Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's My Body, My Baby, My Birth

Yippee! We launched a new website today for our new film, It's My Body, My Baby, My Birth! Go ahead -- surf!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Niko Becomes a Mother

I never considered myself the motherly type. In fact neither did my friends or family. They expressed concerns about how I would make the transition from the overly scheduled life I conducted of running a busy non-profit to the circular life of being with a baby.
I worried about this.
I worried that I would miss the "me" time.
I worried that I would get bored, get anxious, wish I hadn't had a baby.
Even my step mother said over and over, "We'll see how you do when you are a Mom and are no longer in control over your whole life." I was worried.I had my baby boy on July 8th of this year. Birthed him at home in an amazing birth. And two months later, even during a week of being totally sick, even though my body was warm with fever and my throat was so sore I could barely swallow I held him fiercely to my breast, to my heart with a love that I never experienced in my life. And when my breast or my body or my voice lulled him calm it made me feel more alive and well then I have ever felt. I do not miss "me" time. I miss the hours I spend away from him. I dread going back to work with a heart breaking ache.

Although my sentences are often half finished, my well planned life is constantly interrupted, and the hours reel one into the next with little sense of day and night and no difference between week day and weekend, nothing else makes me feel this way, nothing else makes me feel so desperately in love, so desperately ALIVE.
I used to wake at 5am to go to the gym, then to work, then to dates with friends or my partner, then to bed. Now I wake at 2, at 5, at 7 to feed my son. Now my favorite part of my day is our afternoon nap. I crave these hours together when I can breathe in his breath next to my cheek, his little heart beating fast next to mine. He is asleep; a smile comes over his face, then a frown. He wakes with urgent cries for food. I feed him and he smiles, his face covered with my milk. He giggles as he gazes right into my eyes. He is totally at peace, totally content, totally loved. I am totally at peace, totally content, totally loved.

And until I first felt his warm, wet, sticky skin, I never was sure I could give up my sense of self centeredness, my need for my own time first, my need for my own needs first. How would I ever give up the long weekend days I spent running, biking, shopping, walking and being alone, the long weekends I spent with my partner? How would I compromise up my work?
And now all at once I don't even need to think about it - it just is all I want, he is all I want.

Becoming a mother has opened me to new places in my heart and to a joy so intense it makes me gasp. Maybe I am not "motherly", but I am a mother in love. --Niko Everett

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Women Helping Women

Becoming a mother was the most powerful and the most terrifying challenge I had ever encountered. Knowing that I was 100% responsible for the well being of this tiny, helpless person was incredibly profound. To connect and recharge, I started meeting other moms at the home of my midwife, once a week in the afternoons. It was such a relief to find other like minded new moms who understood what I was feeling and who were interested in sharing their experiences. Eventually we spun off our own mom's group and we've been together more than 3 years. The ongoing love and support of the families in my group has been so amazing. I did not know how important community would become in raising our child. These Mamas and Papas and kids are now our extended family. We take care of each other in very fundamental and meaningful ways. When I heard about Kiva on NPR, I brought this idea to our moms and everyone was very enthusiastic. We are women helping women. It is so easy for us to relate to women all over the world, working so hard to provide food and shelter and education for their children. Then, when the woman repaid her loan, the money could work again for another woman, and this could go on indefinitely. We could act as examples for our children and our community, modeling the importance of service and giving. When NBC contacted us to do an interview about our lending with Kiva, we wanted to use that momentum to get other people to begin lending. We are getting close to hitting our goal of 100 new lenders for Kiva. It has been so wonderful watching the lines of longitude and latitude that separate us around the globe, simply evaporate. Being active members of our global community is the connection we are all longing for. Serving others IS serving us.

By Brandi Bernazzani

Monday, September 3, 2007

Women in Charge

Brandi Bernazzani, Raissa Williams, Jessica Garcia and Julia Sterling are stars of the Today Show! These three women first met through the Bay Area Homebirth Collective. Three years later, the11 moms in their mom's group are still meeting and making a difference in the world. These mom's signed up with the website, Kiva, which lends mico-loans to needy participants across the global. The money for the loans is given by people like you and me and this mom's group. You can loan as little as $25. AND, it is not a donation, so when you are repaid, you can loan it again if you wish. This is an incredible story about how we all can make a difference.
Here is the link to the Today's Show.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Welcome Baelen!

My, my, I've been on vacation and have fallen off of the blogging band wagon. So much to say, so many babies to welcome. Here's our first.

Welcome to Baelen Welborn Raphaely, born at home on August 12, 2007 after a long and courageous labor. Congratulations to Sarah and Dorth for their hard work and perseverence! Much gratitude to Sue Baelen and Michelle Welborn, the midwives in charge, who were honored with this baby's name. The miracle of birth has the power to create community and connections that are deeper than we can ever guess. Every birth is a wondrous event and we are lucky to be called to be present.
Sue Baelen and Michelle Welborn with Baelen Welborn Raphaely