I Don’t Want a Midwife

my body is sacred
I would never want a midwife assisted birth. That comes as a shock to many people. We are crunchy, pro-breastfeeding, pro-intact, cosleeping, unschooling, consensual living, attachment parenting types. People who don’t know us well assume that we would fall right into the midwife at home camp.

We don’t. The research fanatics that we are, we researched birth, and everything related, extensively before making that decision to have children. We dug through medical journals. We learned. We began to change our way of thinking to fit the facts rather than society’s distorted view. In the end, we made the decision to go unassisted. We have four beautiful, intelligent, pretty awesome (if I do say so myself) children. They were all born at home, unassisted.

That doesn’t mean I’m anti-midwife. I’m just not pro-midwife. The thing is, I support a woman’s decision to birth any way she wants. It’s her body. It’s her baby. It doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s not my choice. The only thing I hope for is that women have access to factual information in order to make the best informed choice for themselves.

So it bothers me when I see people make blanket statements about how they wish every baby was born with a midwife present. To me, it’s very similar to making blanket statements that every baby should be born in a hospital or any of the other limiting blankets statements that states what women should or should not be doing with their bodies.

I would never want a midwife. However, I would never want to limit another woman’s choice or the opportunity for her to have a midwife if that is what she chooses. Supporting women and their informed choices is pro-woman and pro-human. Wishing that every woman made the same birth choices as you? That’s just limiting. So while I tend to avoid conversations on birth, as I really can’t stand to hear about how someone’s doctor or midwife let them do something or some of the misinformation purported by individuals and health care professionals alike, I support a woman’s right to birth however she wants. Limit the misinformation and scare tactics out there. Let’s not limit the choices.

Introducing: Attachment Parents Get Real!

I’d like to introduce a new series that will soon be hosted on Living peacefully with Children: Attachment Parents Get Real! The goal of the series is to put faces to attachment parenting. Attachment parenting is for everyone regardless of gender, race, educational background, work status, or any other differentiating factor. Attachment parenting is about connecting child and caregiver and treating everyone in a respectful, attached manner. We want others to be able to identify with attachment parents. If you practice an area of AP, we want to hear from you – mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or other caregivers.

As this is a series on attachment parenting, we will be focusing on the ideals of attachment parenting. Advocating cry-it-out, hitting, or disrespectful treatment of children will not be posted. However, beyond that, anything is acceptable. Do you practice one specific area? Did you have to work through something to become a more gentle caregiver or did you struggle in an area? Do you have special needs which AP has aided? Does your family look different from others? Something else? Please share!

Attachment Parents Get Real is just that. We won’t be spinning AP for some ulterior motive. All features will be e-mailed to participants prior to posting. We want families to feel comfortable sharing and that can’t happen if there is a fear that a feature will be twisted in some way. We are all people who care about our children. There will be no surprise media spin.

First, fill out the web form. This will alert me to your interest in being featured. Please be patient. I’m a busy mom, myself, and it may take me a while to get back to you.

I will need a photo to include in your feature. Not everyone is comfortable posting personal pictures on the internet. That is perfectly fine. Find a different picture which means something to you. Flickr Creative Commons is one source of pictures for use by others. Please be certain to send appropriate links and credit with the picture.

Do you have a blog or business? You are more than welcome to promote yourself in your feature. Let me know the name and links. Feel free to include any other links such as FB pages, twitter, etc. I hope that you will also promote your feature and Attachment Parents Get Real. Need a badge? Grab one over at the right!

Questions? Feel free to drop me a line! mandy @ livingpeacfullywithchildren . com  (no spaces)

NPN Blog Blitz: The Best of Babywearing

I am proud and honored to be a volunteer with the Natural Parents Network (NPN), a community of natural-minded parents and parents-to-be where you will be informed, empowered, and inspired.

When you visit the NPN’s website you can find articles and posts about Activism, Balance, Consistent Care, Ecological Responsibility, Family Safety, Feeding With Love, Gentle Discipline, Healthy Living, Holistic Health, Natural Learning, Nurturing Touch, Parenting Philosophies, Practical Home Help, Preparing for Parenting, Responding With Sensitivity, Safe Sleep, and so much more!

