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Article and photos: Mindy Galamaga “Good Laura, you can do it.” Nico leaned in close to Laura as another surge came in. Hours had turned into a day. The birth team is exhausted. We are out of words of encouragement for the moment. We are having a difficult conversation about making a hospital transfer. A beautiful home birth has become complicated and it is time to go.

Art: The Mandala Journey It’s an ancient practice, taking in the power of the placenta. Each time I consume a part of my child’s after-birth, I feel strength returning to my bones, I feel milk filling my breasts, my feet are more grounded, my heart is more purposeful, and my mind is clearer. As I lift a capsule to my lips, I thank my baby for the nourishment she provides my body. Annabelle left us 2 months after she was born, a victim of SIDS. Although I could not...

Aztec elders taught that women who died in childbirth go to the same level of paradise as men who died in battle. After attending over forty births, I fully understood why. Men die in battle from intense wounds. They bleed as they sacrifice for a greater cause. The same holds true for women who die in childbirth. They bleed as they open to life. The juxtaposition of beauty and pain in each birth astounds me. Each story lives in me.  

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