Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dear Birth Peeps,

I want to thank all of you who helped us reach our fundraising goal to publish Ancient Map for Modern Birth. Enough money was raised to ensure the design for an e-book!

On this cold morning of November 17th, I am sitting by my fireplace reading the newest edition of Harper's magazine which arrived yesterday with a stunning cover photo of a pregnant woman lying on her side; the feature article: “The Bed-Rest Hoax” by Alexandra Kleeman. I highly recommend this excellent article to all birth peeps (as well as a subscription to Harper’s, a magazine that’s been in circulation since 1850 and covers a wide range of articles and short stories).

Kleeman reminds us that in spite of research over the past ten years that shows bed-rest has no health benefits (in treating hypertension, a shortened cervix, miscarriage, or impaired fetal growth), it is still being prescribed regularly.  Each year, 700,000 pregnant women are put on bed-rest, ranging from a few hours a day to complete bed-rest for days, weeks, even months. Do some birth attendants do this out of habit, or out of wanting to give the woman something to do to make them both feel like they are "treating" the problem?
 Consequences of bed-rest include: bone loss, blood clots, muscle atrophy, weight loss, and psychological stress. In addition to the physical complications, bed-rest means loss of income and difficulties with older child-care. Although it is not mentioned in the article, bed-rest often interferes with eating a healthy pregnancy diet which is an essential part of holistic management of any diagnosis leading to the recommendation for bed-rest. If research does not support this treatment, from where did it come? One of the most interesting parts of Kleeman’s article is the historical roots she uncovered beginning with a treatise written in 1863 by John Hilton called Rest and Pain. As they say, “old habits die hard,” and this one applies! The history of bed-rest is fascinating and enlightening.
 Get up and go get the magazine and read this article. It will make you think twice about bed-rest in pregnancy.

Stay warm, 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gestating in a Labyrinth by Pam England, acrylic 28"x22"2015
Good Morning Birth Peeps,
My newest painting depicts a universal contemplation of how the mother and baby's journey from conception and through life is labyrinthine. 

This painting is one of the perks on the IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the production and printing of the new book, 
Ancient Map for Modern Birth. This campaign ends on November 15. We are so close to meeting our goal of $30,000 by Sunday. Less than $1000 to go!!

Please, visit IndieGoGo today if you've been putting it off til later--or remind everyone you know to go to IndieGoGo today and pre-order a book--

Or take this beautiful painting away as a perk!

Many Thanks for your support.
Pam England

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pre-Order New Book: Ancient Map for Modern Birth

Hi Birth Peeps,

I'm B a a a a c k...  and I have some exciting news.

After four to five years of research, writing, illustrating, and editing... the NEW book, Ancient Map for Modern Birth, describing how birth can be a heroic journey is done and in design now, and will be ready for printing next month. We are raising $30,000 by November 15 to cover the costs of the beautiful interior design, printing, and early marketing. I need your help!
 If you would like to be among the first to read Ancient Map for Modern Birth, even before its official release (estimated February 2016), please pre-order your copy Today at a 10% discount on the crowd funding website, Indie GoGo. Here is the link:
 And check out the cool perks... 
and these excerpts from the new book!

It is human nature to want to know how to get from “here” to “there”—without getting lost. As a pregnant woman preparing for birth, you will be handed our culture’s standardized “modern map” of birth. This map is useful for navigating routine medical and consumer tasks. And yet, many women have told me that something is missing from that modern map—they know there is something more. 
While the standardized or medical map is accessible through common knowledge, the “ancient map” is one that must be actively sought. When parents and birth professionals are shown the ancient map through modern birth (in classes or workshops), they instantly feel excited, validated, and guided. 
A pregnant woman has within her a personal compass, and yet if she has never been to Laborland, she needs a map that highlights tasks of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum transition.

Ancient Map for Modern Birth weaves together art, science, meditations, ceremonies, and the telling of great stories.  A pregnant woman has within her a personal compass, and yet if she and her partner have never been to Laborland, she needs a map that highlights her tasks of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum transition. This book offers that map.

