This is part two of a story from a friend/client, Blue, who is healing from a home-birth Cesarean transfer, and the subsequent postpartum depression happenin’ right here in Houston, Texas. And my girl Blue is super creative, so I totally wasn’t surprised when she designed two healing rituals to help her access and then process the emotions that felt trapped in her body. And I wanna say right here, We had people facilitate the second ritual who knew what they were doing, it’s not like we just grabbed some clothesline and went at it. Blue’s Story: Not sure where exactly to begin. I apologize if my words are a wee bit jumbled or repetitive because I’m still feeling the high from yesterday. For those of you that are just now, or recently joined me on my path toward healing, I can shed some background. In a nutshell. I’ve been on a journey the past eight months, trying to find some healing and closure from Rocco’s birth. I was a birth worker for years before I got pregnant. A birth photographer. I’ve watched women time and time again squat in their living rooms, or roar in a birth pool, and bring their babies earth side with their own hands. I was around birth frequently. I adored it. The energy around birth was intoxicating. Each one was a gift to be a part of. I have watched many women scared of pain and full of fear, birth gracefully and naturally. I thought someone like myself, who doesn’t really fear pain, actually has a very high tolerance for it, and someone so familiar with the natural process, would have a more manageable labor and birth than the average Joe. Whenever people would say, “OHHHH a homebirth!?” my response was always “god willing.” I knew birth was out of my hands. Birth has a spirit and power of its own. There’s so many factors involved and I knew it would be selfish or stupid to think yes, I just know for a fact my baby will be born in the safety of my bedroom at home. So, long story short, I was a homebirth transfer and ended in a c-section. I labored for 19 hours at home. My body started showing signs of infection. I got up to 9cm at home, but my body began fighting itself. By the time I was admitted to the hospital, I was back down to a 6/7cm I think. I just remember, laboring in my drive way, getting in the car for the hospital, thinking that my whole pregnancy I knew this could have ended up happening. But still, it was a slap in the face. A punch in the gut. A bucket of ice water on you. Nothing could have prepared me to flush my dream birth down the drains. The birth I fantasized and prepared for for years before I even got pregnant. I cant put into words, that feeling. I was THAT fluke birth that everything just went wrong. I was THAT statistic. I was a WRECK after Rocco’s birth. Having the loss of my home birth, recovering from surgery, having breastfeeding and latch issues. I was a mess. I’m infinitely grateful for my tribe who stepped in and raised me up in one of the darkest times of my life. In the blur of having a newborn, we decided to sell the house. I knew I wanted to have a Rebirth ceremony in the house before we moved. My rebirth ceremony was beautiful. We set up the birth pool in my room where I wanted Rocco to be born. My birth flags were around me. Surrounded by people I loved. We “baptized” him and I read some things that were from my heart. I’m so thankful to have that experience. I also ordered a “Homebirth Cesarean” book and workbook to help “speed up” emotional and spiritual recovery. I just felt an urgency almost in finding some closure. I kept reading about women who decades later didn’t find closure and the thought of that scared me. I couldn’t keep living with this open spiritual wound. During the few weeks that followed the birth, someone suggested perhaps doing a suspension ceremony to find some healing (I think my doula Rowan suggested it). The more I began to think about that, the more right it felt. My fears around suspension were similar to my fears around birth. Fear of the pain. Fear of the unknown. Fear of failure. Transcending this realm. I felt like if I could go through with it, I would be proving to myself that if my birth had gone as “planned,” that I could’ve handled it. Conquered it.