Friday, July 02, 2010

Existential blogging crisis

Sometimes I wonder why I blog and whether I should keep going. This boils down to a few questions:

Is my blog too birthy? Or is it too filled with the mundane and the everyday? I feel like I haven't posted much about family life because it seems so...quotidian. But then I start feeling boxed when the blog becomes more and more about birth and pregnancy and less about anything else. I've thought about starting another blog just for personal/family life stuff. I even have a great blog title and address called Two Frozen Doctors. However, I hardly have the time to do one blog, let alone two. So for now, I'm sticking to one.

I love the discussions we have here, but I do wonder: does any of this make a difference? As much as it's nice to talk with people whose views you already share, to feel a sense of commonality and community, I wonder if anyone else is even reading. Let alone examining their own viewpoints and experiences in light of what gets talked about here.

And then there's the whole "am I wasting my time when I could be doing *real* things in the *real* world?" question.

I'd love your feedback on these questions. I'd also like to hear about which kind of posts you want more of. Some of the things I do on this blog include: research updates and analysis, guest posts, my own meditations on birth and mothering, academic essays, critiques of North American obstetric practices, links to blogs and news articles, birth stories & videos, and book/film/product reviews, and updates and pictures of my family.

86 comments:

  1. I enjoy it all. Don't quit doing any of it. You are an important voice. <3

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  2. This IS a *real* thing!

    Your blog was one of many I came across when I was doing my research during my first pregnancy. But it was one of the most eye-opening ones for me. Few months later, I gave birth to 11lb baby naturally in the hospital and I am planning a homebirth with my second.

    I never comment, but this time I have to. We don't know each other, but you have made a huge (positive) impact on my life. If that's not a reason to keep blogging than I don't know what is...

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  3. I enjoy your blog, Rixa! I admit, there are times when your posts are a little bit too much on the professional side for my enjoyment (not that I don't try to read through them). I'm guessing that all has to do with your background. Most people who have a PhD are going to write more like that, because they've had to write A LOT. All in all, I think you have an excellent balance of personal/family posts and pregnancy/birth posts. I keep coming back! :D

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  4. i just stumbled upon your blog and i really like it. I am currently very early in my first pregnancy, and although i have very wonderful and supportive friends i do not have a very supportive family. I can tell you i spend a lot of downtime looking for blogs that i can relate to. it helps me feel grounded again at the end of the day! keep up the great work!

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  5. I found your blog over a year ago while researching GBS for my accelerated midwifery program. Your posts are informative and I actually enjoy reading them. While A lot of your readers are like minded, your blog is an amazing resource that I share with family, friends and clients. We may not be commenting or joining the discussion but you and your blog are a household name and the subject of many phone conversationss.

    I think I can speak for a lot of people in my life when I say Thank You for this. Thank You for showing up every time I google pregnancy or birth! And a bigger thank you for introducing me to so many of my favorite blogs:)

    (Excuse my one handed breastfeeding response)

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  6. I can understand those questions. I debate jumping into the blogging world and wonder those things already. I think the best blogs do have some sort of focus or niche, and yours w/ the birth focus, definitely has that. I like the academic perspective and the various topics you cover. And I agree that it is a REAL value. So, I hope you will keep going with it!

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  7. I like everything about your blog. Like others, I plan to use your blog as a resource. Also, being LDS myself, it's been great finding someone who also has the birth passion I do. I haven't really found it IRL much.

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  8. I've been following your blog for over a year now. It's part of my email forward for all my new mom friends. Your blog does make a difference. Keep it up. I love the mix of blog topics. You've also got a really great blogroll too.

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  9. I love reading your blog. I love your experiences in motherhood, gardening, and cooking. I think you are a great example for home birthers and breastfeeding moms. I really want to see what your future holds:)

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  10. please keep going Rixa. i started reading you when i was researching HBAC. i was on the mothering message boards, and thought you sounded smarter than the average unassisted birther (no offense anyone!) i come here to read your perspective on birth topics from all over. i especially love how you and NGM interact. i love seeing what you are doing with the kids, like extended nursing, or that early potty training stuff, but could understand the desire to keep family separate from the rest... but if you can only make time for one blog, please keep it all meshed together! lots of people stumble here from google searches, i'm sure. and all of us benefit from your insight and opinions.
    so many birth blogs fizzle out, please don't let it happen to Stand and Deliver.

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  11. I enjoy pretty much everything you have to say, honestly, from the very dry academic-y stuff all the way over to the minutiae of your life. Is the group who reads and comments here mostly self-referential? Possibly.. but that can be a good thing, too, as long as folks are aware of it.

