Categories
Women's Corner

Form, lace, embellishment and you

Take me to the album

We live in a world where we are punished for being women. We live in a world where we are punished for claiming our place. We live in a world where we are punished for embracing our feminine side. We live in a world where we are punished for wanting to tell our story.

We are called witches and bitches. We are told we are abrasive, shrill, pushy, catty, airheads and just too damn emotional.

Why? Because we live in a world that doesn’t want to accept you.

This is about you. Celebrating all that it means to be a woman. Taking the traditional female form and using it to become our best selves. We know that there is power in being a woman. We want to let the world know we’re a force to be reckoned with.

Form

Form is to let the world know that we are here and we will be seen and heard.

Lace

Lace is traditionally seen as delicate and frail because the world does not want to see the thousands of tiny knots that go into creating a thing of beauty. Just like you beautiful person have been shaped by your experiences.

Embellishment

Embroidery and embellishment speaks for us when our words are not heard. The world may try to silence our stories but we will make them see.

We won’t fade away. We won’t disappear. We will stand here and have our say.

Take me to the album

Categories
10 Things

10 Things about Lady Grizel Baillie

I admit before this morning I had no idea who Lady Grizel Baillie was so here are 10 things I’ve learned about her. 

  1. She was a Scottish poet and song writer. In fact many of her ancestors were also poets – most notably Patrick Hume of Polwarth and Alexander Hume.  
  2. Her father, Sir Patrick Hume, was representing the then imprisoned Robert Baillie of Jerviswood and Lady Grizel would smuggle letters to Baillie while he was imprisoned. 
  3. Lady Grizel was 12 when she met her future husband George Baillie. It is suspected that it was during the time she was bringing letters from her father. 
  4. She fled with her family to the United Provinces (Precursor to the Netherlands) due to her fathers association with Robert Baillie and suspected treason. 
  5. When she returned to Scotland after the Glorious Revolution she turned down an offer to be one the Queen Mary’s maids of honor. 
  6.  In 1692 she married George Baillie and settled into the Mellerstain House. 
  7. She would have three children and her two daughters, Grizel and Rachel, would survive into adulthood. 
  8. Only a few of her poems have survived over the centuries. One of which “And werena my heart light I wad dee” is copied at the bottom of this post and was originally published in Orpheus Caledonius, or a Collection of the Best Scotch Songs (1725) by William Thomson
  9. She kept records of her home life which can be found here. These records provide an depth look into the affairs of a running a Scottish house. 
  10. She passed away on December 6, 1746 and is buried in the Mellerstain House.

Werena My Heart Licht I Wad Dee

There was ance a may, and she lo’ed na men; 

She biggit her bonnie bow’r doun i’ yon glen; 

But now she cries, Dool and a well-a-day! 

Come doun the green gait and come here away! 


When bonnie young Johnnie cam’ owre the sea 

He said he saw naething sae lovely as me; 

He hecht me baith rings and monie braw things; 

And werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 


He had a wee tittie that lo’ed na me, 

Because I was twice as bonnie as she; 

She raised sic a pother ‘twixt him and his mother, 

That werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 


The day it was set, and the bridal to be 

The wife took a dwam and lay doun to dee; 

She maned, and she graned, out o’ dolour and pain, 

Till he vowed that he ne’er wad see me again. 


His kin was for ane o’ a higher degree, 

Said, what had he do wi’ the likes o’ me? 

Albeit I was bonnie, I wasna for Johnnie: 

And werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 


They said I had neither cow nor calf, 

Nor dribbles o’ drink rins through the draff, 

Nor pickles o’meal rins through the mill-e’e; 

An werena my heart licht, I wad dee. 


His tittie she was baith wily and slee, 

She spied me as I cam’ owre the lea, 

And then she ran in and made a loud din; 

Believe your ain een an ye trow na me. 


His bannet stood aye fu’ round on his brow 

His auld ane looked aye as weel as some’s new; 

But now he lets ’t wear ony gate it will hing, 

And casts himsel’ dowie upon the corn-bing. 


And now he gaes daund’ring about the dykes 

A a’ he dow do is to hund the tykes; 

The love-lang nicht he ne’er steeks his e’e; 

And werena my heart licht I wad dee. 


Were I but young for thee, as I ha’e been 

We should ha’e been gallopin’ doun in yon green, 

And linkin’ it on the lily-white lea; 

And wow, gin I were but young for thee. 

