Tuesday, May 6, 2014

"insert inaccurate inflammatory blog post title here"

I read this post the other day and felt so moved to write a response to it. Quite frankly, it infuriated me. Where to start?

1. I am so over the inflammatory and often inaccurate article titles that are used solely to increase traffic to the blog. You always end up disappointed. It's not the article you were hoping to read and it didn't discuss anything you were hoping to learn about. Lame. Let's look at the title of this article: This Young Mother Is Giving Up On Her Kids And I Don’t Blame Her. The author of this article is 29. The term "young mother" typically refers to a teenage or very early 20's mother. Everyone knows that. And I'm still unclear what exactly she is "giving up" on...

2. No one will never accuse me of being perfectly linear in my writing but I certainly cannot deal with Faulkner's stream of consciousness. The article starts off by lamenting the fact that the author's son couldn't take a toy gun to school and then made some other gender stereotyping remarks about how typical little boys behave. (All I could hear was "'Murca!" ringing around in my head.) Then it goes on to complain about all of the oversensitive and wimpy kids being raised today. ("If it were good enough for me growing up, then it's good enough for YOUR kids...") And then it somehow meanders its way into a rant about how she decided that it was her job to prepare her kids for disappointment in life by being the one to disappoint them. (It is her right, after all, as a woman who has so many facets to her life...)

Studies actually show that children who are regularly attended to become MORE independent and able to handle disappointment. Other developed and so-called "third world" nations continue to raise their children this way while we keep pushing our children away and shoving them aside when they don't fit into our busy schedules. And then we ask ourselves why they keep bringing guns to school and getting pregnant as teenagers. We aren't toughening them up. We are breaking them down.

Oh, and then there there was this little gem that a friend of a friend wrote up. (Oh, but don't worry, she's a nurse!) I am so sick of the American attitude that EBFing is just not "realistic", as in something that cannot possible occur "in real life". Excuse me, I live a very real life and am still breastfeeding at almost 2 years. I know I wasn't as successful with Lydia but I simply didn't know then what I know now. When you know better, you do better. "Don't feel like a failure if you fail at breastfeeding!" Just like everything else in American life, it must be someone else's fault! The long and short of it, and what I did not learn until the second time a round which is why I am more successful, is that breastfeeding is more than science. Too many moms, and consequently too many books and articles, focus on how to do it "right". 

The truth is there are lots of "right" ways to breastfeed. There is no one right formula and, by the way, formula, although not poison, does not help. It can help sick moms and babies but it does NOT help breastfeeding. It's going to start off slow. DON'T FREAK OUT! Just keep putting baby to breast. Work on getting comfortable, both of you. And enough with the books and articles! Find a girlfriend or make a new friend who breastfeeds successfully and see if she will let you WATCH her! It may sound weird to you now, because you are American and breastfeeding is "dirty" and "sexual". But believe me, most breastfeeding moms would LOVE to show off her skills and share the magic with a friend.

HAPPY NEWS: My most recent Bradley class had FOUR couples in it! They were an amazing group! One couple has already had their first baby in a hospital sans drugs or interventions. I am one proud mama :D

Thursday, January 2, 2014


So it's 2014! I hope your 2013 ended on a high note and you are looking forward to the coming year. 

We all know that coconut oil (CO) is my go-to cure-all for anything topical. I still love it, don't worry! However, I have 2 loves in my life: Melaleuca oil/tea tree oil (TTO)and grape seed extract (GSE). Rember folks, I am no kind of doctor. I am just speaking to the kind of success we have had here in the Beach household using these products.


The TTO I use to treat anything topical, usually in conjunction with the CO but not always. I especially like it as an astringent on my angry face skin or on my skin after I shave. I also use it directly on the skin when E has a diaper rash and also in the bum spray, mixed with water and CO, that I spray on at every diaper change. It is glorious.

The GSE is a relatively new discovery. I keep hearing about different friends of mine using it to help with immunity. I finally bought it from a friend who was selling it in an auction to raise funds for her adoption. She had been using it to keep healthy during her cross-continental trips for her mission work and to visit and pick up her son. Another friend was telling me that she uses it when she feels an illness first coming on to stave it off or shorten the life of it. I used it during The Great Stomach Bug Invasion of Christmas 2013 and it definitely seemed to help. We suffered much less than others seemed to. I regret not taking it more regularly.