Today I would like to share some bookmark-worthy posts that highlight all aspects of babywearing. These posts were featured on the personal blogs of the Natural Parents Network volunteers and are some of my favorites.

We hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as we enjoyed writing them. We are always looking for new volunteers so please, contact us if you are interested. Just a few hours per month can help other mamas in a huge way!

Benefits of Babywearing/Reasons To Babywear

Types of Carriers/ Choosing A Carrier

Babywearing Safety

Babywearing How-Tos

BabywearingToddlers/More Than One Child

Personal Babywearing Stories and/or Photos

Babywearing Series/Multiple Topics

Babywearing – Other Interesting Topics

A special thank you to Erika Hastings of the blog Mud Spice for creating and sharing her babywearing art with the world!

Conflict as Opportunity

I’m happy to share a guest post with you today. Kassandra Brown of Parent Coaching speaks of how conflict can be an opportunity. In addition to sharing her thoughts here concerning how we can turn conflict into a way to both connect and better understand our children and ourselves, Kassandra has a special coaching offer for readers. She is willing to offer three free coaching sessions to the first person who asks. Consultations are always free. If you are looking for a way to change how you communicate and interact with your children, she is willing to help.

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When children disobey parents, parents are often told – by experts and other parents – that a Time Out is the solution. We’re told that our children need consequences. We’re told it’s a good idea, and it will give them time to think about what they’ve done. We’re told if we’re not firm, then we’re permissive and our children will never know discipline.

togetherYet here at Parent Coaching, we have a different opinion. Abandonment is one of the biggest punishments known through human history. To be kicked out of the tribe and made to be away from the protection of the rest of the group is an awful, sometimes fatal, punishment. This is the premise that Time Out is based on. If the fear of being isolated, alone, and ostracized is great enough, then a child will learn whatever rules parents or society say are ‘right’.

Leaving baby alone to cry in a crib, or sending a toddler or older child away in disgrace for a time-out can seem like you’re not doing anything much and it may be better than spanking or hitting. But it is not harmless. It is psychological warfare and adults are much better at it than children. We use the power of more words, longer sentences, and more complex arrangements of our thoughts and feelings into ideas that manipulate better and make isolation sound just. No wonder our children stop listening and pull out big hammers like “I hate you” when they don’t get their way.

I believe most parents want their children to be happy and safe. I believe most parents want to be happy and safe themselves. And I believe the biggest obstacle to being more effective and compassionate with our children is our own unfelt pain. For me, this happens when the unmet needs, the old hurts, and the developmental sequencing that never happened get stimulated by my child’s needs. I don’t like these old hurts being stimulated and I want to make the stimulation stop. My child’s crying, whining, and wailing pleas are the stimulation. If I send my child away the stimulation will stop. Making the parent’s pain stop is another part of the foundation on which Time Out rests.

What can we do instead? Try a Time In. When conflict happens, welcome your own feelings and your child’s feelings by gathering together. Our family often sits on the couch for a Time In. We sit together. Often my children don’t want to come and sit. They still want whatever it is they want – the game, food, or activity that stimulated their longing and that they think will satisfy them. But if I sit quietly, or my husband and I sit together quietly, eventually the girls come over and sit with us.

Once we’re fairly quiet, we take turns talking about how we’re feeling, what we want, and what we just did. I often use reflective listening to let my children and spouse know they are heard and to get clear on what they really wanted me to hear. A Time In is a time to come together and acknowledge the pain we’re feeling when one of us cries or yells. It is a time to share what each of us needs and wants. It is a time that often leads to more feelings of trust and safety in our family. It is not a magic cure-all, but sometimes it feels like one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Kassandra Brown is a mother, parenting coach, yoga teacher, and friend. She recently moved with her family to a rural ecovillage in Missouri where they are creating a life of radical sustainability and emotional honesty. Three free teleconferencing calls introducing parent coaching will be happening with her this September. You’re invited! Read more of her writing at Parent Coaching’s Blog or connect with her on Facebook.

