Where I am Going from Here!

Natural or Epidural, what should I do?

Childbirth. We are all here because of it. Mothers describe it as the most painful and amazing days of their lives. Yes, that is correct, I said days. My mother was in labor for two whole days. I feel like childbirth is not something that our society talks about regularly. We have made it become such a clinical thing. We almost treat pregnancy as something that needs to be treated, all of the doctors, medications, and hand sanitizer to make this process as efficient and painless as possible. You have 36 hours to have this “magical” experience. The welcoming white walls and cold air greet you at the door.

This article will cover the comparisons and differences a birth in a hospital with an OBGYN verses a birth at a women’s center with a midwife. This will not tell women that they are bad people for making a choice of how to have their children, but rather show the positives and negatives of both types of births. I will admit that I have a slight bias because I am very pro natural birth, but I do understand the purpose of the more clinical side of childbirth. My hope is to interview several different mothers and be able to convey their stories of childbirth, especially touching on the reasons why they chose to have the births that they did. I will then relate this to scholarly articles on the social shift from natural births to the desire for c-sections and epidurals.

My goals and life have been all over the place in the last four years at school, but I have always come back to midwifery. I have a passion for women’s health and how to improve it and educate society. I plan to one day become a doula or possibly a midwife. This article will help me define what route I will want to take after graduation. Will I enter a masters program right away or will I start an apprenticeship process to become a doula?

 

Missions Date Started Date Completed Initials
Outline of Article 3/10
Resources Chosen 3/28
Draft One 4/3
Writing Center Visit #1 4/5
Revisions 4/10-4/20
Final Draft Published 4/25

 

 

Feminism, man.

Feminism, it’s a wavy subject. Literally. The waves of feminism have currently been hitting the world like a tsunami. It was once thought the the third wave of feminism was over, that women had become equal to men, that they had the same rights as men. As we know from the past events, including the Women’s March in January and the upcoming Day Without a Woman next week.

For this applied project I will take to the community, my community of strong amazing women and men. Feminism has such a negative connotation attached to it. There are flashbacks to bra burning, dyed armpit hair and god forbid women in the workforce. Society has evolved so much, but still has such a long way to go.

March is Women’s History Month according to the Google, and America. What I plan to do is a tweet a day with a photo and 140 character interview with women and even some men. I want to hone in on celebrating regular, everyday people. These interviews will then be compiled into a blog series view book. I want to bring awareness and break down the stigma of what constitutes a feminist. It is not gender, biological sex, sexual orientation or political officiation.

My eport will include all of the tweets in real time as well as an articulated and complete composition of the interviews with some extended interviews. I would like it to be a series of feminist women and men and why they believe in equal rights among the sexes. There will be photos, hotlinks, and videos of the interviewed persons and hopefully myself sitting down and meeting with them.

Since this is such a relevant and time oriented project I need to begin right away, as in tomorrow! Each week will feature one person who’s story really stood out to me. I will do a full blog post about that person as well as the 140 character tweet interview.

What I hope others gain from this is that feminism is not a bad word. So ask yourself this, are you a feminist?

 

Mission Start Date Date Completed Initials
Daily Tweet in March 3/1 3/31
Weekly Blog 3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26 3/31
Reflection Blog Post 4/5
Completed Viewbook 4/25

Linda. The Woman. The Myth. The Legend.

I remember my first day of class with Dr. Linda Upham-Bornstein. It was a crisp aired Tuesday of the spring semester of my junior year. The class was in Samuel Reed Hall and I was very lost trying to find the classroom. I found a seat in the middle of the room next to a pair of young girls. At exactly 9:30 a woman I assumed was the professor walked in in a slight tizzy. She was sporting a lovely arm sling and attempting to carry all of her papers and laptop under her other arm. Without any

Dr. Upham-Bornstein at PSU Graduation

hesitation she began to tell us how she got her arm in a sling and how it was really interfering with her boxing workouts. At this moment I wasn’t quite sure if I was even in the correct classroom, but I was for certain, this woman had an amazing story.

If you were wondering how she got into that sling, well she was in a car accident, but she was riding a bike. Dr. UB would keep us posted regularly on her health updates before class would start and throughout the semester we learned a lot about each other.

