Dinah’s Days and Nights

Unique mothers, babies and births.

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Dinah's Days and Nights | 0 comments

Humans categorize and compare. It is the way we make sense of the world. As parents we can’t help categorizing our kids: “He’s the rebel, she’s the shy one, the pretty one, the ‘good girl'”. We know better but it’s the way our minds work. When women are having a second or subsequent baby, they always compare to the other(s). It’s understandable to make sense of life by referring to your own experience. Midwives sometimes think of women as first time mothers, VBACs, prior hemorrhage. The categories are necessary in order to function professionally. In doing so we sometimes lose sight of uniqueness, individuality and, at our...

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Bringing baby Ahmed into this world.

Posted by on Jan 30, 2017 in Dinah's Days and Nights | 2 comments

Can you imagine bringing a Muslim American baby into this world? Aisha will be doing that very soon. She sits across from me, half an eye on her toddler running around the room. A brief quiet moment of hesitation. Her daughter watches a squirrel chasing through the dry leaves. Aisha breaks her silence…. “How can I birth baby Ahmed into this world? I am scared for him. How can I do that?” More quiet as I absorb her predicament. It’s too much. The world is closing in on Aisha and her family. It was a moment of immense inadequacy for me. The mothers, fathers, babies, whom I serve, are not ‘other’. They are families, every one creating...

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Pain and love are parts of the same story.

Posted by on Jan 16, 2017 in Dinah's Days and Nights | 1 comment

Some people’s fear of pain makes them demonize the pain and in an effort to be positive about birth they gloss over it. But the pain of labor is real. We do not do a service to birthing women if we deny it. Pain is challenging. Pain is painful! Pain is powerful. We are powerful. Through the pain we will feel the joy. Mary gave birth with me at her home many years ago, but the picture of beautiful Mary rocking on the floor on all fours, moaning and swaying and shouting out “Bring it on!”┬ácomes back to me often. Mary enjoyed labor. Some women do. Most do not but they all emerge from the journey changed and strengthened.   I have cared for many women...

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Parenting advice at the doctor’s?

Posted by on Sep 12, 2016 in Dinah's Days and Nights | 3 comments

Is your pediatrician an expert at raising children, or is he/she a medical doctor? Being a doctor is about diagnosing and treating disease, isn’t it? Or have I misunderstood something? I have been googling pediatric residency curricula to try and find out how much parenting is part of their education. Not surprisingly, pediatric residencies focus on the primary care of children as well as aspects of disease in children in a variety of disease sub-specialties. Many parents look to their pediatricians for parenting guidance. It’s good to be open-minded about parenting and to learn from others, so it is natural to get input from those you respect. My concern is...

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Sometimes you need a haiku!

Posted by on Sep 5, 2016 in Dinah's Days and Nights | 1 comment

Three mother birth baby haikus I came up with this afternoon for labor day!   Becoming. No birth machine here. Nature strength, of breaths, cries, re- -lease, joy, a mother. Crowning. Wide mouth open, a being there, all eyes held round emerging baby. Motherbaby Lids flutter, smile plays, warm soft skin connects love breaths mouth drips milky bliss.

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The inventor of the nasty duck and women’s health.

Posted by on Jul 6, 2016 in Dinah's Days and Nights | 2 comments

The speculum is a misogynistic device. Women dread pap smears, forced into a position of ultimate vulnerability as a hard piece of metal or plastic is placed deep inside their most feminine of caves; how could they not? Samantha feels nausea at the thought of a pap smear, her legs clamping together, she is desperate to escape the horrific sensations of her childhood that it is bringing back. How could I, a midwife, do that to a woman? The speculum was invented by James Sims and was based on his initial use of a gravy spoon in 1840. As this instructively awful article describes, it was first used as he experimented on slave women suffering from recto-vaginal fistula in...

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