Issue 138

Summer 2021

Theme: Tear Prevention

Preventing tears has long been a concern for birthworkers. Different midwives approach this differently and it has changed over the years. Our midwives share their wisdom in this issue. In addition, we have our final article on autism and birth, more outstanding writing from regulars such as Jane Beal, Sister MorningStar, and Sara Wickham.

Cover photo by Colby Tulachanh ( Colby is a professional birth photographer and doula in upstate New York, where she is currently wandering through life with her husband and their two children. Her children initially influenced her to begin her journey into photography. She began photographing families in 2018, and made the move to birth photography in 2019. Nearly three years later, she has photographed over two dozen birth stories. Her work has been published in magazines and she has won multiple awards for her raw, emotive imagery. Colby’s passion is to combine the art of photography with the art of birthwork—the point at which they meet has always made her heart sing.

Pictured: Denise, the midwife behind Sweet Song Midwifery holds newborn Kataleya, after a long and incredible birth in which her mother (Maryah) resiliently labored throughout the night. This birth story was extra special for me to document because Kataleya’s father, who lives abroad, was unable to attend her birth in-person due to travel restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Thankfully, because of today’s technology, he was able to witness her birth over video chat. They have since been united and are elated to be living life together as a family of three!

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  • A Midwife Mourns, by Judy Ribner
    Midwifery is not always about birth, and not all babies survive. This essay deals with the loss of a baby to SIDS and how the midwife continued to serve her client.
  • Dealing with Differences in Autism, by Joanna Grace
    This is the third and final article in this series by Jo Grace on dealing with clients with autism during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It includes descriptions of and tips for dealing with differences in pain perception and communication to ensure that women with autism are served well during this time.
  • Stories! Stories! More Glory Stories, Please, by Sister MorningStar
    The power of women throughout the life cycles is honored. Whether maiden, pregnant and mothering, or crone, women are strong. Sister tells how she interacts with and deals with helping women during all of these important times.
  • Bridget “Biddy” Mason: A Black Pioneer Midwife of Nineteenth-century Los Angeles, by Jane Beal
    Jane Beal tells this colorful story of a black woman who started as a slave, became a midwife, traversed the Mormon trail, and was ultimately freed from slavery and moved to Los Angeles where she worked with a doctor delivering babies.
  • Anti-D: Reflecting on a Journey, by Sara Wickham
    What is Rhogam, what is anti-D, and when is a Rhogam shot needed Sara? Wickham answers these and other questions as she discusses the research on this issue and how we arrived at routine preventive injections.
  • Ecstatic Birth: Radical Act of Reclamation, by Sheila Kamara Hay
    In the first of a four-part series, Sociologist Hay talks about reclaiming our bodies and our pleasure in birth.
  • Recommending Acupuncture in Midwifery Care, by Kerry Boyle
    This article discusses how acupuncture works, and the five top reasons that midwifery clients seek acupuncture—and specific treatments.
  • Becoming a Trauma-sensitive Birthkeeper, by Zuzana Laubman

    Traumatizing childhood experiences can affect a woman’s attitude toward pregnancy and birth. Trauma-informed care can build a link between the client’s trauma history and current concerns. Understanding how childhood sexual abuse or a history of childhood trauma affects pregnancy, labour, and birth can help the caregiver identify possible signs and triggers. This helps align care to individual needs and concerns.

  • Always a Midwife, by Vicki Ziemer
    Vicki Ziemer shares her story of her road to midwifery and her experiences—good and bad—of helping women who are giving birth.

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