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Division: What Are We Fighting For?

Division: What Are We Fighting For?

I recently asked on our BWF page if people thought there was division in the birth community (moms and professionals) or unity. Everyone answered division on some level. One woman, an OB, asked, “What are we fighting for?”

Good question.

This is not referring to women who are fighting to have a voice or for their rights. This is about women fighting with each other. Birthing women, doulas, midwives. What is everyone fighting about? I’ve seen the following…

Which child birth class is best.

What kind of midwife is best.

That the only way to birth is all natural and all women can.

All women need to be in the hospital as it’s the only safe place.

All women should breastfeed and did not try hard enough if they don’t.

All women should formula feed.

Are these really things to fight about? You know, if women could stop nitpicking, they could come together despite these minor differences and really focus (together) on real issues such as…

Women having no voice or say in their births.

Women having recourse if they have been mistreated or the victim of negligent care (by any kind of care provider).

Helping each other find safe, competent care providers.

The important issues will not change while everyone is fighting over Bradley vs. Hypnobirthing or breast over bottle or drug free versus an epidural. Yes, those things are important. Educating on these topics is vital. Fighting over them is not.

Let’s focus on educating, informing, then supporting those choices. Then we can be united and work towards solutions on serious issues surrounding childbirth in our societies.

~January

*Maternity Photography by Ian Christman

Loving Each Other Enough

Loving Each Other Enough

“The trouble with the world and the trouble with you and me is that we don’t love each other enough. And if we do, we don’t bother to show it, or we don’t bother to say it. If the world is to know love, it has to be in your heart and in mine.”  –Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Small and Simple Things

Picture from here.

Mothers. We have so much on our plates. We have full hearts, minds that never stop and our hands full. Blessings for sure, but hardships as well. Many mothers are going through, or have gone through, real struggles. Not just lack of sleep or potty training, but honest to goodness hard times.

Most of the time, we don’t even talk about it. We don’t want to be judged. The harsh words, nasty looks, attacks, and downright hurtful judgments are live and well among women. I have said before social media doesn’t help. Many are calling it the ‘Mommy Wars’. What is it really?

We are in a time of our lives where we need love, support and reassurance more than ever. We are exhausted, hurting, frustrated and insecure. Instead of us being honest and uplifting one another, we are taking it out on each other online, at home, at the park, at church…everywhere.

I am not perfect. I am struggling too.

In hopes to open up honest dialogue, I will share a little bit of why with you. So many people say, “Oh you are so strong. You help more women than you know. You are super mom. You do it all.” I am constantly being asked to share things, answer questions, to word things better, to share this but not that, to be less balanced, more balanced and do it all perfectly while being a perfect mother. It is exhausting.

I feel I need to be this perfect mother while being a business women. I come from a wonderful family of strong women, but most of them don’t have children or know how I feel as a mother. I know I have talents and the ability to do good. Look at BWF! I could even make it bigger and reach more people. However, what about my family? I know my faith and family come first. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. I am at a constant war with myself. This causes me to never feel good enough, to be easily frustrated and constantly overwhelmed.

You need love and support. So do I. We all do.

I know that when I am honest about my struggles along with my accomplishments, it helps other people open up about their struggles too. More people need to be real. Sure, the perfectly made blogs with the incredibly beautiful photoshopped pictures with everyone always happy are wonderful. But life can also be dirty, crazy and hard. When we are honest, we tend to understand each other better. Our guard goes down and we begin to have more understanding. Compassion takes place of judgment.

So tell me, what are your struggles right now? As a woman, a wife, a mother? It’s OK. I won’t judge you and I ask that you don’t judge me. I am here for you to listen, to share, to give suggestions only if you ask. Together we can allow the world to know love.

~January

Couple is Expecting 2 Sets of Twins!

Couple is Expecting 2 Sets of Twins!

Borrowed from http://education-health-care.blogspot.com/

An article about this story was shared in our BWF Support group. It was rather snarky and judgmental. Why judge other parents, especially when they have been BLESSED with babies? Even if circumstances are difficult, babies are always blessings.

“For more than a decade, Misty and Brian Baker have tried for a child without any luck.

But now, with the help of their best friends, they are making up for lost time – as they are expecting FOUR babies after both Misty and her surrogate fell pregnant with twins.

When the Bakers, who live in Seattle, Washington, were drained financially, physically and emotionally by two failed sessions of IVF, their best friends in Kokomo, Indiana stepped in.”

