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Apr 4 2013

Interview with Interesting Jews: Rachel Zaslow of Mother Health International

By at 11:35 am

rachel zaslow mother health internationalRachel Zaslow is a midwife and Executive Director of Mother Health International, an NGO that supports high volume midwifery model of care centers in areas of extreme need. We talked with her about MHI, how a rabbi’s daughter ended up delivering babies in Uganda, and how midwifery has impacted her own child-rearing. Below the interview, learn how you can help MHI fund a new ambulance for their Uganda clinic.

1. How did a girl from Brooklyn end up delivering babies in Uganda?

It’s a long and twisty narrative, but the short version is that I was invited to come to Northern Uganda almost seven years ago to volunteer in a government-funded hospital, just as the war was ending. What I witnessed there was devastating. The hospital was functioning at what the WHO estimated to be over 10 times its capacity. Formerly abducted women were turned away in labor or sent to walk home minutes after giving birth, with a great likelihood of bleeding to death on the road home. Because the hospital was so busy, women who were admitted to the labor ward were often treated violently by the staff midwives for not pushing fast enough or failing to bring their own piece of plastic to give birth on. These conditions made for a traumatic and dangerous place to give birth in an area that has been ravaged by war. I founded the birth center in Uganda with a group of 30 traditional midwives and my partner midwife, Olivia Kimball, the next year.   Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 28 2013

I Ate My Placenta & You Can Too

By at 4:24 pm
cooked placenta

Cooked placenta.

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When I was pregnant with my first child I also happened to be nearly half way through earning my graduate degree in Acupuncture. At school, I met a mom in her 40s who asked me which stroller I was planning to buy and if I planned to eat my placenta? One of these questions was not like the other.

While this mom hadn’t eaten her placenta, she wished she had. She told me it would keep my hair shiny and my nails strong. She suggested that after my baby was born I cook up a placenta stew. To which I said, ewwww. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 7 2013

Returning to the Mikveh After Giving Birth

By at 11:55 am

mikveh jewish ritual bathOnce a month when I was kid, I would watch my mother remove her nail polish, gather her small bag, and head out from home in our station wagon after dinner. We always knew where she was going.

Even though the ritual immersion (mikveh) traditional Jewish women do monthly is done at night and is considered a private affair, my brothers and I were pretty nosy, we lived in a small house, and my parents were very open. That and coming home from an appointment with wet hair at 9 or 10 p.m. was certain to elicit questions from little children. She always spoke about this time in the ritual bath so beautifully–the warm waters, the time alone, the space to think and feel whatever she did without the voice of my dad, her co-workers, or her children in her head. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 26 2012

I Loved My Orthodox Jewish Doula

By at 11:11 am

Last week, Julie Satow expressed her disappointing experience with doulas during her first two births. This week, Avital offers a different perspective.

When I was six months pregnant with my son, my husband and I ended up moving to another state. We moved for a variety of reasons, and despite looking forward to our new location, it meant that we were now further away from both sets of parents as well as countless friends.

Our move shook up my plans for a homebirth. We didn’t have a support network in the area built up yet, and I couldn’t imagine we would get there in the three months left before my son was to be born. I wasn’t sure if we could pull one off without one. In retrospect, I had a very uneventful labor and birth that would have been perfectly suited for a homebirth, but ah… hindsight. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 13 2012

Welcome to the World, Romi!

By at 10:00 am

romi newbornIt is with the BIGGEST smiles on our faces that we congratulate Kveller Editor-in-Chief Deborah Kolben on the birth of her second daughter, Romi! Romi was born yesterday, and both mom and baby are doing great.

We haven’t gotten the full birth story yet, but we have been promised it involves James Bond and the Holiday Inn, so you better believe we’re looking forward to that one.

Please join us in sending our sincerest congrats to Deborah and her family on their new beautiful baby girl. Mazel tov!

 

Oct 31 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the NICU

By at 12:00 pm

Five months ago yesterday, my son was born. Yes, it amazes me that time has flown by so fast, but today what is really on my mind is where he was born.

I labored, delivered, and cared for my son in the first days of his life at NYU Hospital. The very same one that was evacuated late on Monday night when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City–hard.

When Benjamin was born (and my daughter Abigail too, for that matter), I knew that the folks at NYU were stellar. They took excellent care of all of us, constantly doing more than I would have expected in order to keep everyone healthy and happy. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 29 2012

News Roundup: Straight Talk About Vaginal Birth Risks, Middle School, and Breaking the Breast Milk Bank

By at 8:39 pm

All the parenting news you probably didn’t have time to read this week.


Here’s a yucky but important topic: vaginal tears that result from vaginal childbirth. Turns out they may be a lot more widespread than most doctors know or admit, and can cause fecal matter through the vagina, flatus incontinence, and pain. Learn more so you can talk about it with your doctor ahead of time. (Motherlode)

Pretty much everyone agrees that middle school is the worst. But no one is really trying to make it better. Now researchers are discovering that helping middle schoolers have a better time predicts whether or not they’ll stay in school, and how successful they’ll be. (Slate)

As a mom you’re probably taking pictures of your kids and family all the time. But how often do you get in front of the camera yourself? One mom reminds us that someday when we’re gone our kids will want pictures of us, and we shouldn’t be erasing ourselves from our family’s photographic history. (Huffington Post)

A mom in Texas made it to the Guinness book of world records for donating a whopping 87 gallons of breast milk to her local breast milk bank. (NY Daily News)

A 3 A.M. Hospital Visit for my 3-Day-Old Daughter

By at 12:05 pm

“There’s something wrong with the baby.”

Those are the words you never want to hear about your 3-day old daughter. You certainly don’t want to hear them at 3 a.m. It was barely 12 hours since we had brought our baby girl home from the hospital for the first time. I sat up in bed, squinting at the baby nurse holding my newest little girl. The hall light shone behind her, blinding me as I wondered if she had really said what I thought she had said, or if this was some sort of bad dream. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 24 2012

My 3-Year-Old Ate a Sticker (and Other Ways Having a New Baby Changes Everything)

By at 9:35 am

It’s funny how perspective can change in the blink of an eye (or in this case, 14 hours of labor). Before having my son, I thought my 3-year-old was still a baby. She was so little! She could barely do anything!

But then I had a baby. And when you compare a 3-year-old to an infant, that 3-year-old is like a giant. Not only can she walk, she can run, trip, scrape her knees, and shake it off. Not only can she talk, but she can express an argument as to why she should really be allowed to watch one more TV show. She can open the refrigerator, get out her own string cheese, and pull it into strings. Meanwhile, the baby really just sits there (though he’s an excellent smiler these days!) Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 22 2012

Surviving “Out of Town” Family With a Newborn

By at 11:03 am

airplane taking off“If it’s a boy, I think we’ll come for the bris,” my brother-in-law in Miami told me a few weeks ago over Skype, just before the arrival of our second baby.

As an East Coast transplant living in St. Louis, I spent the last few weeks of my pregnancy this summer acting as a part-time travel agent, navigating tricky waters to coordinate which family members would come to visit–and when. Read the rest of this entry →

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