Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wear What YOU Like, Not What Everyone Else Likes

For a long time, I never went outside in bikinis, or if I did I hid my body under a tank top or t-shirt.  I would buy bikinis, thinking they were so cute and I would try them on, unflattered by my looks.  I was so insecure, and so afraid that people would notice my stretch marks and how my stomach isn't flat.  I hated how I looked.

I realized my mistake not long ago.

My mistake is that I was buying things that looked cute on other people.  I liked the things I bought.  I bought things that were very cute and fashionable.  But I didn't like them once I put them on.  I bought the clothes anyway, thinking since they were in-style, I should wear them regardless of whether or not I liked how they looked on me.  That was mistake number one.  Mistake number two was buying things a size or two too small for my body because I didn't want to admit that I was a size 9 or 11.  I liked saying I was a 5 or a 7.  However, this was not conducive to my self-esteem.  I could squeeze into a 5 or a 7, but that didn't make me a 5 or a 7.  Instead it gave me a muffin top and an even lower level of confidence.

Then would come swimsuit season.  I'd buy whatever the sexiest bathing suit was that I could find.  That sexy little  swimsuit, however, didn't make me look sexy.  It was sexy on the rack, sexy in the window and sexy in the catalog on women with full 34C-cups, 26 inch waistlines and 34 inch hips..  And while it was on me, the swimsuit itself was sexy.  But it didn't make me look sexy or feel good.  It didn't compliment my curves or my stretch marks.  It brought them out more and all I could think about was how disappointed I was that I didn't look like a Victoria's Secret model with it on.

Does this country have an obsession with women in bikinis?  Damn straight.  Does that mean everyone needs  wear one since they're cool and sexier than one-piece suits?

Absolutely not!   Personally, I want to wear things that I feel confident in and bring out my best physical attributes.  I should wear something where, when I chase my kid down the beach, I don't have to worry about my snatch falling out, or I should be able to lay on my side without constantly worrying if people will notice all of my stretch marks, fat rolls and sagging skin.

More people should live by their own standards. And note, I appreciate ALL bodies.  Every single one, regardless of color, size, shape, scars, tone, fat, sex or age.   But what I love even more than that is a woman who feels good about herself and feels comfortable in what she's wearing.  If a woman is comfortable having stretch marks, being plus size or with wrinkles while wearing a bikini, that is her choice and I applaud her.  However, a lot of the women aren't totally comfortable showing their skin to a lot of people.

I do own a bikini and I like to use it when I want to get some extra sun or when I'm feeling comfortable with my surroundings.  But I also own a one-piece which I like to use more.  One-piece bathing suits aren't the most popular variety.  And usually people associate them with being old or being overweight.  That, however, is just not true.  I love wearing one and I am neither of those things.

I love being in a one-piece.  With a two-piece, while I have come to accept my flaws, I wouldn't feel sexy or appealing wearing it around a large group of people.  However, in my one-piece, although it's not a popular choice in style, I feel fabulous.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Unapologetic Me

I love me with the sags.
I love me with the stretch marks.
I love me with dark circles.
I love me with frizzy hair.  
I love me with pale skin.
I love me with love handles.
I love me with back rolls.
I love me when I'm menstruating.
I love me when I'm lactating.
I love me with body hair. 
I love me when my hands are dirty.
I love me with belly fat.
I love that my body can give life.
I love that I can sustain life.
I love me when I eat.
I love me when I'm sick.
I love me for me.
Who I am goes deeper than my skin.

I'm confident.
I'm artistic.
I'm intelligent.
I'm creative.
I'm imaginative.
I'm logical.
I'm kind.
I'm articulate.
I'm ambitious.
I'm empowering.
I'm soulful.
I'm funny.
I'm daring.
I'm charming.
I'm thoughtful.
I'm generous.

And I'm unapologetic for being me.
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Friday, February 22, 2013

Anti-woman Obstetrics

By now, if you've read a few of my blog posts, you know I'm very pro-woman.  I'm not a huge supporter of hospital birthing or mainstream obstetrics.  My objections are not only personal problems, but public issues that should be addressed.  I have serious doubts about our birthing system and the industry that surrounds it.  I use the word industry, because that is all it is to the vast majority who work in maternal healthcare.  Women are cattle in an assembly line waiting to be slaughtered.

