Posts Tagged ‘media’

On Choice

Lately, I have been wondering: What if someone doesn’t want an empowered and informed birth?

I have been saying that I am all about choice. I am having a hard time lately trying to figure out what my role is when people don’t want to truly choose. Some folks seem intent, comfortable, even grateful for or set on having interventions such as inductions or epidurals.

I want to both INFORM and EMPOWER women.

Risk comes up a lot when it comes to choice, and this is indeed why many women say they want/ed to birth in a hospital or why they could never birth at home. I rarely feel comfortable in these conversations directly sharing information on the risks of routine hospital interventions. I can never really find a way to do so in an empowering way for the other woman. [On that note, feel free to choose to CLICK ABOVE to read more about the risks of two currently routine practices.]

You have to be ready to make a choice.

As a mother and a teacher, I know that readiness is the key to real learning. Awareness in this case is based on information because we swim in a sea of misinformation. If there are risks involved, we should know them. Here are my recent thoughts on the subject:

it seems most people easily imagine the risks of homebirth (although they are usually less than people imagine) and too many people underestimate are uniformed or unaware of the risks of hospital births and the practices that are common in hospitals here in the US (but not necessarily at hospitals in other nations–we do not rank well at all in the world when in comes to birth for all the access to hospital technology and medical practice). there are consequences (positive and negative) to all our actions, but as a group we are not as in the know as we could be.

i would love for every woman to be able to make a truly informed and empowered choice. this sadly requires more work than many women (and parents) are willing to do or aware they might need to do in order to make a choice that is truly their own in the face of the medical system and the media. there is a lot of misinformation out there and a strong distrust and fear around women’s bodies and babies……such a shame because we are truly powerful beyond imagination!

whether or not birth comes home again for a particular woman or our society, we need to start seeing birth for the natural process it is and stop pathologizing birth as a medical condition that requires hospital intervention or knowhow. birth should be where mama feels safest, but currently, through lack of knowledge and crafty design, we don’t have full rights and access to all kinds of births and the rights we do have are being stomped on in some places and revoked in others……and that is another shame.

If you have had a birth by cesarean section and would like find community or if you want to know more on how to avoid unnecessary c-sections:

A Loving Child

How do you create a loving child?

Is such a thing even possible? My daughter is socially engaged and extremely affectionate. She and I call any small child she meets a “friend.” She sometimes says, “baby” and signs “hurt” if she sees a child fall down. I know I cannot understand her actual feelings towards the people she meets. Still, I feel grateful that she seems secure in the world at large and that she seems to consider the feelings and health of others.

How did my daughter come to be loving?

Was she born with this personality trait? Is it just who she is? Are all humans like this naturally? We have certainly met many affectionate babies. Are they just affectionate because their parents are always telling them to do things? I keep wondering if she will continue to be loving as she grows.

Children mimic their parents.

This I know to be true. I try to come from a loving mind and heart when relating with my daughter, especially if I am feeling angry or hurt. I work to come from a place of empathy. I do this hoping that she can and will learn how to do the same for me and everyone. I do try to keep her present and close when adults are having hard feelings or crying. I try to model being of comfort rather than reacting negatively so that she can see that feelings are healthy and pass after a time. I hope she feels what it feels like to bring comfort and joy to another.

I hope that I can fill my daughter up to overflowing with so much love that she has to share it with others.

What Do You Do in Your “Living” Room?

I saw this video of a Woody Harrelson “poem” in which, at one point, he plays on the words “living room” and contrasts the TV watching that goes on in there. I never thought about the phrase, but the poem has a ton of references to some important information.

Personal Filters: for Clear-minded Living

I had just finished thinking about the Present when my homebirth mama friend shared this blog post about Personal Filters. Here’s what the blogger had to say:

a personal filter: a habit or decision made to protect your heart, attitude, and well being.

This felt like a great tip for helping me stay in the Present and on the path of creating a Living Family. What did she mean, though? It seems like it is about creating a strainer to help distill the focus on what is important to us, before the mind(lessness) takes over and has us down a road and fighting more battles than we can handle. Here’s an example of narrowing the flood of decision-making: Don’t want to eat so much _______ (sugar, cheese, bread)? Don’t buy it and bring it home. Her battle was apparently with a type of candy:

I had to stop buying them. That was the easiest solution for me. I only had to make one decision at the store to not buy them so that I could avoid the fifty decisions to not eat them whenever I walked in the kitchen.

That’s how you create a personal filtera habit or decision made to protect your heart, attitude, and well being. You can create filters for your home and family members too.

  • Do you want to avoid the commercialism at Christmas? Don’t go to the mall and watch less TV.
  • Want your kids to be content with the toys they have? Stop taking them to browse the aisles of Target each week.
  • Do you feel frustrated about your crowded schedule? Learn how to say no, which pleasantly sounds like, “I’d like to, but I can’t…”

She also talks about how she purposefully doesn’t watch much television, nor does she watch tv news. I am not fond of television either. I don’t like the commercials. I can’t stand the sound — volume, tone, pitch, speed…the visuals, anything about them. (Is this because I am around the similar sounds of hormonal adolescents all day?) My husband (and I) still watch television on the web. I still have to listen to some commercials and theme songs. Lately, I find myself annoyed just at the sound of the shows themselves. I will save my tv rant for another post, but the point is that I am still steeped in television and value messages I do not appreciate. On top of that, I feel like I am mindlessly watching sometimes, out of old childhood habit or familiarity of some sort.

