30 April 2007
You can read it here: http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/the-great-birthing-con-is-taking-choice-away/2007/04/25/1177459782569.html
Being the person that I am, I wrote a letter in response. Here is a small sample:
Honestly, the situations in which birthing women make these ‘choices’ require careful analysis and of course, critique. There is no question that some women perhaps make birth ‘choices’ based on inadequate or biased sources of information or as a result of sacrifices made on behalf of their partner or even for the health of the unborn baby. Yet, obscuring the often positive benefits of obstetric technology only complicates women’s efforts to use that same technology for their own benefits. The argument that technology like caesarean sections, which are no doubt more ‘risky’ than vaginal birth, cannot be used for feminist or woman-centred approaches to childbirth is wrong. The fact that many women appreciate the use of pain relief in childbirth despite awareness of the risks of epidural injections into the spine, for example, suggests that women are sometimes able to influence medical practice and use intervention for their own ends. The insistence that women can/should/ought to find childbirth to be empowering or easy or ‘natural’ neglects the diversity of Australian experiences of birth. In addition the notion that the ‘alternative’ or midwife-driven birth culture has successfully challenged medical hegemony is also misleading. Although the values and aims of woman centred one-on-one midwifery care may resonate with many birthing women and have more appeal than hospital birth, the fact is that the overwhelming majority of births are still highly medicalised. Medicalisation is stronger than ever in Australia and the midwifery movement is essential in assessing and critiquing current obstetric practices.
Then, today I was thinking about an issue that has been completely lost from any of the recent dialogue surrounding elective caesarean being that overweight or obese women are much more likely to have a caesar than any other women. In 1995 the rate was 16.6 per cent and last year it was up to 23.2 per cent which quite closely follows the increase in the rising number of women considered to be 'obese', about 25%. It is not women who are 'too posh to push' that are necessarily pushing up the caesarean rate in the 'Western' world. As a result of the medical assumption that extra fat restricts the baby's safe passage in a vaginal delivery, overweight women are becoming increasingly subject to 'emergency' caesars and other unwanted medical intervention.
In light of this, I found a great article on Without Measure, the blog of the International Size Acceptance Association with some helpful information on avoiding a caesar as a 'woman of size'.
I was in the market last week and some woman approached me, 'TORI!' so I was like, 'Hi!' and she said, 'The baby!,' and I was like, 'Oh yeah,' thinking he had been on the cover of Us Magazine, and she walked up and said, 'Can I touch him?' and grabbed my belly. And then it got worse. I was like, "Oh no no, he was born 5 weeks ago!' and she goes, 'OH! You still have the belly.' I said, 'Yeah, I'm feeling good.' And she's like, 'Don't worry, it will go away - well I mean mine hasn't yet and my kid's 18, but...(shrugs shoulders).
27 April 2007
'A website and weekly podcast series by and for pregnant women. It's casual, informative and fun! Our weekly guests include, Lactation Specialists, Doulas, Pre and Postnatal Fitness Experts, Pediatricians, Massage Therapists, Family Financial Counselors'
Check it out here: www.pregtastic.com
Also, read this: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=68902
Parents can watch their developing fetus using 3D glasses! Watch the video below:
'Tori was dismayed to discover that after giving birth, the weight she gained during her pregnancy didn't just disappear. It wasn't water retention, as she wishfully hoped. So, being a take-charge kind of gal, she searched out a weight-loss program that would work for her and taste good -- yet also be safe while she is nursing the baby -- and discovered that NutriSystem® would fulfill her needs while fitting into her busy lifestyle, especially since the food is delivered directly to her door.'
It must be nice to have food delivered to your door....