I feel that the policies that hospitals and obstetricians hold over women are policies of misogyny.  No faith is put into the woman or her abilities to give birth to her baby.  Often, women are told they are not capable of pushing a baby out.  Her body isn't built for it.  Frequently women believe it because they feel they have no choice.  And too many times is this reason unfounded.  Too many times, it's a straight up lie.

Next, women are directed to perform tasks that are undignified, to say the least.  Women are told to put their legs into stirrups, with no regard to their personal privacy.  Women are forcibly given cervical exams.  A tool can be inserted, past the walls of her vagina, through her cervix and into her womb, which has historically been recognized as a sacred space.  A doctor has the right to scream in her face "PUSH!!  PUSH!!  PUSH!!", often times when her body isn't completely ready.  When the woman's body "isn't cooperative" the doctor then assumes the right to slice open her body and aggressively remove the baby from her body

1 in 5 women's labors are induced.  Nearly 70% of women receive epidurals during labor.  Those numbers are astronomically high.  So why is this?  Are those 20% incapable?  Are the 70% of women who receive epidurals weak?  No.  I see these options as tools to make the professionals in hospital's lives easier.  Who really wants a laboring woman screaming in their face?  And who really wants to deal with a phone call at three in the morning from a mother who's possibly in labor?  These two things are huge inconveniences to doctors, midwives and nurses everywhere.  So why not give them some Pitocin or Cerdavil or an epidural.  Women are blindly led into these scenarios.  The implications made by doctors and anesthesiologists is that these interventions are the optimal choice.  However, they aren't told about how epidurals interfere with the production of Oxytocin, or how they can cause permanent damage to the mother's body like life long headaches; or how epidurals can have negative effects on breastfeeding success.

Moms aren't informed ahead of time that receiving certain drugs require constant monitoring throughout her labor.  Mom is relegated to the bed where she is strapped to monitors.  It is a proven fact that being mobile in labor will help speed up the process.  However, when a mother is given Pitocin and other drugs she is rarely given the option.  The nurses often ignore requests for telemetry units or fail to offer it to moms because, to them, it's just another work day.  As for the epidural, forget it.  There's no possible way to move with an epidural in place.

Postpartum, mothers realize that breastfeeding comes with many hurdles.  About 45% breastfeed up to 6 months, while about 25% breastfeed up to a year.  Women are unsupported in careers or by doctors in their decision to nurse their babies.  Many doctors don't use breastfeeding-specific growth charts, and when babies don't gain a certain amount of weight within a certain amount of time, they inform the mothers that their babies are failing to thrive.  Those are some big, scary words.  How could a mother, who is responsible for her baby, refute this accusation?  She can't.  Instead, she is pressured into supplementing, which ultimately creates confusion about breastfeeding.  Her production is compromised and her sanity is shot.

These are only a few examples of how men have taken over something that should be up to women.  We fought so hard for control over our bodies and lives when abortion became a heated, legal dispute.  But we seem to not care what happens to our bodies after we make the choice to become mothers.  Women deserve better.  Women deserve to feel dignified, respected and their wishes should be honored.  Currently, obstetrics are anti-woman.  This needs to change.  Women deserve the chance to choose healthy birth options without being lied to for convenience purposes.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Atheist Ettiquette

I wanted to share some dos and don'ts for the Atheist world.  I get that we believe in science and reason and have the innate ability to question the things living outside of that realm, but there are some things we shouldn't do.  Yes, Atheists should have tact and regard for other human beings.    

Do:  Support humanitarianism.
Don't:  Go around killing people just because you know you won't go to hell for it at the end of your life.

Do:  When someone says they need you to pray for them, simply say, "you'll be in my thoughts" or "I'll be thinking of you."  Then offer to watch a movie with them later or do something nice to let them know you're actually thinking about them.  Don't just use it as an easy way to write them off your list (as people generally seem to intend when they let you know they're praying for you.)
Don't:  Go on a tangent about why praying won't do them any good.

Do:  Attend weddings at churches.
Don't:  Attend weddings at churches, and when asked for a moment of silence, behave rowdily and obnoxiously just to prove how much of an Atheist you can be.  It doesn't help our cause!

Do:  Feel free to let others know you're having a hard time, but when some people's automatic responses are that they will "pray for you"....
Don't:  say "or you could just give me $20 because that would help me make my rent this month," no matter how compelled you may be to do so.

Do:  Indulge in sex before marriage.
Don't:  Feel ashamed for it.

Do:  Talk about injustices.
Don't:  Act like they're nothing.

