January 27, 2011 § 7 Comments
outlaw midwives vol 2!
so here is the draft of outlaw midwives vol 2. uploaded onto scribd. 64 pages.
the upload to scribd was imperfect. there are about two-three pages that for some reason didnt upload. pretty random. (i think it is because in general the internet has been running slower since the protests began in cairo. the egyptian govt fucked with twitter as it is, since that and fb is where a lot of the organizing is happening for the protests) so i am going to upload it again, but until then, enjoy this.
I love volume 2 of outlaw midwives. I love it because it is full of personal stories from the frontlines of birth work and mothering. As I printed out the articles and sat on the floor with glue stick and scissors, stapler and paper, I could hear the air crackle around me as the electric heater burnt slowly. These pages are pointing to a path of liberation and magic. To a place where justice = love.
These stories run the gamut, from supporting women’s access to abortion to discovering that breastfeeding can be painful and exhausting. From questioning who homebirth is really for, to mamas discussing marginal identities in the natural birth community. There are visions for what midwifery could be, should be, and what it should never have become. Stories about death. And yes, stories about birth. Most of all, these are stories, our stories, that we need.
So please enjoy, pass along, and support outlaw midwives by any means necessary.
cover art –soraya jean louis
bird blues baby—soraya jean louis
love, sister—soraya jean louis
outlaw midiwives and outlaws—ash johnsdottir
black women birthing resistance—cara page and tamika middleton
evidence-based medicine—gloria lemay
my secondary post-partum hemorrhage experience—rebecca j. haines-saah phd
love and lost, for julie—brooke benoit
homebirth and no home—da midwife
on birth and choice—pamela hines powell
abortion in florida—randi james
i wonder what would happen if midwives…—carla hartley
what they don’t tell you about breastfeeding—aaminah al-naksibendi
stepping out—mai’a, aaminah al-naksibendi, amy gow, Patrice nichole byers, china
body pirate: how my body was taken hostage by a nursing toddler—laurel ripple carpenter
the c-section—alexis gumbs
a hard rains a-gonna fall—ash johnsdottir
also in this zine you will find call for submissions for the bridge called my baby anthology and for outlaw midwives vol 3.
October 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
so today is my birthday. yay me!
and i would love it if you would donate to/support: a force more powerful than violence: the voices of Palestinian women
“We may not currently have the might of the Israeli army and the power of traditions confine us in certain roles, however, we know that one woman standing behind another in a line of solidarity is a force more powerful than both.”
–kefah, speaking in at-tuwani village, west bank, palestine
kefah, a sweet friend from the village of at-tuwani in the southern west bank is invited to speak in italy in late november. but in order for her to be able to travel – for the first time outside of the west bank – we need to raise money.
i wrote a bit about kefah this summer on feministe:
i met kefah in the fall of 2004 under horrible circumstances. we were living in the southern west bank. and a couple of international friends had been walking with palestinian children passed an israeli settlement, when the israeli settlers jumped out of the woods and beat my two friends down. luckily, the kids weren’t physically hurt, but they were scared, very scared. but my two friends were taken to the hospital with a punctured lung, broken knee and arm, and psychological trauma. so i and a couple of other internationals who were living in palestine went to at tuwani and walked with the children the next day passed the settlement. and the day after that.
those kids were amazing. they faced death just so they could go to elementary school.
the israeli soldiers told us that if the settlers attacked us, they would not protect us. and we believed them since a lot of the soldiers were from neighboring israeli settlements.
at night we slept in the women’s museum, a palestinian women’s craft co-op started by kefah.
kefah is amazing. she is a wife, a mother to four sons, a self-avowed feminist, a leader in her village, a visionary, a business woman, a community organizer. when i think of revolutionary motherhood, i think of kefah.
and she has a great raunchy sense of humor.
kefah expanded for me what i understood motherhood to mean. well, actually not just kefah, a lot of palestinian women did that for me. women who daily confront israeli soldiers just so they can work in their fields, harvest plants, leave their house, go to the clinic, go to the neighboring town. women who do it with a babe riding on their shoulders. women who do it with little money and a lot of strength. women. who. do. it.
