Artfull Mother Magazine ~ Winter 2015 (Denver)

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Do you recognize any of these beautiful mothers? SarahKate’s henna models: Ashley: cover, pg 5, 16 Amanda: pg 2 & 3, 16 & 17 Liz: pg 4 Ashley: cover, pg 5, 16 Michaela: pg 6 - 9 Aleah: pg 10 & 11 Susan: pg 12 Morgan: back cover, pg 14-15, 46 & 47 Tara: pg 18 Deborah: pg 20 & 21 Gretchen: pg 36 & 37 Kelly: pg 38-43 Katie: pg 44 & 45

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SarahKate Butterworth

(Editor, artist, henna painter, photographer and interviewer)

Table of Contents

Rob Butterworth

(grip, photo lighting, web-guy & chief techie )

Twins: Pregnant & Nursing: Henna Models Designs & Photography, care of: SarahKate see more at www.SarahKateButterworth.com ............ 10

Featured family photographer: Stacey Potter ............. 32

Because Motherhood is not for Wimps: Peachie Moms ............................................................... 19

The Birth of Leora - told by her mother Gretchen ........ 36

Belly Blessings: Deborah McNamara ........................ 20 Mermaid Doula: An Interview with Bonnie Diener.................................. 21 Monet Nichole: Birth Photographer ............................. 28

The Mandala Journey: Amy Haderer .......................... 34

Dusk’s Perfect Moment of Disappearance, a poem: by Deborah McNamara .................................................. 38 Beautiful Prenatal & Postpartum Henna Models Designs & Photography, care of: SarahKate see more at www.SarahKateButterworth.com ............. 40

Community Partners: Hartney Law the mama’hood Childish Things A Mellow Mood Blooming Bellies Nurturing Strategies Dive Into Birth

Swoon Jewelry Studios Doctor at Your Door A Dimple in Time Birth Assistants Barefoot Babies Bamboobies Joy Collective

Hypnobirthing Boulder A Mellow Mood Spa Boulder Medical Center Good Life Acupuncture S. Boulder Chiropractic The Boulder Birth Center Bundle

Baby & Co Intuitive Hands Mountain Midwifery Birds & Bees Teas

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Welcome to Artfull Mother! My name is SarahKate, I am very ex-

cited to share this issue with you. Each season I do my best to share my passion of ‘celebrating motherhood with art!’ We have some great interviews, birth stories, our featured photographer and of course lots of great henna to feast your eyes...

I love motherhood it’s... night & day, 365 days a year, through the seasons. This morning, the sun is coming up, it’s just 16F, I position this beautiful mama, MIchaela, so the sun is just right for the picture and helped her out of her coat... “I feel like a goddess...” To really “see” women, at this special time in their lives and to honor them with art that has deep meaning to them, standing in nature... the season and time for this new one.. I love it. My mission with this magazine is to inspire, support & encourage the women who are birthing and raising a new generation as well as providing the resources, services and care available to you here, right in your own backyard. I am excited to share interesting stories, art and touching, honest photographs of gorgeous local mamas - maybe you’ll recognize one (or will be one)! Wishing you a wonderful winter, 6 SarahKate


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Twins

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Pregnant & Nursing


TWINS! What a blessing! When our daughter Aleah announced her twin pregnancy, she invited us for the birth and we were fortunate to arrive in time to adorn her belly and be there for the birth of our grandsons, 3 days old below. Since then, I’ve become fascinated with twins and seek-out out this rare, extra-large “twin belly ” canvas to henna.

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Two butterflies for the two baby girls inside this belly ~


Morgan has a beautiful daughter and is expecting two more in this image. Each one is represented with a bird.

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Nursing twins is an amazing accomplishment, what devotion and love... Once again the henna design includes 3 birds, one for each daughter. What little sweeties these girls were!

