Miles For Midwives!!

Saturday October 19, 2019 9am-1pm

I am personally involved in planning this wonderful event that helps support birth in Washington State and the local non-profit Families of Color – Seattle.

Better yet, Rohan and I are run/walking!

Join us on Oct. 19th at Marymoor Park for a family-friendly run/walk 5K! Strollers and leashed pets are welcome to join in on this community enriching event!

Register for the race at https://runsignup.com/Race/WA/Redmond/WAMilesforMidwives5K

To learn more about Miles for Midwives please visit our website: https://www.wamilesformidwives.com/

We are also looking for sponsors. If you are interested or know a business who might be, please let me know.

I would LOVE to see you and your family/friends there – Please spread the word!

Location:

Velodrome Shelter at King County’s Marymoor Park
6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE
Redmond, WA US 98052

Join us for the MAWS Clinical Update!

We are getting together on Thursday September 26th to discuss new changes to our laws and legend drugs for Licensed Midwives in Washington state.

If you are a midwife, an aspiring midwife, or other birth attendant serving families in WA State, please come learn more about how this affects midwives, their support teams (including doulas), and families! #washingtonmidwives

Here it is…conversations on Vaccinations…check it out!

Image result for vaccinations

It’s never an easy thing to decide to put your thoughts and ideas out into the world. And sometimes it’s just the right moment to expand the conversation beyond the one-on-one dynamic or the usual echo chambers.

Thanks to @BBrozy and @keoniteta for inviting me to come chat with them, share some thoughts, and contribute to the ongoing conversation on #vaccinations.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Click here to listen: Vaccinations with Dr. Sunita Iyer ND

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Stay tuned for two new episodes coming up on The Well Man’s Podcast this Fall!

The Birth of Postpartum

Hey y’all, I recently spoke on a podcast with my fantastic colleague Dr. Adam Rinde about postpartum care, stories, and how people’s lives have changed mine. And maybe how we can get better as a healthcare system, providers, and community in the way that we care for postpartum people.

He has written this really incredible piece on postpartum depression and hormonal influences, linked here:
https://www.soundintegrative.com/post/is-postpartum-depression-an-estrogen-receptor-issue

The way to get to our episode on his podcast, One Thing, is linked in the article (you can access via Apple or Android). Take a listen and tell me what you think!

Apple listeners:
https://overcast.fm/itunes1457478235/one-thing-with-dr-adam-rinde

Android listeners:
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/one-thing/e/60556368

#postpartum #midwifeforlife #podcasting #carework #mentalhealthawareness

The Birth of Grief

A new mom and her baby had come in for their first well-child visit and her son was just 3 days old.  Mom was tired and overwhelmed as many new parents are.  She was sitting by the window, changing her son’s diaper and just watching him, and she sighed a long, heavy sigh.  And just gazed at her son quietly as he wiggled around.  There was no slow smile or beaming pride.  Just deep sadness.  

What clinical guidelines, healthcare, and social convention tell us is that she was exhibiting signs of postpartum depression.  While that may also have been true, she was also exhibiting signs of deep grief and loss. 

I looked at her across the room and just said to her, “You don’t have to love this.  Or even like it.”  I said that for her, but also for the hundreds of people I had sat with before her for whom the sadness was enveloping.  She looked at me in surprise, “Really?” She sighed again, but this time with a slow smile, and said, “Thank you.” 

What is often disclosed to me by new parents is that postpartum engenders isolation, being untethered, disembodiment, and a contemplation of mortality. Could this many people really have postpartum depression? Is it possible that this many people opt to transition to parenthood, and meet some or all the criteria for a mental health concern? Or is there another way to understand what this mom and thousands like her are experiencing?

What other process in our life looks like heavy sadness and defeat, and flattens us to the wall? 

Grief and loss.  Losing someone we love. Losing ourselves.  My curiosity is whether we can reframe the postpartum transition as a grief process. As a natural life event, but of loss.  What if our culture, our healthcare delivery, and policies all viewed and cared for postpartum people as grieving people? 

I consider the grace that we offer people who have lost a loved one: the length of time and freedom that they are given to grieve, the expectation of being changed and never quite being the same, and the ability to go deep and dark but not have it be inherently pathologic.  There is a freedom in that.  A deep breath and a slow smile. 

Month of Remembrance

For as long as I can remember, March has always been a really uncomfortable month. Whether here in the PNW or back in the Northeast, March is incredibly strange. It’s wet, cold, windy, sunny, glorious, and in swift rotation.

But March and early April has been strange for over 20 years for other reasons too. My grandfather died in March. My nephew died in March. And so did a baby I cared for. And my aunt. Then in April, my grandmother. And Michelle. Strangely, in these same 4 or 5 weeks, over the course two decades, many people I cared about left.

While things are literally springing from the ground, we are getting glimmers of warmer days to come, people are juicing or cleansing, and there is movement all around us. It feels like a time to get excited, to feel like the dark cloud of Winter (especially our PNW winters) is sliding away.

For me, it’s a time to slow it down and remember. To remember the letters I painstakingly wrote to my grandmother in Tamil. To remember the randomness of being there the day my nephew was born. To remember my dear friend’s undying love for Easter and mostly her love of candy.

This intense period of remembrance is actually kind of joyous. It’s sort of a ‘time shrine’ to those who I have been lucky enough to cross paths with, learn from, and be loved by.

Memento mori

Rosemary for Remembrance. Students in ancient Greece are reported to have worn sprigs of rosemary in their hair while studying for exams to improve their memory, and mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead.

What kind of loss is harder?

If you have been following along for a little while, you know that one of the things I have been ruminating and writing about is loss. We all know it in some way. And we will certainly know more. To live is to love, and also to lose.

It’s not uncommon for us to ‘rank’ loss. Which kind of loss is worse, changes us more deeply, is more worthy of grieving, or warrants talking about at all. Is the loss of an aging parent worthy of years of sadness? Can you be devastated by the way divorce changes your life? Are you allowed to grieve a welcome change like the birth of your healthy and living child?

A friend shared this article written by Camille Hawkins LCSW: Miscarriage or Stillbirth: Which Is Harder? It is a powerfully written perspective on just this thing: attempting to rank our grief. She shares some interesting insights into why some griefs may be shrouded in darkness, and why some may feel more survivable.

Reading this article allowed me to realize that one element of my storytelling has not surfaced, yet. I have waded through the grieving process, felt its depth, and received its tangible gifts. But what still lurks is: are the losses I (and our family) have experienced these past few years worthy of this much grief? And when should this story end?

Another thread that I have been grasping at for some time in my clinical work is shaping postpartum depression as a grief process. Not just that grief can be normal after birth, but that the true baseline IS grief. Postpartum wouldn’t just be worthy of grief, it would BE grief. Perhaps we could surround, hold, and integrate our grieving loved ones as if they had suffered loss.

Witness that they had suffered loss.

What would we do differently? When would we feel as if that story should end?

#neverendingstory #griefworkislifework #griefworkismywork

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For more thoughts and storytelling, check out my Muse-letter. You can join the conversation by subscribing here

Oldie but Goodie

Yesterday was my son’s 8th birthday. All of his birthdays kick up some emotional dust for me. I rejoice in what an amazing human he continues to be. I grieve that he is one year closer toward individuation and needing to know himself away from us.

I remember his eventful arrival and how it birthed a mother, father, grandparents, aunt, and a brand-new nurse (she was in the room and possibly crying more than anyone).

And I remember what I wrote half his lifetime ago, after his 4th birthday, that still rings true for me today.

So I will share it with you again: Birth and Rebirth. Enjoy!