Brilliant Breakdown

THE BRILLIANT BREAKDOWN- week of March 28th

Jamie Oliver is "Mansplaining" the Benefits of Breastmilk

The celebrity chef has decided to take on a new revolution: promoting the need for more mothers to breastfeed in Britain- and people are POed. Namely, Adele who is screaming that this campaign is shaming moms who can’t breastfeed and to stop telling women what the fuck to do. Others think a man shouldn’t have a say in the matter. But some are backing the dude up, expressing that because he has kids, he has been involved in the breastfeeding process and that one doesn’t need to have direct experience with something in order to campaign for it. Britain has some of the worst breastfeeding rates in the world, with only one in two hundred children being breastfed until 12 months of age. Jamie's response to the backlash confirmed he is not starting a campaign and that he would get a 'kicking at home' (from his currently-pregnant wife) if his intention was to offend women or mums - sounds about right! 

LEARN MORE HERE

 
                                                                         art by Marion Fayolle

                                                                         art by Marion Fayolle

 

When rape victims have to co-parent with their rapist

'This is not a family, this is a felony' was the argument of one of the lawyers defending a rape victim who was ordered to go to family court to hatch out a co-parenting plan with her rapist. Sounds crazy but it happens often and 14 states don't have any laws that protect rape survivors from having to share custody with their attackers. But it used to be 15. Iowa is now off that list as a new bill was passed which would allow for a rapist to lose parental rights to their victim’s children. This comes after the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, which was signed by President Obama last year and incentivizes states to create or reform their laws to, "Allow the mother of any child that was conceived through rape to seek court-ordered termination of the parental rights of her rapist with regard to that child, which the court shall grant upon clear and convincing evidence of rape." Similar laws are in effect in 24 states, including New York. However it gets tricky, because often times there is no 'clear and convincing evidence' of rape, especially since a large percentage of rapes occur with someone who was familiar to the victim. No conviction is required to terminate parental rights in Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin. Hopefully the 14 remaining states will follow Iowa's lead soon. #rapeisrape and parenthood is a privilege.  

LEARN MORE HERE

 
                                                                          art by Frances Waite

                                                                          art by Frances Waite

 

Patience may be all it takes to start lowering c-section rates in the U.S

Shocker. A recent study shows that when women were given just one more hour to push, C-section rates went down by roughly half! The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists gives first-time moms about three hours to push, if they’ve had an epidural, two if they haven’t, and beyond that, they’re thought to be experiencing a "prolonged second stage of labor." 

These time limits in place came from expert opinion from the 1800s (we kid you not) and since then, there’s only been retrospective data used to validate these guidelines. The researchers also found no evidence that giving women more time put them, or their babies, at greater risk.

While the study was small, overall, 43.2% of the women (all on epidurals) who were given the typical three hours to push ended up having a C-section, as opposed to 19.5% who were given four hours instead of three. 

The study honors that c-sections saves lives; The aim is not to challenge that fact, but rather help ensure that the current guidelines most doctors rely on are based in clear, strong evidence.

LEARN MORE HERE

                                                                                                 art by Virak

                                                                                                 art by Virak


+ some #brilliantbits

Must See

The art of catching breech babies has been lost at large, but these images catch a badass midwife doin' just that and they are AWESOME.

Geek out

Can you wiggle your ears? Footprints of evolution on our bodies!

Remember him?

It is indeed a beautiful day in the neighborhood- especially since it's apparently breastfeeding-friendly. Who knew that Mr. Rogers’ had an episode that featured women breastfeeding?!

In honor of world Doula Week…

Check out this photo series that honors the work of doulas!

 

THE BRILLIANT BREAKDOWN: week of march 14

A LITTLE BIRTHING UTOPIA IN TUBA CITY

There are many reasons why c-section rates are so out of control in this country. One reason for these sky high numbers is because the rates of VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean) are still abysmal even though there is no evidence to support that a second cesarean is safer than a vaginal birth. Well, to start doctors have a profit motive for performing surgery (that’s right, they make more money for performing C-Sections) and insurance companies can increase their premiums or withdraw coverage if doctors allow VBACs. Plus, because ACOG recommends that an obstetrician and an anesthesiologist be “immediately available” during labor for patients who have had a previous Caesarean just in case, smaller hospitals are unable to pay these practitioners to just hang around.

