I just looked in today's mail to find the current issue of Crisis Magazine. If you don't subscribe, you will have to wait a while to find it on-line, and I am so glad I won't have to wait to read this issue. Articles on chant, the relationship of education and morality, a book review titled 'slouching towards infanticide', and a guest column by Mark Shea. What more could I ask for? How about an article that will help my 14 y/o daughter explain that science and faith need not be in conflict - that it is possible to believe in creation and still acknowledge the contributions of science? I am still working my way down the subscriptions to the magazines listed at the top of my blogroll and I am glad that my sub to Crisis went through so quickly.
March 2003 Archives
I found a great new site via the Curt Jester - it is dedicated to the theology of the body and as such is of great importance to understanding human sexuality in a Catholic Christian context.
I just added a link to Project Rachel's new blog. So far I have seen only two posts but they are definitely worth reading.
DC area blogfest for this Saturday (April 5 2003) is announced by Eve Tushnet. Too bad I don't live anywhere near. New England bloggers, any thoughts for a similar event?
I've mentioned this before, but thanks to Victor Lams at et cetera for finding the link. Hormone Disrupters in our water supply - and this about Chemicals affecting women and girls. What are we doing to ourselves? God gave us stewardship of the earth - not to worship it, but not to rape it either. St. Francis, help us to learn how to worship God and care for His creation!
Over at Apologia, William Luse has this to say:
No man doubts the bravery of any woman. She will lay her life down for her children, but I don't want her to lay it down for me. I watched my own wife go through childbirth. No thank you. But that's what a woman does, give birth, in one way or another, every day of her life, and a society that asks its lifebearers to protect it and die for it is a society that has lost a big battle, if not yet the war.
In the comments box, I say "Our society no longer values this (giving birth) as a worthy gift to give. Women are being told that enduring childbirth is neither necessary nor heroic. They are told that childbearing is selfish, greedy, expensive, risky, and certainly not important in an "overcrowded" world."
I have been professionally involved in the care of pregnant women since 1981, when I became a childbirth educator. Prior to that, I was always the person that got the random phone calls about pregnancy, breastfeeding and parenting issues among my group of friends. Over the last 20 to 30 years, I have watched some wildly divergent trends that, personally, I find quite alarming.
One trend is the 'child as a fashion statement/luxury item'. This is seen in the belief that one should not become a parent until and unless one has the resources to give said child (usually only one, maybe two) 'the best of everything'. I see this as a reflection of materialism and consumerism. It reflects the cultural confusion between needs and wants. Children are unique creations of God, in co-operation with their parents, and should not be seen as simply an economic unit. The flip side of this is the concept of children as an economic burden that may be intolerable. Many abortions and much contraception is justified under economic terms - "I just couldn't afford to have and raise a child right now. I need to wait until I have a (fill in the blank - home, better job, education, new car, etc)". With this attitude often comes a certain contempt for those who have children without all the 'assets'. Does every child need to have Baby Gap clothes and Adida sneakers? Does a 'right' to the 'best of everything' supercede the basic right to life? Those of us with large families have often felt the scorn of the general public. Our matronly figures are contrasted with the buff figures of others who (whether childless or small family) spend time, money, and energy to develop the culturally appropriate firm and trim figure. Our children are anticipated to become burdens on society - 'of course' in a large family children so not get the individual parental attention they need to develop into porperly consuming members of society! (Heavy dose of irony, folks).
Our attitudes towards child-rearing spill over into our attitudes about child-bearing. If pregnancy and childbirth is seen as a once or twice in a lifetime event, there is the consumerist tendency to try to make the whole experience overwhelmingly 'the best'. No less than perfection is demanded. The perfect pregnancy, without any aches or pains or loss of self. The perfect birth experience, with the parent-consumer being in total control. The perfect child, with no defects, major or minor. All of these demands for perfection war with each other, and very few are willing to realize that we live in an imperfect world, that we are NOT in control of our lives, and that every choice made involves a choice denied.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a move towards unmedicated family centered pregnancy and birth. Women were encouraged to view childbirth as a strenuous physical activity (which it always has been since the days of Eve - it isn't called labor for nothing!). In the wake of the Thalidomide disaster and the Rubella epidemic, it became obvious that the major way to protect the health of the unborn was to protect the health of the mother, and to use drugs and medication only when there was a clear advantage to so doing. Pregnant women were encouraged to make sometimes sacrificial lifestyle changes for the sakes of their unborn children, and to forgo pain medication during pregnancy and labor unless there was a clear medical indication. Many more women were also asked to undergo the risks of surgical birth for the sake of the health of their unborn child, and most willingly did so even if the medical indication was at times unclear.
