Popular Posts

Monday, July 30, 2012

Crab-Cherry-Toothpaste-Tasting Forehead

His crab cherry toothpaste- tasting forehead
Is no match
For His Eyes
Have Curling Lashes
Bouncing back Waves... of Love
Sent through my Gaze
Day-dreaming into him

His lips- Voluptuous
Like his African ancestors'
Forced onto my continent in chains.
2012, he speaks-
His boy lips are FREE

"¡Te quiero, Mami!"
He is my son
The curly-haired
Mixed-blooded Indigenous one
Who I bore through my vagina

Conceived doggy-style
Born in Full-squat
He is the Essence of Passion-
Love between a man with dreadlocks
Below his buttocks
and his Indigenous Queen
Now, an Indigenous Mother

As he lays on my shoulder,
Three and a half years old-
STILL in fetal position
I kiss his Crab cherry toothpaste-tasting forehead
Good night
Licking my lips-
so PROUD I made this.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Time to Get a Job!

My husband is his own boss.  Why can't I be his boss?
En la playa con amigos.

Mondays- Beach.
Tuesdays- Park and Vitamin City.
Wednesdays- Play date at Gloria's.
Thursdays- Park, Library.
Fridays- Farmer's Market.

That's the kids. Then, there's the Cafe, my Husband, Womb Wellness clients, Doula clients, my collective of Indigenous healers, my family, friends, blog, a score of internet programs I'm enrolled in, and social networking sites (how'd that make it on this list?).

My husband and I had a "discussion" (I'm trying to use positive language) about how I need to focus on being more productive.  Trying not to take it personally (one of the Four Agreements), I agreed with him, and now find myself wading in a swamp of I-guess-I'm-disorganized-after-all.

Watching Zumba at our Farmer's Market
Sometimes, my husband is right. But he, and- forgive me for generalizing- most men, don't understand that raising children is the hardest work a human being can partake in.  So, yes, your majesty, I'll contribute more money, so you don't have to miss out on fun things, like building a plumbing system of sand, saltwater, and some pvc pipes... Or riding bikes to the farmer's market, and drive-by sampling freshly cut summer fruit.  It's all play, and no work in parenting!

I tell my clients, "Illness comes from excessiveness": too much stress; too little sleep; too much bitterness; not enough water, etc.  Well, I need to let go of the perfect mom fantasy I have going. I can't stay with them 24/7 and not go crazy, I can't let my husband bring in most of the cash, so I can ferment everything, cook from scratch, homeschool, and be super mom.  Most of all, I can't keep ignoring my husband's need to be around his boys.

There comes a time when a strong mujer must take what her husband says and actually value it.  It's a struggle being in a relationship with a man.  It's easier to take my anger out on male privilege instead of look at the bigger picture.  It's tough to ask myself if I smell the stench of  patriarchy in my kitchen- or whether it's my emotional baggage from internalized oppression.

As generations of colonialism plays Jedi mind tricks on me, and I struggle to figure all of this out, I express gratitude.  Thank you, Sherman, for your diligence. Thank you, Panquetzani, for being a skeptic.  Gracias, niños, for loving your parents unconditionally, while we get our act together.  No matter how life changing a "discussion" is, it's nice to remind myself that we both have our children in mind, that I rock, and my Hubbie is pretty okay, too. 

Visit to the Museum, in the kids' area.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Community Breast

Breastfeeding is taboo in this western culture, so nursing someone else's baby is something many of us have never seen.  In some traditional cultures, wet-nursing is demonstrating sisterhood support, communal work, trust, and bonding.  I always wondered how far my solidarity with other women could go.  Last week, I had the chance to test it out.
Kristina, Juan, and Hush Ke Niya minutes after birth

I met Kristina when she appeared on my Compton doorstep, pregnant, traumatized from her last birth, and anxious for support from a doula.  She was seeing a good friend of mine, who didn't expect any of this, so of course, I agreed to help them.  She was an amazing primal birther, who only needed reassurance and a calming, grounded presence.  Kristina and I became friends, and I had the honor of supporting her next, unassisted home birth.

She trusts me, knows my diet, temperament, and energy because we've been in high-intensity settings together.  So, when she nonchalantly said,

"Juan and I are going for a walk, watch the baby, yeah? You can nurse her if she wakes up", I naturally agreed.

As most babies do when their mothers leave the room, Manahuiya woke up.  Aubrey, a close friend soothed and held her until she cried without relief.

"Should I nurse her?", I asked Aubrey hesitantly.

"Well, yeah, Kristina said yeah...".  Aubrey said as she handed over Manahuiya.

Wet-nursing two month old Manahuiya.
I popped out my boob like the pro I am, and she immediately latched! She was ravenous.

"Aha! Now I understand what Kristina was saying about her shallow latch..." I gently said.

