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Thursday, February 23, 2012

tending the fire

i'm overcome with awe lately by the women around me. not just the women, but my community. near and far. the inspiration is overwhelming.

i'm too excited to work. i just want to explore and learn from those around me. 

this is not just procrastination. 

i want to tend to the basics in life, like making sourdough and building fires. as etherial as it may seem i want to learn from the earth, from my kin. my chosen family is abundant and amazing. 

i want to build relationships. i want to tend to the one i have with an amazing man who has so much to give. but we are struggling with the realities of life. with burdens from our past. with conflicts of the future.

none of it is easy.

i want to tend the fire.

i don't want to lay in bed with the blanket over my head. ignoring the shit around me. i have so much work to do right now and it looks like i'm going to be moving...again. this instability is getting to me. i want to remain in my little cabin. i don't want to move. i wish money was not an object. 

my last quarter of school is herbs and homeopathy. so after this next session i can justifiably throw myself into the earth. learn the alchemy of the elements. i have my books and i have my teachers. many teachers. women that excite me. that make me want to jump up and down. to scream and shout. i don't care that they are far away. there knowledge is rich and deep and penetrating.

i want to surround myself with the knowledge gained by a thousand women. passed on from the ancestors, delivered to their descendants. 

there is so much power and beauty out there to be known. i want to emerge myself in it all.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the sounds of birth

probably one of the most uneasy and self-conscious parts of birth is a woman's concern around the noises she is bound to make in labour.

the sweet songs that she moans as she rocks back and forth, going deeper within herself. hypnotizing herself. the vibrations activating her moola banda. stimulating her pelvis. preparing it for the work to come. 

this is the unquantifiable aspect of birth. beautiful. powerful. awe inspiring. 

i was at a birth the other night. i met the woman in labour for the first time. not an ideal situation. i'm good at integrating into the birth space. not being intrusive. even if the first time i am meeting her is while i'm sinking my hand into her birth tub to listen to heart tones. 

over the course of the evening i began to support her more intensely in her labour. her back ached with each contraction, suggesting a posterior baby. sitting at 8cm for a few hours also suggestive. i asked her if she wanted to get out of the tub and sit on the toilet for awhile. her contractions surged. as i pressed on her back she began moving with each contraction, leaning on me. finding her rhythm. we moaned a low primal moan together. taking deep yogic breaths in between. 

i was humbled by her words telling me that i was helping her, that i had calmed her, that she was figuring out where to go because of my presence. i wasn't doing anything. counter pressure. a few words. relax your toes. sink into your bottom. let your body work. 

the other midwife joined us in the bathroom, the mother now on hands and knees, draping her upper body over a birth ball. she was surrendering herself to her intensifying labour. she found herself surrounded by her women. 

the power of this is unmistakable. sometimes that is all a woman needs. to be surrounded by other women. light touches, soft words. but the presence. it's that union. walking that right of passage with those of your kind. 

i haven't given birth. i haven't walked that path. but i have watched and learned as many women have. i have been there as mothers have emerged for the first time. i have been there as mothers five, six times over have rocked those babies out their bodies with knowledge and power. 

all births fierce.

the moans, the squeals, singing, screams, the howls. 

the innumerable sounds of birth.

the power of women.  

i don't think i will ever stop being amazed.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

a midwife for every woman.

it's been one month since i've written. i should have been. it's been busy and exciting and satisfying. 

in my last post i wrote about the CPM symposium. 

well i'm going!

there was a scholarship offered. i applied. i was granted the award. so next month, i'm headed to D.C. 

this is such an interesting discussion that i have been having with midwives. i'm working with and have worked with midwives on either side of the divide. the divide being: should midwives be primary healthcare providers? or maybe the question is: are midwives primary healthcare providers? 

lay, traditional, modern, med. all terms applied to midwives. terms that seem to initiate hostility, drawing lines in the sand and determining the way they practice.

not really. all hold true to the tenants of the midwifery model of care. really! regardless if you agree with how each side practices, it seems each will argue the other is practicing irresponsibly. one says midwifery is lost, the other questions the quality of care provided. it's not as black and white as that. it's not that simple. and midwives do embrace each other. i'm not saying they don't. just trying defining the sides as simply as possible. like it or not. 

washington is such an interesting place to observe all of this. i love my midwives, all of them, all three of them. i love them for their diversity, for what they offer, for their views on things, for what i can learn from them.


i am an eighties baby. i grew up in a very different world than midwives that began their practice before i was born. midwives that are self-taught, that were called to serve the women and families in their communities because there were no other options. out of need. whether spiritual or practical. 

understanding the context in which these midwives emerged, in which they practice is important. their skepticism of modern medical standards should not be dismissed. we need them to challenge what many so readily accept. a model in which us younger generations are a product of.

we live in a world of evidence-based practice, but so much of what midwives do will never be proven by science. there is no money it, there is no standardization. it's specific, intuitive, regional based, anecdotal. 

midwives trained in the old ways, so to speak, have knowledge of herbs, of homeopathics, the effects of nutrition. they use this knowledge in practice. they believe that observing a women is as important, if not more important as diagnosing a woman with a disorder through a medically-based test. 

this is not always copacetic to the thinking and practice of today. but that doesn't mean it should be thrown out. 

the question is, can you throw out an evidence-based, but not perfect test, for intuition? can we dismiss a standard-of-care that we have agreed to offer in order to practice legally, because we don't agree with it?  is that informed-choice? is it safe? what effect does it have on the judgement of the profession in a national/international context?

i'm not judging, i'm observing. understanding. questioning. trying to merge both sides. traditional midwifery does not need to be at odds with midwives embracing a role as healthcare providers. 

i strongly believe that there is a midwife for every woman. and that the decision to be a midwife is a political decision. it may not have been thirty years ago (or maybe it was even more so), but today, with midwifery emerging as a prominent profession that is becoming recognised as a safe, cost-effective and high-quality means of maternity care, practicing outside of this so called standard-of-care may put the entire profession at risk.

i haven't even touched on midwives as primary healthcare providers and how that fits into the picture.  i'm not sure if the issue is a moot point. what will happen to midwives that refuse to play nice with the "system"? 

this is all percolating in my brain.   

oh this brings up so many topics. the right to homebirth, the rights of birthing mothers, the rights of midwives, access to midwives.