The Tarnishing of Trump

I have this vision of the Oval Office having “FUCK FUCK SHIT FUCK”s bouncing off the walls like molecules pinging in boiling water.

It is not uncommon for that now-golden-hued room to hear expletives, but I’m betting that as the days unroll with the word “Russia” in each sentence, the “Shit, fuck, damn’s” have been accelerating and getting progressively louder. (And amusing side note: When searching “trump White House expletives,” the suggestions at the bottom of the page all had Bannon’s name in them. Hilarious… and expected.)

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For 100 days, I cried and wrung my hands in terror that someone in the White House would accidentally (or on purpose) hit The Red Button and our world would be annihilated.

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During those first 100 days, with every stroke of the president’s pen that removed women and children’s rights, that signed away our natural resources so the rich could get richer, that created enormous doses of xenophobia, Islamophobia, racism, ordering the confiscation and deportation of people struggling to stay alive and on and on and on… and with every bizarre cabinet appointment, my heart broke and despair settled in.

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I was directed by my doctors to stop watching the news because all it did was submerge me deeper into depression. I was joined by millions of others who had the new PTSD diagnosis called President Trump Stress Disorder, our nation’s leader now holding the distinction of being the first president to have an anxiety disorder named after him.

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Will Durst says in President Trump Stress Disorder (Baxter Bulletin):

An epidemic is sweeping the nation, causing sufferers to experience feelings of hopeless doom, certain annihilation and cataclysmic collapse. It’s an existential plague manifesting itself by enveloping the stricken in a black cloud of despairing suicidal thoughts. The malady that is striking down innocent citizens left and lefter is … the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. It is literally making people sick.

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But now, with the variety of Russian headlines intertwined with you all in that Oval Office, I am glued to the TV, the real news, (what you call the “fake news,”) and I sit on the edge of my seat waiting for the next delicious morsel of information.

And I am no longer depressed.

It is no longer Opposite Day in America.

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Instead of my being unable to sleep, now it is your turn to toss and turn all night, worrying about your futures. I, on the other hand, am finally able to sleep soundly.

And every morning since Day 100, I wake up smiling again.

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Oddities & Ongoings

Oddities & Ongoings

I am nearly immobilized by the events happening right now. 45 is trying to kill us all. Just because he is at the end of his life and has a good bunker to hide in doesn’t mean the rest of us should have to die for his ego. I have horrible thoughts I wish I could purge, but they come unbidden sometimes. That man is evil. Just pure evil.

(And people felt this way about Obama?!? He never came close to killing us, much less in the first 3 months of office.)

Kinky Exam Room

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Is this an exam “table” or what?!

Work is slow for me which is frustrating considering I am still in the hole from the manic donations to Syria relief. I have been writing some really good pieces for my work blog, but one of my best, about Medical Fetishes, was pulled because I used forbidden words (pee, shit, toilet, bathroom). Sheesh, I just wrote about peeing in a cup at the doctor’s office! But work is very PG13 and even though it wasn’t golden showers related, it was yanked. Now I am lost about how to continue the series.

I want to write just basic: This is the exam table with stirrups, This is how an enema works, This is the speculum, This is the gown, This is the syringe… you get the gist. All regular normal things that loads of folks fetishize. Having been a midwife for so long… and being twisted… I am able to make each of those topics highly sexualized and fetishized.

Only twice as a care provider did I think anything sexual about women in my charge. One was Zack when he was pregnant and laboring; we became lovers soon after. Then there was another woman I had a sexually visceral reaction with (she felt it, too) and I removed myself from her direct care and became her doula. We never acted on the feelings, but they were most certainly there.

Feminist Porn

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Life with my cub is delicious and fun. He is amazing… is having some psych issues, but I’ve been able to nudge him into therapy and that will, I know, help lots. It has to be an enormous challenge being Muslim and kinky. And that’s just the off-work life!

Things between him and me, however, are in a self-sustaining/maintaining place. Just a delight being with him, talking to him, having sex with him. So so much fun! And I just realized, because he told his therapist, that I am TWICE HIS AGE! Fuck, I am old. We’ve been together for almost 18 months and I just figured this out?! (Where have I been?!)

