Thursday, October 28, 2010

#8 Dance Through the Childbearing Year

Hi Birth Peeps,
The blog arrested this week, needed to move again. Which brings us to Change #8:

I find it curious that the message is often sent to "move in labor," but in prenatal sessions and classes, parents "sit." In birth conferences, we "sit." Why is that? Perhaps like art, we leave dancing, and teaching dance, to the "stars" and coordinated experts!

But No! the new Birth Village must begin dancing.

Stephanie Larsen is an amazing woman who has created DANCING FOR BIRTH(TM), a refreshing, uplifting dance class for pregnant women, "Instructor Training," and an engaging DVD showing all the steps. After watching her DVD--I became really enthusiastic about dancing in pregnancy and birth. I loved the moves and the fun names she gives all the moves.

I asked Stephanie how dancing can help change birth in our culture. Here's what she had to say:
"When women start dancing, dancing brings a new connection with themselves--a connection that is not typically cultivated. Dancing increases acceptance of one's body, and love and respect for oneself; it increases self-esteem. Dancing informs a mother of what her body is capable of, and to feel pleasure to be in her body.
"In labor, women can experience an internal, intuitive, and ectatic state. This same state can be accessed while dancing. In labor, women rely on sensation and freedom of movement. Through dance a woman learns to feel sensation in her body rather than be numb to [or unaware of] sensations.

Women often feel suffering when they can't move in labor in the hospital, or they don't have the freedom to act upon the desire to move. Women can feel restrained by tubes, belts, and tethers of technology, but they can also lose their freedom to act, with or without medical tethering, by their own conditioning and disconnection with their bodies.

We give birth in our bodies. We cannot "think" and plan our way through labor. We give birth in our Dynamic Feminine energy and body; which means to move intuitively, mindlessly, and unself-consciously.

So Change #8 is about helping pregnant women and birth peeps to come alive in their bodies, to cultivate a new personal and collective relationship with our bodies by feeling pleasure and ecstacy and freedom to move--before labor and in labor!

I'm going to take one of Stephanie's DANCING FOR BIRTH trainings so I can bring her approach to my parents and workshops. I hope you will, too. Check her out at or call her at 866-643-4824.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

#7 Another thought: Public Birth Announcements

As an after thought to #7, or another thought...

Several mothers have recently told me that newspapers in various places on the planet... still refuse to publish a birth announcement if the baby is born at home.

Why is this?! Whatever their reason, not announcing a home birthed baby keeps the notion out of sight, out of mind. Another way to bring change is to challenge and change this policy in your local newspaper--if it exists.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Change #7 A Multi-Billion Dollar Change: Home Birth Economics

Hi Birth Peeps,
I read today that an economic analysis predicted if just 10% of healthy women in the US gave birth at home with qualified midwives, it would save $9.1 BILLION per year. (Presently 1% of women birth at home.)

In the US, childbirth costs more than any other health (or medical?) condition; in 2000 the bill came to $86 Billion, half was paid by taxpayers. This tally is twice the amount paid by any European country.

You don't always get what you pay for. Although we pay more for childbirth than almost any country on the planet, the US has the worst birth outcomes, more preterm births, infant and maternal mortality and other problems than other developed countries.

Another way to change birth in our culture: make home birth with midwives the norm, not the alternative. Health insurance (public and private coverage) should cover home birth because it is a safe, even a safer, alternative for healthy women.

Today I reviewed current research on home birth. In the past thirty years, the studies here and abroad keep coming to the same conclusion: When healthy women birth at home with qualified midwives they have improved and safe outcomes: fewer lacerations, hemorrhages,induction or augmentation of labor, infections, or cesareans.

I am curious why there is a collective fervor to support "research-based" obstetric care--except when it comes to home birth.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Change # 6 Genuine Gratitude for Birth Professionals

Good Morning Peeps!

When we think of changing birth in our culture, most of us tend to think of informing women and stopping or reversing the escalating use of medical and surgical interventions in pregnancy and birth. This narrow vision for change pits two groups against each other; it might even be feeding an image of victims and oppressors. And, instead of cultivating real change and a collective healing, the opposing sides dig their heels in deeper to justify their stance.

