Saturday, 31 December 2011

What a Year! Reflections on 2011

☀I didn't sleep much this year. But that's OK - because I accomplished all I wanted to and more. There wasn't really time for sleep!


Here are the highlights:


☀I got to attend the birth of my new niece. It was a terrific display of courage on part of my sister who had a successful VBAC. So glad I could be there to witness it.


☀My little man started walking and talking this year. He is a happy, healthy ball of energy. Watching him grow and learn makes my heart soar!


☀I started Ancient Winds Jewelry making rustic custom and inspirational jewelry. It has quickly become very busy. I taught myself everything I know about metalsmithing; of this I am very proud!




☀I was able to re-visit a favorite childhood vacation spot on the Canadian west coast with my entire family this summer. It was awesome.


☀I started a Ancient Winds Naturals, a natural body care company, with a dear friend of mine that has proven to be a hugely popular, right out of the starting gate!






☀And, finally, I found the courage to start a blog. I was scared to talk about lots of topics that I have covered this year, mainly circumcision, as it is so taboo to discuss it. I'm so glad I took the chance and I am a proud intactivist. When I was really questioning putting myself out there in this way, a friend of mine said to me, 


'we don't get this life for long...it goes by so very fast and after we have children this comes to light even more. We must speak up and be the voice for those that cannot use theirs yet!" 


She was right and I haven't looked back since. Instead of being received with controversy (which I had expected), I have been received with almost nothing but love and gratitude. Many  people have shared my blog with friends and family as a way of starting a conversation on some difficult topics. The feedback that many have shared with me has made me feel so validated and grateful.


I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back and love in my heart. I feel good in my own skin, I love this journey I'm on and the people who are sharing it with me, who I learn from everyday.


I am overflowing with gratitude for all of these blessings and I am so excited to see what 2012 has in store for me.


All the best to you and yours in 2012! May it be your best year yet:)

With gratitude,

Lori

Connect with me on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/AncientWindsNaturals
http://www.facebook.com/AncientWindsJewelry





Monday, 12 December 2011

Circumcision Regret; Brave Mamas Sharing their Stories

Some of the bravest moms out there are the ones who had their sons circumcised, regretted it, then went on to educate and share their stories with other moms, in order to prevent them from making the same decision. Here are just a few of the hundreds of articles out there of moms doing just that.











Unfortunately this list could go on and on. Thanks to all the brave mamas out there for speaking out and sharing their stories – it takes a lot of courage to do so. Thank you also to the mamas out there who are sharing their stories through Facebook, on the phone or over a cup of tea. You will make a difference to someone!

I am currently working on a letter to my member of parliament at a federal and provincial level; these stories and the countless number of stories out there are a testament to the fact that there is not enough education on this topic in the health care system. Parents are clearly not often informed of what the procedure entails and the short-term and lasting effects on babies, the breastfeeding relationship, mother-son bonding, short and long term complications for their sons and their future spouses/partners, etc.

We are the protectors of our children. Please, raise your voice with me, share information, write your MP, tell your friends. Together let’s put a stop to this.   

With gratitude,
Lori

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Breastfeeding & Sleep Training: The Advice I Was Given and Why I’m Glad I Didn’t Listen

Before my baby was a few weeks old I had already been told what so many of us have heard time and again in our early days of motherhood,; when we are emotionally fragile, overwhelmed, hormonal and exhausted;

“You shouldn’t hold him too much or you’ll spoil him”

Seriously?

I had just waited my entire life to become a mother. I had dreamed about what it would be like and spent nine (actually more like ten) months waiting anxiously to hold my precious child and now I was being advised that holding him too much was not only a bad idea, but perhaps even detrimental? Wow.


This was my introduction to the parenting culture that has evolved in North America over the past century; detachment parenting.

I always thought I would be a “good mother” and never let my children sleep in my bed. I wouldn’t spoil them by holding them too much. I certainly wouldn’t breastfeed past a year. That would be weird.

GASP! That is honestly what I used to think. I don’t know where these ideas came from and I can’t believe they were beliefs I used to harbour, but it’s true. Not only do I no longer feel this way, but I feel the exact opposite!

When I became pregnant I felt confident and capable of growing and birthing my baby, but after my son was born, the voices of the outside world slowly began to drown out the voices in my own head and heart.