After failed attempts, their doctor suggested they try one more time, both mom and surrogate and they BOTH fell pregnant with twins!!! Mom and dad, who could have no children, are now being blessed with four sweet babies.

Is this overwhelming? Absolutely. Will it be expensive and exhausting? You bet.

However, they will love their babies and many people will pitch in and support them. Have a little faith in human kind, there really is still good in it.

Read the full article here.
The Diversity of ‘Birth Without Fear’ Pregnant and Birthing Women

The Diversity of ‘Birth Without Fear’ Pregnant and Birthing Women

I have received comments on this post and this one stating that I am intentionally not showing diversity in women and families.

First, let me say that I would never do that. I love diversity!

Second, I think it’s judgmental to assume that the pictures/women are not diverse! Just because someone is has light skin, doesn’t mean they are caucasian. Also, don’t assume they are straight, or married, etc.

Third, well…I can only post the pictures that BWF Moms send me. If I don’t have it, I don’t have it.

So, here are some pictures to show the diversity of BWF Women. A little bit of everything.

Sent in by Mae Burke Photography.

Angela nursing her 10 month old Monkey.

Sent in by Synethia.

“This is my family. Brown daddy, white mama, 8 kids, (including 2 daughters boyfriends) one baby in my belly and Santa! We’re LOVE crazy!!!” ~Mamabear Nonamom

“This is just after the birth of my 3rd child. Her very first meal, and an intense bonding moment between mom and newborn, I was crying which is why you cant see my face.” ~Samantha

Establishing a breastfeeding in the hospital.

Babywearing

Linda: “Working mumma breastfeeding in the office.”

Shanna with her husband and son, Rowan.

Nadine: “I am Hispanic and Dutch (racial background) American my Hubbs is German (racial background) American together we made a super baby!! I am sending another pic of us, he is wearing a superman cloth diaper made by Bunzuke Cloth cloth diapers!”

“I (Elizabeth) am in purple, sitting on my husband, Sean’s, lap with our youngest daughter, Adriana (then 2), on his lap next to me. Our son, Sean Kevin II (then 9) is the oldest, in dots is Faelynne (then 3), Caetlin (then 8) is behind her. Standing in the back is Christina, Adriana’s bio-mom. This is our blended family. All under one roof, never boring always eventful.”

Nicky with her girlfriend, Christy, holding their baby boy (Devin) for the first time after Nicky’s cesarean section. It was moments after his birth on 02/04/11. He was 9.6lbs and 21 inches.

“My 7 month and I. This afternoon nursing session is what gets me through my work day.” ~Whitney

My friend Amal and her family.

“Myself and my biracial (caucasian and African American) daughter.” ~Allison Y.

Siobhan, her husband Ian, and her daughter Saoirse.

Shir,  Pedro and baby Noah ( by Alejandro Llauro Photography”)

“Noah holding his own bottle of yes, formula. I was breastfeeding til 5 months, got hospitalized on and off for 2 weeks and they told me to stop because of the harsh medications. I could have started again, but he was sleeping better, feeling better, acting better, grew hair faster, and he was happier. I realized it was because my breastmilk was not giving him what he needed (it was pretty much water because of my gallbladder attacks), so I stopped.

Selina: ” I have changed my parenting style over the last 3 years, I’ve formula fed, had an epidural, breast fed, and gone completely drug free, I’ve felt weak, I’ve felt empowered, and I am really just learning everyday!”

Elisabeth

“Me tandem nursing for the first time just a few minutes after the birth of my daughter.” ~Aimee F.

Amy P.: “From Christmas day. Our miss 2 and miss 3 on Nana’s recliner chair.”

“Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today.” ~Jinato Hu
The BWF ‘Hey Girl’ Contest

The BWF ‘Hey Girl’ Contest

You may have noticed Ryan Gosling showing up in your Google Reader or Facebook news feed, along with a caption that starts with, “Hey Girl…”.

They have recently caught on in the natural birth community and some even got me to chuckle and shake my head.

I am a huge Ryan Gosling fan. He won me over in The Notebook. I avoided re-posting these pictures, until I saw this one, and about died from hysteria…

Ya, that is pure awesomeness. And funny.

So, after posting one or two, I asked BWF moms to make their own ‘Hey Girl’ pictures with Ryan Gosling or anyone else they want to hear such a wonderful phrase from. I only asked that they were made by them and geared it to BWF.

