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Houston Breakthrough, February 1977
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Houston Breakthrough, February 1977 - Page 9. February 1977. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. December 28, 2014. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4451/show/4438.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(February 1977). Houston Breakthrough, February 1977 - Page 9. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4451/show/4438

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, February 1977 - Page 9, February 1977, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed December 28, 2014, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4451/show/4438.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, February 1977
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date February 1977
Description Vol. 2 No. 2
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women
  • Texas
  • Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 21 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
File name index.cpd
Item Description
Title Page 9
File name femin_201109_525i.jpg
Transcript ) Birth and death, a celebration of life £ By Judy Kier Birth as a celebration? Isn't it supposed to be painful and scary? No! Not for an increasing number of women who choose to give birth in their own homes, surrounded by those they love, in a relaxed environment. The First International Congress of Practicing Midwives brought together many of the young women who are in -the forefront of the movement to return birth to the mother, and to return the birthing mother to her home. Over 250 women from 41 states and four foreign countries attended the weekend workshop, which was held in El Paso. Topics included midwifery, birth complications and newborn check-ups. Miidwives, pediatricians, obstetricians, mothers and authors addressed the assembly. Raven Lang, author of The Birth Book and founder of the Santa Cruz Birth Center, lives in Ben Lomond, California with her nine month old daughter, Shadah. She is working with art in relation to birth; her sculpture and paintings reflect her years of work with birthing women and her own feelings about birth. She is also devising new rituaJs surrounding pregnancy and birth.IThe women of Ben Lomond and nearby communities gather together to celebrate what they call "Blessing Ways," new ways of affirming their love for each other as women carrying life inside. This may involve dancing, singing, chanting, meditating, massage and other rituals which express joy, hope and love. I was struck by the contrast between this and baby showers I have sat through, listening to women regale the prospective mother with gruesome stories of the labor ward. Lang feels that the home birth movement is an inevitable outgrowth of women's increasing awareness of their bodies and respect for their bodies. Suzanne Arms, author of Immaculate Deception, talked about how she came to write this book which is an account of childbirth practices in American hospitals. She had previously written an account of her pregnancy and birth in A Season To Be Born. Suzanne had planned on a natural birth. Instead, she found herself, like thousands of other women in this country, having what her doctor and the hospital personnel termed a "natural" birth, which was far removed from her plans and expectations This experience led her to explore the field of American obstetrical practices. She then traveled to other countries, comparing their childbirth practices with our own. What she found through her travels and her interviews with hundreds of women is presented in Immaculate Deception. Ina May, author of Spiritual Midwifery and head midwife on The Farm, a commune of 1500 people in Summertown, Tennessee, spoke on the subject of how a birthing mother can handle her energy. She also showed a videotape of a Farm birth, which showed the warm humor and relaxed atmosphere which is typical of a home birth experience. Over 400 babies have been born on The Farm since its beginning six years ago. The people at The Farm help single mothers who are not able to keep their children right after birth, or who want to give them up. Ann Cummings, attorney for the Santa Cruz midwives, spoke on Midwives and the Law. Although midwifery is truly the oldest profession, in this country at this time there is a great deal of legal opposition to midwives, due to the influence of profit- oriented doctors and hospitals. Women are discovering that, with proper safeguards, there is no reason to spend $800 - $1200 to have their children in hospitals when births can take place so much more easily, happily and safely in their own homes. Cummings traced the history of the California appeal, which recently resulted in the following decision by the California State Supreme Court: someone with no knowledge or experience, or with very little, can attend a mother at birth, but not an experienced midwife, for the midwife can be prosecuted for practicing medi cine without a license. The case against the two Santa Cruz midwives, however, on which the appeal and the decision were based, has been dismissed, and lay midwives abound in California, where thousands of women are having their babies at home. Cummings stated that in no state is it illegal to have your child at home, but that various states differ in their legislation