An Unpopular Response to the Time Magazine Cover, Bring on the Hate Mail

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I don’t get what the big deal is.

I mean if  Time Magazine asking “Are you Mom enough?” beside a picture of a mother nursing her toddler insinuating you’re not mom enough unless you nurse your toddler, makes you feel like less of a mama, then you need to reevaluate your confidence as a mother.

If the cover had been a mother sitting in her living room farting around on Facebook while her 9 month old screamed and cried himself to sleep in his crib and the caption had read, “Are you Mom enough?” insinuating it takes a hardcore, mom of the year type woman to let her kid cry himself to sleep it wouldn’t have made me feel any less of a mom. It would make me think poor, poor baby, but it would not make me feel less of a mother just because that’s not how I parent.

Am I missing something? And trust me, I have read allllll of the responses to the cover. Is Time Mag really pitting us against each other by asking this? Trust me when I tell you that if it ever comes up in conversation that I had my baby at home or that I nurse my kids until they don’t want to nurse anymore or that at least one kid sleeps in the bed with us every night, unless I’m preaching to the choir, the majority of women don’t find the need to hold back their disapproving opinions on how I parent!

And on top of that, Attachment Parenting IS hard! It is hard fucking work. And not everyone is cut out for it. What is so wrong with that. And I’m not talking about women who wanted to breastfeed but struggled with it or women who wanted to have a natural birth and it didn’t work out. Women tell me straight up all the time, “yeah, I don’t know how you do that. I need my time” or “I need my space” and even “that’s too hard”. “Are you Mom enough” may not have been the very best wording but it sure does sell magazines. Isn’t that what Time Magazine does?

And you know what..I liked the picture too. Not all nursing mothers are overweight. She looked beautiful and strong. What’s so wrong with that? So now is Time Magazine insinuating that if you have a toddler and you don’t look like this mama that you are a lazy and fat and inadequate?

Get the fuck over it already.

Confessions of a Wanna-Be Supermom..

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I yelled at my kid today.

I wanted this sillouette thing of both of my kids. I’ve wanted it for some time. Anyway, today, I decided was the day we were going to do it. I needed to take a clean profile pic of both kids to place the order.

My three year old, for whatever reason.. could. not. listen. He could not stand perfectly profiled, looking at the wall, in order for me to get three profile pictures (what this particular website requires). He could not do it without putting his hands in his mouth, his shirt in his mouth, crying, looking up at the sky, looking down at the ground, getting more and more nervous the longer it went on.

“Why can’t you listen?”!!! Ugh. I was getting so angry with him. All the while, my one year old is crying to be held and nurtured and who knows what else, I was too busy trying to get this stupid profile picture, right??

He’s getting more nervous and whining and putting his hands in his mouth and whimpering and he’s not sure what’s going on because I’m so mad at him and he can’t really figure out why because all I want is a picture right? What is so important about a picture?

Nothing.

The universe has her say. I yell one more time and slam my butt down one the coffee table..and the legs break off under me. Then I am really, really mad! @&*!%&@#!!

Finally. I break down. I start to cry. Totally not like me. He realizes my state and comforts me. “Mama, don’t be sad. Smile mama.”. Followed by kisses. Over and over.

Then the guilt comes. Oh and it comes. And it comes and comes. Like waves. Guilt  like nothing I have ever felt. And I cry. And he kisses. And I cry. And he tells me, “smile, mama” as he uses his little fingers to move my lips into a smile. Which makes me cry worse.

Damn man. All I can say is this shit is hard.

How’s that for post-Mother’s Day bliss?

The Tribecast’s A Comin’..

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“Tribes are about support. Women coming together to lift one another up with encouragement and love.”

My tribe and I have started a Podcast. We’ll be chatting it up about birth (duh), mamahood, babies, partners, books, wine and everything under the sun. This is a real deal, raw, candid point of view and I’m so excited we will be able to share it with everyone!

The Podcast will be called “Tribecast”. So listen, it will get real. You know the sayin’, ‘If you can’t take the heat, get outta tha kitchen’? This is us, sharing intimate details of our lives, our birth experiences, our ups and downs, our foul mouths and our tears.

