August 30, 2006

wise women wrap-up


There's one last stop on the Wise Women Blog Tour today...

Judith Lothian, a nurse and childbirth educator with more than 30 years of experience, and co-author of The Official Lamaze Guide, interviews me for the Giving Birth With Confidence Blog. We chat about the restoration of the "real" birth house, the place of birth within the community, how birth is played out in fiction, and how characters reflect the past and present. (I'll also be doing some guest blogging over at the GBWC blog this next month!)

I've had a fantastic time during the WWBT and I hope you have too. I've come away from it with new friends, new ideas...feeling inspired, and fired-up! I may even try it again sometime with a different theme. (This time around the thme was "birth" - what next? Literary Wise Women?) If you have thoughts and suggestions, please leave a comment, or send an email!

See you in September...
Stay tuned for a literary turning of the leaves here at Incidental Pieces!

September 1 - I'll be guest blogging at The Happy Booker - part of the Lit-Blog Co-op. (I finally get to drive Wendi's i-pod!)

September 14 - I'll be reading at Big Hat Books in Indianapolis, IN.
7 pm Broad Ripple Village - 922 E. Westfield Blvd.

September 24 - Halifax Word on the Street

More event announcements to come...a reading in Halifax with Wayne Johnston, a special anniversary press release with Two Planks and a Passion, the IFOA line-up, a reading at the Toronto Reference Library, and WinsdorWordFest!

August 29, 2006

straight talk with Sheila

From her web site: Sheila Kitzinger.com -
Sheila Kitzinger campaigns for women to have the information they need to make choices about childbirth. She is a strong believer in the benefits of home birth for women who are not at especially high risk. Sheila is also concerned to give a voice to pregnant women and new mothers in prison and has worked to free them from chains during birth, to keep mothers and babies together unless a woman can be shown to be a danger to her baby, and to provide woman-to-woman help to prisoners during birth.


Here's what been said about her in the press...
Sheila Kitzinger has devoted her working life to making women feel good about themselves. As Britain's premier earth mother she, more than anyone, has been responsible for a more natural approach to childbirth and an increase in breastfeeding. - You Magazine

High priestess of the childbirth movement, author and social anthropologist. Vigorous campaigner for rights of women in matters of birth and sex. - The Independent

Sheila Kitzinger is a tireless advocate for mothers around the world. She has written close to 30 books on the subjects of childbirth, mothering, and other women's issues. I was thrilled when she agreed to answer a few questions via email! I hope you enjoy my interview with her.

1. In "Birth over 35" (Sheldon Press) you write, "For the vast majority of women, physical health and a sense of well-being during pregnancy is nothing to do with how often they visit the doctor, but with the social conditions in which they live."

What social conditions are present today that cause you to be concerned for pregnant women?
What social conditions are most important for mother and child and what can we do as a society to foster them?


Poverty, poor nutrition, living under stress, social discrimination and racism and, above all, warfare, create the social conditions in which pregnant women and their babies are subjected to special risk. Health in pregnancy, for all women everywhere, entails challenging social inequality and working to create a world at peace. It means addressing political issues.*


2. It seems to me that there is a lot of fear, especially in Western cultures, surrounding childbirth. You have traveled around the world and have studied the birthing traditions in many places.
What do you think has brought so much fear into Western society when it comes to childbirth?
What can we learn from other cultures in their approaches and traditions when it comes to childbirth?


In a technocratic birth culture every pregnancy is treated as high risk. Women are constantly under surveillance, and it is difficult to relax and enjoy being pregnant. Pregnancy and birth are managed by professionals and women feel that they have been sucked into a machine over which they have no control, and as if they were artefacts on a conveyor belt. Emotional and spiritual aspects of birth are trivialised or ignored. In traditional cultures beliefs, values and relationships are considered vital elements in bringing new life into the world.


3. I've been reading about your latest book, "Birth Crisis" (Taylor and Francis, June 2006) and can't wait to read it cover to cover. The publisher's web site description begins: "One new mother in twenty is diagnosed with traumatic stress after childbirth."
Personally, I think many mothers will nod in agreement when they read that statement...it's something far too many women feel about their own birthing experiences but are afraid to talk about it.