Somewhere in the early 1990s, things started to change. Maybe it was the impact of almost a full generation after Roe vs. Wade, when it became clear that the unborn child has no legal rights until born alive. For whatever reasons, there was an overall paradigm shift in our culture, and it shows up in little ways and big ways. Women who endured labor under difficult circumstances were no longer applauded for being sacrificial for the sake of their child, they were jeered for being ' a martyr to your baby'. Cesarean delivery is no longer seen as sacrificing one's health and future well-being (and possibly child-bearing capacity) for the sake of the child, it is being seen as an easy way out of childbirth and a way to preserve a women's sexual function for the use of her partner. Women in general no longer train for childbirth as a physical, spiritual, and psychological event - they are rather more likely to seek indoctrination into the politically correct ways to give birth. Control has become such a central value of our culture that the rate of induction of labor (often for rather fuzzy 'indications') continues to increase, and the Cesarean rate is at close to its highest ever.
I have seen this in my own practice. 20 years ago, women fought against interventions such as induction of labor, fetal monitoring, repeat cesareans, routine cesareans for things like breech babies, epidural analgesia, and narcotic drugs. Now I have to work hard to persuade women that it is usually healthier to wait for labor to start on its own rather than inducing it as soon as the baby is 'big enough'. I have to deal with women who are so afraid of birth and so intolerant of pain that they want an epidural before labor even begins. I do not fault these women as individuals - they reflect our culture as a whole and while they are the majority, there are still women out there who have values more in tune with the God-created natural process. Women can no longer attain in childbirth the transcendance over pain and the sense of self-sacrifice that was once available to them. For that, they now have to run marathons, climb mountains, or be soldiers. Don't get me wrong. I think that women should have the right to do these other things. And yet we do not value women for the sacrifices made for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. We only value women for the work they do that is clearly economically productive, and childrearing is only economically productive insofar as it produces consumers of goods and services. In order for those children to become consumers, their parents must earn wages at above subsistence levels. This usually means two working parents and two or less children.
At the top of my blogroll is a link to the site for Blessed Gianna. I suggest you read her story and ask yourself - "what would I do?".
There is a mind-set among the majority of the health care profession that the average person may not know. It is that there are known health risks to contraception and abortion, but that those risks are inevitably less than the health risks of pregnancy and birth. I was at a journal club recently that discussed the influence of oral contraceptive medication on eventually developing breast cancer. The consensus among the gynecologists present was that even if there is an increased risk for breast cancer in women taking OCPs, the risk of an unplanned pregnancy was such that it should offset the theoretical medical risks, and that if a woman wanted to be taking OCPs, the gynecologist should still prescribe them. There are some fetal chromosomal anomalies that are associated with an increased risk of the pregnancy complication eclampsia (which can be life-threatening). These chromosomal anomalies are usually fatal (eventually) to the baby, although a few babies have lived for months after birth before succumbing. Most obstetricians will strongly encourage women to abort these babies (usually 2nd trimester, as that is when the conditions are diagnosed) because they see no value to the mother risking her health and life for the sake of " a few more weeks or months of life for a baby that we know is horribly deformed and will die anyhow".
I will say that the majority of OBs and midwives will support a mother who makes a decision for life, even if they personally think it is foolish and risky to the mother. Pro-choice does indeed go both ways here - most of the time. But I think that what we are seeing over all is a reflection of a culture that does not truly value women as women. Equality does not mean identical.
I could rant on this for a lot longer, but I need to go pack and get myself together for the weekend. I hope to find some good conversation when I get back to my blog on Monday.
This evening I will be going on a cursillo weekend. I will be out of touch until it is completed. As usual, just before any kind of spiritually significant event, things in my life are seeming to fall apart. An opportunity that I was really hoping for was withdrawn. Our finances have been hit with several unexpected expenses, and I am fighting off now 30 hours solid of a migraine headache. (Medications get it down to the point where I can function, but not well, not at all well.) All this tells me that the weekend will probably be an incredible event, as it seems that the enemy is pulling out all stops to try to get me to not go!
