Visit the Beautiful Birth Festival website for details.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Reclaiming Sex After Birth is a fabulous resource for anyone with questions of concerns about this very personal facet of women's lifecycle. According to the RSAB website:
"When Annie was researching her original article for Down to Birth – she was appalled to discover how the subject was either glossed over or completely omitted from all the popular and best selling parenting and relationship books, even Dr Ruth’s “Guide to Sex”. The additional research Jodi and Annie did in writing Reclaiming Sex After Birth showed them that there is little readily available to couples to educate and prepare themselves for intimacy and sexual togetherness once they are parents.
In creating “Reclaiming Sex After ChildBirth” Jodi and Annie did not seek to set up rights or wrongs, nor define what is normal or abnormal - they acknowledge that every couple’s experience is unique and it is how each couple feel about their experiences that is important. Jodi and Annie hope that all women and men who read their book, will understand that where they are currently on their journey, wherever that may be, they are not alone. And that they need not remain stuck there.
It is Annie and Jodi's desire to provide information to allow couples to reconnect and rediscover the pleasure and closeness of their relationship.
The women who share their stories and wisdom here are experts, in the truest sense of the word – wise through experience. It has been our intention to create a resource which is easily and readily accessible, that gathers in one place a collection of personal experiences and insightful information as a beginning point to reclaim sex after birth."
You can find out more about the book by clicking here.
Jodie and Annie continue to research in the hope of gaining a greater understanding of this diverse subject and using their findings to better educate the public about the wide range of what is normal for sexual relationships after birth.
You can aid their research by completing an anomyous survey about your own experiences with sex after birth. There are only 10 questions to answer some of which include:
- When did you and your partner have sex for the first time after your last birth?
- What guide did you use as to when you were ready to re-engage in sexual activity again?
- Many women return to their primary care provider around the six week mark for a final check up. At this appointment did your care provider discuss with you or provide information and support for returning to an active sex life?
It takes very little time to complete.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Read in full how April hand crafted this placenta here, complete with more pictures.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
You will need
- Good quality water-colour paper
- Placenta that has not completely dried out and still has some blood on it
Step 5. Wash your hands thoroughly.
Step 6. Your blood print will change colour as the blood dries. The bright red will turn to a faded brown. To preserve the print it is a nice idea to have it framed.
This style of printing is ideal for lotus born placentas that are too dry to create blood prints with.
You will need
- Paint in whatever colours you would like (we chose to use acrylic paint because it is easy to spread and less expensive than other kinds of paint).
Step 1. We removed the placenta from our freezer and left to defrost.
Step 3. Pour your paint onto a flat surface, gently dip one side of your placenta into the paint.
Step 4. Gently place the paint covered side of your placenta onto the canvas.
Step 7. Once the print is complete you can wrap the placenta up in fresh plastic wrap and return to the freezer until such time as you would like to bury it under your garden or with a pot plant, or you can plant it straight away.
Step 8. Wash you hands thoroughly.
- Work swiftly (but don't rush, always handle the placenta with care) to avoid the blood or paint on the placenta drying before you are finished.
- Handling the organ that was once inside you, who kept your child alive for many months, that in the beginning was the same cells as the child you now care for each day, can be quite an emotional experience. Be ready for certain feelings to come up for you while making a placenta print. Make sure that those present for the printing process are sympathetic loved ones who appreciate the significance of the placenta and who will honour any feelings you might experience while making a placenta print.
- Don't get caught up in making the print look like something in particular. The print will be what it will be. Every placenta is different and so every print is unique. Much like birth, you have little control over what the end product will look like. Rather than focusing on what your art will look like when you're done, stay present to the moment and enjoy gently handling your placenta, reflecting upon your child's lotus birth and how far you've come since those early days.
- Once defrosted your placenta will smell much the same as it did the day that you froze it. Scent has a powerful way of overwhelming us with memories, be prepared to be taken back to those early days of your child's life.
Our daughter with one of her placenta prints
For more on placenta prints see:
Sunday, February 8, 2009
After attempting to express enough milk to meet Grace's needs, her mother went in search of milk from local lactators, Kate Tuttle at Babble reports:
"She turned to Mother’s Milk Bank, but found the cost prohibitive (it would cost $US200 a day to provide the milk Grace needs). The bank did respond to her plight with a $US1,000 donation of breast milk. Vaught then turned to her church, and through it to a virtual army of breastfeeding mothers. First, the Samaritans Ministry Christian Health Care raised $US21,000 to help buy breast milk for Grace; then, through a group called mamasource.com, women at Vaught’s church connected with other women in the area. Before long, dozens of local women began pumping a little extra every day for Grace."