regarding who may attend the birthing mother. She stressed the fact that midwives respect the needs of the birthing mother and that communities in turn respect their midwives and support them. When the Santa Cruz midwives appeared at the courthouse during their hearings, not only was the courtroom filled with their supporters, but also the entire courthouse, and the entire lawn of the Santa Cruz Courthouse — an unparalleled show of community support, which had a profound effect in the decision to dismiss the case, she believes. The speakers for the conference included practicing physicians, both pediatricians and obstetricians, who support the home birth concept. They spoke on handling emergencies, recognizing complications and procedures for checking newborn infants, as well as nutrition during pregnancy. All the speakers stressed the benefits to both mothers and infants of a home birth experience: lack of dangerous obstetrical practices (such as the mother laboring on her back), a germ-free environment, the absence of interferences with the natural birth process (such as drugs to slow down or speed up labor), and the psychological advantage to the mother who is abie to hold and nurse her baby immediately after birth and observe it carefully herself for the full period following birth. This historic conference deeply touched all the midwives there and closed with everyone forming a gigantic circle and spontaneously singing "We Shall Overcome." Death — a celebration? Isn't death a horror, a terror, something not talked about, a terrible loss? Yes, for those left behind, but not for the dying person. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross discussed this fact and many other death- elated issues in a five-day workshop held recently in Dickinson, Texas. Sixty persons from all over the country attended. Many had recently lost a loved one — a child, spouse, or parent — and were trying to make some sense of their pain. Others were professionals who work with dying patients or individuals who were planning to open centers for the dying (called hospices). What all of us discovered during the workshop was that the crucial issue was not our intellectual understanding or acceptance of the concept of death, but our own gut reactions to the reality of our bodily death. Initially, we were each asked to draw a picture of our feelings about our own death. The results were startling. Each picture was completely different from all the others. As we came to know each other that week, it became apparent that our feelings about death paralleled our feelings about life. Those who seemed to live life to the fullest were those who were most comfortable with the reality of dying. For, as Dr Kubler-Ross says, we are all dying — some of us just have a diagnosis already. DR. ELISABETH KUBLER-ROSS A great deal of Dr. Ross's work with dying patients during the past twelve years has involved art. In Switzerland, where Dr. Ross was born, an artist is assigned to each hospital ward. The artist's job used to be twofold: before the advent of modern technology, he or she took the place of a photographer, providing sketches from which the surgeon worked and,in addition, helped the patients give expression to their feelings through art. Adapting the work of these artists, particularly that of Susan Bach, author of Interpretations of the Drawings of Dying Children, Dr. Ross has devised ways of using art to work with patients who are unable to talk, patients for whom there is little time left to express themselves, and children, who frequently express themselves more easily in pictures than in words. Some people attending this workshop shared personal accounts of their own deaths. This is becoming more and more frequent, due to the ability of physicians to bring back vital signs in persons who have been declared legally dead. Dr. Ross related such experiences which she has compiled over the past twelve years. Although death is usually painful for those left behind, the dying person experiences a sensation of freedom from a sick or injured body, a feeling of reunion with loved ones who have died, and complete conviction that he or she will never really be separated from those who are loved in this life. In both Dr. Ross's and Dr. Moody's studies over the years, individuals who have had death experiences are never again afraid of death, and live life more fully than before. Dr. Ross stressed the importance of every individual facing the fact of his or her own death. This is especially important for those who work with dying patients, or those who have a dying friend or relative. The dying person always knows when he or she is dying, and always knows intuitively the people with whom he or she can speak openly about death. Because the processes of birth and death have been taken from the home, most people live their entire lives without seeing a birth or a death, Houston Women's HeaIt^ CoIIectIve presents The Menstrual Cycle Birth Control Childbirth Menopause Patients' Rights Vaginal Infections A Five-Week Course STARTS Tuesday, February 8 523-6994 526-7406 chfldcare arrangements, sliding scale fees so these processes are not truly choose to give birth and to die at accepted as being part of life home. Have you thought about itself. Dr. Ross feels that in the where and when and how you will coming years, more people will die? Page 8 • February 1977 • Houston Breakthrough