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.

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(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)

10-Year-Old Catches Newborn Baby Sister In Viral Birth Photos

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/sister-catches-baby-birth-photos-paulina-splechta_n_5c48de82e4b0b66936767905?wc&fbclid=IwAR2uzjf5WvqqnWr04RZE6XSpmQeGty2I_eGWZcdKTHmd6UnJKr9GXpXxWCo

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Photo by Paulina Splechta

A powerful series of birth photos is highlighting the beauty of sibling love.

Paulina Splechta has been documenting childbirth as an on-call photographer for four and a half years. Last month, she had the opportunity to capture a very special moment for the Cook family in Boca Raton, Florida.

When Catherine Cook prepared to deliver her third child, she invited her 10-year-old daughter, Kayla, to be present at the birth and catch the baby. The big sister happily agreed, leading to an emotional experience that Splechta photographed.

(click link on Huffpost to see the entire series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Birth: How Motherhood Changed My Relationship With My Body

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/opinion/pregnancy-babies-birth.html

I love my baby. But I was unprepared for how childbirth would change my body.

I thought I was pretty well prepared for the birth of my son. I had loads of friends with kids, I was an aunt, I’d attended a prenatal course, read (bits) of the many books recommended to me. And yet I discovered afterward that I was completely unprepared for the physical changes my body went through in pregnancy and the recovery that would follow. Obviously giving birth is one of the most extreme things your body can ever go through. So why was the aftermath also such a shock?

(Click link at top to read this op ed piece on nytimes.com)

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL NETWORKING

http://thenaturalparentmagazine.com/postpartum-depression-in-the-age-of-social-networking/

It’s estimated that worldwide, some 10 to 15 per cent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. According to studies, having a strong social network – both online and in real life – can help mothers cope with this common medical concern.

A DARKER SHADE OF BABY BLUES

Postpartum depression is not to be confused with what’s come to be known as the postpartum “baby blues”, which is common to 80 percent of women after giving birth, usually beginning within the first three days after delivery and sometimes lasting as long as two weeks.

The baby blues are typically characterized by mood swings, anxiety, crying spells, irritability and insomnia, and while undeniably unpleasant, the condition is temporary, very common, and doesn’t present any long-term health concerns.

Postpartum depression, however, is a different story, being a more severe, long-lasting affliction linked to the chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. While similar to the baby blues, its symptoms are considerably more intense and can eventually interfere with a mother’s ability to take proper care of her newborn or simply perform basic daily tasks.

(click link at top to read the entire article)