“Don’t let your baby use you as a soother”
“Don’t let your baby in your bed – you’ll never get them out”
“Don’t nurse on demand – you need to be on a schedule”
“You need to let your baby learn to self-soothe”
“It’s time to let your baby cry-it-out”
“Aren’t you going to wean soon?”

Sheesh!

The list goes on and on. There were plenty of well-meaning comments in the first year; but these always left me feeling like I really didn’t know what I was doing, or that I wasn’t doing it “right”.

But as time went on I started to find my footing beneath me and didn’t take those comments to heart anymore. Thank goodness I found the confidence to parent my son in a way that feels right, rather than how everyone else thinks I should.  Had I listened to all of the advice that was given to me, I would have missed out on many of the most heart-warming, tender moments of my life so far…

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding my son has been one of the most challenging journeys of my life. We struggled from day one (something I attribute to being separated after birth for nearly an hour, for no good reason). It was months of toe-curling pain, nipple shields, thrush, and perseverance. He latched and nursed properly at the bare breast (without the nipple shield!) for the first time when he was four and a half months old. Thank goodness we never gave up. It has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my life.


Watching my son grow and thrive because of the nourishment I provided him has been incredible. This has done amazing things for my confidence and also deepened our mother-child bond and continues to do so every day. There is this notion in our culture that breastfeeding is only for nutrition. I know now that it is so much more than that. The comfort, warmth and love my son receives while at the breast nourishes his soul. Just being at the breast, whether he’s physically nursing or not gives him such a sense of peace and security. And, yes, that means I am being “used for a soother”; and that’s exactly what nature intended! When he is teething or not feeling well, it gives him the comfort and nutrition he needs when nothing else works. It is my greatest mothering tool, hands down.

Nursing a toddler is different in many ways, compared to a newborn; he doesn't nurse as often and it is much more sporadic and he is often standing on his head while doing it. But the idea is the same. At almost 20 months, it is still nourishing his body and soul and neither of us are ready to end our breastfeeding relationship.

Co-Sleeping

Co-sleeping with my son has also been quite the journey. We started out with him beside the bed in his bassinette, and when he outgrew it, he went to his crib across the hall (around six months). I felt weird and lonely for him and he obviously felt the same without me.

I spent months pacing the halls, rocking him and bouncing him, until, at ten months, I reached a breaking point. I was utterly exhausted. It was affecting everything and I couldn’t function. Everyone kept saying “you have to let him cry” “it will be hard, but just get your husband to hold you back from going into his room” “It will make things so much easier”.

My head was spinning and I didn’t know what else to do, so one night we decided to let him cry. I had read all the books and heard so many success stories, so we did it, even though every cell in my body knew it didn’t feel right.

This was a good lesson for me. I had always trusted my instincts up to this point, but thought that 'sleep training' was some kind of exception. I thought I needed to ignore those instincts and it would 'work' and soon we’d all be sleeping. Any mother who has done this knows, that that instinct is pretty freaking hard to ignore. Now, I realize, there are no exceptions to when instinct applies; they are there for a reason. They are a primal way of alarming me when something isn’t right.

So after a few nights of  'sleep training’, instinct took over, and I marched into my baby’s  room, scooped him into my arms, and held  him close (exactly where he belongs) and nursed him and told him how sorry I was. I didn’t know what we were going to do next, but I certainly knew that I wouldn’t let him cry again; alone in his room, frantic; thinking that he’d been abandoned.



Now we play musical beds in our home. I often spend half the night with him and half the night with my husband. Sometimes all three of us are together. It’s different every night. It’s not perfect and I’m not gonna lie, I’m tired. But, more importantly, it feels right. And I know this won’t last forever. In the grand scheme of both our lives, this period of time is like a blink of an eye. I also know that some day down the road, I will always want this back. I'm going to savor it.

"When the baby keeps you awake all night, remember you will have a lifetime to catch up on your sleep. But you'll never have this night with your little one again"~Cheryl Karpen (Eat Your Peas for New Moms)




Sharing sleep, I’ve learned, creates a much deeper bond than I knew existed. I can’t exactly explain it, but I know I can totally feel it. It is warm, cozy and loving. And waking up beside my son and/or husband is the best. The early morning snuggles (or wrestling matches) always warms my heart and every time I think to myself “if I had listened to the advice I’d received I would have missed this!” There is something sacred about the moments in which we first open our eyes at the start of a brand new day. To share this with my family is the best.

