Sunday, June 21, 2009

La Carpa Roja

I went to a BOLD Red Tent on Saturday, which included a raffle with all the benefits going toward the Birth Center. It was a good time, full of positive energy and healing and woman-empowerment. I think I can say that without sounding all New Age-y. The purpose of a BOLD Red Tent is to have a place where women can come together and celebrate ourselves, through birth or just anything woman-related in general. It was a little different for me this year -- although still just as hot as it was last year, and I don't care what happens next year, I absolutely insist that our next BOLD Red Tent either take place in February, or at another location where we're not on the second floor facing directly west, on a 100-degree afternoon. It was different because last year I hardly knew anyone there, as I was still fairly new to Charlotte and hadn't gotten involved with the local doula group. I had Sydney with me at the time, and I shared an unhappy birth story, and most of the women after me shared sad/angry/traumatic birth stories. It was a very intense night. This year, I know all the doulas, I knew many of the women who were attending, and I didn't feel like going as deep as I did last year. Yes, I've had three births (for four children) and they were not all perfect; in some ways the hospital birth was the best one, which is pretty screwed up. I shared about my twins' birth, and basically talked about the support I had at that birth. My point was that being supported during birth is important, and I appreciated being in a place where I could say that and other women got it and didn't say, "But at least you had a healthy baby!" Ugh, I hate that. I've had four healthy babies, who are now healthy children, but their births did and do matter.

There was a group of girls from a local home for pregnant young women who are at-risk in some way or another. Most of them didn't seem too interested in being there, but one of them shared. I hope the ones who stayed at least got something out of it. I'm really grateful to spend most of my time among women who believe, like I do, that birth matters. At first I thought I was a total weirdo -- and when I lived in Yuma, AZ, I was one of the only two, along with my BFF, Angela -- but here in Charlotte there are enough women who care about birth that I can actually pick and choose to be around them most of the time. It is really liberating to live in a place where I can do that. I can embrace my passion for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum -- as well as babies, of course -- and I actually have people to hang out with!

Today Leigh and I went to our most recent client's house and did the PKU on newborn. The PKU is not a fun test, because it's a heel-prick that will make the baby cry, and then we have to get 5 drops of blood on the card, which involves squeezing blood out. Not fun at all. I thought the client might get upset because the baby was crying during the test, but it's an important test. It detects metabolic disorders. I was glad not to do it, but I'll probably be doing one sooner or later.

I finally figured out what I mean when I refer to myself as a moron when it comes to midwifery; I'm not a moron, but I expected my doula training and experience to help me with midwifery in some way, and... no. Not really. Not very much. The fact that I've seen births prior to entering midwifery training is probably the only advantage I bring to the table. So that's what I mean. I'm not a moron; but neither are my years of experience as a doula all that helpful. I would imagine that I'm pretty much where most women start off.


The Artistic Family said...

I learned the same thing, Erika. My doula-ness is something totally separate than my midwife assistant role. I felt equally incompetent at the start. I feel a more confident now, but then there is always something that happens from birth to birth and I have no idea what it means. To the journey! Cheers!

Briana Mager said...

I stumbled across your blog today and have a question, I am on the planning committee for the 2nd annual Red Tent event here in St Louis; our event wont take place until fall, so I was wondering, besides sharing circles or the BOLD Play, did your event do anything fun or unique that you loved? or oppositely, anything that was useless?

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