Life Isn’t One Size Fits All

"i'm papa" - wearing my shoes - _MG_7117

Photo by Sean Dreilinger

One of the biggest hang-ups about consensual living I hear from parents is that there is no cut and dry answer. There isn’t a pre-set formula which says that the child did X so the parent must do Y. Differing from traditional authoritarian parenting, when an infraction by the child must result in a punishment by the parent, consensual living challenges the parent to observe what happened, communicate with the child, and work with the child to find a solution which is acceptable to all. For those of us who grew up with traditional American dogma concerning the treatment of children, it can be a siwtch in thinking. I can’t remember how many times a parent has come to me, told me about a particular situation, and then asked me what they should do. Walking the parent through this new way of thinking generally begins with me asking the person to start out by asking “Why?” We always have a reason for doing the things that we do, even when we don’t conciously recognize them. If you have a problem, you have to decipher the root cause in order to rectify it. Slapping on a band-aid, or punishment, is not going to address the root cause of the problem. It’s not going to fix anything. What may work in one situation with its own unique set of variables won’t necessarily work in another. The same is true with our relationships, regardless of whether they are relationships with another adult or someone who has yet to reach the age of majority. Life isn’t one size fits all, and we shouldn’t expect parenting or our relationships with our children to be, either. However, wokring to find amicable solutions with these wonderful people we are privileged to know is rewarding beyond measure.


 

Please join us all week, June 25-June30, 2012, as we explore the world of gentle, effective parenting. We have new posts each day by talented authors providing us with insight into why gentle parenting is worth your time and how to implement it on a daily basis. Check out all the carnival posts over on ParentingGently.com

We are also giving away several parenting book and other goodies from our sponsors this week. Please stop by and enter to win!

This year’s beautiful motherhood artwork is by Patchwork Family Art. Visit the store to see all her work.


NPN Blog Blitz: A Day in the Life

It’s that time again! You might remember the great post in December 2011 that highlighted the Natural Parents Network Volunteer’s most popular or favorite posts from the year. Or what about March 2012 post which featured Do It Yourself projects, How To’s, Tutorials, Recipes, and anything related to a step by step guide or informational how-to from the NPN Volunteers? Well, we are back and this time we are bringing you a collection of posts that focus on what our lives really look like!

Yep – we are giving you a sneak peak into things like a typical day in our life, special or fun outings, or photos which show all of you what motherhood looks like for us. Basically, we are keeping it real!

There are a lot of really wonderful posts here that show that even though we blog about our parenting ideals, we really are just regular moms, getting by one day at a time! So enjoy our typical day in the trenches!

Laura at WaldenMommy: Life Behind the Red Front Door shares “Just Another Monday.” This post appeared in March of 2012 and is a typical busy day with the Herd. You can also find Laura on Facebook.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares a typical day in her life, complete with a blood test, a stop at the thrift store, and lots and lots of books. You can also find The Hippie Housewife on Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.

Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares A Day In The Life: Two Years Old, a photo journal commemorating her daughter’s second birthday by attempting to capture a sense of the daily routine at this busy stage. You can also find Vibrant Wanderings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares A Busy Day in the Life of her family. This post is a whirlwind look at life two children under the age of 3. You can also find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Momma Jorje: a slightly crunchy mommaMomma Jorje shares Typical Visit to the Pediatric Cardiologist + Results. Read her post to see what it is like to take her infant son for regular visits to a cardiologist. You can also find Momma Jorje on Facebook.

A Little Bit of All of It shares Our Last Days as a Family of Three as she, her husband and 3 year old daughter wait for baby #2. She also wrote A Day in the Life of This Mom when her daughter was 2 and she watched a 5 month old. You can also find A Little Bit of All of It on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Hybrid Rasta Mama: A reggae loving mama’s thoughts on Conscious Parenting, Natural Living, Holistic Health and General MindfulnessJennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares A Hot Day In The Life of Jennifer. This post appeared on a friend’s blog and is a humorous look at a typical summer day for Hybrid Rasta Mama and her sidekick Tiny. You can also find Hybrid Rasta Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Networked Blogs.

Emily at Embrita Blogging shares an Ordinary Day with a pre-crawler from almost two years ago. You can find Emily on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Twitter.