Have you ever complained or felt that birth people "objectify" pregnant women, that they don't see or hear the moms?

You can change birth in our culture this week!

Look around at birth professionals in your circle or community. when you notice you have "objectified" a medical profession or professional, take a moment to deconstruct your assumption. Really "see" them as human beings. Perhaps really listen to what they are saying with beginner's ears. Feel their positive intention, even if you don't agree with their management or decisions.

Changing birth in our culture is not always about a fight or being right--e.g., "Lookie here, new research proves I'm right!" It's also about being human, being kind.

At least once this week, extend GENUINE gratitude to, or an acknowledgment of, a birth professional in your circle. It might be someone who:
* is "just doing his or her job,"
* took extra time with a patient,
* burned out,
* or even someone who is getting sued.

Perhaps healing begins by each of us seeing everyone and everything out there as a reflection of our own mind. When we have a change of mind, we have a change of heart. Change begins within and ripples outward.

Feel free to post how you changed birth in our culture this week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Change #5 Continued: Year Long Initiation

Welcome to all the New Peeps joining us.

I want to be part of the Change in our birth culture.
Beginning in January, I will lead a Year Long Childbirth & New Parent Initiation Class. You will be able follow my class--and my learning curve--on this blog...

Virginia Bobro, my business partner and fellow BFW Mentor taught a Year Long Childbirth Class last year. How many of you are doing this, or have done it? We'd love to hear from you.

Ready for more CHANGE? Change #6 Coming on Wednesday.


Thursday, October 7, 2010


Hello Birth Peeps!

For over four decades, our culture has been entrained to take six or more childbirth preparation classes in the third trimester. The focus is on labor. Initially the focus was on relaxation and coping during labor; of late, many classes are no more than an orientation to what to expect in the hospital, management when things go wrong, epidural information, and "choices."

Childbirth classes used to be a "ritual" of childbirth preparation; in recent years the number of women who take childbirth classes has fallen.

Many birth peeps (parents and professionals) feel six weeks is not enough time for parents to un-learn cultural myths and conditioning, and to really embody new beliefs. Waiting until the end of pregnancy doesn't allow time for prenatal nutrition education, making informed choices about where to birth and with whom, and to awaken the Mother-Father archetypes within.

When classes focus on the medical model (whether in support or in-avoidance), the "Patient or Consumer archetype" is awakened--not the nurturing and fierce Mother archetype! My vision of YEAR LONG BIRTH INITIATION includes activities that awaken and strengthen the Great Mother and Father archetypes before the child arrives.

When I envision YEAR LONG BIRTH INITIATION for parents, it is a holistic feast of activities and experiences, friends who gather with elders and mentors. In addition to information would be the maturing of a woman or a couple before they experience birth as a rite of passage and parenting as a new relationship.

So much emphasis is placed on preparation for labor-day, little time is left for preparing for parenthood. Many classes do offer a token childbirth class reunion once after all the babies are born, or perhaps a breastfeeding class--but during the first few months postpartum, most mothers and fathers need much more emotional and social support, as well as information sharing. Even if more postpartum information was given prenatally, new parents aren't ready for it until after they are parenting their own child! So a new standard might include regular meetings for several months after the birth.

Many people like this "idea"... Many know this kind of immersion and ongoing support would really make a profound change in the heart and soul of new parents, and therefore, the culture. So why not just do this? Some of us have tried. But the idea is foreign to all of us, parents and pro's, so entrenched are we in thinking of classes beginning in the third trimester. And the cost. How much would it cost? Is it affordable? And the time investment! People are busy, overworked, and then there's television addiction in the evenings.

Many young people spend a year planning a wedding, making great fuss over that day. So what would it take to make Year Long Childbirth Initiation just something we do in our culture?

During the next week, let's envision a new model of Year Long Childbirth and Parent Preparation, Initiation, and Support. We have to be fearless here. We have to get past all the barriers that keep us complacent with six week classes that are simply not serving our culture.