Prenatal photo tour

March 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a friend a few years ago.  We were at a baby shower, and somehow we got on the subject of belly buttons.  I mentioned that my son had a kind of funky belly button (’cause he sort of did at the time), and this friend said something like, “Could that be because of the home birth?”  I was very perplexed and said, “What do you mean?”  She asked, “What do they do with the umbilical cord?”  Then I explained that they use the same umbilical cord clamps hospitals use, and cut the cord with sterile scissors, just like they do in the hospital.

As much as I was stunned by this conversation, I have to cut my friend some slack.  Home birth really is so foreign to most people.  So there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it’s like and about midwives also.  Toward the end of my last pregnancy, I decided I’d bring my camera along and document the visit, partly for memory’s sake and partly so I could do a little bit of demystifying about midwives and home birth.

I realize that prenatal appointments are going to vary considerably depending upon who your midwife is. Some midwives come to your home for check-ups. Some have their offices in their own homes. Some have their own offices, like my midwives. I don’t presume to believe that this is the way all midwives practice. But I still thought it might be helpful to show what a typical visit is like with a home birth midwife like mine (Mary at Beyond Conception Midwifery).

So, here’s a photo tour of a February 2011 prenatal appointment with my midwives…

Inward Rivers

February 25, 2012 at 4:53 pm

“Let everyone be swift to hear, slow to speak.” -James 1:19

The following is something I actually started writing seven years ago. While it’s not at all birth-related, it’s a subject near and dear to my heart, and it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I do have several birthy-type blogposts (good stuff!) lined-up to write, but writing time is rare for me these days. Alas. Anyway, I thought I’d share this condensed and tweaked version of that long-ago-started essay in case there were some folks like me out there who needed it.

“How come you’re so quiet?”

“Don’t be shy!”

“You should talk more!”

These words were spoken to me quite often when I was growing up. And I can’t tell you how irritating it was. I hated those words. I still hate them. I think it’s probably safe to say that there’s nothing more annoying to an introvert than to have an extrovert loudly make a point of how “quiet” she is.

Many view shyness as a negative trait, something to be “fixed.” So, when a child appears hesitant to interact with others, parents often feel that they must give an explanation or even an apology. This preeminence of the extroverts has been a part of western culture for quite some time. Quieter people stand out largely because they are like square pegs in a society that clearly favors round ones. Why is that so? What’s so bad about being reserved? I believe we ought to ask ourselves in this loud and often insensitive western culture—is it really in our best interest to try to turn all the quiet folks into talkers?

I've got one of each (so far)

On Friendship

February 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I’ve been reflecting on friendship over the last couple of days. I’ve been looking around myself, recognizing that I have been blessed with an overwhelming abundance of friendships. I have so many people, near and far, that I love and cherish. So many people in my support network who would step up and help me with an emergency on a moment’s notice. So many awesome people. Yet I am also recognizing a problem with that great blessing. When you’re friends with everyone, what that really sort of translates to is that you’re friends with no one.

I stopped calling anyone my “best friend” before I even got to high school. I guess I learned a long time ago that it just hurts too much to lose a “best friend,” so I tend to play it safe and keep people at a distance. That way losing one isn’t as catastrophic because they’re not the “one and only,” they’re just one of many. Chalk it up to my abandonment issues, I guess.

But, at the same time, I crave close friendships. A mom needs a girls’ night now and then. A mom needs a close friend she can call or email when she feels like she’s going bonkers, someone who will give her just the right blend of validation and encouragement. A mom needs someone who’ll drag her out of the house for some fresh air, sunshine, and adult conversation.

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