Project supported in the program: Visegrad Fund
Duration: 18. 1. 2021 – 30. 6. 2021
Focus: Social development, improve dregional policy and policy on demographic and social activities
Main topic: Care for women in the antenatal and postpartum period within the V4countries
Mother centres work with mothers, children and families with small children from 0 to 6 years. They offer the first contact for women during pregnancy, for whom they organize antenatal preparation courses for motherhood and support groups for breastfeeding and childcare. However there is a lack of lecturers who lead these courses. Health care staff call for a medical expertise when conducting antenatal course. In our experience medical staff fail to run courses because there are few midwives and they do not yet have the capacity to work with pregnant women in their free time. Another problem is in postpartum care within about 6 months after childbirth, which, apart from regular inspections of six-week care, no one pays attention to. In the postpartum period, the body of the woman and the psyche are more susceptible to various pathogens that can be prevented by conversation in safe environment, with the help of a self-help group led by a trained mother centre leader. And here are two main obstacles:1. The lack of these resources does not allow us to lead these groups in sufficient numbers.2. The views of healthcare staff on this assistance vary widely, often calling for expertise, but they are unable to provide it themselves. We have only modest information about the activities of our colleagues in Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland, and we want to know more about how they work with pregnant women, what their education is, how they gain resources (time, people, space), what problems they are dealing with.
Our goal is to create a network, get to know partner organizations, open a dialogue on the topic of pre-natal preparation for motherhood and post-natal care. During 5 months we will organize for online meetings linked with partial topics and we will ask our partners to provide information packages related to current situation mapping – what services are offered by government and non-profit organizations. Gain knowledge about partners, their activities, courses, content and methods of work. How do they cover activities, where are their resources, what education do their lecturers have, what is the attitude of health care institutions to their activities? By exchanging experiences, examples of good practice and opening discussions on childbirth, mother care in maternity hospitals, postpartum mother and child care, we will gain new perspectives and opportunities to train our lecturers better and, of course, our experience will help colleagues from other V4 organizations.
Our next goal during last month of this project is to organize a round table discussion between partners organisations and specialist in the field so they can compare their work and start long-term cooperation between medical and healthcare government bodies and non-profit organizations such like mother and family centres. At the same time we would like to try to set the vision and standards what course called “Preparation for Motherhood” should contain – to set the basic pillars that realistically will be put into practice and thus bring changes into society so that children come into life lovingly.
Our partners are:
Síť pro rodinu (Czech republic), Mamy Czas (Poland) and Mother Nature Association (Hungary).
In 2018, Union of Mother Centres (UMC), together with Žilina regional office, organized a conference Lovingly into Life, which was intended primarily for midwives, nurses, doctors and NGOs. The representative of UMC Slovakia, a member of MINE network from Hungary, as well as colleagues from the Czech Republic spoke at the conference and presented experiences and views of mothers-birth-givers. The aim of the conference was to point out at the status of obstetrics, the presentation of competencies and experiences of midwives. The conference was a stepping stone for us to restart campaign Lovingly into life. This campaign is a long-term activity of the UMC, which combines the practical and time-verified experience of mothers with medical knowledge. We try to hold a constructive dialogue by inviting experts. We involved many active women who care about this topic and therefore their commitment and motivation remain high and not financially stipulated. We also connect different generations of women. Besides, our countries are close geographically and culturally. We intend to repeat the round table talks every year or every 2 years. We want to work on its growth and quality and create standards of care for women during pregnancy, childbirth and after childbirth in our countries. We will build on the realistic foundations and capabilities of our citizens and the healthcare system. We have a programme available and we actively cooperate in the development of parental education and child development for children 0 – 6 y. We offer follow-up courses to ensure sustainability.
The V4 countries work closely together in several sectors, and our intention is to examine, identify and subsequently process the results of a survey on the quality and status of the care for mothers in pre-natal preparation but also post-natal care (and thus prepare the basis for an ongoing project). Thanks to a common culture, we are very close to each other and therefore we assume that the information obtained will help us to start cooperation and especially support between countries in the field of motherhood, childbirth, quality pre-natal preparation and post-natal care. In all V4 countries, it is necessary to open a wider discourse not only among the public, but also among professionals about the condition of obstetrics, care for women during pregnancy and hospitalization, and the quality of births. It is important to talk about women’s rights, about deriving and accepting responsibility for the sequence of events during childbirth.
We certainly want to establish a long-term cooperation, following this international V4 round table. We will continue with the analysis of problems and the creation of methodological material that will form the basis for the education of people working with pregnant women. We plan to organize a round table once a year and compare the problems, solutions and results of our common work. We are very interested to see how other partners work with women in V4 partner countries. We are interested in opening a dialogue with medical staff based on the proposals for cooperation, training opportunities, mutual cooperation and acceptance of non-medical staff when working with pregnant women. We aim to invite more organisation, NGOs, medical staff, politicians, health insurance officers to the round tables, thus opening a discourse on setting realistic goals, which we could work on together and gradually put them into practice and bring the change.Our future plans are of a long-term character because together with our partners we plan to implement other projects, to closely work on finding and preparing solutions. We would like to establish conditions for all mothers in the region so that they would receive relevant ant true answers, do not fear giving births, neither medical staff and to ensure that their rights are respected. All these actions will lead us to the ultimate goal that our children would come lovingly into life.
