Tuesday, March 31, 2009

taking a breath

I haven't been doing much these past few days except for taking care of myself and my kids. It seems as though either one or all of us has been under the weather and it has reminded me of how important it is to just stop and take a breath. Last week my neck forced me to do that for the day when I turned the wrong way to get a shirt out of my son's drawer and all of a sudden I couldn't move. Then a few days later my son got sick and then I got the flu. Between the two of us our house became a tornado of undone dishes, ginger ale and colouring books.

This week is looking much better, but I am still taking it slow. It is so easy for me to work day and night, both with the kids, the house and my work, never taking time to stop and breathe, drink some water (it's remarkable how little I drink some days), finish a book or just lay down on the couch and ignore the dishes (that one is really hard for me to do). So, I finished The Birth House, which was amazing, I've taken some naps (albeit short ones) and I have a glass of water in front of me now. As much as getting sick is a huge wrench in my plans most of the time, sometimes being forced to slow down is a really good thing. Wouldn't it be great if we could take good care of ourselves all the time, not just when we are sick?

I love this picture because the day we went to the estuary (where this picture was taken), we left all of our chores behind to be together in the sun. It was self care for the whole family.

Monday, March 23, 2009

the new age of feminisim

A couple of weeks ago I watched a very inspiring movie, Milk. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to. This is a story about Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to office in the United States. It chronicles his struggles and triumphs and celebrates his passion for change.

In 1997 while I was working on my degree at SFU, I took a class that was all about birth politics. Everything from breastfeeding to midwives to episiotomies. It was in this class at the passionate age of 22 that I was first introduced to the other side of feminism, the one that looked at mothers and how they were treated and honoured in our culture, not just by the medical community, but the community as a whole. This was the beginning of the path that I now feel so privileged to walk.

After watching this film, I got to thinking about my own passions, how I am a part of the birth revolution, making a difference in the lives of not only women, but also in the lives of their children and their partners. I haven't inspired 30,000 people to march on city hall demanding better breastfeeding support, but with each client, each woman, I aim to make a difference. Sometimes it is in big noticeable ways and others are more subtle. However that looks, doesn't matter.

What does matter is that as a Women's Studies graduate, now 12 years later, I am a part of the new age of feminism. It's not a fight for equal pay or the right to work at any job we want, it is a cause that focuses on women and their passage into motherhood. It is a cause that is working tirelessly to preserve the birth experience as one which is respectful, trusting and honouring of women's innate wisdom to do what they need to do in labour, birth and as mothers. This new age of feminism is also supporting the whole family, honoring the baby's experience and supporting the birth partner in their transformation as well as their invaluable role as the guardian of the space.

All those years ago, sitting in that class at SFU, I never dreamed that I would be here. Living the dream, being a part of women's history and having the unbelievable privilege to work with birthing and postpartum families. I'm no Harvey Milk, but our passion for respect and a seat at the table is all the same. And people thought I couldn't do anything with a Women's Studies degree...Here I Am!

Photo courtesy of Tall Tree Photography

Monday, March 16, 2009

babies and cola?

Talk about misinformation! This is not exactly our Gold Standard of today...I found this ad, I think it must be from the 50's? I couldn't believe this was actually printed..."How soon is too soon? Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proved that babies who start drinking soda during the early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and "fitting in" during those awkward pre-teen and teen years. So, do yourself a favor. Do your child a favor. Start them on a strict regimen of soda and other sugary carbonated beverages right now. for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness."

I wonder who actually took this seriously?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beautiful Birth Winner!

Congratulations to Brandy-Lee who won the Beautiful Birth gift basket! Thank you to all of you who entered to win, stay tuned for more great events and giveaways.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

magic hands

Thanks to my mum who gave me some money to put towards some self-care, I went for a massage tonight. I realized a couple of weeks ago that it was time to start taking better care of myself. There is a woman here locally, Kristin Lang of Belly Love, who I believe to have magic hands. There is something about having the opportunity to be able to be fully cared for, undivided, for an hour. No one expects anything from you, no one needs anything in return. This is a time for just you. What is even better is when that person caring for you is not only skilled in what they do, but also carries a beautiful energy with the work they are doing. I realized tonight how much I needed that massage and how now because of it, I truly feel like I can give back to my work and my family again. Thank you so much Kris!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

the wisdom of babies

I was at the Douglas College 14th annual breastfeeding education day this weekend. The main topic: Baby-led breastfeeding. It was such an interesting day, looking at how our babies are naturally born with the instinct to breastfeed. Many people don't know that babies are naturally born with the ability to self-latch. If given the opportunity to allow mum and baby to be skin to skin after birth and even beyond, babies will actually crawl, scoot or maneuver themselves to the breast, all on their own.

Now, I had learned this in my training years ago, but it was always taught as an exception, like winning the breastfeeding lottery if your baby could do it. What the speaker was saying is that all babies can do it if given the opportunity. The key...patience. So many times mothers and babies are hurried right after birth to latch. Although our intentions are positive, we want to see mum and baby doing well, in that moment when health care providers (doulas included) position baby, position mum and put baby to the breast, we are already telling mothers that they don't know what they are doing and neither do their babies. This is not setting a foundation of confidence for anyone.

The last birth I was at, instead of putting baby to the breast, I tucked mum and her newborn into bed while the midwife was suturing mum. Baby laid skin to skin with mum for about 30 minutes. During this time, baby bobbed around on her chest, moved and then self-latched. It was so beautiful to see this mum and her baby connecting without anyone interfering. Interestingly, this is only my second client that has not had any breastfeeding issues.

This weekend was such a good reminder to all of us supporting women and their families in birth, that nature knows what it is doing. If we can have the patience to allow it to unfold, then we can see the miracle of the mother/baby connection and the ancient wisdom that we all have within us that reveals itself in the birth process. Mothers and their babies are so wise. Inspiring.

Monday, March 2, 2009

birth community

This past weekend Beautiful Birth had its own booth at the Vancouver Island Baby Fair in Nanaimo. It was a fantastic weekend and a great success. It was so great to meet so many families, mums who were expecting their first child and some who already had four children!

One of the best parts of this weekend was having the opportunity to feel a part of the birth community. My very dear friend and amazing Midwife was there from Plum Midwifery with her husband and 6 week old baby. The Nanaimo Mother and Baby Society was also there along with Natural Creation who not only make really wonderful aromatherapy products but are also doulas themselves. And then there were my two amazing friends and collegues, Kris Lang from Belly Love and Tina Hamill from La Ronde family childcare. We all work together as doulas as well as in the community and they offered their time to come and help throughout the weekend. The whole event was a great success and thanks to Devon at Tall Tree Photography, I was able to use photos that she had taken of my past clients, thanks Dev! This whole experience was so great, I can't wait to attend the next one.