Monday, September 28, 2009

Homebirth in Ohio

The following is an open letter to the birth community from a family in Ohio who is being prosecuted for having a healthy child born at home. This is a case which I have been following and will continue to follow. It is of serious import and for that reason I am publishing the letter as is, with no further commentary nor addendum.

One note: it is the family's wish that help be sent to them, but NOT TO HAVE ANY MASS ORGANIZING. This is to preserve the hope that the prosecutor may drop charges against the family if the office is NOT deluged with angry, outraged letters.

Let us all do something to help this family to keep body and soul together....

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As many of you may know, we had our pre-trial hearing this morning. We were hoping once the lawyers got a chance to hash things out, the charges would be dismissed. That was not the case. The prosecutor offered us a plea-bargain for the charge of disorderly conduct, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. As much as my husband and I would love to close this horrible chapter of our lives and put it behind us, we didn't take the plea. First of all, we are not guilty of anything, and don't want a guilty plea following us around for the rest of our lives. Second of all, we felt that a guilty plea would validate the charges against us. Also, I thought that a guilty plea would give the impression that homebirth is wrong, and possibly open the door for other families to be prosecuted.

Right now, we don't have a trial date, and there is still a possibility that the charges could be dropped before going to trial. I want to consult further with my lawyer before involving the media, or unleashing a firestorm of letters and calls to the prosecutor. I just wanted to update everybody with what's going on and let everybody know what they can do to help.

This is always the hard part for me, as I'm not comfortable asking for things, but so many people keep asking how they can help, and we do need help, so I'm learning a lesson in humility. Obviously this is affecting us financially since we are a single income family, and my husband's hours at work have been reduced indefinitely. So far this whole fiasco has cost us $6427 in legal and medical bills. To pay our attorney, we took a $4000 cash advance on a credit card (at 20% interest). We have already raised quite a bit through fundraisers and individual donations, and we are grateful to everybody who has helped us so far. Paypal donations can be made to . You can also e-mail any questions to that address.

I know some people may be hesitant about sending cash, and I completely understand. Anything that saves us money on things we regularly have to buy would help too. Gift cards for groceries, gas, restaurants, clothes, etc are definitely welcomed. Also we definitely won't turn down local people who feel like dropping by with a pizza, bucket of chicken or a bag of your kids' old clothes!

There are also plenty of ways to help that are FREE!
-Send us your prayers and positive thoughts!
-Help out with a fundraiser.
- Be supportive of other families who make choices that may seem out of the ordinary to you.

I started a Facebook group page as a means to keep everybody updated.

Please feel free to repost this message on Facebook, e-mail or any forums where it will enlist more supporters for our cause. Please do not alter the message in any way, except to remove anything that may be a violation of the TOS of the site you post it (namely fundraising info).

It's time for us to stand up for our rights as women, parents and law abiding citizens who don't want the government trampling on our rights to live and raise our families as we choose! If they succeed with prosecuting us, it won't stop there.

Good manners are good sense

As a trident doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide/women's issue advocate, I am deeply involved in the education of children.

From good interpersonal relations to spotless dining technique, manners are the best way to get along with others, show respect even affection and establish yourself and your place in the world with confidence and elan.

From an early age, teaching children manners is an important goal of parents. Even very young toddlers can say "Please" and "thank you". Young toddlers can also help out around the house, setting the table and helping to sort laundry. Constant reminders and daily demonstration of the target behaviours are essential for success.

As children grow older, they become more independent. This is the time to emphasize that manners are something that define you. Beyond the basics, tweens and teens should be able to politely answer the telephone and take accurate messages, make and accept introductions, have adequate table manners, speak in complete sentences and make some small talk, think of the feelings of others, etc.

Once children hit high school and college, all of these skills will come to the fore. Interviews, college tours, debate clubs, etc will put to the test how well children have been taught-and how much they have absorbed. One important aspect that distinguishes the polite and the polished from the gauche and garish is experience. Manners must be practiced and practiced often to become an effective and effortless part of a child's repertoire.

Even in adulthood, the same holds true. One may pay thousands to learn queenly manners, but if never used, it is a princely sum wasted. Taking children to a variety of settings in which to practice their manners is to give them a solid foundation for their future.


Creating a Homework Nook for your Child

The success of a homework nook takes into account the child's learning and comfort style and the amount of room needed to complete assignments. A homework nook is the child's place to do homework, work on projects, etc. It is very important to have all materials needed to complete assignments as well as the opportunity to interact with your child during homework time that render a homework nook successful.

