Melissa Rayworth


Melissa Rayworth, author of Belly Button Bliss birth story “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” writes about American culture, sexual politics and parenting for The Associated Press and other national news outlets. Her work regularly appears in publications and on websites across the globe, including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times,, and She splits her time between New York and Pittsburgh, where she lives with her husband and two sons.   Back to all Belly Button Bliss Authors … [Read more...]

Year-End Resolutions


Why wait to set New Year’s Resolutions? Year-end Resolutions, here we go! My latest BodyMindBliss yoga bootcamp starts tomorrow. I offer a week-long early-morning yoga practice like this a few times a year. It’s perfect for waking up my practice, both as a teacher and as a student. I encourage students to set an intention to carry them through the week, and I do the same: Better sleep. Less sugar. World Peace. That sort of thing. This time, with Thanksgiving next week and my friends posting on Facebook about how they’ve already decorated for Christmas (How can you people be that … [Read more...]

Sacred Ceremony

Mama Bridget and Baby Liam, Halloween 2008

After years of witnessing other women bring babies into the world as a doula, I wanted my birth time to be a sacred ceremony. So I chose to birth at home, with midwives and a birth coach. On April 28, one week past our “guess date,” I was on my yoga mat, rolling around on my exercise ball. I’d had some contractions, and I was anxious to get things under way. Suddenly I heard a loud pop—and my water broke, gushing all over the yoga mat. I called my dear yoga teacher, Ana Forrest, and spoke with her as I waited for my “team” to arrive. When my midwives checked me, I was 3 centimeters … [Read more...]

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

In the early spring of 2003, just as my third trimester began, my husband, Ted—a journalist—flew to the Persian Gulf to cover the earliest days of the Iraq War. We were living in China at the time, and the SARS epidemic had begun raging. Doctors were worried about the risk to pregnant women and doubtful about trusting the official reports on the spread of SARS. My doctor in Beijing said he felt sure the government was lying about how fast the illness was spreading, but he could only guess how much was being covered up. That was all Ted and I needed to hear. I flew to Pittsburgh to spend the … [Read more...]