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Our beautiful cover model [Denver], Ashley, nurses her 2 year old girl-boy twins above. Here henna design includes a lot of bees and flowers. On the right Amanda nurses her 2 year old daughters. Her fresh henna design with an ocean theme--- is below. I have a special love for the ocean and got to incorporate many of my favorite creatures into this design. It’s just so amazing to witness this beautiful bond between a mother & her children.

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Tara requested a traditional design, so we looked at my books and found traditional henna shapes and incorporated them into this design. People have been using henna for thousands of years to adorn each other for pregnancy and postaprtum. I don’t know if there ever was henna for breastfeeding but I think it looks beautiful and it honors the mothers who do this. Yay twins!

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Because Motherhood is not for Wimps

Can we take a moment to just ac-

knowledge how tough we mothers are? Between handling bodily fluids all day long and the strength required in your left arm to carry your infant on your hip for hours at a time, motherhood is not for wimps. Today we’re breaking down the duties (not doodies, that comes later) of being a mom and giving you a round of applause for being so strong. Because you are. And we know it.

Moms Possess the Strength of Ten Men

Okay so that may be an exaggeration but, we are far from weak, us mothers. Undoubtedly, one of your arms has tricep definition so cut it could scare a dude-bro or two in the weight room. We know this because we have such muscle definition in our nondominant arm from carrying around an infant all day while simultaneously trying to accomplish anything and evThe Sights and Smells of Motherhood erything. Because laundry and dishes don’t do themselves just because the We feel like the digestive upset that baby won’t nap! often takes place during pregnancy is a sort of primer for the bodily functions and fluids that come with parenthood. From poop to puke and everything in between, you’ve got to be able to handle cleaning it up while simultaneously caring for the human being from which it spewed forth. Tough job. Somebody’s got to do it though, right?

Because motherhood is not for wimps… The Mental Anguish of Being a Mom There’s no doubt that being a mom is physically challenging. Our bone structure changes, our internal organs play musical chairs, and many of us sustain the life of another human being through our own magical nutritional supplement that comes from our bosom. Aside from the physical nonwimpiness that we as mothers possess, there’s a certain mental fortitude that comes with motherhood. You have the

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power to create life and, as with many, with this power comes great responsibility. Namely, to keep this human you made alive and well for as long as possible.

Peach, you can’t be everything for everyone else…without being there for yourself too. And, let’s be real here, there’s no one in this world who can take care of you as well as you can.

For many moms, the desire to meet your child’s needs often supersedes your own self-care. There are, of course, times when the baby’s needs simply must come before our own but, we caution mothers regularly that if this pattern becomes a longterm habit, it’s a mighty hard one to break. Mothers become accustomed to putting everyone else’s needs before their own to the point that they can no longer identify what it is that they need or want out of life!

Please take just a second out of your busy day to think about ways in which you can keep yourself well taken care of to maintain this non-wimp status (because, let’s face it, what choice do you have?). Consider incorporating some new self-care moves into your routine. Perhaps getting back in touch with those wants and needs you had before kids? Or maybe finding something new and exciting to try, like knitting costumes for your cat!

Because motherhood is not for wimps, we know you can survive (and even thrive) despite this. Take a moment to give yourself some kudos for being a strong, powerful woman – a mother who juggles it all. No, really, take a bow because we think you’re pretty amazing! Now that we’ve established how very strong and capable you are, it’s time to sit down and really talk. Mama, we have some concerns. Because, dear