One of the chapters is titled "Moving Forward" and encourages mothers to write about difficult experiences in childbirth. Can you elaborate on the importance of the simple act of writing down our birthing stories?


Hard as it is to face up to a difficult birth experience, it is important to examine it closely and all the feelings it aroused. So get hold of your records. It is not good enough to be shown the records only to have them whipped away.
How professionals who cared for you saw your labour and birth is likely to be very different from how you remember it.
In my book Birth Crisis I say, "Go through the notes with whoever was your birth
companion and also, if possible, with the midwife. Jot down your observations about any discrepancies and omissions. This will be useful in piecing together your own narrative of the birth. Once you have a framework you can add information about the emotional impact of each event. To really understand any experience it has to be perceived in its entirety and looked at from different angles like a scene being described. The best view of a valley may be from the hills, and of a mountain range from the plane below. An important part of understanding a traumatic birth is creating a narrative that shapes and frames it."


4. I read an article from the Boston Globe a few weeks ago, where Dr. Darshak Sanghavi examines the choices mothers made regarding pain management in childbirth. (here is the entire article: The Mother Lode of Pain )

Dr. Sanghavi seems to feel as if choosing natural childbirth without medically directed pain relief doesn't make sense. His article ends with the following quote,
"...choosing to feel pain during childbirth strikes me as odd. Eliminating pain won't create a sudden existential crisis among mothers, because parenting is too rich an experience. And after all, being born is ultimately the least distinguishing feature of being human; everyone's done it and, moreover, no one remembers it."
To me, his final statement flies in the face of everything I've come to believe about childbirth. What do you make of his thoughts?


I think Dr Darshak Sanghavi hasn't a clue. Anyway, the important thing is that the experience of childbirth affects how you are as a parent and your relationship with the baby. Women who have been disempowered, and for whom birth felt like rape, start out on motherhood with little self-confidence, and often feel they must act out the part of being a mother like a robot.


5. What will happen if we don't begin to heal the current Birth Crisis we are in?
What can we do to bring about the change that's needed?


Our children inherit our distress even when we try to disguise it. It can shape how they see the world, their place in it, and their relationships as they grow and become adults. The challenge is to reclaim and rehumanise birth and the experiences of all those who share in it.
Ways of achieving this must include creating maternity services based on one woman - one midwife, midwife-run birth centres, and a genuine opportunity of home birth for those women who want it. The language of choice in childbirth is meaningless unless it includes these options.


To find out more about Sheila's work and books, please visit her website:
Sheila Kitzinger.com

August 28, 2006

Be BOLD!


News Flash!
I'm thrilled to announce that Karen Brody, playwright and creator of the BOLD project, has chosen The Birth House as the first pick for her BOLD book club.

BOLD's mission is to get people to start reading books that educate, tell the truth and inspire action. It's time to create a global "community of birth" that listens to and supports mothers giving birth. - Karen Brody


What's most exciting to me about the BOLD book club is that it's all about community.
Starting September 1, readers around the world will be discussing The Birth House via listserve. And, I'll even get to have a call-in phone conversation with all of you!

Here are a few links to get you started:
Introduction and thoughts from Karen about The Birth House and BOLD book club

and...whether you've already read The Birth House, or you're picking it up for the first time, here's your chance to connect with readers from around the world.
How to join the BOLD book club.

Hope to chat with you on the listserve!


Wise Women Blog Tour August 28 -
The WWBT rolls on today...
with Part 2 of the interview at Ren Allen's Learning in Freedom blog.
(get the scoop on muses, Anais Nin, novel writing, and the best and worst parts of publication!)

August 27, 2006

August 27 - WWBT



Ren Allen is an unschooling mama in Tennessee. We first 'met' online via email (waaaay back when), after she read an article I had written for soulfulliving.com. Happily, we have stayed in touch over the years and I'm always amazed at the new connections we find we have to one another. It was pleasure to be interviewed for her blog, Learning in Freedom!

