Tag Archives: breastfeeding

Emptying the Bag..

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Last night I emptied my doula bag. Rice socks, essential oils, compresses..even straws and hair ties.

As I removed each item, I took a moment to remember every birth I have witnessed, every baby I have watched take that first breath earthside, every mama I have seen dig down deeper than she ever thought she could to push her baby out. 

I thought about meeting each of you at your interview. Watching you grow throughout your journey. Watching you make careful choices about your care provider, your birth plan, your body and your baby. And your birth. I thought about your birth. I thought about your strength and your power. I thought about what you didn’t know. What you didn’t know was that feeling you left me with as I walked out of that hospital, with this doula bag over my shoulder, smiling and giddy like I was holding some amazing secret in my heart, passing all these people visiting loved ones and arriving for their shift, not knowing what I had just witnessed. And then getting in my car, sometimes in the middle of the night, tears running down my cheeks overwhelmed with humility. And then I remembered you on your postpartum visit. Nursing your new, precious baby. A birth warrior. A different woman from just months before. And I remembered your worried calls about fevers and milk and even poop. And I thought about how you had no idea what those calls meant to me. To know you trusted me. And I know, because I made those calls after I had my babies. 

Last night, I emptied the bag. But I filled my heart. With unexpected memories that make me forever grateful. So thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Each and every one of you who have given me this honor. I can never repay you. I know I will continue to attend births. I do not know in what capacity or when. But I do know that I have enough birth love in my heart to get me through. 

 

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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.

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.

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.

The Blessingway, Paving The Way For Our Daughters

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Blessingway Necklace, Picture by Patience Salgado

“A crown has been made for you. Beads prepared, words shared. It is your time, sweet Mama. To meet your baby. ”    

 

I left a friend’s Blessingway the other night thinking about the traditions and customs we teach our daughters. And thankful that my own daughter, Ruby, in her teeny eight months of life, has attended three blessingways, not including her own. I feel grateful and honored to be able to share these times with her. These rites of passages. Celebrating with other women about pregnancy and birthing and mamahood and womanhood. Sharing sweet, tender, private moments with each woman in attendance. All of us vulnerable in sharing parts of our stories, but knowing we are in safe company. And my baby girl shares that energy.

I will create for her a feeling of safety around birth. A sisterhood. A knowing that she can do it. That she will do it. That she is doing it. She will know her own birth story, it will be told to her over and over again. I can say without doubt that my baby girl will know many birth stories. Stories of strength and bravery and courage. She will know that this work is hard, but it is so, so worth it.

Here, with her, begins a legacy. A legacy of truth around birth. A certainty and confidence about her ability as a woman. Her ability to birth a baby. This circle, this empowerment has begun. This I know.

Meeting Ina May Gaskin, The Backstage Pass

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Meeting Ina May Gaskin, the sign and run!

“It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey.” ~ Wendell Berry

So last weekend, I met Ina May Gaskin. I’ve met celebrities in my past. Musicians, athletes, television personalities, authors, you get the picture. I even partied with Vince Neil and Don Dokken in the same weekend. Anyone who knew me in the 80’s knows that is a BIG deal! I’m generally uninterested and not really so impressed.

 As I stood there in line, clenching my newly purchased copy of Birth Matters, tightly to my chest, in the company of other giddy Ina May groupies, my heart raced. I never thought I would meet her. This is Ina Fucking May people. My time grew closer and closer. And my palms sweatier and sweatier. What would I say!? Would I thank her for all of her work in the advancement of midwifery or for helping so many mamas and babies? Would I share a quick glimpse into how touching that very first Ina May book changed my life, as it has the lives of so many other women?

Nope. Nope, I sure wouldn’t. Loose lips, loose bottom surely had no place in this encounter. Shoulders high, jaw tensed and bottom clenched, I said, “hi” and shoved my book at her, looked at my friends waiting with 3 cameras and multiple iPhones snapping away desperate to get a perfect shot, snatched my book back and I vanished. I am not even sure I said thank you for the autograph!

Not my shining moment in birthwork that’s for sure.

With my dream of someday visiting the Farm, and my delusions of grandeur that my family will want to vacation there over Disney, I am certain our paths will cross again. Here’s to hoping I can speak more than one word, maybe even eye contact and maybe, just maybe some expression of my genuine heartfelt gratitude for her work and dedication.