Now, I don’t have all the answers, and like every parent, I’m learning as I go. But these are the things I know for sure:

I can find research, books, articles or ‘experts’ to support any parenting decision on either side of any topic or debate going. But in the end, it’s not about what the books, experts, my friends or family think, believe or advise; it’s what feels right to me. My instinct and intuition are so much more important and wise than I can even know; and I can't think of one time in my life that I listened to my instinct and went on to regret it.  

As a brand new mom, it was so hard to ignore the outside voices. But now, I am grateful that I have learned to listen to my heart and make decisions that feel right in the very core of my being. I know I’ll make mistakes, but in the end, just like my own mom knew best, I know best for my own son; not anyone else, even the ‘experts’! The heart is a peaceful place of wisdom and clarity; and I want to parent from that very place.

With gratitude,

Lori

P.S. ~This is my own experience, and not a judgment on others’ parenting choices. I want to share my own story to help inspire others to follow their hearts and listen to their instincts to know what is best for their children.

Photo Credit: Jen McDougall, McBaby Photos, Prince Albert, SK




Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Guggie Daily: Confessions of a Circumcised Man

The Guggie Daily: Confessions of a Circumcised Man: “ This is winter wheat we’re sowing, and other hands will harvest.” ~Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American Universal Suffrage Leader © 2011 K...

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Birth of a Business: Ancient Winds Naturals

So I haven't blogged in quite a while, for a couple of reasons. For one, my jewelry business is going crazy right now. This is my first Christmas season making jewelry and my items are perfect for that sentimental special something for moms, dads, grandmas and even teenagers. I am so very grateful for all of the support I've received (locally and around the world). It is truly gratifying.




Second, in the midst of the chaos surrounding the season, I have been busy preparing to launch a new business, with my good friend, Raquel, as well. This year, my new year's resolution was to make over my body products with the intent to use products containing only edible oils and butters and other natural ingredients.

(This is the first new year's resolution I've actually followed through on!)

However, I found that the products I was trying either didn't work that well, smelled weird, or contained some natural ingredients, but also some not-so-natural ingredients too. It just wasn't good enough for me.

When I couldn't find what I wanted for a diaper salve for my son, I decided I would learn how to make it myself. So I started researching and experimenting in my kitchen. Before long, I had created something that felt amazing, smelled amazing and, most of all, actually worked!! And not just for my baby's bum, but for his whole body, and mine and all of our cuts, scrapes and more! I saw a business opportunity present itself and haven't looked back.

It has been a lot of months perfecting recipes, designing our logo and labels, creating an image and putting the many pieces of the puzzle together. I already knew starting a business was not for the faint of heart, so I was ready for the challenge. Or so I thought! At one point, I knew I needed help, so I recruited a business partner, who is incredible and we're now off and running.

                                                  Getting ready for our first tradeshow


So here's the deal:

  • We care as much about what we put on our bodies as what we put in them. Our products contain only 100% natural ingredients. Nothing else.


  • In an effort to minimize our carbon footprint, we create our products to include as few ingredients as possible while still maintaining effectiveness. This means fewer fossils fuels required to harvest, process and ship ingredients.

  • Our ingredients and packaging are all purchased from Canadian suppliers, so in supporting our businesses, you are supporting other Canadian businesses as well. We also use only local raw beeswax that we filter ourselves and we package our products in reusable tins and pouches. We firmly believe that we all need to use fewer products with fewer ingredients for the health of our bodies and our planet and we strive to create a product line that can help achieve that.



For more information and to find out more about what we're all about, check out our Facebook page.





To purchase Ancient Winds Naturals Coconut All Purpose Salve online, click here:
http://www.etsy.com/people/AncientWindsNaturals
or head to our Facebook page to find a retailer near you:
http://www.facebook.com/AncientWindsNaturals
If we don't have a retailer where you live, please message us and tell us what cities/stores you would like to see our products in!


Photo credit: Raquel Tokarchuk, editing by Holly Marquette

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

peaceful parenting: Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power

peaceful parenting: Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power: By Miriam Pollack © 2011 Citation: Pollack, Miriam. 2011. "Circumcision: Identity, Gender, and Power." Tikkun 26(3). Published at DrMomma...

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Doctor Discusses Circumcision Controversy

Monday, 26 September 2011

Confessions of A Mountain Mama: A short video about Milk Sharing

Confessions of A Mountain Mama: A short video about Milk Sharing: Just wanted to share this slideshow about my experience with Milk Sharing. You'll want to scroll to the bottom of the page and pause m...

