Saturday, March 27, 2010

If I could do it all over again Part 2: Life With a Baby

In Part 1, I went over all the books I wish I had read when I was preparing for childbirth, yet childbirth is not the only area of mothering that I wish I had known some of the things that I know now. During my pregnancy, I had gotten a sense of the parenting philosophy I was going to subscribe to. Unmedicated childbirth, breastfeeding, babywearing and cosleeping came naturally to me. My background in early childhood education and knowledge of brain development in infants and young children supported those practices. I was able to see through some of the dominant cultural practices of caring for babies while others I was not aware.

Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Steingraber
As I've developed a mother, my children's environment has become an important consideration for me. Steingraber gave me my education in bioaccumulating toxic chemicals and the importance of keeping our food supply, drinking water, and household items free from toxins. In large part, this is the book that convinced me on organic foods, gardening, environmental activism and limiting the amount of plastics in my home. This books also makes a strong case for breastfeeding. If only I had know about this information before I ever got pregnant, or if only my parents and grandparents had known about it...

Baby Matters: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby by Linda Palmer
This book emphasizes the primary importance of attachment parenting (specifically babywearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping) and bolsters a parents' confidence in these parenting practices. Palmer addresses the opposition to these practices with convincing evidence to their benefits. She also provides compelling information on the common cultural practices to avoid like crying it out, formula, antibiotics, etc. Since I already had naturally gravitated to attachment parenting, this book gave me some evidence to cite in support of my intuitive beliefs. Its making this list because I wish I had known how to articulate the findings of this book at a time when I could only express an affinity towards the mindset.

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child by Janet Zand, Robert Rountree, and Rachel Walton
I found this early in Willem's life so it doesn't exactly fall into the category of what I wish I had known, although I wish I had a greater working knowledge of homeopathy and herbalism in my younger years so it wasn't new to me when I became a mother. It has been a very valuable resource in helping to care for him when he's ill. It offers explanations of childhood illnesses and provides sections on conventional medicine, homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine, accupressure and comfort measures/ prevention tips for each illness. I refer it to first when either children are ill and I've really enjoyed learning about alternative medicine and what I can do at home to help my children feel better when they are sick. Evidently Willem has learned from me because he has told me that he really believes in the body's ability to heal itself because he often refuses medicine and instead like to take the wait and see approach.
Then comes the area of motherhood that doesn't involve knowledge, but requires stuff, or better known these days as baby gear. I have a list of "If I could do it all over again" with the baby stuff too.

Cloth diapers
Economical in the long run, worth the upfront cost, especially with the One Size options and bulk packages discounts available, better for babies skin, respiratory systems and the environment. In home washer and dryer recommended, however. I started out knowing I wanted to cloth diaper and bought a cloth diapering system. If only Fuzzi Bunz had been making the adjustable One Size diapers when I first became a mother. I could have saved possibly $800.
T-shirts instead of onesies (long and short sleeved)
I found I really don't like onesies for diaper changes, even though they are good for covering the low back when picking up babies. Especially with Elimination Communication, I find that a shirt that isn't held together at the crotch is quicker and easier for potty times (and diaper changes for that matter.) My babies just do not lie still long enough to snap a onesie bottom. Not only do I wish that non-onesie t-shirts were more commonly made for young babies, I wish I had known to stock up on them when I found them from the beginning.
Pants with feet
I wish I had another 4 or 5 pairs of pants with feet. I only have one pair, it was a gift and I've never seen another pair. They are great, because they keep the bottom half of the baby warm and I don't have to wrestle socks on baby's feet, or keep pulling socks up as they slip off, or keep having to replace socks after they've fallen off and gotten lost.

A hooded bunting
For newborn babies and until crawling, a hooded bunting is a cuddly, cute and easy way to keep a baby warm in cold weather. The hood is easier for me to deal with than a hat because if it falls off, its not going anywhere. I don't even know how many hats we've lost.
Moby Wrap for small babies until toddler
I found that the Moby is most supportive and versatile babywearing device for newborns. The baby can be worn cradled or upright. While many people really like ring slings, I find that the weight on one shoulder is not as comfortable over hours of babywearing as having the baby's weight equally distributed across my back, shoulders and hips. Its also very good for older babies, provides a fun way for them to face out for short periods and can be used through toddlerhood. I did discover this early on but for the sake of having a complete list of baby items, I'm adding this too.