Enter Tuba City (who doesn't want to live in a place with that name?). Tuba City's hospital is run by the Navajo Nation and sees about 500 births per year. What’s so revolutionary about this place? The hospital and doctors are insured by the federal government and paid a salary, not per procedure. MIND BLOWN.

This is HUGE. This means these doctors are free to, “Think about what’s best for the patient and not what covers our butts.” Which one would think should be par for the course. But as you can see, it’s not always the case. Our system just makes it too easy for some (not all!) doctors to put liability, profit and convenience ahead of our physical and emotional well being.

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                                  Art by Soosh

                                                                                  Art by Soosh

 

HB2- THE LAW THAT SOUNDS LIKE A VIRUS... BECAUSE IT Is.

As you know, the Supreme Court was rather busy this month looking at a crucial constitutional challenge to two provisions in Texas’ HB2 law. While this bill is chock full of goodies making it highly challenging for women in need to get access to safe care, the two provisions being challenged are:

  1. That doctors must obtain admitting privileges from a hospital 30 miles from the clinic where they perform abortions.
  2. Abortion clinics must comply with the same building regulations as “ambulatory surgical centers.”

What's absurd about it:

  1. Admitting privileges are at the mercy of the hospital administration so they can decline access solely on the basis that they themselves are against abortion and even more on point, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures out there, so there is no basis, no evidence, no nothing to demonstrate why this is necessary. 
  2. Unlike Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) suggests (go to 2 min and 11 sec in), there is zero need for hallways in abortion clinics to be able to fit stretchers because, stretchers aren't used in an abortion clinic. There is zero need for procedures to be done in a room set up identically to a room for brain surgery because there is no operating during an abortion.

If these provisions go into full effect, Texas would see a 75% reduction in the number of clinics serving 5.4 million women of childbearing age and this would open up a whole can of worms for states to pass similar bills - like this ONE and this ONE.

The constitutional question at hand is whether having 10 clinics to serve all these women, including many who would live 200 miles away from the nearest facility, represents an “undue burden” on the right to abortion deemed impermissible after the Casey decision. For now, it has been recommended that the Supreme Court remand this back to the lower courts for hearings, to address questions about the capacity of the remaining clinics to fill the state’s needs. Round and round we go.

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                       Art by Frances Cannon

                                                                       Art by Frances Cannon

 

DEFINITELY NOT ESSURED

The FDA isn’t taking Essure, an alternative for permanent birth control, off the market just yet even though complaints include reports of the device breaking, moving and causing side effects ranging from chronic pain and bleeding to autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis and lupus. While the government seems to have a right to control our bodies when it comes to abortion, one of the safest procedures out there, they have no problem leaving it up to us as to whether we’d like a perforation of the uterus or fallopian tubes (also known side effects of this birth control). Wow. #takeessureoffthemarket

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                      Art by Katy Zimmerman

                                                                      Art by Katy Zimmerman

 

JUST THOUGHT WE SHOULD THROW THIS OUT THERE:

Pot-infused feminine products? Enough said. We're all for innovation but we also ALWAYS take caution when sticking something in any of our holes. We prefer to go au naturel - if your period cramps hurt too much, listen to your body, is there some kind of hormonal unbalance that's causing extreme pain? Willing to give Foria Relief it a try? Please report back.

READ MORE HERE + HERE

 
 

A great summary of why due dates are hooey and some pretty solid evidence of “convenience births” being a real thing.

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                          Art by Mona Chalabi

                                                                          Art by Mona Chalabi

 

+ Brilliant Reads

Imbeciles: on the Buck v. Bell case which allowed for 70,000 state mandated sterilizations.

