Friday, August 8, 2008

the unicorn's teat

i just wanted to finish up my trilogy of utterly scattered posts with an unabashed shout-out for ms. tinyluckgenius. she's been banging out the most fantastic blogs over the past week. starting out with a syrupy eulogy on van morrison's "astral weeks" last week, showcasing some truly epic weather pics and continuing on until yesterday's giddy "evangelical" explosion of excitement about the screaming females' upcoming performance in chicago. wish i could be there.

y'know, it made me smile all week long.

white wash

i live in the vortex of white wash.

there is no racial diversity. NONE. there is not one black, asian, or latin person (except for the folks who work at the mexican restaurant on the interstate) for miles and miles around. the only "out" gay folks that live in the same county as us are close friends. maybe i'm missing people (i certainly might be), but according to the census, there is no diversity to be found.

it makes me wonder. would my neighbors that are so freaking nice to me, giving me chickens, pork, deer, working on my truck for hours for free or for beer, would they be as nice to me if i were a person of color or if we were a family of color? an "out" queer person or queer family? a foreign family?

do they only like us because we're straight, white, and don't talk out about being anti-racist, anti-homophobic, and anti-patriarchy? if we started speaking out about our anti-white-supremacism, as they do about their racism, would they stop being our friends?

on the other hand, should we avoid creating community with them because they are racist and homophobic? becuase they sometimes speak disrespectfully to their wives and children?

they generally don't speak disrespectfully to us. they speak their minds, offer (force) budweiser on a regular basis, keep giving us things like some we're in some fantastic neo-potlatch economy, occasionally let a racial slur slide slippery, lubed with corn liquor from their glass pint jar.

and i bite my tongue. or take a swig.

that's sick!

it's funny that when you work somewhere where people are acutely ill, profoundly confused, or just plain comatosed you notice that a lot of women have a lot of facial hair. full moustache. i never noticed that before working in a hospital. old or young, rich or poor. nobody remembers or thinks or cares enough to shave, pluck, wax, or whatever.

i also think it's funny when i drive past the sign on my way to work that says
"B&M Liquidators"

and i wonder how many people have laughed at that sign. and then i wonder how many of those people have worked in healthcare.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"you will not like me," 1tbm.

i'm really getting into the idea that maybe this blog is just too radical for anybody to like, contribute to, comment on, or link to.

i wonder if anyone even ever reads it.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

conscious contraception.

i'm burning a book. i've never felt so vehement about a book before.

conscious conception by jeanine parvati baker and her husband. i bought it used and on sale at sqecial media because i loved her book hygeia: a woman's herbal. it's all this new-agey, neo-hippie stuff about the fertility awareness method, adding some astrological influences. stuff i could be into. at least sort of.

unfortunately it's also their personal moral inquisition of anyone who has had, is considering, or may have an abortion. and the woman claims to be a "feminist."

now, i'm not even saying that one has to be pro-choice to be a feminist. i'm not ready for that debate, at least. i am totally open to people's personal CHOICE to feel "anti-abortion."

starting in the first 30 pages of this "feminist" book, ms. baker begins her moral judgment, claiming that having a previous abortion will disrupt one's quest for taking charge of her fertility, that she must be "present" and that one may not do this if she's had a past abortion.

and the sad thing is, many women feel this way. in my opinion, most of the time it is because of the huge moral judgment our patriarchal conservative christian society places on anyone who has or has had an abortion. the negative feelings could also be based on the fact that she was not in control of her situation: a parent or partner may have been coercing her into the abortion. many women are forced into abortions.

in almost every chapter of the book ms. baker and her husband berate, belittle, and disrespect women who have had abortions by only including women's stories of guilt associated with the abortion, saying it WILL interfere with a future natural birth, claiming it irresponsible to have an abortion, and using words like "kill," "destroy life," "deception," when referring to abortion.

i guess any person who is anti-abortion would be like, "right on!" but in my opinion including such degrading remarks about one's fellow sisters is not only damaging to the women one degrades, but to the feminist movement itself.


