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Big Bird's Banana Bread

I subscribed to Sesame Street's magazine when I was 4 and fell in love with Big Bird's Banana Bread recipe. Mr. Hooper (remember Mr. Hooper??? Big Bird had trouble saying his name so he called him Mr. Looper) is the grownup in charge of turning on the oven and melting the butter (this was before microwaves).

This recipe was made for kid's who want to lick the bowl (no eggs) and can be made gluten-free with a basic GF flour mix.

Here is what you'll need:
3 peeled ripe bananas
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup melted butter or vegan substitute such as Earth Balance
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or GF flour

Mash nanners up
Add melted butter, baking soda, flour and honey
Stir everything and pour in oiled bread pan
Bake at 350 for 1 hour

Don't forget to ask a grown-up helper to take the bread out of the oven and share it with your neighbors.


Quiet Work

I am so fortunate to have found work that I love doing. It's quiet work that allows me to be present for hours, supporting a mom. I kneel on the ground for hours stroking her arm or sit behind her holding her lower back, all the while being filled with love and compassion and allowing the rest of the world to fade away.

When you are in labor with a mom, you have come together for one purpose, and that is to allow her to have the birth that is perfect for her. And that's my job! It is work that leaves me still and humbled the next day.

I left a fast-paced world of project management to follow my passion, and every day I am rewarded for that decision.


Birth as Instinct

My belief that birth is instinctual for mom as well as health care providers and support women was on display in all it's glory last night. When we are given space and time to surrender to the natural flow of birth and accept its rhythms and pulses, a baby can be born in a way that is best for her and mom.

The majority of moms-to-be that I know fill their time up with childbirth classes and as many books as they can possibly read before labor. But when a woman chooses not to follow that path, to allow birth to unfold without any preconceived notions of what should happen, she is able to look deep inside herself and create the birth experience that feels perfect for the state she is in at that moment.

It was a blessing to witness such a rite of passage. A mom that, without ever trying out positions or massage or reading birth stories, fell into her own rhythm. She found her own inner voice and allowed the Universal flow of energy to sweep her up and deliver a baby.


Sistah Midwifery International

Shafia M. Monroe, Certified Midwife since 1982 is holding a small gathering at The Horn of Africa to discuss how the Spirit calls women to Midwifery.

Thursday February 26, 2009, at 6:00pm - 8pm over a full course Ethiopian dinner.
The Horn of Africa’s Special Meeting Room, 2nd floor, 5237 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97211 (inside the Vanport Plaza)
$20.00 for dinner and a complementary gift of “Black Midwives and Prenatal Provider Directory-Essential Recipes and Words of Wisdom for Expecting and New Parents”. Payment due by February 21st. There is limiting seating; the first 10 people will be guaranteed a seat.
Please pay through Pay Pal at or by check to: Shafia M. Monroe, PO Box 11303, Portland, OR 97211. For more information please call (503) 281-1688.

Fat, Fiber and Protein - Essential to Starting Your Day

When breaking fast it's important that your breakfast contains fat (think coconut milk, seeds, avocado), fiber (veggies, fruit) and protein (tofu, beans, meat). This will ensure a solid foundation for your upcoming day and will give your body everything it needs to begin the digestion and metabolism process.

Check out this recipe below, which I call The Cuba Special, to begin your day. I suggest making enough for several mornings and cooking everything the night before to ensure a calm eating ritual. You can decide the appropriate amounts that fit your tastes because you just can't go wrong with this meal.

Black Beans
Coconut Milk

The night before
Cook black beans
Cook rice
Roast yams (chop and place in oven at 400 for 20 minutes, flip and cook another 20)

The morning of
Heat the beans, rice and yams together in a pot
Heat coconut milk separately
When warm, combine in bowl and add Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Mmmmmmmmmm - this is another breakfast that will last a long time. And it tastes SUPER.

Check out my other recipes throughout this blog........


Kid's and Maternity Clothes Swap

If you missed Nurture's last Naked Baby Party (don't worry, there will be more) you can always check out the kid's and maternity clothing swap hosted by PDXSwap on Sunday, March 8 at St. John's Library from 1:00 - 3:00.

To read more of this article, visit Nuture's blog.

Nurture Blog Posts

I'll be linking to blog posts from the Nurture blog as I write them for Nurture and as interesting topics and events appear. Just another way to get the word out about local Portland birth and family events.