Prayers appreciated. If I can, I will try to post a few more short items later today, but after 5PM I will be silent until probably late Sunday evening or even Monday morning. Same thing applies to e-mail. I am leaving my laptop, my cell phone, and my pager at home. If there is a family emergency, my husband will have to drive out and get me in person.
Mallon's Media Watch is a blog that follows the 'traditional' blog format - mostly links with very brief comments. Lots of good info and links updated pretty frequently.
1. Since we've covered the standard "where do you go when you die" question, let's get a little deeper. When you do die, would you like to be able to watch your funeral?
I think now that I would, but chances are I will be too busy.
2. Catholics must have the longest funeral services ever. I think there is a lot to be said for the traditions that they keep, but it was just so depressing. I'd like my funeral to be much more upbeat, like those I've seen in New Orleans. What type of funeral would you plan for yourself?
I want lots of music. I want the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy said the evening before, I want my choir so sing me out. I want my children and my friends to get together and celebrate my life on earth and pray for my soul in purgatory. I don't want to be canonized at the funeral. I want a great homily that makes those present really think about the 4 last things. When my husband and I got married, we focussed our energy on the wedding Mass, and let my mom worry about the reception. I want the same focus for my Requiem Mass - focus on the importance.
3. As a child, when I was angry sometimes I would wish that a parent or teacher would die. Thank goodness wishes like those are never granted. I think it probably takes the loss of someone important before you learn the value of life. When did you first realize that life was so fragile?
I think that I was rather young, I don't think I ever didn't realize the fragility of life.
4. When we said our final respects to Grandma H. today, I though about her impact on the world. No, she didn't cure cancer or make sweeping changes to society. But she did leave a legacy of four sons and a daughter, who in turn have children and grandchildren. And maybe that was her purpose, to launch future generations that will accomplish great things. Some of us are here to make a huge splash in the pond of life, others are here to direct the ripples in the water. Of the people you've known personally who have passed away, what sort of legacy, impact, mark or achievement did they leave behind?
My in-laws were both devout Catholic Christians. As my second parents, they helped me to become a better mother to my children and wife to my husband. They also raised 6 wonderful children including my husband.
5. One thing that struck me at the funeral, was that there were so many men were dressed in casual clothes. I was brought up to believe that men should always wear a suit to a funeral, as a show of respect. Maybe these men were never taught that. Maybe they just don't own suits. Maybe that I am just old fashioned and not hip to the times. Do you think there is an "appropriate" way to dress for attending a funeral? Or is it even important?
There is always an appropriate way to dress. Formal occasions call for formal clothing, unless you are some kind of emergency worker and had to rush to the occasion. But even so I think that being a little late but carrying oneself in a manner that speaks of respect is better than showing up sloppy.
6. Grandma H. was far enough along in life to have been able to plan ahead for her funeral, even down to the tiny details such as song selections. It was nice to finally attend a funeral where they didn't play "Amazing Grace!" My choices would be "Ode to Joy" and "I'll Fly Away." What are some of the more memorable songs you've heard played at funerals?
I don't even want to go there! The inappropriate choices at some funerals makes me wince in memory. One song I do want for my funeral (unless it is in Lent) is For All the Saints (sung to Ralph Vaughn William's Sine Nomine) - all 7 verses. Sung loudly and with joy!
7. I've been craving some home-made pickles for years now. Not just any, but the kind my dear Great Grandmother made. It's been over 20 years since she died, but I can still remember just how her dill pickles taste. No one in the family has even attempted to make them since. Today at the funeral I overheard someone wishing that they had asked Grandma H. for her home-made noodle recipe but now it was too late. Do you have any favorite foods that only one relative made, and the recipe died with them?
My grandma in law made a lemon pie, and I was able to get the recipe from her before she was too ill to remember it. Alas, I have not been able to get my grandmother's tuna casserole recipe, and she is still alive but unable to properly communicate it to me.
BONUS: Is it true, all of those things that they say about you?
I have no idea. What do they say about me?