Do:  Be tolerant of religions.
Don't:  Let religious fundamentalists walk all over you.

Do:  Research the origins of circumcision.
Don't:  Do it to your son just because it "looks cool" when you are sufficiently given evidence that advises against it!  Tattoos look cool too, but you don't see us giving newborns tattoos now, do you?

Do:  Tell people when they are acting out of line if they sound like they are trying to indoctrinate you with the holy word of Jesus H. Christ.
Don't:  Stare blankly into space and every so often respond snidely and sarcastically, "Wow. I had no idea Jesus loved me. Or that it was an option to accept him as my personal lord and savior.  I haven't heard that a million times or anything."

Do:  Stand up for what you believe and say why you believe in it - i.e. gay rights, women's rights, scientific research etc.
Don't:  Start nit-picking the bible as a means of proving your points - i.e. "you mean you really believe a book that says some guy was able to fit 10 million (possibly more, seeing as no one knows how many different species of animals there are - and that's only a guesstimate of how many species of land creatures there might be) animals onto a boat?  So, science is crazy.. but a guy who's spent forever in the desert who's dehydrated and probably delusional ran into a burning bush that could talk.  Right."

Do:  Feel free to go to church with your family for Christmas Mass so they get off your ass about it - I mean really what's the worst that can happen?  People will pray for you?  In other words - waste their time talking to invisible long-bearded dude in the sky at your expense?  Whoooooo cares!  Plus, now that we have smart phones we don't even have to listen to the sermon if we don't want to.  
Don't:  Take more than your share of communion just because you didn't eat enough beforehand.  In fact, make the decision now whether or not you would like to take communion at all.

Do:  Tell your children about why you're an Atheist.
Don't:  Shame them if, for some reason, they decide they want to go to church with their friend.  Chances are they will come back unchanged and even further enlightened about why Atheism rocks.  I mean come on, sleeping in late on Sundays?  Masturbating without worrying that someone's watching you?  Saying "God dammit" when you're mad?  Religion can't even compete with Atheism.  

Do:  Express yourself.
Don't:  Belittle others.  And as hard as it might be - refrain from posting something like this to your religious family member's wall on Facebook when you're annoyed with them:

Or this:

Or any of these:

And no matter how tempting it may be, don't be this guy:

Do consider something a little more mild.  Like this:

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

The REAL Dark Side Of Adoption

Recently I recounted my experience with adoption and wrote about Ricki Lake's episode on adoption experiences.  A friend recently sent me a link to a blog that I must share with others.  Adoptees who actually have the desire to know who their birth mothers were and find closure.  Adoptees who recognize that the adoption industry is far from perfect and does more to exploit than it does help.

I think of my lost daughter so often and have no one to talk about it with because I am afraid people get tired of hearing about her.  I don't feel like people are able to understand the enormity of this event in my life or how badly it has scarred me.  I want to feel like I did the right thing, or like I planned to do the right thing but I can't.  Every time I think about how horrible my situation was I think about how many other mothers have overcome worse things.

But no one told me.  And I was young and stupid. And stressed.  REALLY stressed.   And I learned too many things about adoption after the fact, rather than before.

I am on some forums where women come in and ask if they should put their babies up for adoption.  My answer is always no.  Always.  Even if their situation is desperate.  I can't advise women against it enough. What if things had been different?  What if I'd been given the opportunity to change my mind?  I would have in a heartbeat.

Anyway, before I get too off-track, this blog entry that was sent to me truly highlighted so many reasons that the adoption agency is flawed.  The tampered birth certificates, sealed records, human trafficking and broken promises are all introduced in the entry.  I read it over and over and over again and cried, because oh my god, my daughter may be one of these free-thinking, empathetic adoptees one day.  Although I can understand the pain of these adoptees not being able to find closure in their lives, I feel so alive having read it.  I am not counting on having a child who is this way, but I would love for it to be so.  I've never heard adoptees defend their birth parents in any way up until now and I suddenly feel changed.

Family Ties: Adoption and Magical Thinking Pin It now!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Horrible Poudre Valley Hospital Birth

the first picture of my daughter EVER taken - sad, isn't it?
My hospital birth story really irritates me.  My labor was short, therefore it should have been a great experience, right?  WRONG!  I've emboldened every single way that my labor went awry.

I get that long labors suck.  I hear women talk about them disdainfully every day.  I'm thankful to have had a precipitous birth.  I am not thankful for the disheartening circumstances.

