BOLD IN ST. LOUIS

BOLD is a global arts-based movement inspiring communities to create childbirth choices that work for mothers.

BOLD IN ST LOUIS

Local volunteer community organizers came together in 2009 to support the first reading of the play, Birth, by Karen Brody in St. Louis. Then, in 2010, volunteer organizers and sponsors built on their former success and hosted the first ever local full production of the play. Watch the 2010 cast in this inspiring short film of the play by RaileeProductions:

Plans for 2011 include another full production of the play, Birth, on August 28th, 2011 at the Tap Room in downtown St. Louis! Click here for more information on how you and/or your organization can get involved!

Karen Brody wrote Birth after interviewing 118 women across America about their birth stories. The play tells the story of eight of those women, representing the spectrum of experience among low-risk, educated, birthing women in the US today. Each performance is followed by a talk-back, giving audience members a chance to discuss pertinent issues from the play.

BOLD, initially called Birth On Labor Day, was founded in 2006 by playwright Karen Brody. Brody offered cities around the world the opportunity to perform her documentary-style play called Birth as part of BOLD. Her goal was to use the play to “make maternity mother-friendly.” Well-known women’s health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup called the play  Birth, “The Vagina Monologues for birth,” a label it has lived up to through BOLD.

BOLD runs three core programs: Performance and Talkbacks of the play Birth, Red Tents events, and the College Campaign. BOLD programs raise awareness and money in local communities to improve childbirth choices for mothers and have raised over $115,000 to date. This grassroots initiative reaches over 20,000+ women, men, children and families (and growing!) every year through local events like ours. For more details on the play and the national event, please visit the national BOLD web site at www.boldaction.org

How to Listen to a Birth Story

Women have been talking about their births for thousands of years. And yet somehow, as the tide of childbirth has shifted dramatically in the past 70 years, we’ve forgotten the importance of being on the listening end of a birth story.  The next time you hear a mother start to discuss the details of her birth, consider taking these recommendations to heart:

Take Responsibility For Your OWN Emotions! I cannot stress enough how important this is. Women should be free to share their birth stories without fear of “offending” another mom. For example, if a woman is sharing how she labored without any pain medication, please do not jump to the conclusion that she’s calling you a wimp for choosing an epidural! Whatever your birth experiences were, they are yours and yours alone. Maybe you’re still carrying disappointment or sadness about your births, for any number of reasons, and those emotions often resurface when hearing another woman’s story. But instead of projecting your emotions onto another mother (which we sometimes unknowingly do), own whatever emotions you’re experiencing and resolve to set aside time to work through those feelings. By doing so, you will be better able to objectively love and support other mothers.

Do Not “One-Up” Her Story With Yours! Do we really think it’s helpful  to say, “Oh 20 hours of labor, that’s nothing!! Listen to my whopper-of-a-birth-story…” Certainly it is in our nature as mothers to talk about our births.  Even elderly women will gladly share all the details of their births when asked. We want our stories to be heard and they should be heard! But choose with caution the opportunities to share your story. Instead, if you’re listening to another woman’s story, listen intently and remind yourself that this is her time.

Respond with Empathy. Many women are burdened with painful emotions they are carrying from their birth experiences. Often we feel uncomfortable when a person is sharing about their grief or sadness. In our discomfort, we end up saying things such as, “Well at least your baby is healthy” or “the best thing is just to move on.” But to a hurting woman, these well-intended words are like pouring salt into her wounds.  Instead, validate her emotions. Phrases like, “That must’ve been so scary for you” or “it’s understandable why you are disappointed” are reassuring and can aid in her healing. And if you really do not know what to say, you can always respond with, “I’m so sorry you experienced this.” Remember: you might be the very first person to respond to her pain with empathy and kindness.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we really listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. We are constantly being re-created.”

~Brenda Ueland

by Expert Mommy, Sarah Baker

How to Prepare Your Marriage Relationship for Birth

If you’re expecting your first child, you and your partner have probably been on the receiving end of at least one of these phrases:

“You can’t really prepare for what your life will be like once that baby’s born.”

“Enjoy the time you have NOW while you still can!”

And one of the worst, “Your life as you know it will be over!”

Ugh. Seriously, who are people kidding when they utter such words! Isn’t a basic assumption that, indeed, having a baby is life-changing?? Yes, life will change once your first baby is born. It will be wonderful. It will be challenging. You and your partner’s relationship will change, but change is not necessarily a negative thing. I encourage expectant parents to invest time in their relationship now to be better equipped for the upcoming transition.

This may sound over-simplified, but I cannot stress enough the benefit that communication has on your relationship as you’re preparing to enter this new stage of your life together. Talk and talk often! But don’t limit your “baby talk” to [Read more…]

News Flash: Virginia Kerr had her baby!

God has blessed us with a beautiful baby boy! Riggins Thomas was born on Oct 14 at 6pm Riggs weighs.7 lbs 2 oz. and is 19.5 in long. I can’t even begin to explain what it was like for Jason and I to finally see his little face! We are soooo happy!