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Guggie Daily: You Aren't Just a Mom; You're THE Mom

The Guggie Daily: You Aren't Just a Mom; You're THE Mom: I could barely contain my excitement while sharing with my friends on Facebook and someone recommended making this into a post that can be s...

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Child Circumcision: An Elephant in the Hospital

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wholesome Mama: Tania Prosser

This is the very first of my "wholesome mamas" feature where I will be featuring wholesome mamas, many of them also Etsy shop owners, to find out what they are doing to live their best lives and raise strong, happy and well adjusted children. I hope you will find ideas and inspiration from these amazing moms.

Our first "wholesome mama" is Tania Prosser, owner of "Fairy Shadow" Etsy shop, selling handmade hair accessories from upcycled materials. Her work is beautiful, and I can tell that her spirit is too. She lives her life conciously and with purpose in Northern California where, with her husband and two daughters, she raises "sheep and cattle and other assorted critters!" May you be inspired by her wisdom in her eloquent responses!


What does wholesome living mean to you?

Wholesome living for me is all about keeping things in balance. From the food I eat, adequate sleep, activity levels to my emotional and spiritual health. I am not one for absolutes. I believe we come to this world with the ability to find what works best for ourselves and the big job is to really pay attention to when something feels wrong and when it feels right and act upon that knowledge. Life can be unpredictable and, from time to time, we are faced with decisions that require confidence of self. If we have managed to build a broad, stable base to stand on it is harder to get knocked over. My husband and I have strived to give a well balance life to our children and as they are reaching adulthood we see that it is paying off. They are kind, strong, good natured people.

What is your favorite wholesome food, meal or recipe?

I love kale stir-fried with onions and mixed into mashed potatoes. We raise our own cattle and so I will add ground beef to this. My children find this hodge-podge unappealing so I keep each part separate and enjoy the mix myself while my family teases me about the ugly mess in my bowl.



Are you currently involved with any causes, charities or volunteer work?

Last year my 16 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She has been successfully treated with surgery and chemotherapy and proved herself to be powerfully courageous. We have since been active with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. I think it has been tremendously helpful for her to walk with other cancer survivors and see that people do indeed go on to live full, healthy and normal lives.

What’s your favorite natural home remedy?

I believe that the very best remedy you can give to your child is your full and undivided attention when they are in need. When they go down and are wounded in a small way or a big way your energy is magical. Your touch and presence helps to make the pain bearable. Never devalue it.

Where do you feel most at peace?

I find peace in my garden. Working the soil is regenerative and the garden is one of the best teacher you could ask for. It requires flexibility and an open mind to sort out the ever present problems that arise from asking the earth to organize itself around your desires. You have to learn to be happy with the limitations of your own environment and come to peace with what you have.



From where/who do you gather your inspiration?

Because I am working with upcycled textiles to make my flower hair accessories I get excited by garments with interesting visual textures. I’m finding tie-dyed shirts to especially nice to make my flowers from. I love digging through the big bins at my Goodwill outlet (where the clothes that don’t sell at their retail outlets go before they are bundled and send overseas) and finding beautiful colors for my petals. I am also starting to work with felted sweaters but I need to be careful not to get too far ahead of myself in the gathering of my fabrics. I can drown in a sea of material wealth so easily.

What was the last book you read?

I’m a bit embarrassed. My book club hostess chose a bodice-buster called ‘The Flower and the Flame’. She chose this after I told her I had noticed a change in the imagery used on the cover of romance novels lately. I had recalled the swooning women falling into the arms of darkly handsome men, dress lacings coming unbound. While at a bookstore I noted that many of those novels now came with bare muscular male torsos with faces obscured in shadow and I couldn’t resist lining them all up on the shelf. I felt quite naughty for rearranging the inventory. I found the novel very hard to read because I just could not identify with the heroine and was frequently irritated by her stupidity.

Name 3 things you are grateful for.

I am grateful for the love of my family, the courage of my daughter and hot running water. One must be practical after all.



What advice/information would you share with a new mom?

Every moment you invest in your children is worth it. Sometimes the demands of the day can blind you to this fact. To squat down and look into the eyes of your child when she speaks to you is never a waste. Let the dishes go unwashed if your heart calls for you sit and read a book with her. The dishes are always getting dirtied but your little one is lap-sized for only the briefest of time.

What advice/information would you share with someone thinking about starting up their own Etsy shop or small business?

