Posts Tagged ‘birth’

Birth & Vaccination: Are We REALLY Independent??

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

4thOfJulyParade

I don’t mean to be a buzz-kill, truly I don’t. It’s just that I made this pact with myself, on behalf of the wellbeing of mothers and babies: I decided a few years back to run this not-so-celebratory article every year on America’s birthday, as long as our country continues to show up so poorly in world rankings on maternal health. I’ll get to that in a moment, but first some breaking news. (Settle in, grab a cuppa, this is long… or should I say in more inviting terms, epic. This really is historic, and it deserves all the words it takes.)

Vaccination Nation?

California this week passed SB 277 and Governor Brown signed it into law, eliminating vaccine exemptions for philosophical, religious or medical beliefs. Under this law, parents are required to fully vaccinate their children for them to be eligible for public school admittance. The one exception is having a doctor’s note. (This strikes me as a loophole that may end up blowing back on progressive doctors; I’m envisioning waiting rooms overflowing with parents clamoring for the coveted Doctor’s Note.)

Read more at mothering.com

BirthKeeper Summit: CliffsNotes for You

Friday, April 24th, 2015

BirthKeeperComposite

I’m still savoring the wonderful moments & memories from the recent BirthKeeper Summit. From points around the globe, renowned midwives, physicians, doulas, childbirth educators, lactation consultants, human development educators, myriad cultural and human rights leaders, environmental activists, medical ethicists and a neonatologist came together in Northern California with a single unified intention.

We were there to discuss and promote our most precious birthright: being born healthy and loved into a flourishing and just world, which honors women and protects the life-giving relationships of MotherBaby & MotherEarth.

{Read more about it — including a QUIZ for you! — in my quantum, time-bending CliffsNotes BKSummit Diary at mothering.com}

 

Are You REALLY Independent…In Your Birth Choice?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

As long as our country continues to show up so poorly in world rankings on maternal health, I continue to run this article every year on America’s birthday, hoping to illuminate issues around our perceived birth choices. Am I naive in thinking that individual independence around these issues can help pave the way to us being a safer nation for mothers and babies?

LaboringWithEFMIt is sad enough that the U.S. sits so poorly in world infant mortality rankings, but a new report published in the prestigious medical journal Lancet and reported in the Washington Post points out that our childbirth-related maternal death rate continues to rise and is at nearly its highest point* in twenty-five years. [*Aside from its sharp spike in 2009 due to the H1N1 influenza virus.] American mothers die in or around childbirth at double the rate they do in Saudi Arabia, and triple the rate of the United Kingdom — and at statistically the same rate as in Iran.

In terms of where it is safest and healthiest to become a mother, America — land of the free and the brave — ranks 60th of 180 nations. In that context, is there any real birth choice?

Okay, now that I’ve totally bummed you out so you feel like you’ve got to reach for an early margarita with a little flag in it, let’s talk about what individual Americans may be able to do to improve the situation. (And even if it doesn’t improve the national situation, it cannot help but to improve your own birthing and parenting wellbeing!) {Grab your marg and read the rest at mothering.com}

Surrender: A Potent Power for Parenting

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

As I essentially take off this next couple weeks to hunker down and get tax prepped (ayyeeee!), I’m using it as an opportunity to share some cool folks with you in my absence.

Meet Tamara Donn, founder of Woman to Mother in the U.K., and creator of the Birth Art Café,  which invites pregnant women and new mothers to gather and explore their journeys through drawing, painting and sculpture:

Trust & Surrender: A Powerful Pair

Trust is one of the 7 principles upon which my book Parenting for Peace is based. I define trust as  “calm reliance upon processes outside of your immediate perception and control.” (more…)

The Lifelong Power of Birth Imprints

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

C-SectionSpotlightI cannot let Empowered Birth Awareness Week close without reflecting on the fact that birth leaves powerful lifelong imprints. Our empowerment lies in becoming aware of them and from understanding that these birth imprints are always available to be revised, renegotiated and healed. In a moment I will share for the first time ever the story of my son’s birth imprint and its powerful healing.

Birth Imprints

Birth is one of our most momentous embodied experiences. And even though we don’t consciously remember this huge event in our lives, each of us carries the story of our birth etched on our body and psyche. We care unconscious traces of somatic memory that can keenly influence our behavioral and personality patterns. {Read the rest at mothering.com}

Cesarean image by: Robert S. Donovan through a Creative Commons license

More Principles for an Empowered Birth

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

I believe that all women, consciously or not, participate in a collective knowing about the empowerment we might claim in birthing our babies. But instead of empowered birth, as birth anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd has so thoroughly researched, the majority of women have a birth experience that is demoralizing and dispiriting. And that gets parenting off to a less-than-peaceful start!

