The difference between a journal and a blog

I’ve haven’t been writing much lately because the school/work/school/work vortex has been unusually intense for the past two weeks. I’ve been having a hard time staying afloat, and on days when it seems really difficult to take care of basics, like feeding myself and getting enough sleep, blogging unfortunately gets relegated to the very bottom of the heap, and as the last thing on my list on any given day, it hasn’t been happening lately. However, rest assured I am still reading, even on the days that I’m not writing. I’ve been going through a phase lately where I’ve been devouring the words and ideas of other feminist/women’s health/anti-oppression bloggers; there’s been a lot of input coming in (although not so much coming out), and my mind lately has often felt jumbled and full and busy digesting all of the new information I’ve been learning. The wheels have been turning, BIG TIME, lately.

There are a lot of things intersecting in my life at the moment which are bringing power, class, racism and equality to the forefront of my thoughts. I’ve been thinking a lot about midwifery in the United States, and how on many levels it functions as a luxury item available to those who can afford it and are educated enough to know that they want a natural childbirth in the first place—about the ways that racism and inequality exists in this mostly white, mostly female profession. I’ve also been thinking a lot about privilege, and power, and the ways that privilege and power affects my life, both as someone who is oppressed, but also someone who oppresses. Before I can do anything to adjust the balance, I first have to see and acknowledge exactly how the scale is tipped, and how and where I fit along the continuum. Where do my own prejudices exist? In what ways do I, as a student midwife and nurse, as a well-educated health care provider with a good solid job and health benefits—in what ways am I not acknowledging my own power? In what ways am I blind to inequality, and in what ways am I complicit in maintaining the tipped scale, and most importantly, in what ways can I change this??

Exposure to amazing women on the web, such as Melissa at A womb of her own and Dark Daughta at One Tenacious Baby Mama, have been helping to blow open the doors and throw wide the curtains. One Tenacious Baby Mama’s essay, Breaking It Down: Acknowledging The Emotions Attached To Recognizing Oppression And Achieving Consciousness should become required reading for every single human on this planet. Her blog, in fact, should become required reading on your bloglist.

Through these blogs, I’ve also become exposed to other feminist/reproductive rights and justice/anti-oppression/activist blogs, like Vegan Kid, Tortillas Duras, A Life Less Convenient, Woman of Color and etc. etc. (there are SO many amazing blogs to read that if you throw yourself into it, you too can achieve new pinnacles of procrastination).

Discovering these blogs has made me accutely aware of some of the shortcomings in Belly Tales, which I will hopefully be addressing in the coming months (stay tuned! BIG CHANGES ahead), but also of the possibility for unique and far-reaching political change and activism that exists through the medium of blogging. Which, of course, is nothing new to folks like the Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, Body and Soul and etc. etc., (see their blogs for blogrolls ad infiniti): political bloggers the world over who have been doing this for years, and not just doing it, but writing essays on doing it, on the political power of blogging, and exactly what it means to blog, and exactly what that entails. However, to date Belly Tales has been more on the journal end of things, which is fine, since I intended this to be a chronicle of the daily ups and downs of a student going through midwifery school, but having seen the way in which blogs can be used to affect change in birth, and birth politics, and feminist issues that don’t just revolve around abortion and abortion issues, I feel like a kid in a candy store. My eyes are wide and my lips are puckered into a perfect ooooh of amazement, and all I can think is: wow, I want to do that too.

So, I’m going to try to make this site a bit more like a blog, and a bit less like a journal (although there will still be all kinds of fun journally bits about the daily calamities and triumphs of your ever intrepid student midwife). There are a lot of other amazing women who are already doing phenomenal feminist blogging, and if I can’t do it even half so well, the very least I can do is link to them, and call attention to their amazing posts. Which is a start. There has also been talk brewing of forming a progressive, politically active, reproductive justice community and this sounds to me like an idea whose time has come. The old adage “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem” seems particularly apt. I’ve “met” some amazing women through this website. If we can link together and start a community and a dialogue on justice and reproduction and the power and welfare of mamas and babies, we could get a lot done. Care to join us?

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2 Comments

  1. warmbreezes
    Posted March 27, 2006 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I met you at the Tell wedding last summer and have been enjoying Belly Tales ever since!

    I must admit that I read this entry about journaling vs. blogging with some fear that you would stop, or at least reduce, the journal aspect of your blog. As a certified doula and a birth lover, it has been FASCINATING for me to watch your progress as a student midwife so far — I have been living vicariously through you. Of course I believe in and support your vision of a powerful reproductive justice community — wow, do we need it!

    But do hear this plea from one happy reader (who would have posted to your blog before, but I was too lazy to sign up and get a username) — keep up the journaling! You’re too good a writer, and your experiences are too fascinating (and sad and funny and surprising and heartwarming) to stop now!

    Dorian

  2. The Student
    Posted March 29, 2006 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Awww, thank you! I’ve been immersing myself in all of the political blogs lately, and just eating them up (they’re fabulous!) and thinking that I’m never going to do it even half so well as these women, mostly because I just have so much on my plate atm that I can’t give it nearly as much time as it needs (and here, of course, comes the question of one’s priorities…but damnit, being a student midwife, AND holding down a job, AND having a bare-minimum life….it’s a lot) So, I am going to try to stir things up a bit, and add some new material, and a new focus that makes it a bit more blog like, but mostly, it’ll still be about clinicals and births. That’s the hope, anyway.

    Thank you for reading! I hope all is well with you.

    :-)

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