Welcome to the survivor moms speak out blog!

While practicing full-time as a community-based midwife, I had the opportunity to work with many women who were survivors, either of childhood sexual trauma, rape, or both. The experience of being their midwife, and witnessing their challenges and triumphs encouraged me to learn more about the effects of trauma on the body, and on the experience of childbearing specifically. So just as I felt "called" to practice midwifery, I felt "called" to shed light on issues that survivor moms face during the process of becoming a mother. That calling led me to begin the "Survivor Moms Speak Out" project. We surveyed many women who were both moms and survivors; and 81 of those women completed a narrative or contributed a poem for the book "Survivor Moms: Women's Stories of Birthing, Mothering, and Healing after Sexual Abuse."
Read more about the book, or order a copy, at http://www.midwiferytoday.com/books/survivormoms.asp.

Because of space constraints, not all of the narratives that women contributed to the book project were able to appear in full in the final version of the book. So I would like to take the opportunity to share some of the whole narratives in this blog, featuring a narrative at a time.
About reading survivor stories:
Although the stories are encouraging because they represent survivors’ triumphs over adversity, they can also to be hard to read, because of the intensity of the issues and events. I encourage you to check in with yourself while reading survivor stories, especially if you are a survivor of past trauma, and limit your exposure if you become “triggered”. Feeling triggered might take several different forms. You might start re-experiencing a past trauma you have had before, by not being able to stop thinking about it, or dreaming about, or just feeling like it is happening all over again. You may feel distress or have physical symptoms like feeling your heart race or sweating. If you start to experience these things, you may benefit from talking to someone who understands how trauma works and how to help you with post-traumatic symptoms.

To read more about trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder you can check out the National Center for PTSD website: http://www.ncptsd.va.gov/.

The Sidran Foundation offers an information and a referral resource on-line: http://www.sidran.org/

Friday, August 8, 2008

Schedule of book signings for Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering, and Healing after Sexual Abuse

August 14th, 2008: 7:00pm-9:00pm
722 Brooks St., Ann Arbor, MI
“Working with Survivor Moms” This workshop will provide an overview of post traumatic stress, trauma and the evidence-based studies of the effects of sexual abuse on childbearing. The presenters will discuss issues of confidentiality and the importance of boundaries, as well as outlining how maternity and mental health professionals can collaborate to facilitate healing and post traumatic growth. Onsite sales of the presenters new book, Survivor Moms will benefit the Doulas Care Program. Presenters are Mickey Sperlich MA, CPM and Julia Seng PhD CNM.
Part of quarterly educational series called “With Women: Emerging Issues in Care for the Childbearing Year” is offered each year. This forum is open to other professionals in the community for a fee, but is free for our volunteer doulas. It is approved for 1.5 nursing and doula CEUs. Fee $10; 1.5 Nursing and Doula CEUs approved; add $20 to fee for CEU processing; free to Doulas Care Volunteers. To register, call 734-332-8070 or doulascare@center4cby.com.

September 23rd, 2008: 4:00pm
Shaman Drum Bookshop: 311-315 South State St., Ann Arbor, MI
Academic reception and book signing. More information: 734.662.7407

October 7th, 2008: 12:00 - 1:00 PM
2239 Lane Hall, 204 S. State St, Ann Arbor, MI
Mickey Sperlich and Julia Seng read from their recently published book. This talk is part of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender’s Perspectives on Healing Series. This event is co-sponsored by School of Social Work. For more information: (734)764-9537, or irwg@umich.edu.

October 17th, 2008: Mickey Sperlich will be one of the authors featured at a book signing gala event at the 2008 Midwives Alliance of North America Conference, in Traverse City, Michigan. The historic State Theatre will be the venue for the event, in conjunction with the highlight evening of the MotherBaby Film Festival. For more info, contact http://mana.org/mana2008/

October 21st, 2008: 7:30 pm
Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room 114 S. Main St. Ann Arbor, MI Presentation and book signing. For more information: 734.665.2757 or rachel@crazywisdom.net

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