You can read the whole story here and watch a video as well:
23 April 2007
22 April 2007
21 April 2007
Now I am pregnant with my third child. My weight before falling pregnant this time was 50kg, so yes, this time I am a little worried that I will weigh quite a bit more than I did with my other two children. I have been quite sick again with this pregnancy so far, and so have not been able to eat as much as I normally would. So far I have only gained 1kg. Also, I'm not as young as I was when I had Chloe and Shannon, being over 30 now, and have definately slackened off in the exercise department. I have been trying to go for a 30 minute walk at least three times a week. I didn't get any stretch marks with the last two children and am hoping it will be the same with this pregnancy - I have been religously applying Palmer's Cocoa Butter over my breasts, stomach, bum and thighs everyday!
But even though these thoughts do run through my head quite a bit, at the end of the day, all we really want is to have a healthy, happy baby. If this means putting up with a bit of weight gain, or a few stretch marks here and there, it's really all worth it in the end isn't it? I wouldn't say the same about the morning sickness (or afternoon, or evening, or even all bloody day sickness!!!) though. That is one thing I can really do without!
this is my second pregnancy I am 28. son is 4 and a half. Worked as exotic dancer for 7 years . worked till 3 months preg. put on 28kg. back at work 7 months after baby. still 12 kg heavier. men loved it. very feminine. i felt self concious. especially stretch marks on breasts. but i earnt well and provided a good quality of life for my son. Now 11 weeks preg. i am determined to limit weight gain through organic bio dynamic food and regular exercise as i am still 8 kg over original pre baby weight. My son was healthy 9pd and was crawling at 5 half moths walking at 7 half months. I ate a huge variety of foods to ensure i covered all nutrient needs but packed on the weight accordingly. All my friends are skinny while preg and after, but their babies are very slow developmentally. not walking or talking until 2 plus. i would rather eat a wholesome diet for my childs nutritional needs than jeopordise their development because of food restrictions related to vanity. 9 mon! ths on 9 months off. You cant compare a real human to heidi klum or angelina jolie. Jolie never looks happy anymore and is too slim. Hollywood actors are not viable archetypes for motherhood.
My name is Yvonne, I am 31 and the mother of 2 awesome boys. Bowen is 7 next week and Ayden will be 3 in June.
The posts on the baby bump blog yanked my heartstrings and I feel compelled to reply.
I have never been a fashionable person and I tend to ignore anything to do with anyone in entertainment and Hollywood. I don't really care that at full term they look like their bump is the size of half a basketball. All I cared about was having some healthy kids and being a healthy Mum.
I watched my diet to a point and tried to cut down on all the bad foods. Yet with both kids I was humungous. People would stop me in the street constantly..... all starry eyed, to ask me how many I was having. When I smiled and replied "Just one" they would look at my bump, shake their heads, look at me and with worried faces.... ask me if I was sure.
By 6 months, the funny had worn off and the panic set in. Was I too big? The doctors said I was about 1kg over weight but I am also only 5'1. Still the looks and the comments cut me to the bone and I started eating less and less. I even drilled the poor woman who did my ultrasounds to make sure there wasn't another baby hiding under the one she could see. People had convinced me there was either another foetus in there.... or a baby elephant.
And even though my family assured me that all was well and that I wasn't getting "fat", I worried myself sick. All the baby clothes we were getting were no smaller than size 0. I realised that even by cutting down my food, I was still getting bigger and starving myself and my baby of the food we needed.
Both pregnancies were hard physically. I'm not a touchy type person, so getting used to having my tummy rubbed took getting used too. And the comments on my size used to bring me to tears every day. I started to feel I was a terrible mother before the kids were even born. I had let myself become this walking hippo.
Imagine my surprise when Bowen was born naturally and weighed 6 pound 2 ounces. I was astonished. I actually asked the midwife "where's the rest of him?". For the life of me I couldn't figure out how a belly that big had equated to a baby so small. My family were gobsmacked at this tiny creature. My husband and I joked that we installed an olympic swimming pool for the kids comfort :)
I was on my feet the next morning putting on the clothes my husband had brought from home. I got so angry when I did my jeans up and they slid off my hips. I assumed he had accidentally grabbed the "preggers" jeans in his haste. When I checked the tag..... it was a pair I hadn't worn for years. I weighed less than before I had fallen pregnant.
