Midwifery Gift Guide 2008

It seems like every other blog/magazine/newspaper is putting together gift guides these days, so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon too and put together a gift guide for the hard-to-shop-for midwives/ doulas/ lovers-of-birth in your life.  Granted, this guide sort of reads as a list of some of my favorite things, ever, but hey….why not?  And you never know, the beloved boy might be reading this, too.

1. Subscriptions

One of the most important (and hardest) parts of being a midwife is staying current with the latest research and information that’s coming down the pipeline.  While medical journals themselves are very expensive, they’re often a treasure trove of information that’s well worth reading.  If you’re a CNM/ CM, membership in the ACNM automatically brings the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health to your doorstep every quarter.  However, if you’re midwife is not a member of the ACNM, getting her a subscription to this journal could be a lovely gift.  If you really want to splurge (and/or if your midwife is an avid reader of medical research), then go straight to Midirs Midwifery Digest, which is England’s premiere midwifery publication, and really is a treat.  They will ship internationally, of course, although it’s a bit pricey.  I had a subscription for a year, and I loved it!  It’s such a breath of fresh air to read actual midwifery research, as opposed to OB research which happens to be applicable to midwives.  And of course there’s Midwifery Today, which is like candy to any birth-enthusiast.  The birth stories are truly inspirational, and Midwifery Today, much more so than the more academic journals, really captures the heart and soul of being a midwife.

If you’re looking for something more along the lines of a subscription for your favorite feminist, then I’d highly recommend Bust magazine.

2. Vulva Puppets

When I first discovered these AMAZING VULVA PUPPETS back in 2006 I very nearly wet myself with excitement.  Since that time, my vulva-puppet lust has been put on a back-burner (due in part to the hefty pricetag, which might make this gift somewhat impractical in a recession year), but I still think that this is cadillac of midwifery gifts, gauranteed to absolutely floor your midwife and send her (or him) into paroxysms of joy.  Just look at how beautiful they are—such a special, fitting tribute to the power and wonder and mystery of the vulva.  The Vulva Puppet Gallery has changed slightly; some of my personal favorite vulva puppets are now under the Limited Editions Gallery (which only works if you click on the color links, rather than the Goddess/Continent links).  These puppets will make an amazing gift for your midwife, particularly at a special juncture in her/his life, such as graduation, a new job, opening a private practice, retirement etc. etc.

3. Birth Secret, by Brian Andreas

I found this print in a gallery in Woodstock, NY, two days before our wedding, and I bought it on the spot.  It’s now become my go-to gift for all of the midwives in my life (and trust me, there are plenty of them), for birthdays or holidays or whenever you want to give someone something special.  The text reads: “In my dream he told me to hold the secret of his birth safe and teach him when he forgot”.  This artwork is perfect for the walls of your midwife’s office or clinic or home.

4. Books

I’m sure Spiritual Midwifery is already on your midwife’s bookshelf, so before purchasing books for your midwife, I first suggest that you puruse their bookshelf to ascertain what they do and do not already own.  Barring that, here are a few interesting and less obvious suggestions:

Pleasure reading:

The Birth House: A Novel

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

A Midwife’s Story

A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812
Educational/ Informative:

Misconceptions: Truth, Lies, and the Unexpected on the Journey to Motherhood

Heart & Hands: A Midwife’s Guide to Pregnancy & Birth

Recreating Motherhood

The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” the Vibrator, and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction (Johns Hopkins Studies in the History of Technology)

5. Jewelry

This might somewhat uphold the stereotype of the hippie midwife with the dangling goddess earrings, but if your midwife is that type of gal, then there’s some great stuff over on Attachments which fits that description.

And that’s pretty much all I can think of for now, although if anyone else has any other great suggestions, please let me know!

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