I will keep everyone posted on the details. We are hoping the first Podcast taping will be available early next week.

Stay tuned and thank you in advance for your support!

*Blessingway photos by Patience Salgado. Black and white photo by Nikki Sawulski.

You are strong. You are safe. You can do this. You can do even this.

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The other day, a good friend asked me about this saying that seems to surround the birth of my son, Koi. She said, “I see it all over the place, around Koi’s birth and I love it”. After I explained how it came to be, I decided to share its origin and existence here as well.

“You are strong. You are safe. You can do this. You can do even this.”

I had been in labor a really long time. I had been at 8 centimeters, things had started to slow down and when my midwife checked me again I was at 6 centimeters and my cervix was swollen. A different energy had entered the room. A heavy, dark energy. My midwife wanted me to have a little Pitocin to get my body going again. This was not what we wanted. I knew, things would soon spiral out of control, if we conceded. We would not have the birth we wanted, even though everyone was reassuring me I could still do it, even on Pitocin. I laid down in the bed, on my side. And started to cry. Jason and I asked for some privacy, to see what happened for the next 45 minutes or so without Pitocin. I was failing. I wasn’t going to do this. I had worked so hard and I wanted it so bad.

Earlier in my birth, when we arrived at the hospital, my doula had written, “You are strong. You are safe. You can do this.” on the dry erase board. As I lay there in the bed, weeping for the birth I was about to lose, thinking of my baby and the beginning I wanted so desperately to give him, thinking of all the people who told me I couldn’t do it, all the women who didn’t support me..and then I thought of all the women who did. My giant husband whispered in my ear that I was doing a great job. That our baby was healthy and safe. That I just needed a break, but we were still doing this. I sat up in the bed, once we were alone and I looked up at that dry erase board, which now read, “You are strong. You are safe. You can do this. You can do even this”.  And right then, I recommitted. I recommitted to my body and my power. I told myself, she is right. I can do even this.

And I did. Without the Pitocin, with privacy and rest and support, I labored again and I got there. And I birthed my baby boy, on a stool, and pulled him into my arms, just like I had dreamed.

I share this because we do not all labor alike. Some of us need rest. Some of us go backwards. Some of us go fast and some of us go slow. And we have the power to dictate how we birth, and we have the power to refuse suggestions, even from those people we trust. We have the power to listen to our bodies and labor and birth the way we need to. So. My blessing and wish is that some woman, will realize in her moment of labor, that she has power and knowledge. And she dictates how she gives birth to her baby. And knows she can do this. And whatever the obstacle, she can do even this.

*For whatever reason, I could not caption this picture. These words in the photo were written by Gina Bass and photographed by Patience Salgado.

“I’m back where I’m supposed to be. I’m me again”, A Brave Story of Homebirth After Cesarean

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There are no words...

Sometimes in this work, and in this life, we meet people who have a place, hold a light, hold your attention. Sometimes you hear a story that blows your mind or see a picture that haunts you, in a good way. This woman, this special woman, so willing to share her vulnerability, while at the same time being a complete bad ass..this woman has my attention. This woman’s story needs to be heard. And this woman needs to tell her story.

I am so honored and grateful, that she has shared it with me, and is allowing me to share it with you.

And so her story begins…

“My name is Dallas Bossola.  I’m 38 years old and I’m a stay at home Mom.  I’m originally from Viriginia and my family moved to the Outer Banks in 2009.”

“My son was born on December 6 2007 via cesarean section at St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond VA.  The cesarean was for failure to progress.  I was at 3 cm and Kiran was sunny side up.  At the time, we were led to believe that Kiran was in distress and a cesarean was going to “save” him.  It wasn’t until I started planning my VBAC that I learned that he was never in distress and the fact that it was approaching 5pm on a Friday was probably more of a reason the call for a section was made.  My pregnancy with Kiran was very high anxiety.  I had multiple miscarriages before Kiran and was considered high risk.  I also was approaching 35 so that was one more mark against me.  So during those nine months I always felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I had 11 ultrasounds, numerous NSTs, a cervical check at every appointment, several gluclose tests..FEAR…FEAR…FEAR.  When my water broke with Kiran, I went straight to the hospital, checked in and waited.  I was only at 3cm and in hindsight, I should’ve gone right back home.  But I just didn’t know.  I didn’t know what was going to happen.  I just did what they told me to.  Kiran’s birth was a beautiful tragedy.  The woman I was before that day…disappeared.  I remember lying on the OR table and seeing him in a warming bassinet and thinking…how did I get here?  How did this happen?  WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? My heart broke that day.  It broke for the birth that I didn’t get and for the child that I felt I had let down. In December of 2007 my journey to VBAC began.”