No one has yet really explained to me why I got so big and had such a small child. And now as we contemplate a third child.... I can smile. I am a mother. I have hips, a bum, a flabby baby belly that just won't budge and some corker stretch marks. My boys have laid beside me and counted them. And when their tiny hands caress those soft scars my heart melts, they were worth every single one of them. I wear my stretch marks with pride. Each one is a mark of my rite of passage to me. And I look forward to the new ones that this third child will add.
And next time.... I'm printing up some T-shirts that say "Swimming Pool Under Construction" in the hope that some strangers might curb their tongues. Being pregnant is stressful enough without worrying about weight gain. If the baby and the mother are well and happy.... who cares how big or small they are.
Sorry it's so long. I got carried away. I have enclosed a picture of me at 6 months with Bowen and 7 months with Ayden. I hope the pictures are acceptable to use.
19 April 2007
This email entitled 'Body function v. Body image' is from Nicola:
Look: I am confused. There is this dichotomy currently that leaves me feeling dizzy. It seems that having a family is GOOD. Having the body and face that are a result of having said family is BAD. Having babies is GOOD. Having a body that looks like it has had babies is BAD. Being mature enough to have a career and a family is GOOD. Being mature enough to look like you are living a career and a family is BAD. Being mistaken for your daughters' older sister is GOOD. Being mistaken for your daughters' nanna is BAD.Having the body of an infertile pre-pubescent girl is GOOD. Having the body of a fertile, mature woman is BAD. Is it just me, or are we placing unreal expectations upon ourselves. How much are we supposed to expect from ourselves; shouldn't we be assessing the damage of putting the standard TOO high for real people to live up to? Personally, I don't feel compelled to single-handedly support the cosmetics, fashion, and exercise industries. I feel that glamour belongs with the entertainment industry; in fact I believe that glamour is fantasy.
Interesting points, indeed. As I have been talking to women throughout pregnancy and post-birth one of the most poignant aspects of the transition from pregnancy to post-birth is invariably the changed relationship women have with their bodies. Whereas your body was once 'your own' pre-pregnancy, at the moment of conception you are sharing your body with something/someone else (depending on when you believe 'life' begins). Many women have expressed to me that they feel like their body becomes functional particularly post-birth when breasts become tools for feeding a child and not necessarily the sexualised objects of culture that they were before.
How do/did you feel about your body during pregnancy/post-birth? How does your relationship with your body change when have a baby?
Maternal obesity has been major concern of doctors not only because of the risk of ‘postpartum obesity’ but also for a long list of undesirable medical risks to the unborn child and as a predictor of impending toxaemia. In the 19th century, maternal weight gain was of considerable concern primarily for fear of difficult delivery of large babies, particularly during a time when maternal mortality was high and cesarean deliveries were a last and not entirely safe alternative. Accordingly, the first study exploring maternal weight gain was published in 1901 showing that reduced intake during pregnancy resulted in lower birth weights. Successive studies following the publication of this first report placed increasing emphasis on weight gain and doctors began to closely document weight to reduce risk to the fetus. By the 1930s, pregnant women were urged to reduce their intake of salt and to gain no more than 6.8kg and consequently, low maternal weight gains were recorded up until World War II.
In the 1950s and 1960s, several studies of gestational weight and pregnancy nutrition were conducted and concluded that high pregnancy weight invariably led to high birth weights. The authoritative American medical textbook, Williams Obstetrics advised in 1966,
Excessive weight gain in pregnancy is highly undesirable for several reasons; it is essential to curtain the increment in gain to 25lb (12.5kg) at most or preferably 15lb (6.8kg). The experienced obstetrician is convinced of the complications, both major and minor, caused by excessive weight gain in pregnancy. Although restriction of the gain in weight to 20lb (9.1kg) may be difficult in man cases, requiring careful dietary control and discipline, it
is a highly desirable objective.
