MAYD to Birth: At Your Doorstep

Promoting gentle, empowering mother journies…

Vancouver Women Speak Out about Birth Management by Midwives

No Comments »

These women are responding to a press release by the College of Midwives of B.C. The College seems to think that birthing women are too vulnerable to choose who they want to attend their birth. This sparked the discussion at the Birth Protest Rally, Nov 28, 2012 in Vancouver BC.

Stopping Chronic Pain with Egoscue

No Comments »

Egoscue Trial – Day 1:

I did the Egoscue exercises Tim Ferriss recommended in his book The Four Hour Body as well as one specific to an my ankle injury I have had for eight months called Foot and Ankle Pain Exercises by  on YouTube.


Wonderful! They did tire me out a bit but I am out of shape. It felt great though. I feel stronger and more energetic and limber. I also got a mood boost: confidence and achievement.

Can’t wait to do them again today. Looking forward to learning more exercises too.

My Rainbow UBAC

No Comments »

At just shy of 37 weeks I started in the nightmare of prodromal labor. Things stopped and started so much that I was getting more cranky by the day. I feel bad for anyone that had to put up with me in the last few weeks of this pregnancy. Thanksgiving came and went, which was [...]

Reversing Injuries – The Methods

No Comments »

I am on the path to reversing injuries – both permanent and current. A topic I have been long been interested in. Recently I began reading about the work Tim Ferriss has done to rid himself of his past injuries – this has taken my interest to the next level. I have had an ankle injury since March 2012. It is now November 2012. That is too long. It affects way too much of my life to let it slide (well, any further. How have I let it go this long?!)

I have tried the following:

RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) – Although not for a very long period of time and not consistently. I did not see enough improvement to inspire carrying on with this method. Also, I am to impatient. And, I have stuff to do. like get my kid to school and play with him and run after him on his bike. Then there is the housework. (If only I could eliminate that one… perhaps I will. To be continued…)

Yoga – I think I may have furthered my injury because I really want to keep up with the class. I know I am supposed to be present with MY body and stay with my “edge”. Yoga is an incredible tool. I abuse it. So, after trying 2 classes I decided to stick with a home practice so that I can go at my own pace more easily. The only problem is that I don’t do it consistently. Far from it.

Positive Thinking / The Law of Attraction- I even watched The Secret. I loved that movie …except for some of the strong personalities that made me cringe a little and these weird dramatizations that seemed out of place. I looked passed that though and it was well worth it. I highly recommended. Or maybe the book version would be easier to take.

Everything is possible, nothing is impossible. There are no limits. Whatever you can dream of can be yours.

Some of it can come off as cheesy or unbelievable but I chose to look past what doesn’t appeal because there are many treasures to be found. Just take this inspiration from Bruce Lee:

Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.

• Acupuncuture - I went to see an acupuncturist across the street from my apartment before I moved from Oakland to Palo Alto and he did this amazing almost torturous massage (in a hurts-so-good sort of way) then he used needles. I felt impressively improved after that visit but I did not return for the other 6-8 visits that he said he thought I would need because of the out-of-pocket expense of $50 a visit (The initial visit was $60). (They did not take credit cards so I could not use my HSA account funds.) In hindsight, I should have just paid the money. What he did for me was true healing. I am still kicking myself for that. Now he is about a 50 minute drive away. I could go back to see him. But I will try my new MD Doctor who also does acupuncture in San Francisco (also a 50 minute drive) for now. The co-pay is $25.
These have all helped but not nearly enough. So…
What next?
  • Try out my MD Dr in SF for acupuncture
  • Watch and try out some Egoscue exercises/therapies.
  • Read the book sitting on my bookshelf on another posture correcting technique called the Gokhale Method by Esther Gokhale “8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back”. I went to their free workshop. It was wonderful! Between that and the free chapter of her book that I initially got improved my well being and my body awareness.
  • I really want to try ART (Active Release Techniques) - deals with healing connective tissue stuff that is the root of a lot of body issues. Check this out. Amazing stuff.
  • As well as Advanced Muscle-Integration Therapy (AMIT) - deals with healing connective tissue stuff that is the root of a lot of body issues. Check this out. Amazing stuff here too.

