Tuesday Tidbits: Past Posts & Present Babies

IMG_1983I’ve been working on a paper for my final class for my D.Min degree (I’m half a class and one dissertation away from finishing it now!). I was pulling in some quotes from past blog posts to use in my paper and I kept coming across old posts of mine with good stuff in them! So, this edition of Tuesday Tidbits consists of old posts from my own blog!

The first post addresses the question of whether we can actually help a woman give birth. While most of us are familiar with the negative impact unnecessary interference can have on birth, when does “hands off” become birth neglect?

“One cannot actively help a woman give birth. The goal is to avoid disturbing her unnecessarily.”

– Michel Odent

via Helping a Woman Give Birth? | Talk Birth.

The second takes a look at the “of course” response—the response that affirms that if you are part of a crazy system, of course you sometimes feel crazy! This post is about the systemic context in which women give birth and make choices about their lives.

“The ‘Of Course’ response affirms that those who feel crazy, powerless, alone, confused, or frustrated within unhealthy systems such as patriarchy are experiencing just what one would expect of them.” What the model of medical birth as an unhealthy social system reveals is that “no matter where one starts on the circle…one eventually comes round to one’s starting point. The circle operates as an insulated, closed system that, unchecked and unchallenged, continues uninterrupted…” How does one break free of an unhealthy system? “Getting the right beliefs by rearranging one’s thinking is an important part of the process, but it is not enough…”

The Of COURSE response… | Talk Birth.

The third is some tidbits about mother care:

“I watch her face become alight with joy and ecstasy. ‘You’re here, oh look, you’re here! You’re so beautiful! I love you! We did it!’ It hasn’t been easy, but it was worth it…She knows–in a way that can never be taken from her–the story of her own courage and strength.”

–Jodi Green in SageWoman magazine

Wednesday Tidbits: Mother Care | Talk Birth.

And the fourth looks at the ways in which we are brought to our knees by birth and also contains this treasure of a quote about our children as our poetry:

“As women connected to the earth, we are nurturing and we are fierce, we are wicked and we are sublime. The full range is ours. We hold the moon in our bellies and fire in our hearts. We bleed. We give milk. We are the mothers of first words. These words grow. They are our children. They are our stories and our poems.”

–An excerpt from “Undressing the Bear” by Terry Tempest Williams

Brought to our knees | Talk Birth.

And, finally, because I can’t resist…bringing it back to the present moment, I want to remember how this little buddy carefully chews on his hands lately.

IMG_2044 IMG_2046Up to 14lbs now. Almost three months!

I had an attack this morning about these moments are also our past moments. “This is OUR PAST!” I exclaimed to Mark in an existential crisis. It feels so real right now, but before we know it, this baby will be a past memory, just like Lann’s baby self is. And, his 11 year old self is so here, how can even spend more than a few seconds thinking about his three month old self. We simply can’t. And, this little Tan Tan chewing on his hands will be our past before we know it too. I almost can’t stand it. ACK! And, yet, here spins the world!



Womb Labyrinth

10801641_1583381505207399_4451968254649696695_nBirth journey. Each of us walks our own path. In the center, a baby waits. And, so too, wait deep truths about ourselves. Our own courage, our own fears, our own strength, our own power. One foot in front of the other. That’s how the journey is made. You set out for the threshhold, unknowing. Maybe a little fearful. Maybe intrigued. Maybe anticipatory. Maybe excited. And you start to walk. One foot in front of the other. Sometimes our journeys drop us to our knees. Sometimes we feel around in the dark, searching for something to hold onto. Sometimes we skip and twirl along the path. Sometimes we run. Sometimes we pause and sit down and wait. Sometimes someone walks with us, holding our hand. Maybe even giving us a little push from behind. But, ultimately, it is our own private journey. When we get to the center, we will discover what it is that we know that no one else does.

il_570xN.703098950_l7x8The journey of postpartum is a labyrinth too. Carrying our babies in our arms, past sleepless nights, through endless days. Through worry and tears, through sharp, sweet, timeless moments of a joy so bone deep it knows no words and in a love so endless that it defies description. And, we walk. Sometimes we bounce. Sometimes we sway. Sometimes we sing a little tune. Sometimes we beg. Sometimes we scream. Sometimes we sit down and say we can’t keep going. Sometimes we skip through the sunshine and dance in the moonlight. Sometimes we can’t believe how much fun we are having and how wonderful this is. Sometimes we feel so alone, we think we might break. And, yet, we keep going, and we emerge, blinking at the newness of it all…

 Modified from a past post: Birth Labyrinth | Talk Birth.

