New Israeli homebirth restrictions drafted (where’s midwife trust?)

From Haaretz:

Israel ministry drafts new rules to restrict home births
A woman planning to give birth at home will have to obtain a letter from her family doctor testifying that she is both physically and mentally sound, under new regulations being drafted by the Health Ministry that many believe are aimed at curtailing home births.

The letter would have to be submitted to the midwife or doctor attending the birth before the home birth can take place.

The thing is, I could be ok with some of this if it wasn’t such a clear witch hunt against midwives. If midwives had more of the benefits they deserve, if homebirthers got similar benefits, if the balance was more even – do what helps make it a safe homebirth while offering it as a totally doable option – that’s something to get on board with.

This seems pretty aggressive though. Maybe it’s not. No midwife should do a birth if it’s more than 30 minutes from a hospital anyway. A midwife’s license should include more rights, even if it means making it harder to become one (meaning, higher quality midwives). Does a doctor need to be involved in this? There should be more trust and support for midwives instead of paralyzing them further.


So, for just a minute, humor me.

I make an ongoing effort to forget how hard this is. I swallow a lot in order to make the daily grind seem easier. And I try to push away my lucky, amazing, beautiful problems because I know so many people have much worse challenges: poor health… empty wallets… loneliness… family strife… career drama…

But for just a minute, this is about me.

Living here – living anywhere – without your family backbone support is tough. There’s no way around it and there’s no way to sugar-coat it. When people leave Israel after having kids, citing ‘we needed to be closer to our family’ I have no response. I get you. This challenging existence – becoming a parent and making all the pieces fit, every single day – I imagine it would be fairly difficult even with your parents in the same country. City. Community. Street.

But to do this alone… especially when neither of you have parents or aunts or uncles or siblings or cousins or childhood friends nearby. To know every day you’re coming home and it’s all you. All the time.

If you’re going to go out, it’s a babysitter that eats up half your going-out budget. It’s a babysitter who, let’s face it, you’re going to constantly be wondering if the kids are ok for her, if she’s able to put them back to bed, maybe we shouldn’t stay out that late because it’ll be too much for everyone else.

To not be around your family as everyone grows older, changes, morphs into the next chapter – including your kids, including your parents, including the family culture you grew up with. Or even the opportunity to create your own.

To not have any of that family lifestyle. To be naturally independent but then forced to be independent.

To watch as so many people in this society around you do have it. That it’s an integral part of it.

Well, I don’t like to whine too much; I did choose this, it’s now complicated, and let’s face it, I want to raise my kids here and not where I grew up.

But it’s hard. And I’m allowed a few emo days now and then.

Ahem. I now pronounce the self-pity party over and I’m left with this container of amazing, creamy Israeli ice cream in my favorite flavor.

Running 101: A 10k for beginners.

10k’d, bitches!

Last night I ran my first race, the Jerusalem 10k. The plan was to run up to about 6 (my top so far had been 5.3) and walk the rest, maybe attempting to finish the last kilometer on a run.

Instead, I ran the whole thing… whoops.

How could you not? It was incredible! Running with peeps, running past peeps, running alongside a lot of old peeps, getting taken over by old peeps… It was really a bonding experience without saying a word to anyone. That’s my kinda late-night fun.

What happened was, there were km-markers every 2 kilometers. I figured when I got to 6, I’d evaluate my sitch. Well, 6 never came, and the next mile marker I saw after 4 was 8. And by then I could see the Old City clearly and though, f it. It was also just then that my right knee was starting to show signs of stfu… and I suppose someone else would’ve realized running those last 2 uphill kilometers was incredibly irresponsible. But, like I said, f it.

There were a lotta lil thoughts I wanted to tweet along the way, so here’s as much as I can remember:

  • Why is it that all the restaurants we passed happen to be cooking steak right at this moment?
  • So. <breath> Many. <breath> Goddamn. <breath> Hills.
  • Just gonna safely assume that everyone else who grabbed a cup of water on the way and attempted to drink it got slammed in the face with a cup of water, right?
  • Love, LOVE the music choice for running across the finish line. Dramatic – check. Cheesy – check. Perfect way to finish – check.
  • Those charedi leg warmers I bought really came in handy after all…

So, for my first 10k, I clocked in at 1:09:56. I’m told that’s not terrible, which is pretty cool. I’m more interested in distance than speed at this point anyway.

Up next: The Jerusalem Marathon on March 16, in which I’ll run the 10k version. Then the Tel Aviv Marathon on March 30, for which maybe, just maybe, I can go for the half. But I have three months of *actual* training (as opposed to the usual winging-it I do) to determine that…

Bebe update: Eight months.

I consider this your ‘coming out’ month. Your debutante ball.

In the last few weeks, you have sprouted your first two teeth (the bases of them anyway). Just as we were starting to wonder if you’d be a gummy girl forever.

You started standing up, holding onto the table, couch, walker, your brother for support. You’re not interested in laying down at all, and even crawling is getting boring…

…or so I’m assuming since you freakin’ took steps while holding onto your walker last week. Seriously? That’s how you’re gonna play it? Apparently your mama walked at 10  months, so I guess this is like 1% of the ‘I hope you have a daughter just like you’ blessing/curse I was given… shudder.

And you found your voice, little Ariel. It happened after watching a Cookie Monster special. Are you hinting you’re ready for new snacks? Why have you been keeping it to yourself this whole time? Now you’ve got lots to say, like ‘yayayaya’ and ‘mamama’ and a ton of grunting, for some reason.

You came quietly, and you, for the most part, behave calmly. It’s been a quiet and calm sort of love, sneaking up on us, and now Bebe, I’m madly in love with you.

Letting go.

Into my seventh year of aliyah – living in Israel – I finally, finally, finally have been able to start what every oleh needs to do the second they get here. I’ve started letting go.

Letting go of my pride. Letting go of my mistakes. Letting go of my fear.

Maybe it’s my bilingual kid. Maybe it’s being a mother. Maybe it’s been 7 years.

But, yes. This is the way to do it.

The history of Israeli pretzels.

A short history of flat, flavoured pretzels (bagele) in Israel… true story!

If you don’t understand Hebrew subtitles or (exaggerated?) Yiddish, here’s a quick and dirty transcript:

The Bagel-Bagel Factory in Poland, 1880

Son: “Father,  mother – I  have an idea! Thin pretzels – in flavours!”

Everyone: “What?!”

Son: “Yes, with pepper, chedder, spices!”

Father: “Pepper?! This is for Moroccans!”

Mother: “Flavor? In food? We’re POLISH!”

Father: “My dear, when the little Ben Gurion becomes Prime Minister of Eretz Yisroel [notice the kid in the corner], then we’ll make pretzels with flavours…”