There was another great turnout at a reading tonight, in Phoenix, at Changing Hands bookstore. The crowd was comprised of pregnant women, new mothers, grandmothers and even some kids, but the thing that united them all was a sense that we, as a society, should be talking more about birth, and we should go beyond expecting or appreciating a healthy baby -- we should also value a woman's experience. One woman, who had had two cesareans decades ago, said she felt less like a women because she did not get a vaginal birth, something she was "really up for." She wanted to know if higher c-section rates were contributing to increased incidence of postpartum depression. I think a lot of things are leading to more and more postpartum depression -- from women being disappointed, to having little or no support after the baby is born. In other cultures throughout time, women would often be supported by family and neighbors for more than a month. The mother could ly-in with her baby while others prepared meals, did the laundry and looked after other children. It's an idea whose time has come. Ahri Golden, of Thin Air Media (see the Berkeley posting below)is pushing the concept of time banks for new moms. Check out http://www.timebanks.org. At the very least, bake a lasagna for your neighbor when she has a baby. It's the tend and befriend system (likely an adaptive behavior) that women have used for their safety and protection throught the ages so they would have a social network to help them when men were off hunting wooly mammoths.
On a more serious note, I am posting the address for the National Stillbirth Society, founded by Richard Olsen, who was the first one seated in the bookstore for my talk. His story is on the site. www.stillnomore.com
Next stop: The Tattered Cover in Denver tomorrow night.