Portland is such a rich birthing community and I am honored to be a part of it.


Nurture- A Center for Growing Families

I am happy to announce that I have joined Nurture's wonderful collective of health care providers as a Doula. Check out my bio to learn more about the services I'm offering.

Nurture's mission is to provide space for growing families to access multiple resources for their needs. We offer midwifery care, doula services, acupuncture, art therapy, fertility consultation and much more. 

Nurture is located on Alberta Street in Northeast Portland in an older home with ample room for workshops, baby clothes swaps, healing circles and play groups. 

If you're interested in learning more, let me know.


Eleven - From Tao Te Ching

Thirty spikes share the wheel's hub;
It is the center hole that makes it useful.
Shape clay into a vessel;
It is the space within that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room;
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there;
Usefulness from what is not there.


Undisturbed Birth

An undisturbed birth will help you be the mother that your baby needs you to be.


Reiki Healing Prenatally and Postpartum - Monthly Article

“Reiki? You mean where someone lays their hands on your body and channels energy to make you feel better? Yeah, I’ve heard of it, but have no clue what it is.” Most folks interested in a holistic approach to health have heard of Reiki. Few have actually experienced it and even less can explain how it works. 

In a nutshell Reiki is a simple, non-invasive, holistic healing modality where the practitioner channels energy to help heal the body. The channeled energy comes from Universal Energy, that exists around all living beings and objects. What is Universal Energy you ask? It’s similar to holding your palms about a half inch apart from each other and feeling that fuzzy warmth between them - that is Universal Energy. It’s all around us.

Reiki healing takes place on physical, spiritual and energetic levels by balancing the natural energy of the body. Pregnant and postpartum women have found Reiki useful for everything from relieving day to day stresses to turning a baby as delivery nears. 

Reiki can be used to achieve whole body relaxation as it removes blockages, allowing energy to flow unhindered and helping pregnant moms cope with their ever-changing bodies. Having opened the energy channels of the body you won’t hold onto things like stress, muscle knots and toxins. Plus, one of the secret added benefits of Reiki is that it leaves mom with more energy than when she arrived - always a nice bonus.

A recent study at The Hartford Hospital in Connecticut showed that Reiki used during pregnancy on a regular basis reduced stress and anxiety by 94%, pain during pregnancy by 78% and nausea and morning sickness by 80% after Reiki sessions. The study also showed that a woman’s quality of sleep was improved by 86% when Reiki sessions were included during pregnancy. 

Unlike massage, mothers-to-be don’t have to be cautious when using Reiki while pregnant. The only precaution is that, as the pregnancy goes on, mom may have to sit in a chair or lay on her side rather than on the back. Treatment may also be shorter if mama is uncomfortable laying still for that long.

As we all know, an unborn child shares her emotional state with her mother. There is no better time than during pregnancy to experience the benefits of Reiki, both for you and your baby. The state of overall wellness that is passed from mom to baby helps nurture baby in the womb, during labor and after birth.

After birth, postpartum, Reiki can be used to accelerate the natural healing process as well as provide relief and comfort to physical aches and pains. Baby can still participate in the session, with mom holding her new baby or lying next to her.

Thinking about trying Reiki and wondering what your first appointment will be like? Generally, you can expect the Reiki practitioner to sit down with you to discuss your reasons for being there and ask what your intentions are. He or she will ask you to lay on their massage table, fully clothed with your shoes off. The practitioner may place their hands on your body over your clothes or may hold his or her hands a few inches from your body using gentle hand movements to channel energy. Either way, the vital energy force will be channeled through the practitioner to your energy field.

"Reiki is a wonderful way for women to nurture themselves and their babies during and after pregnancy.  Giving and receiving Reiki is having the experience of loving and being loved unconditionally.  Children thrive on love.  It allows them to experience their full potential.  The same is true for mamas and papas!"  Molly Fitzpatrick, practitioner and teacher of Reiki at  Transformational Medicine, Portland, OR.

Breastfeeding a Stranger

YouTube video of actress breastfeeding a hungry african baby:


Induction Facts

Under most situations, if you are giving birth in a hospital, you are likely to be offered an induction after 41 or 42 weeks, with significant pressure to accept. This option may be provided based on the schedule of the caregiver, concern’s for baby’s size, timing of ruptured membranes, or other health concerns. (Buckley 2009)

A serious concern with induction is that often other interventions are needed to cope with the induction, which increases the risk of a cesarean birth. The first important step to preventing an induction is understanding your estimated due date.

