Friday, July 23, 2010

Lead in Lipstick? Coal Tar in Shampoo?

OH!  And..  Democracy Now! had a great feature on the toxicity of the cosmetics industry a few days ago..  I wanted to note this on my blog, since I was once pursuing a career in the beauty industry.  Take a look:

New VBAC recommendations- Yay or Nay?

I started school back up after a 5 week summer break and it's been a difficult transition.  I've been pretty distracted by the internet- the new Feministing layout, doula stuff including my upcoming ToLabor training and a feature on, and several pieces of news that have dominated my mind.  

The first thing to share is the new recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) on VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean).  "The preponderance of evidence suggests that most women with one previous cesarean delivery with a low transverse incision are candidates for and should be counseled about VBAC and offered TOLAC."  Not that we didn't already know that, but the fact that the ACOG is coming out with a more positive opinion on VBAC is encouraging.  Take it with a grain of salt, though- we all know the trend of caregivers ignoring the medical community's recommendations (take circumcision for example), but I'm hoping this will give women seeking a VBAC some leverage when looking for a care provider.  How do you think it will effect birth options?

On the abortion front, several women in Mexico have been found being held in prison, serving 20-30 year sentences, for having abortions (one of which reported to be a spontaneous abortion, i.e. miscarriage)   The worst part is that the same district that is incarcerating them (while denying it) refused to teach sexuality education in it's schools.  Read the complete article here.

On a more positive note, I just got the first issue of SQUAT in the mail.  I'm really excited to see the beginning of a wave of radical birth journals and zines (including Outlaw Midwives Vol. 1).  It's making me think that I should probably work on my writing skills... 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the new moon

Dang!  I almost fell off the wagon.  It's been a crazy week or more, and I'm finally on the upswing.  I got my "period" (I used to hate calling it that but it's started to feel more like the end to my long and drastic cycle than ever).  It came sweetly with the new moon, a time that symbolizes the shedding off of all my flustered film, all of the world that has clung to me in the last 50 days.  My cycles are that long now.  And some would count that as a blessing, but everything is more exacerbated now, all the highs and lows that I would normally flush out in 34 days just take their time and go higher and lower now.  I miss my 34 day cycles.

I've definitely been feeling a lot of the dark mother in my life, manifesting through me.  I am the dark mother.  And I've been having to own all of the other stuff, too.  I am anger.  I am the car.  I stopped driving.  I'm letting Gregory take the van to work so that I absolutely have to bike, and it's a blessing.  Driving makes me so aggravated, and I cuss and honk at people and bitch about how much the world sucks when I'm driving so I quit.  I'm actually going on strike from a lot of things.  Plastic bags being one of them.  I hate them so much and all they do is sit there making fun of the fact that they'll still be around long after I'm gone.  At least I know my car will die before me.  I've actually been pretty unbearable about a lot of things lately.  Now that I'm menstruating, I'm relieved of a lot of the guilty tension, but that doesn't change the fact that I've been a total shit to live with.  I'm a great mom, but make a pretty shitty wife. 

What did I expect?

Things ARE getting better, though.  I just got through three weeks of cynicism, croney complaining, and sinister thoughts, and it's okay.  I'm climbing the mountain again and it feels good.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Don't touch my belly!

I just read a pretty entertaining, and universal, blog addressing the more annoying things about being pregnant in public, posted by Jessica Valenti of  I think that all of these things were a huge source of my mood swings and serious bouts of prenatal depression- feeling so widely undervalued and weighed down by the understanding that it was only the beginning of feeling degraded in my role as mother breast feeder giver woman.  She says it more concisely than I ever could.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Of unquantifiable value- radical doula services in a capitalist society.

I'm beginning the process of putting together a sort of childbirth education discussion group with my back up doula and a yoga teacher I'm friends with.  I really appreciate it when things just come together organically, as far as organizing things goes.  There have been so many times I've tried to put things together after sitting on it for a long time, only to find that the idea was so much better than actualizing it will ever be.  But this morning was refreshing.  No second guessing, no hang ups.  It's a really sweet thing to find an effective, efficient group of folks who are passionate about getting something done.    

It's making me consider my feelings about charging for my services, though.  As an anarchist, I am definitely cost-prohibited (in reality as much as in theory), not to mention that I think doula services are something that every mama has a right to.  I know that this is something that other radical doulas have struggled with.  What are the implications of applying the capitalist system to childbirth?  Beyond just the thought that health care is a right, but is it appropriate for me to adhere to a hierarchical cash exchange over something with unquantifiable value?  Does that make sense?  I just feel a little hypocritical sometimes with the thought of engaging my sisters in a system that is often oppressive to us (especially mothers).  My practical, mothering mind says, though, that this is what I've got to work with, and that my time and skills are valuable- I am an intelligent, gifted woman who wants to help others- and until we are set up in a different framework, I have to find someway to make my life sustainable now.  I just always feel like I have one foot in and one foot out with a lot of this stuff.

Oh, and to update, I got lazy with the emmenagogues.  I guess I just get to a point where I ultimately trust my body to do what it needs to do, instead of trying to control it or coerce it to doing something that's comforting or convenient.  That's what it's all about, anyway.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Experiments in herbal emergency contraception

I started this blog a very long time ago with the intent to discuss my more personal endeavors and adventures in herbalism, women's health, and spirituality, but it never got posted in. I have certain things I want to share but can't do so in the blog that I use for our house and garden. So here we go. Oh, and I should also warn any readers that I have started several of these sort of half-arsed attempts and let them sit idle for long periods, so bear with me. I do have a lot to share.

Tonight, I am making a emmenagogue brew. I am 9 months postpartum and have had two menstrual cycles, which I know is not out of ordinary in the slightest, but I'm eager to bleed. I always enjoyed menstruating. So breastfeeding causing me ammenorhea is starting to get old, and I know there are other things I can do to get my hormones steady.. honestly, this mama's looking for something to make it happen. Irresponsible? Probably.

For a quick aside, I have been using the LadyComp, a fertility monitor, for about six weeks. It's definitely still getting to know my cycle, but already it knows I might be gearing up to menstruate. It's been 46 days since the first day of my last cycle. I've always had luteal phases on the longer side (17 days usually) but 46 days makes me kind of nervous, especially since I definitely could be.. well... you know...

Also, I've used herbal emergency contraception many times. Parsley, in particular. I would love to hear comments about experiences others have had, things that they've tried and have been successful, rumors, old wives tales, etc...

I'll post the recipe for this emmenagogue after I take it and see its effect.
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