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I don’t think I told you, but I found a Feminist Porn site! We’d been looking for one for quite a while because standard porn is a big ol’ yawn to me. Fake fake fake and just weird what with the girls wearing stilettos to bed and tromping around the pool in heels and giving the stupidest blow-jobs ever.

Googling “Feminist Porn” brings up several for-pay sites and someday, I hope to be able to use them, but Syria has the bulk of my money at the moment so finding a free Feminist Porn site was quite the coup!

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Bellesa (https://bellesa.co/ – NOT .com) has culled free porn from several free sites, including PornHub which is one of the largest regular porn sites out there, but have screened the videos before bringing them to Bellesa. Even so, some of the screened ones don’t make my cut.

I cannot abide by women faking pleasure. They squeak like mice and no matter what position they are in, they act like they are having a clitoral blast. Can you see me rolling my eyes? I’ve been screening the videos before my cub and I watch together (today I had him screen) and any squallering garners a thumbs down from me. (I keep a Word Document with the names of the videos I like and don’t like, besides the Star rating system on Bellesa.)

I will not watch a video if anyone has bruises that are not explained in the scene. I love kinky bruises as much as anyone else, but unexplained ones, especially if they look like they were made by hurting someone without their permission, squicks me.

I am not 100% sure, but would probably not watch one that had the girls in shoes on the bed. That is just so fake and ridiculous. Fuck, you’ll rip the sheets!

Hamilton

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I am still obsessed with Hamilton: An American Musical. I listen to the music 15+ hours a day sometimes. I love the Hamilton Mixtape, too, but right now am on a continuous loop of the original cast album. If you’ve not yet discovered the music, do yourself an enormous favor and immerse your Self, too.

Because of the musical, my cub and I read the original book, Hamilton, by Ron Chernow. It was amazing, too. After we finished that, we read Washington: A Life, also by Chernow. I actually loved Washington even more than Hamilton. I had no idea George Washington was as incredible as he was. Chernow brought him to life.

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I loved American History in junior high school, considered being a History teacher at one time, but then just lost interest over the years. Hamilton has reopened the passion I once had for American History! While I think Chernow is a fantastic researcher, his other books don’t really interest me. So, my cub and I have moved on to Lincoln, jumping right into the center of it all with Lincoln: Team of Rivals. We’ll be starting it later this week.

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Okay, time to sign off of here. My cub and I have a date to watch the 3 porn videos he found for us to watch together. Woo hoo!

I do have to laugh a little at his saying how much more discerning he is with porn now, which is amusing because he’s watched it for about 18 years now. Hey, if I can convert a regular porn user to feminist porn, my day is complete!

My News Blackout

Today was a really difficult day.

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So much crap in the news… you can look for yourself if you want to… but I have to quit watching and reading the news lest I end up in the Psych Hospital. I knew I was watching/reading a little bit more each day, but today I watched the clock, too, and stopped counting at 6 hours. Of news.

My hallucinations have gotten really bad, they are almost constant. And I have felt increasingly depressed. In fact, for a few days, I have wondered if I should take myself to the hospital because of the suicidal ideation that’s been flashing through my mind… way too often.

I know it is all a direct result of the pain of watching what is happening here in the United States, in the Americas, in the world.

I wish I could do something.

Right now, my something to do is save my own life.

I closed my Facebook tonight (it is always on my desktop), took everything political off my Tumblr page (including unsubbing from anything political) and am putting myself on a News Blackout.

Effective an hour ago.

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My Navelgazing Midwife Goodbye

Weaning is complete.

I began my Navelgazing Midwife Facebook Page (NgM FB Page) in 2009 and will be closing the door on it Monday, March 13, 2017.

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I took this photo and used it for 10 years on my business card and in correspondence. One of my favorite clients, Silvia Frank, was killed by her husband after she left him for Domestic Violence. Her 5 daughters are amazing.

I became the Navelgazing Midwife (NgM) right around 2003 or so. The first blog I had was on Blogger, but when they snatched pages from it and censored me because I had nude women (birthing and breastfeeding!), I moved to Squarespace after making sure they would not be censoring.