Estimated Dates

  • In obstetric terms, the expected due date is usually calculated at 40 weeks from the first day of your last normal period. This is based on a 28 day cycle and conception at 14 days after the first day of your last period.
  • If you know the actual date of conception, count 38 weeks ahead.
  • If you have a longer cycle, the probable day of conception can be calculated as 14 days before the next expected period, according to the usual cycle length. Then add 38 week for estimated due date.


  • Studies have shown that the average length of gestation in healthy moms is 41 weeks.
  • Age, ethnicity and previous births influences the average length of gestation.

Induction Benefits

  • Reduction of stillbirth
  • Possibly reduce risk of Shoulder Dystocia 
  • Possibly reduce risk of large baby (over 8 pounds 13 ounces) and labor complications
  • However, natural labor onset best prepares mom’s pelvis to soften and flex around large baby

Induction Risks

  • Longer, stronger and closer-spaced contractions, leading to artificial pain relief because of body’s inability to quickly produce own pain-relieving hormones
  • Compromised blood and oxygen supply to placenta because of strong contractions
  • Low APGAR scores
  • Increase risk of instrument delivery and cesarean birth
  •  Prematurity of baby


  • Trust in your body and your baby’s process and timing
  • Walking / exercise
  • Intercourse
  • Prostaglandins from semen near the cervix can induce labor
  • Nipple stimulation
  • Trigger labor by releasing oxytocin


PPD Tip Sheet

Baby Blues

  • 80% of women experience what is called “baby blues” which occurs around day 3 postpartum and lasts less than 2 weeks.
  • You may feel overwhelmed, sad, anxious, fatigued, or have no appetite.
  • Thoughts like “I don’t even want this baby” or “What was I thinking?” are normal. They don’t mean you’re a bad mother or will have them forever.
  • If you experience these thoughts after 2 weeks, you may have Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

  • About 10-15% of all postpartum women experience more serious depression and anxiety and can begin at any time during the first year after birth.
  • Risk factors include previous depression/anxiety or PPD, social isolation or poor support, abrupt weaning, history of premenstrual syndrome, mood changes while taking birth control pills and prenatal loss.
  • You may feel a sense of despair, want to sleep all the time or have insomnia, have frightening thoughts about your baby or yourself, feel constantly fearful about your baby’s health or be unable to get through your day to day activities.
  • Thoughts like “I’ll never be myself again”, “I’m a terrible mother”, “I just don’t care anymore” or “No one understands” are symptoms of PPD.

Coping With Postpartum Depression 

  • Talk to family or friends who can support you through this time. You want to ensure you are not alone and isolated. Access local support groups.
  • Express all your anger or sadness, keeping those feelings inside you won’t help you recover.
  • Look to the Internet and books to educate yourself on PPD.
  • Get as much sleep as you can. Rest when your baby does and don’t worry about keeping the house clean or friends entertained.
  • Ensure you are taking as much time for yourself as possible. Take a walk, a bath, get a manicure or read a book. Allowing yourself to reconnect with your spirit will help.
  • Consider talking to your health care provider, general wellness practitioner or therapist.
  • Pay attention to the good times and try to remain present in your day rather than worrying about the future or stressing over the past.

Your Postpartum Year

  • Baby Blues Connection is a local organization created to help mothers through PPD. They are available 24/7 by calling 503.797.2843. You can also find them at
  • If you need additional referrals for therapists, psychiatrist, support groups, please let me know, I can help.
  • I am also available as a Postpartum Doula and can help you through this time by taking care of your baby while you spend time with yourself, helping around the house or just chatting.

Six - From Tao Te Ching

The valley spirit never dies;
It is the woman, primal mother.
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil barely seen.
Use it; it will never fail.


Pagan Self-Blessing

Divine Mother,
Bless (name of mother-to-be), for she is your child.
(Dip fingers, touch crown)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s sight
that she may clearly see your path as well as her own.
(Dip fingers, touch forehead)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s throat
that she may speak her truth.
(Dip fingers, touch throat)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s heart
that she may open to the wisdom of all women.
(Dip fingers, touch heart)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s solar plexus
that she may live in the world in a way that is true to her highest self.
(Dip fingers, touch solar plexus)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s vagina
the gateway of birth.
(Dip fingers, touch pelvic bone)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s feet
that she may walk your divine path.
(Dip fingers, touch feet)
Bless (name of mother-to-be)'s hands
that do your work as well as her own.
(Dip fingers, touch hands)
Bless (name of mother-to-be), for she is your child:
a part of you, and a part of us all.
(Dip fingers, touch crown)

Can be used in a Blessingway ceremony for mamas-to-be. Feel free to use scented oil, sea salt dissolved in water or rose water as a blessing.