Ergo for babies beyond newborn and for backcarrying
I mainly use this for backcarrying or when my older infant/quasi-toddler is sleeping. Its still great to wear my three year old on my back. Paired with the Moby on the front, double babywearing is possible and very comfortable.

A manual breast pump for engorgement and occasional times when separated from baby
If mom is going to be staying home to care for baby, its still useful to have a manual breast pump to express milk. Having a stockpile of milk in the freezer is comforting, and can be shared or donated to babies who are not exclusively breastfed. If mom is going to be in school, or working part-time/full-time, an electric pump is recommended. I had use of an electric pump when Willem was a baby because I was in school 40 hours a week when classes were going on with my graduate program, yet with Belle, I've only used a manual pump a handful of times. I was given a manual pump as a baby shower gift and it was a good one.

A side car crib
A side car crib is more worthwhile, in my experience, than a co-sleeper, bassinet, cradle, etc. Not only does it ensure a "cage-free baby," it can be set up when the baby is small and used until the child moves out of the family bedroom. I could have saved some money if we had put the side-car crib up instead of buying the co-sleeper.

A boppy (when learning to breastfeed)
Boppies aren't just for helping hold the baby when figuring out a proper latch for breastfeeding, they are great backrests in pregnancy, sitting supports for babies learning to sit up, nap nests for little babies, especially when they are congested. And just a fun toy for older children too. This is something I did have from the beginning and it was really worth it, especially since I got it off craigslist for cheap.

Swaddling blankets
I've learned that receiving blankets do not equal swaddling blankets and that not all babies, at all stages in their infancy like being swaddled. For both of my children, between 6-10 months, swaddling became a very important and useful of helping them get to sleep. I'm glad I figured swaddling out, but I wish I had had some good-sized and light-weight swaddling blankets from the beginning.

Car Seat
For the sake of a complete list of what is needed for a baby, a car seat needs to be on the list; however, this is one area that I haven't explored to a great extent so if I could do it all over again, I'd know more about it already and not be showing off my ignorance here. There's a chance with the next baby, I'll look into a rear-facing convertible car seat from the beginning, just for the convenience and money saving. Most importantly is knowing how to properly install the seat and position the car seat straps. Thanks to my friend Jennifer who taught me the trick of sitting on your knees in the seat to adjust the tightness against the backseat of the car.

If I could do it all over again Part 1: Preparing for Childbirth

I've learned so much from becoming a mother and my blog is somewhat of a catalog of that learning. Since I posted my review of Birth as an American Rite of Passage, I've been thinking about what I know now that I wish I had known before Willem was born. So much of it comes from what I wish I had read. I have often thought that if someone had told me that I could come away from giving birth traumatized by having to fight for an unmedicated birth, I wouldn't have believed them. I would have needed to read the right books to be fully convinced. I think I've now found a reading list that would have convinced me if I were to have read them while I was pregnant the first time.

Birth as an American Rite of Passage by Robbie Davis-Floyd
This has been a very influential book for me. Framing the obstetric culture in terms of technology over nature was a very helpful framework for me to see the potential battle that birth can be between a mother and hospital workers. If I had read the book while pregnant the first time, I would have know that I was in the wholistic camp, believing that a woman's body is capable of working properly to birth a baby. Viewing birth as a rite of passage also likely would have illuminated the spiritual aspect of birth in a way might have compelled me to view the upcoming event as a spiritual event as well. The women stories in the book also very clearly describe common hospital practices that upon reading, I would have known I wanted to avoid. Homebirth was clearly shown by the mothers stories to be one of the only viable ways of really avoiding those practices.

Rediscovering Birth by Sheila Kitzinger
The strength of this book comes from the cross-cultural descriptions of birth practices, as well as covering the history of childbirth. Kitzinger places the natural process of birth as the foundation of the book and so when describing the migration from homebirth to hospital, it becomes very clear to the reader how unnecessary a hospital birth is in the majority of births while respecting their usefulness is certain situations. As a first time mother, I had had no exposure to the cultural context of hospital birth. I believe, like circumcision, if I had known the history behind the practice, I would not have been accepting to engage in it. This book also highlights the spiritual and emotional aspects of birth, which as I've said, would be very helpful for me.

Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block
While Rediscovery Birth examines the history of the way childbirth has been handled across societies, Pushed examines the current issues confronting childbearing women in our society. Like Birth as an American Rite of Passage, I believe I would have clearly seen the incongruent care being given to childbearing women and how that can lead to avoidable harms. Block gives a sense of the whole picture that comprises all the parts of maternity care and how each part in interrelated from hospital administration to insurance companies, malpractice lawyers, midwives and law-makers. I feel that the book shows very convincing how women can be painted into a corner when it comes to making decisions for birth. As it was so extensively researched with up to date information, I believe I would have been very convinced by Block's reporting.

Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Sarah J. Buckley
Buckley describes the biology of childbirth and describes very well the type of environment needed to allow the process to occur most successfully. I feel that her presentation of the physiology defines why privacy, familiarity and no intervention is so important in childbirth.

From this book, I also would have learned the whys of babywearing and been introduced to the concept of elimination communication, which I may have been intrigued enough to try it as soon as Willem was born.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
If I could have read one book on how to cope with and prepare for the physical sensations of childbirth, this would have been it. It would have been very helpful for me to know about "the sphincter rule," the value of cuddling and "smooching" during labor, "horse lips" and maintaining a relaxed mouth and throat. The Hypnobirthing preparation I did do during my first pregnancy was helpful in learning how to relax and breathe but I feel that Ina May's Guide covers that very well, with more applicable information for the continuous motion often helpful during labor.

Also the normalcy of home and out of hospital would have been reinforced and added to how convinced I would have been to avoid the hospital.

A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Not only is this book convincing for why common obstetric practices should not be routinely employed, it also works to prepare a woman who may need to have a hospital birth for whatever reason. I think through reading this book in conjunction with the others, my confidence in my knowledge of what I want to avoid would have been bolstered and I also would have been prepared to deal with the hospital if I had needed to.

If I had read all of these books relating to childbirth during my pregnancy (or before), I still would have needed to convey the information to my husband. He is more difficult to convince than I am when it comes to information that it outside of cultural norms or claims to be scientific in anyway. Like I found between my pregnancies, he did learn a great deal from the times when I stopped reading and couldn't help but tell him about the frustrating, funny, interesting fact that I had just learned. That strategy went a long way, but it did come to a point where he told me to stop talking about birth (more because it reminded him of the trauma he experienced from Willem's birth). Because of his limited time as a graduate student, I would have needed to pick one source of information on childbirth to share with him.

The Business of Being Born produced by Rikki Lake and Abby Epstein
This documentary provides a DVD format and covers all of the main points of the books I've listed. Its animation of the "technocracy's cascade of interventions" is useful in the quick way it describes the drawbacks of hospital birth. The history of hospital birth provides enough information to see just how money driven, patriarchal and unjust hospital birth's origins are.

My husband has seen the documentary and though he was convinced by the information regarding what is wrong with the hospital based maternity care system, he still was not completely convinced about a homebirth. HIs preference would be to fix the hospital system so unmedicated birth is the norm, but I think even he realizes that is not going to happen in time for births in our family. He accepted the homebirth option because he didn't see a better way, in the moment, that I was comfortable with. I think this is what is called "opting-out." Even still, I'm not sure whether he would have been convinced regarding homebirth without first witnessing the down-right abuse I experienced in the hospital giving birth to our first child.

All of the books, and the DVD, I discussed in this post are available on the amazon associates store that I posted at the bottom on my blog. There's reading list widgets for blogs or there's shopping directly from a blog, I chose the latter--saves time for the reader. That's also my explanation for why I didn't link individually to each item or post pictures, its all there, just below the post.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Anatomically Correct Baby Doll

I forget how this came up but Willem decided that he wanted to get a baby doll, specifically one he could take into the bathtub with him and was a boy. When I was pregnant with Belle, he was gifted a doll and a child-sized Moby Wrap and we have had some good times with it. But this new doll was going to be different and special because it had to not have a soft fabric body. And if it was going to be a boy doll, it needed to be anatomically correct. Thus started my search for anatomically correct boy dolls.

This was what we settled on: The Paul doll from Corolle

Of course, my biggest question as I was taking it out of the box was, is the doll circumcised?

To my relief, no.