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  12. I really enjoy reading your blog. It is one of the only blogs that I check daily. I think the mix of family and birth is excellent because that is what most of your readers are interested in.
    On the other hand, I understand the feelings of the non-digital world pulling away from blogging. If the blog is taking away from family or other things that are a priority, even though I don't want to see you go, I would completely understand if you didn't post as often or at all any longer.
    Your blog is definitely read and appreciated by many, but I don't think that we as readers can make the decision of what you should do that is up to you and your family. Hope that makes sense :D

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  13. I have been reading your blog faithfully for over a year. Your content is always so polished and informative. I really enjoy your unique writing style. I also enjoy hearing of your family.

    My favorite pieces are those where your personal opinion or experiences really come through. Like I said, I REALLY like your writing style. You express your thought processes in a very real way that I have not found else where. You are articulate and put a voice to those thoughts that are hard to get to---the thoughts under the thoughts.

    If you ever write a book beyond your dissertation, I would buy it.

    I support you either way, you have to do what is best for you and your family. But I would miss your writing. Hope you get clarity soon. :)

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  14. I don't particularly agree with everything you say, but I have found your blog strangely fascinating since you were pregnant with Zari. I found it after a tip from a mutual friend who knew you growing up in Rochester. Truthfully, the stage when you were pregnant with Zari and delivering unassisted was the most interesting to me because it seemed so outlandish. You have moderated a bit in that time, but I do still check back. I can't exactly say why, but I am curious about your Mormonism too and the intersection of that with your views on birthing and female-ness in general.

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  15. I love reading your blog. I don't comment much, if at all, but it's on my reader and I enjoy your posts. I first found your blog after I had a c-section with my son and was looking for more information on VBAC's. It's been about 2.5 years and I'm still a dedicated reader. I enjoy how your blog is set up, what you post about, and don't think you need to change anything. Your blog has made an impact on my life so in my opinion, your blog has not been a waste of time. I say do whatever you feel you need to do, but for however long you decide to write on this blog, I'll be reading your posts.

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  16. Please don't stop blogging. I'm not eloquent like the previous posters. I can only second what they have said and add that I think your mix of birth/pregnancy and family/home is perfect. Lucia

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  17. Rixa, don't quit. I stumbled onto your blog soon after getting pregnant last summer and along with some other birth blogs, it started a major change in my life. I've been reading faithfully ever since. Sorry I've never commented before, so you had no idea I was reading, but here's one faithful reader who thinks that the information you share can change the world. Keep it up. I especially love that you remind us all that the birthing beliefs we share are supported by evidence. I will try to do a better job of commenting and spreading the word about your blog and other similar ones. Blogs are where my major change in birth beliefs started, and I think many other women are ready for the same change. I enjoy the posts about your family, too--it's good to see the human side of someone who does so much research about birth. And as a fellow member of the LDS faith, I love that my at least some of my sisters are looking to reclaim their births.
    --Heidi

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  18. Dear Dr. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have sent a pregnant mommy to your blog. It is easy, fun, accurate, REAL (your birthing and mothering expereinces add validity), and real good reading! I wouldn't want it to get in the way of 1)your marriage 2)your childrearing 3)your personal time, fun, hobbies cuz that is what makes your blog so facinating! That you have time to do it all and so creatively and successfully!
    In todays media frensy information is god and communication is out the window. When I read you I see the God is still God and real communication still happens! When I read your blog I feel hopeful - Hopeful for birth, hopeful for the family unit and hopeful for me, this ol crone, divorced, widowed, doula with first grandchild on the way!
    No guilt if you move on...If God says, "move on", we both know that He will provide another resource for all the new mommies and grandmommies. Just know that we'll never forget you and we love you. Praying for your family today-Rosie

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  19. Rixa, I have enjoyed your blog since the beginning. I must admit that I don't read the academic/birth stuff anymore since I am now longer in that stage of my life (hopefully), but I do really enjoy the personal/family stories that you share.

    I understand the existential stuff, though. To my surprise, I've mostly left off blogging, though I do still intend to get back to it. I found that "real" life is taking way more of my time than it used to. :)

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  20. Rixa, I have enjoyed your blog since the beginning. I must admit that I don't read the academic/birth stuff anymore since I am now longer in that stage of my life (hopefully), but I do really enjoy the personal/family stories that you share.

