Just want to say…

Just want to send out a huge thank you to everyone who participated in or promoted my survey. I have received the number of responses I was looking for, and the page is now closed. I will be spending the weekend going through the data and seeing what the results dictate should be my next step.

I am grateful for everyone’s time and honesty in reflecting on what may have been a challenging time in your life. I’ve been privileged to hear stories from many women over the past few days about their abortion experiences and it’s clear that the current system needs to be changed; women deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of whether or not they choose to continue with their pregnancies.

Hugs to you all. ♥

Have you ever had an abortion? If so, please consider taking this survey.

In the wake of my last post, I’ve been busy in the beginning stages of organizing some pretty big things involving abortion support services in Toronto.

Next steps in this process include making contacts with local clinics and discussing how the support patients are currently receiving is and isn’t working. In order to be able to speak clearly about the ways that abortion support services are doing well or could be improved (and the areas in which my services could fill the gap), I’m asking people who have had abortions to please fill out this survey about the support they received before, during, and after their procedure. You do not have to be in Toronto to participate.

This survey is completely anonymous (the only information I can see from you is the country you’re in) and answers will help me to make a difference in my community when it comes to helping other women receive comprehensive abortion support services.

If you are willing and able, I would appreciate your help! Please feel free to share this with your circles as well — the more responses I receive, the better picture I will get of where services are currently lacking.

Thanks in advance!

http://kwiksurveys.com/app/rendersurvey.asp?sid=7p9b3f6o2lstwmb29511

Abortion: The Elephant in the Room

Pro-choice protest sign from 2011.

I’ve noticed a trend lately in the birth community that has really made me uncomfortable. Abortion — for whatever reason— doesn’t seem to ever be discussed. At least, not without moments of awkward silence, glances around the room, or quieted voices.

Abortion is along a spectrum of valid medical choices that also include use of birth control, place of birth, and use of intervention. I support a woman’s choice to do what she feels is right in regards to the goings on inside her body — and for me, the idea of telling a woman that I respect her right to choose where and with whom she gives birth (because she knows what’s best for her) while also telling her that she must stay pregnant against her wishes is a form of cognitive dissonance that I’m frankly not at all comfortable with.

It doesn’t make sense to me to separate birth issues and abortion issues. This issue is not seperated into “women who get abortions” and “women who are mothers” — especially considering that 61% of abortions are obtained by women who already have children. I believe that all pregnant women deserve support whether or not they decide to carry their pregnancies to term, but apparently there’s an entire subsection of doulas who do not feel the same. And while I don’t agree with or respect the belief that abortion should be criminalized, I do think that we, as birth workers, need to do better — regardless of our personal stance on abortion.

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Birth and Beyond Conference 2012: Reflections

I’ve been back in Toronto for almost a week now and have been trying to digest all of things I was fortunate to experience and learn last weekend. I didn’t fully expect that I would actually need to take some time to digest everything, but doing so has helped me “take what I like and leave the rest” — allowing the most valuable parts of my trip to come to the forefront.

I think the biggest lesson I took away from the conference is that I feel like I’m truly starting to trust birth. It sounds like a great thing for a doula to say that they “trust birth” — but another thing entirely to actually feel it. I live in a society in which birth is constantly framed as this dangerous, terrifying, emergency situation where the direct access to an OR and a bunch of surgeons is completely necessary in order to have a safe birth.

The truth, which has been solidified for me this past weekend, is a bumper sticker-esque phrase that I’ve seen floating around facebook for quite some time: “birth is as safe as life gets.”

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Birth and Beyond Conference 2012: Day 2 & 3

Clearly, I have been slacking on my debriefs; apologies to anyone who is following along.

Can you see why I like it here?

It has been a very busy couple of days. I feel almost full-up with new information to absorb and digest, and I’m starting to think that taking Monday off from work to decompress was a very good idea indeed. As much as I’m enjoying myself, I have a feeling that a day in bed (and maybe some shopping…) is going to be blissful.