So for all the mamas and papas of intact boys, or intactivist mamas and papas of girls, you can get an intact boy doll.

But beware of mold build up inside the doll as is common in bath toys. I was disappointed to find that the joints and seams were not water-tight so I'm concerned that we'll get the nasty mold build up.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Review of Birth as an American Rite of Passage

I just finished reading "Birth as an American Rite of Passage" and I found myself wishing that if I had read just one book to learn about what giving birth in an American hospital would be like, I wish this book written by medical anthropologist Robbie Davis-Floyd. Through the words of women in response to interview questions relating to their birth experience, readers get a very realistic view of what obstetric culture is like and the expected role of women birthing in hospitals. I often said that if someone had told me what giving birth in a hospital is like based on culture, medical ideology, current practices, etc., I would not have believed them because it all sounds so very irrational, paranoid, conspiracy-theorist and unethical. However, after reading "Birth as an American Rite of Passage" I think I would have been convinced through Davis-Floyd's analysis and the selected quotes from women's birth stories. She clearly describes the "technocratic model" that predominates our current culture and how it renders women as objects who malfunction who are not to be trusted and who threaten the very premise that our world can be saved by technology.

In the article I recently wrote for the Exponent, I quoted the author's definition of technocratic birthing rituals and I'll also include it here:

“The term technocracy implies use of an ideology of technological progress as a source of political power. It thus expresses not only the technological but also the hierarchical, bureaucratic and autocratic dimensions of this culturally dominant reality model—dimensions that are immediately visible in many realms of post-industrial American life.”

Davis-Floyd goes on to state:

“According to the technocratic model of birth, the human body is a machine. The medical system [which is inculcated by the technocratic culture] has done a thorough job of convincing women of their defectiveness and dangers in their specifically female functions”—pregnancy and childbirth foremost.

Through reading the book, I've also come to have a greater understanding of why women are so steeped in our culture and why non-technocratic birth is unlikely (as 98% of women in the US give birth to babies in the hospital, and only 1% birth at home). Indeed, when as I became a mother, I too felt the obligation to follow the dominant culture. If only I had know the historical underpinnings of hospital birth and read this book, I may have been able to be convinced that birthing in a hospital was not the way I wanted to welcome my child into my arms.

I was pleased to read that Davis-Floyd recognized and named trauma as a result of birth experiences; however, the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder were misidentified as mild postpartum depression. In my research on PTSD resulting from childbirth, the earliest citations I have found declaring the diagnosis of PTSD were from 1995--before the first edition of the book was published. However, I am disappointed that in the revising for the second edition, the author did not update sections on trauma to reflect the new diagnosis.

Also I felt a category of women's experiences was missing. Davis-Floyd stated that of the 100 women she interviewed for the book that women either fully accepted and embraced the technocratic model of childbirth, they rejected it entirely or they were somewhere in between. To give the benefit of the doubt, there is a chance that the reason why my missing category was not included was because none of the women in her sample would have matched it. The in-between categories included:
  • Women who maintained conceptual distance from the technocratic model by achieving "natural" childbirth in the hospital (15%)
  • Women who maintained conceptual distance from the technocratic model by placing technology at the service of the individual (10%)
  • Women who found conceptual fusion with the technocratic model with cognitive ease (42%)
  • Women who found conceptual fusion with the technocratic model during birth by experiencing cognitive distress, e.g. trauma (9%)
And now, because you are wondering what this missing category I am referring is: I feel she left out, or did not have a woman in her study matching the profile, of a women who maintained conceptual distance from the technocratic model by achieving "natural" childbirth in the hospital with cognitive distress.

For this was my experience, I was able to attain the ideal unmedicated, low-intervention birth in a hospital and the detriment of my mental health.

Perhaps it could be argued that my experience would fit into the last category of finding fusion with cognitive distress, but I did not find fusion. And if someone wants to state that I did, because I consented to AROM at 5 cm, I'm not listening...

An interesting correlation can be mentioned however, that the percentage from Davis-Floyd's study of women who experienced cognitive distress is the same commonly cited percentage rate of PTSD after childbirth--9%. Making her omission of PTSD as a sequelae of childbirth, even more disappointing.

