29 November, 2011
21 November, 2011
In case you don't want to read it sideways here is my story:
My baby came to into this world early and quickly - at home. In lots of birth circles, particularly in homebirthy circles, I play up the quickly part. I make excuses that I didn’t transfer to the hospital because there wasn’t time. Otherwise, I’ve been accused of being irresponsible and acting irrationally and risking my son’s life. Fingers pointed in my face, hate mail in my inbox, and my birth story ripped apart on the Internet. The words of home birthing mothers and midwives used the same condemning tone and quick and harsh criticisms that critics of home birth use against them. My first instinct was to go into hiding, to silence myself, to feel shame and embarrassment. I was reminded that women have been pushed in to silence for so long, especially surrounding birth, and I don’t want to stay silent any longer.
What really happened is simple. I went into labor at 35 weeks, my midwife came over, and I gave birth. I never thought what I was doing was radical it was simply a sequence of events. I wasn’t thinking about statistics, or textbook issues that preterm babies can face. I got my baby out and assessed later. I know my midwives did the same, they knew me; they knew my story, my history and my healthy pregnancy. We both knew a hospital was 8 minutes away. My son was born in six hours at 6 pounds 7 ounces he was healthy, I was happy. In three months time my son was a fat and vibrant twelve-pound infant, grown from sweet love and Mama’s milk. Our instincts were right. He did okay. We did okay. I did amazing!
Those of us who do things that are out of the ordinary, that shock and might scare some folks often take the heat. My experience should not open the door for hate and condemnation, but for others to listen, to read, and to learn from it. My eyes are open now because of my birth and the subsequent backlash. I can see that standardizing birth with statistics and textbook problems and solutions erases the human aspect of it. The work that radical midwives do provide an important role not just for women giving birth, but also for keeping cultural history alive. The further midwives are pushed to standardize, the farther away we move from women’s autonomy over birth, our bodies and our babies. Institutional and medical hegemony rein no matter how you contort the language to appear otherwise. The toxic system will never be accepting of homebirth midwives, so we need to keep smashing the system from the outside.
In peace an solidarity,
15 November, 2011
I've learned to be compassionate with other parenting styles and decisions
I've experienced when parenting styles that question or challenge the status quo are often met with harsh criticism and judgements, or they are surprisingly accepted and appreciated. Often times people need some time, patience, and a little dialogue to find common ground.
I've discovered that parenting is a fluid and malleable experience. There are not simply two sides to every issue, and that parents fall somewhere on a vast spectrum of parenting philosophies.
I've also learned that the hegemonic culture (culturally and institutionally) in the United States works on binaries and push divisive tactics that get people to produce more inflamed and dramatic issues that only drive the wedge deeper. This creates deeper divisions and impacts the authenticity of our interactions with others.
09 November, 2011
And this kick ass graffiti shared by Blue Milk via What Calico did Next
I am always amazed at the complete lack of awareness people have regarding how simply (and often) children are gendered. Why so much hyper-gendering of our babies? Because folks get freaked out when they are faced with people who transgress gender. If you can't easily tell what gender someone is it can be difficult for folks to know how to treat them and how to talk to them. Newborns, infants, and toddlers most certainly transgress gender. Take away the pink and blue and babies look like plain old human babies! In a culture so obsessed with gender binaires, it's important to know for sure if baby is a boy or girl. So cue the hyper-gendering (of everything), because without it folks are lost and don't know how to treat our little ones, and we end up with shit like this.
08 November, 2011
We are your future constituents and we are parents. We are American mothers and fathers and grandparents and guardians. Our families might be the most diverse in the world. Blended and combined in endless permutations, we represent every major religion, political ideology and ethnic culture that exists. We are made from equal parts biology and choice. Our children come to us in every way possible—including fertility miracles, adoption, and remarriage.
Our very modern families embody the freedom that defines America. We embody America. We are rich in diversity, but we are united in our family values. We come together today, with one voice, to express our grave disappointment in the national political discourse.
The 2012 countdown has barely begun and we are already being bombarded with the warmed-over, hypocritical rhetoric of 2008. We are living in a time where 15.1% of Americans now live in poverty, the unemployment rate stands at 16%, and we are spending close to $170 billion annually between the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan*.
Given the current state of affairs we would expect every candidate to focus on the issues that truly matter: job creation, debt-relief, taxes, education, poverty, and ending the war(s). Instead, it is already clear to us that the conversation has been hijacked, with the goal of further polarizing our nation into a politically motivated and falsely created class-war.
We will not stand for another campaign year in which politicians presume to know what our family values are as they relate to the nation.
To be clear, here are our family values:
Affordable health care, including family planning, for all Americans. We will not tolerate any candidate using the shield of “Choice” to blind us from the issues that really matter. When funding is stripped from organizations like Planned Parenthood, access to sliding-scale health care (including yearly pap smears & mammograms), comprehensive sex education, and family planning is blocked from the poorest of the population.
Access to education, and the ability to actually use it. We want quality, affordable, federally-funded pre-K programs made available in every State, in order to provide an even starting point for all children enrolled in public schools— regardless of the wealth of the district or town they live in.
A reinstatement of regulations for banks issuing mortgages and full prosecution for those who engaged in fraudulent lending practices. We want full accountability —investigation, indictment and prosecution— of those individuals and institutions who engaged in fraudulent lending practices and who helped create the massive foreclosures that left many families homeless or struggling to keep their homes.
A return of strict environmental regulations protecting water, air, food, and land that were removed in the last two decades. We want our children to grow up in a world not weighed down by the strains of pollution and global warming. Between BPA in our products, sky-rocketing rates of asthma in kids, questionable hormones in our over-processed food, and more, we need leaders who will put our needs and safety over the desires and profits of large corporations.
Family planning, healthcare, education, economic solvency and environmental safety: these are our national family values.
Candidates who demonstrate the ability to understand the gravity of these issues, and their impact on our families, and who can provide actual, viable solutions to these problems will garner our support and our votes.
We believe in this democratic system of ours, and we will continue to use our voices and our votes to see that it reaches its fullest potential.
Your future constituents,
The mothers & fathers of America
03 November, 2011
New England was pummeled with a snowstorm on Saturday night. Under normal winter circumstances this would have been just a run of the mill snow storm, but because of a late foliage (and that it was October!) most deciduous trees weren't prepared to handle a foot or more of heavy and wet snow. There were downed trees, limbs, and with them power lines. Many people were (and still are) without power. Luckily, our house was not affected by the power outages for very long, but you can see our backyard didn't fair very well in the storm. But we did manage to have some fun with the snow and I had to do some snow gardening to free the brussel sprouts and leeks from under a foot of snow.