Midwives Deliver - LA Times Article

Midwives deliver

America needs better birth care, and midwives can deliver it.

By Jennifer Block 
December 24, 2008

Some healthcare trivia: In the United States, what is the No. 1 reason people are admitted to the hospital? Not diabetes, not heart attack, not stroke. The answer is something that isn't even a disease: childbirth.

Not only is childbirth the most common reason for a hospital stay -- more than 4 million American women give birth each year -- it costs the country far more than any other health condition. Six of the 15 most frequent hospital procedures billed to private insurers and Medicaid are maternity-related. The nation's maternity bill totaled $86 billion in 2006, nearly half of which was picked up by taxpayers.

But cost hasn't translated into quality. We spend more than double per capita on childbirth than other industrialized countries, yet our rates of pre-term birth, newborn death and maternal death rank us dismally in comparison. Last month, the March of Dimes gave the country a "D" on its prematurity report card; California got a "C," but 18 other states and the District of Columbia, where 15.9% of babies are born too early, failed entirely.

The U.S. ranks 41st among industrialized nations in maternal mortality. And there are unconscionable racial disparities: African American mothers are three times more likely to die in childbirth than white mothers.

In short, we are overspending and under-serving women and families. If the United States is serious about health reform, we need to begin, well, at the beginning.

The problem is not access to care; it is the care itself. As a new joint report by the Milbank Memorial Fund, the Reforming States Group and Childbirth Connection makes clear, American maternity wards are not following evidence-based best practices. They are inducing and speeding up far too many labors and reaching too quickly for the scalpel: Nearly one-third of births are now by caesarean section, more than twice what the World Health Organization has documented is a safe rate. In fact, the report found that the most common billable maternity procedures -- continuous electronic fetal monitoring, for instance -- have no clear benefit when used routinely.

The most cost-effective, health-promoting maternity care for normal, healthy women is midwife led and out of hospital. Hospitals charge from $7,000 to $16,000, depending on the type and complexity of the birth. The average birth-center fee is only $1,600 because high-tech medical intervention is rarely applied and stays are shorter. This model of care is not just cheaper; decades of medical research show that it's better. Mother and baby are more likely to have a normal, vaginal birth; less likely to experience trauma, such as a bad vaginal tear or a surgical delivery; and more likely to breast feed. In other words, less is actually more.

The Obama administration could save the country billions by overhauling the American way of birth.

Consider Washington, where a state review of licensed midwives (just 100 in practice) found that they saved the state an estimated $2.7 million over two years. One reason for the savings is that midwives prevent costly caesarean surgeries: 11.9% of midwifery patients in Wash- ington ended up with C-sections, compared with 24% of low-risk women in traditional obstetric care.

Currently, just 1% of women nationwide get midwife-led care outside a hospital setting. Imagine the savings if that number jumped to 10% or even 30%. Imagine if hospitals started promoting best practices: giving women one-on-one, continuous support, promoting movement and water immersion for pain relief, and reducing the use of labor stimulants and labor induction. The C-section rate would plummet, as would related infections, hemorrhages, neonatal intensive care admissions and deaths. And the country could save some serious cash. The joint Milbank report conservatively estimates savings of $2.5 billion a year if the caesarean rate were brought down to 15%.

To be frank, the U.S. maternity care system needs to be turned upside down. Midwives should be caring for the majority of pregnant women, and physicians should continue to handle high-risk cases, complications and emergencies. This is the division of labor, so to speak, that you find in the countries that spend less but get more.

In those countries, a persistent public health concern is a midwife shortage. In the U.S., we don't have similar regard for midwives or their model of care. Hospitals frequently shut down nurse-midwifery practices because they don't bring in enough revenue. And although certified nurse midwives are eligible providers under federal Medicaid law and mandated for reimbursement, certified professional midwives -- who are trained in out-of-hospital birth care -- are not. In several state legislatures, they are fighting simply to be licensed, legal healthcare providers. (Californians are lucky -- certified professional midwives are licensed, and Medi-Cal covers out-of-hospital birth.)

