Just spent an awesome weekend with former midwife classmates and fabulous friends, one of whom is beautifully pregnant. I knew so little about midwifery before school, only that I wanted to be a midwife and learn from the best. I ultimately learned how to be ‘with woman’ from my classmates, and am so thankful for those experiences. Hold on tight to those around you, for our lives scatter, though in lovely ways.
From the Facebook Page of Rock the Slut Vote
“…Shortly after his delivery Thursday at Mercy Gorham Crossing Primary Hospital, a local newborn reportedly panicked upon realizing that his respiratory aptitude would be scored as part of the upcoming Apgar test. “Woah, woah, woah—I knew reflexes and skin tone would be on this thing, but breathing? No one said anything about that,” the visibly anxious infant said of the standardized test administered by physicians immediately after birth. “I can’t believe I’m going to nail the grimace section and fucking fail breathing. I would have stayed in there longer and prepared had I known. I hate tests. I really do.” At press time, the newborn had broken down crying during the Apgar, passing it with flying colors…”
“…The nation’s ob-gyns have redefined ‘term pregnancy’ to improve newborn outcomes and expand efforts to prevent nonmedically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation. In a joint Committee Opinion, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) are discouraging use of the general label ‘term pregnancy’ and replacing it with a series of more specific labels: ‘early term,’ ‘full term,’ ‘late term,’ and ‘postterm.’
The following represent the four new definitions of ‘term’ deliveries:
- Early Term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks 6 days
- Full Term: Between 39 weeks 0 days and 40 weeks 6 days
- Late Term: Between 41 weeks 0 days and 41 weeks 6 days
- Postterm: Between 42 weeks 0 days and beyond
“This terminology change makes it clear to both patients and doctors that newborn outcomes are not uniform even after 37 weeks,” said Jeffrey L. Ecker, MD, chair of The College’s Committee on Obstetric Practice. “Each week of gestation up to 39 weeks is important for a fetus to fully develop before delivery and have a healthy start.”…”
Becoming a Witness at Suzanne Lacy’s ‘Between the Door and the Street’ – Salamishah Tillet at The Nation
“…Last Saturday evening, almost 400 women and handful of men sat themselves on front stoops on one block in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, to discuss the meaning and future offeminism at the “Between the Door and the Street” performance.
Invited by the Brooklyn Museum, Creative Time, and Suzanne Lacy, an artist best known for staging political performances that spark civic dialogues and debate, the participants were dressed in black while donning bright yellow pashminas – two shades when used together are one of the easiest color combinations to see from long distances. And the effect worked: the participants stood out brightly from the audience, remarkable as much for their racial and ethnic diversity as they did for the wide range of topics they addressed…
The coalition building was apparent. You could see this from the more highly visited groups, like Jagakbo, a peace making dialogue group between North and South Korean Women, Girls for Gender Equity, and the Sex Workers Project. Based on the street plan, it was hard to tell whether or not there were any community groups mixed together. And at first, I felt that each stoop seemed to self-contained by organization affiliation and oftentimes a racial and linguistic homogeneity that seemed to work against the goal of rendering feminism as the umbrella for a variety of social justice concerns. But, over time, I saw the collection of conversations occurring next to or across the street from each other as a chorus, polyphony of voices that articulated contemporary feminism as multiracial, intergenerational, and politically expansive.
Achieving empathy, however, was an even more complicated feat. Creative Time’s chief curator Nato Thompson hoped the performance cultivates “the art of listening.” As he put it, “Gatherings across race, class, and gender that are open, protected, and you can listen and hear discussions are extremely rare.” At first, the demographics of the audience only slightly mirrored the racial and gender diversity of the stoop dwellers. And hour later, the crowd was different. Standing out now was the fluidity of the group and the presence of those people not typically associated with feminist gatherings: men of color and young children.
And because the participants spoke in their natural voices, the audience often had to strain to hear them, pushing up against one another, and sometimes only to pick up fragments and phrases. This also meant we also had to literally lean into the speakers and each other, generating a feeling of intimacy and trust amongst strangers…”
Will Women Ever Have the Freedom to Be Ugly – Tracy Moore at Jezebel
“…There’s a common quote in feminist literature — men are instrumental, women are ornamental — and it still echoes today. Most women will tell you that day in and out, they feel they must do everything to eradicate problem areas and enhance attributes, whether it’s not eating, losing weight, working out, primping, perfuming, disguising, perfecting, and so on, and that’s even IF they are interesting, funny or rich, or all three and then some. What’s worse, no matter what they are, the quickest go-to insult to take a woman down a notch will involve a physical shortcoming 1,000,000% of the time.
