Ten Moons: The Inner Journey of Pregnancy, Preparation for Natural Birth

A review by Niki WhitingI admit I am completely intrigued by the idea of shamanic midwifery. Jane Hardwicke Collings, an Australian, has forged this path, combining traditional midwifery with shamanic concepts and work with the Divine Feminine. She trains other women, midwives and doulas, in this process, which, from her websites, is more of a set interpersonal skills and mindset, than an actual magical system.I was sent the e-book version of Collings's book on preparing for natural … [Read more...]

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CDC data: home birth on the rise

The CDC released new data today on home births in the U.S., finding that "the percentage of U.S. births that occurred at home increased by 29%, from 0.56% of births in 2004 to 0.72% in 2009."  This increase mostly represents non-Hispanic white women.The report says "Women may prefer a home birth over a hospital birth for a variety of reasons, including a desire for a low-intervention birth in a familiar environment surrounded by family and friends, and cultural or religious concerns."We … [Read more...]

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The Pagan Health Survey on Pagan pregnancies

demographic

Did you take The Pagan Health Survey last year?  The results of this survey were interesting for many reasons, including the little bit they tell us about how Pagans approach pregnancy and birth.Cultural anthropologist Kimberly Hedrick conducted the research using participant-observation, interviews, and an internet survey with 1,598 respondents.  She presented her results at the American Public Health Association conference in Denver, Colorado in fall of 2010 and the Pagan Studies Co … [Read more...]

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Responding to Ina May: The sacred is multiple

Editor’s note: I asked some of our regular contributors to each respond to a quote from midwife and natural birth advocate Ina May Gaskin.  In her new book Birth Matters Gaskin wrote: Birth… matters because the journey through pregnancy and birth offers an irreplaceable way for women to explore their deepest selves – their minds, bodies, and nature… There is a sacred power in the innately feminine capacity of giving birth.  It is one of the elemental, continuing processes of nature that women ha … [Read more...]

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Responding to Ina May: Not a universal experience

Editor’s note: I asked some of our regular contributors to each respond to a quote from midwife and natural birth advocate Ina May Gaskin.  In her new book Birth Matters Gaskin wrote: Birth… matters because the journey through pregnancy and birth offers an irreplaceable way for women to explore their deepest selves – their minds, bodies, and nature… There is a sacred power in the innately feminine capacity of giving birth.  It is one of the elemental, continuing processes of nature that women ha … [Read more...]

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It’s a Girl!: Gender and Pagan Birthing

Promote Acceptance Work for Justice

I just got the word that I'll be making a presentation at the Pagan Alliance's 1st Annual Conference on Earth-Based, Nature-Centered, Polytheistic & Indigenous Faiths, 2011 Theme: Gender & Earth-Based Spiritualities. The conference will be on Saturday, September 24 in San Francisco (the page linked to above has all the conference details, but the time of my presentation is going to change). My presentation will be It’s a Girl!: Gender and Pagan Birthing It’s a girl!  It’s … [Read more...]

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Review: Bless This Child

"Here, under my heart you'll keep till it's time for us to meet..." --Erica Mann Jong (33)Edward Searl is a Unitarian minister and the editor of Bless This Child: A Treasury of Poems, Quotations and Readings to Celebrate Birth.  He writes that the collection, "gives voice to the many hopes and wishes that accompany the arrival of a new child." (vii)These prayers, poems, and meditations are "culled from antiquity and from our contemporary world, written and spoken by parents, priests, … [Read more...]

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How to make birth art

photo courtesy of Amy Swagman

Note: Were you inspired by Amy Swagman's birth mandalas yesterday? Read this short essay in which she describes how to start making birth art of your own.The state of mind you're in when you create artwork is the same state of mind you are in when you labor and birth.  It is a fluid, intuitive, timeless space where you accept everything as the whole and have a harder time reasoning, rationalizing and compartmentalizing.  By making lots of art during pregnancy you are practicing being in that … [Read more...]

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