Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guardian Angels

afghanistan midwife

NPR just posted a story on Afghanistan's midwives. The training of midwives in a country with the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world (approximately 1600 women for every 100,000 women who deliver die) is proving to beneficial, not only for the women who deliver at these midwives hands, but for the midwives themselves. It is an occupation accepted in a society with deeply entrenched customs concerning women and work. With midwifery, everybody wins. The head of woman's affairs in the province of Badakshan, recently declared that the midwives are like, " angels for infants and mothers."

A world away, here in America, a world where woman's rights are supposedly sacrosanct, we are also struggling to make midwifery safe and legal. Illinois is currently debating the role of midwives in their state, a state with a large rural population, who sometimes end up delivering with no licensed practitioner attending them. Rural areas could grealty benefit from legal midwifery. It allows access to qualified health care providers, something all women should have the right to, during pregnancy and childbirth. Time magazine recently detailed the lengths some women have to go to in order to have a licensed midwife at their birth. It is reminiscent of the what some women used to go through in this country in order to obtain an abortion.

It astounds me how similar the struggles of a woman in rural Afghanistan and a woman on the 'El' train in Chicago truly are. Both are entitled to safe, smart, professional care during their childbearing years. Why then, can we laud such care for Afghan women, but fear or deny it for ourselves? It's time America realize all of the benefits of midwifery care, and it's time we stick up for woman's rights on our very own soil too. For as the head of woman's affairs summarized, midwives really are guardian angels for mothers and infants. Don't all mothers and infants deserve such a watchful, tender eye?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Labor Popsicles and Lactation Cookies

Eid Mubarak! Maybe because the past few days have been all about food, I've decided to bring you a food post, replete with recipes! Let's start with the labor pops. This is a simple way to stay both hydrated, and nourished throughout labor. Many women experience nausea with contractions, and these labor pops are a great way to head that off. The coolness is also refreshing and easy to take in.

You'll need:

1-2 oz of dried red raspberry leaf
1 quart of water
Quart size jar with lid
Honey and lemon to taste
2-3 1mg calcium tablets
ice tray

To make the labor pops, steep 1-2 ounces of red raspberry leaf in a quart of water for at least 20 minutes up to four hours. Strain and sweeten with lots of honey and lemon, these will add much needed calories and lemon can help ease the nausea (as well as the red raspberry leaf). Crush the calcium tablets and add to the tea. Calcium is a muscle relaxant and can help with some aches and pains during labor. Pour the mixture into the ice tray. When labor commences, eat throughout the labor. They really are easy to eat when nothing else sounds to good!

Lactation cookies purportedly can increase and/or maintain milk supply. I find them more of an excuse to eat cookies, but, oh what a great excuse! They are also nice to just have around to snack on, or take with you while on the go; an easy way to up your calorie intake while nursing. And they happen to taste really, really good. Here is a recipe that I like and that makes enough to feed everyone in your house. Just don't tell them they are 'lactation cookies'!

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar well.
  4. Add eggs and mix well.
  5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
  6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
  8. Stir in oats and chips.
  9. Scoop onto baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes.
  11. Let set for a couple minutes then remove from tray.

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I have! Finally, here's a beautifully portrayed home birth of one Leo Hart. Scroll down to see the video, it's well worth it. Have a great weekend!

photo: watermelon and cucumber popsicles by rakka and cookies by ilmungo

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mother Roasting

Please check out my article entitled, "Mother Roasting" at Rhythm of the Home's fabulous and inspiring online parenting/craft magazine. My article contains a how-to on preparing a nurturing postpartum gift basket, or experience for you or a friend. It also speaks a bit about postpartum practices worldwide, where warmth and nourishing of new mothers and babies is an art form.

There are some intriguing articles and craft tutorials from this season's edition that I can't wait to dive into. If you've been directed here from Rhythm of the Home, welcome and thanks for visiting!