To kick the fun up a notch, I am making a contest out of it. Vote for your favorite and the winner not only gets bragging rights, but also a FREE necklace from Wild Mother Arts on me.*

#1 by Cassie

#2 by Andrea

#3 by Faith

#4 by Amy

#5 by Carrissa

#6 by Brittany (Orlando Bloom)

#7 by Heather

#8 also by Heather

#9 by Chrys

#10 also by Chrys

#11 by Cassondra

 

#12 by Najwa

#13 also by Najwa

#14 by Kyria

#15 also by Kyria

#16 by Mindy (based on a true story, just different guy)

#17 by Miriam

#18 also by Miriam

#19 by Dena

#20 by Brooklyn

#21 by Carmen

Just couldn’t resist…

#22 by Ruthie

koolaid

So go vote now (in the right side bar of the blog). You can vote once a day. Voting begins February 14th, 2012 and will end midnight, February 19th. Winner announced Monday, February 20th. Have fun and good luck to those who entered!

*Up to $20 value.

The Rad Placenta

The Rad Placenta

I was recently banned from posting on BWF and personally on Facebook for this placenta picture taken by Seana. I was also warned that next time, pages and profiles might be deleted. There is nothing stating in any Facebook policies that organs are violating any rules. We all know there are many obscene pictures that do violate policies and are never removed.

A placenta though? And a rad one like this one? Come on! That is the Tree of Life. Photography. Art!

Is that a ‘naked’ placenta? Is it showing nipple? Oh no, a ‘graphic’ organ picture! I think this might traumatize or offend someone who never got to see their placenta! (Note: sarcasm)

OK, really though, what IS this placenta? What exactly does it do?

“The placenta has been described as a pancake-shaped organ that attaches to the inside of the uterus and is connected to the fetus by the umbilical cord. The placenta produces pregnancy-related hormones, including chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), estrogen, and progesterone.

The placenta is responsible for working as a trading post between the mother’s and the baby’s blood supply. Small blood vessels carrying the fetal blood run through the placenta, which is full of maternal blood. Nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s blood are transferred to the fetal blood, while waste products are transferred from the fetal blood to the maternal blood, without the two blood supplies mixing.

The placenta is expelled from the uterus in a process called the after-birth.”

Let’s take a look at some more pictures of this amazing organ. One that gave every single person reading this LIFE!

Here is Hillary with her son (and his little feet) still attached to the placenta (seen above) and his cord.

Nurturing…

Here is the placenta print for the above placenta…

A very large placenta for one baby…

A very large placenta for one baby!

Fascinating! Examining the placenta…

“The placenta from my son born 8-19-09  11lbs 13oz, 24.5 inches…19 days past my “due date” The placenta weighed just over 2 lbs!!  It even had a true knot in the cord.  The cord was so thick and healthy that my midwife did not have a tool large enough to clamp it off.   Here the midwife is showing my 10 y/o daughter the different parts of the placenta.  This was my third birth, second home water birth.” -Stacey

“This is from my son Draven’s Placenta born Jan14 2012. We had prints as well as capsules & a tincture made from it.” -Amanda

 

Here is a sweet baby boy still attached to his placenta…

After a UBAC (Unassisted Birth After Cesarean)…

Lily’s Rad Placenta pictures has been removed from FB 3 times!

Taken by Jessica with One Tree Photography

Placenta Benefits

“There is also a growing trend of using the placenta to facilitate the woman’s postpartum recovery through ingestion of the placenta, known as placentophagy. The placenta is incredibly nutritious and contains many of the vitamins, minerals and hormones that a mother’s body needs to adequately recover from the pregnancy and birth. Women who take part in this practice feel that they have a faster recovery from the pregnancy and birth, have more energy and increased milk production, and often do not experience any postnatal mood instability such as the “baby blues,” or postpartum depression.”

*Thank you to all the BWF Moms who sent in placenta pictures!

The Big Bad Epidural

The Big Bad Epidural

The Natural Birth Community is quick to say, “Don’t do it! You can do it without it! An Epidural is dangerous! It is evil and causes problems!” Mostly, this is true. You CAN do it naturally and Epidurals do come with risks to mom and baby.

There are studies, personal experiences and more that show Epidurals are a drug, has risks, and effect the mother’s body and the newborn as such. They also can slow down labor and be the beginning of a cascade of interventions. If you didn’t want  pitocin, constant monitoring, not being able to move around, etc., those options are no longer yours. Epidurals often lead to purple pushing, tearing, episiotimies and cesarean births.

