Friday, December 12, 2008

Plea for Help!

Last winter as we took our midwifery battle to the Missouri Supreme Court, and the legal bills piled up in the tens of thousands of dollars, we found ourselves facing bills far larger than we had ever imagined incurring. And, really, we had no idea just how we would pay them.

But quitting and going home, leaving the midwives as felons for another year or decade wasn't an option. So we moved ahead, and scrimped and saved wherever we could. And many, many people donated so generously. We managed to pay off a good portion of the bill. And then we pleaded with our attorneys to waive the interest and give us time - a lot of time - to find money to pay the rest of the bill off. They graciously agreed to. And they have given us a lot of time - about 9 months.

Everyone celebrated the midwives' win in court, and some donations came in back in June when the decision was first announced. But by now, paying off our huge legal bill seems like old news to everyone. Donations to Free the Midwives (www.freethemidwives .org) have trickled to almost nothing as few people seem to think that we are counting on *them* to dig deep and help us finish paying off the bill. (Thank you to the few individuals who have faithfully gone above and beyond in donating in recent months, and the St. Louis FoMM group that has tirelessly continued to fundraisers for Free the Midwives!)

Our attorney has informed us that we need to get our outstanding legal bill of $26,258 paid off by the end of the year.

I know that you are probably tired of being asked for money. And it's Christmas, and you have gifts to buy. And the economy is a mess. Now isn't a good time. It would be nice if somebody else with a lot of money would just pay it....

But people make time and find money to pay for what they really value and want.
Do you have a midwife who risked 7 years of prison to attend your birth? She went out of her way to give you the birth you wanted. Perhaps you could prioritize this need and give generously, even in spite of it not being a "convenient" time for you?

Almost anybody could raise $500 or $1,000 if they really set their mind to it. There are a multitude of ways, even if you can't personally give that much yourself. Will you commit to giving/raising $1,000, $500, or even $100 or $50 before the end of the year?

Perhaps you can talk your mother-in-law into donating $200. Or your co-worker into giving you $20 to finish paying this bill off before the end of the year. Perhaps you can offer to match 50% of whatever your midwifery/doula/ childbirth education clients are willing to give by deducting that much from your usual fee? Perhaps you have an uncle and a neighbor who would each donate $100 if you simply called and asked. Or you can collect $1 from everyone at some of the clubs/get-togethers /meetings you attend. Or maybe you can ask your family to donate to Free the Midwives on your behalf for Christmas instead of buying you another sweater that you really don't need?

I just heard a story from a CPM the other day. She was talking about having to transport a baby by ambulance to the hospital a few weeks ago. It was amazing to hear her say, "I stood there with the paramedic and the cop and it was such a good, strange feeling to be at perfect peace and know that I had done the right thing AND wouldn't be going to jail.... to know that everything I did was just AND lawful!"

Was it worth all the money we spent?

Absolutely! It was totally worth everything that each one of us have given - our time, our money, our blood, sweat and tears so that women everywhere in Missouri can find a legal midwife!

So far, I have commitments from 2 people who have set a goal of giving $1,000 each from them and their friends by they end of the year. Can you commit to a similar goal? Please email me at: better_birth {at} and let me know what we can count on from you!

Thank you!

Mary Ueland
Cell: 417-543-4258

Please donate online at:
www.freethemidwives .org

OR by check or money order:

Free the Midwives
PO Box 2319
Rolla, MO 65402