    I understand the existential stuff, though. To my surprise, I've mostly left off blogging, though I do still intend to get back to it. I found that "real" life is taking way more of my time than it used to. :)

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  21. I enjoy the academic stuff, I think it gives credence to birth activism that could appeal to people who might think birth activism is just a bunch of woo.

    my feedback: make it easier to share your posts on Facebook. Frequently I'd like to share posts but have no quick and easy way of doing so. So then I don't, which is a real shame...

    and I think blogging is a good way to expand an audience for a book.

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  22. You're a complete stranger I have zero connection to, yet I read your blog... so keep doing what you're doing:)

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  23. this is your blog and you can write about whatever you like : ) I enjoy reading the academic, birthy stuff as I am a child birth educator and am applying for midwifery next year. I generally dont read personal / family posts from people I dont know personally. Your blog is lovely and I think the balance is fine. You have no obligation to continue and if you have other things with higher priorities then go with that. Your blog does make a difference though. by the way, I am writing all the way from New Zealand. thankyou for writing.

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  24. I read all your stuff, but I particularly like the research analysis and critiques. You have an intelligent, measured, informed voice that is very valuable.

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  25. Rixa, like a few others have said, your blog is a daily read for me. I'm a midwife in Oz and a mum of an 11month old. I've loved your posts about Dio, because he's just that bit ahead of my boy and your experiences have been a bit of light at the end of the tunnel some days. Equally, the professional stuff is great and gives a breadth of reading that I wouldn't get just here in Oz. But mainly, despite having plenty of women to hang out with here, I read your blog and it feels like you're the kind of woman I could meet for a cup of tea and a chat, and if that's not community I don't know what is.
    Please continue!

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  26. Please don't stop your blog. I never comment because of lack of time, but come here regularly to check. In fact, now that I am pregnant again and preparing for a new experience of a home birth I went back and read all the entries from both your pregnancies, and e-mailed you about the tub and hypnobabies. I do think your blog makes a difference, it is one of the most informative, yet not too academic since there is also casual info about how you parent your kids and about your family, which keeps it all very balanced. I think what you are doing is a very REAL thing, you are bringing the information out to all those pregnant women that are looking for it. And yes, if someone is not interested in reading it than that someone could be considered waste of time if you tried to convince them. But for the once who are out there and want to make informed choices, your blog is an excellent resource.

    I was actually fascinated about a little story that happened to me. We just moved to another state where midwifery is alegal, so not ilegal, but there is no freestanding birthing centers and midwifes generally don't have any back ups from hospital. This of course means more women go to the hospital, which is extremely conventional, they do standard episiotomies (!), high C-section rates, all kind of standard monitoring, terrible and my biggest nightmare. So I started looking into homebirth, and then I realized that there is no support here for natural birthing, not much prenatal yoga, not many doulas, and since I am considering a career change, I became intrigued and thought about apprenticing with a midwife or doula. I told a friend of mine about it, who just had her baby via C-section in the hospital, and her answer was "yes, if anybody than you should be a midwife, you are totally into that stuff!" And I realized that I wasn't totally into it, I was just trying to prepare a conscious birth and to make informed decisions, and OMG, how many people don't do that and don't have the information!!!! So blogs like yours are so important to spread the word, believe me! When I first started reading your blog, it was 2 years ago, I wasn't pregnant or considering it. I liked your writing style, and I stuck to it. So, I actually do wonder how important your voice was even in my own life, without me or you realizing it.

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  27. I face the same questions. I have a personal blog and then my birth blog, but sometimes I throw a little personal things into my birth blog.

    I love that your blog is a good combination of both. I think you should continue that! And for sure continue to have your blog!

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  28. I also really enjoy everything you write, sure sometimes you write more about birthy stuff but no matter what you write it is well written!

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  29. Hey Rixa- I read your blog regularly and for the most part, you're preaching to the choir with me, but it wasn't always that way. I remember a few years ago I came across your blog when I was starting to question my traumatic hospital birth. Your blog does make a difference. You in part contributed to my most recent birth- a beautiful home birth. You can read it here if you like: http://onemoremum.blogspot.com/2010/03/accidental-freebirth-planned-homebirth.html

    Thank you! Your blog means a lot to me.

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  30. Hi Rixa, I have also been reading your blog for a few years. One thing I like (and you commented the same on my blog) is that we have daughters and sons about the same age and I am a doula and I am also LDS. I like all the information you put and I actually try to pattern my blog similar to yours with a mix of birth(y) stuff adn family updates/pictures. Your is also linked on many other people's blogs including my own. This is great because maybe I don't have the information or courage to share certain things but if a friend of mine is reading my blog and then sees yours, they might stumble upon all the great information there. Thanks for your blogging!

