ImageAs the semester is coming to a close, I am moving out of some phases of life and into something new. This peaked starting my own business called “Myoni” doing doula work and placenta encapsulation. When I tell people what I do, faces are usually ones of the same confusion, disgust and shock that you would feel watching your parents have sex. I’ve never been involved in something that I’ve felt this passionate for and this devoted to! It’s time to say goodbye to the barista blues and move into my future as a midwife and birth advocate! I’m working on my website which will be complete this summer, but in the meantime, I want to answer the question, “Why placenta encapsulation?” It’s not as gross as it seems. Some women choose to eat their placentas a few hours after birth, cooking as you would a steak or liver from any other animal. Let’s think here. Every mammal eats their placenta after birth. I am a mammal. Women used to routinely do this after birth. Why not now? Here are some benefits. I am absolutely fascinated with the subject and truly believe in the placenta as a powerful source of nutrition after birth. Like I said earlier, mammals (except humans) eat their placentas after birth. Isn’t that interesting? Just on a simple level, it seems like a very natural things to do. Basically, you are ingesting all of the hormones and nutrients held in the placenta. The placenta contains high levels of prostaglandin which stimulates involution (an inward curvature or penetration, or, a shrinking or return to a former size) of the uterus–cleaning the uterus out. The placenta also contains small amounts of oxytocin which eases birth stress and causes the smooth muscles around the mammary cells to contract and eject milk. More benefits are listed on the image below! I am excited for summer. I want to spend more time researching the science behind this on a molecular level. I want every woman, whether placenta encapsulation is right for her or not, to understand what her body can do. How its processes work. I’ve been inspired by the blog, “http://blog.placentabenefits.info/” to offer women scientific and scholarly articles supporting what seems natural and necessary to our bodies! Take a look!

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I love to imagine what life would be like without clocks or time or schedules. Midwifery has made me think a lot about how our world operates, specifically in regards to the crazy agendas that Americans tend to keep. Alarm goes off at 7, then class, no time for breakfast, work, jog, homework, picking up kids, quick dinner, maybe smoothie king, clean the house, time for bed, and the cycle goes on and on. I think I just described my life, minus the kids for now. Our beautiful and wonderful midwifery professor has told us several times, you are not responsible for the universe. Nothing has meant more to me in the last two months than that phrase! I am a micro/macro manager, one who craves the need for control and order, opinionated, driven…all qualities that are both my strengths and weaknesses. I feel so often, though, that this is what it takes to make it in the world, to be someone, to achieve, to make a difference. Being on-the-go can be both productive and hindering and can distract us in so many instances. We need quick fixes to fit into our schedules. We, at least I do, sweep things under the rug, buying into the out-of-sight, out-of-mind mantra. Yesterday in class, we talked about allopathic care and homeopathic care in the US. Let me define both, in case you are unfamiliar with the words. In short, allopathic care treats the symptoms while homeopathic care “gets to the bottom of things” and tries to find the root of the problem so the problem, and therefore symptoms, can be eliminated once and for all! I am so guilty of this in so many ways. Tired? Sometimes the most obvious answer, like sleep, is the farthest solution from my mind. No way! I’ll drink coffee, tea, coffee and tea until I am not only tired but feel like a crazy person! This is a small example, but really, this mindset is so deeply rooted in our American culture. Sometimes fixing the problem takes hard work and dedication. I was speaking with a woman yesterday who after nine miscarriages, decided to cut gluten out of her diet. Do you know how difficult that is??? It takes a lot of planning and dedication to be gluten-free while maintaining a healthy diet. So happy to say that her hard work and dedication has paid off as she prepares for her new baby! She’s pregnant! We don’t want to deal with things, we want quick, painless labors so we can get back to our jobs, appointments, practices, school, whatever. I’m not saying it’s easy, or that I’m not guilty of wanting efficiency, but really! Our bodies can’t keep up with our schedules. We have to slow down and get to the bottom of things! Not just in our healthcare, but in our daily lives, relationships, anything.

These are both so funny!

Spare the teat and spoil the child is what I think people should be talking about. I don’t know much about breastfeeding, why people do it, why people don’t do it. Strong evidence from numerous studies show that breastfeeding decreases the chances of bacteremia, bacterial meningitis, botulism, diarrhea, lower respiratory infections, otitis medial, UTI’s, childhood lymphoma, Crohn’s diseases, colic, sudden infant death syndrome…the list goes on! The book I’m reading for class, Childhood Education, goes in great detail about the psychological and nutritional benefits of breastfeeding, not to mention, free milk in our economic crisis! Though all of the scientific data defending breastfeeding is so enlightening and interesting, I’m more concerned with why women are so hesitant about it in the first place. This is so interesting…”The companies manufacturing “formula,” as human milk substitues were euphemistically named, cooperated by removing the instructions for mixing formulas from their products and leaving instructions in the hands of physicians. Thus, physicians became viewed as the experts on infant feeding.” It makes sense to me that with the increase in women working, and not just working but holding highly powerful positions, that there isn’t time to breastfeed. Do women carry there babies to work after their pregnancy leave is over? I really think this is a dilemma. On one hand, I so desperately want women to take their rightful places as powerful leaders in our culture and society, but at the same time, I urge women to feed responsibly for the health of their own bodies and for the benefit of their children. There is a divide in the way females function in our culture and I’m not quite sure what the solution is to bridge that gap. I’ll have to think on it. In the mean time, it seems that breast milk is gaining some popularity!

