By Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE
Last week, Lamaze International, in conjunction with ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association), held their annual (joint) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the conference, Lamaze awarded Giving Birth with Confidence community manager Cara Terreri, CD(DONA), LCCE, and Science & Sensibility community manager Sharon Muza, BS, CD(DONA) BDT(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, with the 2015 Lamaze International Media Award (see photo, Sharon left, Cara right) to highlight and honor their work, which presents normal, physiologic birth and showcases Lamaze International in a positive light among the mass media. The award is given to a blogger or journalist who has worked hard to provide both consumers and professionals with accurate information on current best practice. Sharon & Cara interviewed each other for both blogs this week in order to share the news. After reading below, check out Sharon's interview on Science & Sensibility.
Sharon Muza: How long have you been the Community Manager for Giving Birth with Confidence?
Cara Terreri: I began working with the Lamaze team on designing and creating the mission for the first-ever Lamaze parents' blog in the spring of 2010. Giving Birth with Confidence officially launched that May and here we are! To date, there are more than 750 posts on the blog!
SM: What else do you do professionally in addition to this position?
CT: Writing, editing, and marketing work have always been a constant in my life. In addition to the blog, I also create content for the Lamaze member e-newsletter, Inside Childbirth Education, and I do occasional non-birth-related freelance writing and editing work. Three years ago, I started the process of becoming a doula and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. I am now certified (CD(DONA), LCCE) and provide doula services and teach childbirth classes in Myrtle Beach, SC. You can learn more about me and my business at Simple Support Birth.
SM: How did you feel when you learned that you had received the Lamaze International 2015 Media Award?
CT: Surprised and delighted! It's nice to receive recognition for what has turned out to be a prolific body of work -- of which I am very proud!
SM: What do you enjoy about writing and managing the blog?
CT: I enjoy coming up with new topics and series to write on. Sometimes it's information I know well, and other times, it's a discovery of new information or research. I consider myself a lifelong learner and soak up as much as I can, when I can!
SM: What are some of the challenges of this position?
CT: Keeping a steady guest post line up. As much as I enjoy writing for the blog, I also love to have guest writers. And of course, that helps cut down on the amount of time I have to spend writing. But it also takes a lot of effort to seek out volunteer guest writers! When I'm proactive about reaching out to potential guest writers, it really pays off.
SM: Where do you get inspiration for post topics?
CT: My clients! Becoming a doula and childbirth educator puts me on the front line, so to speak. I hear firsthand from mothers and families about their inner most burning questions, and I see in real time the struggles families face. Many of my posts are inspired by real-life events. Prior to becoming a doula, I did a lot of brainstorming and read several pregnancy and birth books for ideas. And of course, one of my favorite ways to get inspiration is from continuing education, like the Lamaze annual conference.
SM: Do you have a top post or two that you are really proud of or is a particular favorite? Why?
CT: Personally, I love my own birth story of my third child. It was a transformative and triumphant experience for me, and I can't help but attribute most of that to my work and education with Lamaze. Aside from that, I love the series we've done on the blog, like "Great Expectations" (following along with a woman's account of her pregnancy and birth), "60 Tips for Healthy Birth," and of course, "A Woman's Guide to VBAC."
SM: What’s the most visited/read post on the blog?
CT: "What Does a Contraction Feel Like?" and "Six Tips for Gentle but Effective Hospital Negotiations" are nearly tied for the top posts. This makes me smile because it's a perfect mix of a more general, equalizing topic -- one that nearly every first time pregnant person wants to know -- and a topic that's in line with the Lamaze mission, which is helping women to become educated and empowered consumers of health care, and prepare themselves for the safest and healthiest birth.
SM: What do you hope the readers of the blog take away from your posts?
CT: That pregnancy is incredible -- and incredibly normal. That they're not alone. That it's ok to feel different than what the media (or family and friends) expect you to feel. That evidence-based information and practice is key to having a supported, safe, healthy, and satisfying (and sometimes exhilarating) birth. That it's ok -- and very important! -- to demand better from our maternity care system.
SM: What are some of your favorite blogs that you enjoy reading yourself?
CT: Personally, I love a good parenting blog -- it's my current season of life. My all-time favorite is Aha Parenting. Professionally, I have many. Science & Sensibility and BellyBelly are two of my top favorites.
SM: What is the last book you read of a professional nature?
CT: "Debunking the Bump: A Mathematician Mom Explodes Myths About Pregnancy" by Daphne Adler, BA, MBA.
SM: What are some exciting plans for the blog in the future?
CT: More guest writers! *Hint, hint.* Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to feature your post on the blog!
SM: What is something unusual or fun about you that readers don’t know?
CT: I spent the last three years of high school in Vienna, Austria. Though only three years, living abroad changed my world view and life! I met my husband there (yes, we were high school sweethearts), and I learned how to ski there. Both equally important. I'm also quite sarcastic and interject humor into most areas of my life. I don't think I ever imagined I would be a writer, a doula, or a childbirth educator. When I was little, I wanted to be an archeologist. When I was in college, I wanted to work for a magazine. I always wanted to be a mother.