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  31. Hello Rixa,
    Your blog is one of my favorites. I love your scholarly/evidence based approach to thinking and talking about birth. I think that is quite rare.

    I also love hearing about your family and what you are like as a mother. So, don't stop that part either!

    I am a hospital-birther myself...and don't agree with you all the time, but I appreciate your perspectives and you were inspiring as I chose hypnobabies and had a natural 3rd birth.

    So...KEEP IT UP! Thanks! Suz

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  32. we all keep coming back just to browse and take in your comments and the interesting things you point out.

    like any friend, its the normalness that we rely on, a specific voice we listen for, because its helpful and reliable. so even what seems mundane after a time to you is still interesting to us, your virtual friends, who come to check in.

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  33. I appreciate the questioning....It can be such a rich, juicy world online -- and then we have our real actual lives to live out.

    I wonder too about what folks want more of from their online world. I am just posting bits that I think are worthwhile and inspiring, especially to women just stumbling into out-of-hospital birth. If something I post touches one mamas spirit in a new, inspiring way then I'm satisfied.

    Loving your blog!

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  34. I came across your blog as a link from TopHat. I know her IRL, and heard her birth plans, and thought she was insane, straight up insane, and I've always been a big fan of natural birth and all that.

    Coming across your blog, I began to see the way that UC could have a place, and thought her less crazy. I don't know that I will ever plan to have a UC, but your blog has shaped so much the way I envision giving birth, and allowing that experience to be all that it can be.

    That comes from the research, from the day to day talk of your life, I like it all.

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  35. I've really enjoyed your blog. And as for whether it makes a difference -- just look at your most recent post! Do you think the Midwifery Modernization Act would have passed without the mobilization of the online community of women who care about natural birth? You are an insightful and eloquent part of that community.

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  36. I love your blog! Whenever I've read something discouraging.negative about birth I come to your blog and feel comforted!

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  37. Dear Rixa,

    I would love to see your blog continue. I know that a lot of it is "preaching to the choir," but honestly, almost any issues-oriented blog is going to fall into that category. And putting more information "out there" means that expectant mamas are more likely to run across it in the endless internet information searches that expectant mamas do! :) Additionally, your blog is one of the more scholarly blogs, as opposed to those of us who maintain more casual birth blogs. I love having blogs like yours out there because I can point my more objective, numbers/research-oriented friends to your blog, as well as a few others, when they want to do hard research for their birth choices. The loss of your blog would be a terrible loss to the birth community and to mothers everywhere! I do hope you will keep up the awesome work I've enjoyed this past year or so.

    Cheers!
    Diana

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  38. Hi Rixa---

    I started reading your blog when I was pregnant with my second baby and looking for positive birth stories. Your blog is probably my favorite birth blog, the one I point others to, because it is a nice mix. When you share your personal stories, it allows your readers to connect with you. When you post academic studies related to birth, breastfeeding, etc., it gives you credibility. And, I would advise not to have two blogs. I have one for my family and one where I ramble about food, and it's a pain to keep up two of them. I keep meaning to consolidate them, but it's too much work.

    ---Jessica

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  39. Rixa,

    I comment very rarely, but your blog serves as a great starting point for a lot of birthy continuing education (I'm a doula). I like the blend of fact, commentary and life. I've suggested/linked to your posts many times, leading other birthy folks your way. I know we would miss you if you stopped.

    Abby in Vancouver BC

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  40. I don't even remember how I came across this blog--I think I might have linked it from a post on facebook, but I don't remember.

    I am also LDS, but I don't have children just yet. However, this blog has helped me shape my own opinions for what I want out of my future births. I admired how while you did have a UC for your first, you acted upon the prompting you had to seek out a midwife for your second. I admire you for acting upon promptings you received, and you are an example to me for it.

    I do have my own personal ideal for my future births, but I am going to keep myself open to spiritual promptings and listen to my own intuition. I figure if it's important to me, then it's important to my Heavenly Father.

    Please keep up your blog, I really enjoy reading it.

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  41. I love your blog! I love reading the birth posts, including (perhaps especially) the more "academic" ones since I still haven't figured out how to penetrate the world of medical academia for myself, and I love the peeks you give into your personal life as well. I don't always agree with everything you say, and sometimes (but not always) have said so in the comments, but I certainly value the way that your posts so often make me THINK.

    All that being said, I can certainly understand the pull between family and blogging. I feel it with my own blog. For myself, the blogging waxes and wanes: sometimes I post nearly every day, and then there are the other times. Today was my first post in 2 weeks. I used to feel bad about that, but I've come to the conclusion that blogging is a hobby; something that I do both for my own enjoyment and to spread the word about things I consider important. But it always has to take a backseat to "real" life concerns, and it's OK when that means that the blog is "neglected" for a while.