The class was Women’s US History. Dr. UB would make it come alive! She would not only reflect and teach us about the text and the histories, but she would intertwine her own life’s stories. She would educate us on so many topics that I didn’t even think were history. I was truly inspired by this woman’s greatness and the finesse that she was. And just when you think you knew everything she would tell you about the time she was a cab driver during college.

When the assignment of interviewing a Plymouth State professor came up I knew exactly who I was going to contact. As I composed the email a warm smile came across my face. I missed Dr. UB so much and really regretted not taking her class this past Fall. Within hours we had a meeting date and excitement to see each other. But of course the one day that she comes to campus there is a snow day. Not to worry, we had a plan B!

Dr. UB and I began our catch up… I mean interview Thursday morning. We attempted to FaceTime chat, but technology being itself we had to settle for just a phone call. Our interview was more like two friends talking and sharing stories. We

Linda and her daughter, Alison Janes, with their signs from the Women’s March in LA

started off talking about the Women’s March and how amazing and inspiring it was. Both of us had attended the March, I was in Concord and she was in LA with her daughter. We talking about the clever signs that we saw and the influential speakers we heard. Both of us being feminists we agreed that it was such an honor to be a part of a moment like this one. Dr. UB told me that this was not her first protest, being a active feminist during the second, third and now fourth wave of feminism.

As our conversation continued Dr. UB reflected on what being a woman meant to her. In regards to child birth, menopause, the woman’s “duties”, and her relationship to her breasts in relation to cancer. At the end of semester last spring Dr. UB found out that she had breast cancer right before our class met. She told me that she felt such a connection to our class and felt comfortable and the need to share this life changing event with us. That class was truly an emotional one. That same day our reading was about breast cancer. But Dr. UB pushed through the day and made it such a learning lesson.

Dr. UB shared with me the experiences that she has gone through this past year. When she was younger she contracted polio, which now made it not possible for her to receive chemotherapy. This really had her think about her relationship with her breasts. She had a big decision to make. Why are having breasts make you a woman? This question lead us to the topic of menopause. She said the experience was almost liberating. It finally was socially okay to focus on her career instead of having the pressures of motherhood. Yes, she did have a child, but she was no longer expected to continue to have children. Due to these womanly challenges or changes Dr. UB says “I’m constantly learning on how to look at things differently.”

To get some back story about Dr. Linda Upham-Bornstein she teaches history courses at Plymouth State University, including but not limited to Women’s US History, Legal History, and Public History. She really enjoys Public History because it’s history for everyday people, for all people.  It, in itself,is interdisciplinary. The bridge between academics and the public; making it relatable to the everyday persons life.

In her higher education career she received a masters in Museum Studies and a doctorate in Legal History. She was able to go to college because of affirmative action. She drove a cab and worked on cars in

The day that Linda left her home at age 18.

order to support herself. When she graduated she worked in a museum on a blacksmith exhibit and said she really enjoyed her work and learning about a topic she wasn’t too familiar with.

Today, other than teaching, Dr. UB is working on a book contract regarding legal and tax payers. She was working on some of her research at UCLA when she was visiting her daughter this past winter. She is also working in collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Noel on the evolution of tourism and health. The class works with a client, this year is the Jewish community.

Some of her current focus is the North Country of New Hampshire. Especially the women of the North. She says they are very much stuck in their ways of how a woman should act. “Why do you feel the need to do this?” She asks referring to cooking for their husbands every night. She talks again about breast cancer in respect to the North Country. “There is a lack of support for these women up here. Did you know that 1/8 women will have breast cancer?”

We talked a lot about my major and why I chose Interdisciplinary Studies. “Life is interdisciplinary!” She says to me with excitement over the phone. We have now been talking for over 40 minutes. She tells me how history has always been interdisciplinary. Her focus was in law which she connected to Plymouth State’s clusters approach.

My experience in Dr. UB’s class really shaped me. I learned so much and this class and this professor fostered my growth as an individual and a feminist. I am truly blessed to have met such an amazing and  enlightening woman.

And just for fun here is the link to Linda at her boxing class!!! IMG_0455

 

-A

Where Do I Go From Here?

