This month I have been focused on expanding myself and putting in motion some rather exciting opportunities. I live in Historic Braidwood, a wonderful little town very much alive with community and a hive of talent. Braidwood has so much to offer that I have been discussing 'Destination Braidwood' with other locals and they are so excited to offer pregnancy photography sessions, belly painting, massage and even circles with Hollie B. Many couples like to take a pre-baby trip, and Braidwood has many accommodation and dining options. I can provide group or private Birth Cartography workshops for people travelling to Braidwood. Or I can come to you, privately or if you wish to arrange a group. Workshops can be held on Fridays or Saturdays.
I am also planning on connecting with midwives in my region to discuss how Birth Maps will help them as much as the women they serve. On International Day of the Midwife (May 5th) I attended a 'Mothers for Midwives' event. There is a lot of frustration among women and midwives over the restrictive policies surrounding homebirth, and increasingly birth centre and standard care services. The insurance-driven nature of our maternity system robs women of opportunity and ties midwives with so much red tape that many are leaving midwifery, disillusioned and heartbroken.
There is Hope. It is not all doom and gloom. The way forward is from one friend to another, peer to peer. Well informed, confident women and their partners sharing positive stories, sharing resources and opportunities. You are one of these well informed and awesome powerhouses, don't doubt the power within you to make a change. To raise up even more women, and their families.
Together we do better, and we are raising a generation of awesome.
BIRTH CARTOGRAPHY 101
SATURDAY 19TH 8PM
SEE IT HERE
To celebrate the awesomeness of Mothers and Midwives, I have created a new resource to bring them together! This Birth Belongs To is based on Section Two of The Birth Map. It is about the size of a slim DVD case, making it very easy to take along to antenatal appointments, jotting down notes and making sure no questions are forgotten. It contains an example plan, which I would love to hear your thoughts on (see below).
This Birth Belongs ToBased on Section Two of The Birth Map, This Birth Belongs To is a great option for birth workers looking to use Birth Mapping with their clients, for those already experienced with Birth Mapping but not needing to get the full book again and for the budget conscious. If you are a Birth Worker or book stockist wanting to make a bulk (10+) purchase, contact me to arrange a discount price.
I have written a detailed post about Visual Birth Plans, knowing that many midwives and mothers like the idea of them. Instead of Icons, I would like to know - does this presentation appeal to you? This example fits all the pathways relevant to the care provider onto one page. Whilst still basic statements summarising the informed decisions, the flow chart approach makes it easy to visualise the pathway being followed. It is a literal Birth Map!A Birth Map ExampleVIEW THE EXAMPLE HERE
Please let me know what you think of this presentation, using the anonymous review form.
If there is a general consensus in support of this presentation, I will create a template (to be available in the Member Area).
I have been musing on the idea of 'failed birth plans'. I feel like I have been having the same conversations, over and over. There are the anti-plan folks who venomously declare them at best pointless and at worst setting mothers up for trauma. Many of these folks are in positions of power, as midwives and obstetricians, and this anti-plan attitude is disrespectful, and more likely to end in the trauma they claim to be protecting parents from. I have found that talking of Birth MAPS instead of plans means the conversations stay open and positive and are more likely to end in support.
I Didn't Drink my TeaThis post looks into the unused pathways: not quite the same as a 'failed birth plan'.
The tea analogy has been used to explain consent; tea is ever so useful. The way I see it each pathway you create is like a cup of tea. (does this make me a tea lady?)
STORYTIME: Exploring consent and bodily autonomy. "Everyone's got a Bottom"
I have a lovely little pile of books ready for the next few storytimes, covering birth, death and becoming a big sibling. Once a Story has been sent via the newsletter it is placed into the Member Area/storytime.
POINTS OF INTEREST
This month I completed Sara Wickham's Gathering in the Knowledge' online workshop. I am a HUGE fan of Sara Wickham, she is a midwife-academic, and provides excellent content on her website. She has also authored several books, all of which are great resources. Several new resources are likely to be added to the Resources.
I came across a news article over Mothers Day weekend about a new service. The 'Maternity Concierge' service. It is not a doula service, it is a 'lifestyle service', focused on household management and event organising. There are two Sydney based businesses mentioned in the article. I found them both to see what it is all about, very much aimed at the wealthy modern family. 'Bedrest Solutions' is great for those families without support, and raises a very important issue about the need for practical support. Most unpaid work has a price. You can outsource anything! It also, sadly, highlights the disconnected society we have. We no longer live in tight knit communities where support and knowledge is inbuilt. We are busy and time poor, and it is (apparently) important to maintain this busyness. This service reminds me, also, that we are all different. Our priorities and needs, our desires and joy-sources, our values and influences, are all different. Step into a baby expo and you will be bombarded with 'opportunities'. There are the basic needs, but these expos cover all manner of products and services...some awesome, some less awesome, some questionable, and some purely for materialistic pleasure.
MY READING FOCUS:
I have been ploughing my way through Anne Manne's 'Life of I', and am keen to get into her 'Motherhood'. The current chapter is one close to my heart: the devaluation of care. Of Mothering. This book is so insightful, a round up of psychology studies looking into the rise of narcissism. Very interesting.
I have also starting reading a fabulous book of folktales from around the world. 'Fearless Girls, Wise Women & Beloved Sisters' put together by Kathleen Ragan. I will be rereading these tales with the squids!
This month I've been getting poetic, I use my wordpress 'Beautiful Heart' as an outlet for such things. There are quite a few new posts this month, if you want to explore. My wordpress is much more raw than the bellablog, I separate the two because bellabirth is for You. It is not about me, or what I would choose. It is about making sure You are free to make the right decisions for you and your family. No One Way. If you wish to know me better, my wordpress is perhaps the more revealing place. It is sporatic, but if you like you can 'follow' the blog and get notifications for new posts as they happen.
I wrote a piece called 'What is the Capital of France?'about how we not only need to know what Questions to ask, but how to ask them.
Music to Live By looks into the influence of pop music. Do you censor your child's influences? (I don't mention the wiggles in this piece, but they are on my black list...being a feminist mum is constant vigilance!)
YOUR (social media) MISSION: SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT!
If you see 'Birth Plans' mentioned: say something about Birth Maps (and link to bellabirth.org). Perhaps share this (The Birth Map explained).
If you see discussions about consent (sexual or medical) share this (the trouble with consent).
If a birth skeptic dismisses birth as unpredictable, birth plans as worse than useless or paints birth as the most dangerous activity of all time, share 'What if...' (a new post on the bellablog).
And last, but definitely not least:
MAY/JUNE VIRTUAL GATHERINGS AND A WEBINAR
So many of you live further afield, unable to come along to the picnic gatherings near me.
I am keen to meet everyone, so in May and June we are having virtual gatherings.
I will open the Zoom Room a few time this month, at different times to allow for a global gathering.
If you are keen for this, please sign up to theevents notifications. I will send the reminders on Tuesday afternoons and again on the Wednesday morning, with the room link.
'Birth Cartography 101'
The recording will be added to the Member Area, but i'd love you to come to the live event:
Saturday May 19th 8pm (sydney time)
(I am so nervous, and worried no one will come. I even got my haircut at a genuine bona-fide hairdresser! Please share the live event link)
SIGN UP HERE to have the newsletter sent to your inbox. Here you will find the archived versions of all The Newsletters, covering the topics below.