Here are a few suggestions for creating and maintaining a quality homework nook:

1. Adequate space for both books(even one book at a time) and homework paper, pencils, pens, rulers.

2. Adequate space around the computer.

3. Good lighting.

4. Some children need complete quiet to concentrate, while others need to have the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

5. Music should be of the classical variety. No words and melodic. A soft volume is best. Again, this does not work with every child. Some children need complete quiet.

6. The television should NOT be on, nor even in the same room with the child, if at all possible.

7. There should be easy access to the room, to ensure that the child is on-task and not distracted, as well as to provide for easy communication with adults.

8. As with bedtime, there should be a homework routine established from the start: home, change clothes, snack, wash hands, begin homework, for example. It should be adhered to even if there is a sitter.

9. The homework nook should have a good air supply, or let the the child take a 2-5 minute air break between subjects.

10. The homework nook should be as inviting as possible, and be adequately stocked. Soft cushioned chairs, organizational materials, and a sense of purpose will lend the homework nook the proper air of both invitation and study that is required.

Homework nooks are good ways to get children as young as first grade into proper work habits and postures. By creating a homework nook together with your child, you are both assured that the school year will get off to a great start!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sorry, I just cannot countenance that...

I am a mother who has attended playdate with mothers who imbibe, with a pitcher of martinis, a pitcher of sangria, coolers of beer, and so forth.

Recently, I was asked to comment on my feelings for this practice. At first, the only thing I could say definitely was that I am not in favour of this practice. There are many lovely venues when such spirits would be welcome, but not at a playdate.

I am a doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide and women's issue advocate. I am a mother of two, so I can well understand the need to get a lift, or to get away from it all, or to just take a break.

However, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of adults being around children and drinking. The adults are the caretakers, the ones to ensure safety, stability and fairness. One reason that I am uncomfortable is that we all need to be responsible for our own children and their safety. If something happens, having to state that alcohol was involved is not good for anyone involved. It is no good to say to me that "So-and-So will be the designated mom who won't drink." That is no solution; that is simply finding a scapegoat.

Second, I feel that if one needs to have a glass of wine, or a mojito, that is best done in the company of adults. Many times the children want to drink the same thing as mommy, or the children are ostensibly unaware of what is going on, but influence is a subtle and tricky thing. Moreover, the point is, to enjoy adult spirits in the company of adults is one thing. To mix children and alcohol is not a good thing. Period. Full stop.

Third, and very serious for me, is the fact that I am not comfortable with the fact that adults are inebriated around children. Everyone "holds" their liquor differently; I am not conversant with everyone's style. Hence, the nice mother may have a couple of martinis and become an "ugly drunk". Factor in tiredness, dieting practices, stress, and weather and the same lady who could polish off one or two drinks with no problem will become loud and boisterous.

Fourth. I am not a prude. I was raised in a house where wine was served with dinner, and the children had a very watered down sip. The difference between that experience and "mommytails" is that I notice that where drinking united the family and complemented the experience of communal dining, "mommytails" is an exclusionary activity where mothers do their thing and children do another. In my experience, it is an expression of the desire to flee from the responsibility of motherhood.

In conclusion, I must add that I do believe in small medicinal sips of stimulants on occasion, and the glass of wine, as the Bible says, "to gladden the heart". I do not believe in a pitcher of martinis with children around.

So, there is my answer. As San Jose's Community Doula, I never shirk the issues, and when I am asked a question I have to give a straight answer.

So, until the next issue arises:


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Snapshot! Business advice for Doulas!

My top 5 tips for networking are:

1. Think pink! Be up, be excited, be positive.

2. Practice your pitch in front of the mirror. Practice everything, including your laugh. Practice with your game day outfit on.

3. Practice your approach. Moderate pace, firm handshake, saying your name in a slightly elevated, calm, articulated way. "John Smith" should be John(pause) Smith.

4. Rehearse the encounter, and think about all the possible questions that could occur. Prepare answers accordingly.

5. Layout all materials the night before: clothes, shoes, an executive padfolio, business card case stocked with clean cards, breath spray and breath mints.....

Green Blessings,

Doula Angelita

Sunday, September 13, 2009


A red tent..mothers' voices...intimacy...truth.

After BOLD New York's hugely successful RED TENT EVENT in 2006, the thinking was: Why not have BOLD RED TENT EVENTS around the world throughout the year?

BOLD, or Birth On Labour Day, is an organization that is devoted to compiling the birth experiences of women and ensuring that each woman has access to the birth she desires with comprehensive maternity care. BOLD'S RED TENT concept is simple: gather women under a red tent to list to mothers' birth stories and then record their stories in film, written word or visual expression as part of the BOLD LIBRARY OF BIRTH TRUTHS.