dont get me wrong, i dont romanticize living under an occupation. its not pretty. its too little food, and too many people dying. its your husband, your son, your father, your brother in jail and you trying to figure out how to get the money to get him out, if that is even allowed. its eid under curfew. its watching your house be demolished simply because it was standing and then rebuilding it just to watch it be demolished again. its your mosque, your school be demolished. apartment buildings being shelled. its never having enough. its living on the breath of survival. its life. and its painful.
revolution aint pretty and it doesnt come cheap.
that is where you come in.
the folks who are organizing the tour are amazing activists. worked in the west bank for years with kefah and her husband, nasser. i know them and have worked (and drank) with them personally and can tell you that they know what’s up. they have worked in the village with kefah for years, have strong ties and really do follow the leadership of the community.
so please, please support kefah’s work.
if the links arent working for you please donate money through pay pal — c_carp2 at yahoo dot com –
September 17, 2010 § 1 Comment
woohoo! we got books! and love!
Because Thaura Distro values radical, revolutionary love and we believe that revolutionary love requires action, we announce a fundraiser in support of Stacey “CripChick” and Mia Mingus. Stacey and Mia, two of our favorite compañeras, are making a massive journey. Both literally and figuratively they will be merging homes. You can read about their plans HERE, and find out about another wonderful fundraiser another friend of ours is putting together in their support HERE.
We have decided to put together our own fundraiser to support Stacey & Mia. Aaminah has culled thru her personal library and is selling books!
(Of course, if you aren’t interested in any of the books offered but still would like to donate, simply follow the donation instructions below and we will still send you a special gift.)
Books are available for a donation. Minimum donation per book is $1, but of course more is appreciated! Thaura Distro will take care of the postage, so you don’t need to factor that into price and can be assured that 100% of your donation will go straight to Stacey & Mia. We will also send you a small gift to express our gratitude for your support.
July 23, 2010 § 4 Comments
some random notes:
The POWERful classes are innovative and off the beaten path of standard childbirth classes because they serve a dual purpose. The first is to share information with women about their pregnancy, birth and postpartum so that they can make informed and empowered decisions about their health and the health of their baby. The second purpose is to introduce women to social justice organizing so that they can impact positive change as leaders in their communities.
The classes, which were also offered last year at Power U, will cover topics ranging from birthing options, nutrition and breastfeeding to reducing toxic housing conditions, improving neighborhood schools and negotiating fair rent prices.
“I feel more respected in these classes,” stated one class participant, who is also a teen mom.
–this weekend i am doing the printable pdf for outlaw midwives zine. pulling out my geometry brain…any help in this arena would be much appreciated…
–aza insists on being called: princess mafina or amira mafina. but not aza. definitely not aza.
–midwife pamela on fb linked to this article:
This is especially true when it comes to pregnant drug using women. For nearly two decades popular media claimed that any illegal drugs used by pregnant women would inevitably and significantly damage their babies.
The actual scientific research contradicts this assumption. Carefully constructed, unbiased scientific research has not found that prenatal exposure to any of the illegal drugs causes unique or even inevitable harm. This research is so clear that that courts and leading federal agencies have concluded that what most people heard was “essentially a myth.” As the National Institute for Drug Abuse explains, “babies born to mothers who used crack cocaine while pregnant, were at one time written off by many as a lost generation. . . . It was later found that this was a gross exaggeration.”
–some of these notes may develop into blog post. or maybe not.
–i am basically nanowrimo-ing a memoir and then after a couple of weeks seeing if it is worth working on. i had just figured that i didnt have the emotional energy to do it. but i hate having something sitting there undone staring at me. me, unsure if it works or it doesnt. so i am writing my ass off and then when i am done, i can see what the next step would be.
anyways the writing reminded me of living in the woods reading the peace pilgrim. and how reading her little book really did act as a guide for how to live in this world as a free person no matter what.
