Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Monday, June 22, 2009

Best Blog Listing

While not quite the New York Times Best Seller List, for now it's close enough. The Laborpayne Epistles made the 100 Best Health Blogs for Soon to be Mothers.

Journey to the Holy Land

I spent a hot, muggy, but glorious weekend with Morningstar on the Holy Land in the company of about 20 other amazing women at the Summer Solstice Celebration. We had long discussions around the fire circle about when and how to say no, mothering young children, and taking ourselves out of our comfort zone. We had drumming and visioning sessions in the newly raised tipi. We pitched tents, gathered clay from the creek, fashioned talking sticks, and feasted on vegan foods as the children ran naked through a chigger infested meadow. It was as close to heaven as life gets. I received some great insights about honesty and knowing my own desires. I got to spend quality time with other women on a similar journey to my own, something I relish.

So now I'm back here in my daily life, preparing to be honest, and say no to some previous requests that before I would have just done- resentfully. I also hauled my ass out of bed and went to the gym this morning, knowing if there is going to be change in my life, I have to put in the work to make it happen. As for taking myself out of my comfort zone- I've done that too. I signed up for a 10 week figure drawing class. All the while remaining mindful of the things that block my productivity like fear, anxiety, and anger.

(I sure as hell better turn out to be one terrific person after all this.)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Preview Victoria Moran's new book, Living a Charmed Life. This is delicious reading- enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Coming Out of the Closet

No, not that closet! I feel it is time to 'come out' about my other blog. I have been hesitant to do so because it is rather personal. (I know you're thinking what could be more personal than birth, breastfeeding, and buying panties?) I started "Big Girl, Big Life" about six months ago, and have been writing on it sporadically, but now that I'm comfortable with it, I'm ready to let others know about it, in case some might find it helpful. It's all about my lifestyle modification/vegetarian/weight loss journey. I guess I thought once I talked about it- I'd actually have to lose some weight! If you want to check it out, find it at

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rituals and Rites of Passage

Still a little weirded out: my past week consisted of a vacation shortened by the death of a much beloved cousin. We returned home early for the funeral, followed the next day by the wedding of yet another cousin. Both events have made me want to spend more time with my extended family (80% of whom live in the same city as I do). Next week I have to deliver lectures on male and female sexuality, spiritual care and cultural care in nursing- hefty topics all. All these events have got me thinking about the significance of birth and death rituals (and those in between, like marriage). Since I teach on the subject, I've observed that all cultures have their own unique birth, marriage, and death rituals. (Black funerals are so very different than white funerals!) I've long been a proponent of celebrations and rituals (I throw myself a birthday party every year) and this coming weekend I head off to the Holy Land for a summer solstice celebration with Sister Morningstar. She is the queen of ritual creation (she actually creates rituals as part of her services at her retreat center.) Attending a funeral and wedding consecutively made me think about the impact of rituals, how they solidify memory, ease the pain of loss, encourage hope for the future, lighten the mood, and comfort the soul. Morningstar created a cleansing ritual for me at my request when I was pregnant in preparation for my 6th homebirth. I routinely encourage women I know to create rituals to acknowledge miscarriages, to celebrate friendships, to encourage fertility, to celebrate new love, to mourn love lost, to honor one's own self- rituals are appropriate for any occasion we think is worth marking. Rituals can be private or public. I have a small private ritual during my daily quiet time. I sit in Cielo Pequeno (small heaven- as I call my backyard garden) and read my inspirational text, sip a cup of hibiscus tea (my current favorite), light a scented candle, listen to the songbirds of early morning (I'm usually in the garden by 5:30 am) and do a little meditation of gratitude for what the day will bring. I encourage you Dear Readers, to create your own rituals, be they celebratory, commemorative, or rememorative, or restorative. Our lives and the people we share them with are worth celebrating. Sometimes we have a private ritual that we don't even know we are creating like my friend Rebecca did shopping for her 'power panties' (see Bye Bye Birdie). She may have unwittingly established a new divorce ritual! At the end of every OB course I teach, I give my students a luncheon and a Blessing of Hands ritual, a service happily provided by a local holy woman. She prays for the sick and dying in hospitals routinely as a part of her ministry and knows the importance of having nurses who understand that they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Even my boss and other instructors rush down after the luncheon to get their hands blessed again at the end of every quarter! The last time, I watched as the only guy in the class, who had sternly resisted 'all things girly' during the OB rotation, waited nervously for the blessing of hands to begin. (I wasn't sure why he was so jittery- I always emphasize that the blessing is completely voluntary- many students do abstain, and it is only done once grades are posted- I don't want them to participate just to please me.) As the holy woman took his hands in her, rubbing them with the 'blessed oil' she keeps tucked in her purse, I watched in amazement as tears rolled down his cheeks and she pronounced her blessing and her 'inspired word of prophesy' upon the freshly anointed nurse. I can only imagine what that moment meant to him. I mark the occasion this way because I want them to remember it- and what it means in their own lives. So now Beloved, share with us all what rituals mark the passage of your days.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bye Bye Birdie

