I had a great time at the Type-A Mom conference this weekend. I’m a bit “conferenced” out after attending several this year, but I’ve come to realize that I’m much better at the smaller gatherings than the big extravaganzas. I still feel anxious and a little out of place, but if I see a few people I know (or at least feel like I know from our online conversations!), and can see them a few times during a conference, then it feels good to me. I get too overwhelmed at the huge events where you see someone for a split second and then maybe just to wave across a crowded ballroom, never getting to talk.
I was excited and honored to be asked by the fabulous Kelby Carr to come and speak and be a part of this event. I was given two topics, one obviously being political blogging! I had a great “intimate” session with about eight women, but was sad that so few wanted to talk about writing in a way to help change things in the world. A few ladies got upset with me who wanted to attend the session next door about monetizing their blogs — when they were pulling out the ballroom divider wall thingies, they were on the side of the wall with my session. They got a little huffy when I told them I was sorry, but we couldn’t hold our session if they couldn’t put up the dividers and they’d have to move over to the other side. I did invite them to stay and participate in my session, but I just got a couple of eye rolls when I told them we were going to be talking about moms and issues.
In the meantime, I got word about this little incident with Senator Jon Kyl who seems to be out of touch with reality:
You go Debbie Stabenow!
Maybe the world of politics (however you describe it) is overwhelming to some. But I couldn’t help thinking what a collective effort from a conference full of moms could do on this issue, especially since maternity care isn’t partisan — there were moms of all political persuasions at this conference, and I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of them would be pretty ticked off at Senator Kyl for making such a silly statement that probably was only meant to toss a bone to some lobbyist.
Except that it wasn’t. Kyl thinks that each individual insurance company should be able to decide what minimum benefits are offered in a package and that it should be OK to exclude maternity coverage. Why make a man pay for something he’s never going to use, right? Does that mean I can have Viagra coverage taken out of my policy?
So here’s my thought. If women can pull together an amazing conference, find enough sponsors to make it possible for the speakers to have their travel expenses covered and create an uplifting sense of community, I bet we could take some of that energy and make sure that the John Kyls of the world keep their hands off what little maternity care insurance provides now.
I know that means we have to find a way to make involvement appealing and not scary. We’re amazing at supporting each other when it comes to our writing, our business ventures, our dreams and our friendships. What if we could also build a community to support each other’s causes, especially when it comes to maternity care covered by insurance so that no mother has to worry about whether the cost of having a baby will put her family into bankruptcy?
You know the old guys on Capitol Hill aren’t going to look out for our ovaries and uteruses. We have to.
UPDATE: If you want to send a letter to Senator Kyl, here’s a link through EMILY’s list. And you can send a thank you note to Senator Stabenow for standing up for mothers over at MomsRising. I also would love to know what his wife and daughter think about his comments.