What, just us? Ask for help! Did you know that asking for help is actually a sign of strength and not weakness? Embrace your non-wimpiousity and find your motherhood tribe! Be it your partner, extended family, a group of mom friends, an online community, or even a combination of each, just ask. With good self-care and support, you can be the Super Mom you already are…but even stronger (and feeling

way better too, trust us!) Peachie Moms is a new project started by two body love bloggers out of Aurora and Arvada, Colorado. Amanda Edwards is a child and family therapist and Jen McLellan is a childbirth educator. Together, they are working to make motherhood both sweeter and easier to manage, providing dynamic mental health and body love resources for moms. Peachie Moms also offers an exclusive online community and in-person live events. “What we do is tackle the mental health issues of motherhood that society often tiptoes around. We have a deep desire to help you release the guilt that often comes with motherhood and start practicing intuitive self-care (don’t worry, we’ll dive into what that really means in upcoming articles, videos and tutorials). Our goal is to provide you with real coping skills and strategies including resources just for moms as well as an exclusive online community akin to your bestie.” Stop by their website, www.peachiemoms.com, and social media outlets to start sweetening even the pits of motherhood.

Deborah’s henna design with an owl in the Tree of LIfe. 20


Belly Blessings For thousands of years henna has been used by women to bless other women in honor of transitions, celebrations and thresholds. In Morocco, Berber women have been using henna for over 8,000 years. In India, women have used henna to adorn their bodies for marriage for over 3,000 years. When I was living in Mali, West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer, girls and women blessed each other with henna for weddings and celebrations and I was the grateful recipient of many artful designs on my hands and feet. And now, 36 weeks pregnant and 15 years later I’ve been blessed by some of my community of women near and far with the American version of women blessing women for pregnancy: adorning one another with art in a culture where we can proudly show our bellies…

There is something so nurturing about the slow, quiet process of blessing a belly with art as a baby grows inside. My henna artist [SarahKate] invited me to come up with an intention for baby that she would weave into the henna as she ‘drew.’ It was a rare and much needed moment of tuning in with this sweet being. Free of multitasking, I reflected on how difficult is has been to create moments of quietly connecting with this baby as so much of my time and energy is devoted to my other two sons and to work and to maintaining a basic order in my home. This was a moment to dip into the subconscious and draw forth the symbols that have accompanied women across time as we prepare for birth: for me it was a Tree that I wanted painted on my belly, and a bird. I needed to be reminded of the Tree of Life, and how for a brief moment my body serves as a similar vessel – home to new life and playing

an integral role in the circle of life’s continuation. There are the roots that remind me of where I’ve come from, both in this lifetime as well as the history of my family. There is the symbolism of the family tree. With the owl I’m reminded of vision, even in times of uncertainty and darkness. She helps me to remember a quiet gracefulness, both when she is perched in the tree as well as when she silently flies. Every time I look at the owl in the tree, I’m reminded that this is my time of quietly waiting for what is to come – and I do well to remember my roots and the ground, even as I know I’m about to take flight into something vastly new and mysterious… ~ Deborah McNamara Follow Deborah’s work and contacct her through her blog: Motherhood as Spiritual Art, www.unravelredword.wordpress.com 21


SK: OH Bonnie! I’m so sorry, that must have been so hard. BS: Thanks, and yes it was hard. … but do you know how sometimes, even the worst things, have their blessings? Birthing my stillborn baby put my heart in this compassionate space; it gave me a depth of understanding for pregnancy, women and for loss, in ways I would not have known otherwise. The unknown and the array of things that can happen to people gave me a really deep sense that there is life after death and that’s been a gift. It is an important part of me now, seeing both sides of life.

Mermaid Doula Hello, Today I am very excited to introduce you all to one of my very favorite people in all of Boulder. She has been a Doula for nearly 20 years, right here in Boulder: Bonnie Diener aka: Slater. Bonnie exudes genuine warmth and enthusiasm; she brings you up to her level just by standing next to her. When I first started this magazine project, I came to Bonnie to show her what I was doing early on, because she knows so many really great people. She also knows the local birth scene and her thumbs-up was a green light, a signal to zoom ahead. I wonder what I would be doing now had she not LOVED it… something else. It’s a perfect summer morning, tucked into one of Boulder’s suburbs, enjoying the cool of Bonnie’s lovely backyard before the heat sets in on the day. One of the first things I notice about her home is the age of the kids; she has step kids in their late teens, older and so much more mature than my 13 & 16 year olds. I notice the easy, comfortable and respectful way Bonnie relates with the 22kids and they with her too, witness-

