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    A Good Childhood





    Parenting is like finally getting big enough to be the boss of the playground. Only, no one can agree on which game to play, and someone always ends up with a scraped knee or the wind knocked out of them. And when it's time to run home - tired, hungry, cold, at the end of the day - there's no one there to make the hot cocoa. Except you.

     

    So you do it. Because you should. But maybe more because you want be certain the deposits going into those tiny memory banks in our charge - each day, each MOMENT of experiences - are mostly the good kind. Shiny coins. Memories they'll want to revisit years from now.

     

    Because you know - even when it frightens you to think about it - children are ALWAYS WATCHING and ALWAYS LEARNING. No pressure, Mom, Dad. It's only childhood.

     

    Childhood. In running through this redux of childhood we are gifted with as parents, I've made mistakes. I've wrestled endlessly with my own childhood. I've bitten back words nearly said to my kids; words that WERE said to me in childhood, that I've heard so loudly in my brain at essential trying parenting moments I have to pause and look around a moment to be sure I was actually successful in the biting. The sharp echoes of these words said - and unsaid are a reminder. To be aware. Mindful of not clobbering my children with my own childhood. They have the right to their own experience and don't need my hair shirt.

     

    It's one of the most difficult parts of parenting -  shedding that rough sweater of negative childhood experience in order that you don't pass that insufferable legacy along to your kids.

     

    That sweater. Most of the time, in spite of my best efforts to remove it, it somehow manages to remain tied to me. Sometimes tight - though I can work at the knot enough to loosen it, yet, I know it's still there… ready to resume scratching should I hit a snag in this parenting gig. An ever-present repugnant irritant. Yet, I don't always mind it. See… it pushes me onwards  - to keep working and evolving in an effort to free myself - so that my children don't end up lugging around a sweater of their own.

     

    Again, no pressure.

     

    But in all of my imperfection, misnavigation, and sweater-wrangling, my children still cling to me. Though they push me away stormily, run from me with fierce speed, throw their cruddiest words at me, they also run to me - gushing with love, forgiveness, joy, expectation. They follow me when I lead, believe me when I speak, even if I don't know just where I'm going. They move me on.

     

    And then. They inadvertently demonstrate something I've been trying desperately to teach; they give me confidence that I'm sailing this ship rightly, and the knot around my middle loosens even more. I breathe and hear the clink of another shiny coin. A growing reflection in my child's eye of a good childhood

     

    When our children can pass on a legacy of content, satisfaction, and joy to their own children - without struggling to find that within themselves - I'll know that I did okay. 

    Posted: Feb 28 2013, 14:22 by kelly | Comments (5) RSS comment feed |
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    C-Section as Spectator Sport?





    You may have read about the "First baby born on Twitter" (which is, of course, debatable). The first C-section --- perhaps. But not the first homebirth. Or unassisted birth.

    But let's talk about this Twittered cesarean, shall we?

     

    Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, TX has been advertising their live broadcast of a C-section birth on Twitter & their website, and encouraging people to sign up for an "event reminder" and to "tune in" with varied sensationalized exclamations:

    "C-Section Live on Twitter!"

    " A look inside 2nd most common surgery in the US!"

    " Watch a surgical birth live on Twitter."

     

    They even have their own hashtag.

    Now, mothers (and parents) should be able to make fully informed choices about their own births and should be able to birth in whatever way - and wherever (even on live Twittervision) - they feel most safe.  My issue is more with the hospitals' choice to make a "reality show" out of a surgery, broadcast it on social media, and call it "educational" in the midst of a cesarean section epidemic in this country. The World Health Organization suggests that the C-section rate should not rise about 15% in developed nations, yet, in 2009, 32.9% of all births in the US were cesarean deliveries (compared with 20.7% in 1996 and 5% in 1970).  The rate of C-section in this country is increasing to alarming numbers - in New Jersey, my homestate for example - the rate was 39.4% in 2009 (and NJ is not alone in this), choice in birthing options is becoming less, and this hospital's Twitter account is flaunting the stat of "1 in 3 moms" having C-sections almost as celebratory.

     

    Now, in fairness, Memorial Hermann has indicated on their twitter feed that,

    "We'll explain that C-section is associated with risks & should only be done if necessary."

    I am pleased to hear this, but doubtful; given that they also say:  

    "This is a medically indicated C-section. 39-year-old mom previously had an urgent C-section and chose not to attempt VBAC."

     

    Unless there are other factors we're not privy to, simply having a previous C-section does not make a repeat C-section necessary. Coupled with the following bizarre quote makes me even less than confident that the risks of cesarean sections will fully be explained:

     

    "Join us as we pull back the curtain w/live play-by-play."

     

    Excuse, me? Is this a baseball game?

     

    Cesarean sections are major abdominal surgeries. They are an unnatural state of birth for both mother and baby. They can interfere with bonding, healing, breastfeeding, introduction of healthy bacteria (from not passing through the vaginal canal), and breathing (from baby's lungs not being appropriately squeezed through the vaginal canal). They increase the risk of infection and scarring to mother, and injury to baby. Recovery can be hard. It's not a spectator sport.

