Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mother Nature

Reviewed a new little booklet this week called Mother Nature. It is a quick introduction to some attachment parenting concepts and would make a nice gift for a pregnant person. I liked this quote from the opening section:

"This is the stuff no one wants to say: motherhood can be confusing, isolating, lonely, relentless. Motherhood can grind your illusions to dust. Motherhood can grind you to dust...Motherhood has also been an immense blessing, a joy, a healing, a sitcom. My children are gifts, arrows that point to truths I sometimes don't want to see."

When my first was a baby I used to say that I felt like I'd been chewed up and my bones spit out. Fortunately, the second baby was a more pleasant adaptation :)

I also read through the Birthing From Within Keepsake Journal this week. I'm always seeking new ideas for my classes. (I got The Pink Kit this week for the same reason, but haven't finished going through all of it yet.) I think it is quite likely that I spend more money on resources for teaching birth classes than I actually make teaching them...this will change though! My classes have really picked up this year--I'm actually busy with them and have frequent inquiries--so I think it will continue to build from here.

I have lots more to write about it, but I have other things on my list today that are more important, so I'll have to finish up with this quote from Oregon Humanities (the issue's topic was Civility): "Additionally, people wrongly assume that the majority of those around them share their viewpoints on a variety of issues. 'People are only listening to people who agree with them,'...'It's a cognitive error.' Psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the False Consensus Effect, in which we think everyone agrees with our viewpoints. By thinking we are surrounded by like-minded people, we are likely to be jarred by any conflict with those who disagree with us, and we are less willing to welcome and engage in conflict." (The rest of the article is about why conflict--and civil conversations about disagreeing viewpoints--is very important. We avoid conflicting opinions because we do not want to risk disconfirmation--our sense of self is tied up with closely held beliefs and we can't handle the challenge to that and so choose to interact with people who share our views, or who we think share our views, rather than taking up "an important opportunity to develop a more nuanced understanding of the world.") I've observed this Effect at playgroup, church, and other settings--it is uncomfortable to be on the other side of the False Consensus Effect (i.e. the person assumes I agree with them when I really don't) and I rarely let anyone know that that is what happening. I'm sure the reverse is also true--that I assume those around me agree with my ideas, when really they may just be uncomfortably avoiding a "conflict" or challenge to my viewpoint. This publication is very thought-provoking and I recommend it--you don't have to live in Oregon to benefit from it (I don't live in Oregon!).


Saturday, March 21, 2009


Continuing my Janet Evanovich kick this week (my mom keeps checking them out of the library & then passing them along to me), I read Lean, Mean Thirteen. And, it was actually the only book I read. This is primarily because it is March now and along with nice weather, the spring issues of the various quarterly publications I subscribe to have also been arriving! So, I've been reading all of those instead of books. I got Brain, Child, which I always adore. One of the things I enjoy about it (I enjoy this about Hip Mama too, which I also got and read recently) is that it explores subjects/experiences that are totally outside of my own realm of experience. I love the window into other people's lives/worlds. So anyway, this Brain, Child issue had an article in it about noncustodial mothers. One of the things it addressed was the reasons why some mothers do not have physical custody of their children and how the snap judgment seems to always be that she must have been neglectful, or abusive, or drug addicted, or have run away to "find herself," when the reality is often more mundane and/or complicated than that. In other words, there are lots of mothers who do not have physical custody of their children who are not "bad mothers." A comment was made about something that I've observed myself: "A father pushing his child in a stroller draws charmed smiles--Wow, what a great dad, helping out!--from people who wouldn't look twice at a woman behind the stroller, just doing her job." Another article was about "hard partying, tough questions" and addressed how/when to share your messy and/or sordid past with your children (like I said, broadening my horizons!). And yet another was about using bad/inappropriate language around your children. Love this magazine!

I also got my copy of DONA's International Doula with my "Respecting the Birth-Breastfeeding Continuum" article published in it. This was my first publication that was actually a "cover story"/feature on the cover, so that was exciting! :) (Speaking of articles, some issues of the IJCE are online now. The June 2008 issue has my WBW article in it and the September issue has my "Satisfaction with Birth" article in it. And then speaking of breastfeeding and of writing, I wrote a lot about it on CfM this week).