i am for choice in all its forms.

not only that, i am for an anti-white-supremacist-capitalist-imperialist culture that not only allows women to choose what happens to their bodies, but supports them in whatever they choose.

abortions will only become mostly unnecessary when there is enough help for families (financially, emotionally, socially) so that they may safely birth and care for their children, enough readily available and dispersed information on and materials for all birth control options, and when men take as much responsibility for birth control and household management as women.

and even when these needs are met, there will still be some times when abortion will be necessary or desired. there have been abortions almost as long as their have been births. the witches and wise-women ms. baker exalts were the bearers of the sacred knowledge of family planning, so much so that they became feared by the patriarchs who eventually took over.

ms. baker and her husband don't even touch on the problems our society has which cause the high number of abortions. she only berates the women who have them, not asking what situations led to their decisions.

women are no more sacred for choosing to have a baby than they are for choosing to bring about menstruation with herbs or have an abortion. our planet is bending to the breaking point with too many mouths to feed. abortion, as almost anyone will admit is not the best option, but neither is having more children than one wants or can handle.

i see women in the L&D who have more children than they ever wanted and they're just having more. depressed and frustrated, they snap at their children and husbands, desperate for a way out. our society applauds their sacrifices ("at least she didn't have an abortion") while meeting none of their needs. they don't have adequate childcare, financial support, healthy foods to eat, or satisfactory health care.

but our society says "abortion is wrong."

i wouldn't berate a women for choosing abortion any more than i would berate her for having an unwanted child.

life is sacred: the lives of the mother and family and planet just as much as the unborn.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

healing race

racism hurts.

i was reading "I Can Fix It!" by damali ayo tonight. realizing how often i have let racist comments that friends or coworkers have made slide for my own "safety." because i didn't want to deal with the consequences of being subversive. how i have held keeping myself out of my imagined danger as more important than creating a truly safe space for my friends and coworkers of color.

i regret that.

there is an ongoing situation of a white person in my community saying outright racist comments on a regular basis. i said my piece in a mild way to him once. but i was not truly assertive. i didn't tell him how it made me feel when he said those hurtful things. i regret this. i am wondering how to deal with this now, after the fact, in a helpful and assertive way.

my new boss has siad some vaguely racist things in the few weeks that she's had the job. i didn't say anything about it. the things she said would not be seen as racist to anyone that i work with. the statement that i remember was about how she's "sure not a Muslim" or something like that.

other white coworkers have made racist comments about barack obama. or asked the one black man with which i work inappropriate questions about "being black." another lady saw that i was reading killing rage by bell hooks and said, "oh. what class is that for?" when i told her i was reading it for myself she seemed utterly confused.

how do you deal with racism in your community in a helpful and healing way?

i need help figuring out how to get rid of this regret by taking action.

Monday, May 19, 2008


some friends and i are working on a men's health zine. i'm excited about it. i feel really strongly that many populations are underrepresented in holistic healthcare and that men are one of these.

feminists decided to take their bodies back from the capitalist, patriarchal system with publications such as our bodies, ourselves and women's bodies, women's wisdom which grew from some of the consciousness-raising groups of the 1960s and 70s, with susun weed's new-agey "wise woman tradition" of herbal medicine which grew from the back-to-the-land movement of the 1970s, and with the 1980's and 90's punk culture in zines like hot pantz.

many of my female friends have "taken charge of their fertility," know how to treat yeast and bladder infections, know how to bring on a missed period, and/or have had natural pregnancies and homebirths.

i don't know very many men who know the first thing about their health, seek herbal or holistic medicine, or go to a doctor for anything less than a broken bone. in a way i think this is a good thing. i don't trust healthcare providers. i am one. i still don't trust us. the first way to prevent illness is to avoid going to the doctor and/or the hospital. to a point.

but men get sick. there are illnesses, diseases, and afflictions that bother mostly or only male-bodied people. i don't really know what they are besides prostate troubles and i don't know if there are very many men in my community who know what they are either.

