At Manos Abiertas we take a holistic approach to women’s health care and seek to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of women throughout their lifespan. By providing comprehensive health care services we pave the path for appropriate, specialized care during pregnancy, labor and delivery. For many women we serve, pregnancy marks their first contact with the health care system, which provides a valuable opportunity to promote not only safe pregnancies and deliveries, but also to address other vital aspects of women’s health including family planning, HIV/sexually transmitted infections, and cervical cancer prevention and treatment. After pregnancy, we aim to provide on-going services for mother and child and empower women to continue to make informed health care decisions, serving as models for their children, families and communities. By investing in individual women, we seek to build a healthier Guatemala.
To be added to the list of possible places to volunteer once I have more skills…
This post on Feministe perfectly captures what I imagine a true pregnancy resource center would look like:
I have been dreaming. Dreaming and dreaming of creating an organization that offered empowering support for new mothers facing difficulties. I dream of a place where we have low cost housing during the pregnancy, that is drug free, homey and safe. A place where women can come and do nurturing activities like prenatal yoga, gardening, eating healthy regular meals, learning to keep a healthy sleep and wake up time, cultivating positive behaviors and growing into the mothers they hope to be for their children. I dream of this space being completely non-religious based, offering emotional support without pressure to comply with any religious creed or dogma. A space that is pro-choice and that a woman would be connected with abortion oriented counseling and services if she decided that were the path she needed. A space where spirituality can be cultivated in individuals who desire to do so with honor for their own decisions about the spiritual, ethics, what compassion means, and cultivating and growing those traits in a shared space.
As someone who hears women’s stories (both over an options-counseling phone line and in person at an abortion clinic) before, during and after making a decision about pregnancy…this post resonates deeply for me. More than anything, I wish that there were more spaces like this, that were truly supportive, non-judgmental, in both word and deed. As an adoptee, I wish that my birth mother could have had a supportive space like this to feel nurtured as she decided how to move forward with her pregnancy. Read the whole inspiring vision here. This is something I’ll be keeping close to my heart as I move through midwifery school.