My water broke on 9/20, just before midnight.  I called my midwife and she had told me to come into the office first thing in the morning of 9/21 if I didn't start contracting.  So at around eight in the morning I went in so they could monitor my contractions.  There was nothing happening.  The midwife told me to try nipple stimulation at home, but if nothing happened I needed to be at the hospital in four hours for an induction.  I tried nipple stimulation and when that didn't work, was told castor oil wasn't an option because it was too dangerous.  I was devastated.

I packed a bag, anticipating a very short hospital stay.  I would have the baby and leave - at least that was my plan.  As I arrived at the hospital, a nurse took down all of my information.  She was incredibly rude and even snapped at my husband a couple of times when he questioned the policies she read to us.  As she began connecting the IV drips around 1:15 or so, my heart sank.  Again, I sobbed.

My doula brought me her birth ball to sit on and I leaned over the side of the bed with the monitors all in place.  As I was sitting on the ball, she requested a telemetry unit so that I'd be able to move freely.  They didn't return, so she asked when they came back.  Again - nothing.  She went out to the nurse's station for the third time and demanded it.  Within minutes they connected me to a portable unit.  I had an immediate need to use the toilet where I sat with uncontrollable diarrhea and vomiting for at least an hour.  The nausea never dissipated for the entirety of my labor. I still felt sick but got in the bath anyway to try and relieve some pain.  My husband sat with me the whole time and held my hand as I cried and moaned.  I asked him to tell the nurse to turn down the Pitocin.  She said it wasn't an option.  Instead she cranked it up higher and again came more waves of vomiting and diarrhea.  All I could think about was how ironic it was that castor oil wasn't an option for this very reason. 

While the nurse was in the bathroom with us I asked her to call my midwife.  I could feel my daughter lower, and knew I was in transition.  When she said she went out to call, I asked my husband to tell her I wanted some pain  meds.  As badly as I wanted a natural birth I just knew the pain was too much for me to bear.  And with the drugs right there at my finger tips, how could I possibly say no?  When the nurse came in she told me I had to get out of the bath so she could check my cervix.  I told her I didn't want my cervix checked at all and I just wanted the drugs.  She told me too bad, because that's hospital policy.  I was not allowed to say no to cervical exams. (talk about invasive - I'm pretty sure this is what they call molestation in non-medical environments.)  My husband asked about our midwife and the nurse informed us that she hadn't made the call because she had to check my cervix before "bothering" her.  Yes, she used the word bother.

At this point I was pissed.  I could feel my labor progressing and knew my midwife there.  I told the nurse that I was starting to feel the need to push and she shrugged it off.  She coerced me to leave the bath so that she could check my cervix on the hospital bed, but agreed to finally call my midwife as I made my way from the bathroom to the birthing room.  She called, and my midwife was busy installing an IUD and couldn't come right now.  I threw a fit when it came time to finally hobble into the birthing room.  She told me to get onto the table and I declined, complaining of pain.  While holding onto my husband my body began to push.  Not me - this is just something that will automatically, biologically happen in labor.  My nurse screamed over and over again for me to stop pushing, but of course I couldn't stop.  She ran around the room like a beheaded chicken, pushing the call button and trying to get her gloves on saying "Oh my god, oh my god, someone help me."  I reached down and could feel my daughter's head.  The nurse scolded me and demanded that I not touch myself.  I could "get an infection."  I obeyed her and got on all fours and threw up again all over the floor. 

At 4:02 pm as she acted like a completely incompetent fucking idiot, I gave birth to my daughter who weighed in at 6 lbs, 2 oz and 21 inches long.  My nurse didn't catch her.  She fell and landed face first onto the mat (the one on the floor.)  I looked back and exclaimed "Oh my god, the baby!"  My husband smiled, but I could tell he was just as perturbed as I was that no one had caught her.  Her entrance into the world was falling face down onto a hard surface.  The nurse was a fucking imbecile!

Anyway, they grabbed my daughter who I had asked them to delay all of the weighing, measuring and cord cutting of, but what just as they hadn't respected my wishes in the beginning, they had no respect for my wishes this time either.  They finally brought my daughter to me as I lay confused and saddened in the bed.  They left the placenta in place for a short time - maybe five minutes.  When it was delivered, the nurse told me we had to cut it and that we didn't have any choice.  I told her not to cut the umbilical cord because I wanted her father to be able to do it.  She had agreed to let my husband do it earlier when she was asking us questions as if it was an option.  Not but ten seconds later - she cut the cord.  Afterward, she offered to let him trim the stump down.  I was in a rage, since this is a family tradition for us - and since we had also requested to delay clamping.