Today's Comment Question: Do you like pickles? If so, what kind?
I love pickles, especially sour dills, pickled green tomatoes with tons of garlic, and pickled pepperoncini.
The Official Site for the movie Thérèse is good. Click on 'flash site' for a brief trailer. I think the site is still under construction, as there were not many live links and I could not find my way to the advertised message boards. Still, you might want to check it out, especially those of you with the Carmelite focus to your spirituality. I am looking forward to the film, as I hope it can cure me of my overreaction to some of the more saccharine portrayals of the little flower.
update: I wrote to the webmaster for the site, and was told that I could find the links by clicking on the roses in the pop-up window after the intro. I still wonder how I was supposed to figure that out, though!
(Links thanks to And Then? )
You're in the Air Force
What branch of the military do you belong in?
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Funny - I was an Air Force brat until I was 14 and my dad was medically retired.
You've got the JOY JOY JOY JOY down in your heart!
What Bible verse is your life's theme song?
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Yep - me, my guitar, my flute and a full choir.
My 14 year old daughter is a freshman at a public high school. Recently, we have had some interesting conversations about the ways in which she has been a defender of her faith in the classroom. It is through stories like this that I am coming to realize how subtly yet profoundly anti-Catholicism has pervaded our culture and society, even in a state where Catholics are the largest single religious group.
My daughter is taking geography and history. Her class has been studying World War II. When they were studying the Holocaust and Naziism, she pointed out that there were Catholics and other Christians who were also put into concentration camps and murdered for their faith. A classmate retorted something to the effect that he thought it was the Catholics who were putting the Jews into the ovens. My daughter brought up the example of Maximilian Kolbe, of whom apparently none of her classmates (even the Catholic ones) had heard.
In science, she is told by classmates that Catholics don't believe in various scientific theories. She gets taunted with the example of Galileo (on whom she did an "A" grade report and poster display in the 7th grade). She is accused of geocentrism, flat earthiness, and who knows what else. She and I have had some long conversations on these issues.
A great resource I have found is the book Did Adam & Eve Have Belly Buttons? by Matt Pinto. Even though she herself hasn't read it through, we have found good answers to many of the questions that have arisen over the last few months. We are still looking for some zingers for her vegan friends, though.
Here is an online bookstore that has some really nice board books for toddlers and babies - as well as a boatload of other stuff. Thanks to my fellow midwife Nancy for the link. Folks, please pray for Nancy and for the very few Catholic midwives out there who are faithful to Humanae Vitae and the church's teachings.
Irish Parents Seek New Inquiry in Organ Program
This article presents some difficult dilemmas in medical ethics.
Two Sleepy Mommies have an interesting thread going about economics, social justice, a living wage, stay at home moms, and Rerum Novarum (one of my favorite encyclicals, along with Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae). I strongly suggest you go there and read the posts and the comments - there is a lot of wisdom to be found.
I have been ruminating on this topic for years. Part of what has inspired some of the deeper thoughts has been from C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity. It is the chapter on social morality. Let me qupte you a few lines.
There is one bit of advice given to us by the ancient Heathen Greeks, and by the Jews in the Old Testament, and by the great Christian teachers of the Middle Ages, which the modern economic system has completely disobeyed. All these people told us not to lend money at interest: and lending money at interest - what we call investment - is the basis of our whole sytem.
It does give one pause for thought, no?
I would also suggest that anyone seriously pursuing thoughts about family structure, work, and morality, should read G.K. Chesterton. There is a compilation of his writings on the topic entitled Brave New Family that is truly excellent. Among the content in this volume is a comment about how the book Brave New World (the famous dystopia) simultaneously mocked and celebrated the famous Anglican Lambeth conference, where the Church of England broke ranks with history by approving artificial contraception.
One last random thought. The term Utopia was created by St. (Sir) Thomas More, as his title for a book that he modeled after Plato's Republic. He was looking to design an ideal society based upon Catholic Christian ideals. Also worth reading.
I HAVE no sympathy with international aggression when it is taken seriously, but I have a certain dark and wild sympathy with it when it is quite absurd. Raids are all wrong as practical politics, but they are human and imaginable as practical jokes. In fact, almost any act of ragging or violence can be forgiven on this strict condition -- that it is of no use at all to anybody. If the aggression gets anything out of it, then it is quite unpardonable. It is damned by the least hint of utility or profit. A man of spirit and breeding may brawl, but he does not steal. A gentleman knocks off his friend's hat, but he does not annex his friend's hat.