    I guess what I'm saying is: feel free to "neglect" us when you need to, but I for one would miss your voice, should you choose to quit blogging altogether!

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  42. Your words and knowledge are what turned my postpartum depression around- you gave me power when I had none.

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  43. I enjoy your blog immensely and I hope you continue it. I like the scholarly articles, esp. since I'm a nurse and I DO understand it, and learn from it. I enjoy your style of writing, it's very articulate and colorful. I like to hear about your environmental efforts like composting and home renovation because it gives me ideas... And I enjoy your parenting posts as well- I would actually like to hear more about your parenting style and philosophies. I would prefer if you kept the birth and the family posts combined, because your blog has a very personal touch to it.

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  44. No don't quit, I love this blog... Very interesting and helps make birth decisions. Keep it up!

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  45. Rixa, this blog has helped me so much. Yes you may be discussing the same topics (within birth) as a lot of other blogs, but of all that I follow it's yours that I would be the last to unsubscribe from (this is not just lip service). It's because you bring such an amazing mix of the academic and the personal. I know when I read a post from you that it will be well-thought-out and not just a radical emotional response. At the same time, your writing is never dry and always caring and compassionate.

    That was about your birth writing, as far as your family, I love hearing about them! It makes you real and shows how well you live your principles. Also that things aren't always perfect, no pedestal here.

    If the blog is a weight around your neck, then far be it for me to tell you to keep writing it out of my own selfish desires. But it seems you are questioning this mostly because you feel it's not making an impact and let me tell you, it absolutely is.

    For instance, you've completely changed my opinions about unassisted birth and midwifery, forcing me to deeply reexamine my life path. And you did that without leaving me feeling bad or judged for what I was originally thinking. I come from the same side of the idealogical spectrum, more or less, but even still you are changing minds.

    I know sometimes when I'm questioning part of my life and everyone responds positively I have trouble believing them because it seems they care more about making me feel better than supporting the true vision of what I want to do. I don't just want to have a good life, but a great one, and that's why I'm so frustrated. So hearing "you're doing good," doesn't actually fix anything.

    Maybe you feel like that or maybe you don't, but let me tell you that I have *high* expectations of blogs. I read only few and only the best. And yours is up there at the top of any I've discovered in the birth world and maybe number 5 overall.

    No matter how you go forward from here, thank you for what you've provided all of us so far.

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  46. Rarely comment, but I read every post. I like the mix of birth, personal, etc. I especially like that you have a lot of measured, un-hysterical commentary on birth issues. Its one of the more rational, science-y birth blogs that I feel comfortable sending to mainstream friends.

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  47. I've been reading your blog for a long time, I think when Zari was born. You have been my biggest influence on deciding to have a home birth. I am a vbac'er for the 2nd time, so when I see anything on here regarding vbacs it really encourages me. (esp. home vbacs)

    Keep up your work, I love seeing things about your family mixed in about birth. You are making a difference! And you have a beautiful family! I'm always amazed at how well you adapt to anywhere you live, like in France right now!!

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  48. Rixa, I think the balance here is great -- I tend to prefer blogs that hit on a variety of topics. One thing I find fascinating that you didn't mention in your list of topics is all the DIY stuff you've done, like converting your car to run on vegetable oil and all the work you've done renovating your homes.

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  49. Please keep blogging, Rixa! I heard about your blog from a couple sources: a friend who was pregnant and researching natural childbirth and again from my midwife with whom you'd been an assistant for a time.

    I enjoy the scholarly articles (my husband is an English professor and I occasionally toy with the idea of going back to school myself), the links to interesting birth topics, and pretty much all your posts! I also enjoy the family updates--it gives your blog a very human heart and soul (I especially like them because my daughter was born at home just a few days before Dio).

    You're doing important work for women and birth--please keep it up!

    Jenn H.

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  50. I stumbled on to your blog a little over a year ago and thought to myself as I read, "this woman is crazy." At the time I was about to get married and about as far as possible from wanting children. Your logical, endearing, and intriguing voice kept me coming back despite having little initial interest in the subject matter. Flash forward to a year later-I feel armed with knowledge for when I do become pregnant in the future. I don't yet know when or exactly how I will have children, but I know for sure that it will be decidedly different because of your blog.