–oh there are a couple of awesome posts on checking dilation during labor without a vaginal exam. lovely.
–i will write soon about the viva palestina september/october convoy to deliver aid to gaza. but here is the link to it for now…
–while the more that i learn about the placenta, the more amazed i am by it, i am not sure if i could knowingly eat placenta lasagna.
–aza is running around with a can of tuna. habibi is cooking potatoes. it is july in cairo and the heat swims in the air like a prayer. i can drink smoothies all day. mornings are chaos here.
July 13, 2010 § 2 Comments
my grandmother has dementia, my cousin tells me. she is one of the few people in the world who loved me for being me. and nothing else. not perfect (for example homophobic) but at her best light and wisdom and clarity that saw through the surface of the world to capture the truth of a moment.
i would stay with her in south carolina during the summers. she protected me from my family and a world that insisted there was something wrong with that little girl who sat in the corner, read books, wrote poems to herself, drew pictures and took long walks. too quiet, too introverted, too weird. she gave me space. she was the first person to explain racism to me. at night we would sit up after everyone had gone to sleep and talk until one of us dropped into dreams.
she was the only person in my family (other than my lil brother) who actually thought me going to palestine was a good thing. and basically told the rest of my family (with all of their side comments and glaring ignorance) that they did not know what they were talking about. i still have pictures of that christmas hanging on our dining room walls.
i am grateful that there is nothing left unsaid between us.
and i wonder what world she lives in now.
June 9, 2010 § 2 Comments
i am wondering if i really need to break down why this is not a good thing:
At a United Nations conference focusing on maternal health, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a pledge for the cause. The Foundation will spend 1.5 billion dollars to improve maternal health in the countries that have very high rates of death due to pregnancy.
*gates foundation is too big to listen to folks. instead it creates hegemonic solutions to health problems that need more unique and community-led solutions/
*gates foundation tackles problems that fit a specific first world paradigm, not on the ones necessarily that most affects the local population
*it tackles health problems that are most seen as a threat to the first world, not the ones that are most impt to communities in the third world
*it invests money into corporations that are causing the problems its charitable contributions are attempting to solve
*communities ought to have the right to decide how the money is spent, not gates’ bureaucracy.
1. the bill and melinda gates foundation is the largest foundation in the world.
2. large international non governmental agencies (ingo’s) focus on one-size-fits-all solutions to problems. this is how the gates foundation is run.
3. the most crucial part of doing solidarity work is listening to people. listen. listen. listen. and then listen some more. this is what the gates foundation is horrible at, accountability and responsiveness to critique. it is too big to be able to really listen to the people they are claiming to help and support. instead of listening they have created a bureaucratic mess, full of intermediaries and ngo’s of ngo’s.
June 9, 2010 § 1 Comment
this is a speech/presentation given by my heroine, a palestinian woman/mother who lives in a village in the south hebron hills and organizes women from six neighboring villages in a women’s co-operative. she is a leader and for me one of the most amazing organizers i have ever met. she is the woman who sparked my vision for revolutionary motherhood. her fierceness, perception, vision, sense of humor, and commitment to her community’s life is my inspiration.
(in this she mentions some of my favorite people from the village, hafez, nasser, her husband, and saber. these three men will always hold a special place in my heart for how much they taught me and supported me .)
shukran ktir to joy for posting this. and sending me the picture of her outside sewing on a manual sewing machine with a girl standing in front of her watching.
I want to speak to you about the position of the women in At-Tuwani village. First of all, women in this village suffer from very conservative cultural traditions. In regards to education, which is a right of women to have, unfortunately most of the women in At-Tuwani are illiterate. They have only managed to study through third grade. The role of the women is to work on the fields with the men and to have children and care for them. Five years ago, we gathered the women and decided we needed to make a slight change to our lives.
You should that know that women have rights and even though women’s rights have not been meet, we have decided to form a women’s cooperative. Even though, when we meet and decide what we wanted to do, we still had to consult with the men of the village. At first, they objected very strongly and they said, “Your role is just to care for your homes and your children, and to work in the fields.” We did not accept their rejection and therefore we had to think of activities to do, things that do not get in the way of the traditions and the culture that we live in. So we agreed, as most of the women are quite skilled in embroidery, even though they were not taught it but are skilled because many generations of tradition, we could use that as a starting point.
