Home birth update
2011 passport
So it's been almost a year since I started attending home births with a CPM. This time has been one of incredible growth and education for me. I've been reading a lot about birth in general, and home birth (and its safety) in particular. Read more...Collapse )

Things I'm heartsick about
2011 passport
I'm up in the middle of the night again, feeling upset. Read more...Collapse )

Doula-ing, Part II
2011 passport
The second birth I attended was even more difficult to process than the first one. I don't often lose sleep due to emotional disturbances, but I did after this birth, which is saying a lot.Read more...Collapse )

2011 passport
I have a couple of pretty hard doula experiences behind me... Read more...Collapse )

2011 passport

Zsuzsi's kindergarten closes for 5 weeks in July.

Vivi's daycare closes for 3 weeks in August.

Back to back.

So basically I have 8 weeks during which one or the other of my children will not be in their various institutions.

I have a problem.

Should I attempt to shove my kids off on other people and backup institutions? Cos my schedule is pretty damn tight these days, and I can't even imagine giving anything up that I've worked so hard and so long to build up... not to mention the fact that we need the money, so the activities I'd most readily give up are the things that we live off of, so those are the things I probably SHOULDN'T cut back any further.

On the other hand, I'm definitely getting the message from people whose opinion I value that I should be taking time off to just be with my kids. And I can certainly see the value in that, and it would be kind of tempting to take a break from this insane pace I've set myself and reorient a little bit. And the idea of foisting my kids off on other people in suboptimal ways makes me feel terribly guilty and like a bad mother. And the idea of having to add "what to do with my kids on a daily basis" to the list of things I have to plan and coordinate gives me a headache.


Also, just got a text msg from one of my doula clients that she's having intermittent contractions, so what I should REALLY be doing with my time right now is SLEEP.

On evidence
2011 passport
One of the things that attracted me to lactation consulting, then doula-ing and midwifery, aside from the huge thrill of helping mothers, was the fact that the skills we are taught and the guidelines we are expected to follow (by international accreditation organizations) are evidence-based.

Conversely, one of my biggest pet peeves with the breastfeeding management and birthing practices followed by the majority of the medical establishment is that they are plain simply wrong. Erroneous, not based on evidence, mired in "this is the way we do things at this hospital" kind of thinking. Drives me up the fucking wall.

Read more...Collapse )

More career thoughts
2011 passport
I hate, hate, HATE translating these days!!!

I also hate, hate, HATE doing administration like invoicing and collecting money.

On the up side, I've managed to squeeze these activities into as little time as possible, and now do non-paying, but far more enjoyable work the rest of the time.

Mondays, I do prenatal care with the midwife I work with.

Tuesdays and Fridays, I'm at the hospital doing lactation consulting. Have I mentioned that I got a volunteer position at the hospital? This was the plot that involved my obstetrician. It is SO awesome. I get to wear all white and even have a nametag. Best of all, I have access to women in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy coming in for their NSTs as well as women who have just given birth as well as women who are coming into the breastfeeding clinic with specific problems. It is COOL. One of the reasons it's cool is because *fingers crossed* this will allow me to accumulate the 500 hours I need before I can take the IBCLC exam. If they approve my plan, I could take the test next summer! Yay!!!

Wednesdays I have my mommy-baby group.

That's the regular volunteer (read: non-paying) work that I do. I also attend a fair number of workshops and case study groups, in terms of money, that's even worse because not only am I not making money, I'm spending money. Oh, yes, and I'm also doing the certification program for becoming a childbirth educator. In my spare time, you know.

As for paying work, I have a varying number of psychotherapy clients. Right now, just one. Doula clients come and go, too, totally unpredictable. If I do doula work through the midwifery practice, I don't get paid for it because I'm technically just an apprentice there, and I offer my services in exchange for being taught. If it's MY client, then I get paid. But so far, I've only had one paying client. I also get paid for making house calls for lactation consulting, but I ask a ridiculously low rate since I'm still not officially certified.

I squeeze my other paying work (that actually constitutes the majority of the money I make) in around these activities. I still have one student, and I still have one steady translating job, plus incidental work comes in now and then. I try to finish on any given day by 2-3 pm, so I can go pick up the girlies between 3-4 pm.

I think I have a pretty sweet thing going on. I'm making more money than the average person does in this country by spending relatively few hours a week on things that generate this income, and the rest of the time I can devote to doing things I'm passionate about. Hopefully, down the line, the things I'm passionate about will also make me more money, but that depends on building up a practice, and building a practice works best through word of mouth, so it takes time.

I'm happy with the way my life is going, even though I've recently had to cut back on the number of extracurricular things I sign up for (like doula groups, workshops, etc) because it was cutting out too big a slice of my time with my family.

And this is why I'm a bit befuddled that my mother has been making snide and snarky comments about the work that I do. Near as I can figure, she thinks I'm wasting my ivy league education by doing what I do. First of all, I don't think that I am - I still do psychotherapy, and I still work with sexuality and reproductive issues. I also make good money, have a flexible schedule and spend most of my time doing things I love and care about. What's there to be snarky about?

I keep asking her if she'd be more satisfied that I'm taking good advantage of my ivy league education if I had a 9-5 government-funded psychologist position for near-minimum-wage and no flexibility. (Even jobs that sucky are hard to come by for psychologists, but even if I could get one, why would I want to?)

So I'm a bit baffled why she's so hostile to my perinatal work. Yeah, perhaps it's not prestigious to educate women about childbirth, or support them through labor, or help them breastfeed, or show them how to wear their baby... but it's hugely fulfilling and I think very important. So it's not glamorous... though I happen to think it is. It still bugs me though that she doesn't think much of it.

Take your shots
2011 passport
I've signed up for a childbirth educator certification program. (Yay!!!) One of our assignments calls for identifying effective communication skills in doula and/or childbirth educator work and evaluating whether I'm any good at any of those skills.

And then asking trusted others how they perceive my performance on these communication skills.

So, my dear audience, I'm asking you to judge honestly (but constructively), which of the following communication skills am I good at, and which are the skills I need to improve:

Express ideas clearly
Express key concepts in everyday, non-jargon language
Create a comfortable/safe environment for communication
Listen well
Give feedback that communication was understood
Provide empathetic (rather than sympathetic) responses
Build rapport
Identify and respond to the motivating hope behind fears
Ask mainly open questions
Allow the other to talk more
Focus on and respond to the other person
Avoid shifting conversation to own experiences


Szilvia Vivien
2011 passport

Vivi turned 2 on February 28th. She continues to be a little delight: impish, happy, cute. She does have a temper, but when she loses it, she rapidly recovers, flashes me one of her grins and declares "Vivi happy!"Read more...Collapse )

(no subject)
2011 passport
I know I asked this question before and for some reason can't find the reply, so please humor me.

What good books would you recommend for someone whose partner was sexually abused as a child?



Log in