More about partners:
Czech republic. The Network for the Family – Síť pro rodinu, zc
The Network for the Family, like the Union of Maternity Centers, is an umbrella organisation of maternity and family centres in the Czech Republic. It was founded in 2002 on the basis of a long-term informal cooperation of maternity centres. It strengthens the civic life of a society, the value of family and intergenerational relations, the role of parents, motherhood and paternity in a society; it supports legal protection of family, motherhood and equal opportunities for all; it strives for a healthy life in a healthy environment. We cooperate on the project called ‘Parenting as motivation for lifelong learning’ which develops parental competencies. The organisation also deals with one of the most important topics in women’s lives – which is preparedness for maternity. Part of this is a possibility to provide future mothers with a prenatal preparation course as part of parental education.
Hungary. The Mother Nature Association – Anyatermészet Egyesület
The Mother Nature is an international network of mothers and professionals supporting mothers, from various backgrounds, including doulas, midwives, therapists, women circle leaders, facilitators, counsellors. The network grew out of a European strategic partnership project, started in 2017. The partnership worked with mothers and professionals across Europe, gathering their experiences and wisdom about the experience of motherhood. Mother Nature perceives motherhood as an informal learning process, and supports mothers in 3 main areas: personal development, realigning lifepath and connecting with nature.
This organization has long been dedicated to antenatal care, emphasizes health care andexamines its effects, and seeks to raise the issue of midwifery awareness among the citizens of Hungary and Europe. It points to the observance of human rights, women rights in childbirth and encourages women to take responsibility for healthy childbirth
The Mother Nature network is coordinated from Hungary, and has a special role in the project: bringing in their experience in nature-based work, and concrete useful tools: the card deck, course and guidebook, that can be used with mothers. These tools support mothers both in the peri-natal and specially in the post-natal period, in the first year. In the past there have been a number of occasions for cooperations,
the Mother Nature project was introduced by Emese Dömösi (Chair of Mother Nature Association) from Hungary, at the “Lovingly into life” conference in Zilina in 2018, organised by Union of Mother Centres. Emese Dömösi is a board member of Mother Centers Int. Network for Empowerment (MINE) too; the collaboration between UMC and MINE goes back years; so the existing partnership with the key actors are characterised by mutuality, trust and reciprocity.
Poland. Stowarzyszenie “Mamy czas” klub mam i tatusiów na Bielanach
Mamy Czas Mother Center has been providing comprehensive support to parents, caregivers, pregnant women and children during educational, cultural and charitable activities related to the protection and promotion of a healthy lifestyle. In previous partnerships, the main topic was lifelong learning theme – Mother Center developing support structures for the active involvement of volunteers (2011 – 2013); and Public living room – safe educational space (2013 – 2015).
Now during the Lifelong Learning Program they preffer theme for childbirth and mother care in the prenatal and postnatal period,. They will gain and provide information and inspiration to better support the women they work with and to raise awareness of motherhood.
Therefore, Mamy Czas can strengthen and improve the common knowledge with V4 partners in this partnership, which is very important and revitalizes for Polish maternity centers visited especially by young mothers and their children. By exchanging experiences, examples of good practice and discussions on childbirth, mothers and postnatal care.
SLOVAK REPUBLIC – THE UNION OF MOTHER CENTERS – LEADER FOR PROJECT LOVINGLY TO LIFE
The Union of mother centers has been the umbrella organization for maternity and family centers in Slovakia since 2003. It supports the establishment of maternity centers and helps them grow so that they can create and maintain an irreplaceable place in society. It supports them as a space where the mother can develop, educate, work on herself, find acceptance in her new life situation. The Union also creates a functioning network of maternity and family centers, coordinates joint activities, nationwide campaigns, and informs about the possibilities of mutual assistance. He has long been involved in the education and training of women, communicates with representatives of public life and lobbies legislators for the dignified position of women – mothers and families with small children in society. It cooperates on several projects and individually with other NGOs at home and abroad, it is a member organization of the International Network of Mother Centers MINE. It protects the rights of women, children and families through counseling, education, publishing and information activities.
The Union of mother centers leads or cooperates on several projects: Counseling center Women for Women – help for women in challenging life situations / women experiencing domestic violence, Learning for Life – education for parents and children 0 – 6 y. from a disadvantaged environment, Parenting as a motivation for education – as a partner in the E + project, which leads The Network for the Family (Czech Republic).