Check out Part I - Learning in Freedom

August 26, 2006

Wise Women Blog Tour - August 26


Today's stops on the Wise Women Blog Tour include:

Saturday Morning Cuppa!
Veronika Robinson, editor of The Mother magazine shares her personal and insightful thoughts about birth, The Birth House as well an interview with me. Thanks so much Veronika!

And...
Milliner's Dream
A Doula educator (and woman of many hats - wife, mother, birth doula, postpartum doula & childbirth educator, student nurse, employee, advocate, writer, speaker, mentor, volunteer, etc.) shares her review of The Birth House. She writes honestly and brings the book into the context of today's birthing choices. I send my thanks to her as well!

August 24, 2006

getting BOLD with Karen Brody

Karen Brody with her children - photo by Anna Vasquera-Vasques

Karen Brody is another wise woman I met via the internet. Like Ahri Golden, she's all about shining a big spotlight on the issues surrounding childbirth. Her play, Birth, is a testimonies play about childbirth in America, and moves between first person monologues, some dialogue, and the voices women hear on the day of giving birth. This year, the play will be performed in cities around the world (India, Malta, Bermuda and many cities in the US including Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Austin and Washington to name a few!)as part of an amazing project called BOLD (Birth on Labor Day)

BOLD is a global movement that brings communities together to raise awareness about the importance of mother-friendly maternity care. Our goal is to make maternity care mother-friendly because, let's face it, in most communities throughout the world it's not.We know it's time to be BOLD and we think BOLD's conrnerstones - education, truth, and action - will make a difference to improving maternity care. - Karen Brody , from the BOLD web site.


I hope you enjoy my interview with Karen as much as I did!

1. You conducted over 100 interviews with women across America about their birthing experiences, did you know you wanted to write a play when you did the interviews? What brought you to write Birth?

When I set out to interview women about their birth stories I planned to write a book. About half-way into my interviews the voices I heard began to follow me - when I was driving my kids to school, on my morning walks - and slowly I began to see these stories on stage with all the voices these women heard when they were giving birth. A "birth stories" book felt too easy and I was concerned nobody would read it. I wanted to write something that had an impact, that forced people to really listen to the passion, intimacy and alarm in these stories. There are so many great childbirth books out there to read, but not a serious play. This inspired me.

Of course having my two kids had the most influence on my passion to write Birth. I see myself as lucky in many ways. I inherently knew where I wanted to give birth (at home) and with whom (midwives) and I was able to find a situation in Arkansas where I could get both. I also had a husband who was 100 percent on board, believing that where and how I gave birth was more about me (ie: where I felt safe) than him. So we ended up in a loving, supportive birth community (albeit small, this was Arkansas) and I had my first son in the bedroom of our log cabin surounded by my husband, 3 midwives and a doula feeding me herbal ice chips all chanting, "You can do it!" Two months later I saw an episode of A Baby's Story on TLC and saw the complete opposite scenerio and I thought to myself: I must do something. This made writing Birth an urgent calling.


2. Why now? What's happening in the world that makes this play so important, so urgent?

Statistically, the fact that a half million women die per year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes is tragic. In the US the c-section rate is almost 30% (the World Health Organization says a 15% c-section rate for industrialized countries is acceptable) and women who want VBACs (vaginal birth after cesareans) are being denied them at hospitals and many falsely think they're unsafe. This is unacceptable - mothers deserve better. Beyond the statistics, when I listen to mothers talk about birth I hear too many frightening stories of how women are being violated in the labor and delivery room - whether it's through unkind words or being forced to consent to proceedures they don't want. It's important for mothers to start speaking up, to not feel shame from a bad birth experience, but instead to tell the world the truth and understand it was wrong. When a 35 year-old woman from Chicago tells me about her horrible birth story and that the next morning she woke up with crusty blood all over her, that she "looked and felt like I'd been shot from the waist down" I cannot help but feel mobilized to create a maternity care system that never does this to a mother. Is this really the way we want to be treating mothers?