Here I go. On my healing quest. I will document it in my blog. So stay tuned to find out more and let me know if you have any thoughts or ideas.

The Midwife of Hope River

No Comments »

These days my reading
tends to be along the lines of Where is
Baby's Belly Button
or on research in midwifery, pregnancy, labor, or birth
by reading my latest copy of Essentially MIDIRS.  Tall is
the pile of books I will read when I have time, though I do snatch chapters of
them here and there.  When I was offered a chance to review The Midwife of Hope River for
my blog, however, I wavered, before I gleefully agreed. Lured by the author (I
loved The Blue Cotton Gown, though
friends found it depressing, I found it full of universal hope and thirst for
life that trods slowly yet miraculously forward) and by West Virginia, I eagerly
awaited the book’s arrival and plotted how I would occupy my four dear ones
while I plunged into the first chapter. West Virginia? There will be more on
that in the coming months on this blog, but for now let me say that my time
spent on the mountain at Sacred Mountain Midwifery have
left me deeply in love with the state.

I promised myself I would
write a quick review, and get it out there, or it would take me until next year
to publish this post, but I didn’t want to wait that long, I wanted you to go
out and buy or borrow a copy of the Midwife
of Hope River
and love it as much as I did!  The birth stories come
back to me, when I am waiting for the bus stop, on a cold rainy
night. This book pulses with artfully told birth stories that will equally
entrain moms and their midwives.  This book is also a good dose of
reality.  In "progressive" 2012 we can pretend that the days of
the Klu Klux Clan are long behind us.  Patience, the main character, reminds
us that they are not, and I think that if we remember this, we will not get too
comfortable with how things are but rather press courageously forward to create
a world where racism can one day become a thing of the past. In the same way it
reminds us of how far we have come as women.  It can be easy to take our
current freedoms for granted but Patience's poignant story as an unwed mother
reminds us not to forget our roots.

Was there anything I
didn't like about the novel?  Occasionally I felt that Patience's bad luck
was almost unbelievable.  But then, I think part of that has to do with
the fact that I do have a privileged life. If my grandparents were alive, this
story would urge me to sit down with them, and hear their hard stories again, so
as not to forget them.  I love that when things get rough, as with The Blue Cotton Gown, there is always a
silver thread of hope.

As a reader interested in
history, I would have appreciated a key to the historical events mentioned in
the novel, for example the events at Blair Mountain or the Monongah mine
explosion: a brief explanation of the event and whether
or not factual details were changed for the book.  

The first question in the
Discussion Section was misleading.  I maybe nit picky but the question
sounds too much like a Discovery Channel's portrayal of birth as a disaster waiting
to happen: "The opening scene in The Midwife of Hope River presents a dark
and scary view of birth…"  OK, maybe I am playing the midwife, but to
me the opening scene wasn’t dark and scary, just sad, and a good snap shot of
the real work of a midwife.

It would be fascinating
to learn more about Patricia’s research into midwifery in the early 1900s.
 I wonder if, when she was younger, she talked to some of the older
midwives in West Virginia who might have been alive at the time Patience was midwifing.
 Patience's use of vinegar and ice
to stop a hemorrhage, or the use of pennyroyal tea was interesting trivia. This
book reminds me of the importance of sharing birth stories, as well as the
stories of the midwives.  Patricia shared her own story inThe
Blue Cotton Gown
) and I would imagine
that The Midwife of Hope River will
encourage women to share their stories as well.  We need more birth story
telling in our culture.



What happened to the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition Photos?