So in conclusion, this book is a very persuasive case for birth as a initiation rite for women as they transition to motherhood and current obstetric practice as a vehicle for gaining compliance and reinforcing the dominant cultural view of technology reigns supreme. If I were to create a list of influential, informative books for future mothers, this would be near the top.

To end, a quote from the book that summarizes why birth is so exceptionally profound and important to me:
Her baby constitutes for her a powerful symbol of her motherhood, her individuality, her new family, the beauty and wonder of nature, and the perfection of her own body and her procreative powers.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Books Make a Bad Day Better

After a very frustrating start to my day dealing with insurance companies, billing and access to medical care for the kids, I was in a pretty cranky mood with two tired, hungry and sick kids. On the way home from all of that, I stopped to get mail. A package from Amazon was there for me. Inside was a shipment of books that I ordered with a $50 gift card granted by reward point on my credit card. But even better than that was the pile of books another resident had left in front of the community center hoping that another resident (like me!) would want them. Among them included copies of The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin and Marie Mongan's Hynobirthing text. Already having those on my shelf at home, I feel like I majorly scored when I saw these titles:

This one I'm excited about because it combines my passions and my interests throughout my education: couple relationships as a dyad of family structure and early care and education birth to 5. This has a special term that describes this period: transition to parenthood. Even though I'm very familiar with the term and some of the research relating to it, I had failed to previously view my current interests in terms of issues relating to transition to parenthood. Yes, the missing link in my thinking. I now have the idea in my mind that I can find potential PhD advisors through finding people who special in transition to parenthood issues. The lead author of the book, Pamela Jordan, is actually on faculty at the Univerisity of Washington. I've met her, actually, when preparing to apply to graduate school for my Master's degree. She's in, of all places, the nursing department and not currently taking students as far as I know. Not applying to the nursing PhD program has been something I've debated with myself over and over too.

This book has been highly recommended to me but I've never invested the money into buying it, and now I don't have to! I would say that I take breastfeeding for granted a bit. I haven't had many challenges in my nursing relationships with my two babies. By the time I encountered challenges, it was while nursing an older toddler and most books don't address those questions. Yet, this I know will be a good reference book to have on hand, even if it is one of the older editions.

And to go on to what I ordered and received today, 3 titles that I'm excited to add to my library:

I still haven't read this, even though arguably its the most influential midwifery text since midwifery was reinvented in America in the 1970s, by Ina May Gaskin herself! One of my favorite informing yourself about birth books is Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which is written more for an audience of expectant mothers in mind, while Spiritual Midwifery can read a lot like a do-it yourself guide, or textbooks for midwives. As I've been ambivalent about pursing midwifery, I had put off reading it, until I picked it up and starting looking at it at Barnes and Noble while Willem and Belle played at the train table. I do wonder, though, if I will pick up much new information than what I've already learned.

Note to the workers at the U Village Barnes and Noble, great idea to move the parenting and childcare section in easy access of the train table and children's section. I am there frequently (read about 2 times a week) so having reading material handy is very nice. Next, please move Mothering Magazine to the magazine rack next to the train table.

I'm am very intrigued by Michel Odent's conclusions from his work with childbearing women over the last few decades, although I don't know much about it. I'm branching out by purchasing this to be further informed in the processes of development and its associations with nature, neurobiology and behavior (hey, that's what my husband studies!)

I'm getting this one mainly for recipes and to learn about some concepts that are new to me: lacto-fermented foods and beverages, soaking grains and eating according to cultural heritage. At the beginning of the book, there is a good introduction to what is incorrect about conventional nutrition recommendations as well as to the terms that American's are not very familiar with. However, it by no means is in depth so I'll be having to delve in further to understand these concepts. The recipes, I hope will be fun to experiment with. Especially given the liberalness of animal products promoted in it. Peter will soon be making a German speciality Grunkohl which takes using animal fat quite literally--its kale cooked in goose fat (although we could only find duck fat, we'll see how it turns out).

Since I haven't finished reading the last books I got from an Amazon gift card (Birth as an American Rite of Passage by Robbie Davis Floyd and Obstetric Myths vs Research Realities), I'll have reading material for awhile!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

When behind on blogging, post facebook updates!

I've been quiet here on the blog, so since the last time I posted from my Facebook wall, here are the happenings.

March 1:

*Willem: What is that? Peter: That is Uranus. Willem: My anus?

