Unbelievably both of the first time moms went into labor on the same day! They both labored at home and arrived at the hospital in active labor. Everything was progressing nicely for the moms and their babies until about 20 minutes into the pushing phase. Each woman’s doctor began yelling and threatening the women to push more effectively or face the OR. No use of an interpreter or language line was used and no instruction was given on how to push effectively in either case. Jenny and Liz quickly jumped in and tried to teach the women how to push and both births ended up with healthy mothers and babies. However, after this experience, Jenny and Liz realized they needed to do more. Just showing up as support during labor and birth was only part of the solution.
Jenny recognized the need for childbirth education classes, advocacy, and the need for building relationships and supporting the moms throughout their pregnancies. In those first years, the classes were a total flop for a myriad of reasons and yet the women kept showing up. Embrace’s first real breakthrough was when an American woman introduced Jenny to her Burmese friend who was a trained midwife. This woman became Embrace’s first community liaison. Further connections within the community of New Americans who spoke English and were leaders in their communities were made. It was then that the program really began to take off.
Eventually Embrace came under the larger nonprofit Friends of Refugees as our program needed a funding base and an administrative structure. At that point Embrace was able to start receiving donations and volunteers which were critical to expanding the program to a greater number of women within the refugee/immigrant population. As of today, 2020, we have served over 400 mothers in the Clarkston community. It is our hope that with the continued support from our donors and volunteers that we would be able to serve these women another ten years with quality education, advocacy, friendship, and support throughout their journey of pregnancy and birth.