Responsibility

What is and isn’t a person’s responsibility is something that I have always struggled with. In many situations I do not feel comfortable imposing my ideas on others or restricting others rights because they are not rights that I would exercise. I also have situations where i feel that I should try to sway people to believe or do as I do. As I sat down to write this post I have found myself in a weird situation. Some of my ideas or beliefs conflict. Though I am aware of that fact, I am not sure I will ever change. Where is it right to step in and when is it not your place?

To help you understand and have my questions answered let me give some examples. I am very passionate about educating women on natural (and pain free) childbirth. I try my best to save as many baby boys as possible by educating pregnant women on why they should not circumcise their sons. I practice and promote Attachment Parenting (natural parenting, instinctive parenting, gentle parenting etc.) I believe that all women who are medically able to breastfeed should have to do so. All of my beliefs in these areas are strengthened by science and my personal experience. I birth naturally and experienced no pain (like many women around the world do every day). I left my son intact because I was given information on why not to circumcise. I breastfeed my children until they wean themselves. I practice Attachment Parenting.

I feel that the interference in natural childbirth that occurs every day in the U.S. is a serious problem. I believe that our culture has changed childbirth from a normal, exciting, fear free, experience into a traumatizing, scary, pain filled experience. I think that this can be changed. In fact, I KNOW it can. I know it can because I used to scared to death of childbirth. Scared to the point of panic. I knew I wanted an epidural as soon as I could get one. That all changed when I got pregnant. As it should! I cared more about this new life inside me than my own selfish ideas. I did not want to do anything that could in anyway affect my daughter negatively. There was so much information on the harm of the drugs used in labor. Even the manufacturers of the drugs warned against their use! I thought there had to be something better. God, nature, whatever you believe in, would not make a species so flawed that childbirth was not possible without medical assistance. When I began to research childbirth around the world I discovered that women in most other places  did not view childbirth as American women did. We were the same species. Why did we birth so differently?

I researched this idea thoroughly and came to teh conclusion that it had a lot to do with our minds. If we tell ourselves since we are little girls (and our family tells us, and our friends tell us, and the tv tells us) that birth is exscruciating and it is not achievable outside of a hospital because only a doctor can deliver your baby because anyone (or anywhere) else would result in emmediate complications and everyone would die. Ok that is a bit extreme but you get the idea. When that is all we are ever shown it is what our mind believes and tells our body to do. Yes. If you believe fully that something will hurt when that thing comes along it WILL hurt!

I knew that I had to change my way of thinking if I wanted a truly peaceful birth. I began looking into hypnosis for childbirth. I reviewed several methods and programs and decided to order the Hypnobabies home study course. It was the best decision I have ever made! Thanks to hypnobabies i have had two peaceful wonderful births one completely natural! I wish that more women were encouraged to go in this direction. I believe that it would change their lives. While hypnosis for childbirth is not right for everyone and is not neccessary for everyone I believe that natural birth is possible for everyone! I believe that all OBs should be first educated in natural childbirth. I believe that midwives should be the primary caregivers for pregnant and laboring women. I believe that birth should be moved out of the hospital and into the home (or at least birthing center). Natural birth (natural being the key word) should be the norm.

Once your perfect baby is born, continue to flow with nature. If you are have a boy, leave him intact! See my post on How I Became an Intactivist for more information on circumcision. Just know that it is a completely unneeded, cosmetic, and very damaging procedure that no medical organization in the world recommends.

Once back home (unless you were lucky enough to birth there!) just keep the natural flow going. Bed near (or with) your baby. Respond promptly to its every sound because every sound does mean something! Make your life easier and buy and use a baby wrap and above everything BREASTFEED! It is what is best for your child and after all isnt the point of being a parent doing what is best for your child. If you have a medical reason that prevents you from breatsfeeding your own baby there are other options such as a wet nurse (yes they still exist), or breastmilk donation. Formula should be an absolute last resort.

I’m drifting though. the point of this post is to see when (or if) i should share these ideas with others who may learn from them. I hear this phrase all of the time “It is not my responsibility to…” I think that is a copout. I think that if you do not share your knowledge with others so that everyone may learn and grow, you do not care about those other people. I do think it is my responsibility! I think that if I ever want to help change the world i have to start one person at a time. People may not agree with me, they may even get mad at me for suggesting a different way. That is ok. I will do it anyway because I might change just one person’s mind. That makes it worth it for me!