No Comments »

On an almost daily basis, I get an email from someone looking for photographs of black women breastfeeding for their flyer, promotional campaign or event. Before a few months ago, I had the perfect solution to their query at the tip of my fingertips. I simply shared with them the collection of photos created by the Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition, titled The Naomi & Ruth Project. These were the photos created by the USBC/CDC grant for ”The Landscape of Breastfeeding Support.” I had access to over 200 photos via my Kodak Share gallery and sending them out to folks was as easy as sending an email.

Unfortunately Kodak closed its doors after being acquired by Shutterfly and there went that option. They gave me the opportunity to move my photos, but you had to move them over one at a time by downloading them into your new account. 200 photos? Yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. I figured IBBC would come up with their own solution to this problem and I’d wait for them to do so, then update you all here.

Their solution is less than perfect, but since they easily have the best collection of photos of black women breastfeeding going, you’ll have to make do. In order to access the photos, you’ll need to visit the photographer’s website here. Click on “clients” and then enter the password “ibbc” for access to the photos. You can then email the photographer, Anne Schollenberger, and she will send you a link to download the photos you want.

In addition, I had a conversation with the person who does social media for USBC on Twitter the other day. I was told that all of the photographs that were created by the grant are available to breastfeeding coalitions across the country. So if you are a member of a breastfeeding coaltion and want access to these photos, or any other photos created by the grant, you should try contacting USBC. I had hoped all of these photos would have been made available to the general public because many of us who support breastfeeding are not a part of our state’s coalition. I’d say that a lot of us agitating online by blogging, tweeting, and  being active on facebook, are also a big part of promoting breastfeeding. Why can’t we also have access to the photos too?

Never want to miss an update of the Blacktating Blog? Subscribe here. Follow me on Twitter- I’m @Blacktating

The WHO and Nestle

No Comments »

What you can do:

News Release November 16, 2012

Outrage sparks Twitter battle between UN health watchdogs WHO, PAHO
Moms, front line breastfeeding workers furious with Pan American Health Organization for accepting $150,000 from Nestlé

Two global health care titans are duking it out on Twitter over the ethics of accepting money from food industry giants to fight non-communicable disease.

This comes after moms and front line health care workers vented their fury at the Pan American Health Office – the regional representative in the Americas for the World Health Organization – over $150,000 received from Nestlé.

This is one of several exchanges between WHO and PAHO/WHO on Twitter Nov 14 and 15th.

After fighting industry for years to uphold an international code to protect moms and babies from predatory marketing, there was outrage when it was learned PAHO accepted $150,000 from Nestlé. This is a direct violation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes, known as the “WHO Code”, and moms and breastfeeding support workers are furious.

“No matter how PAHO-WHO spins it, accepting cash handouts from Nestle is an endorsement of their products, and a green light to Nestle to continue to harm the health of children by violating the WHO Code,” says Dr. Jennie Bever Babendure, a breastfeeding researcher and mother of two who wrote a blog post triggering the outcry on social media. “We’re fighting this battle while nursing our babies, picking up our kids from school and doing our jobs. It is our health and the health of our children the world over that PAHO-WHO is selling to the highest bidder.”

While the health protection titans hash it out with careful language, moms and the lactation consultants who help them say it’s simple. PAHO must give the money back.

Marsha Walker, executive director of the US-based National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy, said in an article on the issue: “The wolf in sheep’s clothing comes bearing money and is rewarded for its poor corporate behavior by aligning itself with the good name of respected health agencies.”

Our newly-formed group, Friends of the WHO Code is asking other organizations to join our effort and pressure the WHO and PAHO-WHO to reexamine this and other relationships and how they impact global public health. We can be reached at

- 30 –

Contact: Dr. Jennie Bever Babendure

Link to Jennie Bever Babendure’s blog post:
Link to Marsha Walker’s article:

Media are invited to contact Amber Rhoton McCann, IBCLC, for more details on the social media response to this issue, and Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, Executive Director, National Alliance for Breastfeeding Advocacy (NABA), for more information about the WHO Code. Background on issue is attached.