Read the full article here.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
The cake itself is your average butter cake (in fact we used a packet mix for our test run). To make it look like a breast all we needed was:
- Icing sugar
- Warm water
- 1 raspberry lolly
- A round ended knife (or something similar)
- Pink food dye
- Yellow food dye
- Piping bag and nozzle
To create a satisfactory colour scheme we used just a couple of drops of pink food dye mixed in with the icing sugar and water. Once it was mixed in we realised it looked like the colour of a cartoon character's breast rather than a human breast. We added one drop of yellow food dye to create a realistic flesh tone. We left the icing to set before adding the nipple and arela.
To make the decorative nipple appear more realistic we placed a raspberry lolly on top of the iced cake.
We created a separate batch of icing to ice the nipple and areola of our breast cake. We made this icing thicker than the first batch.
For the nipple and areola colour we used more pink food dye to make it darker than the rest of the breast. This time we added two drops of yellow food dye.
Once this icing was made we put it into a piping bag and carefully squeezed it out on top of the rasperry lolly. Then we iced a circle around the lolly to create an areola.
Finally we used a round ended knife that had been dipped in warm water to gently smooth out any lumps or bumps in the icing.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
"Those two weeks were enough to get things back on track Michelle and Kynan. It didn’t solve all of the breastfeeding issues but it got Michelle through the roughest period, when she was most vulnerable to turning to formula."
"...[T]he failure of a mother to breastfeed should not a personal strike against her, rather a failure of the community as a whole to support her in this most precious and important of jobs."
While it saddens me that breastfeeding in the industrialised world is so under-appreciated to the extent that cross nursing is seen as unusual, it is heartening to read about Cleghorn's experience and to know that there are women out there who are offering this kind of support to other mothers.
You can read the full article here.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
The Summer 2008/9 edition of JOY is now available and explores "the unknown". This edition includes an article I wrote called "Que Sera Sera: Surrendering to Birth's Uknowns", available only in JOY.
JOY is now accepting submissions for the Autumn edition about "anniversaries". To find out more about the e-zine, how to subscribe and how to make submissions join Joyous Birth's online community.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Her blessingway was rich with rituals. We started with me reading a poem I wrote for L entitled "All You". Then we went around the circle presenting our gifts of beads and candles and telling L why we selected the items that we did, especially for her and this baby in her womb. Her doula gave a reading from a book of joyful birth blessings. It was the most emotional part of the day, the circle of women giving their gifts and their blessings to the pregnant mama and her unborn bubby:
I gave her one of the candles I had at my own birth experience, which I did not light. It was a fragapani shaped/scented candle which I bought myself during pregnancy so that I could have an open flower to look at during labour and think of my body blossoming and opening like a flower. I chose the fragapani because it is a summer flower and I was growing a summer baby, and so is L.
I also loaned her a candle very rich in history and meaning for the two of us. I bought it the day that we met for the blessingway of a mutual friend. It burned throughout our friend's empowering freebirth and two years later it burned throughout my empowering freebirth. I told L I wanted her to have it with her during her upcoming homebirth so that she can have all that wonderful energy it carries bruning within her birth space too.
Brigit. Then by coincidence (though I don't believe there are such things as coincidences!) she scheduled her blessingway for February 1st, the day that Brigit is celebrated around the world (an occassion known as Imbolc)!
I read some notes I took earlier about Brigit, what she stands for and what she brings to women. She is said to be present at every birth, she is a Celtic triple goddess (maiden/mother/crone) and is the goddess of healers, poets, smiths, childbirth and inspiration. She is sometimes known as "firey arrow" and the flame inside every woman. She often brings the message to women to stand up for what they beleive, stay firm in their convictions and worry not about the judgments of others.
Once L's belly art was complete we used some of the remaining henna to tattoo a dragonfly somewhere on each guests' body.
The dragonfly symbolizes going past self-created illusions that limit our growing and changing. Dragonflies are a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity.
They are fantastic flyers, darting like light, twisting, turning, changing direction, even going backwards as the need arises. They are inhabitants of two realms - starting with water, and moving to the air with maturity, but staying close to water. Some people who have the dragonfly as their totem have had emotional and passionate early years, but as they get older they achieve balance with mental clarity and control. They gain an expression of the emotional and mental together.
Dragonflies are old and adaptive insects, and are most powerful in the summer under the effects of warmth and sunlight. Their colors are a result of reflecting and refracting the power of light. As a result, they are associated with color magic, illusion in causing others only to see what you wish, and other mysticism.The are often represented in Japanese paintings, representing new light and joy.
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