The Loving Birth Taskforce came into existence over a decade ago under the leadership of Alyce-Anne Meadows. It is now being reorganized to meet the needs of the Foundation for Living Medicine as it develops plans for The Village, a larger complex of facilities that will be occupied and staffed by individuals who support the concepts of Dr. Gladys McGarey and her philosophy of a well-lived life.
Dr. Gladys is not only known as the Mother of Holistic Medicine, she is also recognized as a pioneer in natural birthing. At the core of her philosophy are the ways in which women conceive, gestate and bear children. How we treat our babies, while in the womb and at the time of their births, is fundamental to creating a society that values peace, cooperation, and reverence for all life. At the heart of Loving Birth in a manner that honors mothers and babies is Love!
Among Dr. Gladys’ many achievements is having advocated in the state of Arizona for the right of fathers to be allowed into hospital delivery rooms. She accomplished this goal and initiated a major change that permits fathers/partners to be present to support mothers as they give birth.
It was Dr. Gladys’ inspiration to name this vital committee “The Loving Birth” Taskforce. This Taskforce, an extension of the Foundation for Living Medicine, is currently under the guidance of Executive Board Member Susan Highsmith, Ph.D. Dr. Highsmith holds a Doctorate in Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology as well as a Doctorate of Divinity. Seeking to balance psychological and spiritual values, she invites like-minded individuals to join the Taskforce. Loving Birth encompasses all aspects of childbearing including preconception health, prenatal and perinatal physical and mental health issues, labor, birthing, and postnatal considerations. Embracing midwifery and doula support as well as holistically-oriented medical doctors and healthcare practitioners, the Taskforce is dedicated to changing the paradigm of medicine to be more inclusive of alternative and age-old successful childbirth practices while encouraging more compassionate versus authoritarian policies.
The mission and vision of The Loving Birth Taskforce are stated in the Position Paper, updated in 2022. Reiterated here, the Mission of the Foundation for Living Medicine and The Loving Birth Taskforce is to promote education that includes information that helps young men and women make informed and timely choices. We support advocacy and public policy for childbearing practices that are inclusive, respectful, comprehensive, competent and mother/baby friendly. This includes understanding the roles of preconception, prenatal and postnatal care, informed and conscious choice of procedures, birthing options, community-based quality healthcare and culturally sensitive services.
The Vision of The Loving Birth Taskforce is to see that all women receive respectful, competent, comprehensive, evidence-based maternity services that incorporate each woman’s preferences, choices, culture, and family values.
When meetings of the Taskforce are held, they begin with an affirmation: we are gathered together to celebrate the potential for every birth to be loving and gentle, honoring both mother and baby. We hold the vision that each birth occur according to Nature’s Design and the Divine Plan for the lives involved.