These last two days I have been privileged to see some amazing speakers doing their thing. Rivka Cymbalist, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Helene Vadeboncoeur, Jodi Hall, and Teresa Pitman have filled up my workshop time with more information than I have even been able to process at this point. There has been a lot, but I’ll save everyone the time and play the highlight reel instead:

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Birth and Beyond Conference 2012: Day One

Day one of the conference was amazing, and I am exhausted.

I started my morning at approximately the same time as the sun, making my conference-time sleep routine even more strict than that of my work week — but worth it. When I arrived at the conference bright and early I was pleased to see a lot of happy faces, and tables full of women kind enough to let a 20-something doula who they’d never met sit next to them and snack on some breakfast. All the while making small talk about where we practice and what brought us to the conference. As I dug through my welcome bag of pamphlets, nipple cream, and “monthly” tea (as well as entering myself into the door prize draw for a free diva cup) — I was pretty sure that I was among “my people”, and it felt pretty great.

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Feeling Ready — Gearing up for the Birth and Beyond Conference 2012

“These Are The Days Of Miracle and Wonder”, Painting by Amanda Greavette who will be showcasing her work at the conference this weekend

I’d like to use this page as a bit of a journal over the next few days. You see, I’m currently in London and preparing to venture out tomorrow to the Birth And Beyond 2012 conference. This trip, for me, is serving as my “vacation” for the year, as I’ve taken time off from my day job to come down here and absorb as much information as I can and hopefully make some really lovely connections in the process.

I’ve never been to this kind of conference in relation to birth work, but I’m really exciting to dive into four days worth of workshops, networking, and celebration of women and birth — even if it means waking up at the crack of dawn every day. ;)

Tomorrow I’ll be sitting in on talks about assessing dilation by observation, learning about why birth is a woman’s issue, and learning how to support women through infant loss. I’m looking forward to attending workshops run by birth workers who I already have great respect for (Gloria Lemay, Robbie Floyd Davis, Jack Newman, to name a few) and to connect with other women who have also dedicated their lives to doing this work.

Feeling open, ready, and willing to receive whatever comes at me over the next few days. Bring it on!

On relationships, happiness, and figuring it all out

Generic White Beach Couple approves this message (because they’re not actually happy either).

I attended my first friend wedding on Sunday. That is to say that my friends are officially starting to get married — a day I thought I had at least a few more years to prepare for (but that’s nothing a little champagne can’t fix). While the ceremony was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous, and the groom’s vows left me a teary mess, if I’m being real with you all — the whole thing scared the crap out of me.

As happy as I am that one of my friends/business partners has found her way to wedded bliss, seeing these two people who are out of their minds in love enter into this Very Adult Relationship just made me more aware of the fact that I still have no idea how to do this whole relationship thing. And part of me wonders how I’m ever going to figure it out.

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Your catcalls are not a compliment.

In the last week I have been honked at on five separate occasions, yelled at from cars three times, approached by strange men on the street twice, and given one completely unsolicited phone number.

Now, let me just make one thing clear — I have no issue with men (or women) finding me attractive, and respectfully approaching me and saying hello. Truly, I don’t. But there is a huge difference between respectfully saying “hey, I see you’re reading Game of Thrones, I just finished it! What did you think of…?” and telling me I have “nice titties” while I’m trying to cross the street.

I know this has been written about by others in ways that are a lot more articulate and interesting — but to be honest, I just need a place to express how fucking angry I am right now. So shitty men of Toronto, listen up:

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From the bowels of Reddit…

As a rule, I avoid reddit. I’ve read too much really scary really misogynistic crap on there to venture into the murky pages of that site for funsies. But while checking out my site stats today, I realized I’ve had a spike in views on my Birth is a Feminist Issue post, so I thought I’d check out what people were saying. I stumbled across this comment:

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