that's a problem. it's the problem we are trying to confront with this zine.

another problem is patriarchy. patriarchy is keeping men from healing themselves. it conditions men into thinking they are an island, powerful, virile, healthy. to admit having illness or the possibility of illness is to admit they are not all-powerful, invincible. preventing and treating illness are not manly things to do.

but patriarchy is also causing dis-ease. not only in the women who it physically oppresses, mentally, physically, and emotionally. but also in the men that patriarchy puts into the roles of oppressors.

patriarchy reenforces unhealthy psychological afflictions in men such as the cycle of abuse, addictions, co-dependence, withholding emotions, unnurturing father roles, emotional bankruptcy, jealousy, and rage. in my opinion, these psychological afflictions can bring about physical symptoms such as chronic infection, heart problems, asthma, and cancer.

in our zine we are trying not to create an apology for patriarchy, but rather offer a critique of and response to the cultural situation we find ourselves in.

utilising the templates our foremothers have created in the above-mentioned books and zines, we would like to create an anti-patriarchal men's health movement, supporting men on their paths to an egalitarian partnership society.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

death midwifery

i just found this website


after i completed my OB rotation in nursing school i decided i didn't want to be a midwife anymore. the area of nursing that i felt most drawn to after that decision was hospice.

there doesn't seem to be much of a difference between the sacred spaces that birth and death create. not to me.

my grandfather died a most enviable death. he was in a free-standing hospice center on a mountain in west virginia. it was a very warm summer day, his room painted yellow with stripes of sunshine on the walls. quiet. warm. private. a man with a guitar was singing hymns softly with a gentle voice, unafraid. he was playing "just a closer walk with thee" in my grandfather's quiet room just as he passed quietly on.

i birthed my son on a quiet, rainy october evening just as the sun went down. a lamp was lit. the stove was hot with pots of boiling water hissing gently. he slipped out of me, the water gently rippling and splashing against the sides of the tub as he swam out of his warm nest into waiting arms. the rain made glittering sounds on the metal roof.

both birth and death are transitions that require everyone present to let go. trust. believe. be present.

stark separations of life's continuum create unneccesary divisions in the study and practice of healthcare. what's the difference in what a midwife and a "death midwife" does, really? yes. there are major differences, but do there need to be?

midwives ease the transition. they bless the transitioners. they help create and hold the necessary sacred space.

i think midwives can learn a lot from "death midwives."

i want to be both.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

she can do it herself.

i want to tell midwives something that i just figured out.

it's so important, but so simple that it must get forgotten all the time.

you can't take your self to a birth.

there are lots of things you can take with you: fetoscope, cord clamp, ambu bag, respect, trust, knowledge, homeopathics, pitocin, etc.

leave your self at home.

don't speak unless spoken to, but don't touch without asking. between contractions. from a safe distance. and always be prepared for a "no."

don't bring your exhaustion, your frustration, your excitement, your loneliness, your sexual satisfaction, your fight with your girlfriend, or your worry about Dad. this baggage can only do harm.

this is sacred space. it is cleansing space, so use that to your advantage. take deep cleansing breaths upon entering and leave your self at the doorstep.

this event is NOT ABOUT YOU. not even remotely. don't think at any point that it can't be done without you. it can. you are an invited guest. you are not even a participant unless asked to be.

birth works without you. it just does. respect that. if a woman truly trusts you, she will ask for what she needs. or not if she doesn't need anything at all. which she might not.

when you respect this place, there are less complications; physical and emotional. when you respect a woman this much, she may intuit what she needs. you will watch a woman transform in front of your eyes into pure inhibition, freedom, love, strength, perseverence, infinity.

she will love you for it and you will have really become "with woman."

not "for-woman," "help-woman," "best-woman," or "can't-do-it-without-this-woman."

you will have become the medicine woman, the shaman, and the high priestess. the true roles of midwife.