Small Business Saturday: New Pewter Pendants

10933748_1582887901923426_5706330472317302049_nI feel like I should apologize for only posting these short or business/product-updatey posts lately. I am at another one of those barely-keeping-up-with-life points and blogging keeps slipping off my list, even though I have multiple ideas for multiple different blog posts on multiple different blogs a day. It is really frustrating and I’m upset and stressed/sad feeling it about it lately, to be honest. I also recognize…this again…I always want to shut everything off during the first week of February. I’ve written about it lots of other times before! (See this post: The Ongoing Crisis of Abundance. Blah, blah, nothing new!) I have lots of writing energy lately, but almost no writing opportunities and it feels very stifling and “oppressive” almost. I have fragments of time, snips and snaps, dribs and drabs, but no long stretches of uninterrupted, focused, clear time to write. The posts I do manage are eeked out amidst what feels like constant noise and with a strained feeling of not doing the right thing—or, of not enjoying it. If someone else has to hold the baby for me to write, I feel like I “should” be holding him. If I hold the baby and write at the same time I feel like I “should” be smelling his head and when I have to jiggle him against my shoulder and type with one hand, it feels like I am doing neither thing well–writing or mothering. And yet, I can’t stop the wave of ideas and topics from building in me each morning and wishing to be expressed. It is exhausting and I cannot seem to actually figure out when my many big writing projects are going to be accomplished if I can hardly manage to even get one or two mediocre blog posts published each week. ::::::sob:::::: This is not what I set out to type at all! I’m just really tired of the pervasive sensation of not having enough time. It feels awful. Though, truly, all it takes is about two hours of sustained attention on something and bing! I’m back to feeling optimistic and fulfilled and full of promise instead of wrung out and not “caught up,” the way I feel at this actual moment.

I read this quote in an old post:

“I know that for me, writing has something in common with nursing the baby. I can’t do it if I don’t do it all the time. Put it aside to build up strength, the flow will dwindle and finally disappear. When the baby was at my breast ten times a day, I had a rare secret feeling that we were violating a law of nature, defying a form of entropy…One cannot hoard some things. The more I gave the baby, the more I had to give her, and had I tried to conserve myself, I would have found that I conserved nothing.”

via Writing and Nursing | Talk Birth.

And, it spoke to me again, as both the mother of a nursling and as a writer.

So, back to my quick biz updates. Despite the no writing and no time, we have been making some pretty stuff!

We’ve re-carved, re-molded, and re-cast our womb labyrinth pendant:

10801641_1583381505207399_4451968254649696695_nThe original version was less symmetrical. The new one still isn’t perfect, but I like it better! And, life–and the labyrinth of life and birth–is also not perfect.

With an eye on my Red Tent projects this year, we also added some simple, pretty crescent moon pendants to the shop:


We also created a Reiki-inspired Cho Ku Rei pendant. I like the new rectangle design. Mark created this one entirely on his own.

il_570xN.716175692_4gotAnd, finally, a customer requested this design for a new baby in my heart miscarriage memorial pendant.

1920198_10155113542290442_2113906179980124900_nWe don’t usually take custom requests in pewter because of the time and energy required to mold and cast a new design–it just doesn’t make sense for a one-time use–but her image spoke to us and we knew it would speak to others also. So, Mark carved her design in linoleum block and then molded and cast it and the first few he has cast are now available in our shop.

Tuesday Tidbits: Ceremonializing Loss

When I am asked for resources for women experiencing miscarriage, my go-to link of choice is Stillbirthday, specifically their information on how to plan for a baby’s birth at any gestation and in any setting: How to Plan – Still Birth Day. I also recommend the resources available from The Amethyst Network, specifically the section on When someone you know miscarries » The Amethyst Network (my own thoughts on Miscarriage is a Birth are shared there as well).

This week I appreciated reading a detailed article on how to hold a ceremony for an unborn child (though I would prefer not using the term “unborn,” since the babies are still born!)

Shortly thereafter they induced her. Three hours later she changed her mind. She wanted a full naming ceremony. Could I come visit her right away? She held my hand tightly and said she was so glad I had dared to visit. Would I be there as soon as her baby was born? Before I left her husband shook my hand so hard I thought it would break.

