Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Unbearable Sweetness

Spring has arrived here in the Midwest. I am awakened by the familiar sounds of singing birds in the morning. The temperatures hover near the 70s. The trees have exploded with multi-colored blossoms. The air has a different smell and quality in Spring- fresh and new. Spring means new birth. I turn my attention to my own reformation as writer and speaker. There is an undeniable sweetness to life. It seems to hang in the air like overripe fruit, pregnant with possiblity.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Reflecting Forward

Just off a movie binge. Since last week I've seen, Babel (at home on video), Reign Over Me (theatre), Sweet Land (theatre), and Blood Diamond (with DH on date night). By all rights, I should be depressed (with the exception of Sweet Land, they were all real downers-very good movies, but downers. But real life has just been too good. A two hour leap headfirst into a fantasy world (even if it is based on actual events) can't bring me down. Today is busy beyond belief, but I rise early and rush to meet it. I embrace the possibilities. I know I'll be proud of what I've accomplished when I stand at the other end of the day looking back.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Fencer

I lay down alongside J on our big bed. I watch his little abdomen rise and fall as he breathes in his sleep. His fat sausage roll legs are relaxed and flaccid. He lays in the position of a fencer; one arm above his head, the other straight out as if he'd run me through with his sword. His sweet little lips, moist and pink, are stretched across his face in sloppy relaxation, a pool of drool slowly gathering at one side. I could lay and watch him sleep all day. I bend down to kiss his chubby little fist, the one about to run me through. It is clenched and moist. I nuzzle his fuzzy little head and inhale his sweet baby fragrance, which causes him to stir in his sleep. I don't want him to wake up and ruin my show. I back off so I can continue to observe his sweet bliss. How can I be so completely captured? So completely disarmed? I'm enraptured by the perfection of this moment. Somehow I know, the memory of this moment will endure. It is as I said, he has run me clean through.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

New Birth

I've gotten turned down for two proposals, which is disappointing, and yet, I'm so excited about what I've accomplished so far. I did get accepted to present on Scholarship Day at my nursing school (a freebie, but good practice opportunity). My presentation will be on the Nurse-Activist, improving health care through socio-political action. My website continues as a work in progress, and I've ordered my business cards. I still need to find my niche as far as figuring out which audiences would be interested in what I have to say. I'm also meeting with various professional speakers I know to get advice on launching this new venture- which is not unlike birthing a new baby.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Daddy Milk

I love to watch my husbad with the baby. They are quite the pair. My husbad keeps J with him most days and I've watched them become inseperable. My husband often refers to himself as "nursing the baby." He says this in place of "feeding the baby." To watch them at feeding time, confirms that he really is nursing the baby. He takes J's bottle, lays it against his chest and pulls J up close to snuggle. He refers to the milk in the bottle as Daddy Milk. Now we all refer to my husband as nursing the baby. I love to come in and catch them napping together. My husband sleeps on his side turned toward the baby and J snuggles right up to his Daddy's chest. Their two bald heads nodded toward one another. I love to watch my husbad hold J in his big hairy arms and smile and coo at him and talk baby talk to him. I love to watch him love this baby. Two bald-headed peas in a pod, I call them. This amazing little guy has turned our lives inside out. Loving him is an opportunity to see life in all its glory. Honestly, the grass is greener, the sky bluer. And whether its Daddy Milk or Mommy Milk thats being served, it comes with a generous side helping of awe.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ready, Aim, Fire

Okay, I'm past my whining phase and on to my action phase. I have acquired an agent, set up a website, and am researching speaking opportunities. How's that for moving out of my comfort zone? Speaking professionally on birth and lactation feels rather like tatooing a bull's eye on my chest- but nevertheless, it is my destiny. I embrace it. Check out my new website at

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thinking makes my head hurt

Oh, the angst of new discovery. Why does life insist on forcing me to think? I've been stress and headache ravaged for days, not to mention sleep-deprived. Why is my belief so shallow, my faith so small? I want to dream beyond the boundaries of my own comfort- but there is a price of admission. I tire easily, and struggle to stay in the present. The pain is physical, and yet the process is entirely internal as I laboriously strive to give birth to new beliefs and attitudes. I am trying to think myself to the next level, without quite believing me. I think this is called being stuck. My de-stress strategy comes in the form of a certain little toothless, drooling, round-headed, and wobbly fellow who is communally reffered to affectionately as Little Joe. He likes me just the way I am-shamelessly flawed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

When it rains, it pours

No sooner do I decide to step outside of my comfort zone, than an opportunity arrives at my doorstep. That opportunity has come in the form of taking on an agent to assist me in getting speaking engagements. (I didn't even know speakers had agents!) Am I really ready to take this step? Something in the divine must think so. I however, remain tentative, but willing.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Comfort Zones

In submitting my proposals for the upcoming conferences, I am mindful of the lessons learned in my Investment in Excellence materials which I review and journal about. Today's lesson was on comfort zones and how if we don't move out of them, we don't grow. I just happened to read in my Bible the verse out of Psalms 55 about how men who never change their ways will be afflicted. It struck me how change is usually uncomfortable, and why that is so. In order to change, we must move out of our comfort zones. As I submitted my proposals with the usual fear and trepidations and a mind full of "what ifs," it occured to me that this dis-ease is the natural progression of growth, meant to be moved through not stopped short by. I purpose this week to take myself out of my comfort zone by going places I would not usually go and interacting with people I don't usually interact with and doing things I don't typically do. Being open to what life holds for us next, precipitates growth. I don't want to miss any of the wonderful things life may hold for me because I shrank back from fear or inexperience. I want to broaden my comfort zones.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Journey to the Center of the Self