    I think the variety of topics is what makes your blog unique. They are all tied together by your unique voice, making your blog an all around must-read. The "mundane" isn't mundane because you keep it real and honest. It also gives creedence to what you write about (cloth diapering, breast feeding, home birth, etc) because we get to see you actually doing those things as a part of normal life.

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  51. Rixa, I don't ever comment, but enjoy reading your blog and I feel like I have learned a lot and become more open minded about birthing, nursing and mothering. You bring viewpoints that I have never heard of, understood, or been comfortable with and help me see another side of them. I may not agree with you all the time, but I definitely feel like you have changed my mind and given me courage on a lot of birthing and breast feeding topics.

    Thanks for all of your insight and knowledge!
    Heather

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  52. My blog is all about mamas and babies, basically devoted to pregnancy and birth stuff. I periodically go through an existential crisis myself, wondering if any of my effort is worth it, if I'm actually helping anyone or making a difference. Invariably whenever I start to wonder I'll get a little nudge. A message from someone telling me that my blog post opened their eyes to something, or a situation where I see a small glimpse of my efforts helping someone. It keeps me going, and when I start to wonder again I just look back on those small precious moments.

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  53. Dear Rixa~

    Thank you for sharing your voice with us! I read your blog weekly and appreciate the wide range of topics.

    Your blog has been hugely inspiring-- and at times challenging for me to read (so much focus on medicalized birth, lately...would love to see you write more on unhindered pregnancy & birth physiology!)

    Blessings,
    Sondra

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  54. Rixa,

    I don't think I've ever commented until today. I am 24 years old,married for 2 years and I found your blog about 2 years ago. I didn't know anything about natural birth until I read your blog (I don't even remember how I found it now!) You have completed changed the course of my "childbirth life." I don't have any children,but if (hopefully when) we get pregnant, I will be using your blog as a resource for homebirth. Thank you for being a voice for natural birth and for positively influencing me!

    Keep writing!

    Kelly

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  55. I'm not sure if I've ever commented before, but I have been a faithful reader for a little over a year now, and I LOVE your blog. I have several birth blogs on my reader, but yours is one of my absolute favorites. I have slowly become a birth activist, and can't get enough of the latest news and analysis of these issues (esp. since 2 friends just in the past two weeks ended up with c-sections I suspect were iatrogenic and now their breastfeeding relationships are in jeopardy, grrrrrrrrr). I especially love the academic stuff -- I read your whole dissertation start to finish, and loved it -- but I love the home and family stuff as well. Your blog would be sorely missed!

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  56. I love everything about your blog. I cannot count the number of times I have recommended people check it out. During midwifery school when I was cringing over the medicalization of our program and profession, I got a lot of grounding and solace from your blog.

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  57. Rixa, I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog even if I don't comment a lot these days. You post pretty regularly and cover all sorts of things from articles to studies to other personal conversations you're having with others in the field. You are such an important voice as your experiences and education is varied enough that people want to know what you think. I believe that there's nothing wrong with mixing your personal life in with your birth blog.

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  58. I'm another person who first found your blog in the early stages of my pregnancy. I had always had a vague idea of wanting a natural birth, but I really had no idea what it meant or what sort of opposition I would face in trying to get one. Thanks to blogs like yours, I asked more uestions, did more research, and made informed decisions that I'm proud of in having my baby. Thank you.

    I like reading your reflections on birth, and things about your family/home/garden. I'm not a fully-fledged birth junkie but I sometimes enjoy reading articles about news or statistics.

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  59. I enjoy the wide variety of material on your blog so I'd encourage you to keep that aspect. It keeps a wider variety of readers coming back.

    Personally, I am most interested in the academic stuff, the discussion of research studies, the discussions of birth politics, etc., but I enjoy mommy blogging stuff too (within reason).

    I'm not generally interested in reading the smallest details of daily life in anyone's blog but I quite enjoy general stuff about their kids and lives...the things that make them more "relatable."

    Re: birth, you have a strong and unique voice that both preaches and raises important points to the choir but also reaches beyond to folks outside the natural birth community. You don't have to be defined only by that, but don't shy away from that important mission either.

    I'm always in awe by how much you accomplish (getting your PhD, having and raising two kids while doing that, writing articles, playing in the symphony, running a business, reading and reviewing books, gardening and being all domestic-y, renovating and running a rental property, traveling, speaking at conferences, etc.). But if you feel you need to do some fine-tuning on the balance in your life, don't be afraid to do so. Remember that you can have it all.....you just don't have to have it all AT ONCE.

    You have a very powerful voice and point of view in the blog, and a very unique and influential niche. Find a way to continue that and still keep your life sane and balanced.

    I know you will.

