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On our Facebook page, beneath our statement of not being affiliated with any other groups or pages on FB, one of our supporters has asked, “How are the groups different? The names sure are confusingly similar.” with reference to the “Augusta Birth Network of CSRA” group.
We have tried very hard to focus on our group, the future, and moving forward after we were no longer associated with Augusta Birth Network; but in the interest of differentiating clearly, here is a summary of why the names are similar and how our groups are different:
Several of our co-leaders used to be involved with the “Augusta Birth Network” group. There was a difference of opinion and the founder of ABN told us to start our own group and then publicly stated that ABN and all groups associated with ABN would be disbanded. The other co-leaders had not agreed to disband ABN so we decided to continue the group. The founder then changed her mind (which she had every right to do) and decided not to disband ABN so we went forward with our plans except with a new group – this group, then known as BirthNetwork of Augusta because we were under the impression that “BirthNetwork” had to be in our group’s name if we wanted to be a chapter of BirthNetwork National.
BirthNetwork National has been extremely accommodating with our situation here and suggested that we choose a new name to differentiate ourselves from the other group so we held a community vote on our blog to choose our new name in order to ensure that the names would not be so similar. Our community overwhelmingly chose “CSRA Birthing Connections.” Soon after our community chose this name, the founder of ABN decided to add “of CSRA” to the end of “Augusta Birth Network” which has caused some further confusion.
How We Are Different
Our group is different because we have seven co-leaders instead of just one. Every one of our co-leaders is a birth professional in some capacity. We have a midwife, some student midwives, several doulas, a couple of childbirth educators in training, and between us we have had hospital births, home births, c-sections, VBAC’s (Vaginal Births After a Cesarean), unassisted births, and HBAC’s (Home Births After a Cesarean).
Part of our goal is to build connections between natural birth proponents, doctors, midwives, chiropractors, allopathic doctors, nurses, home birth moms, and hospital birth moms. We want to support all birthing women in making informed decisions, regardless of their planned birthplace, and we want to meet every woman who attends our meetings where she is – not to suggest that she can only have a good birth at home or that having a c-section is a horrible tragedy. We are all natural and home birth proponents, but we do not want to limit ourselves to only helping like-minded families. In this way we are different from most natural-birth groups in the country, not only ABNoC.
We currently host three meetings every month on the first, second, and third Monday evenings at 7pm. We have a general informational meeting at which anyone wishing to learn more about making informed choices in birth is welcome to attend. You can learn about how to have a more pleasant hospital experience and also about midwives, doulas, birth centers, and home births if you want to learn about them. We have a Healing Circle for any women who have experienced a pregnancy or birth loss or traumatic experience associated with pregnancy or birth. We have a Doula Tea meeting where you can learn about what a doula is and does as well as meet several local doulas at a time and hopefully find one whom you would love to have support you during your birth!
Our group is also under the umbrella of BirthNetwork National. We wanted to have some oversight for our community’s money so that you don’t just have to trust that we’re being good stewards. We also wanted to be able to offer a tax-deduction for community members who join or donate to our group. During our time as co-leaders with ABN (once ABN was no longer a BirthNetwork National chapter) not one of the co-leaders, other than the founder, nor any professional members ever saw a bank statement or knew exactly where the membership dollars were going. We believe that we owe it to you, our community, to be transparent with your funds.
Every year we will have at least one public statement available so that you in our community can see how your money is being spent. Your membership money is not only going to help a national organization do good work all over the United States, but is also being reinvested here in ways that will greatly benefit the birthing community in Augusta and the surrounding Counties.
This is all not to denigrate ABNoC. The founder of ABNoC has done some wonderful things for our community. She’s a Trust Birth facilitator and, if anyone is interested in learning more about unasissted birth, she’s the person to talk to. That topic is beyond our scope as a BirthNetwork National chapter.
It pains all of us, here at Birthing Connections, that this is how our group started. However, the response from our community about our new group – particularly from those who understand the differences between our groups and have been attending our meetings – has been overwhelmingly positive. We would not have even addressed this issue in the first place had concerned community members not come to us and explained how confusing the two groups has been an issue for them and others in the community.
One final note, for clarity’s sake: We would have done things very differently when the group started had we known at the time that ABNoC would still be continuing. Many of the name confusions and initial misunderstandings were a direct result of us operating under incorrect information, while doing our best to salvage a group that we felt was bigger than just one person and that should not be disbanded without any prior notice.
Please see this blog post for more information about the benefits of our membership with BirthNetwork National (BNN). Some of the benefits were specifically sought after because of our experiences with ABNoC, such as the fact that, under BNN, no co-leader can decide to disband the group unilaterally and we have to give advance notice before leaving as co-leaders. We do not want our community to ever again be in a situation where people are panicking about losing their birthing support and source of information because of a hastily written public Facebook message.
We hope that this helps to clear up some of the confusion about the groups. We serve very different purposes in the community and it is unfortunate that the similar names continue to be such a big issue.
We appreciate the huge outpouring of love and support that we have received since starting this group and we plan to continue to serve our amazing birthing community for a long time to come ❤