Ancient Map for Modern Birth sheds light on many important issues in childbirth education including some that were not addressed in Birthing From Within, such as inductions, ultrasound, vaginal birth after cesarean, postpartum ceremonies, and more. This book also introduces the six archetypes of birth: Gatherer, Mother, Gatekeeper, Fool, Huntress, and Birth Warrior. All of these archetypal energies are within you, and each one plays a part in your preparation and transition into parenthood. Here’s another excerpt from Ancient Map for Modern Birth:

The journey of the Birth Warrior is reflected in a complex map made up of many layers. Within the body, a living map flows through our veins. Within the soul, a timeless map guides our intuition. Within the mind, an ever-changing map is engrained in our values and beliefs. Within the heart, a personal map connecting thousands of stories informs us. Mindful preparation for birth and parenting means becoming aware of your multi-layered personal map.
Have you ever seen the cellophane overlays of human anatomy in the old Encyclopedia Britannica? Each structure of the body (skeletal, muscular, circulatory, and so on) was drawn on transparent pages, so, as you turned the pages, you watched the human body built, layer-by-layer, from skeleton to skin. In the same way, as you turn the pages of this book and of your life, each new discovery, each new task you complete on your journey, will build, layer by layer, a new self who is fully ready for birth.

The Birthing From Within model and this book are both layered in four parts: the Call, the Tasks of Prenatal Preparation, the Descent into Laborland,++ and the Postpartum Return.

Stay tuned Birth Peeps, I'll be posting more excerpts from the book this week.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Take Your Baby on a Color Walk
When you feel your child move in your belly, your connection to nature and the mystery of life awakens. For the first time in years, you may notice birds making their nests in the spring, feel especially tender toward baby animals, or be aware of buds unfolding. You may enjoy quiet moments during a busy day to commune with your growing child. A color walk is a lovely practice that fits naturally with this awakening to nature and your baby still cocooned in his dark, watery world.
   Once a week, take a leisurely walk and describe to your baby the world of color and beauty that is waiting for him out here. Choose a different color every week. Wherever you take your walk, through a city park, on the beach, along the river or mountain path, or down a bustling city street, be your baby’s eyes and tell your baby about everything of that color.
   Your narration might sound like this: Look, this shirt is red . . . There are hundreds of roses bursting in red . . . The petals are very soft, like your velvet-soft skin . . . Can you hear the red truck?. . . There’s our red mailbox. I wonder what the letter carrier is bringing . . . “

Even before your baby is born, taking him on a color walk begins building a playful relationship with your baby. On a color walk, you are not just walking to get from here to there or performing an exercise routine. Even before birth, nurturing your relationship with your child helps you to see as a child sees and to be delighted with the smallest miracles in nature.

Today it is a winter white day in Albuquerque. It snowed more last night than it has since some time in the 1930's. So today's color is WHITE. Take your baby on a White Winter Walk. Tell your baby about snow, about mittens and boots and how someday you will build a snowman together! When you drink hot chocolate, tell your baby about hot chocolate and marshmallows. Your little one growing within is a "sheep" (Chinese Astrology), so s/he will be plenty warm and cozy in you!

On my walk I took pictures of snowy madonnas.  Here is one to celebrate the Great Mother, in nature, and within you.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Diane Wolkstein, the passing of a great storyteller

Dear Birth Peeps,
As you know, of all the stories I love to tell pregnant women, I love the stories of Inanna best. Many of you know the story of Inanna's Descent (and all the stories of Inanna) written over four thousand years ago in Sumer. We would not know this story were it not for the archeologists who found the clay tablets on which the poems were written, and for the people who painstakingly deciphered the cuneiform--the first written language. 

Samuel Noah Kramer, a renown Sumerologist, was one of the original translators of the epic poems about Inanna. But his work was a direct and scholarly translation; the poems were not in language modern people could relate to. So, Diane Wolkstein, a famous storyteller, spent hours with Kramer, searching for "other words" she could use to re-write the epic poems so we could understand them.