+ Brilliant Views

Trapped. This documentary does a fantastic job of spelling out the consequences of HB2 and how it is truly affecting our country.

 

THE BRILLIANT BREAKDOWN: week of february 29

HONORING DANA RAPHAEL - GRANDMOTHER OF ALL DOULAS! 

What an amazing life this woman lived and how fortunate we all are for her breastfeeding and doula care advocacy. Ever wondered where the term 'doula' even came from? It was her! She coined it in 1969, meaning 'mother to the mother' as biological grandmothers were "walking out of the nursery to take on painting and golf" - leaving new moms without the traditional family support to help them figure out how to nurse and take care of their brand-new-baby! She was a big proponent of breastfeeding but also a pioneer of ending the ‘mommy wars’, stating that her goal was for mothers to be happy and have support regardless of how they chose to feed their baby. We’ve come a long way and yet there is still so much to do to improve maternal and postpartum care, we’re honored to follow the lead of amazing women like Dr. Raphael and her mentor -the badass anthropologist Margaret Mead-who was one of the first scientists to question formula manufacturers.  RIP Dr. Dana Raphael, we’re grateful for your legacy!

READ MORE HEre

 
 

MEDITATION is LITERALLY CHANGING OUr BRAIN!

We knew we were on to something with our Sound Meditations for Pregnancy and Fertility. There’s just something about getting a break from our monkey minds that feels GOOD. But now there’s a study that proves our brain is literally changing when we meditate. According to the results, after meditating for only 3 days there is more activity in the portions of the brain that process stress and induce focus and relaxation. The best part? After 4 months the benefits were still there, even for those who had not been meditating regularly! Sign me up! There’s still much research to be done, but in the meantime we’re off to MEDITATE (and so should you)!

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                Image by Huntress of Roots

                                                                Image by Huntress of Roots

 

a growing force: the SINGLE AMERICAN WOMEn

While Facebook may make you feel like all of your friends (and not friends) are getting hitched, you aren't alone (or you are, but so is everyone else!) Turns out, more than 50% of American women are single and more than 23% of the American electorate is made up of unmarried women. All the single ladies are a driving force behind advocacy for pay equity, paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, universal pre-K and more accessible reproductive rights, among other MAINSTREAM issues that have been hiding in the dark for wayyyyy too long without real policy changes that would benefit us ALL. The reasons behind this growing force are diverse but we're all up for badass independent women that are 'no longer economically, socially, sexually, or reproductively dependent on or defined by the men they marry.' BOOM!  Also who needs to get married with friends like this? #TheFutureisFemale

READ MORE HERE

 

 
                                                                   Image by Frances Cannon

                                                                   Image by Frances Cannon

 

breaking the silence

1 in 3 American women will have an abortion before turning 45. On March 2nd the Supreme Court will hear arguments for -a potentially landmark- abortion case in Texas, challenging a law that requires abortion doctors to be affiliated with nearby hospitals and also limits abortion to ambulatory surgical centers, which opponents say reduces access to abortions and limits its safety. Not an easy subject for sure, but we're glad to see a lot of women breaking the silence about their abortion experiences and sharing their stories. It takes a village and ending the taboo around abortion will allow us to support each other through the thick and thin. 

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                                                                                                                                    Image by India Evans

                                                                                                                                                                                    Image by India Evans

 

+ SOME MORE #BRILLIANTBITS...

Our heart breaks for all the women and families that have to go through pregnancy miscarriage or loss. We're glad to see that new evidence confirms there is no physiological need to wait before trying to get pregnant again (as long as families are emotionally ready).

READ MORE HERE

We're psyched to see that teens are talking about babies and birth! Here's a good reminder of why there's no need to bathe your baby after they are born - #VernixIsTheNewGold

READ MORE HERE

And while we are thrilled Leo finally got an Oscar and used the opportunity to remind us we should not take our planet for granted, our eyes were on this badass chick who left her costume at home and instead opted for comfort. #keepin'itreal

READ MORE HERE

THE BRILLIANT BREAKDOWN: week of february 15

About this whole no drinking thang...