Before you start sit down and write out what exactly it is that you want. Ask what your destination is. Do you want income? Lots of income or pin money? Keep in mind that lots of income as a self-employed person is way more than a full time job. So many start-up crafters don’t pay themselves for all the work that has to be done outside of the making of the product. Your time is valuable so remember to price your product so that you get paid for your all your time. Make a map of where you are now and where you want to be and honestly assess how you will travel that road and if you can be happy with that journey. Hunt down information. Many have traveled the road before you and can help you avoid the pitfalls. Most importantly, pay attention to how your work impacts your family life. An unhappy mama equals an unhappy family.


To see more of Tania's designs, check out her Etsy shop here:
http://www.etsy.com/shop/fairyshadow?ref=seller_info

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Cozy, Sustainable, Beautiful: The Art of Zen Crochet on Etsy

Hey Folks!

Just sharing some love today for one of my favorite Etsy shops, The Art of Zen Crochet!

It seems as though Mother Nature has flicked the switch from summer to fall here in Canada and it's time to start thinking about all things cozy and warm!

So...

here are my picks:



Love these warm, earthy tones. Perfect for fall. I am in love with this scarf!



I bought these in brown last year. They are perfect for that in-between weather when you need something on your hands, but full mitts are too warm. I love wearing these. Perfect fit and so well-made.



This is on my wish-list. I love the earthy colors!

Check out more "Earth and People friendly fiber art" here:


and get cozy my friends!

With gratitude,

Lori

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The BEST Homemade Granola EVER



This recipe is a favorite around my house. Everytime I serve it to friends or family they are asking for the recipe. It's easy, nutritious and fantastically delicious. I promise, you will never go back to store-bought granola! You can eat it by the handful, serve on ice cream, add to your favorite trail mix or add to fruit and yogurt to make a parfait! And, of course, it makes the house smell incredible!

3 Cups old fashioned oats (NOT quick oats!)
3/4 Cup sliced raw almonds
1/2 Cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 Cup raw sunflower seeds
Handful of flax or flaxmeal
Handful of wheat germ
1/2 Tbsp (heaping) cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

1/2 Cup maple syrup

1 Cup dried fruit (I like dried cranberries and dried apricots, chopped)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in medium sized bowl. Add maple syrup. Spread mixture onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool. Add dried fruit. Refrigerate and use within 3 weeks (not that it will last that long!)





Customize this recipe however you want. Add in your favorite seeds, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Add hemp hearts or try different rolled grains (I like rolled kamut flakes!). Your local health food store is a great place to find all kinds of goodies that would be great additions to this recipe!



This granola is my favorite thing to serve to overnight guests for breakfast. It is sweet yet wholesome and is one of my favorite comfort foods!

Enjoy!

With gratitude,
Lori

Thursday, 1 September 2011

peaceful parenting: Intact or Circumcised: A Significant Difference in...

peaceful parenting: Intact or Circumcised: A Significant Difference in...: ~~~~ NOTICE: The images below are graphic in nature for the purpose of education. They may not be suitable for viewing in the work...

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

#1 Breastfeeding Must-Have

One of the great things about breastfeeding is that it doesn't cost anything (with the exception of a few optional items ie. breast pump, breast pads, nursing pillow, etc.). However, there is one thing I have invested in that I can't live without. I use it every day and every night, it helps make breastfeeding in public a breeze, is comfortable, washes well, looks great. Drum roll please......

The Glamourmom Nursing Tank!!



Look at this woman, comfortably nursing her baby without any bare skin (it took a great deal of practice for me to be as relaxed as her!) Beautiful, isn't it? This nursing tank truly has helped me achieve this level of comfort and relaxation while I nurse my little guy. And no, I'm not being paid to endorse this product (I just really love it!)

 This tank is very user-friendly. There is a little clasp on the strap that is easy to open and close with one hand and exposes your breast easily. No need for 'hooter hiders', capes or other contraptions that are awkward and draw attention. It is great for layering under tees, tanks or sweaters.

And what's more, the easier  it is to breastfeed in public, the more likely you are to get out of the house, the more sane you will be as a new mom. You can't put a price on that! AND, as an added bonus, breastfeeding will become more mainstream the more we do it, and the more people see it. So in the end, you are doing yourself, your baby and society all a great big favor. (I can justify buying almost anything if I think I'm saving the world in one way or another!)

For the month of August (World Breastfeeding Month), Glamourmom is doing a 'buy one, give one' promotion, donating tanks to women in need so your purchase really will make a difference! But hurry - today is the last day!