I finally had my son; he was born in the hospital which is where I felt safest. I even brought my home birth midwife to the hospital for support (to Doula for me). I wanted to have a homebirth, but I was afraid. Physically… I had a retained placenta with my 24 week loss and had to go into the OR…having gone through that loss, I just felt safest in the hospital.

ing what I am working to create in our About the time my son was born, home with younger kids. I met a woman through a hospice I guess I am lost in thoughts as Bonnie, group we both attended. She also lost walks up from behind me, saying: a young child. As we were talking, “As a little little kid I always gravitated I told her about my birth and how towards babies and so by the time I was I ended up bringing my homebirth 10 I was babysitting; if knew there was midwife to the hospital for support a baby at a house in my neighborhood, and care. As it turned out my new I would put a flier on their door. I re- friend’s job was to do just that, care ally loved being around babies. From for pregnant and birthing women, an early age I knew I would work with she said she was a ‘Birth Assistant’. women and children in some way; at At that time the term “Doula” wasn’t one point I thought I might work at around yet. In fact, it wasn’t really a planned parenthood or something like career… yet, there she was; a Birth that. As it turns out, my full time gig Assistant. has been ‘Birth Doula’ since my first As soon as I could, I signed up training nearly 20 years ago I’ve attend- to take this training, with woman ed nearly 600 births! named Alice Jackson.

SK: You had your own kids during this I completed the Birth Assistant traintime, was that a surprise or a natural, ing in 1996 and I became an ‘official’ intended kind of thing? BA, and that’s why our group is called BD: I knew I would have my kids Birth Assistants of Boulder. We young, my love for children made it al- talked about “updating” the name most hard not to have them! I had two to Birth Doulas of Boulder but we miscarriages- one at 12 weeks, another haven’t…. Birth Assistants of Boulat 24 weeks before I had my son when der formed in 1992, I joined in 1996 and I’ve been a member ever since. I was 21.


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It is the perfect job for me.

getting eye contact, is everyone feeling emotionally, blending it all together so SK: That’s nearly 20 years! Oh my, You part of the process,and often I am help she remains calm and feels loved and supported by her partner and feels safe must have s o m e h i s t o r y with dads, help the moms birthing in Boulder! SK: So Bonnie, what does being a in the birthing space, as a doula, it can be very artistic. BD: Yea, I guess I do, that’s why so Birth Doula mean to you? I think if many people know me! So, I moved to I ask 10 Doula’s that question, I would Rearranging the space so that it’s Boulder when I was 10, I had my son at get 10 different answers… but I really beautiful, watching the sun go down 21 and then became doula.. yeah, I’ve want to hear what you keeps you inter- and bringing out battery lit candles, ested all this time. bringing out aromatherapy, changing been a birth doula for 20 years. the music, changing the energy of the SK: In a general way, what does a Birth BD: Attending a birth is in a lot of ways room, creating with the staff a quiet an artform for me, helping a woman Doula do for a birth? to turn a baby, from a posterior posi- team, creating a safe sacred space, all BD: Birth Doulas provide physical tion during her labor, helping a labor- of that is an art form. I love that. and emotional support, moment by ing woman, keep up with constantly I get to play with a lot of my clients unmoment throughout the labor process. changing breathing exercises as her derwater for maternity pre-birth phoI am always watching the mama and labor progresses, that, for me, is an art tographs, that allows me to get to know her on a deeper level, allows us to comher partner, in ways that are support- form. ing the fastest smoothest birth for her, There is a real need for ”physical un- municate and trust. Another thing I without fighting it or tensing up? Is derstanding” in the birth room, cou- do before labor is show the mother her partner well hydrated, is her part- pled with the woman’s emotional pro- & partner how to use their home and ner understanding the process, is he cess I support them physically and their own furniture so they can experi-

