Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chance meetings

Today I was blessed to meet a wonderful spiritual guide, Chekotah Bronson. He is from Alberta and on his way through New Brunswick...I don't remember why? But some people that you meet just pour out energy and light. Without even knowing me he gave me words of encouragement and insight about midwifery and serving women, babies and the world.

Thank you Chekotah!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The beginning of a journey

Yesterday, while blogging about "babymoons" I remembered, fondly, some of the sites that influenced and educated me as a newly pregnant mom with my first child. I was a "young" mom at 21, none of my friends had babies, and my mom had gone through 3 c-sections to bring my siblings and I into the world. I had noone that I knew personally who could give me encouragement or information. So I turned to the internet.

Since I believe that our state of mind and our deep seated beliefs can create our reality, I decided two things: that my body must be able to birth babies, because it was designed to do it; and that I wanted to do it as naturally as possible. So I Googled "natural childbirth". All of the references that came up (ok, not all, but most) had to do with homebirths, many with midwives and some of them *gasp* unassisted! At the time, some of the things I read seemed strange to me: MangoMama and her talk of Lotus births and babymoons, BirthLove with Leilah McCracken and her heartbreaking essay "Rape of the 21st Century", placenta smoothies to help with postpartum recovery, and more. But I kept reading.

I read of moms dealing with pain firsthand, with gentle support and love around them. I read of dads catching their babies. I read of strength and triumph and exhaustion and joy. These stories became the basis of my own personal mantra "I CAN DO THIS". I thank every one of those mothers who shared their birth stories, who by doing so empowered me to have a wonderful birth.

Now, almost 10 years later, I am appreciative that all my research led me to a greater understanding of birth, and the miracle that it is. Each website I found led me to more information. I learned how to really read studies. I learned how to dig until I found facts, and evidence-based information. I participated in chatrooms, usually as an observer. Finally, I started working as a doula and got to put some of the theory, and the universal knowledge that we all carry, into helping women with their births.

If you are thinking of a homebirth, or of working as a doula or midwife, or want a low intervention birth at the hospital, do your homework. Educate yourself. There is a good chance you will go through some of the same things I did: surprise, fear, shock, awe, anger, disgust and more when you figure out the reality behind modern birthing practices. Then you need to reach out to midwives, doulas, friends, sisters, partners and more and talk about what you learn, vent your frustrations and go about creating and healing your own birth experiences.

Some topics to get you started:
Gloria Lemay
Leilah McCracken
Mothering Magazine
Midwifery Today
Ronnie Falcao's Midwife Archives
Association of Radical Midwives (ARM) in the UK
Mary Cronk
Ina May Gaskin
Spiritual Midwifery
The Farm Midwives
Heart and Hands
Elizabeth Davis

From there, you will just keep going, as these will all reference each other. Blessings on your journey sister. We are doing this together.

Monday, March 3, 2008


Wow. I last wrote a blog on January 15. Then along came a baby (not mine, a client's) in a long, tiring, amazing birth and I think I decided to take a babymoon.

A babymoon? What's that? A babymoon is kind of like a honeymoon, for the family that has just welcomed its newest member. Instead of having the world visit baby, or baby going out into the world, some families are choosing a quiet time after their baby is born, to relax and slowly ease into baby life.

How long is a babymoon? It could be two weeks, or four weeks, or whatever feels best to the family involved. Generally by staying home, a mom can recuperate faster, breastfeeding can become well established and families can find new routines and rhythms that work successfully for them.

In order to have a blissful babymoon, there are some things you might want to consider. While mom may really enjoy the quiet, she will need some adult interaction with friends and family from time to time, for a few hours here and there. She will most definitely need help with her housework and have meals cooked for her (and the rest of her family). Everyone needs to remember that mom is not in the position to be a hostess. Instead, she needs everyone around her to treat her and baby as a pair. If she is well looked after, then baby will be well looked after. She needs to sleep when her baby sleeps. She needs you to attend to her needs and allow her to attend to her baby's needs, no matter how wonderful you may feel holding her baby, baby needs first and foremost a healthy mother!

Sadly, when you Google "babymoon" now, all you see is vacation and resort packages. It seems that the travel industry has caught on and they are offering all kinds of ways to spend even more money when your baby comes. Nothing wrong with travelling to a resort, but I advocate moms and dads enjoying peace and saving their money, perhaps splurging on extra care for themselves (how about a postnatal massage? having nutritious food cooked and delivered? laundry services? watching all the seasons of TV shows you enjoyed in high school? half days of childcare for the older children?)

A babymoon is a great way to get your family off to the right start. Sometimes we all need a little getaway from the world. Your baby needs an easy transition into the world, so take him or her home and get to know each other. You will enjoy yourselves, that's a promise.