Monday, April 21, 2008

the white coats are coming!

so i'm getting in deep now. waay over my head.

i am going back to school. maybe not right now, but soon. i feel it will be very soon.

i'm just so scared.

i trust birth. these few months at my job in L&D i have redisvovered for the first time since the birth of my son that birth works, especially when unhindered. bodies know how to birth and babies know how to be born. intervention is dangerous. starting with leaving the home, with harsh and harshly spoken words, with drugs, and instruments, intervention leaves its scars in women's and babies' bodies, minds, and spirits.

i've been so into unassisted childbirth lately. it's a lovely way of doing things. i think for most healthy women who are into it, it is the safest/best option. intervention is dangerous. i trust bodies and babies more than i trust healthcare providers.

this is why it's so scary to think about going back to school. i'm not totally convinced right now that i will want to assist birthing women primarily. i am just so into the midwifery model of well-women's care as it relates to all well-people. i want to care for people, especially women, in all ages and aspects of life. but i also wonder if going to school for nurse-midwifery will help me to encourage clients to trust birth.

healthcare is in a sad state. people trust healthcare providers more than they do themselves. they want someone (especially if that person is in a white coat) to give them a cure, an answer, a fact, a truth.

but i feel like by being a healthcare provider that trusts birth, trusts life, nature, death, and the human body, one can spread these messages to her clients. by being a healthcare provider that works cooperatively with other disciplines, uses the least-interventive treatments available, and provides extensive client education to care for the well person, one would not only be living and practicing the research-proven way, but she'd also be providing the best possible care for her clients.

nurse-midwives have at least some autonomy. oh, autonomy. witnessing MDs and OBs do things that are proven to be unsafe (suctioning all babies as soon as their faces stick out, frequent induction, elective cesarean, vacuum extraction, unnecessary episiotomy, etc.) over and over again, seeing them wonder why the babies are fussy, why they won't nurse, why the moms are tears me down.

research has proven that birth works. time has proven that birth works. other industrialized nations' experiences have proven that birth works. homebirth midwives have proven it. unassisted childbirth folks have proven it. why can't these OBs, medwives, and family practice physicians, with all their elite schooling and letters behind their names just try it. once. or twice. maybe forever.

but anyway, maybe it's ego-driven mania or serious delusion, but i think maybe i can make a difference. maybe a bigger difference with some higher education. i dunno. maybe it's at least worth a try.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

the gentrification of midwifery

so if you didn't know yet, the CNM is the new it-girl on the blogosphere.

she's educated, totally hip, and yet still so adorably nurse-y.

there's manymany of these ladies here and they're all going thru hell trying to pass that big ole test with a capital B.

i think it's nice. and heart-warming (maybe i'll be one of them one day!), but i find it also very very disturbing.

not disturbing because they exist. i think it's great. they can provide care to a more diverse group of people than most direct-entry midwives can, accept insurance claims, and take higher risk mamas.

i find it disturbing that some people in the midwifery community think it is necessary to be a CNM to be a safe midwife. this is simply not true. i think we are taking some serious steps backwards. being a nurse doesn't make you a safer midwife. nor does going to grad school.

experience makes a midwife. this is a time-tested reality. i don't give a fuck what letters are behind your name.

there is something horribly wrong going on if the new model of midwifery care only extends to midwives that also happen to be nurses. birth is normal. in the vast majority of cases, the birthing family doesn't need anyone around at all. in the veryvery small amount of cases in which something bad happens that CAN be remedied by someone other than the birthing family, EXPERIENCE is what will help that person know what to do and help them to remedy it in a safe and effective way. no amount of letters behind their names, years of schooling, schmoozing, and assimilating they've completed will help them in that situation.

and again, don't get me wrong. i think CNMs get a comparatively good amount of supervised experience before they are "allowed" to set off on their own. CPMs don't require nearly the same amount of apprenticeship. but to judge a midwife by the letters (or lack thereof) behind her name is to put your faith in a patriarchal system that is bound to fail.

our mothers' grandmothers and their grandmothers before them knew birth and they have given us the gift of that knowledge. they hid it deep within the darkest, safest, privatest place they knew of in the only place it can never be stolen by men or power or greed. it is in our souls and spirits, in our hind-brains and our DNA.