Being pretty is a box we must always be ticking off or striving toward. It never goes away, and it begins at birth. Maybe that’s nothing new, but the idea that women should finally be free from these considerations is rather recent. This New York Times piece called “A New Image of Female Authenticity” (full disclosure: I’m quoted in it) sums up this issue succinctly:
Women are allowed to do big things, but must do them fully leaned-in, hands raised, having it all. What remains impregnable to them are those refuges that shelter so many men: ordinariness and muddling through.
It’s worth noting, then, when a war of resistance breaks out and even gains ground. In certain corners of the American cultural ferment today, one detects a new iconography of female realness, grossness, flawedness — of copious thighs and unsexy sexuality. In a hundred ways, women are clamoring for a freedom long cherished by men: the right to be ugly, too.
The piece cites some usual suspects: Lena Dunham’s willingness to present her body as sexual without meeting stringent standards for TV nakedness, Tina Fey’s shapeshifting appearance that often refuses to put the goods in the best possible light. It mentions Orange is the New Black as a space largely free of the male gaze. It notes Miley Cyrus’s twerking as having an “almost ugly sexuality” — something that should get more praise than it does, in my opinion. Sometimes I really think one of the most radical things a woman can do is simply not brush her fucking hair.
Mindy Kaling is quoted as saying, of her current busyness and TV presence, “I’m a minority, chubby woman who has my own television show on a network,” she said. “I don’t know how long this is going to last.”…”
Case Explores Rights of Fetus Versus Mother – Erik Eckholm at The New York Times
“…Wisconsin is one of four states, along with Minnesota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, with laws specifically granting authorities the power to confine pregnant women for substance abuse. But many other states use civil-confinement, child-protection or assorted criminal laws to force women into treatment programs or punish them for taking drugs.
“This is what happens when laws give officials the authority to treat fertilized eggs, embryos and fetuses as if they are already completely separate from the pregnant woman,” said Lynn M. Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women in New York, of Ms. Beltran’s arrest and confinement.
The Wisconsin law, according to the suit filed in United States District Court in Milwaukee, deprives women of physical liberty, medical privacy, due process and other constitutional rights. It is also based on faulty information about the risks to newborns and ultimately does more harm than good, the suit argues, by scaring pregnant women away from prenatal care.
Bonnie Ladwig, a retired state representative who helped write the law, called it an appropriate effort to prevent harm. “It’s the same as abuse of a child after it’s born,” she said. “If the mother isn’t smart enough not to do drugs, we’ve got to step in.”
The law is intended “to help both the woman and her baby,” said Susan Armacost, the legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life, whose group lobbied hard for the measure. Similar policies have won strong support from anti-abortion groups around the country, in part because they advance the goal of granting independent personhood and rights to the unborn child.
The suit is being argued by National Advocates for Pregnant Women along with theReproductive Justice Clinic of the New York University School of Law and Linda S. Vanden Heuvel, a Wisconsin lawyer who was eventually hired by Ms. Beltran’s mother. Wisconsin officials have not yet responded in court and declined to comment.
Ms. Paltrow’s group has documented hundreds of cases nationally over the last decade in which women were detained, arrested or forced to accept medical procedures in the name of fetal protection, with low-income and minority women affected disproportionately…”
Should Severe Premenstrual Symptoms Be A Mental Disorder? – Amy Standen at NPR
“…She learned that PMDD is different from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), different from depression or bipolar disorder. As many as 85 percent of menstruating women have at least one PMS symptom, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
PMDD is much less common, affecting no more than 1 percent of menstruating women.
The PMDD diagnosis has three main criteria. First, the symptoms have to correspond with the menstrual cycle for a minimum of two successive months.
Second, the symptoms must be truly disruptive to a woman’s ability to carry out her normal activities. That’s different than in PMS, where most symptoms are mild.
Finally, to be diagnosed with PMDD women must report that they aren’t depressed all the time, just in the days leading up to their periods.
In PMDD, says Dr. C. Neill Epperson, who directs the Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness, a woman clearly has “symptoms under a certain hormonal state that are not there under another hormonal state.”
Epperson says the medical literature was until recently vague about what PMDD is and how to treat it, but that has changed.
Previous versions of the DSM lumped PMDD into a category called “not otherwise specified.”
Last year, Epperson served on a work group in charge of updating the manual. The group decided to give PMDD its own entry as a full diagnosis in the latest version of the manual, the DSM-5.
Epperson says it was a controversial decision.
“I think any time a disorder occurs more frequently in women or only in women, there’s going to be a group of individuals who have concern that this will diminish women’s role in society, their sense of being capable,” Epperson says…”