Owning My Miscarriage

I showed him the baby, the clump of cells. I don’t think he felt a strong connection to it. I think he was a little uncomfortable with its presence. I loved looking at it. I took pictures and invited my friends to come see it.

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Emily Graham
The Hidden Rituals of Waterbirth

Waterbirth has become almost synonymous with homebirth. It’s popularity is evident by searching “birth videos” on YouTube. Far more than half of them feature waterbirths.

What makes us seek out water for birth?

I believe that the pool represents more than just water. I studied Human Relations (a mixture of Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology) in college, and I’m always curious about the symbolism of common rituals. I loved reading Robbie Davis-Floyd’s Birth as an American Rite of Passage during my college days. It made total sense to me although I spent very little time thinking about birth in those days. And so it is with the sociological mind that I contemplate water birth.

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Emily Graham
Birth, the poem

Birth

We are at the center, my baby and I

Love surrounds us from all sides

It radiates from everyone silently

On a normal day, we speak of connection and love

But here, in this space of birthing, we have no need for words

The mundane is made holy just by being here...

 

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Tonight, I Am an Exploding Galaxy of Stars...

Who cares if I “have a cute bump”?  A fundus is growing, a baby is inching its way towards my yoni, my blood is pumping so hard - surely if they harnessed its power, I could light up the whole world tonight. This is why I scream in labor. The sounds of a waterfall drown out voices, and I am more powerful than any waterfall now, that much I know. Soon I will be a tender mother, a soft belly and warm breasts, but tonight, I am an exploding galaxy of stars and this is why we cry when a woman gives birth in our presence.

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Birth as a Rite of Passage

Modern humans have spent so much time and energy on making birth safer. Of course, given the sordid history of modern obstetrics, that was a dire and necessary action. Women and babies, in recent history, died pretty frequently during childbirth. But in this quest to eliminate all risk of death in birth (an elusive and impossible goal), humanity has all but lost the ability to see that birth is more than a painful and dangerous ordeal to survive. The perspective is skewed from all those years of focus on the outcome, and an almost complete lack of attention on the process. Birth has always been a rite of passage. As you can read in Robbie Davis-Floyd’s work, “Birth as an American Rite of Passage”, the outcome in modern society is to initiate women and babies into a culture of trust of experts and machines, linear thinking and fear. Our culture does not discuss that birth drives a woman to her personal edges and shows her truths that are hidden through the mundane realities of everyday life.

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Emily Graham
Wild Roots

As a mother, I found that giving birth under my own authority created a pattern that continues as my children grow. Mothering is instinctual, but it can be pretty damn heavy at times.

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Emily Graham
What the &#%! is a "Placenta Reading"?

Placentas are getting lots of attention these days. Everyone knows someone who has taken dehydrated placenta capsules. Beautiful art can be found all over Pinterest and Etsy, both of actual placentas (in the form of prints) and of "Trees of Life", which are other pieces of art made in the likeness of placentas. But what about "Placenta Readings"? I don't hear many people talking about them.

I will preface this by mentioning that I studied midwifery with Whapio and The Matrona, and if you've never sat in circle with this woman, GET ON THAT. She was the first person I heard mention placenta readings, and right away, it seemed so obvious to me that this be a thing. She has offered me two readings of my own babies' placentas, and I cherish her words. I've since offered placenta readings to anyone who is interested, and I've been truly amazed at what I've seen. And I'm not a particularly "woo-woo" person. Or am I? 

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Redefining Primary Care

Our current cultural definition of “primary caregiver” is: Health care provided by a medical professional with whom a patient has initial contact.

Well, that certainly falls flat. Especially when talking about a family carrying and preparing for a new life. Practicing as a caregiver in what is being called the “new paradigm” is much more than this. There is no 'patient', perhaps no professional, medical or otherwise.

I define a Caregiver as someone who has an interest in another person, who feels affection for them, pays attention to them. Someone who listens and learns what is essential for the well-being of this person in this moment, and who helps facilitate the realization of that need when the person requests such assistance.

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