*Not only do we have a stairclimber, but Belle climbed all the way up the stairs, crawled to the bathroom and stood up in front of the potty. When I picked her up and put her on the toilet, she peed! I call that taking herself to the bathroom. :-D

March 5:
*quilt top finished: nope, accepted into Public Health program: nope. I'm going to quit while I'm ahead, read some scriptures and go to sleep.

March 7:
*My favorite breastfeeding picture. Willem was 3 weeks old in this picture.

March 8:
*I'm glad I remembered before bed that I have yoga in the morning. 7 am, yikes!

March 9:
*What to do when you have the intense inclination to start dancing as you walk down the street?

*two abnormally tired children probably means that another illness is around the corner.

*is ready to start sewing! New temple dress or Ren Faire dress first?

March 10:

*put my baby girl to sleep tonight wrapped in the blanket from Tia Dominique Its done! I'll post pictures soon.

March 12:

*hates the word anestitized. Really did I just spell that right on the first attempt!? Its been illuding me all day. (nope!)

March 13:
*got invited to submit a 1,000 word article to The Exponent, a literary magazine for Mormon Women. The bad news? The deadline is Monday.

March 14:
*is now preparing the powerpoint presentation for Bellies To Booties Web TV show about The Birth Survey, going live at 2 pm PDT Wednesday March 17.

*is dealing with the worst (and first I've seen IRL) case of pink-eye. Poor Willem Alderks!

Mothers International Lactation Campaign M.I.L.C.

Location:your Facebook profile page, this is a VIRTUAL event
Time:12:00AM Monday, March 8th

Healthy Kids and Green Parenting Fair
sponsored by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department
Time:10:00AM Saturday, March 20th
Location:South Park Community Center

Crime Over Split Milk (shared by Aimee's husband)
Amnesty International is making that case that violations of women's rights and discrimination against women are leading to avoidable maternal deaths in the time around childbirth.
Sarah Shahi: How I Handled My Home Birth – Celebrity Baby Blog – (Love this quote: “I had a home birth because I really believe in the body’s natural ability to give birth. The medical profession has kind of warped women’s minds into thinking we don’t know how to birth and we need doctors and epidurals and Pitocin.")
Shannon Mitchel speaks out at the NIH VBAC Conference
Christians Urged to Boycott Glenn Beck - The Caucus Blog - (I generally ignore any talk of Glenn Beck, but this one I have to comment on. Indeed, by exhorting Christians to leave their churches who encourage any activities like "social or economic justice", he is asking people to leave his own Church. Social justice is "ubiquitous in the Book of Mormon.")
Harried mom created baby carrier out of necessity (love this for its clear example of maternal feminism)
Amnesty International Report on U.S. Maternal Health (Jennifer Block)- TIME

Advocacy Opportunities:

MomsRising: Tell Congress to take action on "Most Wanted" of Toxic Chemicals!
Take Action Online | Amnesty International USA | Maternal Health is a Human Right
MomsRising: Tell Congress that parents need paid sick days to keep everyone (from their kids to their colleagues) healthier
Sign the KSCA Petition: Kid-Safe Chemicals Act

Deadlines and Disappointments

Thinking I was going to be able to get back to blogging and post about all the stuff that is piling up in my blog folder, I have once again been pulled away towards other projects with tight deadlines.

First there was an invitation to write a 1,000 word article for Exponent II, a literary magazine for Mormon women. An exciting opportunity for sure, and now I'm hoping that my submission justifies the invitation.

Next is preparing for an online TV show through the online TV channel Bellies to Booties where I will be introducing and describing The Birth Survey to expectant and new mothers and birth advocates.

The details of the event:
Event details:
What: The Birth Survey
When: March 17, 2:00pm-3:00 pm
Whether you are pregnant, have had a baby or are interested in birth advocacy, The Birth Survey has something to offer you. Learn how to use The Birth Survey data to help you in your choice of caregiver and birth location, how you can add your birth experience to the data and how you can become involved in spreading the word about The Birth Survey.

Description of Presentation:
Jenne Alderks, M.Ed., Regional Coordinator Co-Chair will introduce and describe The Birth Survey, an online consumer reporting resource for expectant families and it brings greater transparency to maternity care services.

Don't tell me if you'll be watching or not, I'm nervous enough as it is!