Many medical textbooks established the same guidelines at the time; earlier editions recommending more stringent regulations of weight gain. It was not until the 1970s that the recommended range of pregnancy weight gain was raised to account for pre-pregnancy weight; women who were considered to be underweight pre-pregnancy were allowed to gain more than women of ‘normal weight’, between 12 and 14kg. Following the new recommendations, infant birth weight and pregnancy weight gain both steadily rose. By 1976, women were encouraged to be liberal with their intake during pregnancy to a total of 2,400 kcalper day. Whilst the recommended amount of kilojoules during pregnancy was steadily on the rise by 1974, ironically it was during the 1950s that the daily allowance of kilojoules was the highest at 2700kcal per day at a time when women were encouraged to restrict their weight gain the most.
Recommended maternal weight gain nearly doubled from the 1930s to the 1980s and the strict surveillance of weight gain also became slightly less stringent. Weight ranges were reassessed again in 1990 to confirm not only the target ranges for maternal weight gain but also to base those amounts on each women’s body mass index (BMI = kg/m2), a measure of body ‘fat’ based on height and weight. Scientists have had to account for the fact that in the past twenty years, 'Western' women (Australia, America, UK) have become much taller and heavier, affecting pregnancy outcomes.
In accounting for ‘body mass’ or pre-pregnancy body ‘fat’, the new guidelines allow for women with a ‘normal’ body mass to gain between 11.5 and 16kg. According to the 1990 Institute of Medicine (IOM) regulations, women with a lower BMI are permitted to gain up to 18kg and women with a higher BMI can gain 11.5kg at the most. However, the issue of maternal weight gain is still quite controversial. In a review of studies of pregnancy weight gain over the last 50 years, Abrams et al conclude that there is ‘no evidence supporting the concept that routine weighing of pregnant women should be discontinued or that restricting weight gain in normal pregnancy is either safe or beneficial’. Abrams et al also suggest that even though recommended weight gain ranges have become more liberal as has clinical surveillance of maternal weight gain, women are still not gaining weight within the IOM ranges most likely as a result of weight and body image issues.
With this in mind, it is fairly horrifying to me to think that given that the IOM ranges are already quite narrow and more than 10 years old, rather than making the guidelines more liberal to account for body image issues in pregnancy, women are being encouraged to consume less and monitor their weight more closely during pregnancy. It's not hard to see why the cult of the skinny pregnancy is overwhelming first time mothers and potentially putting young women off motherhood who are scared to death that their bodies will be 'damaged' forever.
More information on the new study is available here:
 John W.C. Johnson and Michael K. Yancey, ‘A critique of the new recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy’, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol.174, no.1, 1996, 254-8.
 L.Prochownick, ‘Ueber Ernahrungscuren in der Schwangerschaft’, Ther. Monatsch, vol.15, 1901, 446-63.
 See also C.H. Davis, ‘Weight in pregnancy; its value as a routine test’, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol.6, 1923, 575-81.
 National Academy, Historical Trends, 38; A.W. Bingham, ‘The prevention of obstetric complications by diet and exercise’, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, vol.23, 1932, 38-44.
 N.J. Eastman and E.Jackson, ‘Weight relationships in pregnancy: The bearing of maternal weight gain and pre-pregnancy weight on birth weight in full-term pregnancies’, Obstet. Gynecol. Surv. Vol.23, 1968, 1003-25; R.C. Humphreys, ‘An analysis of the maternal and foetal weight factors in normal pregnancy’, Journal of Obstetrics and Gyecology, British Commonwealth, vol.61, 1954, 765-71.
 N. Eastman and L. Hellman, Williams Obstetrics, 13th ed., New York, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1966, 326.
