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Bad Law of Attraction usage December 17, 2008

Filed under: birth,spirituality — Thinking Woman @ 10:33 pm
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I wish I could say something to my dear friend. But I can’t. She was pregnant but very fear based. She sent email with the subject indicating a fear that she’d lost her pregnancy. She had tested and it came up negative but that had also happened with one of her other children. It was freaking her out so she insisted upon getting an ultrasound to verify that the pregnancy even though she still had all the symptoms. Her logic was that she needed to know, to move on.

I get that, but why did she do a pregnancy test in the first place if she thought she was pregnant? And why put the subject of the email so negatively?

With my second pregnancy, I didn’t test at all. I was so excited the first time around to have that rite of passage but I already knew I was pregnant as I’d missed my period by the time I tested. I can’t see the point of routinely testing for pregnancy. It is just a costly waste of resources for a society that can’t wait just a little bit to find out for sure. Is it that difficult to wait? It felt really wonderful to me to not test.

I know others don’t agree, but I feel certain that if this mom had had more faith and had trusted and believed, she would still be pregnant.

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More on the BOLD Birth Play September 17, 2008

Filed under: birth — Thinking Woman @ 5:37 pm
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I feel I’ve done BOLD a disservice; I didn’t mean to just dis it. It is an amazing project and one in which I was honored to take part. Sharing the word about birth is amazing work. And I could have just left it at that. I was coming from a place of having felt enlightened about birth for so long that I want people to go all the way. But that isn’t quite fair. This play is earth shattering for most of us and so kudos! The more that see it, the better. While I didn’t personally learn anything, I need to remember how long my process took and how long it was before I got to where I am now.

So let me start over!

BOLD is an amazing play. The opening scene had me in tears. I think it is brilliant the way it starts because if someone were to stay for just five minutes, they’d have come away changed.

Everyone talks about the birth of puppies they witnessed during childhood (for me it was kittens and I was an adult, but whatever). How beautiful. How there was so much faith that the mom knew exactly what to do. And how we just knew not to mess with the newborn puppies by taking them away from the mom. How we trusted that the mom instinctively knew exactly what to do. It is a powerful scene and the connection is clearly drawn that we are no different from animals and we have that instinctive knowing.

Sadly, people are going for unnecessary high intervention births for animals. Sure, I can imagine there are cases of a small mom breeding with a large breed male where the pups really could not come out, but normally, I subscribe to the hands off philosophy. I saw a horrifying video on youtube where they fussed more and more with the little ones as they were born and they clearly felt they were doing the right thing. Poor mom was probably thinking “Just leave my little ones alone. If I weren’t stuck here birthing and nursing, I’d bite your freaking hand off!”

 

BOLD could be BOLDer September 10, 2008

Filed under: birth — Thinking Woman @ 6:54 pm

I recently read the transcript for the BOLD birth play. I love the idea of it; getting it out there that women have options about birth. Making it real and tangible for the audience that these options get taken away. And also that any intervention at all can be so damaging. Making it so real that one intervention leads to another. Well done!

My issues are with a few areas where it could have been even bolder. One mom, who comes across as very professional, polished, in-control all the time, has a scheduled C-section. She is happy with it. At the end of the play, each mom briefly says how she feels about the next birth experience she has and the C-section mom quite happily has another. I don’t know why this needed to be in there. I appreciate that the other women with C-sections will have made an impression on the audience with how horrible it can be to have this surgery, especially when it is not planned and feels pushed upon the mom, but leaving the audience with this chipper mom who is so darned happy with her C-section seems wrong to me.

Also, there are comments that medicos make that go unchallenged, thereby perpetuating myths. One mom’s ultrasound “indicates” that her baby could be large (which I know by now means nothing; these are generally off by 50% in either direction) and that big babies can’t be birthed vaginally. A fear tactic used is, “You could have an 11 pound baby in there and you can’t birth that baby vaginally.” Spoken with authority, who would not believe this? I think it was irresponsible that BOLD did nothing to dispel this belief and in fact perpetuated it.

