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...
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