3. What are some of the considerations (and difficulties) you've had in bringing Birth to the stage?

Right after the first 2 readings of Birth, when it was clear people were moved by the material, I struggled with whether to let the piece become an educational play versus gaining theatrical respect. I hadn't realized there were two catagories - plays for educational purposes and plays that theatre people saw as great, well-respected plays. I wanted my play to be taken seriously by the theatre community mostly because I think the topic of birth always ends up in the fringe section. We can show birth as an educational play, but not a serious theatrical piece. I want birth, and Birth, to be taken seriously.

I also found it challenging to pick only 7 stories. I heard so many great stories!!! Also, once I had picked 7 stories I struggled with what to cut out and what to leave in. Sandy's story still bothers me. In the original play I had some of her postpartum story, but decided in the final version to cut it. This was tough because I strongly believe a woman's birth experience is not just the day she gives birth. I still think about adding a bit back about Sandy's postpartum. In New York City this Labor Day the real Sandy will read her story to the audience and I am working with her on adding her postpartum story because it's important and it had long-lasting effects on her emotional and physical health. (Read a little about Sandy's story and the other women's stories that make up the play.)

Oh, Ami, I could really go on and on list a million considerations with bringing Birth to the stage! Here's a list: the decision not to focus on poor mothers was tough (I was a community organizer for years in developing countries and know these stories are important), whether to bring in birth stories from other generations to offer an historical perspective on birth, being clear about my vision when confronted with many other people's vision of what should be in the play (I was particularly moved by the number of mothers who contacted me about having a miscarriage and how when you've had lots of miscarriages your goal is really just a healthy baby, not the birth experience), and then finally a really tough one for me is the midwives who do not like the play because they do not like that they play has a story in it where a woman did not have a good experience with a midwife. It was hard for me to get this criticism, but I felt the play must confront the challenges midwives face to practice the midwife model of care in a hospital setting and how some women who use midwives do not in fact get a midwife. I heard this alot and I have talked to many frustrated hospital-based midwives. There are of course some who are able to provide midwifery care in a medical setting, but it's tough.

Aahh, when there's a difficult decision to be made I just usually take a deep breath, go hug my kids and then plough on.



4. BOLD is taking the play a step further than it's gone in the past. What kind of power (I love your thoughts on power in one of your blog entries!) do you think BOLD will bring to your vision and your work? What are your hopes for this project?

As I mentioned in my blog I feel when a force is powerful it moves us forward. To me, the only way forward in birth today is towards community and towards a system that honors and celebrates mothers. Right now everyone is calling the shots in the birth arena (accountants first, then doctors) and mothers' voices are often silent. BOLD is working to change this. We're asking: what do mothers want, what do they deserve and do they know the truth about birth? My wish is that BOLD takes the conversation on childbirth closer to mother-friendly. We need a force to knock the pendulum in another direction. This is what BOLD hopes to do. I'm hoping BOLD finds a way into people's minds and hearts; that through theatre people can gather in nonthreatening, nonjudgemental spaces to hear important, truthful stories about birth and after the performance they will ask themselves: what can I do to improve birth for mothers?

I also hope BOLD connects people. If there is one thing people are missing in birth today it's connection - to themselves and other mothers. I think a healthy baby is of course a very important outcome of giving birth, but I want to go a step further and say, wouldn't it be wonderful if every pregnant woman felt her body rocks before, during and after birth? This is BOLD's goal. For birth to become powerful women need to start gaining trust and faith in themselves and I'm convinced we can't do it alone. We need to let community feed us. BOLD is trying faciliate this through performance and BOLD Talkbacks after the show.

If my dream came true for BOLD it would be to use the arts to connect people to birth and every year BOLD would gather people to tell the truth about birth so that birthing voices are always heard. I believe if our voices are silent, birth continues down a bleak road. If we speak, and listen, this is when birth becomes powerful again.

Visit the BOLD web site (to find a performance near you...)
and stop by Karen's blog, BIRTH for the latest on the project!
Birth in San Jose, California. City Lights Theater Company, March 2006. - Photo, Christy Scherrer.

By the way, the August 26 stops on the Wise Women Blog Tour will include Veronika Robinson of The Mother magazine and thoughts from a full-time doula! You won't want to miss them.

