As I begin to position myself as an information source, an expert of sorts, on pregnancy, birth, and parenting, I’ve had to spend time thinking about what type of information I want to relay. Through Papoose’s website, Facebook page, and in-store customer interactions, I’ll be sharing news and information that may be of interest to new and expectant parents, because I believe that informed parents are better parents. It’s important now, in the early stages, to decide what messages I want to send and to what degree I want to inject my own opinions.
As a certified lactation counselor, there are clear guidelines: use peer-reviewed, published studies, not anecdotal evidence; understand that the mother-baby relationship comes first; respect and support the mother’s goals for breastfeeding regardless of how they may or may not align with my own; never judge. These guidelines are equally fitting outside of my lactation practice. I need to stay true to Papoose’s mission, to support new and expectant families through the full circle of maternity and parenting in a way that encourages the natural process, informed decision making, and informed purchasing, but I also need to be aware that there are many acceptable ways to parent that differ from mine; I don’t want to alienate prospective customers or friends just because they chose an epidural or weaned at 6 months, for example. There’s a fine line there, because I don’t want to ignore my principles, from which stems Papoose’s goal of encouraging the natural process, but I don’t want to invalidate others. And I also need to remember that my beliefs are not yet mainstream in our country.
Case in point: childbirth. Continue reading
Many of you may know that I have a slight obsession with MTV’s 16 and Pregnant, which I watch online. It’s a show just like it sounds — reality TV that follows teenagers through pregnancy, birth, and either initial months of parenthood or adoption. It’s supposed to be a PSA of sorts for safe sex.
I got really into reading birth stories/watching birth story videos while pregnant with Nora and am now totally hooked. I watch/read good stories, like those of my friends and those shared on blogs (like this great one), but also consume some contrary to my birth views too, like those on 16 and Pregnant, which provides sort of a voyeuristic view of mostly train-wreck births (lots of unnecessary induction before 40 weeks, almost 100% epidural rates, and c-sections that usually result from such interventions). Very few of the teen moms even attempt breastfeeding, and those that do don’t have the support necessary to maintain. It’s incredibly sad, knowing this is the education on birth that our next generation of mothers is receiving. But, I can’t help myself from watching it and, birth culture aside, the show does provide a valuable look at the realities of teen pregnancy in America — realities of which many teen girls may be unaware. One can hope that its strong advocating of contraceptive use and candid display of teen parenting outcomes will be helpful to reducing the U.S.’s teen birth rates, which despite being at the lowest rate in 70 years is still far higher than many other countries.
Until last December, MTV had never discussed abortion on the show; it was the elephant in the room, a reality too taboo to discuss. Then, on December 28th, that changed with the airing of No Easy Decision which finally addressed the third option in a surprisingly good 40 minute segment. Continue reading
It’s not unusual to hear of celebrities visiting our little island and several notable people own houses (mansions) on the island, including Tommy Hilfiger, the Kerry’s, Eric Schmidt, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, and Dorothy Hamill, among others. I mentioned in an earlier post that Vice President Biden and his family were here for Thanksgiving. Well, Sunday, Nora and I were walking in town with friends and we bumped into him.And he was kind enough to take a picture with us!
Normally I wouldn’t approach a famous person for a photograph, but I really respect our president and vice president and thought it would be a great picture for Nora. I have to admit, I was super nervous and much less smooth than I could have been. I shook his hand, but he had to prompt me for my name. If I’d been less tongue-tied, I would have thanked him for all his hard work. He told me that he’s been coming to the island for Thanksgiving for 35 years and it’s his Thanksgiving tradition, though, so I suppose there’s always next year.
If you believe Erica Jong, this:is my 18 (21…25…?) year prison sentence.
In case you missed it, in The Wall Street Journal ‘s “Saturday Essay” last weekend, Jong wrote about the evils of attachment and green parenting:
You wear your baby, sleep with her and attune yourself totally to her needs. […] Add to this the dictates of “green” parenting—homemade baby food, cloth diapers, a cocoon of clockless, unscheduled time—and you have our new ideal. Anything less is bad for baby. Parents be damned.
She doesn’t mince words, either, stating that
[a]ttachment parenting, especially when combined with environmental correctness, has encouraged female victimization. Women feel not only that they must be ever-present for their children but also that they must breast-feed, make their own baby food and eschew disposable diapers. It’s a prison for mothers, and it represents as much of a backlash against women’s freedom as the right-to-life movement.
She even mentions Elisabeth Badinter’s book Le Conflit: La Femme and La Mere, which says “such supposedly benign expectations victimize women far more than men have ever done.”
Wow. When I read that Monday, I didn’t know what to think; in the days following there has been much discussion sweeping through the world of parenting blogs (WSJ’s The Juggle and Motherload, for example), and I still find myself struggling with the fact that a woman who fought for women’s rights doesn’t like it that some women choose to stay home; that some women find fulfillment at home. Isn’t women’s liberation all about the ability to choose work or family or both?
Apparently not. Continue reading