Saturday, December 20, 2008

Write a letter in support of the Birth Center’s future!

Give the gift of your time – write a letter in support of the Birth Center’s future. Why now? Fundraising efforts have a way to go. Like other organizations, be they household or corporate, PeaceHealth will most certainly tighten its belt in 2009 by putting off planned expenditures. If this should occur, the timing could not be worse, given 2009 is the year slated for construction and opening of the new free-standing Birth Center at RiverBend.

Right now, we must let PeaceHealth know the community remains as passionately supportive and committed to the Birth Center's future as it was in the 1990s when the decision to shut it down was reversed. Our letters will help decision makers to see this tremendous asset as worthy of priority status in 2009. Our testimonials are an important step to garnering the support of Board members and other “concerned parties” in a position to protect the future of the Birth Center. Using a positive tone to convey our experiences, we can bring their attention to and help connect them with the critical importance of preserving this birthing option in a new free-standing facility as planned. Anonymous letters will be accepted.

Here's some information to get you started:

To whom should you address your letter?
Start with "Dear PeaceHealth Board of Directors and other concerned parties:"

Letters will first be shared with PeaceHealth CEO Mel Pyne. The more letters the better as a strong showing increases our chances of being granted time at a board meeting.

What should you do with your letter once it’s written? Pick one of the following options:
  1. Share it on our Facebook discussion board titled "Post your letters here!". Cut and paste your letter into the "Reply box" and then click "post reply." Seeing one another's letter will, no doubt, provide encouragement and inspiration for our efforts!
  2. If you do not have access to Facebook, email it to and we'll post it for you.
  3. For anonymous letters, email it to and we'll post it without identifying information.
  4. If you do not want your letter posted on Facebook, please indicate this in your email to
Writer’s block? Try the following suggestions to overcome it:
  • Use the prompts at the bottom of this post to get you started
  • Click here to see letters that community supporters of another birth center have written
  • Remember, your letter does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. How often do you tell this to your kids? Go forth and write!
Need inspiration?
Sharing your personal experience and beliefs surrounding the role the Birth Center played / plays in the life of your family will help busy administrators and decision makers get in touch with what we all know – this is a special, unique resource that more than merits cultivation rather than having its future threatened through inaction and oversight. Who but the families, friends and supporters of the Birth Center can do this?

If your letter's done, now what?
Have your partners, friends, family write a letter, too! Do you know anyone else who used the Birth Center? Let them know how much their letter means to the future of the Birth Center and ask them to write one by January 4th.
(Send or have them send their contact info to to join our distribution list.)

Writing prompts
Here are a few prompts to get your creative juices going. They were teased from letters already written in support of another birth center. Answer some, none or all as is helpful to you or not!

  • Why did you choose the Birth Center? Intimate / private atmosphere, freedom of movement, minimal distractions, ease and grace of the midwives, empowering experience, birth viewed as a normal event in a woman’s life, believed it offered an environment that positively affects birth outcomes, initiating breastfeeding successfully and incorporating a new child into the family
  • Why did you opt against a hospital birth? Unfamiliar staff, ambient noise, unfamiliar medical environment, interventions, pressure to agree to interventions, absence of support by staff experienced in natural childbirth
  • Importance of respecting a woman's desire for natural birth and providing for this kind of birth experience through a freestanding birth center. To do otherwise, limits every woman's right to choose the atmosphere of her child's birth.
  • If you no longer had the option of using the Birth Center, how would you plan future births? Could PeaceHealth count on you going to RiverBend?
  • Did you travel far in order to use the Birth Center?
  • Have you had a hospital birth and a Birth Center birth? If so, how do they compare?

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