We came up with the idea of doing embroidery work to improve the economy of the village because of the settlers and the settlements around us and the way they confiscate our land and attack our homes and flocks. All of these was effecting the women of the village and our children. So we had to again bring it to the men of the village because of we had some support, but not a majority. The most important support for me was from my husband, Hafez, and Saber, the mayor of the village.
Now many girls are able to finish high school and there are three girls in university.
June 8, 2010 § 5 Comments
i havent really written about midwifery and birth issues in the past few months because the conversations that happen online around these issues dont really have much to do with me.
let me give an example. i really dont like the saying ‘breast is best’. i understand the impetus behind this statement to combat the anti-breastfeeding mood that is prevalent. but, it is innacurate and alienating at best.
i breast fed aza and i used formula. that is what was best for us. for her. even if i had been able to arrange my life so that i could do 100 percent breastfeeding that would not have been best for her. and i have met plenty of parents where breast was not best.
it isnt best when breastfeeding causes you so much physical or psychological discomfort that you are pumping adrenaline and fear through your body and the milk to your child. when breastfeeding is not a conduit to bonding but to re-traumatization.
what i dont understand is how do people who claim that they believe that the mother can make the best decisions for her child, then go and make unequivocal statements like: breast is best.
yes, i believe that parents should be accurately informed of what is in formula and the potential for harm. but, can we please stop pretending that breastfeeding does not have the potential for harm as well? i have seen parents and children harmed by breastfeeding, when it has caused damage to the relationships. and i think that the only people who can know what is best for that mama/baby dyad is the mama and the baby.
and if you arent the mama or the baby, your opinion on how they create and sustain their relationship is just that, your opinion.
May 30, 2010 § 9 Comments
when i first joined the ngo to work in palestine, one of the questions that they asked me was: do you have a support community.
i answered honestly: yes. i had founded a community art space that had brought a mix of folks from our local community as well as out-of-towners together. vietnam vets, homeless, punks, hippies, preps, hipsters, college kids, dj’s, mc’s, performance poets, visual artists, musicians, etc. we were about multi media work, stretching the boundaries of what was expected and accepted in that conservative southern va town. it was fun work. it was, for better or worse, my community.
it wasnt until the end of my training that i realized that when they asked if i had a ‘support community’ they werent asking are there a group of people who love you and your work. who come to your shows. who donate art to your space. who hang show posters in restaurants in their spare time. who pass out flyers. who make sure to introduce you to artists they think you will dig.who let me use their internet or their shower. who believe in what you do.
they were asking if there were a group of folks who would send money every month to the organization. or at least off set some of the cost of my living, since my meager stipend was not going to cover my basic needs.
oh. well, im not sure if you caught the cadre of folks who i considered community, but for the most part these werent folks with extra cash. i mean i guess i could have asked someone to spange up 20 bucks, but frankly i would have rather they used that money to buy a few beers.
anything else but money, they didnt consider to be ‘real support’.
stranger still this was an organization that claimed to support communities under the threat of violence, but was adamant about not being an ‘aid organization’. we didnt give money. at all. we supported communities in other ways, through connecting them with other ngo’s, through acting as a liason betw the community and governments, by accompanying the community, by doing media work for/with the community, etc.
May 16, 2010 § Leave a comment
just watched this on al jazeera and wanted to share
Firas Mazloom was born with two holes in his heart. His condition could have been fixed by routine surgery, but Israel’s siege on the Gaza Strip has crippled the medical system there. The doctors do not have the training or the equipment to perform the necessary operation.
Firas went to Israel for a check up after he was born and was supposed to return for a follow-up. But Gaza is blocked off from the outside world and Firas never made it back to Israel for his heart operation.
His parents say their request to cross the border was turned down six times because his case was not considered an emergency.