Labor is a key part of the work of midwifery. Long labor, short labor, fear of labor, orgasmic labor. These are just a few of the many aspects of labor that are covered in this issue. It features articles on labor from well-respected midwives that include Marlene Waechter, Vicki Penwell, Sister MorningStar, and others. Other articles cover topics on subjects such as support for sexual abuse survivors, nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, postpartum mood disorders, as well as our regular columns such as Tricks of the Trade, Wisdom of the Midwives, the Doula Corner, and more.
Cover photo by Rebecca Coursey-Rugh (awonderedlife.com). Rebecca is a documentary photographer and birth doula in California. When she was young she dreamed of being able to craft tales about the way she saw the world around her—illustrating lives and etching words into stone. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, three boys, two black labs, and a cat.
Pictured: Birth, like death, is universal, yet each woman has her own story of how she became a mother. Birth can be wild and fierce but soft and quiet, predictable yet unexpected. In this image, the laboring mother is softly held and comforted by her husband, as well as by her own mother. It not only echoes the deep, immeasurable love that was felt in the room that day but reflects humanity’s own longing for reverence and unwavering support during birth.
- Poetry: Two Spirits—Erica Andrews
- From the Editor
Every woman is different and every labor is different. In this editorial, Jan shares some of the ways labor can be experienced by different women.
- Tricks of the Trade
- Quote of the Quarter
- Marion’s Message: The Labor of Giving Birth
Labor can be long or short—it’s all normal. Organizations that make policy regarding birth are finally beginning to come to terms with that fact.
- The Doula Corner
Doulas, Creating Global Change
Doula Hardy Baker shares her philosophy that a doula-midwife team can “create the most powerfully supportive experience for the birthing woman.”
- Midwifery & Childbirth News
- Media Reviews
- Wisdom of the Midwives: Longest and Shortest Labors.
In this engaging column, midwives share the longest and shortest labors they have had or attended.
- Classified Advertising
- Photo Album
- Labor: Short and Long; Physical and Mental—Marlene Waechter
This great article illustrates, through discussion of actual cases, the many variations that labor may take and how diet, fear, and even religious beliefs may affect it.
- Of Lavender and Labor—Cheryl K. Smith
Lavender has long been known to assist with sleep and relaxation. New studies are coming out that show its usefulness in labor.
- A Turning Point in Our Understanding of Human Birth—Michel Odent
- The Birth of Eliana Adah—Amber Johnson
A lovely story of the author’s second birth.
- The Way of Birth—Sister MorningStar
Sister MorningStar shares more positive stories of birthing to inspire us all.
- Supporting Sexual Abuse Survivors in Childbirth—Jane Beal
One in three women in the US has experience childhood sexual abuse. This article provides information key to supporting these women during all parts of the childbearing year.
- Labor and Delivery Care in the Context of a Developing Country—Vicki Penwell
Labor in a developing country can be very different than in a developed country. In this second in her series of article, Vicki Penwell shares the challenges faced by laboring women in the Philippines and other countries.
- Birthpedia—Justine Tullier
This article tells about a new website and app that helps mothers and midwives with birth education.
- How to Prevent Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy—Judy Slome Cohain
A simple fix can prevent nausea and vomiting in a planned pregnancy.
- The Other Side of Doula Work—Kelly Kolb
Serving as a postpartum doula does not always lead to a positive outcome. Kolb shares the challenges of being a doula when a stillbirth or other trauma occurs.
- The Birth of the European Doula Network—Mary Kalau
Learn about the inception and growth of the European Doula Network, which started in 2011 and continues to grow.
- Midwives, Mountains, and Memories: MamaBaby Haiti—Patricia Couch
Couch gives us a bird’s eye view of her experiences volunteering as a midwife in Haiti.
- The Portable Office: A Peek into a Midwife’s Homebirth Bag—Regina Willette
A practical article on the basics for a homebirth midwife’s birth bag.
- Forgotten Labor—Rebecca Mack
Mack writes about coming to terms with a less-than-perfect birth.
- Mary Hobry: A Midwife and a Murder Mystery in Seventeenth-century London—Jane Beal
Another of Jane Beal’s fascinating tales of the life of a midwife from the past, who faced the kind of violence we still see to this day.
- How Childbirth-related Stress May Be Contributing to Increased Postpartum Mood Disorders in New Mothers: Suggestions for Midwives—Jennifer Summerfeldt
This article provides some guidelines in being aware of and avoiding factors that can lead to postpartum mood disorders.
- International Association of Professional Birth Photographers 2018 Competition Winners
= Membership Article.