Click here for Glamourmom website:
http://www.glamourmom.com/index.asp

Happy Nursing!

With Gratitude,
Lori

Pregnant?? Do You Have a Birth Plan?

This is fantastic - the way birth is meant to be:

http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/birthplan.asp

Thank you Janine DeBaise for writing this awesome article!

Monday, 29 August 2011

If Only For Today...

Motherhood is filled with guilt and doubt and judgement. Unfortunate, but true. Breast vs bottle, pro-vax vs no vax, co-sleep vs cry-it-out, cloth vs disposable, front facing vs rear facing, circ vs no-circ; the list goes on and on. It seems endless, the things that divide us as mothers. There are discussions, debates and even bullying that result.

But today I want to highlight one thing we can all agree on; we love our children. Love is at the very core of every debate I just mentioned. We are all so passionate because we care so much.

If only for today...

Let us set aside our differences, and focus on the common ground we share; our love for our babies, however big or small.

Let us look at our little ones (or bigger ones) as they are on this day, for they will never be this little again. Take time to notice their mannerisms, the way they waddle or trot or sprint across the floor. The pitter patter of their little feet will only last so long.

Savor the way they smile at you, hug you, give you drooly open-mouthed kisses!

Take time today to wrestle or chase or tickle or dance. Blow raspberries on their little tummies. Giggle, laugh, snort.

These are the days. We will always want this back. When we are old in our rocking chairs, thinking about 'the old days', these will be the days we will remember. In the chaos of family life, in the midst of the hussle and bustle, take an extra minute today to watch your children play. Watch them sleep. Take pictures. Hold them close. Tell them a hundred 'I love yous'. Kiss their little nose and little toes. Blow bubbles. Hold hands. Sing to them.

Tomorrow you can go back to saving the world. For today, savor, love and enjoy your little ones. They won't be little forever.

With gratitude,
Lori

All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.
-- Indian Proverb

Saturday, 27 August 2011

peaceful parenting: Doctors Who Circumcise: Breaking the Law in Britai...

peaceful parenting: Doctors Who Circumcise: Breaking the Law in Britai...: Via Men's Health Forum Supporters of genital autonomy have argued that the practice of male genital cutting (circumcision) could be illeg...

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nature's Sweet Perfection


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Gymnurstics: 7 Reasons I Breastfeed My Toddler



     1.   Convenience. The longer we breastfeed, the easier it gets. Unlike nursing my son as a newborn, he is now busy and distracted so nursing sessions are more few and far between. Not to mention, fast! The older he gets, the more efficient he is at nursing. And, of course, the convenience factor of breastfeeding remains: no matter where we go, I always have a quick, nutritious, thirst quenching snack on hand for my child!

2.      Connection. It is the perfect way to take a break in our busy day (morning, evening or night) to stop what we're both doing and really connect with each other. Nothing else matters in that moment but nourishing his little body and soul with my nutritious milk and loving arms.

3.      Health. There is no denying it, breastfeeding is just plain healthy. The health benefits carry on long past infancy! Also, when he’s teething or feeling under the weather, sometimes breastfeeding is the only thing he wants to do.



4.      The ultimate mothering tool! From doctor’s appointments to airplane rides, nothing soothes or settles my toddler better than breastfeeding. I even nursed him during his first haircut! It is perfect for the moments when I need another minute or two on the phone and he wants my attention. I just nurse him for a few minutes and he’s good to go!

5.      Confidence. My ability to calm and nurture my toddler through breastfeeding has given me confidence that I never knew before. We are deeply bonded through our breastfeeding relationship and we both derive great benefits from it. And, contrary to popular belief, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

6.      Instinct. The further on I go on my mothering journey, the more I am learning to listen to my instincts and trust them. I know in my heart nature intends for us to breastfeed, and to do so until my son’s need for it diminishes.

7.      Pure love. Those little baby blues looking up at me while my son nurses make me melt every time. I can see how much he loves that milk and how much that skin to skin contact brings him comfort. And nothing beats the moments when he breaks his latch because he can’t help smiling. These are times I will always cherish and this is a bond that will keep us connected long after he has weaned.


Are you nursing or have you nursed a toddler? I would love to hear why you love(d) nursing a toddler! If you would like to be included in my upcoming gallery of nursing moms & babies, please send your photos to: ancientwinds1@gmail.com


With gratitude,
Lori

Photo credit: McBaby Photos http://www.mcbabyphotos.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Circum[de]cision; Considering Circumcision? Read On...