Gretchen at That Mama Gretchen showcases A Day in the Life of her busy summer as she waddles around with a baby in her belly and a toddler in tow! You can also find That Mama Gretchen on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes shares A day at the Solstice Parade, a picture post about her trip to one of the local summer parades in Seattle. You can also find Shannon on Google +, Flickr, Pinterest.

Hobo Mama: A Natural Parenting BlogLauren at Hobo Mama shows what unschooling looks like in her house through Meetups and play dates. Far from staying indoors or isolated, you can find Lauren or Sam and their kids out at one or other fun and educational activity several times a week. You can also find Hobo Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Kat of Loving {Almost} Every Moment wrote this post after having One Of Those Days. She was pregnant, exhausted and had a lot of errands to do with her two older kiddos in tow. In the end she was reminded of a thing or two…especially to always keep her chocolate stash well stocked!

Fine and FairJoella at Fine and Fair shares A Summer Sunday in Our Life. This day in the life photo project shows a busy Summer Sunday filled with gardening, friends, family, and shared parenting. You can also find Fine and Fair on Facebook and Twitter.

Erica at Childorganics shares And The “Play” Goes On. This post takes a peek of what a whole day of play looks like at their house. You can also find ChildOrganics on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Visit Code Name: MamaA day in the life of Dionna at Code Name: Mama and family in downtown Independence – from 6 month old EC’ing to the farmer’s market to nursing at the Main Street Coffee House. By the way, join us for the August Carnival of Natural Parenting when our topic will be Farmer’s Markets!

AnktangleAmy at Anktangle shows
us (through photographs) a glimpse into a typical week
in her world. You can also find Amy on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.

Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares The School Bus Comes Early. She speaks of how unschooling allows her family a flexibility in their lives to accommodate learning. You can also find Living Peacefully with Children on Facebook.

ourfeminist{play}schoolLyndsay at OurFeministPlayschool shares “Day in Our Life… This post looks at her family’s day and their trip to a museum. You can also find Lyndsay on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

Bodily Autonomy and Personal Hygiene

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children’s personal care choices.

Innocent Child Protected By Arms

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

More than 30% of children in the United States will be sexually abused, few of which will be reported. In most of those cases, the perpetrator will not be a stranger. It will be someone you and your child know: a trusted babysitter or neighbor, a friend, a coach or teacher, your beloved Uncle Charlie, or another person whom you thought would never do that to your child.

Knowing the warning signs of sexual abuse is important. It allows you to quickly assess possible telling behaviors and take action to prevent possible further abuse. However, as parents, our goal is to prevent the abuse before it happens. There are many ways to do this. We can be honest with our kids about sex and bodies, answering questions as they come up in age appropriate ways. We can teach our children the proper terminology of their body parts and cultivate an atmophere in which our children feel comfortable talking with us about anything. We can talk to them about tricky people and how to get help. We can also empower them by honoring their personal bodily autonomy.

Individual should be allowed to have control over what happens to their bodies. In our family, we have made it clear to our children that it is not acceptable for anyone to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or without permission. This includes well meaning relatives who expect children to give hugs and kisses on demand (check out the great discussion at Vibrant Wanderings about this). It includes other children (who pass on abuse in a large percentage of cases). It includes doctors and even my husband and myself. We believe that if there is a valid reason for touching a child, in the event that a doctor or parent must aid in personal or medical care, that reason should be able to be explained to the child and permission given.

To that end, our children own their own bodies. We don’t force diaper changes, teeth brushing, baths (although the only problem our children have ever had with baths or showers is getting out), nail cutting, hair brushing, or anything else. This doesn’t mean that we have the dirty children on the block , walking around with uncombed hair, dirty teeth and diapers sagging with excrement. It just means that we talk to our children about why we believe it is implortant to do various aspects of personal hygiene. We give choices to honor their individuality. We are open and direct. We model personal hygiene and let them do as much as they can on their own.

Forcing a child to do something to their body against their will does not only destroy the trust they have in us. It also destroys the trust they have in their own bodily autonomy.

Learn more about the sexual abuse of children and what you can do to prevent it at Stop It Now! and Safely Ever After

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)