Archives

Tuesday Tidbits: Babies, Mothers, and Vocations

IMG_4551

This week I read some powerful cesarean birth memories from my friend Bibi at The Conscious Doer:

Maybe there is something naive about me. I wanted to have that huge superwoman surge at the end. As the days go by, more and more of them make me feel super, but every battle has been hard fought. I was hoping to start out with a boost of confidence after hours of labour, but instead I had to pool all my strength after babyjama’s emergence, because the mother bear in me took some time to emerge herself. There is obviously a happy ending to this tale, but there were some sad parts too, and I’m giving myself permission to feel both the joy and the pain…”

Cesarean Awareness Month: Remembering Where I’ve Been | The Conscious Doer.

(Side note: our Cesarean Awareness Month discount code is still good through the end of April! CAM15 for 15% off any items at Brigid’s Grove.)

I was also touched by the delicate, sensitive, and yet simple genius of a post from Amy Wright Glenn about the spiritual and religious dimension of doula support:

Yet, throughout my work as a doula, I discovered that such an approach was rare. We know that a woman transforms emotionally and physically through the crucible of motherhood. For most women, motherhood also involves spiritual or religious transformation. To support this transformation, I believe it’s important to reflect upon the religious and spiritual dimensions of our work…

I imagine it is much easier to offer religious or spiritual support to birthing women and new mothers as a pluralist or inclusivist. Yet, I know doulas who have an exclusivist approach to truth, and they hold loving space for alternative expressions. This is what matters most. A doula need not participate in religious or spiritual practices that are inauthentic to her worldview. However, it’s essential that the doula is able to create a genuine sense of safety for a birthing woman to access her religious or spiritual strength…

The spiritual and religious dimensions of doula support | PhillyVoice.

Socioculturally speaking, we could benefit from this approach in all domains of our lives, not just birth!

Speaking of culture, I felt myself getting some tears in my eyes while reading this article about employees bringing their babies to work at Cotton Babies in St. Louis. Why tears? Because because it is so simple, obvious, and sensible and yet so rare…

Is it appropriate to have a baby in a work environment?

I wonder if we have to ask this question because our culture has defined “normal” to be something different than reality. Women have babies. Babies need their parents. Cultural norms in the Western world have traditionally confined mothers of young children to home-making. While that is what some women want to do, it isn’t what all of us want to do. As long as mom enjoys doing her job with her baby at her side and it is safe for her baby to be with her while she does her job, I believe that it is perfectly appropriate to have her baby present…

Clients, customers, vendors, employees, guests, and service providers may express discomfort with breastfeeding, question a woman’s commitment to her career, feel uncertain about how to respond to a baby in the workplace, or become annoyed with occasionally hearing a child. My favorite way to respond to those concerns has become, “She’s getting her job done. Her baby is content. Can you help me understand why that makes you uncomfortable?” Cultural expectations of a woman’s place being in the home with her young child don’t necessary reflect what all women want to do. While we support and encourage the moms who choose to stay home, we also love seeing those who stay with us also achieving their career goals…

via Our Employees Bring Babies to Work… and how we make it work | Jennifer Labit.

And, speaking of vocations, I enjoyed this post from Lucy Pearce as well:

My work chooses me. I act as a vessel for it. A crucible for it to come to be through me. I do not sit down and “choose” my work, or plan it. In truth I do not really “create” it. I need to be there, open and trusting and it comes. My job is to put it down. In words, images, colour…

There are a number of problems with this:

1) I do not know where this “work” comes from.

2) I feel very weird and odd talking about it this way. I would find it much easier to say “yes, it’s all mine” and be in control of its content and direction!

3) I am “called” to do “work” which I would not consciously choose.

4) By doing the work, I have to put myself “out there” when really I am much more in my comfort zone being private and small. I am not after ego trips or fame or fortune.

5) I feel my skills are lacking for what I am called to do.

via Are You Living Your Vocation? – Dreaming Aloud.

Here is a sneak peek of two things that have been coming through me recently:

Red Tent kits/books/online class are almost ready to launch…

IMG_4518And, we’re having a fun giveaway of all of these lovelies in May since it is not only Mother’s Day, but also my birthday AND the twentieth anniversary of our first date! 🙂

IMG_4538And, one final tidbit to share for this week, I signed up for this free Red Thread Circle class that is coming up on my birthday: FREE Global Class & Experience.

