So, how was the start of October month for y’all? I had some very long clinic days, some not-so-easy patient visits, a shift on labor and birth without anyone laboring, and a local midwife celebration on Friday night rife with talk of vulvodynia, acupuncture, job stress, and historical successes. It was a midwifery-filled week, and it was great. The news this week was pretty great also, favorites below. As always, I only have clips of the full writings – check out the links in the titles for the full stories.
Oh, and Happy National Midwifery Week! Check out yesterday’s post to share your answer to, “Why midwifery?”
Sexuality on Sesame Street: Learning Womanhood from Child’s Play – Judy Brown (Eishes Chayil) at The Jewish Daily Forward
A fascinating look at one woman’s perception of another woman on Sesame Street, and the subtle and not-so-subtle ways women’s bodies interact with children and learning and being in our society.
“…The woman was dressed in a halter top and a mini skirt. She smiled brightly, seemingly oblivious to the mortifying fact that her halter top did not fully cover her midriff. And then she began singing the ABC song. She waved her hands in the air as the camera zoomed in on her. Her midriff loomed onscreen.
“Elmo,” she said, “Won’t you sing with me?”
Elmo sang along. I stared at the lady’s cleavage and then worriedly at my children. They did not seem to notice. Still, who knew what insidious influences were now creeping into their pure minds?
And then it happened. The lady with the bare midriff, with the mini skirt and uncovered thighs swayed her entire body. She shook her hips to the right, to the left, side to side, carelessly, suggestively, and all without a shred of embarrassment…”
What Not to Say to a New Mother — Hospital Staff – Meredith Fein Lichtenberg at Huffington Post
A critical look at tone, language choice, and importance of starting from a place of “normal” when it comes to supporting and loving new families. And goodness get those advertisements for formula out of the hospitals.
“…From an OB, to parents being discharged early after a healthy birth (unprompted, without previous discussion of infant feeding): “Definitely take home some of the formula. You can top him off after each feeding to make sure he doesn’t get dehydrated” (which suggests that the baby will get dehydrated if “only” breastfed),
“I’m not an expert on lactation, but if you have concerns about breastfeeding, let me get someone who can help you.”
See how insidious this is? Each remark alone might be a smallie (the last one is not a smallie), but the cumulative message, over and over is:
Things are about to go wrong. You can’t trust yourself or your judgment. That feeling of relief that the baby is healthy and in your arms? It’s probably just wishful thinking and the rug is about to get yanked out from beneath you.
Newborn parents, who, for the moment, are tired, sometimes overwhelmed, understandably confused and facing lots of new stuff, are more vulnerable to suggestion than the rest of us. They need encouragement and support so that they can:
- Learn to take care of themselves and their babies;
- Learn to distinguish “emergency, requiring medical care” from “common sense situation I can handle myself;” and
- Learn to cope with the normal new-parent anxiety.
They deserve to encounter staff who understand their concerns, worries and knowledge level. They deserve staff who don’t plant seeds of self-doubt and a culture of fear. We patients pay huge sums of money to be cared for while we are vulnerable — it shouldn’t be “caveat emptor”: let the patient beware — any advice you get may be misguided…”
Spanish Language Virtual Discussion October 15-19
“The Parteria y Enfermeria para una Maternidad Segura community will hold a virtual discussion entitled “la humanizacion del cuidado de las mujeres durante los periodos de embarazo, parto, y puerperio” from October 15th-19th, 2012.
The discussion will be led by experts in the field from Chile and Puerto Rico. Since the discussion will take place exclusively in Spanish, a working knowledge of the language is recommended.
Use the following link to join: http://my.ibpinitiative.org/
Study: Free Birth Control Slashes Abortion Rates – Olivia B. Waxman at Time
“…Researchers provided free, FDA-approved birth control to the women for three years. The women were given their choice of contraception, including oral birth control pills and long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods like implants and IUDs. The researchers specially briefed the participants on the “superior effectiveness” of LARC methods — the T-shaped IUD, or intrauterine device, has close to 100% effectiveness and can last five to 10 years, for instance — and 75% of women chose those devices over the pill, patch or ring.
Over the course of the study, which lasted from 2008 to 2010, women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies than expected: there were 4.4 to 7.5 abortions per 1,000 women in the study, after adjusting for age and race — much fewer than the national rate of 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women and lower also than the rate in the St. Louis area of 13.4 to 17 abortions per 1,000 women.
The effect of free contraception on the teen birth rate was remarkable: there were 6.3 births per 1,000 girls aged 15 to 19 in the study, compared with the national rate of 34.3 births per 1,000 teen girls…”
The Public Funding Debate: If We Don’t Fight the Hyde Amendment, We Will Lose Everything – Miriam Perez at RH Reality Check
These arguments are all slippery slopes, as Miriam points out. Knowing the history is knowing what could come next. Name it and know it.
“…’I would certainly like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion: a rich woman, a middle class woman, or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the [Medicaid] bill,” said Henry Hyde, author of the amendment.
Unfortunately, though, it seems that we often forget this intention, and somehow decide that it’s okay to equivocate on this issue. Efforts to repeal the Hyde amendment are more often than not seen as unrealistic, and advocates work instead to maintain the status quo—low-income women denied access to abortion. Often the argument is that if we try and fight the public funding battle, we might lose ground in overall access to abortion. But I think that the exact opposite is true. If we don’t fight the public funding debate, we’re going to lose altogether…”
One woman’s work at empty-nesting and having a blast! Beautiful.
Announcement of the 5th Edition of Varney’s Midwifery coming Fall 2013!
Nellie McKay – Mother of Pearl
This has been around for a while, but a friend recently re-posted. Hilarious!