we don't need any patriarchal institutional hierarchical system to tell us how to give birth, where to give birth or with whom to give birth. we don't need any credentials or anyone with credentials to tell us. we don't need any JCAHO standards guiding our paths.

just trust. and the experience of the generations of grandmother-midwives who came before us.

i was worried that working in L&D would make me more scared of homebirth or unhindered birth. on the contrary, it has absolutely validated all of my worst fears.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

up the SAHDS!

oh, man.

i totally love and respect all the stay-at-home-dads (SAHDs).

mine is the best!

you guys take shit from patriarchal bastards, deal with whiny kids all day, and support your partners' decisions/rights to have a job outside the home.

i had a hard day today. i worked all night last night (7p - 7a) and couldn't really sleep well today. but he kept the kids, had them stay relatively quiet, read them books, homeschooled, took them for a hike, drove around until the 2 yo fell asleep, and made me coffee for when i woke up. fucking awesome. i am too lucky.

i like my job. i don't love it; it's a job, you know? but i surely like it better than any job my partner had when i was pregnant, new mothering, and/or going to school. and i make twice as much money as he did. that helps.

i have recently added some links (see right) to some SAHD and radical parenting blogs.

SAHD blogs:

  • daddy dialectic
  • lesbian dad

radical parenting blogs:

  • anti-racist parent
  • ariel gore
  • my mother wears combat boots
  • rad dad

on another note, i linked to laura shanley's blog on free birth (aka unassisted childbirth).

on still another note, i'm seriously thinking about getting my IUD out. i have the mirena. i have been unexplainably depressed lately, had zero libido (hey, that kind of rhymes) and have gained a bunch of weight. but mostly it's just uncomfortable all the time.

i just don't want to have any more babies. it's a conundrum.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

rebel grrls and wise women

i had a greeeaat birthday.

i had a fabulous party thrown for me and got to hang with some totally rad (literally - radical) friends.

my favorite part for sure was hanging out with some of my younger, hip, beautiful lady-friends. i just think they are so smart, life-loving, and sweet.

the best part was all the talking about women's health issues.

we talked about some important topics:
  • birth control pills

their possible risks, benefits, why susun weed condones their use

  • baby-havin'

how one can both love and fear it and how it's a biological urge that must be respected.

  • medical abortion

how one can respect, choose, and regret it. how it's definitely not our favorite option.

  • Fertility Awareness Method

how it almost always works when you use it and almost always doesn't work when you don't. most of the young women i know who have had unplanned pregnancies in the past few years (including me) were "using" this method, but one of the wise women i used to live with has successfully used it for years and had no such unwanted pregnancy.

  • menstrual extraction

where can we gain info on this? how do we find some people who were involved in the 1990s spread of the technique/ practice of it? wouldn't it be empowering if we could perform this on ourselves safely?

  • herbal abortion

how we need to gather, dry, and distribute the readily available, relatively safe, native herbs we can use for these purposes. also, we need to learn how to propagate other non-native herbs.

  • UTIs

herbal healing including another native herb: trailing arbetis, which has healed my chronic, tenacious, recurrent UTIs a couple of times when nothing else has worked.

it was awesome. i had a great time.

if anyone has any info or comments on any of these things, holler at me!

Friday, March 7, 2008

setting the record straight. or curvy...

i guess the last couple blogs that i have posted have been pretty critical of homebirth midwifery.

i've gotten a couple of comments that have been very anti-homebirth, and although i didn't expect them, i'm not very surprised. i don't agree with their positions.

i feel the (probably purely vain) need to clarify my positions.

my beliefs

i passionately believe in homebirth.

i had a homebirth. i would have another and would consider having an unassisted birth if i could find a place to have it that was close to a compassionate hospital with an OB dept.

i believe it is a woman's right to choose where and with whom she gives birth.

i believe homebirth is the best option for any healthy woman who believes in the power of her body and trusts the power of birth.