Lady Grizel Baillie (1665–1746)
Categories
10 Things

10 things about the Mirabal Sisters

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The date was chosen because it was the day that the 3 Mirabal were assassinated for protesting the dictatorship under Rafael Trujillo. I wanted to do a post about them because this was a family that gave up so much for their country so that their children could have a better future.

We cannot allow our children to grow up in this corrupt and tyrannical regime. We have to fight against it, and I am willing to give up everything, even my life if necessary.

– Patria Mercedes Mirabal Reyes
  1. The 4 sisters were known as the Unforgettable Butterflies in the Dominican Republic. This name was used in Julia Alvarez’s 1994 novel In the Time of the Butterflies.
  2. Doña Dede was the only sister not assassinated and after the death of her 3 sisters she took in their 6 children and raised them alongside her own. She also devoted her life to preserving the legacy of her sisters as feminists and political activists. 
  3. When asked how she could survive she responded with, “So I could tell their story!”
  4. The legacy that the Mirabal sisters left influenced their children and they have been active in politics as well as Vice President and a Deputy Foreign Minister. 
  5. Minerva went to university to receive a degree in Law and Maria Teresa followed in her footsteps to go to university and received a degree in mathematics. 
  6. The three sisters (Patria Mercedes, María Argentina Minerva and Antonia María Teresa) as well as their husbands were involved in political activities against the Trujillo dictatorship. In fact they had been arrested multiple times. 
  7. It was as they were visiting their incarcerated husbands on November 25, 1960 that the 3 sisters were stopped, separated, strangled, and beaten to death. 
  8. Their assassination helped ignite the anti-Trujillo movement and within a year Rafael Trujillo was assassinated as well. 
  9. In 1997, after Joaquín Balaguer stepped down the Mirabal sisters were finally recognized as martyrs in the school curriculum. 
  10. The province where they grew up, Salcedo, was renamed to the Hermanas Mirabal Province in November 2007 to honor their legacy. 

Do you have someone who you think should be featured? Let me know below 👇

Categories
10 Things

10 things about Sojourner Truth

I did not run away; I walked away by day-light

Sojourner Truth is an inspiring person. There is no other way to put it. After she escaped slavery with her infant daughter she fought the system to regain custody of her son and won. Not only that but she continued to campaign as an abolitionist and human right’s activist. This won’t even begin to cover how amazing she is but here are 10 facts about her and her legacy: 

  1. NASA’s first rover on Mars is named Sojourner
  2. June 1, 1843 is when she changed her name from Isabella Baumfree to Sojourner Truth and became a Methodist. 
  3. Growing up she spoke only Dutch and didn’t learn English until she was 9 when she was sold to new Masters who only spoke English. They would frequently beat her for miscommunicating.  
  4. In 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio she delivered her famous Ain’t I a Woman speech.
  5. In 1864 she met Abraham Lincoln 
  6.  During the Civil War she worked for the National Freedman’s Relief Association as a counselor to the “freed people.” 
  7. During her lifetime she brought and won three lawsuits – for her son, a slander suit and a personal injury case. 
  8. She was active in helping with relocating former slaves and petitioned the federal government to grant free land to help them settle in the ‘New West’. 
  9. She will appear on the back of the new $10 bill alongside Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Alice Paul and Lucretia Mott. 
  10. She moved to Battle Creek, Michigan in 1857 and joined the growing abolitionist movement – the Progressive Friends. 

You can read The Narrative of Sojourner Truth written by Olive Gilbert online.

Is there a mother you find inspiring? Let me know in the comments 👇

Categories
Pregnancy Talk

Yet another birth story

tl;drno signs of labor before contractions & long pre-labor, gave birth in a midwife birth centre, no epidural because of scoliosis, labored in the tub and birthed on a birthing stool. 2nd degree tear and blood loss resulted in longer hospital stay.

Is this labor?

It started when I woke up to use the toilet around 1:30am. It turns out it was a strong contraction that woke me. I tried to go to bed and ten minutes later I felt another one. And then ten/fifteen minutes after that another one. Not able to actually sleep I started timing them. At this point I’ve had no bloody show or any other signs of impending labor. The contractions continued getting stronger and following the ten minute pattern throughout the night. My husband eventually woke up to ask if I was okay because he noticed how agitated I was becoming. I told him I think that things were happening and he should get sleep if this is the real deal.

Around 8am I message my midwife to say I’ve been having consistent contractions that having been getting stronger and lasting a minute each time but not shorter between. She confirmed it sounded like pre-labor and that if it gets to 3-5 minutes between to call the community midwife number. So this continued until the afternoon. I decided to take a bath during that time (btw I really recommend this), tried to eat when I could (I should have eaten more in retrospect), and my husband and I went for a short slow walk.