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ence early labor comfortably. Together we go around their home, we arrange pillows and ottomans and birth balls and bedding. I show them positions which will support her labor, before they even need to go to the hospital. Our prenatal visit is creative, we choose and practice breathing exercises, which is to help her stay calm and give them something to do, as labor progresses. Having a few little tricks and tools under their belt, maybe they didn’t get enough of in class.

want and I am there for them, when they need help. That’s most important to me, I want each family to have their best experience and from family to family, what’s right is always different. One woman might want an epidural in the parking lot and another momma might want to come in pushing! Every family is unique, it’s part of what has kept me interested and engaged for so long. Each family I meet is new, I learn about their history with birthing, with pain, it keeps me excited to work with SK: Bonnie, this all sounds so support- the next family. ing, where you’re giving them control Sometimes, when a woman is really over their situation, giving them tools in labor, deep in the throes of it, men and knowledge to make the choices often want to know, “Is this normal?” for themselves, creating a space where I tell him, “yes, it is” then he’ll ask, things aren’t forced on them. “is she going to go back to normal?” BD: My goal is for each woman to which isn’t as strange a question as it have her best birth. Where ever she sounds, women in labor go into their chooses to give birth, to have an epi- primal brain. She’s on the ground in dural or no epidural, a vbac or another labor, on her hands and knees, moanscheduled c section, I feel like every ing, doing things she doesn’t normally family needs to be informed, then they do, so he is really asking the deep quesare best able to figure out what classes tion - so what do I do? I show him they need and what information they how to help her. So by physically and

emotionally, making sure they understand the process, they are informed, especially about any interventions, if they are needed. When their questions are answered, they give their informed consent, people tend to look back and see their experience as (mostly) positive. SK: That’s very important, I have girl friends who look back on their birth with some pain, even years later. BD: Informed consent is incredibly important. So is processing unexcpeted outcomes or events. We have a lot of amazing psychotherapists in Boulder if someone is struggling pre or post delivery. Ideally when a family gets home, they are proud of themselves, they are proud of their baby and proud of each other, that they are proud of their own participation. So I really love to help Dads participate maybe more than they would have. By the time they get home, they are just proud of themselves as a family they forget about all their care providers and they forget about their doula 25 un-


til they have another baby! All of that medicine”. joy, is on them. I often share this story, with my maSK: That is a powerful gift to leave a ma’s, if they are afraid, faced with “a pifamily with. tocin drip” they don’t really ‘want’, yet, I’ve also have had women, on that understanding, they’ve exhausted evsame note, who called their own ce- ery other option and this is what is gosarean, they said “I understand and I ing to happen next. I share the story know my body, this baby is not com- of that monk, and ask them to accept ing out and I don’t need everyone to the pitocin or whatever intervention is be whispering about it , we’ve done ev- there to help, for them to imagine it as erything we can.” When I have a cli- ‘golden medicine’ as it goes into their ent that knows she did everything she IV, often can they stop being afraid of could… naturally, before an interven- it and take it into their body as a healtion comes, being able to embrace the ing gift.

intervention as help and not harm is so I know I sound like such a hippy! In important. that moment, it is really appropriate. Most of my clients, are birthing in the So I tell women this story: hospital. I often have to help them acMaybe you remember a monk who cept an intervention, something they used to walk around Boulder, beating weren’t expecting. a drum? SK: Bonnie that is truly one of the SK: Sure! He walked past our middle most profound and beautiful answers, school a lot! We would hear and see thank you! him out of our windows. That was really serious, profound and BD: The story as I know it, is he lived insightful but serious… so on the up on flagstaff mountain, in a teepee, on lighter side of things, How are you someone’s land, he would walk down- expressing your creativity these days? town banging out peace, on his drum. How do you identify with your Artfull He only ate organic food. As he walked Mother? through Boulder, with his peace on his drum, people would come out of their BD: At home, my family does a lot of homes, with food for him. The food he art, we covered our fireplace with 3000 was given wasn’t always the he would pennies! We have an incredibly artistic choose to eat, instead of refusing it, he family, actually we’re very lucky, we’re learned to bless the food before eating always dabbling in something around it, “I will take this gift and turn it into here.

