improve this, or failing that, the CHTU can try to get landlords to sign on to its contract demands. The CHTU and other tenant organizations around the city targeted the RGB as well as specific landlords, aiming for policy changes that would benefit lots of tenants at once.
It’s not just Crown Heights that has a gentrification problem. More importantly, slowing the process down in one part of the city will only speed it up elsewhere, as new residents start to search for new housing. It’ll take citywide change to more comprehensively address gentrification and at least some of that will have to come from policymakers as well as organizers.
New mayor Bill de Blasio told me in an interview last year that he thought it was time for a rent freeze. On May 5, 2014, I took the subway to an RGB meeting, where the board was due to discuss the possibility of a rent freeze before the public for the first time, before an eventual vote on the subject that June.
Groups like Good Old Lower East Side, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, and others showed up and formed a loose circle outside the building, walking and chanting, carrying signs that demanded a rent freeze or even a rent rollback; it felt not unlike a picket line. Cop cars turned up, too.
When the meeting finally began, almost two hours late because of airport-level security at the building’s entrance, Harvey Epstein, one of the tenant representatives on the board, asked that the board “consider the accessibility of our spaces” when future public meetings, particularly ones that would rely