'All Things Considered.'
I am at work. My husband and I try always to pray the rosary together every night when it comes on EWTN (2130 Eastern), even if we are not together physically. This evening, as the rosary ended, I thought to change the channel to CNN - just as I did my pager went off. It was my husband, and the message on my pager read "It has begun. Bush addresses the nation in 15 minutes" May God preserve and protect us all. I ask for special prayers for my oldest daughter. Right now she is on a plane scheduled to fly from Memphis TN to Paris France by way of Amsterdam. We have not heard of any change in plans, and I hope all goes well.
Karen Marie Knapp is back!!!!!!!!! Out of the hospital and blogging again. Praise be to God.
Disordered Affections has the funniest war comment I have seen in a long time, maybe forever. Go there. Read it.
I just read at Kathy the Carmelite's blog that dylan is in the hospital. Kathy suggests prayers, fasts, and other spiritual and corporal works of mercy. Check her blog for details. Meanwhile, I am concerned about the fact that Karen Marie Knapp is still seriously ill, though recovering. And of course Al Kresta recently underwent major surgery for necrotizing fasciitis (aka flesh eating bacteria) and last heard his wife was also seriously ill. My husband, last night, commented on the new asian pneumonia that seems to be spreading rapidly. He and I were both seriously thinking about re-reading the book of the Apocalypse. What are the Four Horseman, again?
March 18, 2003: A Little Bit O' This, A Little Bit O' That!
1. Cold frosty ski slopes or warm sandy beach?
Give me warm, minus the sand. The French Riviera will do just fine!
2. Chevy or Ford?
My 91 Chevy is still running after 254,000 miles.
3. Mac or PC?
PC for program variety, Mac for graphics and desktop printing.
4. Dial-up or high speed internet access?
High speed - but keep the dialup capacity for road trips to the boonies.
5. Small *family-only* wedding or large 200+ guest wedding?
My family and close friends made my wedding 200+. It can be done on a tight budget if one keeps straight the priorities. Focus on the marriage, not the wedding!
6. Would you rather be the bridesmaid or the bride? (if you are a guy, substitute best man or groom)
I've been the bride. That is a once in a lifetime, whereas bridesmaid can be recurring. Bridesmaid (or matron, actually) now.
7. AC/DC or ABBA?
8. Roses or daisies?
roses - preferably ones with heavenly fragrance.
9. Trashy romance novels or classic literature?
depends on the mood of the moment. I have been known to be reading both over the same time frame.
10. NEW! Thought-provoking question of the week...If you had to choose one...would you rather be blind or deaf? Why?
Blind. There is a lot more adaptive stuff out there, and with my myopia I feel half blind anyhow much of the time.
Kairos Guy has some wonderful insights on sacred space and liturgy.
My big complaint (probably because I am perenially in the choir) has to do with the quality (or lack thereof) of the music. Sunday I referred to one of the hymns as my Lenten penance. (The hymn - "We Remember" by Marty Haugen. Syncopation not done well by the typical choir, let alone the congregation, banal lyrics, and bad harmonies.) The organist also dislikes the song, but we are at the mercy of a decision-making process that is out of our hands. Now, we do some really wonderful stuff too, but every so often I go home wincing.
I am Vanilla Flavoured.
I am one of the most popular flavours in the world. Subtle and smooth, I go reasonably with anyone, and rarely do anything to offend. I can be expected to be blending in in society.
(If you were not Vanilla you would be Lemon.)
Link from Ellyn who got it from Michelle who says the quiz is rated R. I'd make it PG-13, myself.
1. Do you have any plans for "Spring Break" this year?
Over at Two Sleepy Mommies, Peony Moss has a great post about Catholic board books for toddlers. I wish that our local Catholic book store carried these. I think I will go in there next week with the info and ask them to order some in. I have babies to buy gifts for, and this looks like a good thing to get them.