So here I am, in my senior year of college. I’m awaiting my entry into the “real world” but first I have to get that $120,000 piece of paper and a handshake. Honestly, that’s not what I think my education is, I want to walk away with something that I am proud of, something that I have accomplished that I can bring to employers and be like “Hey! Look at this amazing thing that I did!”

Article Ideas:

  • I’m really interested in reproductive rights across the country.
    • Even though America is the same country, each state varies on their rights.
  • What I find very curious how childbirth and women’s health care has evolved over the years.
    • I would like to take a deeper look into what causes these trends in how women choose to have their babies; i.e. natural with, C-Section, induced ect.
  • Another topic of interest of mine is midwifery vs OBGYN.
    • These are both professionals that a pregnant woman can go to for pre and post natal care. I think that midwifery is making a comeback in today’s naturopathic world and the trends would be interesting to compare.
  • Young women’s health has also been a topic on intrigue of mine.
    • What is out there for resources for these young women? What information are they receiving in public schools? How do professionals reach them? These are all questions I would like to know the answer to.
  • Lastly, is self esteem and empowerment for young women.
    • I believe there is a true lack of education and empowerment for young ladies in today’s society. Why is this? How can we change it?

Applied Project Ideas:

  • I used to work for the SAGE Center on campus, but sadly that is no longer a resource for us. I am interested in bringing back a resource or something similar to this back to campus.
    • Two years ago we not only lost the Wellness Center but also the SAGE Center. These were both places where one could receive advice, have access to advocacy, and links to further resources for gender and women’s health needs.
  • I am very interested in women’s empowerment, especially for teens and younger women. I would like to volunteer or be a part of the Young Women Day that Plymouth hosts every year.
  • I have been in contact with the Pemi Youth Center and have shared with them that I am interested in writing a young women’s empowerment curriculum. Since I have already written curriculums and am passionate about the need for this type of education it seems like a good fit.
  • I think it would be interesting, and kinda weird/maybe gross (but it shouldn’t be because it’s a normal part of life!!!) to document different women’s experience with their menstrual cycles. Wether this be through stories, photos of feelings, or art. I think this will be an amazing way to celebrate the amazingness that is a woman.
  • I would love to coordinate and implement a Slut Walk in Plymouth. This is a national thing that happens every year and at a time like this in the world I think it is necessary to bring awareness and education to rape culture.

Gregorian, Watters and Rikard…Oh my Education

Reading these articles has just solidified that this was the right path for me. An interdisciplinary education. I do not fit in a box. I do not take the path most traveled. I have always found my own way of doing things. Gregorian touches so extensively on how education is in need of evolving. Education is not a one size fits all, everyone learns the same way kind of thing. It is unique to every individual. So why are we trying to make it so cut and dry?

I look back on the several years that I have been in school. Every year it is the same thing. You take classes because you have to. You learn calculus because that is what you have to do to graduate. You take a course in college so you can get a job. But are we thinking about how each student learns and at what pace and with what passion?

Passion. This brings us to a amazing point that Watters touched on in her article “The Web We Need to Give Students”. She mentions a few times the word control. This could mean a number of different things to each individual. The way that I see it is if I am passionate and excited about a class, an assignment, or a task that was assigned to me I am more likely to be proud of it. When you are passionate you put your best foot forward and strive to get the “approval” that you are looking for.  She says “But almost all arguments about student privacy, whether those calling for more restrictions or fewer, fail to give students themselves a voice…” By giving students an outlet, the internet in the from of a domain, then students may respond differently and become proud of their work.

Lastly, we have an article written by Andrew Rikard, “Do I Own my Domain if you Grade it?” This really had me thinking. First off, you are telling me that all of the all nighters, nights I spent staying in and hours spent on my homework is gone?! I posted this all to our lovely Learning Platform all to be deleted at the end of the semester. I am hurt, I am crushed. Well honestly not too much. Many of the assignments were for you not for me. It does feel a bit harsh to just delete all of the work, but Rikard makes a valid point in his title, is it really my work and beliefs if you are putting a number on it in the end? With this logic, I think the work is for you and not me at all.

This all ties together. Change needs to happen and it is happening right before us. Students need a voice in their educations, create and evolve their opinions and do work that they are PASSIONATE about.

 

A.