Midwifery Today Issue 90, Summer 2009

Issue 90: Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Theme: Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Cover photo by Michele Anderson of Pinkle Toes Photography

The theme of Midwifery Today Issue 90 is Healing from Sexual Abuse and Trauma. Trauma and abuse can occur at any time in life, both before and during pregnancy. This issue addresses a number of issues including fathers who were abused, how midwives can help women heal from trauma and abuse, how childbirth can have a traumatizing effect on women and how, conversely, it can bring healing to previous abuse and trauma. The magazine also contains the usual outstanding international and clinical articles, as well as inspiring stories of birth.


Poetry: “Blooming”
Heather Sevcik
From the Editor: Fathers Who Were Abused
Jan Tritten
Jan discusses how midwives can help with a problem that is rarely discussed: the impact of becoming a father on men who were abused.
Tricks of the Trade
Marion’s Message: Working in the Safe Motherhood Clinic
Marion Toepke McLean
Marion shares her experiences as a volunteer in Uganda.
Media Reviews
Classified Advertising
Photo Album


Maryl Smith
Women who have been abused and traumatized may experience a variety of issues related to pregnancy and birth. Maryl Smith discusses developing awareness of signs and triggers, as well as how to work with such women and help them feel safe.
Modifying Medical Procedure for the Trauma Survivor
Maryl Smith
A companion article to “Creating a Safe Space for Healing,” this article gives tips on how to make essential medical procedures as non-threatening as possible for women trauma survivors.
Lydia Bertrand
Sharing her own experience, the author makes the case that every mom should have the right to have a midwife for her birth.
Derek Lainsbury
Originally published in Midwifery Today, Issue 51, this article is still a timely and much-needed contribution to the issue of abused fathers becoming parents.
Birth of Anisa: Transforming sorrow into light through love and informed decisions
Ana Paula Markel
A bittersweet story of birth and death.
Penny Simkin
One of the authors of the pathbreaking book, When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women, describes many of the ways early abuse or trauma may negatively affect the survivors’ later experiences with childbearing and offers some tips for midwives for providing sensitive and effective care and support.
“Hello, Baby!” Doesn’t Mean “Goodbye, Kitty”—How Cat Guardians Can Have a Safe and Healthy Pregnancy
Samuel L. Jacobs
A physician shares pertinent information on toxoplasmosis.
A Tribute to Jana Borina
The midwifery community suffered a great loss with the passing of Jana Borino this year. This tribute reminds us of the gifts she gave to mothers and midwifery.
Shivers, Section and Standard Procedure
Leonora Ballantyne Harrison
The author shares the disappointment of a traumatic hospital birth.
Candida versus Breastfeeding—Which Is Winning?
P.J. Jacobsen
This timely piece describes the problem of yeast infections and offers some solutions to resolving them so they don’t disrupt the breastfeeding relationship.
Birth as Healing
Joanna Wilder
The author tells us why she is involved in good birth, and how it can be healing for women with a history of abuse. This article is online in Spanish: El parto como sanidad
Arnica and Aconite
Piper Martin
Contributor and homeopath Piper Martin discusses the two most common homeopathic remedies for traumatic birth.
In My Opinion: Birth as a Vehicle for Healing
Kate Prendergast
The author argues that midwives don’t have to be expert therapists to help women who have been sexually traumatized; she can guide the woman through using birth as the healer.
Survivor Moms: Multiple Trauma Exposures and the Development of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Mickey Sperlich
One of the authors of the new Motherbaby Press Book, Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse, provides a snapshot of types of trauma exposures reported by first-time mothers in the Midwest and how they relate to risk of PTSD.
The Care and Keeping of Placentas
Jodi Selander
Learn about the amazing placenta and its many uses.
Sharon Storton
Solace for Mothers is a new organization that was formed to help mothers who have been traumatized. Author Sharon Storton shares some of the services provided and why this is an effective program.
The Conscious Choice to Culturally Reframe Birth
Colleen Bak
This essay discusses the dilemma midwives face in their beliefs about birth and how we can effect the change needed to bring the current culture more in line with our perspectives.
Memorandum and Advice from an Abuse Survivor
Jasmine Rae Ojala
A first-person account of the effects of abuse prior to and during pregnancy.
Learning to Be a Midwife
Judy Slome Cohain
Contributing Editor Judy Slome Cohain writes about her experiences training to be a midwife.

International Midwife

Linda May Kallestein
Female genital mutilation continues to be a reality and a rite of passage for girls in Kenya, despite the laws now prohibiting it. The author tells about her personal observations of this damaging and traumatic practice.
A Special Homebirth in India
Lina Duncan
Despite a series of misadventures, the woman featured in this story has a nice birth.
Sudy Storm
Sudy Storm shares another engaging true story of volunteering in Sierra Leone, this time accompanied by her wise-beyond-her-years granddaughter, Kassy.
The Midwife I Want to Be
Lorna Dooley, UK Essay Contest Winner
The Midwife I Want to Be
Emma Brown, UK Essay Contest Runner-up
Cards & Letters