Tuesday Tidbits: Mothers and Babies

IMG_4269I might look like I’m just sitting on the floor at a Red Tent Circle nursing my baby, but really I’m using the power of my mind-manipulating microbes:

So, when a mother breastfeeds her child, she isn’t just feeding it. She is also building a world inside it and simultaneously manipulating it.

via Could Mothers’ Milk Nourish Mind-Manipulating Microbes? – Phenomena: Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Some thoughts from my Facebook friend Jenny about being done having babies and not feeling sad about it:

Today, my heart is too full of four little people, and the man with whom I created them, to even allow room for an ache. In that tiny corner where an ache might form someday, I’m growing my own dreams, my someday-plans that have nothing to do with raising children, nurturing seeds of myself apart from my role as mother. Truthfully, I kind of love having that corner to myself. I’m not sure I want to share it with a sense of sadness over who or what won’t be, because I’m pretty happy with who and what is as well as with what lies ahead…

via Waiting for The Ache: We’re Done with Babies and I’m Not Sad.

Tanner is such a sweet treasure bonus of a baby and I feel like I’m cherishing him a great deal. And, I hold two realities: a definite sense of “doneness” and readiness to be done with the baby stage of my life, as well as a bittersweet pang at the babyness of his babyness and how swiftly it is passing me by. I want to soak in it and yet the world keeps spinning so rapidly and every day he grows bigger right before my eyes. I want to memorize it. I keep telling Mark, “we only get this year to have THIS BABY!” and it kinds of freaks me the heck out!

Foot bath together after salt bowl ceremony.

Foot bath together after salt bowl ceremony at April Red Tent Circle.

And some lyrical musings at 39 weeks from my friend Halley as she stands at the edge of another birth/postpartum experience… April 2015 123

I think about what’s coming next,

The beast that is postpartum.

I think about what’s coming next,

The love that is new baby.

My labor will be (I pray) just one day,

One day among thousands

My mothering will go on and on,

And I’ll need to know how strong I am…

via Messy 39 Week Poetry | Peace, Love, & Spit Up.

Her poem made me get a little teary and brought me back to the Standing at the Edge song by Nina Lee that I found so meaningful during labor and postpartum…

Every mother deserves excellent care postpartum, however, the “arrowhead” of American postpartum care does not show us a culture that values mothers, babies, or life transitions. I am fortunate to have had the kind of excellent care that every woman deserves and that few women receive. Part of this was because I actively and consciously worked towards building the kind of care I wanted following birth, but part of it is because I am lucky enough to belong to a “tribe” that does value pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and mothering.

via Ceremonial Bath and Sealing Ceremony | Talk Birth.

My last postpartum experience was actually a really delicious time of nourishment and cocooning. Postpartum with my first baby was the worst and I just kept getting better and better at planning for and getting what I know I need during that time of tender vulnerability.
That said, I still feel like this more often than I’d like!

Like how parenthood totally doesn't change you at all.via This New Mom Chronicled Her Baby’s First Year In Brutally Honest Doodles.

I enjoyed this post by a dad about why mothers don’t want to be touched. My instinct to shrink away or duck under his arm, doesn’t stop at just my husband though, I don’t feel like I have a lot of physical caregiving energy left for my other kids lately either—Tanner uses up a lot of me!

…I felt offended. It made me feel like she didn’t love me. I was her husband of 10 years. She should want to be held by me… right? I wasn’t one of her children, I was her husband.

“I just wanted to hold, you.” I said. “I’m not asking for sex, or anything. I’m too tired for that. I’m getting old, obviously. It’s been just a long day.”

At the mention of being held, Mel cringed a little. Once again, I was offended. I usually am when this happens. And it doesn’t happen all that often, but always more than I’d like. But it was late, and I didn’t want to fight…

via Why a mother doesn’t want to be touched ~ No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog.

In last week’s post I just missed including this powerful post about the courage and strength of women who give birth by cesarean:

But in the birth world, I see a certain type of birth held up as ideal, and in my work I capture many that would fit the standard. The fictional “first place trophy of childbirth” always seems to go to the un-medicated, vaginal births where mom and partner are active and unhindered by doctors or nurses. Just last night, I read an amazing birth story where mom, unintentionally, gave birth at home in her bathtub. Her husband caught the baby because no one else was there. They sat at home on their couch and soaked in all the newborn goodness. It was a great birth story…and I’m sure it will get passed around again and again.