Here is a sweet blog post circulating a lot of mommy and parenting forums lately. Body image for women in America is so difficult as it is and I know I have discussed this topic ad nauseam. But the proof that the issue continues to remain unresolved lies in the fact that every time someone writes about it, it continues to generate a lot of buzz! I know that I still get overwhelmed to the point of tears when I stop and think, really THINK, about my babies growing inside of my body and coming out alive and well. It's an incredible miracle each and every time and I got to do it TWICE. How lucky am I? But of course, there's a part of me that looks at this sad, flabby, lumpy bag of flesh that I wear now and I wonder "Is this just another kind of prison?" But I dismiss these self-deprecating thoughts quickly. I know they do me no good and, more importantly, are untrue. And a still-small voice in my head can't help but scoff at the 21-year-old writer "Psh, try being pregnant at 30 and see what it means to REALLY have your body be warped by pregnancy. Not the same kind of elasticity that is helping you out now." But that's just rude.

And this article was the shocker for the week. I do appreciate the author's commentary on couples waiting longer to have children and therefore tend to have their children closer together in age (for fear of "running out of time") and that can CERTAINLY strain a relationship, particularly when you have spent so much time in that relationship living a certain way; as a couple. I do see that happening again and again. Babies do not fix relationships, they also do not inherently make them better. A relationship can be made stronger by having a child, only if said couple truly wants to have a child and has discussed it thoroughly together beforehand. (Seriously, too many new parents I know are arguing about discipline and parenting ideology AFTER the baby has already arrived. Hello!) That being said, I disagree with the advice that to "fix" this problem, all couples should adhere to a formula in which each of their children is at least 3 years apart. I wanted my children close-ish in age and so did my husband. It was something we talked about...BEFORE we had kids. We discussed what that would mean for our lives short-term and what it could mean for our children's lives long-term.

I also think that there is nothing rational about her ex-husband's behavioral response to having a second child. He sounds like an immature ass who's stunted emotional growth rendered him unable or unwilling to fully appreciate the ramifications of his decisions. No amount of "date nights", couples therapy, or age-gap formula was going to fix that.

And now, here's your warm and fuzzy mama moment for the day: you're welcome.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

one year ago

Today marks the one-year anniversary of my father's death. I spent as much of the day as I could pretending everything was okay, but did break down around 3pm. Luckily, I was able to pull it back together around 5pm for a pleasant evening. It's just hard. And that's all I really want to say about that.

Someone posted this reassuring article from the Baddass Breastfeeder in a mommy group I'm in today and I am so grateful. Poor Lydia. As the first child, she gets all the trial and error. She brings me new challenges every day that I am not always prepared to face. She has started mimicking the dramatic "Mooooooooooom!" that she hears on TV...or the playground. She is becoming well-versed in confrontation. She has lots of opinions and feels a need to share them...very regularly. She has also started with the "ca-ca" talk. Everything is about poop and pee and I am so over it. Most days end with us still hugging tightly and kissing before I tuck her into bed. Other days, I feel like I am a total failure as a mother. Reading this article allowed me to sigh a little, tiny sigh of relief. I am not alone. Just keep swimming.

Elliott spent Monday night in the hospital. It was so scary. It all started on Thursday when Lydia got sick. Jeff stayed home with her on Friday. She had laryngitis and complained of a sore throat. So much of that was (and still is) going around so I was not surprised. Sunday, Elliott started showing signs of sickness. I preemptively called into work for Monday. Sunday night was rough and I was concerned about his breathing. I couldn't get him into the doctor's until 2:30pm, which I KNEW was going to happen and I HATE bc you just sit around all day, not knowing what to do, waiting for your appt. They were even more concerned and sent us to the ER. I called Jeff. We spent 5 hours there before I left to take Lydia home. He ended up being admitted and Jeff spent the night with him. He was given a round of steroids, 2 nebulizer treatments, and x rays. The final diagnosis was croup, but he was missing a lot of the classic symptoms, so I just don't know. He's doing much better now but it was so scary and I felt like the worst mom ever.

Hey, have I mentioned that we started buying our meat directly from a local farm? We are trying to up our locavore status, HA! Yes, we should be vegetarians but we aren't. We are flexitarians but we definitely eat meat. I learned about this farm while working at luvaboos. They are incredible. They are not "certified" organic, but I have been to the farm - where they welcome visitors. They are 90% grassfed. The chickens roam around during the day and are only penned up at night. The cows have TONS of room. They don't inseminate the cows, they just let them mate as they want. It is a beautiful, small, clean farm and it is family run. The Gansz family is great. It is definitely how we want to spend our money. Oh, and the meat is delicious!

Monday, September 23, 2013

MORE updates

In the midst of all of this back-to-school and back-to-work chaos, I managed to do a couple updates to my little blog here on the Baby Led Weaning Page and the Breastfeeding Page. Enjoy!

Also, I found this EXCELLENT response to this picture that makes me want to punch someone:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Odds and Ends

My first Bradley class went really well this past weekend. I was just so excited to get it started! The couples are friendly and already getting along very well, which makes for a great learning atmosphere. There was definitely a little trial and error and I certainly have a few things to tweak for next class. There is also still a lot of work for me. While still only a provisional educator, I have to submit extensive class evaluations after every class within 48-hours of teaching it. Phew!

