Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New "home birth dads" calendar shows the value of role reversal

We're always looking for good examples of the psychodramatic tool of role reversal and how it creates more empathy in our world.

Here's one -- in the form of the new "home birth" dads calendar coming up for 2014, just delivered by Kimberly McGuinness-Rook, a midwife in Racine, Wis., who happens to be a colleague and professional neighbor.

In this fun calendar, the husbands and partners of women who gave birth at home don skimpy sarongs and cooling head cloths  as they play act what it's like to be fully pregnant and ready to give birth. The men volunteered to take part in a photo project that recreated some of the experiences of their partners' most memorable pregnancy and birth moments -- holding a bulging belly, stepping into a warm-water birth tub, gritting teeth after a particularly strong contraction ...

Kim of InnerBirth Midwifery collaborated with professional photographer Katie Hall to create the calendar. She also created the fake "baby bumps" -- using a stretchy maternity support band stuffed  with soft sweaters and scarves for a mold-able shape.

The calendar, meant to be comical,  stirred strong emotions in several of the men. For sure, it was a consciousness-raising experience to find out what pregnancy and delivery "might" be like -- and at least one man started weeping when he was presented with his real-life baby during the photo shoot. That's the idea of role reversal -- to step into the place of the "other" and get a sense of the other's experience.

Oh, yes -- news of this calendar has gone viral! It's been picked up by NBC's Today Show and The Huffington Post, and news has landed in England, London and Vietnam along with a few mommy blogs like this one.

Ten percent of profits will benefit the Greater Racine Collaborative for Healthy Birth Outcomes since this community has one of the highest African American infant mortality rates in the United States, affecting nearly 20 per 1,000 babies born.

Order the calendar here.

Midwife Kimberly McGuinness-Rook, left, and a birthing couple reverse roles. Check the differences!