I had the honor of photographing this gorgeous cesarean birth – not the plan, (she was hoping for a VBAC) but beautiful, powerful – and redemptive, in its own right.

via Three Truths About C-section Mamas

April 2015 045

April Newsletter

The April newsletter from Brigid’s Grove came out last week. If you missed it, you can view it here! We have launched some new cesarean mama goddess designs (see more about them in the newsletter). We’re also offering a new free birth education handout in the newsletter and a discount code for 15% in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month (use code: CAM15).

Cesarean birth VBAC goddess sculpture (birth art, c-section, doula, midwife, mother)Make sure you’ve entered your email address on the right hand side of the BG site to receive future newsletter and special offers and product announcements.

11150546_1614074768804739_5920468981887497904_nOur May newsletter will include free printable birth affirmation cards, a Mother’s Day special offer, new mama goddesses (one catching her baby and one by request with her hands on her belly instead of above her head), and will feature the launch of our new ceremony kits! We’re particularly excited about our Red Tent Resource Kit, for which we published a new book/manual. We are currently working on developing an online class to go with it too as well as a Womanrunes immersion e-course.

The_Red_Tent_Resourc_Cover_for_Kindle

Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Awareness Month

11148668_1614543705424512_3613965156253725168_nIt is Cesarean Awareness Month! We finished several new mama goddess designs this month and have a CAM-themed April newsletter ready to go out (subscriber freebie in this newsletter is a new birth education handout: “Can I really expect to have a great birth?” Sign up for the newsletter at Brigid’s Grove!)

Some Cesarean Awareness Month themed posts for this week. First, a meditation for before a cesarean:

You say you honor choices. 11108844_1614067252138824_1518757261202060615_n
Can you really honor mine?
I will always honor the process which
brought forth flesh of my flesh.
I honor your births too.
Can you ever honor my experience, or will I
forever be a part of your statistics on
the way things shouldn’t be?

via Birthrites: Meditation Before a Cesarean | Talk Birth.

And, some past thoughts on helping a woman give birth…what is the balance between birth interference and birth neglect?

There can be a specific element of “smugness” within the natural birth community that has been gnawing at me for quite some time. A self-satisfied assumption that if you make all the “right choices” everything will go the “right way” and women who have disappointing or traumatic births must have somehow contributed to those outcomes. For example, I’m just now reading a book about natural mothering in which the author states regarding birth: “Just remember that you will never be given more than you can handle.” Oh, really? Perhaps this is an excellent reminder for some women, and indeed, at its very core it is the truth—basically coming out alive from any situation technically means you “handled it,” I suppose. But, the implicit or felt meaning of a statement like this is: have the right attitude and be confident and everything will work out dandily. Subtext: if you don’t get what you want/don’t feel like you “handled it” the way you could or “should” have, it is your own damn fault. How does a phrase like that feel to a woman who has made all the “right choices” and tried valiantly to “handle” what was being thrown at her by a challenging birth and still ended up crushed and scarred? Yes, she’s still here. She “handled it.” But, remarks like that seem hopelessly naive and even insulting to a woman whose spirit, or heart, has been broken. By birth. Not by some evil, medical patriarchy holding her down, but by her own body and her own lived experience of trying to give birth vaginally to her child.

via Helping a Woman Give Birth? | Talk Birth.

An educational video and some cesarean infographics from Lamaze: Lamaze for Parents : Blogs : How to Avoid a Cesarean: Are You Asking the Right Questions?

And a VBAC Primer from Peggy O’Mara: VBAC Primer | Peggy O’Mara

Some thoughts on the flawed assumption of maternal-fetal conflict and how that impacts the climate of birth today:

I think it is fitting to remember that mother and baby dyads are NOT independent of each other. With a mamatoto—or, motherbaby—mother and baby are a single psychobiological organism whose needs are in harmony (what’s good for one is good for the other).

As Willa concluded in her CfM News article, “…we must reject the language that portrays a mother as hostile to her baby, just because she disagrees with her doctor.”

via Maternal-Fetal Conflict? | Talk Birth.

And some past thoughts on Birth Strength:

“Women are strong, strong, terribly strong. We don’t know how strong until we are pushing out our babies. We are too often treated like babies having babies when we should be in training, like acolytes, novices to high priestesshood, like serious applicants for the space program.” –Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay’s Dance

via Birth Strength | Talk Birth.