What a bunch of hooey! If you think about it a second, it makes no sense. Babies put on a whole lot of weight at the end, but it’s weight everywhere. The head and shoulders are the deciding factor on what can be birthed vaginally. If a baby is putting on a lot of weight, so what? Is the head getting larger or the shoulders broader? No; you’re just getting a chubbier little baby.

 

Unassisted Childbirth (UC Birth) Preparation May 16, 2008

Filed under: birth — Thinking Woman @ 5:36 pm
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I could never have had a unassisted birth (UC) without the help of others. Most of the people who helped me were people I never actually met. Some of them rubbed me very much the wrong way. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t help me!

The most important resource was the C-Birth yahoo group. It was through online discussions that I was able to process concerns and finalize my plan for birth.

I am such a strong believer that we create our own realities that my plan did not include hospital as backup plan. While that might seem irresponsible to some, it goes according to my beliefs. My midwife was my backup plan. (I later learned that my husband had scoped out routes to the nearest hospitals. That was something he needed to do in order to be comfortable, just as it was something I needed not to do!)

When I first joined the C-Birth yahoo group, I just lurked. They were so deep in it that I couldn’t even figure out where I might fit in. As the players and plots started to unfold, it became clear that this was a group of people who got straight to the point. Perhaps I am more accustomed to sugar coated messages so it took me a while to decide if I could handle this place.

I am so glad I stayed! Birth isn’t exactly one of those things in life that is sugar coated, and neither is having a newborn. Having it told like it really is and directly to the point helped me shed some layers of baggage I still carried from before my first birth.

I came to understand that not all that many things were likely to go wrong, and for most of the possible scenarios, there was time.

We are led to believe that birth is some kind of a crisis and that it starts with water breaking out of the blue and leads to pushing a baby out within 15 minutes. I was still under that impression to some degree after my first birth. I still had not fully come to understand that birth can take days, and that is normal. And that there are purposes for birth going on for days such as getting the muscles in shape for an easier birth. When we learn to trust our bodies and the process, fully baked babies come out. I also learned that fully baked is not exactly 40 weeks, but rather a range. And that there were a whole lot of underground moms who’d been pregnant well over ten months and had gone on to give birth naturally to normal babies.

So much of the so-called science of birth according to medicos is not science at all! In fact, it is more superstition than you would want to believe

For example, ultra sounds are total crap. Not only do they subject both the mom and the baby to unnecessary and harmful radiation, they serve no purpose except to entertain. There isn’t anything you are going to find out from an ultrasound that is not something you could not find out another way or find out later. Is the baby moving? Well that’s easy to feel. Is there a heartbeat? Use a fetoscope if you must. What gender? Why do you need to know that? Are you planning to abort the wrong gender? Must you have all pink or all blue or must you have a name in advance? And how big is the baby? Don’t get me started! Not only do they make up numbers that are hugely innacurate, but they then use this information as yet another reason to induce birth because the baby is “too big” and could not possibly fit through your pelvis. Because, you know, women nowadays somehow got strangely wired with tiny pelvises. Perhaps this theory is based on the size of the pelvis when the mom is not giving birth? Um, dudes, it all opens up! And one last thing about the baby’s weight and how stupid that is as a measure of whether or not a mom can fit a baby through her pelvis. My babies were both the same weight at birth. But one had a huge head and one had a small head. And I could totally feel the difference during birth.

After my first birth, I was kind of a proud warrior, bemoaning the fact that my birth had taken 36 hours. This information was always met with impressed, “Wow”s and often with people sharing that they were not allowed to labor past 8 or 10 or 12 hours. How utterly ridiculous! What is the fear there? Not making it to dinner on time? Yes, that turns out to be exactly right; most unplanned cesareans are performed just before dinner or just before bedtime. How disgusting. Missing dinner now qualifies as a “medical emergency”?