Wise Women Blog Tour - August 24



Today's (August 24)stops on the Wise Women Blog Tour include:

Backstory - Where authors share the secrets, the truths, or just the illogical moments that sparked their fiction. Brought to you by M.J. Rose and Jessica Keener

Georgian Bay Today
Ami is interviewed by Georgian Bay Today's radio host, Christine Curtis
The interview will play at approximately 12:40 PM, Eastern (possibly a few minutes later).
You can hear it online by surfing to Radio Owen Sound - choose 560 CFOS
and clicking on "Listen Live". The show is called Georgian Bay Today.

Please visit the WWBT page for a full schedule of the tour so far and to see what's coming next!

August 22, 2006

a conversation with Ahri Golden

One of the things I love about the internet is that it has given me the opportunity to be a part of a world-wide community of women. It's so exciting to get emails from around the planet, messages that often lead me to new friends in new places. In the last few months I've been fortunate enough to meet many wise-women - not only in real life but also in cyberspace. Although we've only been exchanging emails for a little while, I know that Ahri Golden is a woman of creativity and passion, she is truly a wise woman!

Ahri is co-executive producer of The Birth Tour and Birth, an event and public radio documentary project that takes a close look at practices and perceptions of birth in the US. She was gracious enough to share some thoughts about birth, vision, and community with me via email.


How did you come up with the idea for The Birth Tour?

I had an incredible experience after having my son. My community brought food every single day for six weeks! One friend silently slipped into my home and gave me a 2-hour massage without saying a word, then slipped back out. Another friend came, without my request, to clean my house and do the laundry. My husband and I were astounded by all the support and I remember saying to him, "What a different world it would be if every family had this!"

And so, two projects were born with my production partner, Tania Ketenjian.

Our intention for THE BIRTH TOUR is to help catalyze community support to raise the next generation. In six cities across America, we are gathering people together in small and large groups to explore:

• How you were born
• If you've given birth, how it happened
• The importance of understanding your options
• Creating your community of mothers, fathers and families
• How has birth changed your life

The idea is to generate connection among people through our common human experience of birth. Hopefully, these events will strengthen community support, particularly among families.

With each city along THE BIRTH TOUR, we are carefully choosing local organizations and/or businesses as our local sponsors who are building support systems for families in the area. They continue to bring people together after THE BIRTH TOUR leaves town.

In addition to THE BIRTH TOUR, Tania and I are co-producing a public radio documentary called BIRTH.

The documentary explores birth practices in America. From delivering at home to c-sections, we interview women about their experiences of giving birth and look at the history of birth and how it has changed over the past century in America. We interview a range of women and their partners, anthropologists, historians, doctors, midwifes, doulas, and even kids who have witnessed birth. The style of the documentary is a sonic experience of stories and voices woven together with music and sound.

BIRTH will be distributed through Public Radio International in March of 2007 for Women's History Month.

Our National Sponsors include: Motherlove Herbal Company, Mothering Magazine, The Institute of Noetic Sciences and The PRI Program Fund.

Please call your local public radio station to request the show be aired in your community!


You've already held two of the tour dates in Oregon. How is it going so far? Did anything that has happened surprise you?

Our experience in Oregon was powerful. It was amazing to see how participants were so able to access and share their stories with each other. I was most surprised by everyone's willingness to be vulnerable. The event structure is really quite simple, which allows for everyone's sharing to be potent, alive and deeply authentic.

The room felt as if everyone was home.


What do you find is important about the telling and sharing of birth stories?

I think sharing birth stories is critically important for two reasons.

First, we need to know it's possible.

I recently spoke with a woman who said, "If we don't hear stories of women's inherent ability to give birth, then we might forget that it's possible." Regardless of how women give birth, it's important to know that most women are designed to have healthy birthing experiences.

Secondly, having a child is one of the most profound changes in life and is an event that can bring community together. We are meant to be supported in this transition. We need help. We cannot do it alone. Telling stories, particularly surrounding birth, connects people and connected people can effortlessly create community support.


