Photo by cheng feng
Lotus birth is the practice of leaving the umbilical cord uncut, so that the baby remains attached to his or her placenta until the cord naturally separates at the umbilicus—exactly as a cut cord does—at 3 to 10 days after birth. This prolonged contact can be seen as a time of transition, allowing the baby to slowly and gently let go of his or her attachment to the mother’s body.
Read more…. Lotus Birth: A Ritual For Our Times
Photo by Cornelia Enning
A number of authors have called attention to the language we commonly use in discussing birth and how particular words shape our understanding of birth.
Read more…. A Question Of Words
Photo by Michal B.
Classical homeopathy embraces the whole person. We look beyond the individual symptoms a client presents to see the constitution as a whole in order to find the appropriate remedy. The characteristics of a substance help us to understand some of the healing properties of the homeopathic remedy.
Read more…. India Ink: Homeopathic Sepia
Michel Odent sits at a table with our country contaact from the Netherlands, midwife Mary Zwart, at the Midwifery Today conference in the Netherlands in 2002. Photo by Jan Tritten
I began interviewing Dutch midwives and obstetricians in an effort to understand how they successfully negotiate working together, especially in the hospital setting. I wanted to know what the Dutch do differently when, in other countries, the differing philosophies of birth that typically characterize these two professions have often made for tense and even hostile working relations.
Read more…. Working Relations: Midwives And Obstetricians In The Netherlands
Photo by Brooke Lark
I have a passion for birth. I also have a passion for cooking. To inform myself about birth I digest what I can from professional journals and soak up midwifery wisdom from those who are really in the bedroom “with birth.” But mostly I listen to and spend time with women. When I want to try something new in the kitchen, however, I experiment. Occasionally, I have the desire to visit with the great chefs of our time. Julia Child is, of course, a favorite. To my surprise, her words struck me as a midwife one evening.
Read more…. Lessons Learned From A Great Chef
Photo by M.T ElGassier
Whatever the mother tongue, the reference to death is typical of a certain stage of labour. My own observation of births on both sides of the Channel, both in a home-like hospital (Pithiviers, France) and at home, are confirmed by detailed reports of births throughout the world, in the past and at present. However, the expression of a fear of death has rarely been studied, even by such acute observers as Grantly Dick-Read, the author of Childbirth Without Fear (1955).
Read more…. Fear of Death During Labour*
Photo by Caroline Brown
A few weeks before I gave birth to my first child, I woke up in the night sweating and frightened. I had dreamed that I was lying in a pool of blood and had just given birth to a little lamb. A friend told me of a dream that she had before giving birth; someone was chasing her, she lay on her back and was pricked by a thin stick and a stiletto heel.
Read more…. Fearful Fantasies
Photo by Joel Muniz
I listen carefully as women speak about their fear of giving birth and the courage it will require. At times, it seems women think that fear and courage are mutually exclusive; that if they feel afraid they will not be able to act courageously to give birth in the way they might hope. Recently I was at a baby shower for a doula client. Each woman was asked to tell her last birth story in three minutes.
Read more…. Sharing The Stories
Photo by Marilyn Nolt
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, courage is a noun meaning “ability to overcome fear or despair.” Notice fear has to be present in order for courage to exist. The English word “courage” is derived from the French word for the heart, coeur. Finding the heart to continue doing the right thing in the face of great fear inspires others to become nobler human beings. In midwifery, we see women and men facing their fears in birth; we ask them to have faith in the face of no evidence. We demand that they are bigger than the circumstances and, when they conquer, we get a renewed vision of how life can look when our fears don’t stop us. This is the source and inspiration for our own courage.
Read more…. Courage
“I don’t think a 25 percent cesarean rate is too high.” The words jolted me to attention. The speaker is a woman I respect: my cousin, a family historian, who has farmed with her husband in the Midwest for decades. I forced myself to overcome my prejudices and listen to her seriously. “Not if it saves women from what my niece is going through,” she continued.
Read more…. Marion’s Message: The Necessary Cesarean