I am not sure where you start timing the process, but my second birth, once things started heating up for real, progressed very quickly. I never felt it slow down at all. I am certain this is because I was fully comfortable in my own space and had no fear. No fear of anyone telling me I was taking too long nor pooping too much nor not pushing hard enough.

In the end, my plan was simple enough. My midwife knew when I was due, roughly speaking. I did not inform her that labor had started. We bought an inflatable kiddy pool which worked out so much better than the hard rental birthing pools. It only cost around $20! We used a hose with an adaptor to fill the tub. We got a lot of towels and sheets from a thrift store so we could toss them out after the birth instead of being faced with tons of laundry. I know this is wasteful but it really felt like a blessing to be extravagant in this way. I prepared and froze meals for at least a month and kept the refrigerator well stocked. We also were lucky enough to have many friends drop off meals which meant that our stash lasted much longer.

My midwife must have intuitively known what was going on with us because when we called her after the birth, she was over within 30 minutes. It was a relief to have all our paperwork properly handled. I am not sure if she said she was there for the actual birth or not. We did show her video of what she’d just missed!

 

Unassisted Birth Story May 15, 2008

Filed under: birth — Thinking Woman @ 9:16 pm
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I won’t actually publish specific facts about my birth story because there really are a lot of wonderful stories out there and mine has been published in various forms already so I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you in case you came across another version.

Rather, I want to talk a little bit about all my swirling thoughts around birth. Why did I come to have an unassisted birth and how did it transform me?

I have never been fully mainstream; I was a vegetarian for the first time at age 13 at a time when people openly harassed vegetarians. So that tells you something about being willing to think for myself. I did come a long way. I honestly used to believe that a doctor should be able to look at me and I wouldn’t even have to speak; he or she would do some testing maybe and then know just exactly what was wrong. I used to also believe in drugs and procedures, but that is a post for a different day. Suffice it to say that by the time I was giving birth, my faith in doctors had gone way down but I still totally believed in them around birth.

My only exposure to women who’d given birth was at work. I thought I was giving myself an education by listening to them tell me what they thought were facts about pregnancy, birth, and the long-term effects on the body. I was right there with popular assumptions that the hospital was the safest place to give birth.

I was lucky during my first pregnancy enough to surround myself with enlightened people that I did grasp that a natural birth could not occur in a hospital so for my first, I opted for a midwife in a birth center. What I was to take years to understand was that natural and intervention free are two very different things. It was through reading The Mother Magazine that I unraveled the pain of that birth. There were so many interferences and times I was disrespected. Instead of coming away empowered, I was humiliated and my confidence shattered. It was a terrible start to being a mother. And yet, everyone there went on about how beautiful it had been, my husband included, so I was not even fully aware of my own feelings for some time to come.

For a while, I likened birth to an episode of the worst constipation ever (which, ironically, I suffered during my second pregnancy). Imagine if you will, struggling for hours, even days, to get a huge hard poop out and having people watching, coaching and threatening surgery and other interventions the entire time. Imagine them putting you in bed and giving you things without really explaining what they were doing. Birth, it turns out, is a natural bodily function just as is having a bowel movement. Just because we don’t do it every day does not mean we won’t be able to when the time comes, even if it is a very difficult process (or not!)

The growth work for me was to come to a place where I realized that part of why I was not getting the baby out was because there were so many people there. I don’t know who any of them were. I’d only met the doula before that point. Then the masks went on and my butt went up in the air. Talk about being totally humiliated. Could they have made it different? Heck yeah! The little comments about what was going on back there showed an attitude of disrespect that makes me cringe even now. For years, I wanted to write a letter. But why bother? They really feel they are offering a better birth, and they are. But they don’t get it. They don’t get what birth can be.

So with my second, I felt close and intimately comfortable only with my husband and older daughter. Is it ironic that I likened that second birth to projectile vomiting? Is it because of my being so comfortable in my own home with my own family that there was no holding back? Who knows! But that is what happened and my confidence soared. My husband got it! He totally saw the difference and the reasons. We all felt the spiritual nature of what had just happened, and yet, it also felt a bit like an ordinary day. Once everything was put away, it was such an ordinary day, except now we were four instead of three!

