Beautiful VBAC Homebirth Video

The kiss at minute seven is more than I can take. The love between this couple has a radius so big, you can’t help but fall in love. I am so happy that folks are brave enough to share these amazing images with the world so we can all see the beauty of birth. I feel privileged to be part of this awesome, sensual & intimate moment in time as a stranger peeking in to take a view. (Another awesome birth with my Midwife Kelli Johnson, btw.)

So, you wanna have a painless childbirth?

It IS possible. I did it, I’ve met other women who have done it, and you can do it too! What makes a painless birth possible? Total lack of fear & deep trust in your body & self is the basic premise, getting to that state is the part that takes some deep work.

The essential elements of a painless birth (for me, anyway):

  1. Following the process outlined in the book Painless Childbirth
  2. Practicing self-hypnosis (I used Hypnobabies, but there are several programs out there)
  3. Being loved & supported, especially by my women friends
  4. A cooperative & well positioned baby

Today I had the opportunity to interview Giuditta Tournetta, author of Painless Childbirth (you can listen to that interview here) for an entire hour and we scratched the surface on the teachings that she will be bringing to Central Florida in September when she does a three day workshop for expectant parents & birth professionals. (For details on the workshop, please click here & tell your friends about it!) I’m stoked to be able to attend this with my gal Amber, who is due in early October.

The wisdom Giuditta has gathered through her years of doula work (and her own painless birth years ago) is of tremendous value to bringing the sacred back into birthing.  She correlates each stage of development in the womb with a chakra & basic human right. Her insights are illuminating, healing, unique and very accessible to those who desire a more conscious birth experience.

I hope to see lots of you at the workshop so we can bring this wisdom into our birthing practices in Central Florida. If you register before 9/20, you will get $50 off.

Thoughts on Babies, the movie

So, I went to opening night of Babies, and unlike the Weekly I give it four stars, I would give it five if they had shown more of the births.

First, a synopsis of the film:  Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps. The children are: Ponijao, who lives with her family in Namibia; Bayar, who resides with his family in Mongolia, ; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in the United States, in San Francisco. It’s kinda like Baraka, showcasing different cultures and their customs side by side and, like Baraka, I think this is one to watch over and over to assimilate.  (OMG, I just found that the Baraka creators are doing one on birth, rebirth & death called Samasara, due out in 2011 – awesome!!!)  Most first time viewers, especially non-parents, might think it a cute and charming film and get a vague sense that there’s something important being revealed here, and indeed there is.

I have to mention that not even five minutes into the film, a dude sitting several rows in front of me, whipped around all annoyed at Maya’s sweet excitement she was exhibiting over the film. She was not crying or being loud, just kinda babbling and grunting her approval. He ran out of the theater and came in moments later followed by a movie staffer, who came in to check the scene out and had wisdom to leave it alone. The moment she started to get fussy a bit later on, I took her and calmed her down so no one would be affected, but I thought it was a bit short sighted of this gentleman to come to a movie about babies and get in a huff about sweet sounds when the movie was littered with a good bit of crying and other other baby noises. I hope his lady friend does not sleep with him tonight.

Anywho…

As a new mom who is instinctively uncomfortable with books, toys, hand sanitizer, tv, baby food, bouncers and a lot of the other trappings of the modern day parent, I’ve looked to the wisdom of indigenous cultures whose children seem happy & whole to challenge the assumptions my culture has ingrained in me about parenting and children.

Go see this film. It’s an important study on degree of connection/separation, depending on the kind of lens you view things through. It compels us to question our assumptions of what’s best for babies and ourselves. It’s a perfect companion to my new favorite book, Ascent of Humanity.

The most connected baby is also the happiest & brightest – it’s hard to separate her from her family or environment, as it all blends together like one complete system. The more material goods and modern technology are introduced, the less each baby has an opportunity to connect and engage with people, animals and nature and the more confusion, stress and crying occur. I think it’s also interesting to note that the most connected baby has no involved adult males, but the least connected baby has more contact with her dad than her mom.

After you go see the movie, please come back here and add your comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I know I came home and immediately had the urge to purge my entire house of things and started dreaming of rolling in the dirt with Maya.

I Love You Too, Maya


So, Maya went on an “I Love You” fest last night and this morning. I took this video in the morning, towards the tail end of our pillow talk, so she was getting pretty tired of saying it, but you get the essence. She says it right in the first 10 seconds of this clip & several times after I sing her the song. She’s been saying hi quite frequently for the past month, but THIS is EPIC. (I was hiding the camera from her so she wouldn’t clam up, which is why it’s at this angle).

Reducing Infant Mortality

Listen to Obstetricians, Doulas, Neonatologists, Midwives, Psychologists, Pediatricians, and other Physicians explain how our health care system is failing babies and mothers and what we can do about it. This is a great short featuring Orlando’s own Jennie Joseph.