"What's done to children, they will do to society."
Karl Menninger, psychiatrist


My heart was racing and absolutely pounding out of my chest, tears streaming down my face. I could hardly breathe. I had to look away.

It was a circumcision video. I decided to watch it after I had debated circumcision with a couple of friends who had chosen it for their sons. They talked so casually about it that for a second I actually thought to myself, ‘well maybe it’s not such a big deal.’ and decided to educate myself.

I had no idea I would become so passionate about the subject, but the more I learned, the more my passion grew. After watching that video I feel like I was forever changed. I needed to speak out. It was even worse than I had imagined. I wanted so desperately to reach through the screen and sweep that baby into my arms before they could do anything to him. He was hysterical, arms and legs strapped down, having his genitals cut. This baby was someone’s pride and joy, in the tender first days of his life, having a healthy body part removed forever. I wept for him and thought ‘why is this happening to our beloved babies during the most helpless and vulnerable time of their lives?’ A circumcision is, for far too many boys, the first genital experience in their lives.

Thank you for taking the time to hear my take on this, as I know it is a very emotionally charged issue. My writing is from the heart and is done without judgment, but rather passion. I am mother to an intact son. I shudder to think of the decision I could have made on his behalf had I not been informed, done my research, and followed my heart. Every single day I am grateful that my husband and I chose to keep him intact. I hope I can inspire even just one person to make the same decision for their son. I am sharing some of the information I have found useful and feel the need to spread around to other new parents or parents-to-be. Knowledge is power.


In male human anatomy, the foreskin is a generally retractable double-layered fold of skin and mucous membrane that covers the glans penis and protects the urinary meatus (pronounced /miːˈeɪtəs/) when the penis is not erect. It is also described as the prepuce, a technically broader term that also includes the clitoral hood in women, to which the foreskin is embryonically homologous [the same]. [1]

cir·cum·cise (sûr k m-s z )
tr.v. cir·cum·cised, cir·cum·cis·ing, cir·cum·cis·es
1. To remove the prepuce [foreskin] of (a male).
2. To remove all or part of the clitoris, prepuce, or labia of (a female). [2]


None of us would even consider taking a baby girl in to have all or part of her clitoris removed in the tender first days of her life. Female circumcision is considered barbaric, unethical, and unnecessary by our North American culture. We are quick to condemn this practice and commonly refer to it as ‘Female Genital Mutilation’. It is removing one of the most sensitive body parts on a female, considered the “key to females' sexual pleasure.” [3][4] Though female and male circumcision procedures are not identical, (given the anatomical differences of boys and girls) they are shockingly similar. It is the position of the Canadian Children's Rights Council that "circumcision" of male or female children is genital mutilation of children. [5]

No national medical organization in the world recommends circumcision. [6]

With that said, why are so many precious baby boys still being circumcised? Some parents are choosing it simply to ‘look like dad’ or because ‘it’s more hygienic’. Many parents circumcise their sons knowing little about the actual procedure and the lasting effects it can have on their child.

If we know better, we can do better.


Dispelling the myths:

“It’s easier to keep clean”

The American Academy of Pediatrics (1999) stated: "…there is little evidence to affirm the association between circumcision status and optimal penile hygiene."[7]

There is nothing hygienic about an open wound being covered in urine and faeces multiple times per day. Cleaning a baby's intact penis? Simple. Clean only what is seen; do not retract. 




“They won’t remember it”

Psychologists suggest there is a ‘critical period’ in a child’s life which experiences during this time can have a profound impact on their lives.

In general, a critical period is a limited time in which an event can occur, usually to result in some kind of transformation. A "critical period” in developmental psychology and developmental biology is a time in the early stages of an organism's life during which it displays a heightened sensitivity to certain environmental stimuli, and develops in particular ways due to experiences at this time. [8]

I just can’t shake the feeling that the pain and trauma of genital cutting done in infancy, a time when humans cannot understand or cope when something negative is being done to them, can somehow imprint on their developing brains and affect them, in some way or another, for the rest of their lives.

Imagine you went to have your wisdom teeth pulled and were administered sedation for the procedure. While you were sedated, they took out your wisdom teeth and also decided to give you a nose job, without your consent, because they thought ‘it would look better’. You don’t remember it being done, but you are left to endure an uncomfortable healing process and an altered appearance. Hard to imagine, right? Ultimately, circumcision is not much different: it is performing a cosmetic procedure on a non-consenting individual. Children will not remember almost anything from their first few years of life. This does not give us the right to do whatever we want to them during this time.