On October 19, 2012 Reuters broke the story that the Pan American Health Office (PAHO-WHO) of the World Health Organization (WHO) had accepted $150,000 from Nestle. In addition to what most know as a chocolate company, Nestle is a multibillion dollar corporation in direct conflict with the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (the WHO Code). Due to the aggressive marketing of their infant feeding products in the 3rd world, Nestle has been the subject of an international boycott for the past 35 years.

Based on the aggressive and predatory tactics of companies such as Nestlé, in 1981 the World Health Organization and UNICEF, supported by 118 countries[1], brought in the WHO Code to protect vulnerable children who may suffer poor health and even death due to lack of breastfeeding, especially in places without access to clean water and proper sanitation. This public endorsement of the importance of breastfeeding was a critical step for public health worldwide, and has since guided legislation in 103 of countries to enforce all or part of the WHO Code. Over 20 other countries adopted the code on a voluntary basis[2].

Unfortunately in the US and many other countries, a lack of legislative enforcement of the WHO Code has resulted in over 30 years of rampant violations. From the “gift” bag at the hospital to delivery of formula samples on mothers’ doorsteps, infant formula manufacturers have continued to violate the WHO Code, and negatively impact breastfeeding. These violations have intensified in recent years as corporations have begun to infiltrate social media to market their products directly to new mothers. In the fight against these aggressive tactics, the support of the WHO through the WHO Code has been the main source of strength for advocates worldwide. By partnering with Nestlé, PAHO-WHO has endorsed one of the worst violators it initially set out to regulate. This relationship serves as a symbol to other organizations that the WHO Code has no meaning, sending a message to other companies that such marketing tactics will be overlooked.

The gravity of this action has sparked worldwide outrage and demand for the WHO to reexamine their relationship with Nestle and return the $150,000. This action is such a breach of trust between the WHO and the people it protects that it has united a global front of breastfeeding advocates, public health professionals, mothers and fathers to stand up to organizations that violate the WHO Code, including PAHO-WHO itself. In order for the WHO Code to maintain its integrity, PAHO-WHO must return the funds, as a monetary relationship with Nestlé symbolizes a nail in the coffin of the cause and gives a green light to code violators that the WHO Code has no meaning.

[1] WHO, International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, (Introduction, p. 5)

[2] UNICEF, National Implementation of the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (April 2011)

Two Essays from the SF Waldorf High School

No Comments »

A week ago, I taught the 10th grade at the San Francisco Waldorf High School about birth and midwifery. Two students sent in their essays. Thank you to Isabel Dow and Madison Evans for contributing to this blog. And, by the way, Aubrey had her baby at home, yesterday! A girl!

Maria’s Classroom Visit
by Isabel Dow

I had been looking forward to Maria’s visit for over a week, and was so excited when Maria found time to come to our class. Last week she had to cancel to attend a birth. I was not disappointed one bit by her visit, and loved feeling how passionate she was about her midwifery. Two days before her visit, our Embryology teacher, Dr. Burkett had led us through all the frightening details of birth, so I thought I knew what I was in for, gritting my teeth in anticipation. While Maria was talking to us and asking us for our input and opinions, my views on birth began to shift. Through her loving, vivid descriptions of the birth process, I realized that the pain of labor pales compared to the bright glowing joy that comes with birth.
            After a short discussion, Maria showed a video of a water birth. In it, the mother suffered through many intense contractions, which looked extremely painful. When the baby finally came out, I watched as the mother, all pain and suffering aside, lifted her child to her chest as pride and joy filled her whole being. I laughed with happiness for her. That was the moment that I realized why mothers are so willing to go through pregnancy and birth, for the sake of a new miraculous birth.
            After recovering from watching the video, we put on gloves, and Maria showed us, and let us feel, a real placenta and umbilical cord. Although my stomach heaved at first, my curiosity allowed me to move passed that, and I experienced it totally.
            Next we moved over to the couch, where a pregnant woman, her due date coming up any day, lay smiling. She was so kind, letting us prod her tummy, feeling her baby’s bum and hearing its heart beat. Sensing this was an amazing experience, I couldn’t believe I was actually hearing and feeling the baby!
Having Maria visit changes my view of birth radically. Before she came, birthing a baby seemed shockingly scary and horrible. However, now I have realized how wonderful it must be to create and nurture a life within ones own body. Although there is much pain involved, it is all definitely worth the effort.