Here is my predicament. I believe that it is my responsibility to inform and educate on the above topics. I believe this because it is what is best for children and i believe that they need as many advocates as possible. I am also pro choice. I personally believe that abortion is terrible and i do not think i would ever have one any under circumstances. However, I do not believe that I can tell other women that they cannot legally have an abortion. I do believe that there should be restrictions such as nothing past 12weeks gestation. I think there should be easier access to things like the morning after pill and more support for rape and incest victims to come forward early on.

So why do I advocate for some and not others? i don’t know. I feel very strongly about both of these positions and I feel in my heart, that they are the right decisions for me. It is something that i will constantly reevaluate though. So for now, i will continue to educate and inform and hopefully change things for the better if even for just one person.

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Desired Future Accomplishments

There are some things in life that are valued very much by certain people while those same things hold no value for others. For some, owning a house, graduating college, having certain degrees etc. are very important to life. To others they do not hold much value at all. When a person holds something in high regard but fails to achieve it, they can feel like failures themselves. This rings true for me. I come from a pretty educated family. Higher education, and really education in general, is greatly valued in my family. I went to private school my entire life including a very prestigious college prep high school. It was always my (and my families) plan that i would go to college. Further more, that I would graduate from college. I hope some day that will happen.

My journey down this path has been rocky and traveled up and down hills and through the woods! I was accepted to my first choice college out of high school. Due to many factors though, I decided to start at my local community college instead. When I entered college I was planning on majoring in Studio Arts. I had fallen in love with it my senior year and since my mom herself was an art teacher I had a fair amount of experience. Those plans changed after just one semester. I took an anthropology class and it changed my life forever. It was a biological anthropology class and it incorporated everything that I truly loved to study. I knew that it was what I was really meant to do. I decided to change my major. At that point I decided to follow a program that outlined a specific path then guaranteed admission to a local 4 year university where I could receive a bachelors degree. I was set. Then my final semester before transfer came. Everything else in my life at that point changed. My boyfriend of 4 years and I broke up. I failed two classes. Then fell in love with the man who is now my husband who was on deployment overseas at the time. I was accepted to UCSD but because of the two classes I failed, I was not able to attend in the end. Instead I got married and moved to North Carolina with my husband. In North Carolina I decided to get a degree in Veterinary Technology to become a vet tech so that I would have a good job. I tried for a year but I hated it. I dropped out. In this time my husband and i moved to Spain and I had my daughter. At that point I changed programs and began my certification as a dog trainer, something I had been doing for a few years.

At this point my friend and I started a nonprofit that provides service dogs to Wounded Warriors. I thought that this would be the direction my life would go for the rest of my time working. The company has taken off and we are doing really well. After two years though, I am losing my passion for it. I want to spend more time focused on my kids. The one area of interest that has not changed for many years now is that of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. I have decided to follow this passion to a possible career.

When I was younger I thought about being a doctor or a nurse but never followed it further. In college I fell in love with the study of humans both biologically and culturally. Later I found an even stronger interest in women’s culture throughout the world and throughout history. I have become particularly interested in pregnancy, childbirth, and child raising. I have decided to finish my degree in Anthropology! I plan on focusing on cultural anthropology.

Once I finish my BA I have two other areas of study that I want to pursue. I want to become certified as a midwife and I want to obtain my MPH in Maternal and Child Care. I know that it will be a long hard path. I know that I have had problems in the past. I also know that if I doubt myself now I will never achieve anything! I have to try and more than that, I have to finish! I know this is not only something that I am very passionate about but that it is something I am very knowledgable in and good at. I know that it fits into my life and is something that I can take with me if we are ever transferred again. So with a little support and understanding and some strength and perserverence on my part I hope to start my new life soon.

This achievement will go a long way with my self esteem. I feel bad about myself because I do not have a degree. All of my friends do, and i just went to my younger sisters college graduation. It is something that bothers me! Hopefully I can change that soon! Wish me luck!

When two don’t agree: Having more kids

I recently wrote about a pregnancy scare that I had. I knew that right now was not a good time to have another baby and that doing so would cause a lot of stress and heartache for many reasons. While NOW is not the right time, I do want another child one day. I know exactly when I want to get pregnant (November 2013). I know that I do not want to find out the sex. I know that because of that, I want a special kind of baby shower. I know that I want to birth at home and have even looked into local midwives. I know I want a third child some day! I also know that my husband could not handle a third child. He is a great dad and loves our kids so much but they already overwhelm him. As previously mentioned my husband is a Marine. He was a grunt for most of his career and recently switched to E.O.D. This does effect things. He is different because of what he has seen and done no matter what he admits to. This effects his ability to cope with things sometimes. Add in his TBI and he is very easily overwhelmed. He knows this and knows that he probably cannot handle another child, ever. He also knows how I feel and so he says that he may be open to it someday.

