April 17, 2011 § Leave a Comment
it finally occurs to me the male ego is ridiculous this is why they run in packs
me, mama wolf running with kin nothing but sand where the cedars stood and stars cliche like me dreadlocked writing about seeds planted for freedom
the heart found shells she listens to in the middle of the city black sea salt black lost the black tongue teeth and gone
cause nothing saves you but your own paw
March 30, 2011 § Leave a Comment
call for submissions
focusing on pregnancy, birth, post partum, baby and breastfeeding
for and by: mothers, friends and allies of mothers, doulas, midwives, birthworkers, childbirth educators, childbirth advocates,
intention: to create a zine for pregnancy, birth, and the first year of motherhood centering the lives of working class, marginalized mothers and birthworkers.
submit: photos, drawings, visual art
poems, essays, fiction and non-fiction
tips, suggestions, lists of resources
check out the outlaw midwives manifesta and website: http://outlawmidwife.wordpress.com/
outlaw midwives: creating revolutionary communities of love
some suggestions for topics on which you can submit…but these are just suggestions…
suggestions for those trying to conceive. and for not conceiving. stories of conception, abortions and miscarriage.
what are the social, economic, legal consequences and limitations for marginalized mothers to make choices about how, when and where they will give birth.
tips for the first, second, third trimester. relationship with doctors, clinic, midwives, family, friends, etc.
how do our ideas of gender and sexuality influence how we view childbearing, midwifery, and parenting?
Your take on reproductive justice?
how do we resist the high infant and mortality rates?
what are the ways that community could support the childbearing year, mothers and families?
how have you navigated through the systems of welfare, protective child services, hospitals, etc?
reflect on the state of midwifery today. what do you see as the positives and negatives? how has legalization and licensing affected mothers and families access to care?
what would you want to tell a soon to be mother about pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood? or write a letter to your pre-mother or pre-pregnant self about what you should expect. what didnt you expect to happen/learn/experience in pregnancy, birth, the baby year? write a letter to you daughter and/or son about what you learned/want to pass on about pregnancy, birth, baby year.
what was your personal experience/story of birth? pregnancy, the baby year?
what did you learn/are you learning from the baby year?
what do you wish someone had told you about early motherhood and/or being a birth worker?
what do you wish you could have said to someone, but didnt?
what is your vision/ideal of how pregnancy, birth, baby year could be?
what family/traditional wisdom did you receive about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding? what practical tips do you have for working poor mothers?
breastfeeding vs. bottle. what are the social, biological and economic influences and consequences of the choice to breastfeed or bottle feed?
what to do with the placenta? placenta art, consumption, burials?
why did you become a birth worker? what has been the highlights of the experience? what have been the difficulties?
what does ‘outlaw midwife’ mean to you?
keep it simple
deadline may 15
send submissions to maiamedicine at gmail dot com
February 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
what i realized during the 18 days was that there was no one particular role i wanted or needed to play. what i felt compelled to do was understand the revolution. from as many sides as possible. and by understand, i mean experience, get close to, get underneath, witness, live, breathe it. and then be able to respond to what was happening in the moment it was happening.
which meant sometimes i was a protester with a scarf soaked in vinegar over my nose.
and sometimes i was a mama explaining to aza what was going on outside.
and sometimes i was a friend offering a drink and a smoke.
and sometimes i was a medic offering medicines and advice.
and sometimes i was a writer taking notes and hitting ‘publish’
and sometimes i was a photographer with a camera and a smile.
and sometimes i was a translator trying to relay impossible questions.
and sometimes i was the researcher/analyst reading about the history and the future of the region
and sometimes i was just tired or confused or overwhelmed or scared or cranky or insomniac.
but underneath it all, i kept hearing this little voice saying, just understand it. just be in it. so you can understand it. pay attention. pay attention. keep waking up.
we have to keep waking up again and again. its not a one time thing. to be fully awake is a constant re-awakening from that half-sleep state of mind that we lapse into like a habit. that state where we stop paying attention and instead get all lost in our heads in fantasies about the past and the future and the not here and not now. and then we catch ourselves and we wake back up.
this is the internal revolution, to wake back up fully. during an external revolution. and both of these revolutions, the personal and the political, are constantly being refreshed. we fall into half-sleep state. we fall into social complacency and oppressions. and then we revolt.
to fully awakenedness for a moment.
and then we just do what needs to be done.