That is all true.

As you can see though, I linked to information about Epidurals and their risks. I will not go over that here. This is not another blog post to tell you how horrible you are if you birthed your little one with an Epidural.

Is the Epidural always evil? Is there never a good use for one? Just like with any allopathic remedy or intervention, it is there for a reason. Unfortunately, it (the epidural and other interventions) are used far too often, when NOT necessary. This is why many are quick to say, “It’s pure evil!” What is missed though, is those times when it is needed. When it serves its purpose. When it does good. Yes, I said good.

Here are a few examples when an Epidural is a blessing to a mother.

Mom has become too exhausted. She has had a long labor and has become too tired and can not rest. In this case, an epidural may help her to get the rest she needs. Her uterus can still contract and baby can move down the birth canal. It is a better outcome than an unnecessary surgery. It would be best to help ensure mom gets adequate rest when she can during labor to prevent exhaustion from occurring.

Malposition of baby. When a baby is not in an ideal position it can cause a very painful, long labor. It may become difficult for mom to relax as baby tries to turn with the contractions. I’ve been there…twice. It’s so painful. I got an epi with one and did not with the other. Optimally, mom will do what she can during pregnancy to help baby find a great position. There are also things you can do with your midwife or OB in labor to help baby shift (hands and knees rocking, etc).

Fear. Yes, that is a valid reason for an Epidural. If a mother can not work through her fears in pregnancy and they are carried over into her labor, her uterus will not have the blood supply it needs and may not be able to work at its best. This also causes a great deal of pain. There is more information about this in the book, Hypnobirthing, the Mongan Method. Having an epidural will allow the woman’s body to do its job without her fear (mind) getting in the way. Of course it would be wonderful if all women could Birth Without Fear, but that is not the real world.

Lack of support. I truly hope all women will have the support she needs to birth so that this is not an issue. However, if she doesn’t she may find that she needs an epidural to be calm and birth.

Any situation where it helps avoid an unnecessary cesarean section.

A Cesarean Birth (instead of a spinal).

Remember, each woman, pregnancy, labor and birth are unique. I know this is not a popular view on Epidurals in the Natural Birth World, but it is reality.

Please, if you are researching Epidurals, use the links I’ve given in this post. Try to do what you can to avoid your chances of needing an Epidural.

Sometimes though, it can’t be avoided and that is OK. That is what it is there for. It is my hope that women can work through fears, have the right support and be able to avoid an unnecessary Epidural. However, the Big Bad Epidural is not always evil.

*Picture of Dale by Studio Viohl

The Beauty of Tattoos, Mothers, Fathers and Their Babies

The Beauty of Tattoos, Mothers, Fathers and Their Babies

A few months back, I posted on the BWF page (after sharing a picture) that there is just something sexy about a man who is tatted up and supporting his woman in labor. Well, that led into a full blown discussion and love for our BWF moms and dads with ink. It was followed by this post and a follow up post here.

Personally, I do not have any tattoos, but I LOVE them. I think they are beautiful and appreciate the stories they tell. The emails have poured in and another post (of your wicked awesome photos) is a must.

Right away we’ll melt your heart with Brandon and Brandon Jr.

Isadora, 9 months pregnant…

“This was right after my daughter was born, my excellent midwife at our beautiful home birth!”  -Edith

Jesse F. and her beautiful tattoo and belly…

These next two are of the same mother, Kelly F.

Brandon and Yasmil Rogers…

Nicole sent these in. The maternity photos were taken at about 25 weeks.

Her husband, Travis, and one year old son…

Nicole with her son at 9 months…

JessieLee right after birthing her precious baby…

These next two are of Linda, Brian and baby Zyler…


Zyler 5 days old when Daddy got his hands inked, “God Bless My Son Zyler.”

Karine breastfeeding her sweet baby…

A little henna from Nikki…

henna baby bump

One more henna baby bump from Kimberly Roberts. Picture by Jennifer Palmer.

Selina birthing baby Finn in August this year in Liverpool, UK.

Pregnant…

Mom and baby…

Kimberly and her family…

3D  ultrasound

Kristen at almost 37 weeks taken a week ago with baby Number 2 . Tattoo means Soulmates Forever in Tengwar. Her fiance has a matching one down his leg.

tattoos on baby bump

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these pictures full of raw moments and beautiful women and their families. Do you have any tattoos? Did they change during pregnancy? If you would like to share a picture you can email us at birthwithoutfear@gmail.com

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