About As Close To Birthing As I’ll Get.

A thought on birthing and storytelling with their relationship to oxytocin implied.


Jana Studelska is a midwife in Duluth and weekend we had a long, layered conversation about what that means. An audio piece and portrait from Kip Praslowicz will come soon, but for this morning, a slice of that conversation seems appropriate to share.

‘Grinding pirouette.’ Jana described birth in ways chemical, cellular, and psychological, but at the very end of our conversation she described (and demonstrated) the physical process. Conceptually birth has always seemed difficult to me (big baby, small birthing canal), but never had that fact been more evident to me than the few minutes Jana held a plaster pelvis and perpetual-newborn.

She described the baby’s path as a ‘grinding pirouette.’ How do they know how to do that? It’s ridiculous and improbable but beautiful and necessary. Common yet unfathomably non-intuitive. Or maybe the beginnings of intuition? Who knows.

As Jana described the process and her role in facilitating it, I thought of how uncomfortable folks get with a microphone held up to their face. The demand of thoughtfulness and insight, their intuition sheered and strained. It’s definitely many degrees of intensity paler, but this whole interviewing and storytelling can be its own kind of grinding pirouette. [All those adjectives from the previous paragraph, again.]

That being said, Duluth has been remarkably generous and patient and kind with me throughout the month. This project could be a little odd/demanding/inconsiderate for other people at times, but so many people have been sincerely giving, and that has been one of the best parts of this month.

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