By E. R. Catalano of Zoe vs. the Universe
The end result of most uncomplicated labors is a child. But by the time her daughter was born, Deanna Hargrove, 37, of Woodstock, NY, also had two sets of booties and the beginnings of a sweater.
Ms. Hargrove says she is a pioneer of the new trend in home births: vaginal knitting.
For Ms. Hargrove, the seed was planted over a year ago when her knitting group made the move from the more traditional knitting (without vaginal involvement) to vaginal knitting at the urging of the group’s leader, Sabine Moonstone. And since that time, the group had found their joint expression and celebration of the female body self-actualizing.
Ms. Moonstone had come across vaginal knitting while surfing the Internet. Her daily Google search for “female empowerment” led her to a short video that featured a “craftivist” knitting from a skein of yarn inserted in her vagina. The woman knitted for 28 days straight—through her cycle—as a performance art piece. Ms. Moonstone was intrigued.
Since it can be done even on one’s period, the women in Ms. Hargrove’s group—which, besides Ms. Moonstone, also includes sisters Gwendolyn Kirsch and Melanie Kirsch-Lowe—tried to get their periods to sync so that together, in one session, they could knit a raglan-sleeve sweater.
“We wanted our courses to be consistent,” Ms. Kirsch-Lowe said, then added, “Both meanings.”
But before the synchronization could occur, Ms. Hargrove became pregnant.
The health benefits of knitting are well known. Knitting can be a way to reduce stress and manage pain. So the expectant mother decided that when her time came, besides having her doula (also Ms. Moonstone) and midwife in attendance in the refurbished farmhouse she and her partner called home, she’d also invite the rest of her sewing circle.
Since her own vagina would be otherwise occupied (again, both meanings), Ms. Kirsch and Ms. Kirsch-Lowe would loan their own lady vessels, and Ms. Hargrove would use the two strands uncoiling from the sisters’ vulvas to create a handcrafted item or two while she labored.
Irene Barrow, midwife, said she’d never seen a vaginal knitting home birth before but felt it went very well. “Deanna’s very skilled. I almost thought of commissioning a scarf, but then I thought, as far as personal touches go, it might be too personal.”
David Moore, partner and expectant father, was also in attendance, though he kept going in and out of the room on various, obviously made-up, errands. Finally he admitted he “felt a bit out of place,” was “afraid of getting tangled in the thread,” and that he “didn’t know where to look.”
When it came time to push, Ms. Hargrove simply cast off and bore down. Minutes later, their daughter, Serene Truth Hargrove-Moore was born.
This is the couple’s first child, and Ms. Hargrove is happy with how it went.
“Next time I’ll knit from my own vagina, and when I’m ready to push, I hope to time it so that my baby’s head can be birthed right into a little sleeping cap that I will have just finished knitting.”
Ms. Barrow said she hopes that was the hormones talking.
About the Author
E. R. Catalano is a writer and mother of one evil mastermind living in Brooklyn, NY. She writes a humor blog at www.zoevstheuniverse.com. She is a contributor to The Bigger Book of Parenting Tweets and the forthcoming Lose the Cape: Never Will I Ever, and her humorous essays have appeared on Scary Mommy, In the Powder Room, Club Mid, BLUNTmoms, and Mamapedia. You can follow her on Twitter at @zoevsuniverse and on Facebook.