 Barbara Abrams, Sarah L. Altman and Kate E. Pickett, ‘Pregnant weight gain: still controversial’, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol.71, 2000, 1233S-41S.
 National Academy, Historical Trends, 40.
 Abrams et al, ‘Pregnancy weight gain’, 1240S
18 April 2007
Feel free to include any handy hints for coping with the pressure (body or otherwise). Make sure to include images of your bump or your body during pregnancy or postbaby so we can all share in how everyday mums look and feel. If you have a Flickr account, join our group The Baby Bump Project and post yourself in the Bump Gallery (otherwise send me your images and I can post them for you).
16 April 2007
13 April 2007
This is the description from Marie Claire's website:
"The UK government has recently announced plans to encourage more women to have home births, saying that expectant mothers should have greater choices over where they give birth. The proposal has been welcomed by midwives, but met with concern by some groups who say there are safety issues involved. In Australia, about one per cent of all babies are delivered in home births. The issue was debated by Channel Seven's Sunrise panel, which included marie claire editor Jackie Frank".
Post your thoughts on the Marie Claire website:
Me: Hey! Guess what?
Me: You'll never believe what I'm doing this Monday?
You: Tell me!
Me: I'm going to be on the Today show talking about The Baby Bump Project.
You: No way!
You: What time?
Me: Around 8:10
You: What channel?
Me: Channel 9!
That was blatant self-promotion for my next Australian media appearance. For those of you who want to actually hear my voice, make sure to tune in on Monday for a segment about fatness and body image in pregnancy! I'll be sure to post it on YouTube for anyone that misses it!
11 April 2007
However, I have strong feelings about taking women's responsibility for their own bodies away from them and giving control over to the government to decide what is best for birth. Clearly, major abdominal surgery is a significant leap from vaginal delivery but is it really fair to insist that women must not have a technologised or interventionist birth if that is what they really want? Sure, some of you might say 'Well, how does she know what she wants if she doesn't know the risks?' That goes without saying but adult decision making is kind of like that. We make decisions about lots of things without knowing all of the associated risks. With birth, it seems like everyone seems to know what's best for pregnant women except women themselves.
We dont have to agree with the choices other women make but I think we need to respect them. I might not choose to have an elective caesar but I don't think my choice not to have one should prevent another woman from having one if that is what she feels comfortable doing. I think it would be a completely different story if for instance, the NSW government decided to ban women from having pain-reducing drugs during labour because pain relief is non-surgical. All of the most common pain killing drugs have side effects and there is plenty of research to support that. Hell, epidurals are injected into the spine. That's a major risk; but women who want to have less pain in labour should never be forced to 'suffer' needlessly and many women are willing to take a risk to be comfortable. I think this is the same issue. Maybe it seems a little strange to some of us that a woman would rather have surgery than give birth vaginally but in my own work, I have interviewed a number of women who have had elective caesars for various reasons. Fear of pain is a primary reason and who can really fault them for that? It's not my place to do so and it's not the government's place either. Women need to make up their own minds about how they have their babies. Caesareans should remain an 'option' because women should have every opportunity available to them to have a comfortable birth and if that means being cut open, who am I to judge?
Caesars can either serve or impair women's agency not so much by the inherent character of the procedure (in terms of obvious physical risks), but in how the politics surrounding elective caesareans coalesces with the needs of variously situated women (economically and politically and also varying by race, class, and sexuality). What is 'good' for some women is not necessarily appropriate for all women.
