Happy Mother's Day

    Happy Mother's Day to all mothers everywhere! I hope and pray one day we'll have a world where motherhood is safe for all women, no matter where they live.

    This Mother’s Day I’d like to honor midwives. Both of my births were attended by midwives, in part because the hospital model of childbirth just didn't work for me. Having a doctor show up at the last second, waiting for him to get his act together before you can push your baby out, all the drapes, steel tools and scissors, all the shouting "Push! Push!"... No thanks! I wanted an all-woman environment free of tools. Honestly, all the cutting and yanking seems so violent to me.

    Most of my novels have featured midwifery births, and most of them have been home births, which has brought me kind e-mail from midwives who appreciate their model of childbirth, which is still relatively rare in the United States, getting a mention.

    The short film above is part of a film contest. I found it fun and representative of the midwife's work — caring about mothers and babies on the toughest days in their lives.

    Below, is a photo of me at the state Capitol on the day of the first Senate Judiciary Hearing. Even though I look hideous, the photo is special to me because it shows me standing with, Laraine Guyette, the midwife who caught Benjy, my younger son.

    “Oh, my God, he's huge!” I said when she put him on my tummy. “He must weight 10 pounds!”

    “Hmmm... I'd say he‘s closer to eight pounds,” she said.

    She was off by one ounce.

    Amazingly, Laraine showed up to testify at the hearing in favor of the shackling bill on behalf of the group of midwives who deliver prison babies. I haven't seen her for 20 years. But I looked at her, and then I realized who she was. I told her she’d been at one of my births 20 years ago, and the senator sponsoring the bill snapped this photo of us.

    Small world!

    When I got home, I checked Benjy's birth certificate, and there her signature was, right beneath two tiny footprints. So I hadn’t imagined it.

    I would also like to honor my own mother whose love has been the center of our family. Here she is standing near the site of the Bloody Morning Scout in update New York near Fort Edward (Fort Elizabeth). A registered nurse, she somehow managed to raise four kids while working as the head nurse of an intensive care unit. Talk about stressful...

    And before I end this post, I want to say a word on behalf of those mothers who will spend tomorrow behind bars far from the children they miss and love. Perhaps their kids have been permanently placed in other homes. Or perhaps the people who are caring for their kids can’t or won’t bring them to visit. Or perhaps their children want nothing more to do with them. There are lots of painful possibilities.

    Most mothers, even those who are deeply troubled, love their children. Being without them is always a source of pain for these troubled mothers. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

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