I see my affirmations, I am inside my head, myself, a laboring woman, my own midwife. I talk myself through the contractions. Women flit through my head. Labors I’ve attended, women I’ve affirmed, space I’ve held. I see them sway, I see them push, I see their strength and their vulnerability, I see their pain and I see their triumph. In turns they visit me.Read More
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This past weekend Borne Home hosted the second bi-monthly Seacoast Red Tent. Our first event in November was a small group of women; tears and laughter flowed in abundance. This time around we had a full room of women and babies sharing their stories.
We met in the kitchen, taking tea and sharing snacks until we came together in the red tent. We began by breathing deeply, centering ourselves and then we sat and waited. One after another, women spoke their stories. There was laughter, there were tears, there was the expansive opening that comes from being heard. Women shared things that they had never let pass their lips before, and we received them without judgement. This is a red tent. To sit in shared space and listen to one another.
We learned that we want to continue doing Red Tents, that as a community of women it is a need that we are determined to fill for ourselves. I suppose I knew that already, which is why Jo of Seacoast Birth Network and I have been working so hard to begin these projects, but to have it affirmed by our community is something different entirely. A room of women, birth professionals, mothers, friends, chiropractors, who looked at me with their eyes glowing, smiles stretching, and arms reaching to embrace me as they left. That is community, that is tribe, that is safety, and kindness and home.
When is the next Seacoast Red Tent?
Our next Red Tent will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 23 Morse Street, Berwick, ME 03901. RSVP to our Facebook event HERE. We hope to see you there.
Seacoast Red Tent
Bringing the women of the seacoast together bi-monthly to share their stories around conception, birth, and the postpartum period.
The Red Tent Movement: A Historical Perspective:
by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, PhD and ALisa Starkweather
"The Red Tent has a history, but what is it? There are thousands of women across the globe who are bringing forth their gifts as Red Tent leaders in their communities, but where did this tradition come from? “The Red Tent” was novel by Anita Diamant, published in 1997 that gave us a story of women who come together in a menstrual hut, known as the Red Tent. The Red Tent movement has a seventeen-year history, but connects to thousands of years of tradition of women honoring women and creating a world that embraces honesty, and respects for others, our daughters, and ourselves. We are in a new era of history. The healing of our planet is the priority of many committed visionaries. We understand that we are on a precipice and by building a woman-honoring culture we can create a huge paradigm shift one Red Tent at a time."
"She asked how I could have caught him. I told her I was squatting in a birth tub and when I felt him coming, I grabbed him. I told her you saw his feet and that's how you knew he was out. She was baffled. She didn't know moms could catch their own babies."Read More
What kind of birth do you want?
An un-medicated birth? A birth with an epidural? A waterbirth? A birth at home? Even if you're not sure yet, you will get much more clarity when you start interviewing local practices. Ask around, your friends and family will likely have advice on certain providers and locations. Check out potential midwives' websites to read up on their overall philosophy, services offered, and certifications held.
How do I find a midwife?
The New Hampshire Midwives Association has a really excellent resource for new parents, an interactive map of NH certified midwives. It can be trickier to find a midwife in states like Maine and Massachusetts that do not have a law regulating midwives, but look around, they're there!
Interview 2-4 midwives that resonate with you.
Most practices schedule free consults. These are a great way to meet providers and see what your gut tells you about them. Go to the consult with some questions ready, the midwife won't be offended and it will help you organize your thoughts ahead of time in terms of your preferences. Here are 50 questions to get you started, plus 44 more to pick and choose from.
There's a midwife for every woman.
You will receive counsel from those you trust and those you don't over the course of your pregnancy, and choosing where to give birth and with who can prove to be quite controversial. You are the only ones who can make these decisions for your family and for your baby. I've worked with parents who loved homebirth and yet decided that for this baby they needed to birth in a hospital. I've also taken over the care of women at 36 weeks because they decided that they wanted to be home. There is no wrong answer. I often say to parents that you begin parenting long before you conceive. In how you live your life, in who you bring into your space, in what you put in your body, you are parenting. Making decisions prenatally is no different. Leave yourself the space to answer these questions. Your answers might surprise you.
I love this statement from Heather over on the Mommypotamous Blog:
"If at any point your original birth plan or choice of care provider feels like it is no longer the right choice for you, give yourself permission to alter the plan. Women who were 100% gung-ho about hospital birth have switched to a midwife at 40 weeks and vice-versa. Do what you feel is in the best interest of your baby."
Here's my friend Heather talking about checking her cervix during one of her births:
"I checked my cervix during labor because I knew what it felt like before from trying to conceive. I was feeling discouraged with my labor so I wanted to see what was going on. When I felt it swollen shut rather than opening I realized her head was in front of my cervix rather than on it which led me to sit on the ball to align things. Clearly it worked because she was born less than an hour later.Read More
Slowly their characters began to emerge; it came naturally to them to play out the stories of these eight women, stories we have all heard within our own communities. There was one scene in the play that was so poignant that I had goosebumps up my arms each time it was run, and there was not a rehearsal that I didn't bark out spontaneous laughter.Read More