And in other news, I heard from two of the programs I applied for; Public Health and Women's Studies and I was not accepted to either of those programs. I still haven't heard from Public Affairs but all along I've thought that was the least likely. The reasons I was given were three that I anticipated: funding shortages, competition between applicants and not having a close enough fit with a primary advisor. As I've said all along, if I don't get in its just as well because I'll not miss the time at home teaching and caring for my children while they are as young as they are.

If the last couple of months have been any indication, maybe I'm busy enough and involved in advocacy pursuits enough for my tastes that I don't need to take myself away from them for schoolwork.

As I spent all November and December of last year, preparing my PhD applications, I spent all of October writing a submission to the Journal for the Association of Research on Mothering. Last week, it was announced that ARM is going to be shutting down unexpectedly and the upcoming issue that I submitted to will not be published.

The director of ARM, Andrea O'Reilly has submitted an invitation to anyone who is disappointed by this announcement to petition York University to provide the base funding to sustain the Association.
Hello all,

I am meeting with York administration on the morning of Tuesday March 16. If you are inclined but have not yet done so, please send a letter of support for ARM before Tuesday morning. Names and emails for York administration may be found on the “ARM closure” Letter, (March 2, 2010) on ARM’s website: Thank you once again for all the support. Andrea O’Reilly, Founder and director, ARM

To keep updated on ARM's effort to stay open, join the facebook group Friends of the Association for Research on Mothering.

I also discovered that I missed the deadline for submitting a proposal for The National Council on Family Relations Conference on the topic of childbirth trauma effects on family relationships between the mother and her partner and herself, her new baby and other children. Given the derth of information on the topic, it likely would have been difficult to get enough together for a proposal, but I'm especially sad about this one because I won't have a good reason to visit Minneapolis, Minnesota (where the conference is being held) to visit my colleague for Solace for Mothers who lives in the area.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Financial Dreams

Due to some circumstances, I'm having to look at what it is I really want out of my future financially, all the things I would like to do in my life, and therefore need to be able to afford. I work better writing things down and who doesn't like to dream of what it is you wish for in life? Its probably something that you also like reading or hearing about others dreams for themselves. So for your reading pleasure:

I like to think that my wants are simple, and that I know the value of simplicity and frugality and the important things of life: family, health, religion, passion. I like to think that I don't overdo or wish beyond my means, and since at this point, I don't know my means and I appreciate having a vision to aspire to, these are my goals or things I would like to attain or possess in this life.

A Home:
So far I know I want it to have 4-5 bedrooms including a master suite with deep jetted tub, a bathroom on the first floor, a "man room" for my husband, and a "me room" for an office/craft room possibly in a loft, a workshop in the garage for crafting, woodworking, etc, a roomy kitchen and quality, comfortable furnishings throughout the home in colors that are pleasing and invigorating to both my husband and I, energy efficient features and as many sustainable materials as possible. We'd like to have enough land for a sizable vegetable garden and I'm enamored with the idea of backyard homesteading. If the home had a stone turret and stained glass windows, I'd be living a dream.

An education for each member of the family:

My husband's PhD is paid for at this point (such a blessing!), as well as my master's degree. Undergraduate college educations for our children are given, but we make the caveat of being willing to pay the equivalent of the LDS subsidy at BYU and not more for a private university. Then there's my PhD that someday I will get but I would hope that would be paid through by fellowships and assistantships, like my husband's. Private schools for my children as they are growing up are an option, and I would like to be able to afford them if we decide to pursue it. Right now we are pursuing a preschool for Willem because it provides a German immersion curriculum and we hope that Willem will be able to pick up enough of the language to be able to converse with my husband in German.


Hobbies are so expensive but bring a great amount of fulfillment and interest to life. My husband's hobbies are especially expensive: woodworking, guitar and photography. Mine can be expensive too: quilting/sewing, guitar, yoga, and dance. We would like to be financially comfortable enough to buy nice equipment for our hobbies. I'd like to be able to afford dance lessons and yoga classes, as well as maybe someday a industrial embroidery machine and long arm quilter. In our house, we'd like to have a full music room with all of the instruments to make up a rock band. So far, we're just missing the drum set and the microphone. There's something about guitars too, and it seems that people who enjoy playing, also enjoy collecting them. My husband and I are dreaming about this one: I know my husband wants to build and restore cars with our children as a way to connect, spend time with and teach them as they grow up, that will require a garage and the money for tools, parts and cars.

