Compiled by Nada Khader & Mirra Price
We welcome submissions and photos to include in this new regular feature.
By Ana Anandii Phillips
We are preparing food for 40 to 60 people in two sites, one in Wailuku and one in Lahaina. We prepare vegan food from the Farm to the Table. All the produce is fresh and delicious and of course local. We usually choose a theme such as yesterday we prepared Indian Food; we served delicious Mung Dhal with rice, mixed vegetables, massage kale [recipe for this dish is in this issue] with cabbage and tomatoes and a great fruit salad with papayas, pineapples, star fruit, Apple bananas, strawberries, mangoes and whatever other fruit is in season like rambutans, chicos, blueberries, and there are two bakers that make cakes and cookies for everyone.
On August 15, 2016 Didi Anandarama and Mirra Price were interviewed on Jeff Messer’s progressive talk show on 880 The Revolution radio station in Asheville, North Carolina. Didi discussed the political situation in Syria, which is quite difficult, resulting in many having to flee and become refugees. What began as another Arab Spring uprising against an autocratic ruler has mushroomed into a brutal proxy war that has drawn in regional and world powers. Didi, who is posted in Egypt, spoke from personal experience as she has visited Syria and has seen first-hand the devastation caused by the war there. We discussed Prout and what a Proutistic solution to the crisis might involve.
Community Organizing: White Plains, New York
Nada is director of WESPAC Foundation which is a coalition of community groups working for social change. Check out this article from The Journal News about one of her projects to call for a White Plains police board.
Womansong of Asheville: Cultural Movement
By Mirra Price
Womansong , Asheville’s largest and longest-running women’s community chorus, will celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2017. Directed by Debbie Nordeen with assistant directors Althea Gonzalez and Sarah Rubin, Womansong is a 75-member community chorus that celebrates the unity, diversity, and empowerment of women through musical expression.
In this age of passive sitting behind computers, Womansong has a focus on leading the audience in sing-alongs, which bring audience members and chorus members together through the shared experience of song.
Womansong works to promote social change through the New Start Program, which offers scholarships for women in Western North Carolina to improve their lives through education or training, and it also provides small grants to “fill in the gap” for women in need when other funds are not available.
Home Birthing: New Zealand
Here I am with my two daughters, one of them four years old, the other born the previous night. I had read in Awakening of Women that if you repeat one of your mantras in a particular way during birth, your bleeding won’t be a dangerous level after birth. I was keen to find out more about this practice before the birth of my second child, and was very fortunate that the Women’s Proutist e-mail list I sent my question to, has a member whose acarya was present when Baba gave this particular use of mantra. Our plan was for a water birth at home.
We are very fortunate in New Zealand with our maternity service. Every woman who is a citizen or resident, or whose partner is citizen or resident, is entitled to free maternity care. We can choose any available midwife for our care, and they look after us from when we find out we are pregnant until the baby is six weeks old, visiting us monthly at first, weekly leading up to the birth and daily just after the birth. Some midwives offer home births, as well as at hospitals or birthing centers. The midwifery model is different from the medical model in that it views pregnancy and childbirth as a normal event, rather than an illness. Women who have special circumstances such as a medical condition or complications with their pregnancy also get free obstetric care, but healthy women with a normal pregnancy would have to pay for obstetric care or to have an elective caesarian.
I was never interested in having an elective caesarian, but I hadn’t heard much about home birth. I joined the local homebirth group to find out more, and the more I found out, the more it seemed like the right decision for me. Hormones play such a critical role in birth, and the more comfortable and empowered you feel, the better your hormones will be for birthing. I felt that I would be more comfortable and empowered at home than in hospital.
Homebirth midwives carry some emergency supplies with them, but not pain relief. I found the sacral acupressure points amazing to reduce pain during both births. During Aria’s birth I used the birthing mantra as a focal point, and it really helped me be present and ride the surges. I was very happy with her birth—she was healthy and it never got beyond what I felt I could cope with. For a first birth it was also relatively quick, taking three hours from the start of active labor. After Aria was born, but before the placenta was birthed, there was some bleeding—not a dangerous amount, but the midwife did decide to give me an injection of synthetic oxytocin to prevent further bleeding. Although I felt confident that as I had used the mantra during birth I wouldn’t bleed too much, I decided it was best to go with what my midwife recommended. The usual procedure after the injection is for the midwife to clamp and cut the umbilical cord, and then pull on the cord to help the placenta out. My placenta was a bit unusual and when she pulled, the cord just pulled away from the placenta, so I just had to push it out instead. I found it very difficult to birth the placenta as after having the synthetic oxytocin I had no surges to push with and I had to make a huge effort to get it out. Birthing the baby was much less effort—my body couldn’t help but push. Eventually I did manage to birth the placenta, but that 20 or 30 minutes felt like a long time and it wasn’t very fun for me.
I was determined with my second baby not to have the injection. I chose a midwife who really believed in natural birth and trusted the body to do what it needs to. As well as finding out about using the birthing mantra correctly, I took as many preventative measures as I could which included drinking nettle tea and taking iron supplements to get my iron stores up, taking 10 drops of motherwort tincture just after the baby was born and having shepherd’s purse tincture ready in case I did bleed more than my midwife was happy with. On the baby’s birthing ,day, I had gentle surges all day, but once I suddenly went into active labor it was only half an hour until our baby was born so we didn’t have time to fill the birthing pool. I ended up having her in the shower instead! It was an intense half hour, and it was only when my midwife arrived and started pushing my sacral pressure points to relieve the intensity that I could use the birthing mantra.
I am happy to say that I did achieve my goal of not having the injection—my midwife was happy with the amount of blood loss and I didn’t need to take the shepherd’s purse. The birthing of the placenta was very beautiful too, and very healing from my first experience. I birthed it as I held my newly born daughter in our candlelit lounge with soft kiirtan playing and my husband, midwife and couple of friends with us. My friends hadn’t made it in time for the birth of our daughter so it was lovely for them to be there during the birth of the placenta. As a contrast to the baby’s birth, the placenta was slow and gentle. It was also wonderful to have surges to push with.