“Well, Kiran’s birth def made me feel inadequate, a bit stupid I guess.  I knew very little about what went in to a labor and a vaginal birth and even less about how birth really goes in a hospital setting.  I was angry for a while and depressed.  But at the same time I was thankful.  Thankful it was all behind me and that I was free to move forward.  But the “moving forward” part didn’t come like I thought it would.  I was stuck.  Very, very stuck.  And it wouldn’t be for about six months before that feeling would be replaced with a fire and yearning to know what happened.  What should I have known, or read or asked about?  And how do I keep it from happening the next time.”

Where did Kiran’s birth lead you?

“Kiran’s birth led me to the birth world.  I became a member of ICAN and then a postpartum doula.  Living on the Outer Banks led me to home birth.  Hospital VBAC’s just weren’t happening here when I was thinking of getting pregnant again and the thought of another section frankly made me want to jump off a bridge rather than go through that again.  But we really wanted another baby and I just decided that I would do whatever I needed to in order to stay out of the hospital.  And staying out of the hospital meant for starters finding a home birth midwife that would take a VBAC.  The midwifery laws being what they are in NC made things a little tougher.  I did not want to use an illegal midwife because being a VBAC, if something happened that I needed to transfer, I wanted to make sure that there was continuity of care and not a “dump and run” at the ER because my midwife was scared of going in.  So I reached out to a VBAC friendly doc in High Point and asked him if he new of any CNMs that would be willing to travel to the Outer Banks and he gave me Deb’s info.  I called her up…she said yes…and the rest is history.  All I needed to do was get pregnant which I did just a few weeks later.”

What did you do in this pregnancy, in preparation for Z’s birth?

“Oh man.  What DIDN’T I do to prep for Z’s birth!  Well, I exercised every day.  Some days I swam, most I walked, did yoga.  I ate really well so I wouldn’t gain a lot of weight.  I took triple doses of Juice Plus+ (JP+ is a whole food nutrition supplement), drank red raspberry tea every single day, watched my diet like a hawk and just tried to keep my head on straight and my eyes on the prize.  I read a few books….Ina May’s stuff of course…Birthing From Within…Squat Birth Journal…Artemis Speaks to name a few.  I did a lot of “head work” on my self.  Meaning I tried to sort through all the gunk left over from Kiran’s birth.  That was such a sad time for me and I’m so thankful for it at the same time.  So I had a lot of, confusion, that I really wanted to get clarity on before I walked into Z’s birth.  I prayed some.  Prayed for a quick, safe birth.  And I surrounded myself with people who wanted this for me as much as I did.  I listened to my midwives and took their advice.  I opened my heart up and asked that the Goddesses, Mother Nature, God, Buddha…show me the way.  And when my pregnancy started to draw to an end, I had this feeling of readiness.  Clarity. Confidence.  And a knowing that no matter how it all shook out in the end…I had done EVERYTHING I could and that I would be at peace with whatever the outcome was.”

