Dr. Monique Rainford
“America’s Maternal Nightmare”
7th Annual TEDxWilmington Conference // 27 September 2018
Meet the Speakers: Dr. Monique Rainford for TEDxWilmington
Fri. 17 August 2018
The first time I heard about a TED talk was when Callie Torres (a character in my favorite TV show Grey’s Anatomy) got accepted to do one. (Yes I do recognize I was really behind the times on that one.) That particular episode beautifully illustrated the importance of the TED stage to move powerful ideas.
I didn’t realize it at the time but a seed was planted. Since that time I have watched multiple TED and TEDx talks and was both fascinated and educated by the ideas that were shared. About three years later, I was doing an OB/GYN hospital shift. I was speaking with a midwife who revealed her excitement about getting tickets to a TEDx event. In a follow up conversations she said, “you should do a TEDx talk, you would be great”.
I don’t really know what led her to believe that, she had never seen me public speaking and we only had a few interactions but sure enough another seed was planted. I now wanted to do a TED or TEDx talk. Over the next several months I learned about resources and avenues to pursue. At first I thought I would discuss the idea about a book I had written and so I applied to different locations (received some rejections) and sought to interact with organizers.
The TEDx organizer with whom I built a successful connection was in New York. We interacted through social media and telephone and his influence caused me to think more deeply about an idea I had, an idea further shaped by watching another TED talk. I wrote an article about this idea; he liked it and offered me the opportunity present on his stage. But then life happened and soon he was no longer organizing TEDx events. Despite that, my meeting him planted another seed. He helped me to more clearly see a vision that was being shaped for me, a purpose.
Even though I didn’t get to the TEDx stage then, the vision and purpose were still there and the desire to share this vision on the TED or TEDx stage did not dim. One day, a generous soul on one of my Facebook groups posted the link to apply to TEDxWilmington. What made the circumstance more uncanny was that one of the prominent speakers described in the application was another person I interacted with after I saw his brilliant TEDx talk.
When I read the email in July that I was accepted, I felt joy and nervousness; wow, this is really happening. The sculpture was beginning to take shape but then came the additional nervousness and awareness of this awesome responsibility. I now have the opportunity to share my idea, an idea that was more years in the making than I even realized; an idea that I believe is wrapped up in my life purpose. No pressure.
the TEDx process: Dr. Monique Rainford for TEDxWilmington
Wed. 29 August 2018
So I am crafting my idea. I want to choose all the right words and convey the message that is so important to me. While I have done public speaking for years this is big and I wanted to leave nothing to chance so I decided to get a speaker coach. This was recommended by TEDxWilmington but I didn’t have to be told twice. As a medical doctor I believe in the scientific evidence but even medicine is a science and an art. For me, that means that my feelings matter as well. After I researched the qualifications of each of the speaker coaches I considered for their initial screening, I knew and believed that the decision for a coach would be based on how I felt when I talked to them. The relationship was essential for me because this was the person who would help me to take my talk to the next level. A level above what I could do on my own. The selection process took more than a week and involved me speaking to at least 7 different potential coaches. I recognized that many could help me to do a good talk but who did I think could take me all the way. I was down to two, who would I choose? This is when I consulted my husband and my family but deep down I think I knew. She was recommended by the same person that helped me shape my vision for my talk. I didn’t think it would be her but it was. I knew again that it was destined to be so.
I must admit that the first session felt a little painful. I was struggling with two important ideas I needed to bring across and I was reluctant to let go of any but I had to choose. I needed a focus and she was directing me to the choice I had to make. But choosing something means letting go of something else. Maybe not completely but at least for a while and that was hard.
But now I have it and it just needs some more pruning. I can’t wait.
Reflecting: Dr. Monique Rainford for TEDxWilmington
Weds. 3 October 2018
How do you simply describe a life-changing experience? I haven’t really reflected or written about any of my life-changing experiences in the past but if I did the first thing that would come to my mind is the birth of my children. I won’t pretend that the experience of speaking at TEDxWilmington was as life altering as my children’s birth but it was life-changing nonetheless. It did encompass hopes and dreams. I put my dream on paper two years ago but the preparation predated the dream by many, many years and now only by looking back do I see how it all came together. It was not an easy process. I was no stranger to public speaking but I knew that this event, this topic, would require more of me than I had given in any other talk before. I believe that the process taught me the true definition of being prepared for a talk. It forced me to elevate to a level of public speaking that I was always capable of but never demanded of myself, not in this arena. Certainly as a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Medical School, and an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, I was no stranger to pushing myself. Indeed, I was no stranger to hard work, but somehow it never fully connected with me until this event that this was the rigor needed to really present an idea that I hoped would ignite change. So I gave it my all. I prepared and I prayed and prayed and prepared.
My work is by no means complete but it is my dream, my hope and my prayer that I have done enough. Enough to ignite the fire. The fire that will take this idea that many have talked and written about, that many have recognized as important, to the point that our only choice is to succeed and make what appears impossible, not only possible but a done deal.
7th Annual TEDxWilmington Conference // Thursday September 27th 2018