During one of my postpartum visits, after a traditional baño, Kristina and I went over suggestions for shallow latch.  Now, I experienced it, and felt more adequate in providing solutions.  I changed breasts, over to my emptier one, and her latch was great!  I admired her tiny little eyes and beautiful new skin.  I felt a veil being lifted from my face, and saw her in a new light.  She stared up at me with loving eyes, and Aubrey and I giggled.  Nursing a newborn without just giving birth made me feel so powerful.  She was light and tiny as I swayed her left to right.

By the time they got back, she was dozing off at the breast, and mom was thrilled.  I think Juan felt a little awkward, but when I asked him, he said:

"Ugh...it's disgusting! Nah, just kidding, it's cool, dude".

We all laughed and agreed that we can take each other's babies when we need a break.  Whether or not we ever do, it's comforting to know that my baby has a breast when he needs one.

Kristina, nursing her newborn, the other little ones, very interested.

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Skin

Drawing of my belly from my womb journal, while pregnant.
My mother was always ashamed of her flat belly full of stretch marks.  She didn't like me to tug at her loose skin, or lift up her shirt in public.  I thought her whole body was perfect: her huge butt and thighs; tiny waist; delicate shoulders and arms; small, saggy breasts; and big poof of black curls.  Believing my body would have the same fate, I surrendered to stretch marks during my first pregnancy. "You better buy cocoa butter!", my mother warned.  "Maaahh...", I'd dismissively utter.  I didn't think they were anything unusual to prevent.

My first son and I, seven months postpartum.
Everyone was shocked when my body quickly shrank back to it's pre-pregnant state without a trace on my belly.  By month three postpartum, I looked like the old Panquetzani again.  My mother would show off my body at the beach or pool, and women would gather around to see for themselves the stretch-mark free Panquetzani.  I never bragged, changed my style of clothing, or felt superior to other mothers who did have stretch marks.  Nevertheless, I was proud that my body recovered sin chiste.

Pregnancy journal entry, after seeing my stripes.
I was so confident that my second pregnancy would be the same.  I put on the usual amount of shea butter, but by my ninth month, beautiful rays of brown broke through my skin.  Stretch marks! Although I wasn't wishing for them, I felt the same way I felt during menarche, my first period.  Kind of scared, happy, and really excited.  How will I feel about these? Will they get worse, or go away? I loved them, and embraced them. I showed people, wrote about it in my womb journal, and meditated on how I really felt about them.  Will I still love these when I'm thin again? When my husband and I make love, will I still feel sexy?

Now, finally at a year postpartum, they have faded, and shrunk into tiny streaks, tracing where my skin reached it's limit. My tight abs and skin are gone. Wow.  Hello, new wrinkly skin. On my left side, where I carried my fetuses, I can see more stretch marks. I remember massaging my babies, seeing them through my skin, and being one with them.  My sons' pulling at my loose skin, lifting up my shirt to see my belly, and gentle petting of my battle scars, reminds me of how I embarrassed my mom.  Thankfully, I have no shame.  I know they look at me with the flawless eyes of love, as I looked at my mother. "Es que me ves con ojos de amor.", my grandmother says.

Like Mexica warrior men exhibited their calves, showing off their battle scars with short mantles, I proudly wear my stretch marks.  Of course, I don't walk around in tiny shirts, or wear my bikini out of context, but they are a part of my new body. I embrace each longitita and stretch mark as a part of the new me. 
My tiny stretch marks being caressed by Akinyemi

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

On Saving the World

It's fun to visualize all of the ways I could change the face of birth, humanity, and my community- if I just had some money.  Midwifery schools, Women's health centers, farms, eco homesteads, and an outdoor area for us to have a fire and temezcal for ceremonies, all haunt my daydreams. 

Enjoy your little snacks while Daddy's around!
These past few births have reminded me of all of the sacrifices I make to attend women in their birthing and postpartum ceremony.  It's takes practice staying present after leaving my family in our cozy bed at 2am, waking my poor little sleeping baby from his nursing slumber, and knowing that my three year old is having a pizza-fries-movie marathon with Papa.  So it's time to get with the program, set prices, and limit the amount of donation births I attend per year.

It breaks my heart to turn women down, but I have to survive, too.  I have to feed my children, buy gas, clean my home, pay bills, dodge creditors, etc.  My hours of research, countless lectures, programs, and workshops I paid for, all should be sustained by my practice as a birth professional.  Although many of my clients have a difficult time paying for anything out of pocket, I swear, that from here on out, I'm only working with families who are conscious consumers of childbirth services, and appreciate the sacrifice it takes one mother to support another.  So here you are, my justification for laying down the law on innocent fetuses and round-bellied women.

Itzix and I, relaxing after a consultation in our home. Thanks, kids, for being patient!