I do not know what to do here. I have recently been telling myself that I will just have to learn to accept that I should not have any more kids. I love both of my children so much! They are absolutely perfect and people tell me all of the time not to push my luck with a third. Maybe they are right. I had a fortune teller in Spain tell me that I would only have two children. It was a stupid fleeting moment that should have meant nothing. A gypsy grabbed my hand on the street and read my palm. Still, it has stuck with me! I fear she was right.

I know that I should be greatful for what I have. I have two perfect, beautiful children who I love more than anything in the world. I have been lucky and have a girl and a boy. I am happy that I do have one of each especially If I do not have another. I am just not yet ready to accept that idea. When my husband and I first got married we both wanted three kids. I know I know, things change. My wants have not. Part of me knows that having a baby when my husband does not want one would do nothing but cause problems. Part of me feels that since I am the primary caregiver because of my husbands job, I should have a bigger say. Now before I continue let me say that I would never get pregnant on the sly. I am not that kind of woman. When I talk about having a baby even when my husband does not fully want one I am talking about the fact that he has told me that if I wait a little while he will give me another child even if he may doubt his ability to cope. Either way, its a bad situation.

I would never knowingly get pregnant if I felt that it would push him to far over the edge. I just hope that things will change. What do you do when you are in such different places? How do you explain your feelings to people who just don’t understand your longing for another child? How do you cope with a longing or emptiness that may never be filled? And finally how do you deal with the guilt of having two perfect children who you love so much but still wanting more?

To worry, or not to worry? That is the question.

So as I mentioned in my Mother’s Day post, I may have had a possible oops and gotten pregnant again. Today it is all I can think about. I am so nervous about it. My chart looks a bit triphasic (for those of you who have never charted that is a possible pregnancy sign.) which doesn’t help. If I did get pregnant it was simply meant to be because it was a minor BC fail that we caught just not totally in time. Still, I am freaking out a bit! I am really not ready! I feel so bad saying that because if I am pregnant I do not want my child thinking that they were not wanted or that they were a mistake. If I am pregnant I will accept this challenge and love this baby as much as my other two. My husband and I will learn to handle new challenges and move forward. All of my children will be the same distance apart. As I consider all of the factors I am still so scared. Especially because this would be the only birth that my husband will miss. I hate that! So I guess today (and the rest of the week) will be emotional and worrisome. I will try to not focus on it and just focus on my husband coming home from a trip this weekend. I will update when I have new information.

Time Magazine Article on Attachment Parenting

As promised I am giving my review of the Time magazine article on “extreme” attachment parenting. To give you an idea of how it went, I had to stop reading it twice because I was angry. The article, in my opinion, did its best to portray the Attachment Parenting as a crazy, impossible, dad exiling crazy train that makes moms lives harder and secludes them from society. Of course this is absurd! I practice AP. I still have friends, my husband loves parenting this way and feels closer to the kids, and it has made my life sooo much easier! The article seemed to imply that there were no adjustments to AP. As if every family had to be the same and use AP the same way. It said that AP says that you must bed-share. In the book The Attachment Parenting Book what is said in regards to sleeping location is this “where ever mom (dad etc.) and baby get the best night’s sleep is where the baby should sleep.” In fact Dr. Sears recommends a side car or bassinet next to the bed. In no way is bed-sharing the only option. In fact every bit of AP is following yours and your baby’s natural instincts and impulses. How can this possibly be wrong? You design a plan that works for you and your baby using gentle, natural techniques that help you form and strengthen a bond with your child. And again, in response to the idea that fathers can’t use AP or that it pushes fathers away… I do not think they actually read the book. There is an entire chapter on father bonding. Basically this article was used to sell magazines. It was written in a way that sheds a negative light on a very simple, natural, and loving way to parent. It focuses on three key points of AP and makes them out to be the hardest and worst things to do. The three staples are

1. Breastfeeding: I am sorry but if you do not know that breast is best in 2012 I do not know what to say to you. Its common sense! The article however painted a picture that if you breastfeed and practice AP you MUST breastfeed until your child is at least 10. This is of course absurd again. The entire point of AP is following you and your baby’s cues. Do what works best for you. Most current scientific evidence shows that the longer you breastfeed the better. There are no risks or side effects so why not go until you and your child want to stop. If you and your baby wean at 12mo. 18mo, or 6 years if it works for you both that is all that matters. That is AP!

