Mothers for Mothers NGO: Promoting and Protecting Mothers’ Rights in Romania with Determination, Creativity and Responsability
Mothers for Mothers NGO is the most active and prestigious Romanian organization for the protection and promotion of women’s right at birth. It represents the interests of pregnant women and mothers’ rights in relation with the community, the Government, the medical establishment and other national and international institutions.
It was founded by 5 successful women who had access to rich sources of information about how to have a memorable, non-traumatic experience at birth but who became mothers in Romania where birth is still considered by default a traumatic rite of passage for women. These 5 mothers, who had had the abilities and clout to plan a gentle birth experience for themselves even in a Romanian setting, decided to help women in Romania educate themselves about non-traumatic birth, human rights and how to protect them and taking responsibility for the integrity of their body during birth.
Mothers for Mothers NGO has become in only 2 years the main discussion partner for public and private medical institutions in what concerns the needs and rights of women in all maternity, parental and childrearing issues whether legal, medical or social in nature. We are also a steady partner of UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Agency) Bureau in Romania and UNICEF Romania. Additionally, our professional expertise and diplomatic abilities have catapulted the organization on the board of directors of the Romanian Alliance for Health, a high-profile federation comprising all the key non-profit entities in the medical and social field which counsels the Government in public health matters.
This organization is also proud to announce that it has become the official representative of ENCA (European Network of Childbirth Associations) and CIMS (Confederation for the Improvement of Maternity Services) and IMBCO (International MotherBaby Childbirth Organization) in Romania which confers the authority to implement the ‘Mother-friendly Hospital’ program in Romania (similar to UNICEF’s Baby-friendly Hospital program only it is focused on mothers’ needs before, during and after childbirth). The organization has been honored with an additional mark of credibility and prestige – The High Patronage of Her Majesty Queen Ann of Romania for services that forward the progress of women’s rights in Romania. have catapulted the organization in the position of Vice-president in the Romanian Alliance for Health
Our objectives have a wide scope covering every need of women during pregnancy, birth and childcare. A brief description of the objectives and achievements is described bellow:
> Promotion of women’s right to have a safe & positive experience at birth irrespective of their choice/need for a certain birthing method:
- Initiative for a Mother-friendly program for hospitals and maternity wards (2010)
- Monitoring the upholding of birthing women right to have a support person during birth, especially the father/partner of the laboring woman – with the support of the Alliance for Antidiscrimination of Fathers (2011-2012)
- Promotion, assistance and protection of breastfeeding – we organized the first nurse-in protest in a public space in Romania that harassed a mother for breastfeeding her child (2010)
> Promotion of trustworthy, complete and updated prenatal & postnatal education & awareness:
- Promotion of natural birthing methods as the best and safest way to deliver a baby in an extensive media campaign (2010-2011)
- Education for Perineum Integrity at Birth Program for women and medical professionals – over 500 women counseled, over 1000 medical professionals introduced to the issue at National Obstetricians’ Convention in Oradea, the Friendly Birth Initiative Conference in Constanta, Maternology Convention in Brasov (2010)
- Promotion and education of both public and medical community about the Birth Plan – our NGO introduced for the first time the Birth Plan in Romania, creating a standardized Birth Plan which is based on valid legislation and evidence-based medical recommendations. It has made the Birth Plan available in Romanian and English language for the public and medical institutions to use freely (2010)
> Advocacy for necessary maternity legislation and support for victims of illegal practices:
- Counseling and supporting UNICEF in its effort to push the bill for the Marketing Code for Breast milk Substitutes (2011)
- Counseling and support for the completion of Romanian midwife practice law in partnership with UNFPA for the launching of the State of the World’s Midwifery Report (2011)
- Participation in the UNFPA work-group for the National Strategy for Reproductive Health 2012-2015 (2011)
- Starting the public debate and dialogue with the authorities on the subject of safe homebirth by getting the most popular glossy magazine for women to publish an extensive article chronicling the first premeditated homebirth in post-communist Romania. Home-birth is a growing practice in Romania but in unsafe conditions since due to the grey legal context medical professionals refuse to assist homebirth (ongoing project)
- Introducing the concept of ‘neighborhood nanny’ in Romania through a project funded by the Soros Foundation intended to help ease the social effects of economic crisis.
- Taking action and bringing to court the state for changing maternity-leave legislation without public debate and without planning for a buffer-interval thus disturbing expectant couples’ plans for professional and personal life after the birth of the baby (2010-ongoing)
- Aiding and supporting a citizen’s group in Sibiu protect their legal right to be allowed to accompany an ailing child during hospitalization – parents are not allowed to accompany children under 3 yo during hospitalization yet the understaffed hospital ties babies to their beds to prevent self-injuries (2011 – ongoing)
- Legal and psychological counseling of mothers who return to the workplace after maternity leave and become victims of illegal termination of work-contract, mobbing and harassment to force resignation; (2011 – ongoing)
Mothers for Mothers NGO is truly dedicated to the promotion and protection of maternity rights in Romania, a developing EU member-country which unfortunately has still difficulty in providing a memorable, gentle experience for women in what concerns childbirth.
Our strategy is to identify women’s needs in what concerns maternity, create informal citizen’s groups and teach them how to relate to local authorities and legislators in order to start a public debate that would ultimately serve the community, communicate local needs to central public institutions and legislators, bring international expertise in the public debate and promote issues by brave and innovative PR techniques that attract media coverage and give rise to intense public debates in the media, on-line and off-line in formal and informal events.
Our actions speak for themselves and our enthusiasm is mostly powered by the trust women all over Romania have in the information we make available, the counseling we offer, the projects we develop and the way we represent their best interests in public debates.