Elliott and I are officially at 15 months of nursing. He really only nurses a few times a day, typically before nap, before bed, and when waking up in the morning. I know my supply is way down and sometimes he is frustrated about that. I have a feeling that our days our numbered, especially once I go back to work in a few weeks. *sniff sniff* But here is a fun article that I found and read to celebrate our successes. It has been more rewarding that I ever could have imagined and wish I could have done it with all of my kids.

Another great video about circumcision has been floating around my FB newsfeed (is it still called a newsfeed?) for the past few days. It seems like more and more of my friends are opting to keep their boys intact and that makes me so happy! You don't have to be a certain kind of mom or subscribe to a particular type of parenting even to make the choice. Just like with a lot of parenting choices (cloth diapering vs disposable, daycare center vs in-home daycare, etc.) parents have a variety of reasons that eventually lead them to the same conclusion - they want to keep their baby boys whole.

And here is something neat that I found today on Motherwise! I knew you could claim religious vaccine exemption in NYS but I never really researched how that all worked. My kids are vaccinated on a modified schedule. I am happy to get them vaccinated, I just don't think it needs to all happen at once. I would like the right to research and choose which vaccines and when I will vaccinate. Unfortunately, it's an all or nothing situation here. In the land of the free and home of the brave you are free to have as many children you want-  even if you can't afford to care for them all, have unprotected sex with different strangers and not tell any of them and never have and STD test, own a gun and leave it out where ever you want in your home, smoke, belong to the KKK, and pierce your genitals but you cannot be trusted to choose which vaccines to give your child(ren). That makes sense.

And now, the best news for last...drumroll, please!...My Kinderpack is here! Uh what-what, you ask? Well, we all know how much I love my Beco. However, the kiddos and getting bigger and for several reasons, really, I knew we needed a bigger carrier (or two). I was torn between a Tula and  Kinderpack, When I found out that KPs are made in the USA, that pretty much sealed it for me. I bought a funky mustache print one in EUC from a nice mama off a KP B/T/S FB group. It may seem weird but Jeff, my brother, his girlfriend, and I have this ongoing joke about mustaches in honor of my late father, who rocked a wicked 'stache from the time he was in, like, 9th grade. So, it will be a kind of fun and funny tribute to him that I know he would appreciate. Sweet Lydia talks about him often. It is bittersweet but I am so glad that she remembers him for now. It breaks my heart to think that none of my other children will. It breaks my heart to realize that I will have children who will never even ever be held by him. It is not fair.

Here is the picture I fell in love with ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

informed consent

The buzz around my area birth network is that there is a particular midwife's office in our city that is refusing to accept new patients who are taking the Bradley Method childbirth classes. As if that were not outrageous enough, it is the office that I use! It is the office that delivered BOTH of my Bradley babies and continues to provide my well-woman care. I am in total shock. I am also disgusted. The reason they gave was that what the couples are learning in the classes is "making them" distrust their care providers at a time when "trust is so important". Excuse me?

I am so offended by this that my head is spinning. Bradley classes provide couples with facts. Couples use those facts to decide how they would like to give birth. They then become interested in how to advocate for themselves in a hospital setting so that they may give birth the way that they want. If your couples do not trust you, that is your fault. It is your responsibility to cultivate a relationship of support and confidence. Are we on some sort of Mormon cult or Amish compound where education is considered a sin? It is not an adult's job to be a mindless, compliant drone while you rip their baby out of them as soon as possible so that you can go home or the room can be used by the next patient in line. The labor and delivery wing of a hospital is not an assembly line.

I could write on this for HOURS. I am so excited to start teaching my first Bradley Method series this weekend. I hope the couples leave feeling so empowered that they argue with any doctor who tries to direct them like servants or treats them as an inconvenience when their labor goes "too long". A doctor's goal is to end a labor with a live baby and a live mother. My goal is the end a labor with a healthy baby and an elated mother. There is a difference but both are very possible.

Now, go read this and get as revved up as I am! It is not about my story here, but it is certainly reminiscent. Whether or not you even want a natural childbirth, the point is that you deserve honest information and support from your healthcare provider. And if you go into labor having taken no childbirth classes or doing no research, believe me when I tell you that you are not getting those things. Your OB/midwife/doula should be throwing books and magazines and websites at you, encouraging you to carefully plan and prepare for the kind of birth that you and your partner want. Will everything turn out the way you want it? Of course not...but that is no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Now, have a smile - compliments of my cousin ;)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

It was so great to log into Facebook today and see all of the supportive and CELEBRATORY article about breastfeeding! Maybe US culture is coming around...I won't hold my breath, but I will be happy for today. Read this and celebrate with me!