As I learned later on, we weren't able to be released from the hospital immediately after the birth.  A drug test was ordered by my midwives (Womancare, in case you're in the Fort Collins area and wondering exactly who to avoid.)  After my daughter was born I went to the bathroom to urinate, and that same shitty nurse chased me in with a hat like I was some kind of criminal.  She watched me as I peed into the plastic container and rushed me off of the toilet so she could immediately take it away for testing.  The humiliation was too much.  After I was done, we were put into another room.  After my daughter's first poop, I changed her diaper.  That's what mothers are supposed to do, right?  WRONG, apparently.  About two hours later, the nurse came in and asked if my baby's diaper had any poop in it.  I told her I had just changed her diaper and she flipped out and reprimanded me like I was a child. She told me that I wasn't allowed to change her diaper, she was supposed to change it so they could drug test her meconium.  We couldn't wait to leave.  We wanted to leave immediately after the birth, but low and behold - another way to make us feel like prisoners - they put an ankle bracelet on my daughter that would set off security alarms if we tried to leave the floor.  We weren't "allowed" to leave with our baby - yes, the same baby that I had just pushed out of my uterus and carried for nine months - until her blood test results came back.  

When we could finally we leave, we rushed out of the hospital.  We signed paperwork that stated we were being negligent for leaving prior to the recommended three day stay.  We took responsibility for anything that could go wrong at home and promised them not to sue.

What I did NOT promise, was that I wouldn't share my story in complete and utter disgust.  I hope that in writing this that women will opt for home birth where they can be in charge of their own bodies and babies, or even consider a birthing center if we ever get one in Northern Colorado.  Poudre Valley Hospital is a joke.  It is a shit business.  It ruined one of the only birth experiences I have ever and will ever have in my life.  

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Monday, January 14, 2013

The Trouble With Being A Feminist

My problem being a feminist is I can't turn off the misogyny radar, and the fact that people seem fearful of me.  I am constantly taking notice of not only female inequality, but the inequality of the races, GLBTQ communities and even males (yes, you read that right.)  On New Years, I went to a party.  I don't get out much so it was a wonderful escape.  While I was at this party one of our male friends mentioned my Facebook wall, which is overloaded with posts that I had assumed most people didn't notice.  

But apparently they do.  At this party, we got into a discussion about feminism.  As a matter of fact, this topic arises in many of the social events I go to.  I never intend on it happening.  But it does.  Every. Single.  Time.  I just can't help but notice what's going on at these parties.  Men acting like pigs (what's new?), women who are completely oblivious to male chauvinism, drunks who are indifferent.  I'm fortunate to have met many men and women alike who share many of the same ideals.  But there's at least one idiot at every party.

And of course, there are some people who are adamant that "equality" and "meritocracy" exist. Usually they're conservative, blue-collar, ignoramuses who drive stupid loud diesel trucks or have an infatuation with Merkan technology. Eventually the long, drawn-out, drunken ramblings about why the other person is wrong get started.  And it's a full on debate that neither of us are going to win, because frankly, I'm not open to living inside of a stupid box and never being able to explore the outside of it, and the other person hates change.  So what's the point?  Ugh.  So basically I'm looked at as a feminazi (which is an oxymoron by the way) by some people, scary to others, a sniveling lunatic to the mainstream crowd, and a hippy with hairy armpits to the conservatives (which couldn't be further from the truth.)

Although women are often open to feminism a lot of the time, I find plenty of men (white of course, since we live in "Vanilla Valley" as my family in California so endearingly refer to us) who are up in arms and absolutely must live their lives defending XY chromosomes... which coincidentally proves just how privileged they are.  Gross.  I wish for once I could just stop thinking about feminism.  Gah.  But I can't.  I hear a song, and it's misogynistic.  I see a TV show and it's objectifying women.  My husband's friend comes over and testosteronically (yes, it's a made up word for men who are overloaded with testosterone) throw around the words "retarded" and "gay" as if they're actually synonyms for stupid.  No need to point out the irony.  In any case.  I wish just once, I could stop noticing the sexism and go back to living my life ignorantly and blissfully, believing that all is right with the world.  
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Diaper Of the Week: Motherease One Size Fitted Diapers + Covers + Liners

I used this diapering system the first time around and loved it.  I got a box of diapers that were handed down to me from my mother-in-law who used them with two of her own babies, and thus began my journey through cloth-diapering.  I am now using them on a fourth baby and have over a dozen out of 18 originally handed down that are still in great working order! 