NSW hospitals move to block caesarean option
7 April 2007, The Age
WOMEN will not be allowed to insist on caesarean deliveries in NSW public hospitals without a medical reason, under a new health department policy. Under the new rules, women must be told in detail about "the benefits and risks of caesarean section compared with vaginal birth specific to the woman and her pregnancy". The policy cites a US study of more than 5 million births, which found that babies born by medically unnecessary caesarean were three times as likely to die in the newborn period as those born vaginally.The new policy also obliges health professionals to advise women about the implications for subsequent pregnancies. A 2005 study of 136,000 second pregnancies across NSW found those women who had had a caesarean first delivery were at much greater danger of a ruptured uterus, hysterectomy orinfection, while their babies were more likely to be premature, have serious breathing problems or need intensive care. Elective caesareans have increased by 25 per cent since 2001, and now account for one in six births. Many of these are for medical reasons, but doctors say more women are opting for caesareans from preference. Andrew Child, a member of the NSW Health Maternal and Perinatal Committee,which drafted the directive, said that while first caesareans were generally safe, dangers escalated steeply with subsequent births. Hannah Dahlen, secretary of the NSW Midwives Association, said: "People are... thinking of it as just another option for birth, rather than major abdominal surgery."JULIE ROBOTHAM
08 April 2007
Great reply Meredith. I also liked your last entry about that television show, and if you were at all angry I felt it was justified. I really love your willingness to shout down the misogynistic culture we live in which decrees pregnancy, breastfeed and all things relating to the female body as unattractive. We desperately need more feminist voices out there that are prepared to celebrate wimmin's bodies.
And just personally I wouldn't mind a federal mandate ;) (At the very least it would send a strong message to the public about how important breastfeeding is) No. In all seriousness, I think more support for breastfeeding is always great, so that those wimmin who can breastfeed get as much encouragement and help as they need to fully enjoy what I've heard is an incredible (exclusively female) experience. And so that more wimmin who might otherwise have decided against it, give it a go.
I think you summarised the issue beautifully when you wrote:
"After all of the hard work that lactation organisations do in trying to promote breastfeeding as a positive and healthy experience, network television has to mess it all up. Sure, breastfeeding is not the most positive experience for all women (obviously) but the suggestion that even the idea of feeding a child should turn someone off of parenthood is such an unbelievably irresponsible notion to plant into women's minds."
(one wonders if your aggressive reader who replied actually read this section, as you clearly state that breastfeeding is not all smiles and sunshine for all wimmin).
And you're right, the last thing our society needs is more breastfeeding bashing from popular culure. It is indeed irresponsible of that television show to reduce such an important, complex, exclusively female, challenging, and rewarding experience to a joke about wimmin's desirability for men *rolls eyes*
Incidentally for World Breastfeeding Week last year I wrote a blog entry about the importance of breastfeeding, and the most interesting text I read when writing it was Sheila Kitzinger's "The Politics of Birth". She spoke about the sexualisation of wimmin's breasts, and how she believed part of society's level of discomfort or disgust in breastfeeding is tied to the idea that breasts are supposed to be the sexual property of men, not the food sources of babies. I thus entitled my blog entry "World Breastfeeding Week: Take Back the Breast" http://sazziesblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/world-breastfeeding-week-take-back.html
See:Kitzinger, Sheila, The Politics of Birth, Elsevier, Edinburgh, 2005, pp.33-43.
"you sound angry. like just angry. like you're just an angry person. breastfeeding is entirely an individual experience. what do you wanna do? have the gov't promote nursing like it's a federal mandate. you don't understand that your words only serve to make people that don't choose to nurse feel bad about themselves. maybe you need that to feel better about yourself(?) sort of pathetic".
Whoa. Slowly step away from the computer. Take a deep breath. This is just a blog and I was just writing about a TV show....
You know what? Let's get a few things straight, my dear writer of such an angry comment.
Things I am not/don't have/never been:
1) I dont have kids. I've never been pregnant, don't plan on being pregnant any time soon.
2) I have never professed to be the superior knower of all that is parenthood, motherhood, pregnancy or anything of the sort because clearly I am not and never have been any of the above (yet).
Things I am/have/do:
1) A researcher that has done EXTENSIVE work with pregnant women, mothers, fathers, maternity designers and most people in the maternity industry in America and Australia.