We all felt so powerful. Like we could do anything, anything at all! We’d taken a step to unplug from the grid.

It was definitely a spiritual thing to have done. I can understand that not everyone would be willing to have an unassisted birth. I did so much growth that I was absolutely in a place of knowing that both my baby and I would be perfect. I can’t explain how I knew that but I knew it with every fiber of my being and if I felt otherwise, I would not have gone through with it.

One of my most important learnings is to only read positive birth stories. And in fact, only positive information was allowed through my filters during pregnancy. Intuitively, I knew it to be the most spiritual of times. I do believe some people get a sense of something being wrong. What I do not know, and hope to never have first hand experience of, is whether the worry causes the issue, or the intuition reveals the issue. I do believe that we can create our realities and where we focus is where we go. I take credit for having created that birth.

 

Birth and why mine is a secret

Filed under: birth,health,social interaction — Thinking Woman @ 3:56 pm
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Birth is a topic that makes me feel passion. And yet, I have not felt free to openly share my truths. For fear of my child(ren) being taken away, I have been driven underground with my truths.

Some may say this is a copout.

It is not.

I have lived through the horror of someone calling DCF on my family. The case was stupid and was quickly dismissed. The damage is permanent. The fact that anyone can wrongly accuse another family of pretty much anything and hide behind a mask of “looking out for the children” is bullshit. My children have been damaged by this. I strive to raise my children to believe in the goodness of people. We love Gavin de Becker’s book Protecting the Gift and strive to live by it. We believe people are good. But all it takes is one person whose anonymity is protected to undo years of carefully cultivated trust and peace.

We are lucky that this case was obviously someone who saw our sweet family and was jealous. We are lucky that they did not know more about us; that I did not share that I’d had an unassisted birth and that I don’t vaccinate. That I unschool my children. Once those DCF investigators get into your house, it can get ugly. Taking children away from parents is not a good idea unless there are real issues of safety. And even then, who is to say the child is being put into a better situation? It is complicated.

So yes, I had a very intentional unassisted birth. It was not something I ever thought I would do and it took years of healing from the trauma of my first birth and of expansion and study to even be willing to get pregnant again, much less have a birth without a professional present.

Having gone through this experience, I now know it is not for everyone. It is what my family needed at the time for our healing. However, I now deeply believe in some midwives and know that their presence at birth can add so much. I should have realized this from some aspects of my first birth but I needed to learn in my own way to be sure.

I’ll be talking about my births a lot here. Sorry to leave you hanging! I promise to let the story unfold and be told and retold over time. If you are pregnant, this is a positive place to be and learn, I promise. Only expose yourself to positive birth stories or birth stories told from a perspective where you can learn from another mom. Empower yourself and take control. This does not mean bragging nor sharing with anyone at all. Not yet, at least!

 

It’s time

Filed under: birth,health,HSP/HSC,organic food,social interaction,unplugging,unschooling — Thinking Woman @ 3:03 pm
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It is time to start sharing my raw truths with the world. I don’t take things lightly. It is not my nature. I am a Highly Sensitive Person and take time to reflect upon things. I have gradually, quietly, become quite radical over my lifetime, and expect to become more-so as time allows. Some of my interests are

  • natural birth and all the empowerment that goes with it
  • unschooling
  • spending time in nature
  • Highly Sensitive People and Highly Sensitive Children
  • unplugging from the grid to some degree but not to the point of obsessiveness
  • connecting deeply with people
  • improving life on a local level through small, simple acts
  • simplifying
  • helping future generations get more in touch with the best parts of being human
  • natural parenting
  • organic food
  • raw veganism
  • intentional living
  • reevaluating health care
  • politics
  • jealousy, vanity, friendships, trust, self-confidence

Perhaps I will get to write on all of these topics. That is the goal!