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Transforming Birth Retreat #2 is scheduled for July 14th

Transforming Birth Retreat #2 July 14th


TODAY  we committed to the next steps of Transforming Birth in Missouri by scheduling retreat # 2 on July 14th, and #3 on September 15th at the Healing Stone Retreat Center in Hermann Mo.   Let’s spread the word so folks can save the date.

TODAY We clarified our MISSION:  to promote the birth center model of care across Missouri.

TODAY we clarified what we DO:

1.  We organize events that network natural birth advocates (gather the tribe).

2.  We build bridges between physicians, midwives, and childbearing families. (empower the tribe)

3.  We start movements, make it public, and open birth centers. (make a difference)

TODAY we reaffirmed our CORE VALUES:

1.  Choice and autonomy for childbearing women.

2.  Integrative Wellness of mind body and spirit, for women.

3.  Building bridges with mutual respect among birth advocates.

TOMORROW is a new day.  We need you to join us, here on this blog and at the next retreat.   Spread the word that we are, with your help…


Transforming Birth In Missouri Retreat has shipped!

The Transforming Birth In Missouri retreat was officially launched today with 15 people attending from around the state, from the fields of consumers, midwives, nurses, physicians and birth center founders.  We reached consensus on 3 core values:  

#1 We support choices and autonomy for women

#2  We promote integrative wellness for women (mind, body, and spirit).

#3  We are committed to creating bridges based on mutual respect.

What we do is #1  Networking birth advocates, and #2  break down barriers to improve outcomes for childbearing families.  

Stay tuned for more details of the events of the day. 

Thank you tribe for your inspiration and thank you Russ for planting the seeds, and nurturing their growth.  

It was a WOW for me!!  Laurel 

Is it finished?

The Pilot Project for Transformation Leader, the first phase was completed on Friday evening, April 20.  The sharing of manifestos by the group was a profound experience.  The Pilot Project isn’t completed, but just beginning.  Each Transformation Leader is continuing to grow, learn, and lead.

The applause and thanks is something extra.  Each creation is the work of art.  A unique and valuable contribution to a tribe of people waiting to be led.  The acknowledgement for the work is not an end, but encouragement that your work is significant.  In the words of a recent blog, “to play a beautiful song for two people or a thousand is the same song, and the amount of thanks you receive isn’t part of the song.” (Godin)

Each Transformation Leader will continue to do their work!  There will be a gathering on the second Wednesday’s 12:00 -1:00 p.m.  at Willie’s Roller Rink.  The first meeting is May 9.  This will be a time for connection, accountability, learning and growth.

Announcements for the next phase for Transformation Leader work will be coming soon!  Plan on attending our reunion in Joplin in September; Nolene is hosting that meeting.

Thank you for your trust, commitment and energy!  Russ

New Blogs Are Born Today

Thank you Teresa for helping me give birth to 2 new blogs!  If anyone else wants to see our offspring, you can go to or  Please check them out and leave a comment so I know it’s working, if you have time.  Thanks.

The Power of Writing Your Story

When I first began to work with women seaking a wholistic form of maternity care, I began to realize that everyone came to the first visit with their story.  Often it was a story of pain and disappointment when they had not been cared for with compassion or respect.  Rarely had women found a safe place to share those stories.  After all, when you have a new baby in your arms, you are absorbed with the tasks at hand.  It is almost considered taboo or selfish to tell your birth story or recount any injury or disappointment that might have arisen from the experience.  So often, in the context of  completing a medical history, the story would start to surface, often with tears and glimpses of a deeply buried pain.  In the context of a new pregnancy, the untold stories from the past were an overshadowing presence, like a background of charred and twisted metal support beams of a bombed out building, overshadowing the new construction of the next house.

But what to do with those stories?   I had been taught the concept of a “therapeutic interview” where the very act of telling one’s story leads to improved coping and health, and it seemed to apply in this context.  Eventually, we learned to ask each woman to write her birth story, giving herself plenty of space and time and kleenex, to complete the story with as much detail and emotional memory as possible.   We then would ask her to note what she learned from that experience and how that would affect her choices in this pregnancy.   She could then choose to share it with her midwife if she felt comfortable.

This became one of the most powerful tools for both mothers and midwives.  Thru writing and reflecting on the experience, women could begin to heal those wounds.  Thru sharing it with their provider, they felt heard, better understood, and empowered to choose a different path.

Often to complete the process, we would later ask the new mothers to write their most recent birth story by their 6 week postpartum visit and consider including that in their child’s baby book.   We learned so much about the transformational power of birth through those stories.  It was a reminder of how a woman births may forever shape how she lives and parents.

Today, I was reminded of this truth, and I was amazed at the power of the stories told in our training setting.

It helped motivate me to overcome my blog block, and recommit to not only speaking truth to power, but writing about it as well.

Don’t Miss Russ Roast 2012

Russ Roast 2012 is just around the corner, Saturday, April 21, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Cedarcreek Resort, 3251 Pinetree Drive, Columbia.

This is going to be a great evening of laughs, skits, stories, songs, dancing, fun, refreshments and, of course, the Silent Auction.

The Silent Auction will raise money for the Scholarships for Young Men to attend Freedom Seminar. The scholarship is Gene Rowe’s vision. The evening, then, is brought to you by Gene’s Transformation Leader small group, Really Great Leftovers.

Gene and Tom Graddy will serve as masters of ceremonies for the evening. That alone should make you anxious to come, that and the rumor that Debbie Graddy is going to fix one of her awesome Texas Sheet Cakes, as part of the refreshments for the evening.

A Roast honors the person being roasted in a humorous but uplifting way. Just letting you know we’re not out to make fun of Russ. We’re just out to have fun and bring honor where honor is due.  If you’d like to say something about Russ (this may be your one and only chance) please let us know when you RSVP.

There will definitely be some surprises during the evening. What are they?  If we told they wouldn’t be a surprise.  Trust the process, as someone we all know and love is found of saying.

We are counting on you to bring items to donate for the Silent Auction. This could be anything.  Here are a few ideas: gift certificates, power tools, electronics, antiques, collectibles, furniture, crafts, paintings, photography, prints.  It can totally be something you have on hand that works well or looks good and someone else would really like. If none of that strikes your fancy you could bring that great baked good that everyone raves about when you cook it. Again, let us know in your RSVP if you will be bringing something.

Please RSVP to with Name, Email, Number of individuals coming, Silent Auction Item and if you would like to make remarks, present a skit, song, whatever.

If you have questions call Teresa at 573/814-0823 or John at 573.424-5035.

Please share this email liberally with those you know will want to come. You can do that by clicking the facebook or twitter buttons at the end of the post. It will automatically share to your twitter followers. With facebook you can post on your timeline, a friend’s or in a group. You can go back and share it to other’s timelines as many times as you like.

Woo-hoo. Can’t wait for this evening.


How do you deal with a loss of your borther?

My Brother:

He died 3/9/12:

How do you deal with one you loved?  Today I am having a melt down just thinking about how great he was.  I didn’t tell him that I loved him and how much he ment to me in my to me.  I love him and think of him evey day.   I know he is in a better place and is now happy and loved.

How do us who are left deal with it?  I guess we trust in God to tell us.

Love to Jimmy Scalise for all the great times we had togeater.

Jimmy’s brother, Mickey