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 –
August 18, 2010 § Leave a Comment
hey. thought id leave you with a couple of links.
–sweet post by jaded hippy on changing her mind about feminism and children
–not very surprised to find out that racism is bad for white folks health as well. karma.
–i told myself i was going to write a blog post about this, but it just hurts too much to write about right now. mother loses her baby for three years because she refused a c-section. had a healthy baby vaginally. and then was accused by the state of endangering her baby’s life by refusing to sign a pre consent to c section.
my decision to have c section was greatly influenced by the threat of the hospital calling protective child services if i left the hospital, and then i read this story…i run out of words.
–but dont worry women and black folks are still in more pain…women, blacks receive inadequate pain meds.
August 13, 2010 § 16 Comments
honestly, it takes me while to process things sometimes and to find the words. so in time i may have other things to say, but for now…
–i can look back now. read the first two posts that caused such a ruckus. and realize that i still do not have a clear idea why people got their panties all in a twitter. i understand that it happened. i accept that. but honestly, i do not understand the motivation of people to come onto a blog post after the first hundred comments or so and say the exact same thing that twenty other people have already said. what is the point of that? do people really think i am going to have a conversion experience: woah. dude. i just hadnt considered what a horrible, selfish, entitled person i am, thanks for enlightening me comment number 547.
–you do not have the right to child free spaces. you have the privilege of being able to choose child free spaces. it is a privilege. it is not a right. there is a difference.
–i had a hard time with the comparing pwd with children. but no i dont think it is able-ist to compare pwd to children. no more than i think it is racist to compare the treatment of black folks to the treatment of pwd. it is only able-ist to do so, if being compared to children is an insult. and then we need to interrogate why being compared to a child is an insult in our culture.
–i am still resistant to explain that children are an oppressed class of people. it just seems so fucking obvious. and i refuse to do 101 for folks, unless i am getting paid. so. please go google it, if you still do not understand why the united nations and nearly every other organization that does human rights work, classifies children as a protected class based upon children’s inherent vulnerability and our civilizations exploitation of children.
August 4, 2010 § 2 Comments
This Bridge Called My Baby: Legacies of Radical Mothering
“We can learn to mother ourselves.” Audre Lorde, 1983
All mothers have the potential to be revolutionary. Some mothers stand on the shoreline, are born and reborn here, inside the flux of time and space, overcoming the traumatic repetition of oppression. Our very existence is disobedience to the powers that be.
At times, in moments, we as mothers choose to stand in a zone of claimed risk and fierce transformation, the frontline. In infinite ways, both practiced and yet to be imagined, we put our bodies between the violent repetition of the norm and the future we already deserve, exactly because our children deserve it too. We make this choice for many reasons and in different contexts, but at the core we have this in common: we refuse to obey. We refuse to give into fear. We insist on joy no matter what and by every means necessary and possible.
In this anthology we are exploring how we are informed by and participating with those mothers, especially radical women of color, who have sought for decades, if not centuries, to create relationships to each other, transformative relationships to feminism and a transnational anti-imperialist literary, cultural and everyday practice.