Some Benefits:

These diapers are designed to last from birth to potty-training. These are similar to prefolds in that they require a cover.  The material is a very unique micro-cotton terry or micro-bamboo terry that is very soft, but much more durable than microfiber.  The snap placement is different than most systems because there aren't any snaps near the crotch/leg gussets.  Instead, there are female snaps placed on the inside of the front of the diaper so that all you have to do is fold it over to reduce the size.  Optionally, for larger babies and toddlers, these inside female snaps can be used with their snap-in liners.  They are very absorbent and with the liners can last through the night without changes.   The covers come in a variety of  different sizes; extra-small, small, medium, medium-large, large and extra-large and slim-fit.

Some Drawbacks:  

The absolute only drawbacks of these diapers are that they are not inexpensive and that they are bulky on smaller babies.  However, with the price you pay comes a much higher quality than pockets or cheaper diapers and once your baby gains a few pounds the diapers are a great size.  I have read some complaints about them not having a huge cutesy pattern selection, however if you're cloth diapering for practical rather than fashionable reasons this shouldn't pose a problem. 

All in all:  

I cannot recommend these diapers enough.  I recommend the fitted + covers as a system to anyone willing to shell out some extra cash, especially those who plan on cloth-diapering multiple children.  These diapers will last you quite awhile!

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Be the Woman You Were Born to Be, Not the Doll You Were Sold."

"Be the Woman You Were Born to Be, Not the Doll You Were Sold."  -unknown

I've been trying harder lately to catch myself before saying terrible things about how I look.  Especially in front of my little one. How can I expect to raise my daughter to be a confident woman with a healthy level of self-esteem if I can't even look at myself past the mirror.  How can I teach my son that the partner he chooses doesn't have to act or look a certain way to be worthy when I, myself, don't teach him that there is more to humanity than the shallow surfaces of our skins? It's unnatural for us to criticize our looks as much as we do.  It's pre-programming, and it's not right.  We go to grocery stores and at the checkout we are  bombarded with tabloids which criticize superstars for having cellulite on their thighs or rolls of skin on their back or one too many chins or an ass that's not rock solid.  Next to the tabloids are lipstick magazines that teach you how to get a better body: breast enlargement supplements, a size six dress, legs that never jiggle, a vulva that's not brown.  Ironically, these magazines are sitting right next to the candy bars.  And I get it.  They're telling us, "Hey buy these candy bars because you're sad and discouraged. But while you're at it, buy one of these magazines.  Trust me, you'll need it after you eat that candy bar, you large tub of shit."  

It's asinine  My children are being exposed to a culture that I cannot accept and are absorbing shallow behaviors like sponges.  These marketing techniques objectify women and tell them they need to behave and look a certain way to be accepted.  If you want to be on the cover of a magazine and have people like you, then you need to be skinny and wear lots of makeup and appear to be "like a lady."  Otherwise, you'll end up on the cover of a tabloid and, you know what, little girl?  That's bad.  Never, ever, ever end up on the cover of a tabloid or people will think you are disgusting and fat and wrinkly and stupid and slutty.  Never show your true age or your true colors, your real size, your eating habits, your real breasts or the split ends in your hair, you disgusting pig.  Suck in, stand up straight and Photoshop the shit out of yourself. 

You know what I think about that?  It's sad.  It is sad and it is cruel.  Shame on them for making fun of others for how they look.  It's not okay in school and it's sure as hell not okay in magazines. We should not be doing this to our children.  Our daughters especially, because when they grow up to live in those skins, they will remember what you said about those women in the tabloids.  What if, when we stood at the checkout, we pointed to the women in the tabloids and said, "Do you see this? This is what a lot of women look like and  despite what magazine editors think, there is no shame in that.  She is beautiful just like the skinny woman in the other magazine."  That's what little girls deserve to hear.  They deserve to know that whichever one they share characteristics with in the future is beautiful.  Even if some stupid, shallow, mean gossip mag doesn't appreciate her, someone out there will.  Whether it's me, her brother, her life partner or a complete stranger.