Well, when it rains, it pours. I just received another solicitation to speak at a birth conference! Yipee. It's called the Independent Childbirth conference. Sounds perfect for me doesn'tit? I'll submit a proposal on J's homebirth with book and video excerpts. I'm really hoping to get this one! Dianna Paul is presenting at this conference and she'll be presenting excepts of her new film on homebirth- which I appear in! She filmed me eight years ago at a MANA (midwives alliance of north america) conference, She sent me an except of the film and gave me permission to post it, which I will when I figure out how. This conference will be in California in November- keep your fingers crossed for me.
I've spent the last two days at a workshop called Investment in Excellence (the term investment is appropriate- it costs a small fortune) I intend to blog more about it, but the jist of it is to teach you how to defeat negativity in your thinking and how to effectively use affirmations to retrain your thinking in order to get the life you want. (It kinda reminds me of the tenents of "the secret.") It is a total of four days with losts of cds and book work at home. I think this stuff actually works. I've become very adept at writing affirmations, and I enjoy listening to the cds and journaling in the workbook. I signed up for this workshop because I felt I had some false beliefs that were holding me back. Of course, this course only deals with the mental. For the spiritual and emotional, I contine seeing a counselor, which has been a huge help. I feel that this holistic approach (attacking body, mind, and spirit all at once) has been really helpful for my development. (The body part is my excercise regimen, to which I have recently added a little yoga) Who knows, I might just turn out to be a decent person after all.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Keeping my options open

I just mailed off my invoices for my speaking gig in San Francisco. What a kick- to get paid to speak. I've got three more speaking gigs in the mix for this year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. One is for breastfeeding, the other two for birth. I'm chomping at the bit to get to speak on birth issues. Especially when I eye my fat rolly polly baby grinning and drooling at me. Rather than women's options in birth expanding, I see them shrinking. In our state of Missouri, there is legislation pending to make direct entry midwives legal. Missouri is one of 9 states still without a midwifery law. (Not that having one equals nirvana either.) But it is a start. Having options is always better than not having them.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Thin Line

During the trip to San Francisco, for the breastfeeding conference, I reflected on my own breastfeeding quandry. Josiah is a wonderfully contented baby who travels well. (He slept all during both flights coming and going and does the same during long car trips.) Since his early hospitalization, he has not been exclusively breastfed. I no longer pump, but let him have formula when he is with his dad during the day. (My husband works 2nd shift and often drops Josiah off at my office on his way into work in the afternoons.) He is round and plump and beautiful and a joy to have around. But it seems I have exchanged exclusive breastfeeding for a busy lifestyle. I don't regret my choice. But I did hear something at the conference that gave me pause. Someone was presenting research that showed that obese women may have more difficulty with breastfeeding. I thought my being old might be the problem, when it merely may be my being fat! At any rate, I found myself giving Josiah a bottle- in the bathroom. I confess, I was hiding out. There was no way I was going to give my baby a bottle in the middle of a breastfeeding conference. But perhaps the pressure I felt (I admit mostly self inflicted) underscored the problem of women feeling guilty about not breastfeeding. I know how committed I am to breastfeeding, but my giving J this one bottle suddenly became this huge problem. I was afraid I'd be judged or worse, my expertise questioned. I'm even nervous blogging about it. I know this is difficult for me because my whole concept of "good mothering" has been challenged by my milk supply issues. I love J with my whole heart and only want whats best for him. At the same time I'm 3 years into a successful business I love. In order to meet the needs of both, I choose to continue supplementing. Its as simple and as complicated as that.

Monday, March 05, 2007

To thine own self, be true

I attended the graduation party of a friend yesterday, graduating from nursing school. It is a grand accomplishment to be sure, but I always feel that sense of angst with new nurses. A dis-ease that comes from knowing that they don't really know what they're getting themselves into. Nursing is a wonderful profession- but there are pitfalls. I love being a nurse at the same time that I have vowed not to return to hospital nursing. (I know I should never say never- but this time I am.) For me, the beauty of nursing is in its creative and manifold expressions. There are so many ways to be a nurse. I'm looking for the most self-driven, independent, creative mode. I will define what being a nurse means for me- no one else will spell it out for me. The beauty of nursing is of course, that I can.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Spoken Word

Josiah and I just returned from San Francisco, where I presented on increasing breastfeeding rates among African-Americans. It was a good experience and I did an okay job. (I should have invested more time in preparation). During one of my three presentations, I received a question that I'm still pondering the answer to. How did I become so committed to breastfeeding when at 15, I knew no one who was actually doing it? The answer later came to me back home. I became engaged with the idea of breastfeeding and homebirth in books. I was a voracious reader and read everything in the library I could get my hands on about childbirth. Since the year was 1978, there was a fair amount of material on homebirth and breastfeeding. I found the ideas appealing, they seemed right and reasonable to me. I knew that homebirth awaited me in my future, but the breastfeeding was immediately possible. Of course, I went on to fail spectacularly. A few years later, I (just happened?) to join a church where almost everyone did homebirth. I had found my birthing community! I also discovered La Leche League and found my breastfeeding community. Though the seeds were planted long before, success only came to me when I had backup and support. The same is true for others today. That's why I'll continue to speak out on these topics. No sooner had I returned from the San Francisco conference, did I find an invitation in my email to speak at a conference in Tampa in May. I'll take that as a sign that I'm on the right track (and to invest more time in preparation).