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I bake Birthing Mama Cakes for blessingways, where you use certain pans for parts of the body, to make arms and legs and hershey kisses for their boobies and sprinkles for pubic hair. I’ve made at least 15 of them, it’s really funny .. I use a cupcake as the baby’s head coming out, and it has a little face. OH! Of course, supporting my clients is my


Bonnie loves babies! Here she is palying with a sweet one that she helped birthin into the world. Art, I express my ‘birthing creativity’, never been able to figure out how you through photographing my clients un- caught the baby’s birth, on the camera derwater and durring their births. but I looked for it, and you did. THe SK: At the birth, how is that possible? momma was so shocked that I got a picture of the baby coming out, I asked How you can you…. her, do you like it? She said “OH I love BD: My clients usually think I took it! I just had no idea how you took too maybe 10 photos their whole labor ex- that picture and held me up!” perience, I usually take more like 110! During the birth the mom & dad have It just depends on what’s happening, no idea I am shooting so much, which I can shoot one handed and I have is good, it’s very important to me not to captured births and still loving on the change what’s happening in the room. mother and without them even realizing the camera is involved. I have Recently, I was visiting with a family shot upside down, backwards, through who birthed with me for the 3rd time, chairs and left handed. My clients are I announced I photographed your often surprised, I actually captured the birth again as, I brought out the pic- birth of their baby, while holding her tures to show. The dad said “I watched hand and rubbing her shoulder, but I you this time, you’re like a ninja! I’ve do.”

Bonnie Diener is birth Doula living and practicing her trade in the greater Boulder area, or where ever she is needed. Bonnie is married and shares responsibility for raising her 2 step kids and her amazing young adults! She is very close to her 600th birth, Bonnie sees no end in sight of her doing her true passion: “caring for new & expectant mothers and supporting them during birth”. Bonnie can be reached by Phone: (303) 550-6290 And by the 2 Websites she is associated with: Birth Assistants of Boulder www.birthassistantsofboulder.com www.barefootbabies.com 27


This beautiful birth took place on a warm summer day at Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Colorado. This family had given birth with the same midwife for their previous two births, and were so eager to welcome their son with her again. Annie labored with such grace and beauty as she worked through each contraction. Just when the waves felt almost too intense to bear‌it was time for her to bring her baby into the world with the strength of her pushes. Capture the big & small moments of your child’s Birthday with

Monet Nicolle: www.monetnicole.com

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When he came out and up onto her chest, time stopped. The look of joy on her face still moves me to this very day.

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Featured Family Photographer: Stacey Potter

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Something fundamental inside of me changed when

I became a mother. Everything became more vivid. It could be intensely beautiful and overwhelmingly insane at the same time. My moment to moment experience had changed. I could see in a way I couldn’t before. My baby seemed to overflow with a richness I could not quite name but had a quality of incredible nowness. I see this quality, still. In each newborn and baby and child I photograph. I see it reflected in their mothers’ eyes as well. They are soaking in that presence and joy with their own eyes and they are changed because of it. So I click the camera in that moment. And there you have it-a photograph that captures that feeling. Anytime the craziness of everyday family life starts to wear on her, she can take a few moments to look at the photo and is immediately drawn into that extraordinary feeling again. Stacey Potter has been a photographer in Boulder, CO since 2008. She is a birth doula as well as a pre/postnatal yoga teacher. She holds a MA in counseling psychology, specializing in early attachment, from Naropa University. To see her full portfolio, go to: www.staceypotterphotography.com

