(Photo by Meg Wintory)

 

“There is power that comes to women when they give birth. They don’t ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it.”

-Sheryl Feldman

 

 

 

 

How to Advocate for Yourself in the Delivery Room

https://parenting.nytimes.com/pregnancy/birth-advocate

Giving birth draws you deep into your body, yet you’ll depend on others to get through it. Whether you have a brief labor eased by an epidural, deliver on all fours in your own living room or have an unplanned C-section, what matters most is how you are cared for and if you are listened to by your providers. The best way to advocate for yourself in the delivery room is to begin the process well before your swollen feet ever step into the space itself.

It is possible to get compassionate, respectful care from many kinds of providers — midwives, obstetricians, family physicians and nurses — and in settings including hospitals, birth centers and your home. But, according to a recent international survey, up to one third of women experience some trauma during birth, which means that at some point during labor, they felt that their emotional well-being or even their — or their babies’ — lives were under threat. And according to the latest Listening to Mothers report, one in four American women who underwent either labor induction or a C-section reported experiencing pressure from a health professional to do so.

(Click to read this great piece by Angela Garbes on nytimes.com)

MAMA, YOUR BABY NEEDS YOU. IT’S THAT SIMPLE (AND THAT HARD)

https://raisedgood.com/mama_baby_needs_you_simple_hard/

Mama, I see you crying in the shower.

I hear your thoughts as they mislead you into believing that you’re failing.

I sense your fear. Your worries. Your uncertainty.

Your overwhelm. Your grief. Your yearning for the life you’ve left behind.⠀

And I see something else.

I see you holding your baby as your tears fall.

(Click to read post on raisedgood.com)

Sent Home From Labor & Delivery For “False Labor,” & Other Ways We Gaslight Women

https://www.romper.com/p/sent-home-from-labor-delivery-for-false-labor-other-ways-we-gaslight-women-

Laboring with my first daughter was not easy. After being sent home from labor and delivery for following my doctor’s advice (given as he boarded a flight to Aruba) to “go straight to labor and delivery” because my contractions were regular, things ramped up again and so I headed back to the hospital… and was sent home from the hospital, again, at midnight. This time I was bleeding, weeping and yelling through contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart, but was turned out because I hadn’t hit the magic 4 centimeters of dilatation. “If we admit you now, your chances of having a c-section will double,” the triage doctor informed me. Perhaps I imagined it, but I could swear the nurses smirked each time they informed me that this was my first labor, it could go on for days.

I hobbled away with a bath towel between my legs, enraged. My cervix might have failed to fulfill the textbook definition of active labor, but I was certain that my baby was coming. Sure enough, I was back four hours later, and by the time I got the epidural I’d been demanding for hours, I was close to eight centimeters; it was almost too late.

(click link at top to read the rest of the blog on romper.com)

Tewa Women United

https://www.vogue.com/projects/13549256/tewa-women-united-new-mexico/

It begins and ends with smoke. Singed white sage is brushed up and down the body. Head to toe, limb to limb. This ritual smudging is meant to clear the indistinct wounds of trauma. A restless morning or ugly fight must first be washed away before each woman enters the headquarters of Tewa Women United in Española, New Mexico. In the smoke, she is grounded.

For 30 years, Tewa Women United (TWU) has brought together Indigenous women from the Tewa and other Indigenous tribes throughout Northern New Mexico’s pueblos, and across the United States, to address the problems facing their families and the larger community. At first, they met around kitchen tables and in coffee shops to discuss divorce or suicide, says Kathy Sanchez, who helped found TWU in the late 1980s. Later on, the members of TWU came to realize that these were symptoms of larger issues and generational trauma. “Why are our kids turning to alcohol? Why are the men so abusive?” Sanchez asks. “Why do we have so many sexual abuses toward women? We were asking a lot of questions about why things were the way they were.”

