November 7, 2012
Volume 14, Issue 23
Midwifery Today E-News
“Abusive Birth”
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Welcome to Midwifery Today E-News !

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Discover how sexual abuse affects women during pregnancy and childbirth and what you can do to help.

MT online storeSurvivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse was written to help break down the isolation pregnant women and their caregivers often feel—as though they were the only ones having to cope with these challenges. You’ll be able to read excerpts from 81 women’s stories of birthing, mothering and healing after childhood sexual abuse. The book also includes some complete narratives, discussion of implications of women’s experiences for their care, suggestions for working together during maternity care and beyond, resources to consult, and information from current research. Suitable for both caregivers and pregnant survivors, Survivor Moms will help anyone whose life has been touched by sexual abuse. Published by Motherbaby Press, an imprint of Midwifery Today.
To order

Develop your breech skills!

Eugene conferenceAttend the full-day class with Michel Odent (pictured), Diane Goslin, Betty-Anne Daviss, Carol Gautschi and Angelina Martinez Miranda. The teachers will discuss how to turn breech babies and what to do when attempts at turning don’t work. Topics covered include palpation skills, estimating fetal weight, amniotic fluid, prolapse, fetal heart tones and frank, footling and complete breech. Part of our conference in Eugene, Oregon, April 2013. Plan now to attend!
Register by Monday, November 19, for the best price.

Learn more about the Eugene conference.

In This Week’s Issue

Quote of the Week

You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman.

Eldridge Cleaver

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The Art of Midwifery

“As a woman lives, so shall she birth” is now a famous quote from Gail Peterson. After having practiced midwifery for almost 12 years, I have concluded that psychological factors account for nearly 90 percent of what takes place during pregnancy and birth. The most amazing thing is not that this is true, but that this fact has been virtually ignored by mainstream medicine for so long.

Anne Frye, excerpted from “Some Insights into the Psychology of Birth,” Wisdom of the Midwives, Tricks of the Trade, Vol. II, a Midwifery Today book
View table of contents / Order the book

ALL BIRTH PRACTITIONERS: The techniques you’ve perfected over months and years of practice are valuable lessons for others to learn! Share them with E-News readers by sending them to

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Jan’s Corner

BINI Birth

Eneyda Spradlin-Ramos and I spoke at a BINI Birth workshop (Birth Is Intimate Normal and Individual) last week. What a wonderful experience as 25 enthusiastic participants listened, shared and became inspired. At the beginning of the class, I asked each participant to write down answers to two questions; they then shared these answers with the group. I hope you will answer them as well and maybe share them back to us, the E-News readers.

The first question is: What do you want for each motherbaby? The second is: What is your role in this? By first writing down their answers, the participants were not influenced by the answers of their peers. We went around and had each woman share her heart and her answers. We listened to a room full of thoughtful women who are ready, willing and able to serve the mothers and babies who cross their paths. We also participated in classes such as Visions and Dreams, Birth Is a Human Rights Issue, Tricks of the Trade and Massage—what a fun and enlightening day! These women give me real hope for our future.

Ana Paula Markel’s loving hospitality was nothing short of amazing and a true blessing to us. We asked her to write on her lovely calling of BINI Birth for the spring issue of Midwifery Today. Her work is truly on mothers and babies—work that can be duplicated around the world. Ana Paula will be at the Eugene, Oregon, conference in April of 2013 and we can all have the chance to hear her speak). Ana Paula is an effective teacher, and I can’t wait to hear her teaching in Eugene. You will be blessed to learn from her as well—Ana Paula exudes love.

I hope we get to see you in Eugene and give you a big hug!

Jan Tritten, mother of Midwifery Today

Jan Tritten is the founder, editor-in-chief and mother of Midwifery Today magazine. She became a midwife in 1977 after the amazing homebirth of her second daughter. Her mission is to make loving midwifery care the norm for birthing women and their babies throughout the world. Meet Jan at our conferences around the world, or join her online, as she works to transform birth practices around the world.