So to add to the first batch, to further enrich Empowered Birth Awareness Week, here are yet more ways to engage Parenting for Peace principles to up your odds of having an empowered birth.

Principles for Empowered Birth: Part II

WSLaboringCoupleNurturance – Fathers and partners, this is the golden hour for you to express this principle magnificently!

  • You now act as her womb: it’s up to you to cocoon her from phone calls, texts, tweets, visitors, and all other contact—anything characteristic of the modern human, especially lights and language. All such stimulation brings adrenaline to her system. You yourself should use the very minimum of softly spoken words with her—again, so as not to call forth the labor-slowing adrenaline.
    • Rather than humanizing birth, as some reformers call for, Michel Odent suggests we need to dehumanize birth, or rather, mammalianize it—by taking away everything that distinguishes humans: rationality, speech and technology. Cameras are big culprits; the camera-face a woman feels she must put on will right there interfere with the process! Odent confidently declares, “Go ahead, let everyone into the room, chat, watch TV, run the cameras—and she’ll give birth after thirty or thirty-six hours of labor. If you respect the physiology, that same baby will be born in less than five hours.” {Read more ideas at mothering.com}

Image:
Jason Lander, through a Creative Commons license

Practical Principles for An Empowered Birth

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

As we reach hump day of Empowered Birth Awareness Week, how fitting that Step 4 of my Parenting for Peace roadmap is actually entitled “Empowered Birth”! The book is based on 7 principles, applied through 7 steps in time — beginning pre-conception and going through adolescence. In honor of EBAW, here is a collection (in 2 parts) of practical ideas of how to engage each of the 7 Parenting for Peace principles in specific ways to up your odds of having an empowered birth.

Principles for Empowered Birth: Part I

LaborWaterMeditativePresence – I can think of few more potent opportunities to discover and practice advanced dimensions of this principle than during labor and birth. Birth anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd, in describing how she charted a new rapport with presence during her second labor (a home VBAC), compares it to swimming a marathon, noting that the champions “don’t count the distance. They enter a timeless dimension, where this stroke is all there is. This stroke, and this one, and then this one. I am in that timeless world. I quit wondering eons ago when the baby will come out. There is only this contraction, and this push, and this pause, and then this contraction, and this push, and—Then the midwife’s Voice, summoning forth my consciousness from its burial in the depths of sensation.” {Read the rest at mothering.com}

Image:
Jason Lander through a Creative Commons license

Empowered Birth: What Is YOUR Story?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

My first birth didn’t feel very empowered. My OB seemed distinctly uninterested in having an empowered birthing patient. I felt meek and under his power. I evolved, my power grew, I switched OBs, and by Baby #2, I had what felt like a very empowered birth. Details in a moment.

When a baby is born, a mother is born. Even if she already has children, each birth experience unfolds new facets of a woman’s being, having to do with feeling powerful, capable, supported — or helpless, incompetent, insignificant. These primal feelings will weave their way through her ongoing life and her relationships — with her children, her partner, herself. Indeed, a mother’s experience of giving birth — whether it’s an empowered birth or not — leaves its indelible imprint, a faint yet distinct watermark on her soul. {Read the rest at mothering.com}

Declare Your Independence in Birth Choices

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

4thOfJulyBabyAs long as our country remains so low in the world rankings on neonatal and maternal health, I will continue to run this article every year on America’s birthday. It is sad enough that the U.S. has just dropped five slots in the infant mortality rankings — down to 30 — but a new report from Save the Children reveals that we have the highest first-day infant death rate in the industrialized world.

As we celebrate our nation’s independence from oppressive rule, I want to explore a more subtle, insidious form of control: the status-quo of today’s culture — media, medicine, education — exerts tremendous pressure on well-meaning parents to make choices that simply aren’t good for kids. This is where some knowledge can be a very empowering thing! The more we know about where our decision-making blind spots are, the more we can free ourselves from the prevailing fear-based group-think, and become capable of making positive choices that are in the true best interests of ourselves and our children. {Read the rest at mothering.com}

Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose…a VBAC

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

There is (rightly) a lot of buzz these days around the insidious, incremental erosion of a woman’s right to choose whether she will give birth to a child she has conceived, but virtually nobody is talking about the drastic erosion of a woman’s right to choose how she will give birth to her term baby. Who is talking about the shocking erosion of a woman’s right to choose a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)?

(more…)