“Z’s birth was fucking awesome, of course.  🙂  I got the quick labor I prayed for (11 hours, soup to nuts.) Oh and be careful what you pray for right!  Contractions were about  30 seconds long and coming every 2-3 minutes.  I got up around 3am and came downstairs.  I took my birth ball out onto our deck and labored peacefully, watching the sun rise.  Watching the water on the canal…feeling at peace and knowing in my heart that it was all going to be ok.  My midwife showed up around 10am, checked me and helped me into the water.  I was at 7cm, bag of waters intact and shortly after that I felt the urge to push.  I asked Deb to check me again and she said there was no need.  That I was doing exactly what I needed to do and if I felt like pushing, well PUSH! I remember hearing my water break and thinking holy shit!  I’m really gonna have a baby!!!  There was a frenzy of laughter, friends showing up barely in time, photographer clicking away taking beautiful pictures, my husband Facebooking (WTF!) and me begging baby to please “help me help you!”  I remember feeling her head come out and Deb yelling for me to stop pushing.  Z had a compound presentation and Deb wanted to catch her elbow when it popped out.  I remember feeling scared, terrified but just wanting her out of me so I can know that she’s ok and it’s over.  So I pushed hard with the next contraction and she shot out like a rocket across the tub!!!  I remember thinking “I DID IT!  HOLY CRAP I JUST SHOT A BABY OUT OF MY VAGINA!”  And there was a little confusion as to whether she was a boy or girl, because her lady parts were so swollen.  But once we confirmed it was a girl, complete joy and happiness just over took the room.  Everyone was smiling, crying, popping champagne, cracking beers and ordering me a cheeseburger!  It was truly an amazing day and a beautiful experience!”

“I’m not sure if Z’s birth, per say, has changed me. I think Kiran’s birth turned me into someone that I couldn’t identify with.  Listen, my Mom walked out on me and my Dad when I was two.  My dad married a women who didn’t want kids and they both kicked me out at 17. I’ve been in abusive relationships, dabbled in drugs and alcohol, been to jail for a hot minute….and I have lived through it all.  I’ve never been a weak person.  I’m not afraid of anything.  I’m a survivor.  But something about Kiran’s birth just turned me into someone I was never able to identify with…I was lost…confused.  And I’ve spent four years rediscovering that fighter in me.  That survivor that’s always been there.  I think if anything Z’s birth has been like putting on an old comfortable pair of your favorite shoes.  I’m back where I’m supposed to be.  I’m me again.  Full circle Mama.  Full fucking circle.”

~~~~~

Even though I know women are strong, even though I see the strength in women and in birth, I am still blown away by the bravery and courage and determination of women. Thank you, Dallas, for being your brave, raw, bad ass self! I am forever grateful that you have shared this piece of yourself with me and are allowing me to share it with others. My blessing for you is that you remain in your rediscovered skin, knowing your power and abilities, and continue to provide encouragement and support to the women around you. Much love.

There are Tribes, And Then There are Tribes. Bragging Rights of a Card Carrying Tribe Member.

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“A Tribe is a group of women, supporting one another in mamahood. Without judgement and with total respect, love and admiration.”

My tribe is like no other. I find myself among these amazing, brilliant women. I’m not even sure how I got here. All of us connected through birth.   

Souls of gold and mouths like sailors, even this I love.  Sharing encouragement, disappointment, inspiration, hope.

We are all so different and in the end, we are one. Strong. Our common denominator of birth, and passion for birth.

It begins with birth, but then it goes deeper. It creates a history of trials and triumphs. It is a powerful thing, when a group of women form in giving way, to lift one another up in hope and support. A love and circle that is positive and unconditional rather than hurtful and judgemental.

So today I light a candle for one of my tribe members. Just as I did yesterday. I send her this amazing energy of healing and trust. My wish, my blessing for every woman, is that she find her tribe and that she settle in peacefully.

 

*This slideshow warms my heart. The birth photos were taken by Patience Salgado. Just a piece of this amazing journey.

The Thoughtful Work of Encapsulating, A Grateful Work

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“Each one of us have the ability to grow such an amazing gift. Be still our minds, be full our breasts and hearts.”

From the moment I get a call about encapsulating a placenta, I begin to think of the woman it will nourish.

I think about her in the weeks and days before she has her baby. When I get the call that she is in labor, I light a candle for her. For her, a candle for a gentle birth. For her baby, a peaceful journey earthside. When her baby is born and I am given the honor of preparing such a generous, treasured gift for her, I think of all I know of her. All I know of her postpartum history, her fears, her hopes for this birth, this baby.

As I prepare her placenta, she is on my mind. Each step is carefully prepared with her in mind. Thoughtfully and carefully. I am grateful for being given such a high calling and such an important task.

My blessing for each mama is different. But my true constant is that she find exactly what she needs and desires. That my careful and thoughtful work fills her with a quiet, still abundance.