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One of the favorite photographs I’ve ever taken. Jenna was nearing the end of her labor and we watched, mesmerized, as her uterus crested outside the water during contractions, then her belly sinking completely under the water after the wave. This picture was the header for my Navelgazing Midwife Blog for several years.

My first post on the Navelgazing Midwife Blog was July 3, 2004 and the last post I put there was July 31, 2016, directing folks to my new blog, the Navelgazing Writer (NgW). I’ve debated closing the NgM blog, but know there are still wondrous birth stories there and some midwifery history we would be good to remember as time passes.

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Katie birthing Uma while her mother supports and loves her. Katie’s mom has passed; looking at this, my heart soars. I took this photo.

My NgM FB Page holds much history as well, including the moment-by-moment births of my grandbabies Gabriella and Preston… and included the postpartum hemorrhage that nearly killed Meghann 36 hours after Preston’s birth. The news of my angel grandbaby Eliott is also enclosed within these pages. My newest granddaughter Alexandra’s early cesarean birth was announced there a mere 3 months ago.

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Gabriella, 5 – Preston, 2.5 – Alexandra, 1 month (my grandbabies!)

If you’re reading this on the NgM FB Page, you already know I have been weaning for a while. I left birth completely 2.5 years ago (except for my grandbabies), having left midwifery 5 years before that. News has gradually lessened; my commentary barely audible anymore.

I’ve turned to chronicling my life for my kids and their kids, sharing my knowledge of and inclusion in the early LGBT communities in Orlando, Florida, Frankfurt, Germany & San Diego, California. I have barely begun to share the story of my 2+ decade-long relationship with Zack (previously known as Sarah) and the impact of his transitioning on our lives.

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Zack (before his transition) nursing his son and my daughter Aimee. We co-nursed for 2.5 years, often saying all families should have 4 lactating breasts in the home. I took this picture, circa 1986.

Interspersed will have to be birthy stories… I just wrote 2 about the immigrant populations I worked with in San Diego and El Paso, Texas. Birth has been an integral part of my life since January 1983… I could not write my autobiography without including it. I just have a different viewpoint now that I am above and far away from the stories that once affected every aspect of my spirit, emotions, relationships and friendships.

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Shayla and her then-husband. Shayla had one of the most horrific hospital births I attended in 32 years. Exhibit A demonstrating blatant racism in maternity care.

I’ve had a sort of hidden life for a long time… one of intense sexuality and BDSM. I was a lifestyle submissive with my former partner Zack and am writing about these things as well.

My life since puberty has been colored with mental illness. Bipolar Disorder and Depression and are well-represented in the NgW blog. Much more to come as the blog is still fairly new.

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I was addicted to opiates for 8 years, it sliding through my sister’s dying of an accidental overdose on opiates, Fentanyl being the actual cause of her death. I am now 2.5 years clean and share that story in my new blog as well.

My body, at almost 56-years old, is tired, disabled and in a lot of pain; Mindfulness Meditation and 800 mg. ibuprofen are my pain relief. I struggle with a plethora of issues, most fat-related. It is crucial for me to write about my life as a fat woman, someone who’s tried a hundred times to not be fat anymore, but still fat after trying it all. My feet have arthritis and keep breaking just from walking. I have osteoporosis (from the gastric bypass). My diabetes, while okay at the moment with a HgbA1c of 5.9, that is with 2 insulins on board.

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Since leaving birth, I’ve become a sex worker. I’m not writing a lot about it at the moment, but it colors my life tremendously. Amazingly, all the years of birth work and therapy have armed me adequately for caring for the men, women and transfolks I work with every single day. There is not one day when my birth experiences do not figure prominently in the interactions with others.

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Because of the state of the United States right now, I explored different topics about which to write, but quickly saw that, not only did some topics affect my mental state, but a zillion different ones joined the list every day. I needed to focus my attention and have chosen Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press as my main demonstration issues against 45.