Jan on Twitter:
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Birth Is a Human Rights Issue:
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Featured Article

Traumatic Birth Leads to Creation of Birth Networks in India

I had always been fascinated by birth. I considered pain a small sacrifice for a job well done and the reward—a baby. I found comfort in birth as an experience that bonded me with women, my child and as a family—not something I wanted to avoid—but a powerful experience that I just had to have! I intuitively knew there must be benefits in nature, for both me and the baby. (I personally am wary of medications and medical interventions and their ability to cause harm and thus chose to avoid a medical birth.) The lack of open discussion and information made the journey confusing and fearsome, yet still appealing.

I spent a lot of time preparing myself with yoga, swimming, walking and a good diet of organic food. I had expectations of being supported and of having a compassionate doctor; I assumed that the natural process would be the first port of call.

Well, things don’t always work out in the way we imagine. Two children later, my life, like that of countless women globally, had been shattered by the experience of birth.

My son was born by c-section, without labor, under general anesthetic. Then he was kept from me for 24 hours in the nursery—not for a medical reason, but because it was hospital policy. I spent the night pressing the buzzer and asking for my baby. I felt as if I had been knocked over the head and had something ripped from me. When I first saw my son I looked at him and fell back in the bed thinking, “I need to go home and come back and do this again.”

His birth was an out-of-body experience; my brain couldn’t relate the baby to the event. My response to my child shocked me. I thought, “What kind of mother are you?” I dragged myself up, with a huge painful gash across my abdomen, and began a struggle of bonding and mothering under the exhaustion of an awful depression and post-operative recovery. This mood clung to me for three years.

My process of healing has been a need to understand the truth and starting to ask questions. I now know that what was presented to me as an emergency was not a true emergency. My doctor had asked me to go for sonography when I was three days past my due date. Today I know that being overdue is not an indication for sonography—gestation is 38 to 42 weeks. I was in a perfectly normal state.

Ruth Malik
Excerpted from “Traumatic Birth Leads to Creation of Birth Networks in India,” Midwifery Today, Issue 87
View table of contents / Order the back issue

Featured Products

Experience the authentic sights and sounds of birth!
Penny Simkin

Birth with Gloria Lemay features nine beautiful homebirths, each one a lovely example of a normal, family birth. It’s a great resource to share with women to help build their confidence in their birthing bodies. The DVD also includes special features on circumcision and the prepuce.
To order

Mandala birth art makes beautiful gifts!

mandala art prints

Choose from several inspiring art prints by Amy Swagman. Each image is available as a digital print on archival, acid-free artist paper. Check them all out and be sure to buy one for yourself, too. To order

mandala art prints

Womb with a  View Pendant

Give birth jewelry this holiday season!

The Womb with a View Pendant captures the quiet potential of a baby in the womb and makes an elegant gift.

Any new mom will love these delicate Baby Earrings.
Baby Earrings
Crowning Earrings celebrate the moment of birth and are a perfect gift for your favorite midwife or doula.
Crowning Earrings

Get breastfeeding information in e-book format!

Suitable for both parents and practitioners, the Breastfeeding e-book is filled with insights into various aspects of this important topic. This collection of 15 articles from Midwifery Today magazine includes “The Role of the Shy Hormone in Breastfeeding” by Michel Odent, “Milk Supply: You Have Enough” by Lina Duncan, “Supporting Mothers in Long-term Breastfeeding” by Janell E. Robisch and “The Four Pillars of Safe Breast Milk Sharing” by Shell Walker and Maria Armstrong.

Get your copy on Amazon or on Smashwords in a variety of formats.

Breastfeeding e-book cover

Paths to Becoming a Midwife

Thinking about becoming a midwife?

Do you know someone who is?

Paths to Becoming a Midwife: Getting an Education is just what any aspiring midwife needs and would be a much appreciated gift. The fourth edition of this book includes several new articles on the various midwifery philosophies, new information on becoming an apprentice, dozens of recently updated articles, and a current directory of more than 150 schools, programs and other resources. Order the book.