2) I have a blog to share my thoughts about pregnancy, breastfeeding, motherhood, and their relationships to popular culture (as well as your thoughts too) to create a free and open dialogue with other women in this world and to celebrate (note: CELEBRATE) birthing bodies.
3) My work has been published in a number of highly respected academic journals, textbooks, and feminist collections as well as in non-academic contexts including newspapers, magazines, and websites. Why? Because I know what I'm talking about and people respect my work (just not you, apparently).
Now, if you go back to my post (and any post of similar ilk), dear reader, I have never endeavoured to judge any woman's mothering practices. In fact, I always preface my comments to necessitate the fact that no experience of pregnancy, motherhood, or even BREASTFEEDING is identical. Of course, every woman in the world is under no obligation to breastfeed and should not feel guilty or inadequate if she can't or chooses not to. I think this would be fairly obvious to regular readers of this blog. I have a tremendous respect for mothers. I've done more than 200 interviews with mothers in the last year. I'm writing a book about mothers. Hell, I even have a mother of my own. And you know what else? I know how hard breastfeeding is for some women and how easy it is for others. Not because I've experienced it (we've already been through that) but because I've witnessed it, heard a diverse range of experiences from women all over the world and read more about breastfeeding in just the last month than you have probably read books in your entire lifetime. Sorry, that was just mean (but then again, I am an angry, angry person).
This is the point. We disagree. I never said the American government should promote breastfeeding 'like it's a federal mandate'. Actually, what I said was that the tired old stereotype of breastfeeding as dirty or disgusting or body damaging that is constantly renewed in the media and on network television is irresponsible. It is. Period. Now, I dont mean to get personal but from your comment I tend to think that you are one of those women that chooses not to breastfeed. That's perfectly fine with me (and it doesn't matter what any one else thinks). What you do is your business and I'm not judging you. But to call me pathetic for speaking my mind is just a reflection of how insecure you are with yourself and with other women's life choices. If you can't handle someone standing up for the positive imaging of breastfeeding (even if you don't bf yourself), then as Freud would say, I think you've got issues.
Maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Maybe there was no skinny milk left for your cornflakes. Maybe you feel lonely sitting at your computer at 11pm somewhere in America and are pisssed off with life so you thought you should tell me how 'pathetic' I am. Maybe you, yes YOU, are an angry person, 'like just angry'. Next time you want to post a comment here, sign your name and own your words. Why should I take you seriously if you have to hide? You know who I am. I've got nothing to hide. So bring on your blogger-hating mumbo jumbo because I miss writing angry (because I'm an angry person, remember?) posts because 99.9% of the emails and comments I receive are positive, heart-warming, and glorious in more ways than you could ever understand. And would you believe it? I actually have a waiting list of pregnant women/mothers who want to give me the privilege of interviewing them so they can share their amazingly INDIVIDUAL and UNIQUE stories. So I must be doing something right.
Before I sign off, perhaps you might like to find a synonym for 'angry' for your next comment. I was slightly disappointed that you used the same word three times. Fuming? Irate? Livid? Incensed? Outraged? Heated? Or maybe my personal favourite...CROSS.
You asked for it.
I was perving on some clips of the show on You Tube (just type in 'Notes from the Underbelly' and you can find them all) and found this abhorrent and thoroughly annoying boob clip which I felt compelled to share.
07 April 2007
06 April 2007
The woman I have been interviewing throughout her pregnancy had a fairly negative hospital experience with her first child and decided that her second birth would be positive and totally different. In hospital, she felt out of control, uneducated and at the mercy of doctors and midwives who were telling her what to do. In this second pregnancy, she hired a homebirth doctor to look after her and then a midwife to assist with the actual birth. However, after a few hypnobirthing classes which she and her partner found to be really empowering, they decided that they would birth the baby completely on their own at home in a pool. She said that the only reason she initially thought she should have someone there with her was because of the fear that something would go wrong with the birth; that she didnt trust herself even then though they just wanted the doctor and the midwife to stay in the shadows unless they were needed. However, she didn't feel comfortable holding on to the fear of what could happen considering she already made the leap to having the baby at home without any pain relief or intervention. Freebirthing has been a way for her to shake those last vestiges of anxiety. I have to say I really respect her courage in stepping so far outside of the square and making a decision that I think alot of women would love to do but are definitely too afraid to actually carry out.
