Review: Birth, Breath & Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula

Reading Birth, Breath & Death makes me want to hold my family close and also hold my heart open to strangers. And it makes me wish that Amy Wright Glenn had written more.Glenn, who's been a philosophy teacher, birth doula, and hospital chaplain, meditates thoughtfully on birth and death and the body-spirit through-line of breath that connects them both. She observes, "So many women never witness childbirth until it is directly upon them, until they themselves are in labor. Death, like … [Read more...]

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October Link Round-Up: Blessings, births, babies, and more

Observances and Events October was a busy month around here! We celebrated National Midwifery Week & International Babywearing Week as well as observing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This year's Spirit Babies ceremony was announced: This year, the Spirit Babies ceremony will be at the Mudd Building, Room 100 of the Pacific School of Religion at 1798 Scenic Avenue in Berkeley on Sunday 12/15 from 1-2pm. This is an interfaith service for people to come together to remember, … [Read more...]

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Hollekreisch: Honoring Childbirth

In one of my history classes at Ocean Seminary College, I read an article called Holle's Cry: Unearthing a Birth Goddess in a German Jewish Naming Ceremony by Jill  Hammer. The article addresses the merging of a Jewish naming ritual with the childbirth-celebrating ceremonies of the early Germanic goddess Holle and her later folk image, Frau Holle. Since my background is in birth education and activism, of course I was very interested and intrigued by Hammer’s article about Holle and the ritual as … [Read more...]

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Wednesday Wisdom: On our knees

The Wednesday Wisdom series returns! A weekly Wednesday Wisdom post -- two or three quotes on a theme related to Paganism and childbearing, inviting us to meditate.  This week birth brings us to our knees. “Rigid plans work best if you’re building a skyscraper; with something as mysteriously human as giving birth, it’s best, both literally and figuratively, to keep your knees bent.” –Mark Sloan, MD (Birth Day)   "Birth is not an event; it's a series of sophisticated biological processes.. … [Read more...]

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Midwives Make a Difference

Not only is this International Babywearing Week, it's also National Midwifery Week! Both of these weeks of education and celebration are something Pagans can get behind.We don't have a whole lot of social scientific data about what Pagans want, choose, or experience in birthing, but we do know that they favor midwifery care. According to Kimberly Hedrick's Pagan Health Survey, "The majority of Pagans would opt for natural childbirth attended by a midwife, with less than 20% saying they would … [Read more...]

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Birth Guardians: Leslie Stager RN, LMT

Today’s profile of Leslie Stager, RN, LMT is part of our series profiling people who work with pregnancy, birth, or the postpartum period (prenatal massage therapists, childbirth educators, OB/GYNs, doulas, midwives, lactation consultants, labor & delivery nurses, pediatricians, etc.) and are Pagan or work with a Pagan community. Check out the previous Birth Guardian profiles. If you would like to be a part of the series please send an email to paganfamilieseditor@gmail.com.   Now here’s Lesl … [Read more...]

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August link round-up: home birth, cesarean birth, body image after birth and more…

I love putting together these monthly link round-ups because I get to revisit my favorite articles and websites from the previous month. In August we celebrated World Breastfeeding Week (Aug 1-7) and we observed "the Day of Hope and Healing, a national remembrance day for families who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, infant or child loss." Then we read articles about home birth, cesarean birth, body image, raising Pagan children, rites of passage, and more:From Witch Mom - Teaching … [Read more...]

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Rituals for a 5-Year-Old

(This was originally posted on Niki's personal site, My Own Ashram.)Last week my son had his 5 Year Old Rituals. What does that mean? Let's start at the beginning.My son was born prematurely and spent the first month of his life in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). It was easily the worst month of my life. Son, B, was born healthy and strong, though very, very small. He has grown to inherit both his mother's and his father's emotional intensity, so while he's a bright, healthy, … [Read more...]

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