I am teaching my daughter that when she stands in front of the mirror and looks at herself, there's no reason to think about how horrible she looks or what she would change about herself.  I lead by example.  I've stopped saying negative things about my hair or my skin or my weight.  My children will likely inherit many of the flaws that I see, and later on down the road, think poorly of them.  Do I really want my baby going through life thinking she's ugly and stupid?  Saying "OMG, I hate how fat I look today," does a number on the future of my daughter's self-esteem.  Wouldn't a better thing to say be "I'm an intelligent woman" or "I'm strong"?  Isn't there more to us than artificial beauty and impossible standards?  Shouldn't we spend more time appreciating and acknowledging our differences?

I know it's hard.  It's hard to say "I look good today" or "I am a confident woman", "I am prosperous, because I have many friends."  It's hard to admit we're worth it when we aren't the same as everyone else who appears beautiful or powerful.  It feels like vanity.  And throughout our lives, we have been taught that vanity is wrong.  It's one of the seven deadly sins.  It makes us narcissists.  It turns us into hedonists.  It creates power, and women shouldn't have that kind of power.  Throughout history, this hasn't been allowed.  It's time to step away from our cultural spectrum. There is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of conceit or finding value in yourself.  In actuality, isn't that what confidence and high self-esteem is?  It's thinking well of who and what we are. Having confidence and being a narcissist who can't admit their wrong-doings don't go hand-in-hand.  

For awhile now, I've spent less time criticizing myself and looking down upon myself for being less than perfect.  I have made it a point to compliment myself at least once a day.  And I feel better. It's been  motivating me to become a stronger woman, if not for me then for my children.  My daughter will learn to accept that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not pop culture.  She will learn there is more to herself than all of that.  And my son will be amazing enough to choose his life partner based on his own needs, rather than superficiality.  He won't try and mold that person into someone he or she is not.  If I'm lucky, the two of them will choose partners who can accept them and love them, flaws and all.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Amniotic Sac Facts!
1.  When a woman's water breaks, there is no magic number of hours that indicate when the baby needs to come out.  Thus induction is not always necessary following premature rupture of membranes, although some states have laws indicating a woman must be induced within a certain time frame of her waters breaking. However,  Some women go months with broken waters when their membranes rupture early in pregnancy!

2.  The risk of infection is only increased when things are inserted into the vagina after the membranes are ruptured.  After the waters break, women must abstain from sex, cervical exams, vaginal ultrasounds or inserting Evening Primrose Oil.  There is no reason for a woman to be rushed to the hospital as if it's a dire emergency unless their are signs of infection in her.  The first symptom of infection is most often a fever and is when the situation should be taken more seriously.

3.  No one knows where amniotic fluid comes from.  A newborn's urine is sterile, and it has been theorized that is where it comes from, but currently there are no conclusive answers.  It is evident that fluid intake can increase amniotic fluid levels.  This is just one of the many mysteries of pregnancy!

4.  Taking Vitamin C or citrus with bioflavanoids plus zinc is believed to strengthen the amniotic sac and can help prevent premature rupture of the membranes.  This also reduces the risk of premature childbirth.  Vitamin C is an essential nutrient for skin, collagen, connective tissues and muscle and is linked in studies to strengthening the sac.  It is also believed that vitamin C can repair holes in the sac, if the baby's body is unable to plug the holes.

5.  An ultrasound cannot tell a woman for sure how much amniotic fluid she has remaining or whether or not an induction or cesarean is necessary.  

6.  Premature rupture of the membranes occurs in 10 to 20% of pregnancies, worldwide.  90% of women's bodies will begin labor within 48 hours of the rupture.

7.  When a woman's water breaks prematurely, it rarely gushes.  In labor, a large gush is more likely during a strong contraction which may "pop" the water.  It is most often a trickle, and will keep replenishing.  Therefore, rarely will a baby be born dry. Nor will a woman "run out" of water.

8.  When a baby is born and the amniotic sac is left intact, it's is called being born "in the caul" (also called caulbearers.)  Many famous leaders of the world were born in the caul such as John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr. and Alexander the Great.  Some believe these people are cursed, while others believe these people are divine healers with deep intuitive abilities.  The picture I posted here is a picture of a cesarean with the baby born in the caul.  I've seen it floating around on Facebook for awhile now, and couldn't resist sharing!

9.  When the water breaks before labor begins it is called Premature Rupture of Membranes, AKA - PROM.

10.  The fetus can consume up to 15 ounces of amniotic fluid a day.
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