I can well relate to your feeling surrounded by community after the birth of your son. I felt the same way after giving birth at home in Scots Bay, and those feelings were a large part of why I began to write about my home and this place. As I've traveled across Canada the past few months reading from The Birth House, I keep hearing the same refrain..."Your book has reminded me that we've lost our sense of community in this world...around birth, and around life in general." Can you share your thoughts on timebanks.org and your involvement with them?

In the course of interviewing people for the radio documentary and speaking with people after THE BIRTH TOUR, I have come across that same statement multiple times.

I think community is happening strongly in pockets and patches around the globe. My community is absolutely incredible. We have dinners every week. When new babies come the whole community rallies to organize and cook food for the families. When our kids need to be watched we call or just come over. We have women's circles twice a month where we share deeply about what is happening in our lives. I've been in the same women's circle for over 2 years. When you organize something and continually show up, magic happens. It's interesting. Women are definitely more wired to establish community, particularly when kids enter the picture. Perhaps it is our primal response to ensure the survival of our offspring. To deeply connect is medicine. It replenishes us to move forward. To make time to stop and contemplate our lives with people we love is ancient therapy.

I believe that all humans crave connection. It is imperative for the evolution of our species.

That said, when Tania and I found out about Time Banks we immediately knew the concept would be a perfect action for THE BIRTH TOUR.
.
One of the important aspects of becoming a local sponsor for THE BIRTH TOUR, is to help set up Family Time Banks in each town. This is an exciting new community service.

Time Banks are a tool for neighbors to get to know each other, caring for kids, pets and older parents, minor repairs and yard work, car-pooling to after-school activities; rides for elders to shopping and appointments and the safety, comfort and warmth of a neighborhood that looks after each other. For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you. It's that simple. Yet it also has profound effects. Time Banks change neighborhoods and whole communities. Time Banking is a social change movement in 22 countries and six continents.

I think Time Banks are a way to catalyze our innate ability to create support networks for ourselves and our families. It makes sense to depend on each other. Again, we can't do this life alone.


A special thanks to Ahri for her time and her thoughts!
There are three more dates on The Birth Tour,
September 10, Santa Fe, NM
October 15, Boulder, CO
October 22, Berkeley, CA

You can find out more about Ahri and Tania's work, the tour and their documentary, Birth, at their web site, Thin Air Media
You can find out more about timebanks at timebanks.org

August 21, 2006

a process of connections


My house stands at the edge of the earth. Together, the house and I have held strong against the churning tides of Fundy. Two sisters, stubborn in our bones.


My home, the place that inspired The Birth House, was stripped to her 'bones' last week. We have waited six years to restore the exterior, waiting for the right people to help us, waiting for our youngest to be old enough to live with the chaos, dust, and hammering. Although there was a day or two last week when I thought I was living in a fish bowl - carpenters moving around on staging on each side of the house, climbing in and out of holes where windows had been - on the whole, it's been a remarkable time. The crew has been great, oohing and ahhing with reverence over 'her strength', approaching the house with skill and creativity, all of them anxious to dress her in cedar shingling and wide trim boards. What is most amazing to me is that they've all read at least part the book and that their wives and partners are all healers of one sort or another. (A midwife/osteopath, a nurse, an owner of a healthfood store, a massage therapist.)


Writing is just a process of connections.
Raymond Carver

I am humbled when I think of the events, and the people who have become connected to this place and my words. Last week it was a couple from Barrie, Ontario. Today, a couple from The Netherlands journeyed out to Scots Bay, to hike Cape Split and to see if I was home. The woman carried a library copy of the Dutch translation with her, her husband carried a camera in one hand and a moleskine notebook in the other. Two days before leaving for Nova Scotia, a friend had told the woman "you must read this book". When they arrived at a relative's home in Halifax, there was another Dutch visitor, a midwife who is currently head of midwifery at a hospital in Amsterdam. The woman then passed the title of the book back home to The Netherlands by way of Nova Scotia.

The funniest coincidence of all is that her husband is a travel writer who has made his way around the world tracking down the homes of writers...dead writers. He's not sure what he'll do with the story we made by our meeting today, (since my bare boned home has a living writer in residence) but we all agreed over a pot of tea, that a connection had been made.


