Basic US 51 Folder Collection
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- There's this belief that the United States
is the best place in the entire world to have a baby
and that's not true.
It's the most dangerous place in the developed world.
My name is Michelle Hartney, I live in Chicago,
and I'm an artist.
A lot of people don't know that our maternal mortality rate
in the United States has increased 160% since 1995.
Many of our routine practices like
continuous monitoring and forcing mothers
to give birth on their backs are not based
on scientific evidence.
There are still a lot of doctors that are
not doing what's best for women.
I'm a approaching these issues with my art.
Art can hit you deeper than just reading
a statistic on a page can.
I started a series called Mother's Right.
I spent the summer sewing 1,200 hospital gowns,
one for every woman who died during childbirth in 2013.
The fabric of the gowns is made up of the plant derivatives
of the drugs that have been used on laboring women
for the past 150 years.
We had a performance at Daley Plaza in Chicago.
The performance included pairs of women folding the gowns
into the shape of a flag similar to the way
the flag is folded at the funeral of a soldier.
To also bring awareness to the number of women
who are coming out of childbirth with the same
psychological symptoms as men and women
who are fighting wars.
What inspired me really was the birth experience
of my second child.
I mean ultimately both of my birth experiences
were empowering, but there were things that happened
during the birth of my son that just didn't feel right.
Lie on your back, those are my words that
my doctor told me when I was trying to give birth
on my side and they were trying to get me to lie on my back.
Doctors should know that you can
push a baby out on your side.
I was with experts.
So that's where Birth Words came from.
A lot of the phrases are
really disturbing, but they're actually things
that doctors were saying to their patients
while they were giving birth.
And I've had people think that I made them up
because it's hard to believe that a doctor
would say "suck it up and get over it"
or "if you don't shut up we will knock you out."
My artwork is not trying to say that doctors are bad
or hospitals are bad.
What I'm trying to say is that
women need to know that they need to be informed
when they're going into childbirth.
I want my daughter, if she has a baby to
be giving birth in different circumstances than we are now.
Women have a choice, and that knowledge can change the way
that we are experiencing childbirth in the United States.
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Instigators: Michelle Hartney's Quest to End Maternal Mortality

51 Folder Collection
許大善 published on September 3, 2019
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