“There is an open, flexible, compassionate way of relating to everything we experience, including natural disasters and sudden death. It is not so much a process of learning how to ‘get over’ a profound loss, but rather how to allow it to be there, lightly, gently, like a fine thread woven forever into the tapestry of who we are.” –Nancy J. Rigg (previously used in this post)
I know it is boring to hear about how busy someone else is, but I’m barely keeping my head above water recently. I’m sad that my blogs are sinking to the bottom of my list, because I do so love to write and I have ideas for new blog posts every single day. And, every single day, no matter how long the to-do list is, I have a secret plan that I’ll work like the wind and finish everything else on my list and then I’ll still have time “left over” in which I’ll actually get to write the imagined posts. Just isn’t happening this week though. I haven’t even read any birth articles to share thoughts from! However, past self, who apparently had some more time to spare than current self, did produce some work that has given me fodder for this week’s Tuesday Tidbits post. I was pleased as can be to have my article, Breastfeeding as an Ecofeminist Issue, published in Pathways Magazine this quarter. There are precious few opportunities remaining to be published in a print magazine for natural parents and there is just something extra special about having an article published in a full-color, real magazine :) They sent me a pdf version of the article to distribute on my own website and so I’m doing just that. For the nicely printable pdf version, click here.
We are mammals because as a species we nurse our young. This is a fundamental tie between the women of our time and place and the women of all other times and places as well as between the female members of every mammal species that have ever lived. It is our root tie to the planet, to the cycles of life, and to mammal life on earth. It is precisely this connection to the physical, the earthy, the material, the mundane, the body, that breastfeeding challenges men, feminists, and society.
Breastfeeding is a feminist issue and a fundamental women’s issue. And, it is an issue deeply embedded in a sociocultural context. Attitudes towards breastfeeding are intimately entwined with attitudes toward women, women’s bodies, and who has “ownership” of them. Patriarchy chafes at a woman having the audacity to feed her child with her own body, under her own authority, and without the need for any other. Feminism sometimes chafes at the “control” over the woman’s body exerted by the breastfeeding infant.
Then, on my birthday last week, my contribution to a series of guest posts by feminist readers about children’s books appeared on First the Egg:
“Books have always been a huge part of my life, and I have many favorite and noteworthy books from my childhood. When considering the question though, one quartet immediately came to mind since two of my children are in fact named after one of the characters–the same character, no less! The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce is the tale of Alanna, who disguises herself as a boy in order to train as a knight. Alanna is a very kick-ass girl, and though she is small and petite, she learns to be an awesome knight, in fact the very best. She develops close friendships with the other squires while managing to guard her secret from most, even through the changes of puberty, until her final test of knighthood. These books have magic and battles and bullies and evil sorcerers and a talking cat and a Great Mother Goddess who takes a special interest in Alanna.”
And, as far as reading that I’m supposed to be writing about, I’m really looking forward to finishing my book review of The Midwife’s Tale by Sam Thomas and publishing the author interview I did with him.
I also read a fun treasure of a book called Thea Gallas Always Gets Her Man. It was a mystery about a pregnant-mother-of-three and aspiring lactation consultant who solves a murder mystery in between helping mothers with breastfeeding questions. Review forthcoming, I promise!
I’m also swooning with anticipation about reviewing the new documentary about Ina May Gaskin. My screening copy of Birth Story came in the mail this week and I’m hoping to have a few Birth Network friends over for a movie review night.
I’m wrapping up the session—teaching three classes at once is a LOT for a homeschooling, toddler-breastfeeding, LLL Leader, priestess, student, writer mama—and planning an extensive and complex trip to California for my grandma’s memorial. I’m honored to have been asked to plan and officiate at the ceremony for her committal service and also to give a speech at her celebration of life luncheon. Doing these things is really important to me and I’m pleased to be able to offer them as my gift, but at the same time they’re also tipping me over the edge into reallyreallytoomuchtodoandI’mgoingtofreakoutalittle territory. I spent a long time today crying and looking at pictures of my grandma on her Facebook page when I “should” have been grading. It still doesn’t feel real and I’m still staggered at the magnitude of loss I feel. I miss her. I’ve never landed on California soil without Mamoo living there and waiting to greet us.
I’m also finalizing the preparations for our spring women’s retreat at my house this Friday. Again, this is something that I feel very blessed to be able to offer to others, while at the same time I’m also freaking out a little and just not. able. to. rest. and be still, in the way in which I feel I need to do. However, I also feel like I really, really need this retreat. I truly need to do this, for my friends and for myself.
One of the custom VBAC sculptures I made while at Craft Camp made it to its destination and now I’m receiving further requests for them. I keep saying I’m not going to do custom orders because I just don’t really have the time, but these beautiful mamas write to me with their strong stories and their tender hopes and I feel compelled to make the figures they ask for…
Thank goodness for Tuesday Tidbits! It means I’m guaranteed to write at least one post during the week. It gives me the focus, structure, and permission to be brief that I need in order to actually get something published, even if it is hastily organized and sloppily edited!