Yes, yes. It's been everywhere- the CDC's insane recommendation that women should stop drinking alcohol if they are not on birth control.  We get what they were trying to do here (sure, drinking excessively can effect fertility- for both MEN and women and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Scary stuff. But please, better define your audience and stop making everyone go on Birth Control!).  Man, they need a new editor ASAP. Missed this whole debacle? Check out Rebecca Solnit's take.  And then read Emily Oster's book Expecting Better in which she takes an economists' approach to the pregnancy rules and finds out just how many drinks are too many.  And, we'll leave you with this #Brilliantbit: the embryo doesn't even implant in the uterus 'til week 3 so for those of us charting, you have time to change your ways if necessary once you realize you may be knocked up. Cheers. 

READ MORE HERE

 
67cda571242428477c9a6515a63f7cfa.jpg
 

Rolling your way March 2016... The High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment. Dun, dun, duuun.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the creation of first-ever High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.  What's this fancy pants panel do? Works to close economic gender gaps. #Brilliantbit McKinsey Global Institute estimates that if women in every country were to play an identical role to men in markets, as much as US$28 trillion would be added to the global economy by 2025 (!)  Not so #BrilliantBit, women spend more than twice as much time on unpaid care and domestic work as men and are paid, on average, 24% less than men globally for the same work. Moreover, 75% of women’s employment in developing regions is informal and unprotected. This High-Level, High-Brow Panel will have its inaugural meeting at the UN in March 2016.  The Panel’s first report with action-oriented recommendations will be issued in September 2016. Score!

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                            art by Laura Berger

                                                                            art by Laura Berger

 

THOSE SPOILED ROTTON NEWBORNS...

"We'll just let her cry it out. She has to learn crying isn't the solution." Great idea. Your child who has been living in a warm bath spa for the last 9 months is all of a sudden faced with cold sensations, loud noises and bright lights with zero control over her body or environment...but yeah, she can figure it out herself. Your baby can't drink or do yoga.  You are her sole comfort measure and your newborn is BIOLOGICALLY INCAPABLE of self-soothing. YOU CAN'T SPOIL HER by comforting her, you are simply helpin' a sista out.  In fact, we reco that you get to know your newborn's cues so that you are tending to her BEFORE she starts howling. This helps with stress levels (and is kinder on the ears). Plus, new research points to cuddled children growing up to be healthier, less depressed, kinder, more empathetic, and more productive adults.  Get snuggling!

READ MORE HERE

                                                                         photo by Bernd Vogel

                                                                         photo by Bernd Vogel


Happy Anniversary Family and Medical Leave Act...we want a better partner.

It's been 23 years since The Family and Medical Leave Act was put into effect. This law provides 12 weeks unpaid leave for workers IF they have been employed full-time for at least 12 months for a company that has 50 or more employees, within 75 miles of the employee’s workplace.  The U.S. is just about the only nation in the world that does not mandate paid leave for all new mothers (that's us and...Papua New Guinea) As a result, the vast majority of women — some reports say 88% — get no paid leave at all, and almost a quarter of new mothers are working again within two weeks of giving birth. Women are now 47% of the American workforce, (yeah we are) and this once niche problem is becoming mainstream. 

READ MORE HERE

 
                                                                        art by Cecile Dormeau

                                                                        art by Cecile Dormeau

 

The New Birth Trend: Seeding

What's it you ask? Seeding is a much more pleasant way of saying "taking a swab of vaginal fluids from mom and schmearing it all over her baby born via c-section." Why? Because babies born via cesearan are introduced to the hospital's bacteria before his mother's bacteria can help protect him, build his immune system and teach his body friend from foe. The thought is that by "seeding", baby will be able to make some use out of mom's bugs. 