This personal filters idea has me thinking. I have been waiting for winter break to do a winter cleaning. Cleaning out clothing. Restructuring the house to fit my daughter’s new developmental needs and interests. I think my need for cleaning and restructuring is just symbolic of my mind’s desire for clearing out of wasteful decision-making and habits — wasteful of materials, time, and energy. We need to take stock of our life and home and get things together and in place.

Personal Filters are exactly what the Anyway Project is about. We need to redo the goals with this in mind. I need them to be more realistic and appropriate. This idea from Darla and a from Jen book called Your Money or Your Life (about how to “make a life” instead of “making a living”)  are inspiring me to move into a higher gear. So much to do….good thing I have a few weeks “off” work!

The Nature of Family

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the nature of family and what family means in our modern world and in the United States in particular. This questioning arises most naturally when the way I have chosen to live, how I have given birth to and am raising my child and what I believe and hope for seems, at times, radically different or even diametrically opposed to the vast majority of the people around me and society at large. What does family mean to a first generation East Indian who grew up in rural Kansas but now lives outside a major city? What does family mean to a homebirth, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, EC-practicing mama?

We are born into our families, rather than choosing them, as we might our friends, based on similar personalities, interests or belief systems. Every family is different, but each family must navigate the waters of relationship. More than ever, now that I have my daughter, I believe that family is created intentionally. This is clear even from the fact that some children are given up for adoption; in those cases, family is intentionally not created at birth for whatever reason but, hopefully, is created with great intent later in life.

What does it mean to create family? As a mother of a one-year old whose parenting choices alone often relegate her to minorities within minorities of society, I find myself thinking about this often. In India, both of my parents had time in their lives where they lived in a more universally traditional way, with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and distant relatives all packed in under one roof in a family compound, so to speak. Understandably, family was whoever lived in the “house.” Though extensive, it was indeed immediate family, and, by the nature of life, often included neighbors or other non-blood relatives. Stories of huge groups of children and adults literally gathered around light in the darkness listening to stories made up on the whim of my own grandfather or singing bhajans led by my mother’s cousin’s cousin’s wife, stories that seem out of some version of a book called Laura Ingalls Wilder Goes to India where everyone’s working by candlelight and going hungry.

Here in the United States at this time, immediate family often means the parent(s) and child(ren). What a fraction of the people that family once was! Those few people surely would spend all their time together, more than their counterparts of the past, would they not? No! It somehow means fewer people to share the load of living. Granted, the sea of societal structures and self-destructive sloganism brutally bombard these tiny rafts of familial relationship. In fact, many of us feel ourselves floating alone through the trials of life. What happened to family?

Creating family requires conscious intention. How do I do this when my small, immediate family of four is strewn across three states and thousands of miles? Then again, today’s technology allows me to blog, Skype, Facebook, email, scan, fax, and phone my child’s grandparents as well as mail them things next day or even same day! My mother raised me in Kansas while my Indian grandparents, eight times more distant had to have someone go down the block to the corner store to get on the phone call list so they could call us. Logic and reason suggest that creating loving and close family bonds with access so many methods of connection should be relatively easy, a matter of effort rather than intention.

Family for me has felt both immediate and elusive. Barriers of culture, communication, emotion, and perception pop up to block connections I intend to make. Hurt feelings and confusion abound, but perhaps this is part of my parents having raised me in a country and culture with such opposing values to the ones of their own upbringing. Respect, seeming simple and singular in definition, somehow contradictorily means hearing out ideas and agreeing to disagree versus doing whatever I say or letting me do whatever I want in the face of disagreement. Vertical and horizontal hierarchies create very different feelings of family.

For me, creating family for my daughter has meant that I have intentionally explored and chosen to implement a number of independent ideas that work together cooperatively to create a community around my little raft of a family despite differences and difficulties with my immediate family. Indeed, creating a family, even within the intimacy of our three-piece immediate family, requires all my intention and spirit when I find myself having to give the very energy I would devote to creating family with my loving husband, who is a wonderful father to my precious daughter, while I am, essentially, a mother to other people’s children. In the environment and structure of this country and culture, driven by time and money, it is actually more efficient for me to think about Living Family rather than creating family.

Living Family means many things to me, but all help me stay focused on the goal of creating a  sea of family and a community in which to live and ideally thrive. Living Family means:

  1. being in and living from the present moment
  2. creating structures and routines that support family bonds
  3. expanding the limits of family to other families that support the family life I intend to create ….. in essence, creating a community of others who want to consciously create family in a vein similar to ours
  4. make a living…as opposed to making “it,” whatever “it” is…in a way that allows my “selves” to not be so separate from each other and/or from family
  5. living our family life in such a way that allows us, others as well as the natural world to live and thrive while being mindful of resources and relationships

Having this goal feels lofty to me. It requires that I shift my whole focus and think broadly and creatively. It also feels vital, however, if I want to reach any semblance of traditional family connections and experiences of shared living. My daughter has just turned one. Now, with this intention, we begin the journey towards a Living Family….

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