“We don’t want a space where kids feel that only adults can imagine ways to strengthen our communities and protect ourselves against the Architects of Despair,” Sora said, “and we don’t want adults to feel that either. We want to create a space where all of our imaginations help each other grow; but we realize that kids might get bored from sitting still the way that adults tend to do, so we set up the play room with toys and games.” Regeneracion Childcare Collective 2007
Sometimes for radical mamas, our mothering in radical community makes visible the huge gulfs between communities, between parents and non-parents, in class and other privileges AND most importantly the wide gulf between what we say in activist communities and what we actually do. Radical mothering is the imperative to build bridges that allow us to relate across these very real barriers. For and by radical mother of color, but also inclusive of other working class, marginalized, low income, no income radical mothers.
“Parenting and being a role model to kids in your community is important because they will be the activists of tomorrow. And they will be our gardeners and mothers and bakers. They will question our generation, they’ll write their own history, create new forms of art and media.” -Noemi Martinez 2009
We find the idea of the “bridge” useful because we believe that the radical practice of mothering is at once a practical and visionary relationship to the future IN the PRESENT, a bridge within time that can inspire us to relate to each other intentionally across generation and space. We also acknowledge the not-so-radical default bridge function of marginalized mother in society. How our children in particular get walked all over in terms of public policy that criminalizes our mothering and movement spaces that claim to be creating a transformed future without being fully accountable to parents or kids.
“I came into the Third World Women’s Caucus when it was well under way. The women there were discussing the caucus resolution to be presented to the general conference. There were Asian women, Latin women, Native Women and Afro-American women. The discussion when I came in was around the controversial issue of motherhood and how the wording of the resolution could best reflect the feelings of those present. It was especially heartening to hear other women affirm that not only should lesbian mothers be supported but that all third world women lesbians share in the responsibility for the care and nurturing of the children of individual lesbians of color…Another woman reminded us of the commitment we must take to each other when she said ‘All children (of lesbians) are ours.” -Doc in Off Our Backs 1979
We see this book as a continuation of the accountability invoking movement midwifing work of the 1981 anthology This Bridge Called My Back in that it:
a. is the work of writers who see their writing as part of a mothering practice, as not career, but calling and who believe that their writing, and their every creative practice has a strategic role in transforming the possible world.
b. contextualizes contemporary radical mama practices in relationship to socialist and lesbian mothering practices experimented with and practiced in the 1970’s by writers including Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Third World Lesbians conference, Salsa Soul Sisters, Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers
c. seeks to speak to those who participated in that earlier practice and who have been informed by it as a primary audience, and to connect those who have not have access to that work to it
We invite submissions including but not limited to the following possibilities:
*Manifestas, group poems, letters, mission statements from your crew of radical mamas or an amazing group from history
*Letters, poems, transcribed phone calls between radical mamas supporting each other
*Accounts of your experience as a radical mama
*Reflections on enacting radical mamacity at different ages
*Motivations for/obstacles in your practice of radical mothering
*Conversations with your kids
*Rants and rages via the eloquence of a mother-wronged
*Your experience of radical grandmothering
*Self-interviews, interviews with other mamis
*Ending child sexual abuse
*Mothering as survivors (survival and mothering)
*Mothering with and without models
*Mothering and domination
*Mama to-do lists
*Overcoming shame and silence in the practice of radical mothering
*Sharing your stories from where you live
*Everything we haven’t thought of yet! Take a deep breath and WRITE!!!!
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.
June 20, 2010 § Leave a Comment
1. last night was a beautiful night. more and more i find myself simply being myself in all of my social awkwardness, radical politics, temple goddess, dorky smile, bad mama, bra-less with flip flops, bookworm, philosophical debate loving self.
i had thought i would have time to paint: stay curious on my office wall before the party. but people arrived on time! what? not everyone thinks that when i say ‘around nine’ i kinda mean ‘around eleven’? ah. start the grill and hand out drinks.
we started talking about fusion music arabic meets jazz. so i put on miles davis sketches of spain. aza starts to dance in the middle of the room this amazing improvisation. she was completely into the music and the dance and the audience. starting with her eyes and then radiating through out her body. she was the embodiment of longing and reminiscence.