A BOLD RED TENT EVENT is an excellent opportunity for women throughout the world to be BOLD anytime of the year, and to showcase your community's local birth stories.

I am so proud to announce that we here in California are so fortunate to have been chosen to host a BOLD RED TENT EVENT!

On 18 OCTOBER 2009, in La Jolla, California, there will be a BOLD RED TENT EVENT! This is the perfect time to come, meet with your fellow birth professionals, show your wares, put a name with a face, have fun, do yoga, learn short, to mingle and comingle with the tribe of sisters who are celebrating birth in all its mysteries, glories, pains and joys!

Ms. Stephanie Entin is organizer/hostess of the event, and both she and I would love to have you-especially if you want a table to showcase your baby-related items!

Contact: Ms. Stephanie Entin, 310. 985.9985

On a personal note, I would really like to have a spectacular showing of birth professional from all over the Golden State! I will be there, so I urge you to look over your October calendar and to put a big RED CIRCLE around the 18th for California's BOLD RED TENT EVENT!

Greenest of blessings to you all for a wonderful week!


The recent answer to "Who Am I?"

I am a trident doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide/women's issue advocate firmly committed to helping women wherever they are along the childbearing continuum. I pride myself on being San Jose's Community Doula! and love to offer all my knowledge and expertise to them, and love working with other birth professionals to help women blossom into the mothers they secretly want to be.

Born to a Caribbean family of healers and women's advocates, I have found my path and vocation as a doula. I am also studying to be a midwife; have EMT training and nurse assistant experience, constantly learn/lecture/write about birth and have a wonderful time being both wife and mother in beautiful sunny San Jose!


Friday, September 11, 2009

...And this is what I do.

The telephone rings in the middle of the night. I answer, thinking that it might be a client. It was; she was a new mother who was at the breaking point. I listened as she poured out her troubles in between sobs: she had picked a fight with her husband, the baby was screaming, but she could produce no milk, she hadn't showered in a week, she couldn't remember the last time that she ate, and her mother-in-law was "too busy" to help her.

I told her to drink some mother's milk tea, go wash her face, sit down and hold the baby calmly. I waited on the phone while she did this. Eventually, the baby calmed down and that took some of the edge off. She calmed down enough to agree to try to sleep. I told her I would be over to her house in the morning by 10A.

In the morning, I showed up to her house with care plan in hand. One, she needed to hire Dana's Housekeeping. Next, she needed to follow up with her midwife at Kaiser Permanente in San Jose. After that, I would pick up her prenatal prescription from Senter Pharmacy(she had neglected to take her prenatal postpartum). Then, a call would be put into Stephanie, one of the local La Leche League counselors in San Jose, to get both her and the baby connected to other mothers. Lastly, I said that I would contact my good friend Maureen of Birth, Babies and Beyond to see if she could tag team this client with me, ensuring that she was able to get the proper rest, nourishment and bonding time that was sorely missing from her life.

Also, I asked her permission and received it to give her the number to the Almaden Institute, so that she and her husband could get some help before a real rift ensued. She was so grateful: I held her baby while she drank tea, and ate breakfast for the first time in a week! While I was there, she took a shower, washed her hair, picked up in the living room, threw laundry into the machine, and fell asleep, exhausted, on the sofa.

This is what I do; this is how I help women every day-and I love it, San Jose!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome to My Blog!

As many of you know, I am a doula/parenting coach/nutrition guide/women's issue advocate. I also Twitter, blog, teach, read, speak on, and attend births.

I consider myself to be a student of birth and the wonder of creation. My aspiration include becoming a familiar voice/face of birth, a living resource that enables women to, as my business motto states, "BE INFORMED. BE CONFIDENT. BE EMPOWERED. BIRTH INTO MOTHERHOOD WITH DOULA ANGELITA!"

Enough of me, though.

The focus of this blog is on the women in the communities, the women who often have questions and are wondering where to go for answers.

This blog is intended as a resource for all those who are involved in birth: mothers, doulas, midwives, doctors, physical therapists, etc.

Anyone can twitter me a question or post it on the blog and I will answer it.

This blog is also for those women who may think that their health care provider is great...because they do not know any differently.

This blog is for those who wonder if they should change providers during pregnancy, those who want a homebirth, those who want a total medicalized birth, those who breastfeed and those who formula feed....and for all mother in between.

In other words, dear readers, this blog is for YOU, the future mothers, the current mothers, the struggling parents,...wherever you are, whatever you do, this blog is for you.

Thank you for reading: Greenest of Blessings to you!