Posts tagged ‘pregnancy’

Herbal Medicine Apprenticeship

Herbal Medicine School

Herbal medicine and witchcraft and wild edibles are all things I have always been interested, and never taken enough time to dedicate myself to serious learning. That changed this year and it was a really great change for me. My friend Raven Mack, who writes excellent things and runs haiku competitions, has an equally amazing partner, Suzanna Stone who runs an herbal medicine school, Owlcraft Healing Ways. I met her through him, and took one day class in the fall of 2014. I learned she offered a 9 month herbal medicine apprenticeship course.

After David and I moved to Beaverdam, he knew I’d been considering the herb school. He encouraged me to take the course. Being supported by a partner in a serious undertaking of time and money really meant a lot. I signed up, and have been enrolled for 8 months so far now. It has created this amazing weekly space in my life that I had not anticipated. Classes are once a week on Wednesdays from 10-3:30. I also do a work trade class once a month to cover part of the fees. Most of the women in the class do the work trade too. Some days this means we help weed the medicine garden. We also helped plant and the later harvest a bountiful crop of milky oats. 3 of us have been working on constructing an outhouse where a composting toilet system is going to be used.

The group of women in the class are a very unique combination, including 2 mormons, 1 lesbian, 1 single waitress who has taken it before, 1 mid twenties communal living yoga person, and 1 homeschooling mama return student too. Most of the women are in their 40’s or older. For all of our varied backgrounds the class has been a very interesting and supportive place. I mention those “labels” that could be applied to the students not to hem them in, or reduce them to a label, but just as a simple way to point out how varied we are. Only about half of the women have had biological kids, but everyone has been incredibly supportive about my pregnancy. I never could have planned to be pregnant while in that space, but it has been a wonderful experience. We start class with song and sage smudging and more songs honoring the directions and mother earth and father sky. The class is held almost exclusively outside. We’ve only been inside on two occasions when the heat was at pretty brutal levels. There is a shaded pavilion class is held on, but we also go on plant walks. Having a day of outside time is really good for my mental health. We also always end with a group song. Every class we drink a different tea blend, and try a different herb for a tea proving. Basically it is a great space that allows for a lot of connection with nature, with women, with intuition, with magic, with meditation, with plants and with peace.

I have learned a TON so far, and feel very inspired herbally. I’m so glad I stopped putting off this part of my life, and so grateful to be supported and to even have the opportunity. I just thought of this, but by huge stepback from activism is really what gave me room to engage in another aspect of my interests, herbal medicine.

The class actually held a surprise Blessing Way ceremony for me one day, which was awesome and amazing. Now that the baby is born, he comes with me to class. I’m looking forward to continuing my herbal education with the Richmond Herbal Guild once class is over.

I’m also hoping to attend the GAIA Herbal Conference this spring in Charlottesville.

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Cu Chulainn Orion Bruce’s birth story

Pregnancy/Labor story 8-27-2016
This totally might be TMI for a lot of people. If you don’t want to hear about the amazing stuff my body is capable of, don’t read it!

A week ago, I didn’t know I had less than 2 hours of labor to go before my baby would enter the world. My labor started early Friday morning August 19th, I woke up to contractions. The contractions were somewhat irregular and didn’t prevent me from doing a few errands, although I felt more tired than I was used to. David, Jewel, and I went to my parent’s house for dinner. My uncle, grandpa, aunt and uncle, and other aunt were all in town. I went swimming and that was nice. Throughout supper I had to keep taking breaks for contractions. We ended up not staying to play cards, because I felt like I needed to be home and was tired. We didn’t get much sleep that night. David was helping me all evening and night to time the contractions so we would know when it was time to call in reinforcements. When they got down to 5 minutes apart, I really couldn’t catch any sleep in between them. We called the midwife Nancy several times, and finally decided that she should come by 4am. We also called my mom to come over as she was planning on assisting with the labor. David and I had both been up since 4am Friday morning, so we were already pretty tired on no sleep. David and my mom started getting the house a little more prepared. My vision of having like done all the dishes and cleaned everything before labor clearly had not happened.

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Best Present Ever, Coming August 2016!

Usually I am pretty decent at both writing and giving presents. This year, not so much with either. I’ve been too busy doing and adjusting to the actions to really express those feelings. I’ve moved to my grandparent’s land in Beaverdam, VA. I’ve really increased my efforts towards running my historic window renovation business, Karnage Creations LLC. I’ve started renting my house in Richmond to another collective, Quercus. I’ve stood by my partner during a nasty, expensive, and stressful custody battle. I’ve taken the time to go to the dentist which I hadn’t done in almost 10 years. I had tubal reversal surgery and couldn’t lift more than 5 pounds for a month during which I moved from my old big house to a new tiny house.  There is way more than that, and I still don’t feel like getting into it all! A lot of good changes, updates, self care, etc. have happened. It has been busy and involved a lot of hard work. But they have been stressful and expensive even when positive. So this year I do not have the money, and haven’t even had the time, to do anything in the way of presents. Instead I have an announcement and these words to share.

For years and years I have watched other people’s children. From younger cousins, to clients, neighbors, and friends who had me watch their kids fulltime, nights, weekends, whenever. I have seen yall raising your children. And I have become jealous of your pregnancy announcements, adorable pictures, and snuggly little people.

I had my tubes tied a long time ago, hoping to adopt and not wanting hormonal birth control or other options. But as hormones got a hold of me, and the realities around unmarried broke people adopting became clear, I decided I wanted to have kids of my own.

Honestly, I think the main thing that made me want to get my tubes untied was watching so many amazing parents I am lucky to know. From the badass single mothers to the couples figuring it out, I am lucky to have been close enough to watch yall have and raise your children. You inspire me, all of you, and have made me want to have a kid or six of my own. I really can not stress enough how much I love an admire the mothers I know. I would seriously list yall, except for fear of leaving one out. Feminists, punks, artists, musicians, dancers, anarchists, travellers, teachers, bakers, herbalists, writers; you have all shown me amazing ways to parent, and how awesome non mainstream kids can be. If I had known all of you in my early 20’s I would not have gotten my tubes tied. Or I still woulda cause I’m a stubborn jerk. But you impress and inspire and encourage me to know  I can do this too.

Of course, for 1,000 different reasons having a baby is a scary thing. One of the major things I worry about is what kind of world my kid will grow up in. Whether it be climate issues, endless war, fascism, racism, sexism, icky capitalism, cell phone zombies etc., I am very much certain that the world is a bit of a shithole.

I’ve done for years and will continue to do ‘activism’. I think a major reason to work on these changes is for our children. I probably won’t reap the benefits of my actions, but I hope the next generation will. It is why I think being nice, helping strangers, having dialogue with those with whom we disagree, not littering, not wasting resources, buying used, showing animals kindness, etc. are vital things we have to incorporate into our daily habits. Beyond that we can organize movements, protests, write and deliver speeches, make art, or however we express a more explicit activism.
I know there are plenty in the punk and activist scenes who think having kids is for sellouts. Cultures need to work harder on making parents welcome, providing childcare and more. Having a kid knowing how shitty this world can be is brave as hell, and I think, is an expression of hope. We need more hope.

2 of my friends recently gave birth. One for her first time, and one for her second. I am super inspired by their bravery, toughness, and how dang cute lil Mira and Silas are!!! I appreciate so much the women who have talked to me about the pregnancies and children.

I reckon I better announce it, for the record. I am pregnant, and expecting some kind of lil squish on or around August 23, 2016.
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