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  60. You were a great resource for me while pregnant with my first child, and while I didn't have the natural birth I anticipated, I nevertheless felt very empowered in my labor thanks in part to you and all the other natural-birth mamas in the blogosphere! You are probably the most academic blog I read, and while I don't read the super heavy-duty stuff I appreciate you offering the resources in case I someday do require them. I hope you keep it up!

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  61. Reading blogs about home birth were really the tipping point for me to choose a home birth. I had been reading a lot of books throughout my pregnancy, but reading the personal stories of different women was what really pushed me to ditch my OB and find a midwife at 32 weeks. So I don't think you are just preaching to the choir and I find your posts very useful to stay informed about the latest news and research on childbirth, breastfeeding, mothering, etc. since this is not my area of study (I am an academic social psychologist) but is important to me.

    I enjoy your blog because you present well-researched information, coupled with your own opinions (and are careful to make the distinction between the two). I also enjoy reading about your family/mothering stuff so I hope you don't feel like you HAVE TO separate them. It's your blog, after all, and we all enjoy reading it.

    As far as doing "real" world things...you did write a dissertation and publish research articles and you are thoughtfully parenting two children. That's pretty real to me :)

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  62. Rixa your blog is one of the first that I turn to for updates and news in the "birth" world.

    You are providing important information.

    If you enjoy doing it, and if it feels like a part of your "soul work", and if you can make the time for it without going crazy then keep doing it--if no--then scrap it.

    As for splitting it into 2 blogs... sounds like waaay too much work and effort to me:)

    Thank you for what you do! You ARE making a difference!

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  63. I hope you don't stop blogging, about the personal or birthing stuff. You have opened my eyes to information that I had no idea was even available about birthing. It has changed my who perspective on the pregnancy and birthing process. I feel kind of like I was finally let out of the Matrix. When/If I decide to have children, it will certainly strongly shape how I handle the plans and birth. Thank you for that - you certainly have made a difference in one life at least!

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  64. I love your blog! And, talk about small world....I was telling my husband about your blog, and we started putting two and two together, and my husband knows your husband! ha ha ha

    But he said your husband would probably rememeber my brother in law more-My husband is Jake Heninger-his brother is Noah.

    Any ways, I do like you blog a lot. That post you did about the LDS prayers at birth is something I have been thinking about for like the last month! So thank you!!

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  65. I found your blog after I had children which was a shame because I've learned so much from reading your posts that would have helped me during pregnancy and birth. Don't stop blogging!

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  66. Rixa,
    Two days ago I found out I am expecting my first child. It is because of your blog and other blogs like it that I have already contacted a homebirth midwife. I have learned a lot, been empowered, and enjoyed hearing about Zari and Dio, too! Keep up the great work!

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  67. Please keep blogging! I love it all-- academic, personal, whatever.

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  68. You are a bit like the American Version of Birth Love - unfortunately that site is down now too for the second time, but it was a fantastic resource for homebirth, updated by a mom of 8!

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  69. Unfortunately the content is gone but you can still scroll through the menue to get an idea of what used to be there:

    http://birthlove.cyclzone.com/

    It was a Canadian site based in British Columbia and I believe Gloria Lemay assisted at one of the site organizer's (the mom of 7) birth. It had a HUGE following, especially in Canada.

    She also had one birth unassisted.

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  70. You dont know me. But I follow you avidly. You have opened my eyes to more birth resources. I will need them for my next baby. When the time comes I will be working toward a HBA2C.

    Please dont stop. I like your mix of birth and real life. Even when I have NO idea what your French says. :)

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  71. Hey Rixa, this is a great, informative, engaging blog, and I've found it really valuable during my pregnancy - during which I have become fascinated with all things birth-related. I hope I'll be reading it for many years to come! Emma

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  72. You know what is funny, I was just thinking to myself recently that your blog seemed very well balanced with a mix of personal posts and pregnancy/childbirth posts. I really enjoy when you do more analysis vs. just mentioning issues or whatever. For example, I loved that recent post about controlling your children while in public because I had never really thought about it in that light before. I love the personal posts as well because although it may sound weird, I think of you as a role model.

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  73. Britt Wanta7/5/10, 5:30 PM

    It matters! It matters! I look to your blog for all matter of updates and birth news. I truly feel more informed and a much better midwife because of your clearinghouse with analysis approach. And I would miss the family updates terribly. It adds credibility and truthfulness to what could be a news outlet of sorts. Please, Please, Please be reassured and don't stop!!

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  74. Reading your blog has changed my mind about some things,opened my mind to others and I really like how you gather relevant info on various topics (must be a ton of work for you) and commentary on them. I think it's a good balance too, of your family life and the birth info.