I have found that for some reason, various blogs I read don't automatically update when I go back later to see what is new. I find myself hitting refresh to see the newest pearls of wisdom. I don't know if this is a function of caching on the computer I happen to be using, or if it is a blogger problem or whatever. Once recently, I spent quite some time writing what I thought was a nice piece. When I came back later to see if anyone had anything to say, it wasn't there until after I hit refresh. grrrr.
whether ended by birth, miscarriage, or induced abortion, is inevitably accompanied by a maelstrom of feelings. A feeling that is not often acknowledged, especially in cases of the birth of a loved and wanted child, is grief. This feeling is also not often acknowledged in cases of induced abortion.
I wish I was a foetus
To worry obstetricians
To student midwives I'd present
I'd tie my cord into a knot
And when my membranes rupture
I'd tell my pal placenta
And when they start to caesar
Copyright; Pauline Bryant
International Eat an Animal for PETA day is tomorrow
the friday five Mar 14, 2003
1. Do you like talking on the phone? Why or why not?
This makes a lot, and I cook it in a foil turkey roasting pan.
I started to post a comment over at the Kairos Guy and realized that I would exceed the box's limits, so I am posting it here. You see, J.B. included some comments in his post about pregnancy, a topic on which I do know a little bit. Here is an excerpt from his much longer post (J.B., I hope you don't mind that I have truncated your writing - there is a lot of stuff there and I only want to address a few small points!).
I went downstairs to put dinner on (roasted vegetables, a mixture of brown rices, and maybe a bean of some kind) and discovered that my cats had been in the pantry. Specifically, they had shredded the plastic bag containing 4 1b bags of posole corn (dried hominy). There were small bits of dried corn all over the floor. Now, I can understand why they shredded the bag that my daughter's dried bonite flakes (a staple for Japanese cooking) was in, but corn? I just don't get it. I do have a pretty good suspicion which of the 6 cats is was, though. Probably Hazmat the carbo cat - the one that eats raw bell peppers, tomato chunks, and turns up his nose at canned cat food.
In line with the 'granola conservatives' mentioned in the article below, I would like to talk about what my family will be eating (and freezing and canning, Deus volante) this summer. We purchased a share in a local co-operative of small farmers. We had been trying to get to the farmer's market weekly, but were not always able to. I also haven't figured out how to grow stuff in this northern New England climate. My garden bed is currently beneath 2 feet of accumulated snow, and more is falling. In California, by now, I would be harvesting early spring veges! anyhow, here is a brief description of just what CSA is.
In return for fair and guaranteed compensation, consumers receive a variety of freshly picked, (usually organic) vegetables grown and distributed in an economically viable and ecologically responsible manner. Some farms also offer fruit, herbs, flowers and other products. In this way, farmers and members become partners in the production, distribution and consumption of locally grown food.
I'm back from taking care of two flat tires. My husband got home late last night from his cursillo weekend, and he had to be out the door at 0500 this morning for a live broadcast (about health care and the uninsured - listen here for details). So he came around noon and I fed him lunch, and we went together with 2 flat tires to the Tire Warehouse down the road. My husband likes to use this store because the manager leaves Knights of Columbus literature laying around the store. Also they are very friendly and competent. I was afraid that the damage to the tire would be irreparable, and that I would have to buy a new one. I also knew that the rim on the spare was damaged beyond belief. Well, thanks be to God, they were able to repair the tire, and I was able to also buy a full-size (used) spare tire on a wheel - and the total for the two was under $50. Not only that, but it only took about 15 minutes. So I am back on wheels again.
Safe Haven Laws - are they unsafe?
This is not the carefully crafted piece I am still working on, but rather is a few random comments. I have a good friend in Portland Oregon who has been a midwife for more than 20 years. She has been published in Midwifery Today, she organizes continuing education workshops for midwives, she is truly knowledgeable and skilled in her profession. And she is not licensed. She practices perfectly legally in her state. There was a court decision several years ago in Oregon that stated the practice of midwifery is not the practice of medicine, as long as the midwife does not use interventions that are considered medical (such as drugs including pitocin, surgery, forceps or vacuum, etc.). Herbs, physical interventions using the hands, etc. are not considered medical, nor is cutting the cord. There are no standards that exclude any kind of patient from the midwife's practice, other than personal choice on the part of the midwife and patient. Therefore, an unlicensed midwife can agree to attend breeches, VBACs, multiple gestations, or whatever - and can charge for services rendered. Most have transfer agreements with at least one doctor or hospital if needed. But no 3rd party payers (insurance, Oregon Health Plan) will reimburse for this care. Care with these midwives is strictly caveat emptor. Most are highly qualified, and are more than willing to provide references, educational background, and a written informed consent agreement to patients, but not all.