Also, her 2yr old daughter is going to be present at the birth (or for as long as she can) and they are definitely going to proceed with a lotus birth (maintaining the connection between the placenta and the baby until the umbilical cord falls off on its own). She also mentioned that part of her plan is to eat some of the placenta to maintain and reinforce her connection to the new baby, freeze the rest of it and perhaps give some to the baby at a later date. I've heard of mothers eating the placenta before but on some level it also means that the body of the mother and baby are not so abruptly separated as soon as the baby is born. By keeping the placenta attached to the baby and then later actually ingesting a piece of the placenta, it's as if mother and child remain connected as one body (like in pregnancy) and later on with breastfeeding.
Laura Shanley has developed a really useful site about unassisted birth with lots of amazing photos, videos and birth stories. This is a must-see for anyone considering freebirthing!
This is a link to a great article about catching your own baby:
01 April 2007
This is a great view from Liz Lange maternity wear. I posted about LL back in December when I was doing some research in New York. It just so happened that as I was flicking through the channels, I came upon a show about famous American business people and Liz was one of the panelists, revealing the secrets of her multi million dollar maternity fashion house. Now Liz Lange is bringing high fashion to the masses by dressing pregnant women across America in Target stores in a sort of democratisation of maternity wear. Now people that buy LL maternity wear from her stores know that high style does not come cheaply...until now. The pieces produced for Target stores (as you can see in the video) are beautifully presented, clean cut and sold at a much lower price point than in typical LL retail stores. However, in watching the video, I got the sense that although Lange is now dressing a wide range of American women, she still has the middle-upper class mother in mind. I mean Lange says 'Every baby needs to have these cashmere blankets...Hello? I can't afford cashmere for myself. How many women out there are actually splurging on luxury items for babies outside of NYC??
Also, in her ode to the 'skinny jean' at the start of the program, I kept thinking to myself, 'How many women do you see at Target buying skinny jeans even when they are not pregnant?' Surely, it's a good look for a pregnant model and if your legs don't change size because all of your weight gain is concentrated in one area. This just contributes to my theory about the cult of the skinny pregnancy (and this is especially prominent in NY and LA) where women can still be a size 0 even when they're pregnant.* Lange actually mentioned in the TV show I was watching in NY that they had to start making smaller sizes to cater to the 'petite' woman. I've actually been told of similar trends happening here in Melbourne by a few popular designers (such that certain high fashion, high fitness preggos are requiring their size 0s even during the pregnancy and are being forced to have certain items of clothing custom made as a result). Am I crazy? Does anyone think skinny jeans are just the slighest bit ridiculous when you are trying to grow another human being? Who wants to shove their body into denim (that is already uncomfortable when you're not pregnant) albeit 'skinny' leg denim after consistently putting on weight for 9 months?
It's like imprisonment for your bump. Women's bodies are forced to be contained enough just in normal life. Why corral the pregnant body into more restrictive clothing just because the rest of our culture is so freaked out by women taking up space (and that goes for overweight women as well)?
*In saying this, I'm not trying to say that all women need to gain heaps of weight in pregnancy in order to be 'real' pregnant women or to have an 'authentic' experience. Sure, there are women out there who don't gain much weight, are naturally a size 0 and have nothing to be ashamed of. That's fine, more power to them. I'm making a statement about the majority of the women in the world who are on average a size 12-14 even before they are pregnant and who haven't worn skinny jeans since the 7th grade (and even then, it wasn't really a good look).