(Still catching up with draft posts from the last days of 30 Days of Yule, which ended on January 5.)
Much of my work is rooted in my passion for birth, birth work, and women’s health. A feminist since childhood, I started my career with domestic violence work while still in college. I did that work for several years (and finished an MSW degree) and then worked at the Ronald McDonald House until my first son was born in 2003. His empowering birth (coupled with a difficult postpartum adjustment) lit my fire as a birth activist, advocate, and educator. I earned multiple certifications in childbirth education, prenatal yoga, birth art, prenatal fitness, birth doula, and postpartum doula work as well as becoming a certified breastfeeding educator and LLL Leader. I did this work regularly for ten years. My first son was born at a birth center, a straightforward and reasonably easy + triumphant birth that left me with an enduring sense of my own inherent worth and value.
My second baby was born at home in my living room in 2006. An extremely rapid, two-hour train ride of labor, this birth brought my second son and the joy of having a pair of brothers in the house which has blessed my life ever since.
In 2009, I gave birth again, this time to a tiny third son, born unexpectedly, early in my second trimester. The dark and wrenching walk through grief that followed his death-birth shaped me permanently and altered the course of my life path as well as opened me up to my spiritual path dramatically. It was a “shamanic crisis” of sorts and remains one of the most pivotal moments of my life. I bled so heavily following his birth (grapefruit sized clots!) that I had to transfer from home to the ER and actually thought I might be going to die. His birth set me firmly on my priestess path and re-set my devotion from birth work, to a focus on creating ceremonies and circles that honor the entire women’s wheel of life and their broad range of experiences and triumphs, rather than remaining more narrowly focused on the Mother (birth) phase.
2010 brought an early miscarriage and then the tentative joy of a “rainbow” pregnancy, a pregnancy that would eventually result in the birth of my beautiful daughter, born in an unassisted homebirth in wild, sweet relief into my own waiting hands as I knelt in my living room in the winter of 2011.
2014 brought the unexpected pregnancy of my last baby, growing in perfect alignment with the Wheel of the Year until he was born on October 30, another unassisted homebirth, again into my own hands, this time in a pool of water in my living room.
I first began creating birth art before my first son’s birth in 2003. Needle felted birth goddesses with wild hair and full figures. I started writing about birth and birth education in 2007 (and have never stopped). During the tender, tentative post-loss pregnancy with my daughter, I began creating clay birth goddess sculptures as a way of bringing Pregnant Woman back into my self-identity and to re-build my trust in my body and myself. These sculptures evolved from here into the pendants and sculptures I still create.
The book in the photo is the Earthprayer book I published last year. The picture on the front is me awaiting the birth of my last son. In the picture, I’m in my sacred woodspace, where I have learned so much.