The article below was taken from the Daily Reporter:

When a well-stocked ice cream parlour says they sell every flavour, there are usually limits.But one restaurant in London is selling breast milk ice cream which is being served to customers in a cocktail glass. Icecreamists, based in Covent Garden, have named the £14 dish Baby Gaga. Victoria Hiley, 35, from Leeds provided the first 30 fluid ounces of milk which was enough to make the first 50 servings. But the company are looking for more women to provide breast milk – and are providing £15 for every ten ounces extracted using breast pumps. The recipe blends breast milk with Madagascan vanilla pods and lemon zest, which is then freshly churned into ice cream. A costumed Baby Gaga waitress serves the ice cream in a martini glass filled with the breast milk ice cream mix. Liquid nitrogen is then poured into the glass through a syringe and it is served with a rusk. It can be served with whisky or another cocktail on request. Mother-of-one Victoria said: ‘I saw the advert offering to pay women to donate breast milk on a forum and it made me laugh. ‘There were so many comments and people were having a debate on whether it could be genuine. So I thought I’d find out.’ Another 13 women have volunteered to donate their breast milk.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1360225/Shop-sells-breast-milk-ice-cream-London-restaurant-Icecreamists-Baby-Gaga.html#ixzz1lx0xsjY5

Long Story Short:

Yesterday at work, my boss says Anna I need to talk to you, and I say/think shit, what did I do? I was working the evening before at the local hipster/intellectual coffee shop in Baton Rouge and served a middle aged couple who have come in every evening for the 5 years that I’ve worked at Highland Coffees. My boss goes on to tell me that I had done nothing wrong but that he had received a somewhat comical, yet serious, complaint about me the night before. The woman emails Clarke something along the lines of this:

Dear Clarke,

I’ve been a long time patron of your shop for many years. Last night,  I girl was wearing a yellow tube top that was highly inappropriate. My husband could not keep his eyes off of her. Are there not sanitation codes that you’ve considered? I would expect your employees to dress in a professional manner. This is my formal complaint.

Her email was much longer and a bit more insulting, but really, your husband couldn’t keep his eyes off me? Sounds like a personal problem. Sounds like you should seek marriage counseling. Let me describe my outfit. First of all, my “highly inappropriate” tube top was not yellow but sort of poo-brown and from banana republic–more of a high-end clothing store and not “trashy” in the least. Granted, I bought it from Goodwill, but still in nice condition. My pants were new and from the Gap. I shaved my armpits and cut my nails before going to work, via Clarke’s orders about keeping us looking “sanitary.” Is this the Victorian era? Am I Amish? My boobs are so small there’s no way that I could have shown any cleavage and my shirt was tucked into my jeans so no mid-drift exposure! Clarification! I have no problem with either one of those things, but I do work for the man and the he says NO to both of these things. In a way that justifies the insecure-middle-aged woman’s complaints, Clarke goes on to say there’s just something about shoulder’s, anna, that seems sensual. Next, I’ll have to cover my ankles too.

Isn’t there something wrong with this picture? Are women still choosing to be oppressed, to oppress themselves? WOMEN! Take your bodies into your own hands! Love your shoulders! This is hugely related to why women are so okay with the healthcare system and their delivery experience in hospitals.  Where is our choice and free will? Women nationwide are letting people dicate their birth experiences as doctors and medical professionals everywhere tell them when to push, how to lay, who can be there, what drugs you need, when you are in danger, how long your labor should be, the list could go on forever. It is our time to question and challenge these standards in birth and in life. This is your body, these are your shoulders, this is your baby.

I started to think about motivation. Why was I wearing that tube top? I wore it because it was comfortable, it had a built in bra, it was durable and functional. And yes, I though it was cute. Did I care about luring an older man, or any man?  Hell no! I think this woman would have me wear a bag over my head. This is what they want. Our voices to be hushed, my beauty to be lessened. I say no.

Midwife school: Day Three

Hailey and I made the long trek to Lafayette, Louisiana for our third week of school. Love it so much but today, for the first time, got a little nervous about what the hell I had gotten myself into. My thoughts wandered a little while Sherri lectured and I thought to myself, Oh my Lawd, I am going to be a midwife, and wear a MooMoo dress, and have a Bible strapped to my belt and this is just not who I am! A crisis was really happening.

ATTENTION MIDWIVES EVERYWHERE!

We are not all the same. After my brief meltdown,            I looked around the room and noticed how different    and beautiful everyone was and at some point, you    just have to say fuck this and be exactly who you are. Smelly and hairy and excited and if that is not the midwife you want, rest assured because the only thing that midwives have in common is the fact that they are all a little strange and the fight for women’s bodies. I hate to quote something that looks like it’d be on a T-shirt at the smithsonian in DC but I think it’s great to think of sometimes: Well behaved women seldom make history.

Day one of Midwifery School: How to Make a Good Placenta

Hailey and I drove to Lafayette for our first day of midwife school two weeks ago. First day, introductory material. Day two, how to dehydrate the placenta beef-jerky style. When you get to the roots of birthing babies, there is know telling what strange things you learn to do. Come to find out, the placenta is very high in nutrition and helps new mommas regain strength after delivery and also alleviates postpartum depression. Want to make placenta cocktails? No joke.

Just add alcohol:

1/4 cup raw placenta

8oz V-8 juice

2 ice cubes

1/2 cup carrot.

Blend at high speed for 10 seconds.