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Stand Strong and Loud

Today on International Women’s Day, I am reminded of how far we have come, how deserving we are, but also of how far we still have to go. This is the third year that Gender Across Borders and CARE have hosted Blog for International Women’s Day. There are over 200 blogs participating in this uplifting event, and I am happy to count myself among them for the first time; this year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.” At times, I feel very discouraged when I think about the challenges that we still face, and the ones that our girls will face as they grow; the battles my daughter will endure. In today’s world, many still view women as being an “inferior” sex, and you can see this mentality reflected back to us in many areas of our lives. Women make less money, have less opportunities for promotional opportunities. We are told how to birth our children, and how to feed them. As women, we are objectified; society defines our sexuality for us, placing value on our bodies. Literal value. We live in a culture where sexual violence against women has been normalized. It isn’t uncommon to hear people “poke fun” at the issue of rape, especially in the entertainment industry, and to blame the victims of sexual assaults, because of course no woman would get raped if she weren’t “asking” for it, if she hadn’t dressed so “slutty”, or acted like she wanted it… well, you know, until she didn’t.  All of these things are apparently okay through the eyes of our society. We have inadequate laws established to help prevent or to punish people that would take our human rights away from us, and on the political level there seems to be a big push bent among some politicians on serving their own moral agendas, at the expense of our rights. So yes, discrimination towards women is not dead, and will affect us throughout our lifetimes. When I think about how we as a culture, and as individuals can educate and inspire girls in a positive way, my first thought seems to stem back to parents. We need to start at home. We don’t live in a world that looks out for our best interests, so that task is left to us; it is our responsibility to teach this to our growing girls, and the time to start is now. As women, we first have to stop hating ourselves. Hating ourselves for not measuring up, or because we feel inferior, and to stop hating other women that don’t embrace the dogma... read more

Blog for International Women’s Day

I just signed myself up to to participate in this year’s Blog for International Women’s Day! This year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures,” and I will be addressing the question of  “How can we, as a culture and as members of the global community, involve, educate, and inspire girls in a positive way?”   I would love to make this a collaborative effort, if anyone would like to weigh in their thoughts on this important question. You can email me at [email protected], if you would like to... read more

Rethinking Education

After my son was first born, I remember spending hours snuggled up with him, enjoying the feel of his soft skin, and that fresh baby smell. I took pleasure in the newness of motherhood, and reveled in my feelings of protectiveness and love. In those early days I indulged in daydreams about all the things we would eventually do together; I developed this vision of how I wanted our lives to be, and the opportunities that I wanted my children to have that had been lacking in my youth. During that time, one of the things that caught my attention, were my feelings about my experiences in public schools. I felt that public schooling had few positives to offer me, and many negatives, so I began to worry about how these things would potentially impact my son and my future children. My hopes for my children have always been for their childhood to be centered in family, and for them to learn through living. Ultimately, I felt like those things couldn’t thrive to their fullest in the public school system, so I began immersing myself in research, trying to learn about alternative forms of education. The information that I found astounded me, and the culmination of my exploration into the world of education, left me with the conviction that homeschooling would be the best choice for us. For parents that are concerned about the quality of their children’s education, homeschooling provides many of the things that seem hard to find in our public schools; the potential for quality-rich curriculum, approaching children as individuals with different learning styles and needs, and a more positive social environment for children to grow. Public education has always had the goal of being “a pathway to opportunity” by giving education to all children, many of which might not have otherwise had any (Ravitch 241). While this is a noble goal, and a necessary part of society, we seem to be missing the mark on giving children an education of worth, as we rank average in education among other developed countries (“USA Today”). In her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch, the former Assistant Secretary of Education writes, “At the present time, public education is in peril. Efforts to reform public education are, ironically, diminishing its quality and endangering its very survival. We must turn our attention to improving schools, infusing them with the substance of genuine learning... read more

Numbed Bliss or Agonizing Pain?

My fourth essay for class, a compare and contrast essay. I made an 88 on it. 🙂   Numbed Bliss or Agonizing Pain? Anyone who enjoys watching television for entertainment has likely viewed a dramatic birth scene, like the one in the movie, Nine Months. Julianne Moore’s character, Rebecca, is about to have dinner when her water suddenly breaks in the restaurant, “Honey! My water broke!” Panic then ensues; there is the rush to the hospital, in which her husband Samuel, played by Hugh Grant, is driving extremely recklessly. Rebecca is already having strong contractions, in severe pain, and stressed out. She is rushed on a gurney through the hospital, screaming in agony, and in agitation at anyone who talks to her. Samuel yells at the doctor, “Can’t you give her something for the pain??!!” Rebecca never does get her much wanted epidural (Columbus). Granted, the scene is a mixture of drama and hilarity, but this is a reflection of our birth culture, and is fundamentally a contributing factor to our opinions and perceptions surrounding birth. However, there are more points to consider in regards to pain management for labor and birth; it is not just a simplistic choice between numbed bliss and agonizing pain. We live in a society where it is very beneficial as consumers to investigate the options available to us. When it comes to deciding what you want during your birth, it is important to know the positives and the negatives of the choices that you have. Then, with all the information available, you can make the best choices suited for you. This is also what is known as informed consent. Natural birth, for my purpose, is defined as birth without pain medication being used during the course of labor. There are numerous ways for women laboring without medication to gain relief from their contractions. These techniques can include massages, movement, positional changes, and being submerged in water. Simple things like dim lighting, music, focused breathing, and even prayer can be comforting (Kitzinger 189-225). Possibly the most effective comfort measure a woman can have during a natural labor is being surrounded by supportive people. A doula, which is a labor support person that is trained to help laboring women on a physical and emotional level, is a terrific addition to a woman’s support team; regardless if they are having a medicated birth or an unmedicated one. Other than the obvious benefits of being able to... read more

Tit Terrorists?

Breastfeeding Nazis. Being called superior, condescending and judgmental. These are just some of the not-so-nice things I have heard said about lactavists. I have counted myself amongst lactavists for the past 4 years. In the beginning, my first thoughts when hearing those kinds of insults about lactavists were defensive ones. People that would say that about lacatvists obviously don’t understand. They don’t understand that we are coming from a place of passion! If they really knew what I KNOW then they would feel the same way I feel. Blame it on ignorance, because we all know that if every woman were as smart as me, then they would obviously think exactly the way I do. (Sarcasm) I say that sarcastically now, but there was a time where I really felt that way. Some people might assume that those kinds of remarks would come only from women that are hard-core promoters of formula feeding. The mothers who formula fed all their children and firmly believe that there is no notable differences between the two. I have been noticing though, that that doesn’t alway seem to be the case. There are many women that support breastfeeding, have breastfed their children or are currently breastfeeding their children, that don’t have positive feelings towards lactavists and wouldn’t want to count themselves amongst them. Why is that? Recent events have shown an upsurge on Facebook amongst  lacatavists , posting about the horrors of formula feeding. I really have to take a moment to thank a friend of mine. Reading her blog this past year about her trials, her thoughts & feelings about a breastfeeding relationship she had originally wanted and ended up not having and the emotions she has felt through it all, has gone a long way to opening my eyes about the WAY we talk about breastfeeding and the profound effect that it can have on all different types of women.   These ads were created to demand honesty in formula advertising. Who is the demand being made to though? Are formula companies seeing these ads? Or just thousands of mothers across the internet? False advertising isn’t a new idea. Check out most items on any given shelf in your grocery store and you will see some. If we want there to be more honesty in advertising, is this the most productive way to try and achieve it? Is this about educating mothers? Pretend for a second that you are a mother who doesn’t... read more

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