"A whole life can be shaped by an old trauma, remembered or not."
Lenore Terr, M.D., child psychiatrist


“But I’ve heard some babies actually sleep through the procedure”



“But he will look different that the other boys in the locker room if he is not circumcised”

Or will he? Turns out, the opposite is true. Statistics show the numbers are declining in Canada, with 31.9% of boys circumcised from 2006-2007. [9] There are widely varying estimates for the US, but the average number is somewhere around 32% as well. [10]


“But he should look like his Dad”

“The BMA [British Medical Association] does not believe that parental preference alone constitutes sufficient grounds for performing a surgical procedure on a child unable to express his own view.” [11] There is also no possible way to predict how your son will feel about his circumcision later on in his life. [12] When he is older he can make the decision for himself. Like most intact men, however, he will probably be perfectly happy with his complete penis and not even consider having the surgery.


“But what if he has to have it done as an adult?”

This argument is well explained here: http://www.cirp.org/library/anatomy/garcia/

Men who have been circumcised as adults are the only people who can accurately explain what it is like to be both intact and circumcised. Here are some quotes from these men:

"After the circumcision there was a major change. It was like night and day. I lost most sensation. I would give anything to get the feeling back."

The greatest disadvantage of circumcision is the awful loss of sensitivity when the foreskin is removed. . . . On a scale of 10, the intact penis experiences pleasure that is at least 11 or 12; the circumcised penis is lucky to get to 3.

The sexual differences between a circumcised and uncircumcised penis is . . . like wearing a condom or wearing a glove. . . . Sight without color would be a good analogy. . . . Only being able to see in black and white, for example, rather than seeing in full color would be like experiencing an orgasm with a foreskin and without. There are feelings you’ll just never have without a foreskin. [12]


It’s time we gathered our courage and started the conversation with our friends and families on this taboo subject so that no more baby boys have to endure this. Our babies are perfect the way they are born. Beautiful. Pure. Intact.

We are their voice. Let’s gather our courage and speak up.

With gratitude,

Lori
There are many videos on the web on genital cutting. This is the one that opened my eyes: http://www.drmomma.org/2009/08/plastibell-infant-circumcision.html


"I believe the time has come to acknowledge that the practice of routine circumcision rests on the absurd premise that the only mammal in creation born in the condition that requires immediate surgical correction is the human male." ~Thomas Szasz, M.D.


Want to know more? Check out these websites:















References

1.       “Foreskin”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreskin (August 5, 2011).
2.       “Circumcise”. The Free Dictionary By Farlex: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/circumcise (August 6, 2011).

3.       “Clitoris”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.  Chalker, Rebecca (2000). The Clitoral Truth. Seven Seas Press. pp. 1. ISBN 1-58322-473-4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitoris (August 6, 2011).

4.       “Clitoris”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.  O'Connell HE, Sanjeevan KV, Hutson JM (October 2005). "Anatomy of the clitoris". The Journal of Urology 174 (4 Pt 1): 1189–95. (August 6, 2011).


5.       “Circumcision”. Canadian Children’s Rights Council. http://www.canadiancrc.com/Circumcision_Genital_Mutilation_Male-Female_Children.aspx. (August 7, 2011).

6.       “Welcome to CRC”. Circumcision Resource Center. http://www.circumcision.org/ (August 7, 2011).

7.       “Circumcision”. Circumcision policy statement. American Academy of Pediatrics. Task Force on Circumcision". Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia. Pediatrics 103 (3): 686–93. March 1999. doi:10.1542/peds.103.3.686. PMID 10049981.  (August 7, 2011).

8.       “Critical Periods”. Wikipedia: the free encyclopedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_period (August 7, 2011)

9.       “Welcome to CRC”. Circumcision Resource Center. http://www.circumcision.org/ (August 7, 2011).

10.    “United States Circumcision Incidence”.  The circumcision reference library. http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/. (File revised 1 January 2011) (August 7, 2011).

11.    Circumcision: male genital mutilation. Canadian Children’s Rights Council. http://www.canadiancrc.com/circumcision/circumcision_medical_opinions.aspx

12.    “Men Circumcised as Adults”. Circumcision Resource Center. http://www.circumcision.org/adults.htm. (August 7, 2011).


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