I always joke that every community needs and deserves a Laura Gilkey. Over the years that sentiment has become less of a joke and more of a shouting request for all of the Laura Gilkeys of the world to come forth and organize! Laura is an outstanding, outspoken, beautifully tactful, roof shaker, change maker, and community builder. Maternally Yours just seemed to be the perfect progression to take all of that passion to a wider audience and now a national level. We are grateful for the conversations Maternally Yours is starting and know you will appreciate them, too!
"Maternally Yours is a weekly radio program produced in Sarasota, Florida at WSLR 96.5 LPFM, Sarasota’s Community Radio Station. The show is written, produced and hosted by three women who volunteer their time in the interest of creating a widespread conversation about maternity care practices in the United States, and to increase the percentage of informed families growing and raising children. Folks can listen live on the radio, online (wslr.org), or on their smartphones every Tuesday night at 6pm ET. We are also broadcast on three other community radio stations in the U.S.—KPOV in Bend, Oregon; WOOL in Bellows Falls, Vermont; and WCRS in Columbus, Ohio. Finally, we podcast every episode so listeners can tune in at their convenience.
There is certainly no other program like ours in our listening area. We have listened to several excellent programs on other platforms, like Blog Talk Radio (“Progressive Parenting”) and podcast (“The Longest Shortest Time”)—but not a live, on the airwaves radio program.
In the summer of 2011, Carmela Pedicini was asked to guest host a radio program on WSLR about extended breastfeeding. She invited Cheryl Kindred and I to join her, as two vocal maternal health advocates in the community. After the half hour flew by, the three of us could not shut up about other topics we’d love to dig into on the air. We pulled the amazing Ryan Stanley into the conversation, and within a week, we had a proposal for a radio program sent to the programming committee at the station. Our first show aired in October 2011. At the beginning of 2014 we said goodbye to Carmela (growing her career as a musician) and Cheryl (growing her third baby) and welcomed Dana King to our Collective. This week marks our 135th episode and we will not be running out of topics any time this century.
The mission of Maternally Yours is to support our listeners in growing empowered families by encouraging community and providing evidence-based information for their journey into the childbearing years and beyond. This fits right in line with the mission of WSLR, to present perspectives currently underrepresented in the media. My personal mission is to increase awareness about the disparity between our healthcare spending and our maternal health outcomes, and to inform women so that the consumers of maternity care become the reformists of maternity care. The childbearing year and postpartum period is the most critical building block to any healthy society. It is absolutely imperative that we reclaim the reverence for birth that was lost here so long ago. Currently, we are the only developed country in the world that does not pay for maternity leave. We lose more mothers to pregnancy and childbirth than do 59 other countries. We have skyrocketing cesarean rates, postpartum depression rates, and increased poor health prior to conception. Our government isn’t creating agencies to combat these rates. Our hospitals aren’t either. It is up to us as mothers to make this change, for ourselves, for our children, and for the future of our society."