In recent years, the group has turned its attention to a particular problem connected to reproductive health: After African-American women, Native-American women face the second-highest rate of death during childbirth, more than twice the rate of white women. In 2003, the Tewa Birthing Project began to examine the disparities in health care for Indigenous women, particularly by creating more access to the support provided by a midwife or doula. Last year, a doula training program was organized to help broaden access to health care and create a safer birth experience with less medical intervention. It is free of charge for the students, asking only that they assist with three births within the community.

aw3-tewa-new1

(Click link at top to read this piece in it’s entirety on vogue.com)

New Study Reveals Moms Need a Full Year for Recovery After Giving Birth

http://redtri.com/new-study-reveals-moms-need-a-full-year-for-recovery-after-giving-birth/

Growing a baby a beautiful experience, but it’s also demanding on your body. New mothers may be told by books and doctors that they’ll be back to “normal” within six weeks of giving birth, but a new study has found that most women take much longer to recover.

Dr. Julie Wray, a researcher at Salford University in England, interviewed women at different stages of post-partum life. She found that the standard six-week recovery period is a “complete fantasy,” and it can take a full year to recover from childbirth.

It’s not just physical recovery that’s needed, but mental as well. Many feel the pressure to get back on their feet soon after childbirth and feel it may be necessary to head back to work as early as six weeks.

Wray found that recovery should start in the hospital. Back in the day, women spent more time in the maternity ward learning how to take care of their infant and getting breastfeeding advice. Now, some women are discharged as early as six hours after giving birth and expected to just go with it, according to Wray’s research.

“The research shows that more realistic and woman-friendly postnatal services are needed,” Wray concluded. “Women feel that it takes much longer than six weeks to recover and they should be supported beyond the current six to eight weeks after birth.”

Recovery after childbirth is different for everyone, but the general consensus is that a full year to heal the body and mind is much better than a month and a half.

New ‘postpartum house’ in Calgary believed to be one of first of its kind in Canada

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/moss-postpartum-house-setl-open-in-may-1.5027012.

Being a new mom can be overwhelming, even if everything goes smoothly with the labour and delivery.

But many new moms find themselves driving all over the city for followup appointments or seeking help for postpartum issues after the baby arrives — from complicated labour, breastfeeding problems to postpartum depression.

Paige Barlow wants to change that by bringing all that support under one roof.”I noticed there was a big disconnect after parents had their baby with support,” said Barlow, who has worked as a postpartum doula for about seven years. “And it was very difficult for a new mom. They’re often breastfeeding in the car and having to put in multiple locations for multiple appointments.

“So I thought by putting everyone under one roof it would make it more convenient and easier for moms to support their new baby, and families in general.”

Barlow plans to open Moss Postpartum House this spring, and it may be the first postpartum house in the country.

“I noticed there was a big disconnect after parents had their baby with support,” said Barlow, who has worked as a postpartum doula for about seven years. “And it was very difficult for a new mom. They’re often breastfeeding in the car and having to put in multiple locations for multiple appointments.

“So I thought by putting everyone under one roof it would make it more convenient and easier for moms to support their new baby, and families in general.”

Click link above to read about this amazing new place for new moms on cbs.ca

Using Sports Psychology for Childbirth

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/well/family/using-sports-psychology-for-childbirth.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_hh_20190116&nl=well&nl_art=12&nlid=59957724emc%3Dedit_hh_20190116&ref=headline&te=1

Any woman who has ever carried and birthed a child, in whatever fashion, deserves her own ESPN highlight reel — blood, sweat, tears and the eventual triumph of holding her newborn baby. To be clear, childbirth isn’t a game. You can’t plead with the referee when you don’t like a call or leave the field when you’re tired. 

Still, as a lifelong athlete, I saw childbirth, especially an unmedicated one, as the ultimate challenge of physical endurance, mental stamina and my ability to handle pain.

When I became pregnant in January 2018 and set about preparing for the monumental task of birthing a human, I loaded up on prenatal vitamins, kept a daily routine of birthing stretches and exercises, and endured an eight-week birthing course. An image of the lead female competitors in the New York City Marathon, who bring me to tears when they run past my Brooklyn apartment each year, filled me with confidence for labor. Washboard-like abs. Lean legs showing off every strand of muscle. Calm, focused and confident expressions on their faces.

However, as my due date came near, I clung to a fear of pain and the unknowns out of my control. How long would my labor be? Would my mind fall apart? What if my pelvis wasn’t the optimal shape or I stopped dilating?

(Click to read on NYTimes.com)