***The day before the suspension, I was a wreck. Thinking about the birth all day. Looking at photos and focusing on my feelings. I set up everything to interview myself to make a video for everyone explaining all this but the words just never came. The morning of, I was very tranquil. At peace. I realized that if I in fact failed at this, that I cant imagine anything else bringing me closure except time. And I needed to accept that. I enjoyed braiding my hair that morning. I felt like it connected me with the woman birthing on The Farm in the 60s and 70s or the women warriors braiding their hair before battle. The little Indian girls I’ve held hands with on the other side of the world. Or the native American woman I’ve learned about in anthropology class. I just felt connected to all women across the globe and through time just like I had felt while in labor. My suspension didn’t go exactly like how I envisioned it with a giant circle of flower garland beneath me. Wearing a floral crown. Having the earth, fire, and water aspects in my space like in my rebirth ceremony. I fluidly went with what felt right as it happened. I made a circle of rose quartz in my space. I read my birth affirmation cards. I listened to music I had playing at my birth that I haven’t listened to since because it was triggering. I wore the oils I had diffusing while I was in labor. I felt hyper-aware. Almost like I had ingested psilocybin. I could see and feel every detail but it was all like a warm slow breath or a soft blanket wrapped around me too. Everything just felt right. Getting the piercings wasn’t bad. It was uncomfortable but not near as bad as I expected. Not a fraction even. After the first hook was placed, I began to feel warm and fuzzy all over. After the second hook was placed I became light headed and a little loopy. A glucose tab worked wonders and I was totally fine after that. The sting never went away after the piercings. Once I was rigged up, the burn in my hooks became more intense. No one had warned me about this part. The BURN. I HATE the burning sensation. I hadn’t even gotten off the ground yet. Just little tugs and pulls as I tried walking around in my space. I immediately felt cheated. Why didn’t anyone warn me about this part? It reminded me of the unexpected things that happened in pregnancy, birth, and post partum that were shitty and no one warned me about. I began making groans. Moans. Squeals. Yells. Grunts. Laughter. Getting in a primal headspace and fighting the insatiable burn in my back. Intense pressure and burn. Wait a minute, “burn.” “The ring of fire.” When women birth naturally, some talk about the ring of fire. The ring of fire I never got to feel. The opportunity that I was never granted. This is what I wanted! From that point on, the burn was a gift. I welcomed the pain. I was grateful. I swirled around and around, my feet slowly leaving the ground. As my feet lifted up, my eyes closed. All I could hear were the cries of joy, laughter, and love around me as I felt myself rise up. The sun shining on my face. The wind blowing in my hair. Still, with my eyes closed. Swaying. I transcended. I had conquered my fears. I had overcome the pain. I had won. I’m not sure how long my eyes were closed. Seconds or minutes. I have no clue. I was swirling in a vortex of pleasure and pain and peace. I finally opened my eyes and was welcomed by five smiling faces below me and the most beautiful trees shedding their leaves in the wind. I was hoisted really high to enjoy the view. It was beautiful. And empowering. After a few moments I came back down so I could gather the red rose petals I had brought to release.I wanted to release them from my c-section scar. I saw the red petals as blood. I saw the blood leaving me as the pain and turmoil I’ve battled since the day Rocco arrived earthside. The self-hate I’ve harbored for failing myself with his birth. All the darkness, leaving my body. The rose petals, were my favorite part. Watching them fall below me. The velvety circles gleaming in the streams of sunlight beneath my feet in fluttery wisps. It was just magical. I felt my heart and spirit just open wide up. I felt the earth and life just welcome me back down to ground. I’m so glad I snagged a few photos on my phone while I was still up in the air. My favorite is the one with my tribe below me. All looking up. The red petals at their feet. You can see how proud they are of me. You can see that they knew how much this meant to me. And that they love me. Deeply. Reflecting on all the events today, I’m still riding the high. I feel so much happiness. I feel SO MUCH closure. SO MUCH PEACE. THIS IS WHAT HEALING LOOKS LIKE. Thanks for being part of this crazy journey.
I had the honor to be at a birth last spring and it was one of those painful as fuck types to watch, because mama was working so hard and it was an epically painful back labor, and also because I knew a transfer (and possibly a surgical birth) was going to really throw her for a loop. LOOP. Like a Loop of doom. Ugh.
So afterwards, this creative and innovative lady created healing rituals to let the pressure out of all these bottled emotions. The first was a Rebirth Ceremony, and if you think stuff like this doesn’t help, I’d invite you to pop over and give this talk about how the brain works a listen. Or a read.
Anyway, this is what it looks like in pictures, and letters to herself. Thank you Blue for sharing this journey with me. And you, gentle reader.