Give your kids the gift of poverty is an interesting article I found at A European Reactionary from Queens. Robert Heinlein (sci-fi writer) had a few pithy sayings that I have found useful. One is "Don't handicap your children by making their lives too easy". (The other -"In an argument with your spouse, if you discover that you are right, apologize immediately!".)
I am trying to put together part 2 of my midwifery comments, but it is slow going. Part of it is that I don't want to overwhelm my audience, but there is so much that needs to be said! I have been studying this since I was 10 years old, and practicing for a long time too. It isn't really a 'sound-bite' type of topic, either. Your patience and prayers are appreciated.
Raymond Arroyo on Mel Gibson's new film from the Wall Street Journal. When will this film come out for the masses?
This weekend, my husband is at Cursillo. It is so strange not to be able to pick up the phone just to share something with him. He was picked up by some friends Thursday evening, and will be back this evening. Ash Wednesday after Mass, the choir director asked if I could sing for 1030 Mass today, with a quick rehearsal at 0930. Sure, no problem. So at 0900 my duaghter and I walked out to the car with music in tow, started it, pulled out a few feet and something just did not feel right. Stopped, got out, and there was the problem - a totally flat tire. Called AAA who came out pretty quickly and put the spare (the donut kind) on. Of course, by the time all that was done we had missed 1030 Mass at our usual parish ( a 1/2 hour drive) so decided to go to 1100 Mass a little closer to home. Got about a mile from home, hit a pothole, and bang, the spare went flat. Called AAA again, the same guy came out and towed us home. Of course, it also started snowing while we were waiting. Someone, somewhere, just did not want us to get to Mass today. I guess I will have to listen on EWTN and make a spiritual communion. Question for you theological types out there - am I in sin for missing Mass today? I could have tried to drive my husband's car (which I have never driven in the 6 years we have owned it) but I thought I would be OK on the donut spare. I could have called a cab, but I just didn't think of it! By the time we got home from the second flat tire, there was no way to get to any Sunday Mass on time. In Oregon, we lived so close to our parish that we walked, and also in California that was an option. But here we are pretty far from everything.
A update on Karen Marie Knapp at From the Anchor Hold, posted by her brother. Please keep her in prayer.
On pages 77 - 79 of Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is a story of a birth I was at during my L&D nurse days. Let me also quote Ina May from page 307 of this book. "it is not possible to determine solely by licensure, certification, gender, profession, or outward appearance the philosophy of practice of any given practitioner. Not all midwives work within the midwifery model of care; not all doctors work entirely within the limits of the medical model of care. Women are not necessarily more sensitive than men...." And I will add that all providers work within systems that may have a negative or positive impact on the provider's ability to give the best care. Money, politics, and culture all get into the mix.
I highly recommend The Joy of Natural Childbirth: Fifth Edition of Natural Childbirth and the Christian Family, even though it can be hard to find. Actually, any edition from the first on through the fifth is valuable. I read it when I was pregnant with my first in 1974, and it was one of the books that helped me to find my vocation as a midwife. The author, Helen Wessel, is now deceased, but I had the opportunity to meet her in 1983 at the ICEA conference in San Diego California. In addition to her deep Biblically based belief in God's creation in childbirth, she also was a strong proponent of NFP. She influenced the Sears' (well-known Pediatrician/RN married couple) and many others in her long life. Her work is being carried on through Apple Tree Family Ministries. I would be delighted if I could find a Catholic family group that could carry out some of this same ministry.
A reader alerted me to a debate going on over at the Exceptional Marriages (aka HMS) blog. It is kind of confusing to follow the thread if you haven't been a regular reader, but it has to do with a case where a midwife is about to go to jail for saving a woman's life by treating her with a drug that she obtained illegally. If you search the archives using the keyword 'midwife' you will find the debate. It starts with an article in National Review Online. Take a minute here and go read the article and the thread over at HMS.