i believe that the state of homebirth midwifery in this area is unfortunate. i have hope that things are changing, but as of when i had a homebirth with my son 2 years ago, my choices were slim and my family and i were disappointed with the care i received. i believe it is directly related to the criminalization of homebirth midwifery in this state.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

worst of the worst

i was just reading navelgazing midwife's blog about post-partum hemorrhage and thinking about home birth.

i never really thought about the possiblity of there being a problem with both baby and mom when i had my home birth. wow. what an ignorant mama i was.

thankfully i had a great outcome - as most mamas do. but what if i hadn't? what would my midwife have done? she had no birth assistant with her, no apprentice, no partner, no doula, no nurse, no midwife's assistant.

who would she have saved?

i live at least 50 minutes away from a hospital with an OB dept or an OR.

in my opinion, this is what the criminalization of midwifery is forcing us into.

illegal = less midwives = overworked = territorial and competitive = unsafe.

the midwives around here really need to start

  1. taking care of themselves
  2. working together
  3. preparing for the worst

on the other hand, i think of wanting to have an unassisted birth and where that would leave my partner if something terrible happened.

i think i just won't have any more babies. it's too complicated.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

healing community

i want to offer some hopes, prayers, blessings, and ideas for making things better in our midwifery community:

well family care

home birth midwifery in my area is pretty much for clients that are white, upper-middle-class, straight, and of child-bearing age.

this ain't right.

traditional midwives didn't just deliver babies. they engaged in the healing work of entire communities. men, women, children, babies, elders. as women, we have always held the knowledge and power of healing within ourselves, passing it down for generations from wise-woman to wise-woman.

when we compartmentalize women's health into a very exclusive, child-bearing clique, we do most of our community a disservice. when we almost exclusively provide home-based, herbal, DIY, radical, supportive health care to bougie white women, we betray our roots, sever our bond with the wise-women of our ancestry, and exclude the vast majority of our community.

i believe that childbirth is under the attack of a white-supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy. so is women's health. so is men's health. so is children's health. so is the process of dying.

i loved "the business of being born" film. i would also love to see "the business of dying," "the business of having HIV or AIDS," "the business of eating," etc.

what i'm trying to say is that the process of childbearing cannot be separated from the rest of the process of being human. when it is, we leave a lot of people out.

if as wise-women and potentially as midwives, we focused at least on the whole woman to start out with:

  • menarche celebration
  • pre-conception counseling
  • nutritional counseling
  • lesbian/trans-gender/bisexual-friendly health
  • STI screenings and treatment
  • herbal therapy
  • self-healing (a.k.a."DIY")
  • infertility counseling and treatment
  • herbal abortion and/or menstrual extraction
  • menopausal celebration, counseling, and treatment
  • palliative care

maybe we could start here and then move out to heal the world. what do you think?

a radical community of midwives

one person cannot fulfill all of these needs. therefore, to make these things happen, we have to come together and help where we can, learn from each other, and encourage safe space, compassion, and respect.

in our midwifery community there is a lot of shit-talking. some of it is for very good reasons. but it is our responsibility, in order to provide quality care for our whole community, to use consensual processes to deal with grievances together as wise-women.

imagine a community of midwives working together:

women of different backgrounds, experience levels, philosophies, ages, and truths all working toward the common goal of providing quality well-woman and well-family care to our community.

holding each other accountable for our words and actions.

our integrity will grow with every birth, death, joy, mistake, love, laugh, and tear.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

granny midwife

this job has got me thinking about getting high..-er education.

birth in this country sucks. with the second highest infant mortality rate and not much better maternal mortality rate in a "developed" country, birthing women need all the help they can get.


reasons i hate (the) midwives (in my area):
  1. they think they're soo cool
  2. they say stuff like, "if i couldn't get that baby out..."
  3. they fight amongst eachother way too much
  4. they don't clip their fingernails and leave scars on (my) baby's head
  5. they don't respect patient confidentiality
  6. they totally wrap their egoes up in the whole "babycatcher" thing

i have talked to some people in my community about how i think that the model of midwifery - the young, hip thing who makes her living doing home births, is very competitive, and totally worn/burnt out - just doesn't work.

