A friend of mine gave me a book called "The Birth House" to read. The birth community has been buzzing about it for a while now, I was a bit slow to catch on, until now. It's a brilliant read, good right from the first sentence. It's about a midwife and her apprentice during the first World War in Nova Scotia. This was a time where the medical community was beginning to take over births and move them from home to hospital, undermining a midwifes knowledge and skills and promoting safer births in the care of physicians. There is so much to this book and what it sparks in me.
My great grandmother, Ameilia immegrated here from Belguim at the turn of the last centry. They first settled in the Crows Nest Pass and then moved to Ladner BC where they built a home next to the slough. This home was no ordinary home, my great grandmother was a midwife and her home was a birth house. This was a place where women would come and give birth to their babies with Amelia's skilled help.
Once I began reading this book, something ignited in me, a forceful connection to my ancestors and my own personal work in the birth community. My great grandmothers house is now a health food store, it has been that way for the past 35 years. Between reading this amazing book and looking deeper into our family history, I am going to make this a blog series. Next weekend I am going to Vancouver to attend a breastfeeding conference, but before I do, I am going back to our family's birth house. It feels as though there is so much to unearth.....
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Well, the Vancouver Island Baby Fair is less than a week away and I am getting really excited. This Wednesday at 8:50am on A-Channel I am going to be interviewed about doula care, the fair and the main stage talks I will be giving both on Saturday and Sunday. I hope you will tune in and tell your friends!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
There is nothing harder in the world than when our children are sick. We as mothers can feel so helpless, unable to do anything when the illness seems to be taking over their little bodies. The past 72 hours have been spent back and forth from the hospital. Our littlest one spiked a high fever and went flat. A day in emergency showed why. Pneumonia. How that happened, I have no idea. One day it's a runny nose, then a cough, then a fever so high she can hardly breathe.
As I sat with her all day yesterday in the hospital, cradling her hot, limp, body I felt so grateful for so many things. One, that I live in a country where I don't have to worry if I can afford the chest x-ray or not and we had an amazing doctor.
Two: for my sling. This is I think one of the best slings on the market. It may not be fancy, it may look plain, but at 19 months, this sling provided the most amazing cocoon for her. She snuggled up into it and I brought it around her and she slept in my arms. It was her safe haven, not even a hospital blanket would give her. It also gave me a way to hold her for hours without my arms falling off.
Three: she is still breastfeeding. So many people may say that babies at her age no longer need the nutrition of breast milk, that it is all for comfort. It's true that they comfort themselves at the breast, a wonderful thing. But the immune supportive nutrients that are carried in breast milk are one of the most powerful medicines there are. In fact, in Vancouver at Children's Hospital, they use banked mothers milk to treat children of any age for many different illnesses, it is that powerful.
And Four: Some how, deep within me I found the strength to be there for my little one without falling to pieces. My husband was in Vancouver, fortuatly my son was in childcare for that one day a week and I was on my own. Well, actually I don't really think I was on my own. There were angels or something there with us, something that helped me to keep it together, even when she was screaming in terror from having to be held down to have her blood drawn. I fell to peices after she went to bed that night.
Mothers are amazing people. We are creative, resourceful, capable and have such a capacity to love. We are given this awesome resposibilty to be guardians and yet are never alone, even when it may look like it. Moments like this really ask us to go deep within ourselves and draw upon our courage and strength, something that we all have.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and commented on my blog! I'm happy to announce that the the lucky winner is..... Marci! It was an lucky draw, done by my son (with our supervision, it doesn't really matter, he can't read anyway). It's going to be a great baby fair, I hope to see you there! Oh, and Happy Valentines day everyone!
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I went to visit a very dear friend of mine yesterday who now has a four week old son. She had this amazing look about her, something that at the time, I couldn't seem to find the word for. She looked beautiful, radiant and some how different. The word I realized later to describe her was Transformed.
I have had the privilege of knowing this amazing woman as a colleague, a friend, a care provider, seeing her marry her amazing husband and now as a mother. This transformation that she has undergone is something so beautiful, something to be truly celebrated. It is something that happens to every woman when she crosses the threshold of labour and is born as a mother. It is that glow that comes from going into the deepest, darkest depths of labour and coming out on the other side, full of light and love.
I love this picture, the look on her face as she looks upon a child that she had no idea she could love that much. This amazing smile that she has of accomplishment, gratitude and peace. That's what experiencing birth as a rite of passage is all about; seeing how hard it is, how it challenges all you thought you knew about giving birth, allowing it to bring you to a raw and beautiful place, to a place of transformation.
Monday, February 9, 2009
So, I know that kids are supposed to get homework and parents are supposed to reminisce about the days when it was once them who were trying to finish their assignments on a Sunday night. Not in our case. In my son's school there is no homework (well, he's only in kindergarten), but for the parents however, we are given assignments on a regular basis.
The current assignment...sew clothes for "the little ones." These are little faceless dolls that the fairy mother is bringing to the children each day. She leaves them outside her door (a spot under a big old tree) and each child gets one of their very own. The other day my son comes home from school and says, "mummy, I still haven't gotten a little one yet" as my heart started pounding like the time I came to school and forgot to do my math, I remembered that the "little one" was still naked in my office waiting for clothes. The thing about this whole thing is that the children are not supposed to know under any circumstances that the parents are actually making them. It was was handed to me incognito, top secret! Notice the picture of the fancy sushi I was eating in Vancouver when I should have been doing my homework...oops.
So, tonight I decided that since I get to do most of the homework for school, I'd let my husband, who boasts that he got an A in grade 8 sewing to take on the task. Hmmmm....what is that saying? "Pride cometh before the fall"?? Yep, here he is, love of my life, struggling to make a disco pant suit for the little one. There is not enough embroidery thread (which he still can't figure out why he can't just use a sewing machine), the velour is too slippery so the front of the leg is longer than the back and the idea of a back stich has got him baffled (we both had to look it up on Wikipedia). Who knew that early childhood education was going to involve a crash course in hand work. It sure makes for some good laughs though!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Well, the baby fair is fast approaching and I am really excited about this event and to be part of it. It is going to be in Nanaimo February 28- March 1st and there will be lots of great exhibitors, baby photo contests and Main Stage talks, which I will be doing two of (more about that later). So I have in my hand two weekend passes that I'm giving away! All you have to do is make a comment on my blog to enter to win. Contest starts Friday February 6, 2009 at 9:00am and ends Friday February 13 at 9:00pm. We'll draw names and announce the lucky winners. Good Luck and thanks for reading!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
I recently went to a talk on toys and play spaces for the young child. We learned so much that night which I will share in a later post. But one of the things that I really took home with me was how inspired our young children are by our work. To them it isn't a chore, it isn't something to grumble about because we think someone else should be doing it, it is new, interactive and fun. I surrendered to this idea a couple of weeks ago and started to find the joy in my daily work around the house. Don't get me wrong, I haven't gotten myself a set of pearls, fancy dress and high heels to prance around the house in, but I have started to look at my work here as something that can be positive.
Many people will say that children reflect back to us what they live. On this day, my daughter picked up the broom and decided to clean up the kitchen. She had such a great time, even though she really just spread the dirt around more. It was so amazing to see her have joy in something that in the past I complain about doing. It is a reminder that life is right now, right now, and right now. It is not just in the summer for my two week vacation, doing things that I love to do. The beauty of life is in each day, each hour, each moment, even when I'm sweeping the floor with my daughter.
****Just a note: I'm not a 1950's housewife. My husband does his fair share too around the house. We both agree it's important for our children to see each of us doing the house work, which means I get out in the garden and prune trees that I can't really reach too.