Grandmother Wisdom
Connections were also being made in Toronto last week at the International AIDS conference in Toronto. Grandmothers from Africa and Canada (300 in total) joined together in solidarity to share stories, wisdom, songs, and support. I first heard about this gathering of Grandmother wisdom back in July when I was teaching at The Ross Creek Centre for the Arts. Potter and sculptor, Louise Pentz had a beautiful show on at Ross Creek while I was there. Looking at her sculptures each morning, left me feeling inspired. I was so taken with them that I encouraged my students to each choose a piece and write about it. My favourite was titled, Grandmothers. Six grandmother figures together in a longboat, joined together by a red thread that ran through their hearts. It reminded me of the courage and mindfulness it takes to carry on tradition, and to speak from the heart. When I met Louise at the end of my week there, we talked about the piece, and she proudly informed me that she would be among the grandmothers in Toronto with Stephen Lewis in August. I smile when I think of the thread that now runs between our hearts. To see her work, please visit: Louise Pentz.
Here is her statement about her work:
These clay figures embody the Legacy of Mothers, representing the concept of Woman as Vessel. Conceived in the headwaters of our ancestors, these Vessels shape and transport personal gifts of identity and unique knowledge, along the voyage of descendancy. The scars of rough passage remind us of lessons learned in the past. This Legacy of strength, endurance, and faith, which has prevailed, now serves as inspiration to continue the journey - using the paths of our Mothers to guide us through the currents of today.


Wise Women Blog Tour
And so, in the spirit of connections and women's wisdom...
I'm proud to present The Wise Women Blog Tour. It's a tour through cyberspace, with 'stops' at various blogs along the way. I wanted to create something like the whistle stop railroad tours suffragists took across the US when they were rallying for the vote. Ideas are exchanged, connections are made, and hopefully by the end, we will have laughed a bit, thought a lot, and come out feeling stronger.

The WWBT runs from August 21 -August 29, and will include rants, reviews, interviews, essays and photos. Best of all, it can include you too! This is the beauty of the blogging communityÂ?comments for discussion are encouraged along the way.

I hope you'll come along for the ride!
Hop on the WWBT train : Wise Women Blog Tour

August 07, 2006

London calling...


August 7, 2006 - 4th estate/HarperCollins UK

I'm dancing through the house today, listening to The Clash and munching on fish and chips. Why? (Like I need an excuse to crank up The Clash...) Because it's the pub. date for The Birth House in the UK!

And to kick things off, my UK publisher has some nifty pages to check out...
a little Q&A

and a reading guide

Best of all, I've been getting some amazing comments from readers "across the pond."

I LOVE this book! It incorporates elements of everything that is important to women and midwives; a deep sense of community, joy and pain, laughter and frustration, stories of women's lives, the knowledge that birth takes us to the edge of life and death and an immense respect for women's power. It is beautifully written, the characters are compelling and, perhaps most importantly for those of us who attend home births when we are not reading books about it, it is so well researched that I never found myself being pulled from the story because I had spotted an error! In the same way that Miss B adds a bead to her necklace when she catches a baby, I will add The Birth House to my list of joyful books to recommend to women and midwives. Thank you!

Sara Wickham
Midwife, Author, Speaker
With Woman


Oh my. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a novel so much. Set in Canada at the beginning of the 1900s, this book follows the life of Dora Rare who learns the ancient art of midwifery from Miss B.. A doctor comes to town wanting to save women from the pain of childbirth offering an assortment of drugs. When a woman dies during childbirth, Dora is chased out of town. It is the author’s first novel and is nothing short of brilliant. I was completely gripped by the end of the first paragraph. Of course, the parallels between natural birth and medicalised birth are still as evident today, one hundred years later!
Veronika Robinson, Publisher & Editor ~ The Mother magazine


I should add...
When the Dutch edition came out, I wore my garden clogs all day and ate copious amounts of chocolate from The Dutch Canadian Shoppe. Yum!
BREAKING NEWS - I think the list on the left side of the following web page - LITERAIRE TOP TIEN - means the book is being embraced in The Netherlands! (# 10 for the week of August 7th - hurray, Droste chocolate for everyone!)