1. What was the last song you heard?
Two Sleepy Mommies post links to a discussion on a topic near and dear to my heart - the move towards elective (not medically indicated) Cesarean sections. I have a lot to say on this, but I am sleepy and have to work tomorrow. I will make one comment right now, though.
Pdawwg: So you say you want a Sexual Revolution?
A Catholic Blog for Lovers has an update on Karen Marie Knapp (From The Anchor Hold). Keep her in prayers, she is still in the hospital.
1. What is the last book you read? What did you think about it?
My friends tell me that the daffodils are up in the Pacific Northwest. I will never forget my first winter/spring in Oregon, seeing daffodils everywhere, even in the freeway medians. In California I would be out in the garden encouraging my roses. Here, they are still buried under straw in their sandwich boards, trying to hibernate through the long winter. Dear God, why did you send me to this desolate place? I know that it is part of your creation, and that there are people who truly love and enjoy this climate, but not me! Dear Lord, help me to praise you in all things, even the long winter.
I was griping in dylan's comment boxes about the lack of poetry in public education. I asked him to post the Te Deum, since he is the poet and so many who come to his site are seeking poetry. Then I realized that I need not limit myself - so here is it, from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Does anyone have a site to find it in Latin?
THOU art the King of Glory, O Christ.
O LORD, save thy people, and bless thine heritage.
I wish that I could say that I changed the blog background from Ordinary green to Lenten purple, as was done over at Two Sleepy Mommies. But I was not that creative. It just happened that way. Lots of good Lenten articles around the Parish, and Karen has somehow managed to keep up with most if not all of them! How do you do that, anyhow, with a full time job, a Los Angeles commute, and a busy toddler?
Here it is Thursday already! This evening my husband will be leaving for Cursillo (I am going in a couple of weeks). I would ask for your prayers for him. I would also ask prayers for me - I am waiting to hear about a possibility that has great potential, and I have been told to expect to hear sometime next week. I was so frazzled that I totally forgot an appointment I had monday afternoon - which is not like me! I thought it was thursday morning. yikes.
1. Are there any television commercials on these days that are among your favorites? What is your favorite television commercial from your childhood?
Government Support of Natural Family Planning
My profession is one of the first mentioned in the Bible. Exodus chapter one has lots to say about midwives, and our responsibility to God and to the families we serve taking priority over the laws of Pharoah. It also mentions that God rewarded the midwives who obeyed him. There are very many midwives who have a strong Christian ethos that is incorporated into the way that they practice. However, I will say that it is very difficult to work within our current health care chaos (I refuse to call it a system) and maintain these values. I had a number of revelations while reading Scott Hahn's book A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture. Ideally, the midwife and the family she serves would see this relationship as more of a sacred covenant than a secular contract. I think that many come into midwifery with this level of idealism and committment. It often does not survive intact. Among the factors that may cause damage are societal and cultural expectations as to who has ultimate responsibility. There is a culture of fear. There is a lack of acceptance of 'unfortunate outcomes'. There is the tendency to assume that the birth attendant is ultimately at fault if there is any problem with the mother or baby.
Kairos guy, feel free to add it to the cookbook. This is for Davey's Mommy, who is afraid of her new pressure cooker. It is also a great lent recipe.
Link from Amy Kropp
A just war, or just a war? from the first issue (1991) of the now defunct journal Caelum et Terra. An interesting perspective from the past.
I just returned home from a graduation. I teach at the NorthEast Campus of the Seattle Midwifery School, and we just graduated the first class from this campus. (The Seattle campus is now 25 years old). The guest speaker was Ina May Gaskin, pioneering midwife and author. I first met Ina May in 1986, and she and I run into each other usually once or twice a year at conferences and so on. It was a pleasure to see her again. She was telling me that her newest book, Ina May's Guide to Natural Childbirth, is being released Tuesday. I have pre-ordered my copy and am eagerly awaiting its arrival.
This is a lighter shade of background. I just don't want to end up unreadable, but I know that different monitors have different intensities of resolution. My laptop with the flatscreen looks different from my husband's desktop with a flat screen, and those are both different from the monitor on my desktop at work. I like Gordon Zaft's content, but I can barely read his blog due to the color scheme, so I am trying to avoid that pitfall.