A Visit from the Midwife
by Madison Evans

I enjoyed and learned a lot from the midwife’s visit. Seeing a video of a mother giving birth helped me realize that birth is natural and amazing. Feeling the baby in its mother’s uterus and hearing the heartbeat helped me realize the wonder that there is a  real baby living inside the mother’s womb. I thought touching the placenta was really interesting and cool because it is rare that you can see and feel something that comes from inside our body. After learning so much about the placenta through our class, it was really neat to see it for myself. Learning about water birth was very interesting. I don’t think water birth is for everyone but I do think it is important that the mother at least knows the person who is going to help her give birth. Before Maria came, I never thought about the baby having good or bad experiences during birth. Now that I have thought about it, I do think it is important for a baby to be born into a good environment with both of its parents there. I now have a new appreciation for pregnant mothers and the birth process.
Birth is empowering!

do. not. want

No Comments »

well folks, we’ve hit the parenting trifecta in the last 4 days. ear infection! puking! and today lice! YAYYY *cries* olive has been a champ. in fact her least favorite part of the whole thing has been her dislike of having a head wrap on.

three days ago olive told me that when she talks she can hear herself talking inside her head. which i figured out meant her ear was plugged. i cleaned it out as well as i could but it wasn’t that, or at least wasn’t only that. so i started an oil regiment of garlic/olive oil/mullein in her ear with basil, melaleuca, and lavender externally on her lymph node/behind and around her ear. we went to see my dad who gave her a full spine adjustment and a load of babying. which reminded me so much of when i was a sick kid and he did the same loving routine: make a bed/fort in front of the tv with blankets, sheets, and pillows, make up a tray with a pot of your favorite tea, a mini mug, and a plate with 2 pieces of toast with buttered and cinnamon and sugar. i mean when you’re sick and someone brings your food on a tray? with a wee little pot of tea? i mean get out, you’ll feel better in no time! i’ve been doing treatments on her feet and lymphatic draining massages. in two days the swelling was gone and her ear was drained. YAY!

two days ago before my feet even hit the floor i hear feet scuttling up the stairs and them a wet FLOP noise of vomit spraying everywhere. oy vey what a way to wake up. she makes it a triple before being done with the vomiting for the day. poor kid. she stayed home from school again and we laid around like walruses playing uno under the blankets and watching movies. she very willingly took a nap both days.

after taking monday-wednesday off from school she felt like trying to go today. i was just a phone call away in case she ran out of energy but i didn’t get any messages to that effect so i assume it went well. that is until after school i noticed she had nits in her hair.

so now everything fabric is being washed, dryer-ed, vacuumed, put away, SET ON FIRE. okay not set on fire but my mind does not do well with this kind of infraction. i have olive oil and melaleuca soaking on olive’s head for 2 hours at a time all wrapped up in a baby do-rag. it’s adorable and she tolerates it mostly well.


Breastfeeding is Bipartisan

No Comments »

The US Breastfeeding Committee is conducting a campaign to get the candidates talking about the benefits of breastfeeding for families, the community and more.  They have it neatly arranged and easily managed so that all you have to do is click on your state and tweet away. Not on twitter?  You can still contact your candidates and talk about these points about breastfeeding.

What are you waiting for – go tweet! (You can follow them at @USBreastfeeding or the hashtag #BreastfeedingisBipartisan.) Birth Activist is on Twitter: @BirthActivist