Monday, October 05, 2009

Inquisition Monday: Simply Give Birth

Today we have Heather Cushman-Dowdee answering your questions from last week. Don't forget to check out her new book, Simply Give Birth.

Hi TopHat and all the readers of her blog!

Thanks for throwing some questions my way, I'll try and answer them, as briefly and succinctly as possible. Mostly because my dearest husband had his first day off today in over a week, so I'm doing the "hang with hubby" thing and don't want him to think that I'm spending too much time on the ol' computer box. We're planning to go to the beach and do some surfing (I just watch, with the baby) and then go to our favorite restaurant, Wahoo's Fish Tacos. Yum, yum. So, Oh yeah, AND I have an Urban Homesteading fair to go to, if I can fit it in. It includes a seed swap and a blessing of the animals. Me and the kids have yet to decide whether to take their rats, of all the pets I wonder if they might need the blessing the most.

So, on to the questions!

AzĂșcar said...I love Heather! I'm so excited! I'll be back if I can think of a question other than "How are you so awesome?"

Well, I'd have to say that what really makes me so awesome is my incredibly charming humility. It's as you may well know, difficult these days to find someone as humble as myself...hee hee, I kid. Me and the kiddies were just talking about books that changed our lives- after listening to "this American Life" today, and I was telling them that it was "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret" for me, when I was 12. But now that I'm waaaaaaay past 12, it would have to be the Continuum Concept. What a paradigm shift. If it hadn't been for that book, and La Leche League (and my first daughter), I would have been a wean-by-6-weeks kind of gal. Maybe. Unless I had it in me to do all this without the book, and the meetings and my daughter. But, who really knows?

Holly said... She may have answered this before somewhere, but I'm curious about what her advice is on talking to pregnant mothers who are interested in breastfeeding, but have bottle fed babies in the past by choice or necessity. How do we stay positive about breastfeeding without making them feel guilty or judged?

Holy cow Holly, if I had the answer to that question I'd be a millionaire. Or at least a very successful cartoonist, the kind that gets to go on Oprah and talk endlessly about their work, smugly sure that pretty much everyone has their book on the back of their toilet and they all 'get it' or at least pretends like they do. I have no idea. I think humor helps, I think comics can help. Lots of pregnant mothers write to me that my work helps them 'get it' without feeling judged, but then again sometimes I hear that my work is really judgmental, so who can say. I believe guilt and feeling judged is an internal emotion, and if someone feels that way there's really no way to talk to them, being careful isn't really helpful.

Maybe the answer is straight-talk and look for what is really important to them, and sell them on breastfeeding because of that one thing and just go for it. If they're vain tell them "they'll lose weight faster" and really push it, find pictures of breastfeeding celebrities, etc.
That's all I can think of.

Also, I really miss the comics! (But I can't even imagine how much work it must have been to put out, and would like to thank her for all her efforts!)

Aw shucks, I'm an approval junky and you made my day, thanks!

Questions from TopHat: Do you have your breastmilk bread recipe written down? I'd like to try it myself.

The first I heard about it was 11 years ago there was a story in Mothering magazine about adding breastmilk to a sourdough starter and keeping it forever making bread in perpetuity. Kind of brilliant. Then I found a hippie book about just taking about a cup of hot water a tablespoon of yeast and as much flour as you wanted and knead and rise and knead again and bake. Add other stuff if you want. It had all of these groovy line drawings and was hand written. I loved the idea that bread was so simple. When I was baking bread for my art shows I would just add a splash of breastmilk to the hot water/yeast phase. Sort of ceremonial. I was always surprised how many people ate the bread. and I never let on how little was actually in there. (at one point 150 people tasted the bread;o) So really, there isn't a recipe, just an artist who doesn't know how to cook wingin' it!

Also, what are you most excited about with this book release?
Ah, this book! I'm so excited about this book. So many great, great birth stories, at least 30, really wonderful stories. Yours included! I'm so excited that there will be a book of birth stories out in the world without any sensational, crazy, traumatic outcomes. (well, the surprise twin is pretty sensational, but it's the way the stories are told. You'll see, and I'm sorry you don't have the book yet. soon!

Are there going to be lots of comics in this book too or will it be mostly stories?
There are about a dozen comics, older ones, about birth.

And do you have any other "big" projects in mind for the future?
I think I'm going to be bundling the comics (already created and yet to be created) into books, magazines, comic books, etc. I have one coming about quitting cyber space for the real world. Soon. I really really have a great idea for a book about...ooops. I almost said too much.

I know you're giving yourself a well-deserved break right now- do you have future goals you'd like to tackle 5, 10, 20 years from now?
Well, there is my date with Oprah...

Thank you so much, Heather! I'm so honored to have my story in your book. I've been jumping up and down with giddiness for the past year!
I'm giddy too, and so excited about the book. Don't forget to go to the site everyone:

Heather aka Hathor aka Mama

That was a lot of fun. When I get a copy of the book, I'll review it here!
I am now taking questions for next Monday! Lack of questions will result in a boring post, and boy, do I know how to bore people!


  1. Thank you Heather (and Heather!)

  2. One question and one comment:
    Question: What kind of cleaning products do you use around the house? (I am guessing you use something natural and/or homemade. I am thinking of making my own, but I'm hesitant to invest a lot of money into it at first, and I've heard essential oils are kind of expensive. Do you have any simple recipes?)
    Comment: In regards to your post that mentioned kitchen temps being too hot or cold for bread to rise, I turn my oven on to preheat at 400 F for one minute, then turn it off and put the bread dough in there to rise. It is the right temp and there are no drafts. I'm not sure if you've already tried that, but thought I'd share since it works for me.

  3. Question:

    I saw in your post from yesterday that you nurse Margaret to sleep. Do you plan on nursing her to sleep for as long as you breastfeed, or do you plan to transition her to falling asleep on her own sometime? Does this mean that you pretty much always must be with Margaret? Does this ever make you feel trapped or frustrated?

    You fascinate me.


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