This is where we will likely need the bulk of our wealth. We would very much like to travel to as many places in the world as possible. Our short list is not so short and when we think of travels, we think of being immersed in the local culture by staying for a month or more. That's what we hope to do with a trip to Europe and I would like to stay in Mexico for 3 months or so.

Missions, Philanthropy and Charitable Donations:
My husband and I both have pet causes that we hope assist in accomplishing their goals. My favorites right now are The Coalition for Improving Maternity Services and MomsRising. When we are old enough to have a children out of the house, we strongly desire to serve missions as a married couple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In serving church missions, there are opportunities to serve around the world from Norway and Ghana to India and Hawaii, as well as opportunities in the continental United States.

I think that covers the range of interests and areas in which money is necessary. Those are my dreams. What are yours?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A week in Facebook Updates

I've been away from blogging longer than I thought so by way of catching up via sound-bites (without the sound...) here's what has been going on:

Today (Sunday Feb 28):

* has extra strawberry runners ready for planting. If you want 1 or 2 or more, please let me know. I'm starting a container vegetable garden on my patio. The strawberry runners come in bunches of 25, and I'm only going to be using 3. So please, grow some strawberries on your patio or in your P-Patch! I really don't want them to go to waste.

* She walks!

Friday Feb 26:

* is off to start watching Doctrine and Covenants Scripture Stories with Willem Alderks. Last night we finished the Old Testament, after going through the New Testament and The Book of Mormon.

* is so impressed that the friend who babysat for us tonight understood what I meant when I said "If Belle is inexplainably fussy at any point, put her on the potty upstairs." My friend caught her first EC pee and poop!

* is going to finally experience the amazingness of the new One Size diapers by FuzziBunz Cloth Diapers. Its pretty exciting. I think the woman who thought to put adjustable elastic into diapers is a genius. (I found a special bulk package where in total I got $30 off a package of 6)

Thursday Feb 25:

* is thirsty. I'm sure you wanted to know that.

* Willem Alderks just correctly identified a Porshe.

* wishes that long skirts were long enough for me. I hate it when skirts hit that awkward top of the ankle spot instead of brushing the tops of my feet like I'd like.

Wednesday Feb 24:

* Quote from Willem Alderks: I like being loud because loudness comes up out of your heart. Happiness too, maybe.

* is having issues with a power point slide

* is really trying not to speculate that my aunt is another causality of a screwed up health care system. I know she had been struggling with issues with insurance and health care costs.

* is mourning the loss of my aunt, Cathy Washington who passed away at a month shy of 65 years old. With her death, all my first degree paternal ancestors are gone. I will miss her greatly.

* needs to find out how to do a screen shot on a Macbook. Can anyone help me? (Its a nifty trick!)

Tuesday Feb 23:

* just ordered 10,000 postcards for The Birth Survey! My apartment office managers will like that delivery, lol.

* got to see MRI images of my baby's brain tonight. They're going to send a CD too so I can keep pictures. It seriously cooler than an ultrasound, and so much safer and less invasive! (Belle is participating in a developmental study at the University of Washington)

Monday Feb 22:

* feels I need to teach Willem Alderks about resisting sexual abuse tonight. Any advice for me?

* guess who has learned the roll-your-shoulder-blades-so-its-hard-for-your-parents-to-hold-onto-you trick?

* wonders what kind of a virus induces vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose, congestion, cough and a 104 fever. Also wondering if the sickness will ever end??

Articles I linked to:
The Still Cruel Maternity Wards (article by Henci Goer)
Washington Renaissance Fantasy Faire Performer Application (I'm trying to get my Irish dance company on the roster of performers)
Babywearing Halloween Company
What to Say to Those who Think Single Payer Advocates are Wacko
Oregon News: More Women Choosing Homebirth (the new percentage is 5%)
The World Health Organization 2005 Maternal Child Health Report
Anti-antibiotic PSA

Advocacy Opportunities:
Join Pesticide Action Network to Protect Children from Environmental Contaminants
Join MomsRising to tell Congress to pass real healthcare reform
Tell Congress to Finish the Job on Health Care Reform