I also got my first issue of The Journal of Perinatal Education (Lamaze's publication) this week. I enjoyed it quite a lot as well. I'm still working my way through this quarter's Midwifery Today and got other publications this week like Oregon Humanities and the Missouri S & T Alumni magazine (two copies of it, I'm not yet sure why...) and Habitat World. I know it doesn't make special sense for me to get Oregon Humanities, but it is actually a really good and interesting publication and I find it thought-provoking.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

Special Women

I had a good week this week (except for a very tragic incident with one of our chickens on Thursday that cast a pall over the remainder of of the week :( ). My happiest news was that I got my ICEA exam results on Monday (only a week after having taken the exam) and I passed and am now an ICCE (ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator). I was SO ready for this! I feel a little odd and also free now that I am no longer studying for it. Studying was absorbing a lot of my "free time."

I also got my copies of Midwifery Today with my Birth Lessons from a Chicken essay published in it (the chicken refers to a literal chicken, not to be "chicken" about birth). I'm proud of this one :) This was my third MT publication. Last year, I couldn't even imagine having one! (If anyone wants to read it, I'd be happy to email it to you).

Another high point was finding Obstetric Myths vs. Research Realities at Goodwill, plus some other birth-related books. One of those was Special Women and I read it this week. It was pretty much a description of the role of the "professional labor assistant"and some elements of the business end of doula practice. Not too much "how to" or skills. It was also more of a look at the role of a monitrice, because there seemed to be an assumption that clinical assessments would be part of the labor assistant's role (I think the role of "doula" has been more explicitly clarified as "non-clinical" since this book was written. The edition I was reading was revised in 2000). The book used a hooked diamond pattern symbol throughout (of which the DONA logo is a more stylized version). This is a birth symbol and represents both the uterus and vagina and is apparently a counterpart to the phallic symbol (though less widely known/recognized as such). I just found an article online about it.I also continued my Janet Evanovich kick by reading Plum Lovin'. And then tonight finished reading her Eleven on Top. Again, some fun little treats for me.

Finally, I wanted to mention that in Ode magazine this month I read a letter to the editor mentioning Francis Moore Lappe's book Getting a Grip. "She states that we must call ourselves 'buyers' or 'purchasers' rather than consumers" (because consume means to use up and we have piles in landfills). I thought this was a good reminder.

Okay, I'm not very gifted with words tonight and this is kind of a dullsville post. Oh well! At least I'm staying updated!


Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Big Book of Birth

This week I greatly enjoyed reading The Big Book of Birth. It is by Erica Lyon of Realbirth, who I first heard of when I read her awesome quotes in Pushed. Anyway, this was a basic "guide to birth" type of book, so I didn't necessarily learn anything new from it, but I hope that lots of pregnant women pick this one up to read instead of What to Expect. The emphasis of this book was on giving birth, not on pregnancy. The author's writing style was great--very engaging and *real* seeming. It is written in a sassy, lively, conversational sort of style that really made the book very readable and good. There were a variety of birth stories shared (broken up into the "right" chapters, which made it a little hard to follow them sometimes). I did feel sad reading some of them because the mothers didn't seem to *get* in hindsight what had really happened--i.e. "the doctor said the baby was 10 pounds and so a cesarean would make sense" and then baby is born and is 8.5 pounds and there was no further "analysis" about the cesarean being unwarranted.

I have a lot of quotes marked to share on my birthy blogs. Here's a quick one though: "You do not have to be a particularly strong or brave or relaxed woman to get through labor. You just need to be a woman." And then one from one of the birth stories: [in response to someone telling her that she got an epidural because it made the birth so much more peaceful] "I asked myself, Is birth meant to be peaceful? the feeling that I got after my birth was of pure triumph. I felt strong and able..."

I also zoomed through some "dessert"--Janet Evanovich's Twelve Sharp. Funny. Enjoyed it. Felt like a treat.

And on an unrelated note, I've mentioned before that we have cool big rocks on our land (behind our house). Today was a nice day and we went out to visit them!