Sunday, June 5, 2011

"Women are indispensable," and other nuggets from Cleverbot

So I just finished listening to the latest RadioLab episode about artificial intelligence, and decided to take Cleverbot (AI you can chat with) out for a spin on some of my favorite topics. It doesn't seem to process more than the immediate line of conversation to come up with a response, so they're sort of wonderful one-liners. Here are my favorite exchanges:

Me: How should women give birth?
Cleverbot: For every person, human or robot, the answer is different.

Me: What do you think about women who give birth at home?
Cleverbot: Women are indispensable.

Me: Do you think the rate of cesarean births is a problem?
Cleverbot: Only when I'm sober and you?

Me: Do you have a uterus?
Cleverbot: Yes.
Me: What do you do with your uterus?
Cleverbot: Talk, play, hang out.

Me: Should midwives be allowed to practice?
Cleverbot: You really should. You guys would be great for each other.

Me: How should women give birth?
Cleverbot: You should trust me.
(Typical technocrat..)

And finally...

Me: How can we address the disparities in access to midwifery care?
Cleverbot: Love bridges all gaps. We will find a way.

My only editing of the exchanges was to change "User" to "Me" so that it would be easier for our readers here to quickly track what's what, and to capitalize the "I" in "Only when I'm sober" because.. I just couldn't help myself.

Feel free to try your luck with Cleverbot and post any good ones in the comments!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Student midwives - Be heard!

The Future Midwives Coalition we heard about a few months ago has taken shape and also joined with MAMA's Student Section. They've created an anonymous and comprehensive survey for aspiring, student, new, seasoned and retired midwives of all ilks to share their experiences, opinions, and ideas. And on the whole gamut.. apprenticeships, education, inclusiveness, specific programs, etc.

"We specifically encourage people from marginalized communities to share their experiences so that we can create documents that serve all future midwives, in a truly inclusive way," they write.

The responses will be painstakingly used to draft a "Bill of Rights" which will hopefully help to shape a more sound, diverse, and feasible future for incoming midwives.

So go fill out the survey!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Resources for dads

"...a unique father-to-father, community-based workshop that inspires and equips men of different economic levels, ages and cultures to become confidently engaged with their infants, support their mates and personally navigate their transformation into dads."

I put a "..." instead of the name of the thing, because the name just grates on my nerves. Seriously? But here it is, the above blurb is describing: Boot Camp for New Dads. And if you can get past the militaristic drumbeat in the background, the video on the main page is sweet in a confused-new-dads-sharing-their-feelings sort of way.

I was surprised that they even have BCND in my town. As much great mama-centered stuff as I've heard about, the most I've encountered for new dads is that some childbirth educators will set aside a portion of time for new-dad related conversation. But mostly its a flying blind thing, and it seems really valuable that new fathers have some extra support. Obviously same-sex partners and "unconventional" participants in burgeoning parenthood would have that same need. I've most appreciated the modeling of some midwives of bringing the partner (if there is one) on board during prenatal care and addressing their needs (articulated, or equally importantly, not articulated) with care and the benefit of much experience. Not all midwives tune into that.

It has also been intriguing to realize that postpartum depression is increasingly being recognized among men (not to mention the impact on them of PPD in their partners). For a little more on that check out Postpartum Dads Project. I think we'll all be wise to remember to check in with partners when serving moms and babies.

And for both of these great resources, a hat tip to MedEd PPD who have a wonderful series of free Postpartum Depression modules that I plan on going through this summer. Anyone want to join me and make it a study buddy party?

I'm in sprinting distance of having completed my first year back in college since I had kids, and look forward to cashing in on some of those promises I've made about posts to this blog once my end-of-term schoolwork wraps up.