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Pro Contraception, Pro Abortion, Pro baby

Here’s me at the Museum of Contraception & Abortion in Vienna, Austria.  Pictured behind me & to my side are a variety of antique douche devices & methods that were used historically to wash sperm out of the vagina post-coitus in hopes of avoiding pregnancy.

Douching is not an effective method of contraception,

& while I would love to say that the notion is as antiquated as the devices at the museum, unfortunately I have had several women ask me about douching after sex to avoid pregnancy in recent years. These women were college educated & in their late 20s or 30s! Their confusion speaks to the fact that we have a long way to go on the road to universal access to comprehensive sexual education!The Museum of Contraception & Abortion in Vienna exists to further the mission of access to education. I spent over 3 hours in dialogue with the administrators at the museum sharing ideas, resources, & anecdotes. At one point in history abortion was punishable by death in Austria, & though it is now decriminalized it is not well protected legally; existing in a grey area. Contraception & abortion are not provided by the nation’s otherwise awesome socialized healthcare system, likely due to risidual religious conservatism from centuries of a Catholic ruling class. I was told that secrecy, stigma, & shame were the norm around contraception & abortion even in modern Austrian culture.  If you’re interested in learning more about the history of abortion in Austria, check out the documentary “The Long Arm of The Empress”.

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Planned Parenthood: One Eyed King

  • Our bodies are sacred, capable, & beautiful

 

  • The mind, body, & spirit connection deserves reverence & respect

 

  • We can experience embodied joy & personal power through sexual health & fertility

 

  • We have a right to informed consent through understanding the risks & benefits of a myriad of choices

 

  • No thing & no one should ever enter the vagina or womb without complete informed consent

 

>> “consent”:  from the Latin “con” meaning “with” & “sentire” meaning “feeling”.  To me this validates the notion that consent is at its roots an emotional agreement & resonance, not an intellectual understanding or passive permission given.

Image by Miss Led

These statements are the core of my philosophy & the care that I provide.

In my pursuit of living these ideals, I worked with Planned Parenthood for several years.  I volunteered as a youth lobbyist, peer mediator, fund-raiser, & pre-teen sex ed teaching assistant in my home town of Boise, Idaho. I did an administrative internship & was employed as a campus organizer in my late teens & early 20s in Eugene, Oregon. In my early years living in Portland, Oregon I served as a patient advocate at the Southeast clinic, providing basic abortion doula support during surgical procedures.

Over the years as I developed my philosophy & awareness, I came to understand that the institution & political machine of Planned Parenthood did not share or uphold my philosophy. I don’t know if institutions of its size can, but I dream of a world where they do.

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Ecstatic Ovulation Awareness

I was asked to write a “spunky & sassy article about ovulation” for a French student midwifery journal.  Here’s what I delivered:

Ecstatic Ovulation Awareness

I was 20 years old when I first experienced Ecstatic Ovulation Awareness. For over a month I took daily notes of the movement and softness of my cervix and the properties of my cervical secretions. Every morning I took my temperature and entered the data on a line graph I drew in my boyfriend’s gridded notebook. He affectionately called me his “little scientist” and marveled that none of his other lovers had ever had the incredibly practical yet radical skill of knowing when they were fertile.

Late one night, after a month of daily tracking, I felt an immense rush of energy while riding my bike down a tree-lined avenue with my boyfriend and some friends.  

The moon was full.

 

“I’m OVULATING!!!” I shouted.

 

I felt electric and alive.

 

I felt pleasure and power.

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Mother Earth Embodied

I wrote the following post as a guest blogger for Mother Earth News this month:

 

 

While we live our bodies are moving particles of the earth, joined inextricably both to the soil and to the bodies of other living creatures. It is hardly surprising, then, that there should be some profound resemblances between our treatment of our bodies and our treatment of the earth” ~ Wendell Berry

There is immense power in the integrity of my fertility whether or not I desire to create a baby. Being aware of the nuanced phases of my fertility not only helps me avoid,or achieve, conception, it connects me to the rhythmic nature of divine creative energy and the opportunity to thrive in harmony with it.

I experience and respect my cycle as a micro of the macrocosm of all creation.