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Illustrator, Eric Drooker

It’s been an interesting shift in my thought process, from birth to politics. I’m observing my Self intently, monitoring my emotions, mental state, my body’s physical responses and lastly, what those around me have to say about what I’ve written. The NgW Blog is still really small, very few readers with each post, but it took about 2 years for the NgM Blog to pick up steam, so I’m not sweating it. Also, I really am writing for myself, giving flight to my thoughts and experiences, and if others find what I write helpful or creates a visceral response, all the better.

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There were only a couple of posts in the NgM Blog that were written with the reader in mind and whenever I did that, I regretted it. Of all the posts, only one was removed and edited because of the backlash I got from my licensing organization. (I cannot tell you how freeing it is to be completely unrestrained now, writing writing writing without someone threatening my livelihood. There really are nasty, ugly parts to midwifery politics in the US.)

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I know many of you reading have followed me for a long time. I cannot thank you enough for considering my views and listening to my thoughts, even when you disagreed with me. Thank you for challenging me, making me think… allowing me to shift and change and grow. I am not the same woman who created the nom de plume “Navelgazing Midwife,” but you are not the same either. Isn’t it amazing to witness our own growth and transformations?

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Endless gratitude to all of you and may your lives and the lives of those around you be filled with boundless love and light. You will never be forgotten.

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Who Is “45”?

“45” is what I call POTUS, the 45th president of the United States, that horrid man who squats in the White House tweeting (LYING) about random topics to divert our attention from the fucked up bullshit he does that will, PLEASE GODDESS, get him impeached.

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ICE Burns: My Early Doula Clients

We are watching as ICE, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, rounds up immigrants from around the country.

And it’s only getting worse.

In Raids, they are knocking on doors, stopping people in shopping centers, going to workplaces, setting up checkpoints to examine papers and licenses and other vile ways to take, what seems to include, non-criminal folks who have been in this country sometimes for 20+ years.

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In February 11th’s Washington Post, Lisa Rein, Abigail Hauslohner and Sandhya Somashekhar co-wrote “Federal agents conduct immigration enforcement raids in at least six states.” They say in part:

Hiba Ghalib, an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, said the ICE detentions were causing “mass confusion” in the immigrant community. She said she had heard reports of ICE agents going door-to-door in one largely Hispanic neighborhood, asking people to present their papers.

“People are panicking,” Ghalib said. “People are really, really scared.”

I cannot even imagine how terrifying it must be to hear footsteps outside your door, then even worse if there is a knock.

My Early History with Immigrant Women

I’ve spent an enormous amount of time with birthing immigrant families, most from Mexico, but others from all over Central and South America, as well. From Orlando, El Paso and San Diego, I was a midwife and doula to several hundred immigrants over a 20-year period.

My first experiences were when I volunteered to work at Planned Parenthood as a doula to their (99%+) Spanish-speaking-only prenatal care clients. My Spanish was school-learned at that time; I became fluent over the years. I made many language mistakes along the way.

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the artists says this piece “portrays an oppressed pregnant woman trapped by the fear of fighting her oppressors.” I cannot find the artist, any help so I might attribute is welcome.

While the women did not all work, a myriad did, usually cleaning houses and/or being a nanny for White, often English-speaking-only people. The partners (almost always husbands) worked anywhere they could. Plenty were migrant farmworkers.

A White Observer

My care as a doula began by going to all prenatal visits during the pregnancy and visiting their home twice, making sure they had the supplies necessary for the new baby. It was not uncommon to take mom to the store, kids in tow, and buy her bags of groceries because there was nothing but rice in the cupboards. Everything from toilet paper to diapers were needed by my clients. I foraged wherever I could to find what they needed.

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It had to have been difficult to have (yet another) White person enter their home and see how they lived. Would I judge? (No!) Would I think they were bad parents and turn them in to CPS? (No.) It was nice after the first couple of women let the others know I was a decent person and could be trusted.

Medical Prejudice

My role as doula continued by going to the client’s home when she was in early labor, then taking her to the hospital as labor progressed. (Doulas do not transport clients anymore because of liability.)

Once in the hospital, I remained with the client and her partner (if he chose to come and/or stay in the room) until after the baby was born, including helping her get started with breastfeeding. I translated from Spanish to English so the nurses and doctors knew what she was saying and needing.