At 2 a.m. my pager went off. It was a beautiful ceremony. They claimed this baby as their own, honoring her short life and what she had given them. They named her and prepared to let her go. The moment was tender, raw and love-filled.

via How to Hold a Ceremony for an Unborn Child | One Chosen Family.

Additionally, from the website Spirit Babies, there are some tips on organizing your own Spirit Babies Ceremony.

This article explains how friends helped “see” this mother in her miscarriage experience:

I reached out to other women who had miscarried and asked them to share their experiences. What emerged was not only a beautiful testimony of the power of friendship, but insight on how to be a better friend myself.

via When We Remember: A Story of Miscarriage | Kansas City Moms Blog.

When I lost my baby in 2009, my friends sent beads for a necklace for me (like those made for a mother blessing ceremony). It hangs on my wall above his birth certificate. One of my personal “ministries” or outreach efforts is to keep footprints-on-my-heart charms available for women in need. We added twin footprints charms to our etsy shop towards the end of last year as well. Each time we sell one of these charms, my own heart experiences a sinking feeling. I wish no one needed to buy these. It was especially sad to mail out the orders for them that came in around Christmas.

Miscarriage Memories Footprints on Heart Charm, Pendant, BabylossMiscarriage Memories Twin Footprints on Heart Charm, Pendant, Babyloss, Stillbirth, Twins, multiple losses.

When we have leftover casting material from our larger figures, Mark quickly pours it into one of our pendant molds, making rough “scrap” birth goddesses or other pieces. We sell these at bargain bin prices in our etsy shop. We occasionally have “baby spiral” and “baby in my heart” scrap pieces as well and they are only $1 (they are rough and best used as a component of creating your own project).

TINY Baby spiral, birth labyrinth birth art sculpture (birth altar, mother blessing, doula, midwife, childbirth educator)And, finally, I had a student this week who needed to help a grieving parent ask me about my booklet, Talking to Someone Whose Child is Dying. I wrote it quite a few years ago when I worked at the Ronald McDonald House and I’d almost forgotten that I made the booklet available as a free download here: Free e-Booklets | Talk Birth

A Rainbow Girl Turns Four!

IMG_1880Beginning at 4:00 this morning, Alaina started randomly exclaiming, “it’s my birthday!” and then conking back out. She didn’t actually get up until about 9:30 and we had an epic birthday day.

I don’t have time for a long birthday post and I almost decided not to make one at all, but I figured a couple of pictures can’t hurt (my weekly grades can wait just a little longer. It is still Monday, after all)!

We originally planned to have a tea party for her, but then I got out my American Girl Tiny Treasures book to give away a duplicate to a friend’s daughter and I fell in love with the tiny, tiny pies made in bottle caps (for dolls, not edible). So, I decided we’d make tiny foods and have a tea party. Then, we were at Wal-Mart getting groceries and I saw tiny pepperoni in the meat department. That was it. I suddenly became obsessed with also getting real tiny foods to eat at her party. I had to rein myself in when I was picking up fingerling potatoes to make tiny baked potatoes. We had (frozen) tiny waffles and pancakes for breakfast and we made tiny pizzas using english muffins and the tiny pepperoni for lunch. We also had tiny chicken noodle soup (lipton instant pack with those little noodles) in tiny bowls. I got petite baby carrots and tiny oranges (cuties) and mini candy bars and Ritz bits peanut butter crackers. Then, at the tea party we had mini cupcake strawberry shortcakes and ice cream cups and my mom made tiny whoopie pies with delicious nutella cream filling. It was really overplanning to try to make pretend tiny foods too, but we did it anyway and I still love the tiny pies. I want to start a new Facebook page called The Tiny Piemaker. ;)

Here’s the pictures I did get:

After guests left, we had tacos for dinner and watched Frozen. When her aunts called to tell her Happy Birthday she yelled, “it is still my birthday and we’re having birthday tacos!”

This four-year old girl is funny and smart-alecky, and tough and trying, and smart, and brave, and cute, and sometimes bratty, and sunshiney. She likes My Little Pony and princesses and Spiderman and super heroes and felt food and Ben 10 and playmobil. She drinks cow milk like it is going out of style and balks at eating almost everything else. She loves her brothers and sometimes torments them, especially Zander. She is very, very, exhaustingly particular about her clothes. She still snuggles to sleep on my arm (or as close to it as she can get) every night. She loves having books read to her and playing babies with her friends. Her goals for the new year were to play with Tom (my dad) and to have cotton candy.