What is Midwifery Today magazine?

Midwifery Today Magazine
A 72-page quarterly print publication filled with in-depth articles, birth stories from around the world, stunning birth photography, news, reviews and more. Subscribe.

Website Update

Read this review from Midwifery Today magazine, now on our website:

  • Female Genital Mutilation: Legal, Cultural and Medical Issues—by Rosemarie Skaine, reviewed by Cheryl K. Smith
    Excerpt: One of the most interesting chapters includes an interview with Maasai in Tanzania regarding FGM and highlights the strength of tradition in keeping this damaging practice alive. While painful to read in parts, the book provides a comprehensive look at a practice that has affected between 110 and 140 million women around the world.

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Birth Q&A

Q: Were you abused in the process of giving birth? Please tell us about it.

— Midwifery Today

A: The part I consider abuse came post-delivery when the OB took it upon himself to attempt to manually remove my placenta. I yelled at him to stop, which he did, but in a very nasty voice told me, “Go ahead and push it out then.” He also used a very heavy thread to stitch me. My midwife commented to me about it. I still had stitches that had not fully dissolved four weeks after birth.

— Michelle Dorning Brown

A: I had my placenta ripped out of me with such force that the doctor almost ripped it in half, which she told me with a laugh. I was so nervous and tired I didn’t even know what to say.

— A’ishah Alinoor

A: When I was a teen giving birth to my daughter, I knew what I wanted and had a birth plan, as well as a supportive partner at the time. I was only 17, but what happened to me over 13 years ago is not right. I was pushing and because I had been pushing for over an hour, the lady doctor told me that she was going to give me an episiotomy. I told her no and she screamed at me saying, “I know what’s best for you!” I screamed back saying, “No! I want to tear naturally!” She cut me! To this day I am a birth advocate, birth doula and a midwife assistant. I also deal with teens and I give them the info they need about their rights, even if they are young!

— Kristen Ford

A: Yes! There was construction happening at the hospital during my labor (complete with drills, hammers, etc.), I was repeatedly chastised not to breathe when pushing and the list goes on. It was clear that nobody had read my birth plan, nor did they care about it even though one of the nurses and the OB had repeatedly reassured me this would not happen. I don’t know if that qualifies as abuse, but it sure felt like it.

— Kerri Tom

ed page graphicYou want to be a midwife, but where do you start?

Are you an aspiring midwife who’s looking for the right school? Or maybe you’re trying to decide if midwifery is the path for you. Visit our Better Birth Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.

Conference Chatter

Eugene: A Conference at Home!

There is something extra special about being in our hometown of Eugene, Oregon, for our US conference. The West Coast is blessed with so many great teachers, birth centers and practices so we will have many teachers for you to partake of. There will also be teachers from other parts of the country and abroad; this is going to be an amazing event for everyone. The conference venue in Eugene is downtown and close to many great restaurants, not to mention the good food the hotel offers. And I just love our theme for this conference: “Weaving Together the Art, Science and Spirit of Midwifery.”

We have a very unique class, called Art in Midwifery and Birth, that will show many birth talents that midwives and doulas have. From dance and acting to singing, gardening and laughing we are sharing our arts. In past home conferences, we have been excited to host midwives from many countries. The US must be allowing visas more readily, and that is good news for us because it is great to have many different countries represented. At the conference in Germany last month, we had about 35 different countries represented—everyone working “toward better birth!”

— Jan Tritten


A third-time mom was in labour and it was a busy night at our ward. She had contractions, but smiled all the way through like nothing was happening. I left her alone for about thirty minutes and went to check on her again. She lay in the bed, still smiling. On the outside you couldn’t even see she was in labour. I asked her how she was. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “He is coming.” Just a few seconds later there was a beautiful, healthy baby boy. The nurse who assisted me was in total shock.

— Jenna Kranendonk-Schreuders

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