Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Herbal expertise

Someone asked me for reading suggestions on midwifery herbs...

I haven't cracked a book on the subject in a while, but my mind went to two tomes: The Byrthe of Mankynde, the first known midwifery text written in the English language in the 16th century. Of course, the book is written in Olde English so it is a bit hard to parse its concoctions...I read an original copy at the Harvard Medical School's rare books department (you can't actually take the book out of the room, and it was while ago, so my memory may not be right) but I found a repro version exists on Amazon in the UK. Too geeky to ask for my birthday?

Another cult classic (circa 1979) is by Jeanine Parvati, called Hygieia: A Woman's Herbal.

Anyone have other ideas?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Got orgasm?

My friend Viv, a journalist in the UK, was asking me recently about the film "Orgasmic Birth." She, like any good reporter, was skeptical.

"The more I read on this subject the more I just refuse to believe in the existence of the birth orgasm... They are confusing one sensation with another, I feel," she said.

Ah, Viv.

I told her that while I do believe it is minutely possible (like a plane crash) for a woman to have an orgasm while giving birth, I feel like viewers are taking the title too literally. In general, the concept of orgasmic birth should be more about enjoying the experience. I think there are many ways a woman can increase her chances of enjoying birth, especially -- and not despite -- going without pain medication.

I like to think of childbirth like running a marathon or climbing a mountain. Those who do either clearly can suffer exhaustion and pain, but there is an amazing high they feel upon successful completion from going through something so intense and those feelings would be diminished if any part of the journey were numbed...

Video contest

I am trying to spread the word about an interesting film project...

Birth Matters Virginia is inviting mothers, fathers, filmmakers, film students, birth advocates, and others to create a 4-7 minute documentary video about birth. The subject can be anything related to mother-friendly maternity and delivery care, and the goal is to educate women about their options and choices. The first-place winner will receive a cash prize of $1000. Second place $500 and an honorable mention prize of $100 will also be awarded. The deadline for entering the contest is Mother's Day, May 10, 2009. The organization is based in Virginia, but entries from around the world are welcome and all are eligible for prizes, both amateur and professional.

Guest judges of the video contest are Sarah Buckley, Ricki Lake, and Abby Epstein (the former is an MD, homebirth mother of four and author of "Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices," and the latter two known for "The Business of Being Born," which you must see if you haven't).

For rules and to see how to enter, please visit http://www.birthmattersva.org/videocontest.html You can also join their Facebook group to get updates about the contest and exchange ideas with other participants at http://www.facebook.com/groups/edit.php?gid=73753459808#/group.php?gid=737534598\\08.

Home birth photos

I just wanted to pass along the profile of a fellow former journalist who is now taking home birth photos in the Boston area. Her name is Cydney Scott and this is what she says:

I recently had the honor of photographing two home births in the greater Boston area. I am a professional photographer with over ten years experience in journalism and I have never enjoyed photographing something as much as the big event of a child's arrival!

After having to take a buy-out from my newspaper a few months ago, I have been dealing with the challenge of continuing to do what I love - document life. I would welcome the opportunity to make my services known to other parents who might want their birthing day documented.

The birth photos can be seen on my site, cydneyscott.com, listed under "Birth" under the "portfolios" dropdown menu.