Letter to herself:
Dear Body, I pray that some day I will learn to trust you again. I still don’t understand why things happened the way they did. Why I was in so much pain from the beginning. Why I felt to push when I wasn’t ready. Why my baby was in distress in the only thing that felt right in my labor. Why I felt that you failed me. But then I remember that for nine months, you grew the most perfect baby. That we were both healthy. That you’ve healed beautifully after a major surgery. And although it may be little, you are providing nourishment to my son. I understand I may never have answers to my questions, but I hope that some day I may find not only closure, but peace. And I hope that peace brings trust. Enough trust to some day let you lead me through a natural birth.
Hey Loves! First Labor Whispering Workshop went really well! Check out the fun we had! Shout out to Celina for assisting and keeping it legit! And a mega load of sharing, learning, think tanking and OMG collaboration. Big love to Labor Enabler, Village Birth and Babies, and Birth Spring for co-presenting. It was pretty magical, the synergy. I’m really blessed. So next one is getting scheduled for July 25 &26th And in case you were wondering what other shenanigans I’m hosting, you can scope ’em here. “Workshops with an Urban Curandera.“
Albus Dumbledore has a bunch going on until, well, you know. But, before that, he used a neato thing called a pensieve.
Me and Albus, we tight, and we the same in that we have a bunch going on in the noodle at all times. ALL times. All TIMES. Feeling me on this one? And with all the crap that rolls around in my head, I can say what has helped me keep this head together is my journal.
I started when I was 15 years old, and a photographer that came and spoke to my El Paso High School English class said she always carried two things in her bag besides the normal pursy type stuff. Camera, and Journal. Duly noted. So, since I’ve been 15, I’ve been writing, glueing, markering and documenting whats in my head. Almost daily some years, only in times of complete fucking crisis in others. I’d say today it’s almost every other day. And today my perfect journal looks like this on the outside.
The quote says “life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” -anon Any other somewhat daily writers out there? How often are ya writing? tell me whats up in the comments. XO, Rowan
Shadowlands Intense times, that’s what’s been going on over here. I’ve been navigating the darker parts of my soul, looking for gold in the dark roots of my soul that I’m not always friends with. Feeling scared, anxious, upset, and moody as a mofo. And I wanna say right here how much I thank my partner, my seeester, my family and the friends who love me like they are family. Cause we are. Thank you for your support during this intense time.
I don’t know if it’s a response to the changing times (2012!!) or if I just decided to really excavate my dark corners, looking for healing and ways to support others on the journey, but challenge is what I have. And I grace and compassion hasn’t always been by my side while I walk this path. Last Wednesday was a total fail in this regard. The areas I’m working on most strongly are financial literacy and health (agh, money shame and releasing myself from the crappy belief that healers aren’t prosperous, um hello, not true.) Another area of focus is always coming at an issue with an open heart and no hidden agenda. (Thank you to marriage for helping me look at this with an unblinking eye.) My friend Merilee (artist , future Punk Rock Hoop Instructor and famous person) says that she asks herself in times of conflict that if she was coming from a place of peace and love, what would her response be?
Thats so good let’s hear that again; Merilee says that she asks herself in times of conflict that if she was coming from a place of peace and love, what would her response be? This mantra is a compass, guiding back to where ease and open hearts rule. A place I want to be. And if you wanted to take it up a notch, my teacher Danielle used this space to advocate for a peaceful conflict resolution. I aspire. So leave me a comment, tell me what you are working on, the deep parts of you. Be brave and name them. I got ya. We got ya. All in this together. xo, Rowan
18 Tricks & Tips to get Preggers (Besides the obvious! Can’t help you with that.) 25 years of notes from my grandmothers’, senior midwives and my own client successes, at your service to get a bun in your oven. Years, people, years of having an ear out for the quirky stuff, the old wives tales, the “hmmmm, that worked?” for folks struggling with fertility.
Prelude to Fertility, My Grandmothers’ Wisdom – $5
- Hands Off ~ Let’s take a look at common sense items like nutrition, and not so common ideas like what kind of knickers to sport to promote fertility.
- Hands On ~ I’ll teach you places on your body to massage, reflex, and push that promote a healthy, fertile belly.
- Body Influencing ~ Ways you probably never ever thought of to get your body primed and juicy. (My grandmothers, yowza, they are all about the doozies, the old school tried and true. Things we forget with our more modern medical world.)
You know what I want for you? A better relationship with your body, and lots of ways to promote a healthy, happy belly, including a daily belly mini massage routine! Best case scenario, you get a baby bump. Worst case scenario, you have learned a bunch about your body, your partner, and can be comforted that you’ve tried darn near everything that was crunchy and non medical. I’m voting for the bump.