(I would revise this slightly to say “until we have birthed our babies,” since strength is found in many different birth, postpartum, breastfeeding, and mothering experiences, not only in pushing out our babies. I still love the quote though!)

11150546_1614074768804739_5920468981887497904_n

Tuesday Tidbits: Creation and Distraction

“I have discovered nothing more stunning, nothing more emotionally stirring, nothing more intriguing than a woman as she creates life.” –Patrick Stull (in Evolve)

August 2014 085From the Celebrating Motherhood book I’ve been using for an intermittent series of posts, comes this thought about creativity from Meinrad Craighead:

Images are like children. Children come out of our bodies as distinct creatures with their own life form…They have come out of us, but they have their own energy separate from us.

Women create—we all create—out of our bodies…The creativity in women’s bodies, the potential in our bodies for making children from our many eggs is, I think, no different from the potential for making imagery from our many eggs…It is very important for we women to understand that whether we are creating biologically or metaphysically from those eggs, it is all the fruit of our body, the fruit of our creativity.

–Meinrad Craighead, from Sacred Stories quoted in Celebrating Motherhood (p. 43).

After quoting Craighead, I remembered I’ve quoted her previously and so I went looking for that quote, which was:

“Come into my lap and sit in the center of your soul. Drink the living waters of memory and give birth to yourself. What you unearth with stun you. You will paint the walls of this cave in thanksgiving.”

–Meinrad Craighead

This quote was used in the context of a post I wrote about my last computer-off week and “defragmenting” my brain, in which I eventually came to the conclusion:

I always have “too much to do,” technology or not. It is kind of how I’m built. I am packed with ideas and plans and goals all the time, so are my kids, so are my parents. I think it is genetic. Also, this makes us interesting people albeit perhaps not Zen enough for some as well as for my imaginary conception of how my life “should” be.

via Mental Defrag computer off week reflections | Talk Birth.

This post led me to another one musing about the “distractions” of technology:

I have to say that when I read content decrying technology as negative and lamenting the abundance of children on their “devices,” part of me hears: “these new-fangled kids driving cars instead of good old horses and buggies!” This is reality. In my specific family, technology and screen-time built my family’s financial security and our literal home. My husband made a living for years off of screens—eight hours a day in front of one in fact. I use one now to support my family and to, get this, be with my children. Using a computer (ipad, etc.) is how I teach, how I write, how I communicate, how I interact, how I earn money, how I sell my creations. My mom was on the phone a lot when I was a kid. I’m on the computer a lot. Maybe Idealized Mythical Past Mom was in the cotton field a lot, or washing laundry for others, or working in a lace factory, or milking cows, or shelling peanuts or making paper flowers, or keeping up the house, or taking care of younger children, or, or, or. Moms have never “not worked.” And, they’ve never been non-“distracted,” just the mode and texture of this “distraction” shifts with times, contexts, roles, activities, and availability of whatever. Perhaps it is all just life and living?! I am as interested by mindfulness and present moment awareness as the next person and yet I always wonder: “can’t I be typing this blog post in the present moment?!” Can’t I be thinking about my to-do list in the present moment? Can’t I be smelling this rose in the present moment? AND, can’t I also be sending this text in the present moment? Why does “present moment” have to be synonymous with no to-do list and no technology? I can very presently us both…right?!

via Tuesday Tidbits: Blogging, Busyness, and Life Part 2 | Talk Birth.

And, I’ve been thinking about the snappy feeling I have this week and how I can be both controlling and flexible, good-humored and humorless, happy Mom reading books aloud and crabby Mom saying, “get that out of my face,” on edge and content, often within the same day and same hour. This reminded me of a post I wrote quite a while ago about “dualism” and how we are received, perceived, and experienced by people can all be true:

And, I started to reflect that I guess I am all these things and how people experience me and my writing is in part up to me and in part up to them. Just like in real life. I can be gentle, kind, and nurturing. I can be critical, judgmental, and harsh. I can be helpful and I can be selfish. I can be patient and impatient. I can be friendly, I can be preoccupied. I can be energetic and enthusiastic and upbeat and I can be exhausted and defeated. I can be a fabulous, fun mother and I can be a distracted and grouchy mother. I can be funny and I can take myself too seriously. Different people, relationships, and environments bring out different expressions of who I am. Sometimes I really like myself a lot. I like who I am, I like how I move through the world, and I’m impressed with my own capacities. I have great ideas and solid values and principles and the ability to articulate those in writing. Sometimes I actually hate myself. I see only the bad parts and I wish I could just be better. I feel hypocritical and over aware of inconsistencies in my own thoughts/beliefs and my expression of my values in the world. I often want to be better than I am, but in rare moments of grace and self-compassion, I realize that I’m pretty good already. And, in some moments of self-righteousness and superiority, I actually feel better than some people in some areas/some ways!

via The dualism of blogging and life | Talk Birth.