it seems there are reasons why traditional midwives, meaning the organically grown, evolved and ancient variety developed the way they did. women that grew up seeing natural childbirth among their sisters, mothers, cousins, aunts, friends, helped when they could, and had years and years of experience were the real midwives.

they knew a lot of what could go wrong, how to prevent those things, how to help and how not to help, and more than anything had the experience and the courage to deal with emergency and non-emergency situations with the same level of calm and skill.

midwifery these days seems to be forced. it seems like it's fashionable to be a midwife (in certain social spheres).

to think that a woman can be a midwife in 2 to 4 years is absurd. it takes years and years of experience to develop the cool-headed confidence and skill necessary to be responsible for the lives of two or more souls. it takes seeing it go wrong and not freaking out many times to develop the involuntary, automatic, but absolutely precise skill necessary to stay controlled in an uncontrollable situation.

to think that a woman can be a midwife and also a full time mom and partner is absurd. the commitment is total. the schedule is relentless.

to think you can make a living wage as a midwife is also absurd. to take as many clients as you would need to and without charging a class-exclusive sum, you would burn yourself out in the first 5 years. throw a couple kids and a partner into the mix and you'll be burnt out in the first year and a half.

yeah, i think about being a midwife...when i'm 65. or 70.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

strip mining and epidurals

i witnessed a beautiful vag birth tonight. a baby girl oozed silently into the world, thick with vernix and bathed in amniotic fluid. she was pink in seconds and flew right to her mama's breast, unhindered by gravity or any other worldly tethers.

it was an epidural birth, but went so smoothly. it made me happy. the last epidural birth i witnessed scarred me, but the scars were not as permanent as those of the wounded woman, tears hot on her face and chest. exhausted and then defeated the moment she heard the word "cesarean."

i don't think epidurals are smart, but i don't blame women for getting them.

in a world where no one trusts, loves, or respects our bodies, how can we?

in a culture where women are not "able-bodied," where we're "hysterical" and under-valued, how can we believe in ourselves through the pain, the wires, the tubes, and the men's voices telling us about an "easy" way out?

most women think that birth should be as easy as flipping on a light switch. and they don't think about the blood-stained scalpel beyond their decision for an epidural any more than they think about the coal-stained lungs of the men behind their electricity; the scar that may remain on their bellies forever is as forgotten as the strip mined, bleeding earth.

it's where the education comes in, though, i think.

when we are educated, we become empowered.
when we learn to name things, we gain our own strength and power.

i got this link for "cesarean art" from at your cervix's blog.

i love it. but beware. it's real.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

womb to tomb

according to NPR the US birth rate, which was at its lowest in 2002, is now increasing.

so that's why i've been so busy at work.

also according to NPR, the teen birth rate in the US spiked in 2007.

i wonder if it will increase exponentially after the whole "juno" craze. i heard two girls in a coffee shop in danville saying it was "like the best movie ever."

so i'm wondering why this is. not why juno's like the best movie, but why the birth rate's increasing.

is it that we're healthier than we used to be? nah.
is it because people are like, "if britney can do it, i can do it better"? hmm...
is it because we have better childcare, schools, husbands, houses, benefits? definitely not.

it must be all the cute maternity clothes.

i've been thinking about one of mao's slogans for communist china:
"more people, more power!"

so, think about the ban on birth control education in schools. think about the abstinence myth. think about the attack on legal abortion. are these really moral issues or a strategic investments in the future?

the more bodies we have, the easier it will be to take over iraq/iran/oil-land...

"halliburton. what else do i have to say?"