READ MORE HERE

+ HERE

 
                                                                       art by Frances Cannon

                                                                       art by Frances Cannon

 

P.S. We think this article is nonsense. Just because the research is new and studies small, doesn't render the practice useless.... It just means we we need bigger and better studies. Vaginal microbes are GOLD. Fact. Jury may still be out as to whether seeding is effective or not, but if done safely, there's certainly no harm. Now if only it could make someone some real gold maybe we'd actually get somewhere. So moms-to-be: do your research and ask about your options with your care provider if a section becomes necessary!  Power to the peeps.


 A #menstrualrevolution starting in ny state?!

You guys, it's happening! Manhattan Assembly member Linda B. Rosenthal and Senator Sue Serino of Dutchess County announced legislation that would finally stop making us pay the government for having our periods. We know, we know, we've said it before, but for good measure: Feminine hygiene products (including tampons and pads) are clearly no luxury.  So, it makes NO sense that they are taxed. Even President Obama agrees with us! It's about time. Linda and Sue, you make us proud!

READ MORE HERE

 
 

And just for fun...

Check out these crazy cool images of what our produce once looked like hundreds of years ago. READ MORE HERE!

There's much work to still be done, but pretty freakin' crazy #brilliant that resonant frequencies are shattering cancer cells! We knew there was something more to our Sound Meditations ;) READ MORE HERE!

Parents- in this day and age your kids' best bet for success might just be... ART SCHOOL.  Dang, where was this advice when we were growing up? We don't need no thought control. READ MORE HERE!

P.S. Want to buy us a present?

How #Brilliantbodies is this book!? Cells as art! Kinda like our website, eh? We do welcome gifts ;) CHECK IT OUT!

 

 

THE BRILLIANT BREAKDOWN week of february 1st

colbert wants bernie with a scoop of chubby hubby and gabby hoffman was double teamed...

by a group of doulas that is. We loved hearing Gabby Hoffman (from Girls and Transparent) explain the role of a doula (she's one too!) and share the experience of her daughter's birth at home on Stephen Colbert. We also appreciate her mentioning the importance of campaign finance reform. 

Read more here

 
 

 

we are #womennotobjects 

Check out ad executive Madonna Badger's new campaign which aims to highlight the harmful effects of sexist advertising to young women (and, we'd like to add, men too!) Her agency has vowed to stop creating ads that use women as props or objectifies them. GO BADGER! A man that smells like vagina is the key to our hearts too ;)

READ MORE HERE

 
 

 

the day it didn't rain men in CONGRESS. hallelujah! 

Say what? While women may only make up 22% of elected legislators in the U.S (and only 19% of congress!) Women were the only ones to show up to Congress after last week's snow storm. Senator Lisa Murkowski said after pointing out that only women were present: “Something is genuinely different—and something is genuinely fabulous.” Wimps. No wonder why women are the ones to birth.  

READ MORE HERE

 
 

 

look out ken...BARBIE's goin' brunette (and black, and purple)

Do kids still play with Barbies? We have no idea but we're into Barbie trying to get more real with 7 new skin tones and 3 new 'shapes'. After all, what baby would fit through that birth canal?! #justkidding. Dolls will be dolls. 

READ MORE HERE

 
 

 

paying for our periods

President Obama doesn't know why tampons, pads and menstrual products are taxed in most states as "luxury items" but surmises that it is because men were in charge of making the laws. And he's on board with recognizing that an uncontrollable contracting uterus is no luxury. 

READ MORE HERE

 
 

 

THE ZIKA UPDATE - We're wondering about Zika too! Here are some (maybe not so) #BrilliantBits about it

The Aedes mosquito is the mofo causing all the trouble

The virus IS NOT contagious: It can't be spread from person to person!

4 out of 5 infected will have no symptoms

The virus is only dangerous if you are pregnant as it is suspected to cause microcephaly (stunted brain and skull development in-utero)

If you are not pregnant, IT IS NOT DANGEROUS to your health and even acts as a vaccine of sorts as you will become immune once it passes through your system

It only lasts in your system for 5-7 days!

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) was asked if they agree with El Salvador's announcement to not get pregnant for a few years.  THEY SAID NO. It's more about figuring out how to prevent already pregnant women from getting it. 

READ MORE HERE