Thoughts About Gift Economy | Indie Birth


Thoughts About Gift Economy

July 1, 2021

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We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit. With 12 children and 18 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.


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Hello Birth Friends,

Margo here! Let’s talk about radical ways of relating to money and economy. I’ve been learning and thinking a lot about money for a long time, but especially the last few years as my family shifted to me being pretty much the sole income provider. Manifesting, budgeting, self worth, abundance mindset, I’ve studied a lot, and had some major breakthroughs and success, not just bringing in money (which I have) but finding more peace with money and the feeling that I am provided for by the universe.

It has been fun to pass along these teachings and strategies to doula and midwifery students, and I have loved watching amazing women begin to provide for their families financially, and find more security, stability and ease in their lives as birth workers.

That said, I have also been taking some seriously deep dives into the idea of gift economy and how we can shift towards “better money” meaning that it’s use and rules and characteristics actually lead us to the future we want. It is super revolutionary. I’ve been interested in things like trade and barter for a long time (I have accepted herbal consults, massage, meat, graphic design, and paintings as partial payments for midwifery services) but gift economy goes beyond that, and is not transactional.

It means giving without the guarantee of receiving, aside from the fact that that is how the universe works. Gift giving gives us status and goodwill in our community, and yes, we typically receive something of equal or greater value in return, but we aren’t keeping score, or ledgers to be certain. It is about trust and the flow of people gifting their gifts to those who need them in reciprocal and organic patterns.

Funny enough, I am writing this email (this post was originally a newsletter) while sitting in someone’s house who I have not had the pleasure to meet yet. I put out feelers to see if anyone I knew would have an empty house for me to use for a day or two to work, relax and spend the night away for some much needed rest. This beautiful human who is a friend of a dear friend offered her home to me while her family was away camping. I’m going to water her veggies. This has strengthened our relationship even though we haven’t met in person!

In this week’s round up we have all sorts of things related to these topics including a Non-Violent Communication course, Sacred Economics, articles and videos about Gift Economy, and an awesome song.

The Year Long Compassion Course

So this isn’t exactly a gift economy resource, but it IS all about learning about own human needs and how we seek to meet them. Excellent communication, self-awareness, and an understanding of our own and others’ needs is paramount if a gift economy is going to work well.

Check it out here

Sacred Economics

I still have about 5 hours left of this to listen to, but so far, it has been the most interesting non-fiction book I’ve read in a really long time. Charles Eisenstein makes a really compelling argument that “a more beautiful world” is possible, and that some of the ideas he puts forth are a path to it. I highly recommend checking out his work. He also has podcasts and courses. I’ll be taking his “Living in the Gift” course that starts this month. You have find it on his main site.

Read Sacred Economics here (offered as a gift, which you can reciprocate as you are called to).

Gift Economy

This is the best easily sharable article about Gift Economy I found, and I hope you enjoy reading it and sharing it with people!

“Gift economies have a few key qualities. They are…
Loosely and informally tracked – it is bad form to calculate the exact value of gifts you receive, or keep an obsessive log of it the way we do with business finances
Indirect – it is not always two individuals giving back and forth. Instead gifting is generalised to a whole community where you may give to people who have not given directly to you
Delayed – we do not reciprocate gifts the minute we receive them, but instead wait to repay the offering at a later date”

Click here to check it out.

A video about Gift Economy

I like this basic intro to the ideas of Gift Economy, what it is, what it means, and how it works on the basic level. For a gift economy to work, people have to be good at both giving AND receiving. In other words, we have unlearn hoarding and selfishness, and also the propensity to do it all ourselves, and reject aid.

Watch it here.

Wise Women by Moonchild

I heard this song earlier in the week and wondered how I hadn’t come across it before, it felt so perfect! It feels really inspiring, and fitting for this week’s theme – we don’t need to wait any more to create this more beautiful world together. I hope you love it, too.

Listen here.

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Meet the duo behind Indie Birth

We are mamas and birth workers who decided to do birth differently– and bring others along with us. We are kind, fun to work with, and great at (lovingly) calling people on their bullshit when necessary. With 11 children and 16 years of midwifery between us, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way, and Indie Birth is our space to share it all with you.

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