Fifteen Minutes of Fame for The Pocket Midwife!

Posted in Susan Fekety on February 8th, 2009
Unless otherwise noted, © Copyright 2009 by Susan Fekety. All Rights Reserved.

I published the Pocket Midwife (my book of affirmations for pregnant women – check it out at in 2003. Since then, it has enjoyed a quiet consistent popularity among childbirth educators, pregnancy advocates, pregnant women, and people seeking unique baby shower gifts, which I have found very gratifying. It sold out last year, and I had to reprint it – terrific!

Somewhere along the way, someone told me to set up a “Google Alert” for the book, so that if anyone mentioned it anywhere on the web, I’d get an email alert to go have a look-see. For years I’ve gotten notices when someone posted a book review, or a midwife added the book to his/her online “recommended reading” list, or when a blog writer just happened to use the words “pocket” and “midwife” on the same page (these latter are amusing, though occasionally inscrutable.)

So last weekend when I got an alert to check out a page from a newspaper in Las Vegas I did not think there would be much of interest there. Ho hum, let’s go see…

Imagine my surprise when up popped a blog written by a young man who attended, described, and videoed parts of the labor and home birth of a woman I presume was already a friend of his. And at one point during the labor, you see Corey reading her a selection of affirmations from my book! (Poor guy, I think he didn’t know what else to do!) She liked them!

Here, check it out for yourself. If you have a couple minutes, I urge you to watch the video to see the book in action. Please note: a baby gets born — it’s real life! (You might cry, because it’s a really nice birth – in water, at home – not particularly graphic, as birth videos go. Tasteful, really.) Some of the reader comments (“gross”, “poor taste”, etc) made me sad. I guess us normal birth junkies are still bucking the mainstream!


Posted in Susan Fekety on February 2nd, 2009
Unless otherwise noted, © Copyright 2009 by Susan Fekety. All Rights Reserved.

Surely you know that I am NOT the sort of person who would ever indulge willy-nilly in anything that could be described as a “fitness craze.” Hula-hooping - forget it. So, you may be surprised to hear that I think you should consider chedking out a thing called “Zumba”-a type of exercise/dance class that is sweeping the nation. (It was even featured on the Today show!)

I came across a class in the Portland Adult Education calendar last fall, and all the pieces fell into place. (Are you like me? Do you get that calendar twice a year and NEVER actually sign up for anything? I have been wanting to try a class of something since I moved to Portland. And now I did!)

Anyway - I love to dance, the time and price were right, and the venue about a mile away from home. Can’t beat that, huh! Of course, before the first class I was nervous - what if I can’t learn the steps? What if I’m inappropriately dressed? What if I …. bla bla bla, you know the litany.

Well, I knew within the first five minutes that I was in a good place. These classes are just designed to be FUN combined with shaking your butt etc. There is so little choreography that really anyone can do it. Have to attribute much of my delight with it to the unique talents of the instructor, a woman named Emma Holder who, in her spare time, is a professional belly dancer, fitness trainer, massage therapist and radio personality here in Portland - she is audacious, and encourages us to be that way too. We laugh a lot. While we shimmy.

It’s very clear in this class (and I have the impression that this is a hallmark of all Zumba classes to some extent) that the goal of the enterprise is to move, have fun, enjoy music, make your own dance, and not really worry about steps. Imagine a cafeteria full of women ranging from teenaged to the profoundly mature, all shapes and sizes - jazzing about with wicked spicy music, fearlessly developing our inner divas, and doing some pretty festive stuff with our hips. It’s infectious - and it’s a really good workout! At the end of the class I realize I’m all sweaty - and it was painless. And I sleep SO well those nights.

I believe that this dancing stuff is the kind of thing our bodies are designed for - I mean really, getting on the treadmill gets less and less appealing as time goes by, doesn’t it? I’ve attended quite a few fitness classes in my day, enjoyed several of them, but finally bailed out on them entirely several years ago, when I reached a level of personal maturity where having an excitable person in spandex YELL amplified instructions at me in a room with mirrored walls was well…simply out of the question. (I had a bad experience at the Bay Club. Ruined me forever.)

Thinking back, though, the thing I really did like about aerobics classes, and particularly step classes, was the part where we would get a heavy rhythm going - which I now realize gave those classes a “dancey” character that was more important to me than anything else. So it makes sense to me to capitalize on that energy.

Anyway - I have seriously become a Zumba junkie salsa chick! If you harbor fantasies that perhaps you are really a gypsy, or you have an sweet spot in your heart for movies where the lead characters yield to their true feelings for one another while dancing in the town square of some Latin country (like, um, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone?) - you should probably check it out. So you won’t feel nervous when YOUR moment arrives.

Since it’s a fitness craze, you’re likely to find Zumba offered in a variety of venues - gyms, community adult education programs, etc. Just do a Google search of Zumba with the name of your town. There are videos but really - you want to do it live, with buddies to egg you on. Quieres bailar? (”Do you like to dance?”)