2. Co-Sleeping: This was described as bed-sharing only! Co-Sleeping really means being in the same room. What is so wrong with that? Babies sleep better when they are next to their mothers. I do not know why any mother would not want to consider an option that helps their baby sleep the most and in turn helping themselves sleep more. Now I do bed-share with my son and room share with my daughter with the occasional bed-sharing. That is what works for me. They both sleep through the night that way and are happiest that way. So why not?

3. Baby Wearing: Again I do not understand the problem here. My life has been made SO much easier because of my Sleepywrap. I am carrying my baby with my hands free to do chores, tend to my toddler, or do anything else I need to. Both of my children have been so comforted by my wrap that they almost instantly fall asleep when they are in it. It is not at all a strain on me and in fact makes everything 10 times easier. If you have a physical condition that makes it impossible for you to baby wear then don’t do it. AP allows for many other ways to be close to your baby.

Let me recap these three things that supposedly make my life so stressful and demanding and make my life as a parent so much harder. Breastfeeding, I never have to remember bottles or formula, hope for a microwave or serve it cold. I never have to let my child cry while I mix up a bottle. I never have to worry if it is too hot or too cold. Oh yeah and its free. That’s ignoring all of the health benefits for both of us too. Such as a 20% reduction in breast cancer for every year I breastfeed. Co-Sleeping, my son and I have slept through the night since he was 3 mo old. When there were occasions like growth spurts where he wanted to eat more at night I barely noticed because he was right there latched on and we both went back to sleep. I could never complain! And let me just say that we are the only animals that for some reason feel the need to separate our young from us to sleep. It isn’t natural! And last but not least baby wearing. This helps my baby nap. I can still do chores or play with my toddler. I have total freedom at the same time I am supplying total care to my baby.

If you still feel that AP is extreme I suggest that you first read The Attachment Parenting Book by Dr. Sears so that you really know what AP is. And if it still isn’t right for you, fine! All I ask is that you do not accuse me of being crazy because something works for me. I put my children first and AP helps me do that. Period!

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mammas out there! There are a lot of mothering related things flying around my head today. I am so thankful for both of my beautiful and wonderful children, Mary and Will. I could not have asked for two better children at all. Mary will be two in a couple weeks and I cannot believe how fast it has gone by! She has grown from a baby into a little girl. I still remember when I knew that my birthing time had really started with her. It feels like just yesterday. She was perfect from the moment she was conceived in September, at my in laws house lol, and that has never changed. My husband and I had been trying for 4 months to get pregnant. We had just received orders to Spain and we had stopped at my in laws to drop off  some things that were going to be storing for us while we were overseas. We were there for a couple weeks. I slept all most the entire way to Spain from Colorado. I continued to feel exhausted for weeks after that. I insisted that it was just jet lag because while I knew my period was late, I had taken several tests and gotten all BFNs. I hadn’t charted that month since we were traveling and so I just assumed that I had simply ovulated late due to the stress of moving and traveling. My husband insisted I was pregnant so I agreed to take one more test and then leave it at that whatever the result. of course it was a BFP! And so began my journey to motherhood! Just 8 short months after Mary was born my husband and I conceived again. We had originally planned on waiting much longer than that but we had an opportunity to ensure that my husband would be there for the entire pregnancy and birth which was a guarantee we may rarely if ever have. We jumped at the opportunity. It took us one try to get pregnant with my son! I knew I was pregnant about a week later because I could smell everything! This was a symptom I did not have at all with my daughter but I just knew. I also knew that it was a boy the same way I just knew that my first was a girl. About a week after I found out that I was pregnant we moved again. This time to Florida. We would be there just long enough to birth my son. You can find the story of my son’s birth in a previous post.

As I sit down and write this mother’s day post I cannot help but continue to stare at my most current chart. My husband and I are trying to avoid right now and do not want to consider another little one until he returns from deployment late next year. That said, we may have had a BC mishap right at the time I ovulated. This would certainly not be the best time to get pregnant. My husband won’t be here when I deliver and I hate that thought. I do not feel pregnant at all and I do not believe that I am but it is hard not to think about it. I suppose we will see. 1 more week to wait.

So today everything is Mothery! In good ways and maybe not so good ways but I would not trade my life for anything in the world and come what may motherhood is always something that will be the greatest joy in my life. I thank my children for making me a mother and my husband for supporting me through being a mother and the generations of women before me who, through their own motherhood, made it possible for me to take this journey.