My FaceBook post a couple of weeks ago.
“y’all, my grandmother died last night. The one who taught me through actions and words so many things, one of the biggest that it is totally possible to earn a living as a local wise woman/alternative health practitioner. If you have felt her love through me, could you give me a thumbs up, a hell yeah or hands in the air? She was awesome like that. Like me. Like You.”
I got a 133 likes, and over 50 comments. Wowzers. I’m thinking about all the things she taught me, either healing specific, “Those thongs, I don’t like them! How are you supposed to be free with that all up in there?” or about life, “Let your husband be the head of the household, so what?! Let him! You be the neck, what is he without the neck? Nothing.” And as I’ve been writing on Labor Whispering, MapBook for mamas, I kept FEELING her here with me, so strong, looking over my shoulder, “say more about that, no take that out” and then just had this over whelming sense of, “How can you teach them to get the baby out, its not even in there yet.” To which I say to the grandmother in my head, “UM, maybe they don’t need a lesbian to tell them how to get pregnant.” Her reply? “YA, well maybe some do.” So what I know is that the only way to guarantee you will get preganant is to be underage in the back seat of a car with someone you haven’t known all that long in a parking lot after a rock concert. That’s pretty much a done deal. So I shoved the Labor Whispering Mapbook for Mamas onto a back burner, got looped up on allergy meds, went on a writing marathon, and finished the entire first draft of a redo of some notes I had from a past workshop. I shot it over to a friend for editing. 3300 words, 9 pages, Prelude to Fertility, My GrandMothers’ Wisdom. Boom. Next step? Story boarding for the PDF.
And the friend I shot it over to for editing? Yeah, she already shot it back, in less than 24 hours, she’s good like that. Alejandra Ortega, mucho smoocho to ya. So I’ll work it over some more, apply my fancy PDF class knowledge from Jewels Branch Creative, and get it out ASAP. And I think my work is focused on folks who want some natural support for fertility, maybe they are not getting pregnant as fast as they hoped, wanting to try some natural options before heading into the fertility specialists. Perfecto. Here are 15 plus tips that you may not have ever heard of that will help you get that bun in your oven. xo, Rowan * Bless Me, Ultima came out this week on film. I had the great fortune to have Ms. Gwendolyn Green as my high school English teacher in the ’80’s. She had us read the book as an assignment, and then invited Rudolfo Anaya to speak to our English classes. It was awesome, and he said that as he kept writing his book, he HEARD Ultima say from over his shoulder, “You’ll never be successful with this book until you put me in there.” Grandmothers, sheesh, they think they know everything.
You know me, always learning. And then wanting to turn around and teach you too. Thats the kinda girl I am, wanting us all to learn, grow, get more better, more awesome(er). I wont quit my day job to become an English teacher with a grammar specialty, but I can teach you how to heal yourself. Massage, Tarot, Reiki, birth, business, chickens, fermenting and hooping. Bet you hadn’t put all of those on your healing protocol. Online or in Houston, I gotcha. Feeling game?
It’s not really about me, is it? It’s about you, how I can help You. I can help you heal your self, reawaken or breathe life into that tiny spark, that flame where you are your own best healer.
- Trust me, I can get you pregnant, look into my eyes…..
I am an Urban Curandera, wedda growing up in El Paso, where I always wanted to work in birth, show leadership in my community, and create safe haven for those needing to stop, rest, and recharge. The cultural diseases I work with most are stress, fertility challenges, navigating the birth a mama wants, and healing emotionally and physically in the postpartum period. Training? yeah, I have some: LMT, MTI, CIMI, TTTtm, Minister, Reiki master, Nia Blue Belt instructor, Hoopnotica, BodyHoops, and Punk Rock hoopdance instructor, and currently completing midwifery training. Unofficial credentials include medical intuitive, tarot proffesional, tarot instructor and lover of all things fermented, teacher of how to ferment damn near anything. I live and breathe healing arts. My experience includes 20+ years exploring massage, midwifery, essential oils, accepting divine self and green economics. I am committed to doing whatever it takes to facilitate folks living more comfortably in their own skin.