Monday, January 28, 2008

cake...or death?

this is apparently the 50th anniversary of the lego.

if you lo-oved the video that made me cry in this post, maybe to celebrate you'll love all the eddie izzard lego videos.

you have to worship a heterosexual transvestite. gender-bending, busting down all stereotypes, while remaining distinctly executive. and so quotable.

plus, he has released stuff on anti records, a small, indy record company with artists like tom waits, jolie holland, neko case, mavis staples, the weakerthans, merle haggard, solomon burke, billy bragg, and blackalicious on it. he must be good.

so, i'd prefer cake. unless it was a cake shaped like a tank made for the u.s. army, like on the ace of cakes right now. i might choose death in that case. or death by cake.


i'm having trouble coming up with a direction for this thing.

i've discovered that the blogs i really love are all about something. they have a theme.

i don't feel like i necessarily have the focus to maintain more than one blog, but i don't know if i can commit to having a specified theme.

i want to reach people with a blog. i want to make folks think about stuff they might not otherwise, but how do folks find a blog if it's not about anything really?

blogs i'd like to do:
  • pastry
  • pig
  • game meat
  • traditional nutrition
  • ice cream
  • birth
  • star wars
  • radical parenting
  • native fruits
  • pro-omnivore
  • radical feminist
  • radical anti-white supremacy
  • radical anti-capitalist-imperialist
  • radical anti-homophobia
  • native plants
  • herbalism
  • homesteading
  • appalachian culture/activism
  • fashionista-ism
  • mario batali tribute

i couldn't think of any funny blogs really. something must be wrong with this picture.

suggestions, anyone?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far way...

i wanted to blog about so many things tonight. instead i searched the web for star wars t-shirts and i found this. it made me cry. with laughter.

or if you have been on a moon somewhere a few light years from the dagoba system, here's a condensed version with bunnies...

or various parodies:
monty python star wars
harry potter star wars

and we must not forget the ever-moving theme song
on bagpipes
or the banjo. your pick.

star wars has become my personal mythology. i've heard myself saying things like, "it's just like that time on the planet of tatooine..."

or not really, but i've come close.

it's like i need something to hold sacred. and at least it teaches the kids about the force and encourages taking deep breaths and looking within, right?

for real, though. at least the kids have found something to get into that i can subscribe to. no "white power" rangers or unrealistic muscle-men idols.

nope. it's just us rebels in our all-righteous fight against the empire.
like matt syas, "no wonder we turned out to be anarchists."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

many colors of patience

i love minority midwifery student's blog. she is so sassy, sweet, and powerful. she makes me want to read a bell hooks book. right now. and it makes me want to make all the people i went to nursing school with (and the teachers) read one. now.

come to think of it, it makes me want to make everyone i know read a bell hooks book RIGHT NOW.

finally someone is talking about all that shit i talked to my partner about during nursing school:

why do we learn about the fact that patients of color are worse off in a hospital, but not learn

a) why that is and
b) what we can do about it as healthcare providers?

why are we made to study and be tested on ridiculous cultural and racial stereotypes?

and then, why do we wonder why these stereotypes persist and ultimately perpetuate the problems people of color have in the world of healthcare?

i don't have any of the answers. maybe bell hooks does. i'd love to talk to her about these things.

i remember some friends of mine talking about hanging out with a black family and commenting on how when their children played they would threaten, "i'm going to send you to the hospital!" that was their best threat. i'm thinking about that and i'm realizing how for people of color, that is a real threat. being stuck in a hospital is an even more dangerous place to be if you're skin isn't white or pink.

what can we do about this as compassionate healthcare providers?

12 hours

So far on this shift I have:
  • jogged a mile via videotape
  • posted 2 comments on Empowering Birth's blog
  • watched "the sweetest thing" while my coworkers studied phlebotomy or snoozed
  • watched at least 5 unassisted births on youtube
  • cried at all of them
  • turned down the sound so no one down the hall would think i was watching porn
  • munched on a whole bag of chile-coated mango
  • drank a quart of homemade strawberry soda (made from our springwater and organic strawberry nectar)
  • made copies for the "Kitchen First-Aid" class i'm going to be facilitating on wednesday at the learning co-op
  • changed clothes twice

it's almost four. better do some yoga.