Virginia Kerr is a morning news anchor on News 4. You can watch her Monday – Friday from 5AM to 7AM. She blogged from the delivery room and has been sharing her weekly pregnancy updates with us.

Virginia and “Skittles” were the celebrants at our virtual baby shower to benefit The March of Dimes.

How to turn your breech baby head-down

“Hmmm…this feels like a head. Wait! Isn’t my baby’s head supposed to be ‘down there??’ I think my baby’s breech!”

If you find yourself in this situation, first of all, don’t stress! The majority of babies turn head-down by the third trimester; of those that haven’t, the majority of them will head for the exit sign by the time labor commences. Keep your chin up and believe that your baby will turn head-down.

That being said, often times a pregnant mama with a breech baby is told by her practitioner that her only options are waiting and then later attempting an external cephalic version (ECV). There are a myriad of techniques and methods that can gently encourage your little one to turn head-down before resorting to more invasive procedures.

[Read more…]

How to Pack Your Bags for the Hospital

If you are pregnant and find yourself well into your third trimester, I want you to say these two words aloud with me: “It’s TIME!!!” Fun, huh? Okay, so maybe it’s not time for you to GO to the hospital quite yet, but at least you can prepare for it. Let’s pack your bags.

Truly you are preparing for three events: 1) giving birth 2) a shorter than short stay in the hospital and 3) the big trip home with your new bundle of love. Alright… let’s get packing!!!

GIVING BIRTH

Comfie clothes.

Think ahead about the outfit you want to wear driving to the hospital so when it’s time, you can just get dressed and go. Put an old towel and a plastic bag by the outfit to take with you in the car so if your water breaks on the ride to the hospital, you’ll be prepared. [Read more…]

How To Hire a Doula For Your Birth

So you’re convinced of all the amazing benefits that a doula can bring to your birth experience, but now what? Starting the process of hiring a doula may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be!
The Earlier, The Better– If at all possible, start your search for a doula early in your pregnancy. Most doulas limit the number of clients they accept per month and the popular ones get booked quickly.

  • Get a List of Names– There are both national and local doula organizations that have listings of their members. On the national level, DONA (Doulas of North America) and Doula Match are great places to start.  Your city or region most likely has a local doula organization, too. For example, Doulas of Greater St. Louis is the organization in my area. [Read more…]

How to Empower Birthing Mothers

We had the honor of interviewing Karen Brody, playwright of BIRTH and founder of BOLD, the global arts movement that inspires communities to make maternity care mother-friendly. We are so proud to be holding hands with play organizers in our own local community of St. Louis to empower pregnant women to make the right birthing choices for themselves.

Interview with Karen Brody (AUDIO 27:15)

How can we support each other in birth, this amazing transformative moment in the life of a woman? We can create the circle of women that Karen describes. That’s what we are doing for Virginia Kerr, and through her, all other birthing moms in the upcoming event, A Mom Is Born. Please be our guest here on August 25.

If you have a mom/woman-focused site, we invite you to co-host this event with us. Send us a message and we’ll send you details.

And if you are in St. Louis, don’t miss this year’s performance of BIRTH at Schlafly’s Bottleworks on Sunday, August 29, 2010 at 5pm. Tickets here!

How to Prepare Expectant Fathers For Birth – Part 3

In the first 2 parts of this series (found here and here), I discussed communication and choosing a childbirth class. In this third and final installment, I’ll be focusing on the pinnacle of all the preparation: the birth! Like I mentioned previously, the presence of men during labor and birth is relatively new, considering that for thousands of years a birthing woman was surrounded only by women. It’s for this reason that I highly recommend that expectant couples hire a doula.

A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous labor support. Typically, she has no affiliation with a physician or hospital which allows her to solely focus on the needs of her laboring client. While you may be familiar with the ways a woman will benefit from the presence of a doula, it’s important to know that a doula is beneficial for expectant fathers as well.  Here are some of the ways that doulas can be helpful to both you and your partner: [Read more…]

How to Prepare Expectant Fathers For Birth – Part 2

So in part 1 of this series, I talked about the importance of first breaking down the communication barriers between men and women. This month, my focus will be on educating and equipping dads for labor and birth.

It’s commonplace for first-time expectant parents in the US to register for some sort of childbirth preparation classes. A mom-to-be might have to twist her partner’s arm to get him to even touch a pregnancy book. But mention a “how-to” childbirth class and often times he’ll more willingly participate. With busy lifestyles, it’s understandable why some men (and women, too) would be more inclined to take an accelerated childbirth prep class (6 weeks worth of information condensed into one, 8-hour session). While these “express” classes may accommodate our hectic schedules, they are doing little to adequately prepare both women and men for birth. So here are some options to consider when researching classes that will meet the needs of expectant fathers: [Read more…]