On Mary Breckinridge and Community Health


Mary Breckinridge and Community Health

After three and a half days away from home to gather with future Certified Midwives and Family Nurse Practitioners in Hyden, Kentucky, I look on life with new eyes. The Frontier Nursing University is the oldest proponent and educational program for Family Nursing and Midwifery in America.... for mother/child centered healthcare. A long time admirer of Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier School, I am now included in its rosters as a post masters student of midwifery.


You may wonder at this seeming "turn in direction"... but this is not a tangent or byway for my healthcare focus. Lifestyle Modification Support has always supported holistic healthcare which begins at home... in the choices one makes to support one's well-being, one is also making choices that support one's family, one's small circle of friends and network, and thereby, one's community. The mother is the heart and soul of the family. What she does cannot be replaced or imitated easily. To support community health, care of the mother and her health/balance, the mother and those around her must be educated as to the great value of her role in the family as the source of unconditional love that centers and directs the attention and attitude of the whole family. With this focus, the individual members of family go out into the community bolstered and nurtured by the true gift of life.... universal, unconditional Love.


If the mother is not supported to remain whole and healthy, she will lose her ability to perform her vital role. In losing her ability to provide such precious spiritual sustenance, she will "lose face"...will lose spirit, hope, faith. It is a rare family that can rearrange its dynamics to compensate for that loss.


The grass roots movement swelling across the country for the rise of community health as priority will be greatly supplemented by a focus on the family's role in community. At the heart of the localvore culture, support of the family supports the development of self-esteem in the individuals of the family unit; supports what is strong, intelligent, and genius in their inherited culture and traditions; supports (thereby) community, and local economic growth, which in turn doubles back the benefit to the community again!


All of these benefits support education and the expansion of human awareness for what is valuable among us, including our diversity. Diversity is survival in a community, and truly diversity is a necessary environmental trait. That we must survive via harmony and intelligent integration with our environment seems so self-evident that I hesitate to spell it out. For any unable to follow my logic in this discussion to this point, I will explain my statements this way…...


If we are to survive physically, our planet must remain viable and able to continue in its diversity of microbiology to continue to provide sustenance to our physical bodies. Thus, in this logic, did I support preserving small traditional communities in the South when I was a young adult and so I continue to support all areas of practical community health which impact physical, intellectual, economic wholeness for its individuals as well as spiritual freedom. Spiritual freedom is a key component in holistic health. The top tier of Maslow's Hierarchy pyramid is self-actualization. Our community's whole health supplies the lower levels of the pyramid so that one may attain that austere top goal.


I support Farmer's Markets and Market Co-operatives of all kinds that feature the local community and uphold its unique traits and strengths as well as act as central commerce areas and places of meeting to encourage success and healthy positive activities. Our own Leucadia Farmer's Market takes place on a local school ground. Activities of music, crafts, arts, and child play are as integral as the commercial participants. Providing these elements in a festive, clean, harmonious manner induces further local support by making it easier to participate (for example, young mothers can bring their children to a safe atmosphere to play while the mothers shop); and also, by making the experience more relaxed, entertaining, and sociable.


My personal and professional role in my community continues to grow and evolve as is the nature of a healthy and balanced life. Returning to study the healthcare of mother and baby is coming round a full circle for me and for my work in the world. By supporting the center of the family’s well being, I continue to give my part to the solution of maintaining and improving and taking community health to the next level.


I will see you “out there” … Please say hello and chat with me about your ideas and hopes.  May we find a way together to continue to complete the circle.

[ fnpstilljanet@gmail.com ]


Many sites discuss Mary Breckinridge's impact on community health; here are just a few:







Mary Breckinridge - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Posted on November 12, 2011 and filed under discussions, janet's writing, resources, visions.