Barack Obama could be, among so many other firsts, the first birth-friendly president. How about a Midwife Corps to recruit and train the thousands of new midwives we'll need? How about federal funding to create hundreds of new birth centers? How about an ad campaign to educate women about optimal birth?

America needs better birth care, and midwives can deliver it.

Jennifer Block is the author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care."

My Complete Doula Services

What is a Doula?

"Doula" comes from ancient Greek, and means "a woman who serves women". Today, Doula is used to refer to a trained woman who can provide support during three different times of a woman's childbearing year. An Antepartum Doula supports the mother later in her pregnancy with pregnancy massage, meal planning, education and labor preparation. A Labor Doula provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and just after birth. A Postpartum Doula is there for mom and baby after delivery to help in whatever way best serves mom.

What Services and Experience do I Offer?

Antepartum Doula

As an Antepartum Doula, I help support mothers on bed rest, single or teen moms, women with severe morning sickness, emotional trauma or multiple children. As an Antepartum Doula I can provide informational, emotional, physical and practical support during a woman's pregnancy.

My ongoing academic and professional experience includes education at Birthingway College of Midwifery, training from Alma Birthing Center, and my own self-study.

Labor Doula

I am currently in the process of becoming a certified Labor Doula through Birthingway. I have attended extensive training through the school and now must attend 5 births in order to become certified. The mother and caregivers will need to fill out paperwork for the school evaluating my performance as a Labor Doula to help with this certification process.

As a Labor Doula I can assist with birth plans, birth art, pain coping techniques (massage and touch, positioning, breathing, meditation and visualization, vocalization, aromatherapy and healing energy techniques), pregnancy and postpartum diet and fitness designed to ease labor and recovery, Reiki healing, and creative expression and relationship / birth coaching. (Whatever works best for mom and family.)

Postpartum Doula

Currently, I work at Alma Midwifery Birth Center as a Postpartum Doula where I have received training to care for new families in their first 48 hours after birth. I have expanded this service beyond the birth center environment and into new families' homes. I provide lactation consulting, infant care techniques, meal planning and cooking, gentle yoga and exercise options, natural healing, light housekeeping, dog walking and nanny care.

What do I Charge?

I believe that all families should be able to afford Doula services and all Doulas should be able to pay their mortgages. Therefore I offer my services on a sliding scale, based on what each family can pay. I am happy to discuss pricing options and payment plans with each family.

Antepartum & Postpartum Doula Services

$25 - $35 per hour with a 4 hour minimum

Labor Doula

During certification process: reimbursement of transportation and food expenses, usually between $50 - $75.

After certification: $400 - $700. Includes 3 prenatal visits (if time allows), full labor and delivery support, 1 postpartum visit

Want to Learn More?

For a lot of people, the concept of a Doula is a very new thing. Now that women often don't have built-in family support, a Doula can really fill the gap for the new family by providing knowledge, compassion and practical support during this very important childbearing year.

If you'd like to learn more about what I do and the services I offer, please leave a comment to this post (it will remain unpublished).


Allowing Postpartum Depression to be Talked About Prenatally

I wanted to send a book about Postpartum Depression (PPD) as part of a baby shower present to some dear friends. My husband however, thought it might be taken the wrong way and they might feel weird about receiving such a negative message - like I was trying to tell them they were crazy. And unfortunately he was right. It's just not okay a lot of the times to give that kind of helpful present to people without worrying that they will think that you think they are not good parents.

It makes me so sad to see how little PPD is spoken about to pregnant moms. Their might be a small paragraph about baby blues in a pregnancy book or their caregiver might mention PPD after she has given birth, but unless mom knows enough about PPD to want to learn more, she has to get that information herself.

So, here are mothers, not supported in thinking that perhaps she won't feel connected with her new baby. That it's normal and okay to wonder if she made a mistake in having a baby or that she isn't cut out to be a new mom. All these thoughts are totally normal and a lot of moms feel that lack of bonding or just going through the motions with their new baby. They don't mean she has PPD or that she is a bad mom.

PPD comes into play when these thoughts last longer than two weeks and mom doesn't get any relief from her sadness or anxiety. Meaning, she doesn't have windows of feeling loving and peaceful.

So, how do we get the word out about PPD to pregnant and new moms without worrying about hurting their feelings, spoiling their idea of what could happen after birth or upsetting friends? Any ideas?