Happy birthday to my wonderful treasure of a rainbow girl! Here’s the link to her birth story:

“She was pink and warm and slippery and crying instantly—quite a lot of crying, actually. I said, “you’re alive, you’re alive! I did it! There’s nothing wrong with me!” and I kissed her and cried and laughed and was amazed. I felt an intense feeling of relief. Of survival. I didn’t realize until some moments later than both Mark and Mom missed the actual moment of her birth. Mark because he was coming around from behind me to the front of me when I moved up to kneeling. My mom because she went to stop the phone from ringing. I had felt like the pushing went on for a “long” time, but Mark said that from hands and knees to kneeling with baby in my hands was about 12 seconds. I don’t know. Inner experience is different than outer observation. What I do know is that the moment of catching my own daughter in my hands and bringing her warm, fresh body up into my arms was the most powerful and potent moment of my life…”

Alaina’s Complete Birth Story | Talk Birth.

Newborn photo (c) Sincerely Yours Photography

IMG_1881Edited to add: of our tiny goods, Lann just exclaimed, “We love these! We’re going to keep them for a long time and our own kids can lose them later!” ;) And, Alaina, “this is my first birthday in a year, so I’m so happy!”

Earlier in the day, I shared this bday anecdote on Facebook: Alaina and Zander clash kind of a lot lately. Just now after fighting over Alaina’s b-day playmobil castle: “Daddy! Come here. You need to blame Zander for something!”

Small Business Saturday: Of Treasuries and Tents

10931572_908207785898158_3712409374055863972_oWe’ve been busy molding and casting new designs, some of which will be unveiled next week. The newest sculpture we’ve finished, but who isn’t ready to be sold yet, is our springtime/watergathering goddess sculpture. She joins our winterspirit/red tent sculpture. To me, she is kneeling by the riverside, joyful that the springtime thaw is here and the waters flow freely once again. She is welcoming the new—the buds, the blossoms, the tender new shoots, the newborns, the vibrant wellspring of creation and delight.

IMG_1789Our Womanrunes book has been available via Amazon domestically and internationally since August, but this week we added a separate listing for book and card sets on Amazon. We sell the sets in our etsy shop, but the books sold on Amazon ship directly from Amazon itself which means only books have been available there, since the cards are printed by a different company. However, for those shoppers who prefer to use Amazon, we now have a fresh Amazon listing that is for book and card sets.

IMG_1808I’ve been really delighted to get some great messages about women using Womanrunes in their Red Tent circles. The Red Tent in Lawrence, KS sent me a picture of the Womanrunes there:

January 2015 002Speaking of Red Tents, I registered with Red Tents in Every Neighborhood as a sisterhood tent in preparation for our first Red Tent Circle in February. So, now we have an official member badge ;)

RedTent Member BadgeIf you are local and would like to join the Red Tent Circle, you can find us on Facebook here: Rolla Red Tent.

January 2015 084Hopefully, the Red Tent will be held at WomanSpace! This gathering place by women, for women that has been long dreamed about by our communit is finally becoming a reality in 2015!

Our cesarean birth goddess pendant was featured in a treasury: Pregnancy Affirmations by Lauren Oland on Etsy.

Cesarean birth goddess pendant, necklace original sculpture (birth art, c-section, doula, midwife, mother)And one of our babywearing pendants in another treasury: The Goddess in Every Woman by Stacy Solmo on Etsy.

Joyful babywearing mama goddess pewter pendant, necklace (birth art, mother, doula, midwife)Baby is awake again and therefore this is all I have time for tonight!

January 2015 048

Modeling sweet little sweater from Aunt Brenda!



Two Month Comparison

January 2015 079Ever since Tanner was born and I’ve heard from various people how he looks like one or another of my kids, I’ve wanted to do a side-by-side picture. When I was getting ready to do it, I said, “now people will see they’re not as identical as they think.” After I actually did it I said, “or, I will see they are more identical than I think!” The above collage is each of the kids at around two months old.

10896843_10155083292860442_6326661326801062206_nNot related to matching babies, but on another subject that I shared on Facebook recently and might as well tack on here, how a ten week old goes all night with a dry diaper is beyond me, especially since he nurses several times. However, this is why I can’t not do elimination communication! They so know how to do it. And, once you know they know, you can’t not know!

Past blog post: The Real EC