I hope I can remember to extend enough compassion and grace to others to realize they are the same way and not write someone off based on one experience or encounter!

(Isn’t it convenient that I’ve already had all these thoughts already and can just go back to my blog to mine for them, rather than starting from scratch all the time? 😉 )

Returning to creation and motherhood though, I think this etsy shop (Shaping Spirit) has the most amazing and best driftwood sculptures of all time:

Reserved for Gillian, I Will Remember, Driftwood Sculpture by Shaping Spirit, Last PaymentAnd I wanted to share a new picture of our cesarean birth goddess design that we re-worked slightly and re-cast recently:

September 2014 030I thought of her as I read a beautiful article about why grieving for birth is selfless and not selfish (shared via Summer Birth Services):

Women grieve stolen birth experiences very deeply, but their grief often remains private because modern birth culture maintains that a healthy baby is the one and only goal. The roots of “the healthy baby lie” are found in the reality of birth, that the outcome is unknown and one potential outcome is, quite undeniably, death. But to women, birth means a great deal more than being alive afterwards. Birth is the introduction to their baby, it matters a great deal.

Mothers spend many months imagining birth, sometimes many years. They imagine feeling more love than they ever imagined when they set eyes on their new baby. The reality is that sometimes things go awry – women are not so stupid that they can’t grasp that – but when they reach out to tell their stories they are often told one of two things; that they should focus on their healthy baby; and that they had unrealistic expectations of birth. But it is not unrealistic to expect that you will feel joyful when you give birth…

via Grieving for Birth is Selfless Not Selfish – Whole Woman.

September 2014 023

“These are her endless years, woman and child, in dream molded and wet, a bowl growing on a wheel, no mud, not bowl, not clay, but this becoming, winter and split of darkness, years of wish.”

–Muriel Rukeyser (quoted in Celebrating Motherhood, p. 47)

Cesarean Awareness Month

April is Cesarean Awareness Month! In honor of the event, my husband and I co-created a new cesarean birth goddess pendant that is now available in our etsy shop. Based on the “cesarean courage” theme of my past cesarean goddess sculptures, this mama has “love” written on her belly in her cesarean scar.

April 2014 046ICAN is offering a series of interesting webinars for free during April:

In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, ICAN will be offering FREE access to our educational webinars for all participants throughout the month of April!

Join us from the comfort of your home online!

ICAN is offering the following webinars in multiple viewings throughout the month, just click on the link and time that works for you to register for the presentation.

via Free Webinars During Cesarean Awarness Month – ICAN of Northern Virginia.

Don’t forget to also check out ICAN’s helpful website. Their ICAN Birth brochure is one of my very favorites for classes, workshops, and tabling at ICAN Brochure- "ICAN Birth"events.

Giving Birth with Confidence shared an article indicating that choice of doctor is strongly linked to increased risk of cesarean, pointing out that “…what’s being done in the way of care might indeed be for the welfare of obstetricians who practice defensive medicine, and may not be for the best welfare of the woman in his care. The results of this study are not addressed in the recently released ACOG guidelines to eliminate the overuse of c-section, but it’s helpful to acknowledge the possible affect of malpractice insurance on women’s birth options…” (via Additional Factors that Can Influence the Risk of Cesarean).

Science and Sensibility offered a list of helpful resources for birth professionals to share with clients regarding cesarean awareness and also explained why we have a Cesarean Awareness Month in the first place.

April is Cesarean Awareness Month, an event meant to direct the American public’s attention to the United States’ high cesarean rate. 32.8% of all birthing women gave birth by cesarean in 2012. A cesarean delivery can be a life-saving procedure when used appropriately, but it takes one’s breath away when you consider that one third of all women birthing underwent major abdominal surgery in order to birth their babies…

via Science & Sensibility » Cesarean Awareness Month.