Is the Medical Model of Birth Really Better - Guest Writer Colleen Mahon-Haft

Since the 1940s and 1950s, the maternity care system in the United States has overwhelmingly involved hospital births and an increasing number of surgical and drug-related interventions, making birth a highly medicalized event.  With this paradigm shift towards use of our advanced medical technologies and well-trained doctors, why does the United States not have better maternal and neonatal outcomes? 

The use of hospitals in the United States for childbearing started in the early 19th century for women who did not have suitable homes. In 1900, less than 5% of women gave birth in hospitals (Starr1984).  The proportion of births occurring in hospitals rose from 37% in 1935 to 97% in 1960, and reached 99% by the 1970’s (Rooks, 1997). By the 1940's, the standard was set, and hospital births became the cultural ideal. The idea was that at the hospital the doctor had all the "tools of the trade" readily available. Unfortunately, this was and continues to be a major downfall of hospital birth. Included in those tools were medications, forceps, surgical instruments, confinement to bed, enemas, pubic shaving, arm and leg restraints, and hospital nurseries with rigid schedules. Birth came to be seen as an illness that required medical attention.

  • The modern medical way of birthing is not producing better results; it is interfering with the instinctual process of birth. The World Health Report (from the World Health Organization) indicates that the neonatal death rate (death in the first twenty-eight days of life) is greater in the United States than in thirty-five other developed countries (WHO 2005).
  • The maternal mortality rate in the U.S. is the highest it has been in decades, according to statistics released by the Center for Disease Control (Hamilton et al 2005). According to the figures, the U.S. maternal mortality rate was 13 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2004. In 2006 a shocking one in 4,800 U.S. women dies from complications of pregnancy or childbirth (United Nations 2006).
  • The U.S. ranks 41st out of 171 nations, behind even some nations without similar technology and resources, such as South Korea. Despite our enormous wealth and highly advanced technology, the United States lags far behind most other industrialized countries, and even some developing nations, in providing adequate health care to women during pregnancy and childbirth. 

In countries where laboring mothers are not subjected to the medical model, the maternal and neonatal death rates are significantly lower. In the five European countries with the lowest infant mortality rates, midwives (who practice holistic care) preside at more than 70% all births. More than half of all Dutch babies are born at home with midwives in attendance, and Holland’s maternal and infant mortality rates are far lower than in the United States (Otis 1990). The United States has more neonatologists and neonatal intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom, but the newborn death rate in the U.S. is higher than in any of those nations (Lawn, et al 2005).  

The international standing of United States (in terms of infant mortality rates) did not begin to fall until the mid-1950s. This correlates perfectly with the founding of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in 1951. ACOG is a trade union representing the financial and professional interests of obstetricians who has sought to secure a monopoly in pregnancy and childbirth services. Prior to ACOG, the U.S. always ranked in 10th place or better. Since the mid-1950’s the U.S. has consistently ranked below 12th place and has not been above 16th place since 1975 (Stewart, 1993).

Today in the United States, not only do nearly all births take place in a hospital, but they often involve unnecessary medical procedures that can actually make the natural birth process more dangerous. Women are wheeled in to “labor suites” where they are hooked up to machines, strapped with monitors, given (usually) unnecessary intravenous fluids, and put “on the clock.” 

Home and birth centers definitely have opponents, but the statistical evidence states that if you are a healthy low risk woman, having your baby in a hospital is riskier than home or birth center. One set of midwives in Tennessee had 2,028 planned homebirths from 1970 until 2000.  Ninety-eight percent of them delivered vaginally with a 1.3% emergency transport rate and a 1.4% Cesarean rate (Gaskin 2002).

There is not a hospital in this country with numbers as low as that. Why? Because the midwives let birth happen. They do not rush to induce, they do not perform unnecessary tests, they just let the mother birth her baby, and the majority of the time, it is uncomplicated and not a medical event. The paradigm shift towards medical birth is hurting this country, and unnecessarily killing and injuring many women and newborns each year.  


Thoughts on Postpartum Depression

There are times in every life when we feel hurt or alone...
But I believe that these times when we feel lost
and all around us seems to be falling apart are really bridges
of growth.
We struggle and try to recapture the security of what was,
But almost in spite of ourselves, we emerge on the other side
with a new understanding, a new awareness, a new strength.
It is almost as through we must go through the pain
and the struggle
in order to grow and reach new heights.
-Sue Mitchell