I know myself to be Mother Earth embodied. The forces of nature whisper Pablo Neruda’s poetry to my ovaries:

“I want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees.”

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DIY Ritual

Ritual is something that creates separation from daily life,

sacred space,

connects with

&

honors Spirit.

The physical tangibility

&

clarity of  intention

inherent to ritual & ceremony can benefit us in many phases of our sexual health.  First menarche, childbirth, abortion, miscarriage, menopause, celebration, & grieving are all occasions for ritual throughout history & in traditional cultures.

Through creating our own rituals we embrace traditions imbued with personal meaning & choice.

The personal meaning is of utmost importance.  Ritual does not have to follow a formula.  The following is simply an outline full of suggestions to inspire or guide you in creating a meaningful DIY ritual. Themes in this guide are commonly used throughout history & presently in Reclaiming Traditions as well as many earth based lineages.

Consult your intuition.

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The Self Evident Cervix

People like to post vagina themed things on my facebook page.

They mean well, but unwittingly these posts often provoke a tirade of dissent from me. What can I say?  I have very strong feelings about vagina themed things. One of these strong feelings is the desire for us to collectively learn what exactly anatomically a vagina is, & is not.

It appears that most people don’t know the difference between a vulva & a vagina.

They are in fact, distinctly different parts of our anatomy. One is readily visible from the outside, & one is decidedly not.

Even body-positive activists who are trying to educate & empower the public are confused about this difference. Here are two prime examples:

1.) This video of women looking at their vulvas for the first time was shared with me more than once by folks who hoped it would make me happy because it seems to promote women’s self knowledge.  While it’s spectacular that the women in the video are overcoming feelings of insecurity & apprehension about their bodies this video doesn’t make me happy.

It makes me angry. Read more →

“A pregnancy is a pregnancy is a pregnancy, & you fucking deserve to be supported”

The title of this post is a quote from a client, colleague, & inspiration of mine, therapist Gillian Callaghan.

She’s describing full spectrum doula care during her interview on the podcast “Mental Illness Happy Hour”. The interview includes discussion of her own miscarriage experience, the value of full spectrum doula care, as well as details of how the healing that came about through our relationship unfolded. There is mention of an abortion she had years prior to her miscarriage as well.  Gillian speaks brilliantly to the fact that our authentic emotional experiences are valid & valuable regardless of how a pregnancy ends, through empowered choice or tragedy,

“…you fucking deserve to be supported.”

I adore this courageous redhead, & am so blessed to have connected with her.

In an interview of my own just a few weeks later on KBOO’s “Bread & Roses” I got to give voice to this radical notion that Read more →

Placenta Love

I just had to tell you….

I love placenta preparation.  placenta love

 

 

Each organ I have handled is a universe of beauty & wonder.

 

Of all the diverse services that I offer to nurture & empower women…

I love how literally & essentially placenta preparation service embodies my mission to give women’s bodies back to themselves as medicine.

I love serving women who recognize the healing power of what their bodies create.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slippery When Wet at Reed College

Before this afternoon, the last time I was on the campus of Reed College was six years ago. I was invited there to enjoy the grand spectacle of Renn Fayre with two alumni, literary lasses Daphne Stanford & Leah Hieber. I was told costumes are encouraged at Renn Fayre so I dressed Daphne up, & enjoyed a layering of multiple tutus myself.  Here’s a picture of me & some mayo from a cart on the sidewalk on Reed’s campus.  One side of the sign said “FREE” & the other “LUBE”.  The bottom sign says “STAY MOIST”: Read more →

Thank you, mama

The other night I sat down to write my blog post discussing “The Womb as a Spirit Door: A Healing Workshop & Ritual for Miscarriage & Abortion”, & uncovered an even deeper story than I had expected.

I was contemplating the ways & the years that I have been sending my voice & love out into the epic void of healing around pregnancy loss & termination. How long have I been wanting to participate in or create something like this upcoming gathering?

O so many years.

Looking back at the road that has led me here, I first see a series of my own actions.  I delight in the memory of my badass initiation into reproductive justice activism: lobbying with the Idaho legislature as a junior high school student on a parental consent bill. Read more →