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
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.
December 11, 2010 § 2 Comments
really excited about this project
Our Vision is to resist and transform a historical and contemporary legacy of trauma and violence of socially and state controlled birthing.
Our Mission is to gather birth stories that name the traumatic birthing incidences of Black women & lift up our resistance to the social control of Black women’s bodies by the birth industry in the South.
We will use these collective stories to build strategy and action towards responding to and transforming our birth experiences. We seek to sustain our physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental well being and safety, and to honor the sacredness of our birthing traditions.
Over the span of the project we hope to gather stories within 5 Southern states (Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia & Mississippi) from doulas/midwives/ob-gyn’s/reproductive justice, healing and health justice advocates and organizers who are speaking to medical birthing incidences of abuse that highlight the subsequent targeting of Black women’s bodies.
Our work will provide a historical context for Black women’s birth experiences in the South; emboldening Black women to view their individual birth stories within a larger narrative, and to remove the guilt, anger, and shame resulting from traumatic birth experiences. We want to honor all birth experiences of all Black bodies and genders and have chosen to focus on Black women bodies first to understand the medical industry’s initial entry point on our birthing traditions for the last 100 years. By uplifting the impact and consequences of these historical practices we will then be able to draw a link to contemporary Black birthing experiences including l/b/g/t/i/q parents and people with developmental, physical, emotional and environmental disabilities.
The narratives will culminate into the cultural project and tour in Summer 2011 seeking to build cultural awareness and organizing response and strategy to incidences of violence and abuse by the birthing industry. Through this cultural project, we will build political education, critical analysis and action against state by state legislation targeting Black birth workers and birthing traditions in the South.
September 30, 2010 § 6 Comments
i have a post up at the unnecesarean
here is an excerpt:
for a lot of birthy white folks, writing a post about racism is the ‘i voted for obama’ card. it is what they can point to, to prove that they aren’t really racist. it is their way of not engaging critique and challenge to their white identity.
truth? i really don’t give a damn if you are an ‘informed about racism’ white person. i care about maternal and infant mortality rates for black folks in the states. about palestinian women being denied the right to adequate health care during the childbearing year. about the 80 percent c section rate in chiapas and oaxaca, mexico. about imprisoned folks giving birth while being strapped down. about forced sterilization for maquiladora workers.
how do we stop these atrocities, these genocides that are happening to those with the least amount of access and resources?
July 5, 2010 § 1 Comment
1 i have been blogging a lot more at outlaw midwives. you can go over and check out some of the posts.
2 dear sister aaminah has finished her first zine and will be for sale soon! check it out at the thaura zine distro!
3 go and pick up a copy of colored girls on amazon.com. not only are three of my poems in it, but so are the work of a lot of other blogger/poets that i admire.
(pic of shadowed tree, cloth and skin, the cover of colored girls)
Colored girls is a collaborative creation of 10 rad women of color artists. We have office jobs, we are sex workers, we do hair, we sell drugs, we teach highschool, we are dis/abled, we are mamis, we are all different cultures and coloreds. We hustle for our art. In April 2009 we came together to commemorate National Poetry Writing Month by participating in the A Poem A Day (APAD) movement. Not a single one of us produced 30 poems in 30 days. However, every single one of us explored the limits of our productivity and produced poems thriving with wisdom, healing, honesty and literary excellence. Contributors include Nadia Abou-Karr, Noemi Martinez, Stacey Milbern, Glennisha Morgan, anna Saini, annu Saini, Fabiola Sandoval, Lottie Spady and Mai’a Williams with cover art by Kameelah Rasheed. This is the inaugural publication by Husters//Artist Productions. Look for Volume 2 of this National Poetry Month anthology in May 2011.
4 woman’s work, a short story collection, will be out in a week! with my lil fairy story in it. you can pre-order a copy now!
5 oh i participated in a mini blog carnival about the documentary/campaign: crisis in the crib about infant mortality rates in black communities. you can read my post at outlaw midwives and the rest of the posts linked through unnecessarean
6 i am now officially a student at aami .
i admire carla hartley’s protocol toward childbearing folk and am excited to get to study with her.
June 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
excerpt from the piece i wrote for outlaw midwives:
ok i want to go farther into why i keep a raised eyebrow toward ‘evidence based’ midwifery.
first off, there is almost no position in midwifery which does not have an acceptable amount of evidence behind it. reknown scientists, large studies, analysis of anecdotal evidence and surveys, cutting edge discoveries, fundamental scientific facts, etc. so when i watch debates between birth workers about what practices are the most ‘evidence-based’ it reminds me of being a debater in high school. i could easily argue one side or the opposite and win. and what i learned was that using the basis of evidence, i could sufficiently claim nearly anything. logic and the scientific method are tools. not truths.
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 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 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.
January 15, 2010 § 6 Comments
on menstrual extraction:
its kind of funny but it never occurred to me to get training. i figure i will build one myself. and start with testing the del-em on papaya until i get the feel for it. and then have someone -probably habibi who will help me build it- take out my period-unfertilized-so that i can see what it feels like. and then extract another woman’s period. and after that a couple of times. then do a fertilized uterus.. the first women who created the machines didnt have much to any training what so ever. and they taught the process in a few hours in workshops. on top of that i a reading lots and lots of personal accounts fro women who have undergone the procedure and those who have performed it. also i read/devoured the zine- jane- a few years ago and am going to re read it. i know women’s biology. ive had a miscarriage at 10 weeks pregnant and have assisted women post abortion. so i know a lot of what to look out for.
but i think that is just my way: im like a mad scientist. i always do the experiment on myself first. i dont like giving something to others that i havent tried.