This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from my friend Rebecca. She sent it as an email and I begged her to let me post it because I knew others would enjoy and relate to this sweet little essay on the nature of change and female empowerment.

Yesterday I went to Birdies, a low-key, unusually small, upscale lingerie store. I had never been before. I had been saving up for 3 months at $10 per week. I entered the store and was so nervous I was trembling. I had to shake my head at myself. Grown-ass woman of nearly 50 years should be able to buy herself some panties without being nervous.

It was the sight of all that lace, bows and see through stuff. It made me want to run. I can't wear that stuff- I am "Fruit of the Loom"- basic, clean easy lines, cotton, cheap! I had e-mailed the gals of Birdies ahead of time and said I wanted some POWER panties, not to please a guy but to please me. Something to tell me... I am worth a nice pair of panties- maybe with a bow or something that will force me a bit out of my comfort zone. After the slow death of my 21 year relationship to a really good guy, I was finally in the last phase of the mourning process - acceptance. I was ready to begin the next phase and going to Birdies was a big step.

They found the perfect pair of basic “Elle Macpherson” panties with just the right amount of girli-ness to balance the strength of its basic-ness. They had me try them on over my own undies. I really liked them but seriously... trying on panties and looking in the three-way mirror seems a bit extreme!

Of course, the sales gals went gahgah and asked me to try on a gazillion items, each just a little more girlie or sensual but never in my perceived “nasty” range. They were working hard to find me a comfort zone. They were full of compliments as they must make those sales but also because some were truly deserved! I looked like a voluptuously curvy 50s pin-up in some of those apparel! Panties, bras, swimming suits, a soft little dress that I adored but couldn’t afford. It was really fun! A fun hour just for me.

Behind the closed door of the dressing room, I looked at the prices and everything was out of my price range so I stuck to my original plan and budget. I was happy but wanted to think overnight on the bra at $70. I had a fun hour extending myself to become someone I wasn't but reality awaited. Reality, reality, reality... and then bam. I started crying right there in that stupid dressing room surrounded by all these pretty little panties and bras and soft clothes. I was crying because I felt pretty and lovely and sensual and like a woman.

I lingered in there so the cheerful gals outside would not notice and I gave way to a reflection of my past and anticipation of my future, a new phase in my life. This was the first step, a big step, right there in Birdies looking at myself, flaws and all, and loving what I saw in that three-way mirror. I felt like a real woman and not that "tom-boy" kind of gal that I really am or thought I was.

And there wasn't one man around and I knew I didn’t need a man to make me feel that way... it was the panties... I had found my POWER panties and they pleased me. Mission accomplished Birdies!

I am going tomorrow for that bra after another visit to the ATM and I am not crying!