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Amy Haderer resides in Den-

ver, CO with her husband and six children. She graduated with a BFA in Illustration in 2005 and has since applied herself to many different artistic venues. No matter what her passions are, they frequently mix with her 34passion for visual art and she loves

experimenting with new concepts, mediums and ideas. The Mandala Journey started as a way to meditate, process emotions, and prepare for the birth of her third daughter Seren. Doing these pieces daily during her pregnancy helped Amy to have the beautiful, peaceful

home birth she dreamed of. She has been very active in the birth community, serving as a birth doula, leading a breastfeeding support group through La Leche League, and managing a prenatal and postpartum support group for the freestanding Mountain Midwifery Birth Center.


This activism started after she gave birth to her second child in 2008 at the birth center where she had such a wonderful experience, she wanted to be a part of that world forever.

Someday she dreams of becoming an out-of-hospital midwife. Since Lyric’s birth, Amy’s passion for art and birth have converged into forming a henna (mehndi) service

in Denver specializing in pregnancy, dabbling in decorating belly casts, and now the Mandala Journey.

themandalajourney.com

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The Birth of Leora ~ told by her mother Gretchen 5AM - I’m awoken by the need to pee. That’s been the case seven times a night for months now. I’m three days past my due date and storms have been rolling in for the past week, though none inspire true labor. But I’ve been in false labor for days. My first true contraction began immediately after having sat on the toilet for what seemed like forever. When I noticed my mucus plug in the toilet, butterflies rose in my chest, adrenaline erasing my tiredness. I returned to the bedroom and nervously shook David awake.

spraying my back, feeling no shame in the acoustics of my moans in the tiny room. This was the one wall I did not share with neighbors and I was glad for it. My midwife arrived at noon to see me standing in the bathroom, wearing only a special bra designed for labor. I warned her, “Come on in, I’m half naked.” “Is that okay?” she asked. “I hope so! You’re going to be seeing a lot more here pretty soon!” I chuckled. This was when any ounce of modesty I had trickled away.

This time it was real. Intense as my first period, I went to and from the bathroom trying to get comfortable somehow. The contractions came every 10 minutes until the sun rose. Laying in bed, David spooned me and offered his hand to squeeze through the strong ones.

She listened for baby’s heartbeat, took my blood pressure, then brought me to my bedroom to check my dilation. I was five centimeters! David was downstairs inflating the birth pool, and I couldn’t wait to get in. Warm water sounded so lovely. But, it took forever to fill, so I was left moaning in the bathroom as amniotic fluid leaked all over the floor.

David called the midwife while I was on 36all fours in the bathtub, hot water

When the tub was ready, I got in and stayed there until it got uncomfort-

able. David poured water on my low back, which helped with the pain for the time being. The sun went down without me even noticing. Five or so hours passed while I breathed through each new contraction. The room was darkened, Hildegard VonBingen radio played, and David sat by the edge of the tub, holding my hand and speaking encouraging words. Our dog laid in her bed peacefully, even though my moans got louder and quickly turned into screams. Every once in a while, she would stand to check on me and give me a kiss. My dilation wasn’t checked again, so I had no idea how far along I was other than the cues my body was giving me. My body began to shake uncontrollably. I threw up several times. I screamed and pushed away from each contraction and my midwife kept reminding me to use low, guttural tones to move the energy downward. But I didn’t want to be in my pelvis, it was too painful. After a while of nothing


