(see July eNews for a review of this book!)
Q: You are a CNM. How long have you been practicing and how did you become interested in mindfulness?
A: I began practicing as a CNM in 1982, so that's 30 years now. But I like to say that I've been paying attention to the birth process for about 45 years, since that's how long ago I was pregnant with my first son and was sitting in a childbirth preparation course in a woman's home in the Berkeley Hills. In those days it was a pretty radical thing to do, to become educated about childbirth-there weren't any classes being taught in hospitals or community settings. I was just so incredibly amazed and moved by what this woman was teaching us about our bodies and the birth process; I thought what a beautiful service this woman is doing. The classes were called psychoprophylaxis for pregnancy-which is what we now know as Lamaze.
About mindfulness, I'd been interested in the relationship between the mind and body, particularly around childbirth, for a very long time. I started out assisting laboring women at home and those women taught me so much. I would observe things during a woman's labor, something I or someone else said or did, that would affect the labor process itself, but I couldn't really understand how it happened. Meditation practice, which is a way to cultivate mindfulness, was a natural outgrowth of trying to understand - myself and others. I remember at one of the first meditation retreats I attended the teacher said "If you want to understand the mind, sit down and take a look at it." That seemed like good advice, and I've been doing that-sitting down and taking a look-ever since. It's been thirty years now since my first silent 10 day meditation retreat.