The walk wore me out and I slept for about 40 minutes. When I woke up the intensity of the contractions ramped up but the pattern still held. And this part continued until 6pm-ish when it was clear that they were quite quickly becoming very overwhelming for me. So even though the contractions were coming every 8-9 minutes we decided to go to the Birth centre to check on the progress. At 6:30pm they do the inspection and it turns out I’m already 4cm dilated and in active labor. They wanted to delay checking me in until 9pm because of staff issues but I guess my midwife caught wind of that (she was meeting me there) and kicked up a fuss. A bit before 8 another midwife came and took me up to the room and started filling the giant tub.

The check in was my only real negative experience in regards to the NHS. At this point my waters still hadn’t broken and there still was no show. When they (not the midwives) did the check to see how dilated I was, they asked if they could do that which is fine. What they did not ask and what they then proceeded to do was a membrane sweep and attempting to manually break my waters. Which sucks when:

  1. You are in the middle of a contraction and

  2. Don’t no why someone is continuing to shove their entire hand around up there.

After listening to me screaming stop, stop, stop my husband stepped in and was like please listen to my wife she is distressed. And then they explained that they were trying to break my waters. It was completely unnecessary. I’m glad my my husband knew to stand in and speak up for me.

This is active labor.

Earlier on in the pregnancy I said I was okay with a student midwife being present as well to help out and I don’t regret it at all. After we moved into the birth ward it was nice to have someone focused on you while someone else handled all the behind the scenes checks. They got the tub filled for me and finally being able to slip into the deep water was heaven. It brought the intensity of the contractions down to what it was earlier that morning and was such a relief. I spent about 3 more hours in the tub before they checked on my progress. It turns out that I was then 7cm dilated. My waters still hadn’t broken at this point but there midwives weren’t too fussed because things were progressing well. See what I mean about earlier being unnecessary? A bit after that the pain definitely ramped up again and I asked for gas & air. Laboring in the tub with gas & air is all I used for pain management. It definitely got worse but the nice thing about the gas is that it gave me something to focus on to get through each contraction.

From here it all became a blur that had to be filled in by my husband and aunt. I do remember the concerns about my blood sugar being dangerously low and they had to feed me honey for quick energy. I also remember throwing up a lot from the pain. And my waters breaking really late. At some point I was saying over and over that I couldn’t do it and would someone please for the love of God rip this baby out.

Pushing is really hard

They brought in a third midwife to help because I was stuck in the just before having to push phase. I couldn’t work out how to do it and the pain was rolling in where I wasn’t hearing much. She took stock of the whole situation and somehow got me to listen to her and focus on pushing. According to my husband she was also good at telling him how he was helping and making him feel less helpless. So I finally started pushing in the tub but I was too relaxed in the water and wasn’t making much progress. So she had my husband support me to the Birthing stool and hold me up from behind. At this point I was just going to do anything to get this baby out.

I didn’t have any pain relief for the pushing part. Just my husband holding me from behind. Looking back I think that did so much more for my mental state than anything. Since his arms were around me I knew I was safe and I could rely on him. Pushing still sucks and feeling the head come out lower and lower is more than painful. Honestly the word painful doesn’t even describe it. The good thing was that I was doing something and the baby was moving out. Again – having something to focus on helped so much with getting through it. And around 40 minutes after they moved me to the birth stool I had a baby placed in my shocked arms and was told it was mine.

A baby is here

I lost a lot of blood due to a second degree tear which had to be stitched. So they couldn’t wait for the placenta to be naturally delivered and gave me an injection to speed it along. They also couldn’t do the delayed cord cutting because the baby’s cord was actually really short and I was losing too much blood too quickly for it to be safe. They still put the baby on me right away for the skin to skin contact.

Post-partum recovery is definitely a challenge, especially when you also have a tiny infant relying on you for everything as well. But really, this is just the beginning.

Categories
Personal

10 Things about Me

Because thinking of ten things about yourself is actually quite difficult.
  1. I have a MA in Digital Humanities.
  2. I’ve lived in three different countries.
  3. I am a dog person.
  4. I love to read and my favorite genre is Fantasy. It helps me escape.
  5. I live in the UK and still write the American way.
  6. I knit. It helps me manage my anxiety.
  7. My favorite color is purple.
  8. Yes I am a feminist.
  9. My favorite way to unwind is with a cup of tea and a new book. Have I mentioned I love reading?
  10. Chocolate and mint is my favorite flavor combination.
There you have it! Anything you want to know more about?