This week in Birth Matters I wanted to share some of the things I have been listening to lately. Listening instead of watching is really refreshing. Like reading, it exercises your imagination and allows you to create and pair your own images with what you hear. It is also a lot easier to multitask while listening, whether you're driving, going on a walk, making something to eat, or want to close your eyes and rest for a little while.
NPR recently published a really interesting series on addiction during pregnancy and the care of newborns with opioid dependency. It is not a light subject, but this series of three articles (here, here and here) is really informative about how newborns become dependent on opioids and the withdrawal they experience. Furthermore, the final installment explains how hospitals should rethink the role of the mother, as newborns experiencing withdrawal often stay in the hospital for months. Most importantly, this series isn't sweeping addiction under the rug but creating a space for conversations about how care can improve for these mothers and babies.
Another really interesting NPR interview from this week was with Peggy Orenstein, the author of two books, Cinderella Ate My Daughter and more recently, Girls and Sex. This interview touches on so many different ways in which our culture establishes expectations for girls to respect themselves, their bodies, and their sexuality, but rarely teaches them how to do that. Touching on topics such as naming an infant's genitals, college hookup culture, virginity, and pleasure, this interview is thought provoking (especially for a parent) and worth 38 minutes of your time!
Recently, I discovered some amazing podcasts after typing "birth" into the iTunes search. My favorite so far is The Birth Hour which shares birth stories twice a week in podcast form, and also has an accompanying blog and Instagram account. Created by Bryn Huntpalmer, this is a great resource for just about anyone: expecting fathers, mothers, new mothers, and anyone working in the field of childbirth. As a doula, listening to birth stories is an amazing source of education and inspiration. Not only does this podcast share every type of birth story, but they also have interviews with different birth workers that are extremely insightful. Warning: this podcast may suck you in!
My second podcast recommendation is The Longest Shortest Time narrated by the soothing voice of Hillary Frank, a contributor and author of This American Life. Focused on parenting, this podcast seems to touch on everything. With titles like "The Accidental Gay Parents", "Kids Ask About Death", and "Healing After Childbirth", there is an episode for everyone and every parent.
*All of these links are meant to inform, create dialogue and provide a variety of perspectives. Birth occurs in many places, through many different paths and what is most important is that informed decisions are exercised, a birthing woman is supported and the experience is empowering.