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  75. I have blogging crises every once in a while, too. I think it's good to keep thinking about why you're doing what you're doing, and that said, I will share that I personally enjoy your blog just the way it is. :)

    I like the personal posts, the professional ones, the informative/resource-based ones. I think your reviews are thorough and enjoyable. I have never thought "I want more of that" or "I want less of that."

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  76. Rixa,

    I've been reading your blog for two years or so, when I started getting interested in pursuing a career in midwifery. You are one of the best bloggers in the field, I think because of your highly trained critical eye and self-awareness, which in my opinion is lacking in the vast majority of "birthy" blogs.

    I've drifted away from midwifery and toward pediatrics, but I still enjoy your blog. In my opinion, the posts that use your birthing and parenting experiences as a lens through which to view these issues are the most appealing and powerful.

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  77. I enjoy your blog-- the birth posts, the family posts, all of it!

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  78. Judging by the enormous amount of comments already here I know I'm late chiming in. I just wanted to say that while I haven't had as much time to read regularly, your blog is still one of my favorites (and I read a lot of them).

    a) I enjoy just about everything you write. You definitely have a focus, which is a good thing, but you sprinkle in yourself along with your opinions, too, which is what keeps it interesting. I love reading about you and your family as I remember, warmly, your pregnancies and your births (well as much as one can from the internet).

    b) This IS the real world. Sure, it's not present in your face but neither is someone you are talking on the phone with. Just because the interactions are happening with people you cannot see or hear doesn't make them any less real or valid. I assure you that I am a real person, are are the other commenters here.

    c) I think you make more difference than you'll ever know. You are planting seeds of open minded thinking and you have no idea what those seeds are going to grow into later.

    I say keep up the good work and not just because I'm a fan and would be sad if you stopped. :)

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  79. Hi Rixa,

    I am writing from Turkey. We have a real high C-section here and women are only recently realizing that they have options. I recommended your blog to so many of my friends who need advice on different birthing options. Plus I really like the mix of academic writing and family stories here. So thank you for your decision to keep this blog.

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  80. I love your blog, just the way it is! I don't have any kids yet but I've been trying to learn more about the issues in pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, etc. Your blog has been a great source of info for me. I love the scientific, level-headed approach that you use and it's my first go-to when I'm trying to explain something to others and need facts.

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  81. Here's my first comment online since my electricity fast: I want you to know that your blog has changed my life.

    Perhaps I would've gotten interested in natural childbirth anyway, but I doubt it. Knowing you a bit in real life and then reading on my own time your blend of honesty, introspection, serious research and evidence plus personal experience intrigued me enough to reevaluate a lot of things in my life, not limited to my expectations for this coming birth.

    If that isn't 'real,' I don't know what is.

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  82. I love reading your blog. I would love to hear more about your feelings between about unassisted birth/midwife assisted birth, and how they have evolved. But I do enjoy reading all of it.

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  83. I rarely comment, but I read your blog all the time... it is definitely inspiring to me as a doula and future midwife. Also, living in Switzerland, I love your stories about your family in France. Keep it up.

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  84. I am a nurse midwifery student and a past American Studies major. I read your blog weekly. For me it is an ideal merging of my personal interests but also I see your blog as weaving together the cultural, clinical, academic, and mothering birth communities together. This is a rare public space for that type of dialogue where those groups are not siloed out. Personally I'm not as interested in the family aspect yet clearly that is important for others here. Keep it up.

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  85. your blog is my favourite birth blog. i recommend it to every pregnant woman I know (lots and lots) every birth care provider I know (lots and lots). i do give the disclaimer that they may be made jealous by all the dreamy photos of your family traveling in europe, but it is worth it for the whip smart dissection and analysis of birth. I prefer the nerdy fabulous birth discussions but the fun family updates every now and then make for a nice break, and remind us why we're so into birth in the first place.

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  86. I don't know if you still struggle with these questions but I have been reading your blog (from the start, post by post) and I have found it so helpful. I'm currently pregnant with my first,and will be returning to school after my mat leave to pursue a Masters in Public Health.I love your blog because it speaks to me as a mom-to-be struggling to make decisions about my upcoming delivery AND also as an aspiring academic.

    And then there are all the other topics you cover which just keep the entire thing interesting. I love reading about your family, your home, your marriage, your faith etc because it helps me relate to you as a person and it also challenges me to think more about other choices in my life. I'm glad to see you're still writing, and can't wait to catch up to you so I can read along in real time.

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