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photographer, Barbara Herrera

You know how many women choose an epidural for pain relief in labor? Back in 1990, an epidural was not an option for women on Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid).

Do you hear that?

Women on Medi-Cal could not get an epidural for pain relief.

If my immigrant clients thought they might want an epidural, they had to give a $1000 down-payment or it was simply not an option.

This was horrifically cruel and incredibly discriminatory. It took until 1998 before it was legally challenged.

The controversy over Medi-Cal rates was highlighted further through news stories about physicians charging Medi-Cal recipients for services. The Los Angeles Times reported on the practice of some physicians and hospitals illegally forcing Medi-Cal beneficiaries to pay cash for epidural anesthesia during childbirth. The physicians named in the story maintained that they had to demand payment from the patients to cover their costs because Medi-Cal payments were insufficient.

My History with Immigrants

Over the years, I worked at Planned Parenthood, overseeing one of their Prenatal Programs, then, in 1993 and again from 2000-2001, went to Casa de Nacimiento in El Paso, Texas, my path towards becoming a midwife. In 1994, I worked under a CDC grant at the Farmworker Association of Florida as a Spanish-speaking HIV/STD educator for female migrant farmworkers.

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strawberry pickers near Orlando

As we watch the decreasing rights for immigrants in the US, ICE hunting men, women & children down for deportation, my heart aches. I know, because I know, some of the people being shoved out of our country are the women whose hands I held during labor, the babies-turned-children-turned-teens I helped into the world and the fathers who took care of their families working the fields and doing whatever they could to pay the bills.

It is beyond unfair.

U.S. Border Agents Pursue Human And Drug Smugglers Near Mexican Border

Hate Speech = Free Speech?

I have about 80,000 things to say about the First Amendment & Free Speech right now. My fingers cannot keep up with the flow of words in my head. I’ve started several posts about Free Speech & Freedom of the Press because of the crap #45 is doing, but just as I get into the meat of the writing, he does something else that requires revision or scrapping it and starting all over again.

I am determined to get this one out!

Is Hate Speech Protected?

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There is a pervasive belief that Hate Speech is not included under the Free Speech umbrella. It actually, absolutely, is.

What is not included are words that incite violence… a thin, often controversial, court-examined difference.

“But while the Constitution gives latitude to hate speech and offensive rhetoric, court decisions in the last century have carved out notable — though narrow — exceptions to free speech guarantees and authorized prosecution for language deemed to fall out of bounds.

“Comments intended as specific and immediate threats brush up against those protections, regardless of a person’s race or religion. So do personal, face-to-face comments meant to incite imminent lawlessness, such as a riot.”

An extensive list of Supreme Court cases demonstrate how difficult it can be to tease out the difference between speech that incites versus the freedom-to-hate speech.

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Milo’s Spew

I don’t even need to say his last name, this person has been in the news enough times in the last few days that you know exactly who I mean.

Milo created a great deal of controversy regarding his hateful words hurled at Jews, the LGBTQ community (especially transgender folks), Muslims, liberals, Blacks, women… pretty much anyone that isn’t a straight American White Republican male.

His scheduled presentation at Berkeley on February 1, 2017 brought riots of protest until it was cancelled, his free speech being a tad too incendiary.

Despite so many finding his beliefs repulsive, a significant number of others clearly find him entertaining, welcoming (and embracing) his vitriol.

But even this vile caricature stumbled over the line of common decency (and you know it had to be really bad if the alt-right kicked him to the curb!). His book deal and his speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference were cancelled, followed by his making the decision to quit the Fake News organization Breitbart. If you need more information, Google his name and “Free Speech” and a bazillion sites will come up for you.

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Right to Hate Speech

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Even in our politically-correct, ultra-sensitive-to-verbiage times, folks have every right to express their feelings and beliefs about others, even the nasty ones, but only if they don’t trigger violence. Absolutely a paper-thin difference at times, right?

We are, most assuredly, in for a lot more hate speech as the president uses his pen to limit the abundance of rights and privileges we had gotten used to with President Obama.

The ultimate question is: Which side has the most anger?

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And now I move on to #45 trying to strangle our First Amendment freedoms.

Fuck that!

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