Sunday, April 29, 2012

Raw milk mania

There is an excellent article in the current issue of the New Yorker on raw milk, chronicling how the feds are cracking down on the sale of the unpasteurized variety.The story, focused on a "milk trafficking gang known as the Rawesome Three" in California, posits that raw milk is the new 'pot.'

As I wrote in my book -- and this piece points out -- pasteurization came about because of swill dairies in the mid-19th century; cows were fed the grain leftover from whiskey production. That milk was making children sick. Pasteurization was the cure. And the concept became embedded in our culture.

After reading how federal agents were dumping out thousands of gallons of raw milk in their raids, it made me think: Aren't soda, Twinkies and cigarettes all more dangerous in the long term? Why aren't they illegal? (Actually, raw milk IS LEGAL in California)...So, instead of ranting, I will just say this:

Here's my jug.

Come and get me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why becoming a doula is important now

Today, I present a guest post from Gina Forbes, the Workshop Coordinator at toLabor.

Becoming a doula is important now, more than ever.   With the current political climate and the recent attacks on women's health care and civil rights, it seems very clear that this is a precarious time in American culture.  Yet, I also feel that we are on the cusp of something bigger and better.  Every day, I learn about more individuals making greener, healthier choices for themselves and the planet.  People are beginning to rise up and live consciously.  This gives me hope.

As a birth advocate, doula, childbirth educator, and Workshop Coordinator for toLabor, I have thought long and hard about the role of a doula in this cultural and consciousness shift.  What is the greater significance of being a doula?

The answer is this: that EVERY person deserves to have autonomy over their bodies, their babies, their families, and their choices.  It is a human right, a civil right.  Every person who becomes pregnant, gives birth, and becomes a parent deserves to have high-quality, loving and compassionate care around this incredible time in their lives.  Doulas are people who are trained to respect that principle as the basis for all other work they do in their role as birth professionals.  Doulas ideally embody the role of empowered human being, facilitating a process of transformation and support for each and every client.  No matter what the birth experience looks like, doulas should be there to create the space for their clients to claim their choices, their autonomy, and their unique voice.  If done successfully, this paves the way for those individuals to become empowered, healthy, confident parents, which will have a direct impact on the quality of future generations' lives.  Birth matters!

I am an advocate for toLabor, the Organization of Labor Assistants for Birth Options and Resources, because toLabor exemplifies these beliefs in their doula training and certification program.   toLabor aims to return the focus of control to the laboring woman, to create the space and support for her to have her own voice, to be included and central in her birthing process.  toLabor understands the importance of empowering families, honoring birth, and changing lives.

Join the Community of Change.

toLabor will be having a doula training workshop in Jamaica Plain, MA on May 18-20.  For more information on that workshop, please contact local sponsor Catherine McKeown-Lindsey at or at 617-817-5397.  For other workshop listings and more information on toLabor, please visit the website at