     

    I'm in full support of increasing the information to mothers about the choices and options available in birth - from unassisted birth to homebirth to birth with a midwife, doula, doctors, with and without medications, to vaginal birth, to surgical birth. Birth is one of the most amazing and powerful events in a woman's life; and she should always be able to make the choice to birth in the way she wants. But without KNOWING all of the risks and benefits and truths of different birth options, mothers can't make fully informed choices. So when @HoustonHospital says,

     

    "Our goal is to educate."

     

    I'm glad. Education is important and powerful. But can a repeat C-section taking place because a VBAC wasn't chosen, aired and advertised like a sporting event truly be an appropriate or likely venue for educating about cesarean birth?

     

    I am hopeful that the real risks of cesarean-as-normalized-birth will be discussed, that the potential emotional trauma to mother, and challenges to breastfeeding and recovery will be illuminated so that women really CAN make fully informed, educated choices. But, when a birth is advertised as a "HEY! COME CHECK IT OUT!" reality show; it leaves me dubious. It really remains to be seen whether the intent to educate will actually play out.  There's a lot of responsibility wrapped up in this "show".

     

    So, what do you think? Is airing a C-section live going to help educate women about birth? Will it help reduce the rate of C-sections in our country, or will it instead help make C-sections more "normal"? Will you be tuning in?

    Posted: Feb 19 2013, 17:25 by kelly | Comments (1) RSS comment feed |
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    Resonating Peace





    May you be at peace. May your heart remain open. May you awaken to the light of your own true nature. May you be healed. May you be a source of healing for all beings.

    ~Joan Borysenko



    (Photo credit: Peaceful Path by Jessica Jenney)


    I'm trying to embrace peace. To become more peaceful in my thoughts and actions. To show my children peace is the way.

    Becoming more peaceful isn't just about feeling calmer within yourself or learning to control your temper outwardly - although that's part of it. It isn't just about reducing stress and thus feeling more happy and healthy- though they are certainly benefits of being more peaceful.

    I find the most amazing benefit of learning to be more peaceful with yourself is that you will naturally project more peace and be calmer in your interactions with people around you. And, because we humans are inclined to mimic what we see (think: yawning in response to a yawn - we can't help it, we just do it), the people around you will be more peaceful - not only towards you, but to others they encounter. That means more joyful interactions with your children, your partner, your friends, your coworkers, even strangers. It works. It can be challenging. But…

     

    Peace resonates.

     

    When you find peace in your heart, it spreads outwards, and heals not only you, but everyone around you, and around them. You are teaching your children through your actions more than you ever could through your words. Why not teach peace?

    So how can YOU begin cultivating peace within yourself? Here are a few tips:

     

    Learn to meditate.

    Take a moment to think before you speak.

    Practice gratitude.

    Visualize how you'd like to feel and act.

    Find things that you love to look at or listen to or read that are soothing - and then, look, listen, and read them.

    Breathe deeply, whenever it occurs to you, but particularly when you're not feeling at peace.

    Forgive.

    Understand that being kind is more important than being right.

    Empathize.

    Make time to do things that you enjoy - don't neglect what inspires you.

    Hug your children and your partner, even when - ESPECIALLY WHEN - it feels difficult to do so.

    Love. Love. Love.

     

    So... Are you at peace? What helps you become more peaceful?

    Posted: Feb 08 2013, 08:40 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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    A Stroke of Insight





    Right here, right now, all we are brothers and sisters on this planet, here to make the world a better place. And in this moment we are perfect. We are whole. And we are beautiful.

    ~Jill Bolte Taylor 

     

    Do you ever feel like there is MORE to your life than just your every day motions, appointments, responsibilities? Are you striving for peace - in yourself, your home, in the world?  I do, and I am. The other evening, I experienced Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's TED Talk on her experience with coming face to face with what so many of us are searching for in life.  


    Dr. Taylor describes in eighteen short (I promise, when you start watching this, the time will fly by) minutes why we're not just who we think we are, or see ourselves as, or how others see us, but also, much, much larger, integrated, and interconnected with everyone and everything in the universe; AND how we - each and every one of us - have the ability and the choice to "step to the right of our left hemispheres" and experience more of the amazing  potential we all have; to experience and create and share real peace.

     

    Look, I know you probably feel like you don't have 18 minutes handy - with work, home, children, life. And maybe you're not into the whole spiritual, woo woo, new age stuff.  But... remember - Dr. Taylor didn't go looking for a spiritual  connection to the universe; she was a neuroanatomist, studying brain disorders, who found herself suddenly in a position to study her OWN brain, through a stroke as it was occurring - and in that experience, discovered something far more amazing and important than what she expected.

     

    I picture a world filled with beautiful, peaceful, compassionate, loving people who knew that they could come to this space at any time. And that they could purposely choose to step to the right of their left hemispheres and find this peace.


    This video is one of the most inspiring things I've ever seen. So, for whatever that's worth, please try to find time - you won't be disappointed. Maybe you'll just find it interesting. Or maybe it just might give you that bit of incentive and  approval you've been looking for to reach that MORE that PEACE that CONNECTION that you know is there - inside of us. Please watch.

     

    ps - you may find that the timbre of her voice is, at first, challenging to experience; but the message she's sharing soon outweighs any discomfort. Make it through the first four minutes, and you'll be hooked. Please let me know if you watch this & how you liked it. I'd love to hear. 

    Posted: Feb 02 2013, 12:56 by kelly | Comments (2) RSS comment feed |
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