Diane Wolkstein died, suddenly, just a few days ago (January 31, 2013). When the news came to me I had just finished writing the chapter, "Inanna's Descent Into Laborland," for my new book, Birth as a Hero's Journey. I had been thinking about Diane's work all day. Had she not made that beautiful translation available in her book, Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth, I would not have known Inanna. I would not have the internal map of the hero's journey. My life, my births and birth stories, and my work all would be void of this most powerful influence. In fact, I cannot imagine my life without the story of Inanna.

Now the woman who loved Inanna, who brought Inanna to us, has left us. And I want to say thank you to this great storyteller who has touched all of us. Visit Diane's website to learn more about her and her work.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Change #36 A Tribute to Family Practice at UNM and the Changing Attitudes of Doctors

Hi Birth Peeps,

Happy New Year. 
I didn't make too many new year resolutions. Of the three I made, number one is to finish the book, Birth as a Hero's Journey. But I did make another: to blog once a week. Maybe we'll get to the 50th way to change birth in our culture this year. I was kind of hesitating to put too many eggs in that basket just in case the Mayan calendar was right. So here we go.

On December 7, I was invited by Drs. Larry Leeman and Jen Phillips to give a little talk about birthing from within and birth as a hero's journey at Family Practice Grand Rounds at the University of New Mexico Hospital. The room was packed with young docs who I think were just beginning their OB rotation. Larry and Jen had prepared a wonderful power point presentation orienting the new docs to the philosophy of care that they are cultivating at UNM Hospital labor and delivery.  


Larry and Jen took turns describing the importance of mothers being up, walking about, delayed cord cutting, and doulas... among other things we know matter. The last comment was that women remember the day they give birth, this day matters. The message was to do their best to make the birth experience memorable.

I sat there and said to myself, "This is really amazing. This is not a conversation or orientation new doctors would have had a decade or more ago!" A room full of new doctors were being oriented to mother-centered, midwifery-tinged care... in addition to their medical ob training which still prevails and should in a hospital. (I want to add there are nurse-midwives at this hospital, too, so the midwifery model is also practiced there.)  

And yet, under the supervision and modeling from Larry, Jen, Mary and other experienced Family Practice docs and midwives, these new doctors are going to see a different kind of birth management than docs see elsewhere or would have seen anywhere a decade ago.
During this rotation, these new docs are going to have different kind of conversations about cases; they are going to learn to listen to parents and learn how to support them emotionally as well as providing safe birth care. (I recently witnessed the a warm, midwifery-home birth-like hospital birth attended by great nurses and Dr. Leeman... so I know he walks his talk, and this message is one they sincerely want to make happen.)

When these docs graduate and leave UNM and scatter in towns across the country, they will take this philosophical seed of care with them. 

And this... the changing attitudes and practice of doctors... is changing birth in our culture.
Hats off to Drs. Larry Leeman, Jen Phillips and all the docs and midwives at UNM.



Friday, December 28, 2012


I am offering three one-day 
in Albuquerque:
I January 12, II February 9, and III March 9 (10 am to 5 pm)

Here's the exciting learning agenda for DFW I:
  • Doula Work as Your Hero's Journey
  • How You Can Help Parents Experience Any Birth as a Hero's Journey
  • The Integrated Doula
  • Time to Heal Your Birth Story: When/if you have attended a birth where you didn't know what to do, or what you did didn't seem to work, and you want resolution: bring your story
  • An introduction to Solution-Focused Dialogue. A demonstration showing you how SFD creates amazing results in minutes! (This training will continue in DFW II and III).
This  workshop is for everyone who supports women/couples in labor: nurses, midwives, and doulas (new, experienced, regardless of where you received training or certification).

Register Now: Early Bird Registration only $95 for the day. Late Registration is $125.
Sign up for all three and get 10% off the Early Bird price, only $265 for all three.

Details and info: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/doula_from_within
Register here: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/store/show_by_tags/Pam%27s+Events

5.5 contact hours will be awarded by California Board of Nursing.

Hope to see you soon,