And Lamaze also collaborated to produce this infographic:

https://i0.wp.com/givingbirthwithconfidence.org/files/2013/10/Lamaze_CesaraenInfographic_FINAL-2.jpg

My own past posts related to cesareans are as follows:

Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Courage

Birthrites: Meditation Before a Cesarean

Cesarean Awareness Month

Cesarean Birth Art Sculptures

Cesarean Trivia

Cesarean Birth in a Culture of Fear Handout

Becoming an Informed Birth Consumer (updated edition)

The Illusion of Choice

ICAN Conference Thoughts

Helping a Woman Give Birth?

Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Awareness Month Round-Up

April 2014 068

Tuesday Tidbits: Cesarean Courage

“Her courage is written on her body.” –Molly (Talk Birth)

March 2014 009Last year I made several cesarean birth art sculptures by request. It felt like a “risk” of sorts to make them, like I was trying to interpret another woman’s experience artistically, but I did it and they were well-received. I chose to imprint words in the figure’s cesarean scar because I kept thinking about how that mother’s love and hope and courage are all permanently written on her body. Recently, I had a request to make another and so I re-visited my Cesarean Courage idea and made some new figures. She is wearing her baby and her scar with pride and strength. These sculptures are not supposed to send an “at least you have a healthy baby” message, they are communicating that her birth journey with her baby is seen and acknowledged and validated.

“I became a mama goddess, too. I became a wonder of fertility, of softness, of late nights and warm beds; a body capable of unimaginable things. I labored and tore open, too.”

–Amanda King (in Being a C-Section Mama In the Birth Goddess Club)

When I shared the cesarean courage mama picture on Facebook, someone responded: Usually I look at the scar as a forever reminder of my failure. The idea my courage and love is forever written on my body in the marks of a surgeon’s knife is so transforming. I am humbled and amazed and inspired and encouraged by the ways in which birth art “speaks” to other women. It is a powerful experience and I feel so honored to communicate and share in this way. When I stopped teaching birth classes, I worried about no longer being “of service” to birthing women, but through my sculptures, jewelry, and writing, I still am doing this work and I am grateful.

Thinking about it reminded me of this wonderfully powerful photo of a mother-assisted cesarean birth in which the mother (a midwife, IIRC) caught her own baby…

You can read more in the accompanying article.

WHEN a baby is born by caesarean, the hands that lift it from the womb to the world usually belong to an obstetrician. But now, there’s someone else who can help deliver the baby: the mother.

via Delivered safely by caesarean with his mother’s hands – National – theage.com.au.

This picture and article were published several years ago and also covered in a Radical Doula post.

There are lovely photos from an online doula friend at Plenitud of a family-centered cesarean birth as well. And, two more recent posts with family-centered cesarean births here and here.

This week I was also touched to read a mother’s story of homebirth plans turned hospital birth plans turned cesarean birth after the baby developed an atrial flutter and was risked out of homebirth:

This has been a big week, with deep shifts that I’m sure will keep happening as we go through the coming days. March 2014 036Sometime in the next three weeks, I will subdivide into two women — one a mother, and one a fresh newborn infant, each with our own developing story and life path. I will find that I care more deeply about some things than I ever thought possible, and other things that were important markers of my life and identity are no longer significant. I’ll celebrate and I’ll mourn…

via Pregnancy Not-So-Blahs: My Story of Fetal Atrial Flutter | Amanda Aguilar Shank.

I knew I was going to be a mother very soon. I focused on not freaking out, and on enjoying my last moments of being so intertwined with my baby. I sent her telepathic messages of love and reassurance. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing her right after the surgery and that likely she would have to go through some trials before I could be with her again.

The operation itself was not as bad as I expected. One critical piece of my experience was having the accompaniment of a labor and delivery nurse friend, who served as a kind of impromptu doula, helping me to hold my ground when treatments being offered were inappropriate or unnecessary, and to fully embrace with less fear and more trust the life-saving help that hospital staff had to offer…

via From Home Birth to Hospital: My Story of Fetal Atrial Flutter | Amanda Aguilar Shank.

smallMarch 2014 059These mamas have taken powerful birth journeys. They have laid down their bodies for their babies. They hold their experiences, they wear them, their courage, love, and hope, upon their skin. The birth experience is there, loud and clear, and yet new experiences and joys are too. She is whole.