seeming to happen, I decided to reach down and see if I could feel anything. I could feel my baby’s head! This made such a difference and encouraged me. “Am I going to have this baby soon?” I asked helplessly as my midwife sat beside me to check the heartbeat. “I believe you will have this baby,” is all she said. Frustrated, I reminded myself that no one can know when the baby would come, and she didn’t want to give me false expectations. The truth was I would have this baby, that is all anyone knew. Soon, I was transferred with shaking legs to the birthing stool. I hate that stool. Forced into a squat, I wondered how long I could bear to sit like this. David massaged my shoulders; my midwife pulled my wrists downward with each contraction, directing me toward the pain. I hated her the first few times, but soon began to feel how I could help my body push. Feeling my baby moving downward, I was all too aware of the two steps forward, one step back movement babies do. All sense of time was long lost, and I began to wonder if I could continue any longer. A portion of my cervix was blocking my baby’s head, making it difficult for her to be born. My midwife had to push the edge of my cervix aside with each contraction, sitting in an awkward, frog-legged position, belly down on the ground. With each of her pushes, the contractions intensified. While I hated my midwife during these moments, I was able to push

harder.

went by so quickly.

Eventually I began complaining about the stool. My legs shook so much I thought I’d never walk again. I was able to change position, and sit on the toilet upstairs instead. Upon standing, I had one big contraction, then headed slowly upstairs, my midwives and David all around me like a birthing train. It was difficult, but climbing the stairs made me truly aware of how far down my baby had moved.

I always imagined myself bursting into tears at this moment, but I had no energy for that. I hardly knew what was happening. All I knew was that I was finally holding my baby, and that it was over. (The ‘over’ part was a huge misunderstanding.) David looked at me and said “You did it,” and I saw tears in his eyes. “I did?” I said softly. It was three days later that I learned that he got to catch her as she was born. Gretchen Popp is a Boulder area mom who writes about her journey http://thehonestmama.myfreesites.net/

I sat on the toilet for probably an hour, pushing with everything I had. The muggy air and deep squat were just as uncomfortable as the stool. Soon a fan was brought in, and I was offered food and water in-between contractions. I didn’t want to eat, but was getting weaker by the minute. Soon adrenaline kicked in, and I finally felt what a good push was like. I was determined to push as hard as I could now. My midwife finally started saying I was pushing perfectly, and told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head, but it didn’t feel any different from the way it was before. I was so tired, and my midwives could tell I was sick of the toilet and said, “It might be good to move to the bed and try to push there.” I got up, excited to lie down, slowly waddled to the bedroom. I laid on my back, and David held my knees up to my head, I pulled on them hard as I pushed. Within a few pushes, I felt my baby slide out, and suddenly she was on my chest, her squinty eyes looking at me, her slimy body under my hands. Those first moments

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Dusk’s Perfect Moment of Disappearance The Great Mother takes us to the place of Quiet Wordlessness, shows us how to dance in the realm of shadows, moving like a lover in an exquisite Garden. She shows us how to let words dissolve, like wisps of cloud at dusk’s perfect moment of disappearance into night. She beckons us to know (full bodily) the infinite wonder, just beyond the gate of intellect. Travel beyond that place to the realm of the Heart, and find out what it means to Love, not be in conviction, but wonder – heart and body open and breathless, like the orgasm just passed, still lingering in breath and fingertips, giving birth to the next great understanding… Poetry by Deborah McNamara

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Prenatal Henna

Prenatal and postpartum henna traditions go back hundreds if not thousands of years, and originate in North Africa. Traditionally bellies were not painted, hands and feet were. Pregnant women were honored with a feast and henna in their 8th month. Postpartum women were cared for in seculsion for the first 9 days, massaged and hennaed and allowed to deeply bond with their baby. On the 9th day they emerged and were honored in their rise in status to MOTHER. 40


Postpartum Henna

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When I asked Kelly what kind of henna design she wanted to honor her postpartum experience, her birth and her children, she couldn’t think of what that would be and asked her husband, who suggested incorporating the children’s spirit animals - a bear and a dolphin - with lots of stars and flowers. I love the look in this sweet newborn’s eyes.... waving hello.

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Prenatal Henna

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Postpartum Henna

This postpartum henna was created to match the doodle I created for Katie’s preganncy. It traveled up her arm to her breast to also honor her breastfeeding.

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