Watch the full video here: www.reducinginfantmortality.com

About the Film:
The current US Health Care System is failing babies and families before, during and after birth. At this critical moment when the US government is re-envisioning our health care system, we are seizing the opportunity to make a 10-12 minute video not only to point out the flaws in the way we care for babies and families, but also to identify the keys to improved care. Our infant mortality ranking is 42nd on the world stage which means 41 countries have better statistics. This places us right in the middle of the following countries: Guam, Cuba, Croatia and Belarus, with over double the infant deaths compared to the top 10 countries of the world. (CIA World Factbook).

Our astronomically high African American infant mortality rate at 16 deaths per 1,000 is similar to countries such as Malaysia and the West Bank. Not only are babies dying needlessly, but the ones who survive this failing system are also often adversely affected by unnecessary procedures and separation from mother and family. Our intent with this video is to encourage policy makers to consider a health care system that holds prevention of these calamities as a high priority. The midwifery model of care for healthy low-risk women is a simple solution which addresses many of these issues simultaneously.

We are advocating for a health care system in which it will be standard procedure for mothers and babies to thrive and not merely survive through birth and early life. The midwifery model of care will save our health care system millions of dollars each year.

I’m not engaged. Or married, thank goddess!


I’ve long admired the work of Brian Feldman & was glad I got to participate in a portion of this latest work of his. It’s probably his most important statement to date. As I was standing there, baby strapped to my chest, contemplating getting married for some reason other than love, joking about whether or not Brian had money or health insurance, watching pregnant women filing for a license, I was strangely unconcerned with the fact that I’m a single mom. I’m actually quiet happy this way. I thank myself every day for having the strength and wisdom to not get caught up in a false relationship or marriage just because I had an unplanned pregnancy. I imagine I could feel ashamed or abandoned or sorry for myself. Instead, I feel empowered, wise and totally fulfilled.

At the event, I also saw an ex-friend (the only ex-friend I have, read on for why) for the first time in about a year. In the course of casual conversation at a public space last year, this person chastised me for deciding to go through with the pregnancy since her biological father was not in the picture very much. He felt I was irresponsible and a bad mother. He was quite loud and angry about this point, much to the terror of onlookers, some of whom tried to intervene. It was quiet disturbing. Interesting how he turned the man’s irresponsibility and lack of interest and blamed me for it, the only person actually taking responsibility for the child growing inside. As he laid eyes on Maya for the first time, an angry bubble surfaced and I wanted to ask him if he still thought she was better off as medical waste. (Sorry, that’s horrible, but that is the point).

I know this man-child’s history though, and I feel compassion for him that his relationship with his father was so messed up he would be so deranged as to yell at a pregnant women and call her selfish for not having an abortion. Hopefully he’s had time to reflect on his actions in the past year. Maybe he’s realized his mother isn’t to blame for his father’s emotional unavailability. Dark episode’s like this replicate the shadow side of his father. And, perhaps, he should stop drinking.

Baby! Int’l Film Festival

So, I am really stoked as there is a rare opportunity to see some great films about birth, breastfeeding & babies this coming October 2nd & 3rd at the Plaza Theater during the Baby! Int’l Film Festival hosted by Commonsense Childbirth and The Birth Place. I have the pleasure of interviewing Midwife extraordinaire Jennie Joseph this Wednesday, Sept 30th on Front Porch Radio, so tune in for a great show!

Three films in particular look exciting to me & I’ve listed them below. I’m sure Maya will need a drink, so you can bet I will also be taking part in the World Breastfeeding Challenge in the lobby at 11am.

Laboring Under An Illusion

Laboring Under An Illusion

Laboring Under an Illusion: Mass Media Childbirth vs the Real Thing Anthropologist Vicki Elson explores media-generated myths about childbirth. As a childbirth educator for 25 years, she observes daily how our culture affects our birth experiences. In this film, she contrasts fiction with reality. The result is hilarious, engaging, and enlightening. “To understand what it’s really like to have a baby, we have to debunk the silly and scary images served up by the profit-driven media. In reality, birth is hard work, sometimes simple, sometimes complicated, but always miraculous and unforgettable.”

Birth As We Know It

Birth Into Being

Birth As We Know It is a groundbreaking film featuring 11 births, all completely unique and all natural. Birth As We Know It is a treat for both the heart and mind, comfortably intertwined on a path toward realizing the full potential of birth. A new style of documentary film creates a refreshing arena for the story of Birth to unfold. A triumphant orchestration of stunning cinematography, empowering instrumentation, and a calming narrative, warms our hearts as we are reminded of the beauty of Life, and awakened to the ultimate possibilities of Birth!

What Babies Want

What Babies Want

What Babies Want is an award winning documentary film that explores the profoundly important and sacred opportunity we have in bringing children into the world. Filled with captivating stories and infused with Noah Wyle’s warmth as narrator, the film demonstrates how life patterns are established at birth and before. The documentary includes groundbreaking information on early development as well as appearances by the real experts: babies and families.

Other films being shown are must-sees, including The Business of Being Born