Sunday, June 22, 2014

First time father celebrates his growing child with a tender song and picture-a-day

First time father, Tom Fletcher, of the British band McFly, celebrates the growing-up of his new baby (inside and outside) with a photo-a-day of his wife, Giovanna. Assembled and set to a sweet tune he sings, the viewer listens and watches Giovanna's baby belly grow. The couples first child was born March 13, 2014. A beautiful idea for any parent with baby on the way...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Talking Jewish Circumcision (Especially When You Aren’t Jewish)

By Rebecca Wald © 2014
Support Wald's upcoming book, Celebrating Brit Shalom, here.

Jewish circumcision is a touchy subject to say the least. It involves religion, sex and politics—the “sacred cows” that are generally not spoken about, even among friends. However, advocates for genital autonomy (the concept that all children are entitled to keep their natural sex organs) often put educating others before the conventions of polite conversation.

As publisher of Beyond the Bris, I find myself talking about (and listening to others talk about) Jewish circumcision frequently. Is there a right—or better—way that all of us can talk about this highly charged topic? I feel there is.

Let me start off by saying that it’s much easier to talk about routine infant circumcision (RIC). The act of performing a painful, sometimes life-threatening and arguably damaging procedure is easy to assail when its being done simply as a matter of “routine” or because Dad is circumcised. However, Jewish circumcision isn’t routine. It’s been practiced (and is still protected) as a parent’s fundamental religious freedom. Whether it should be is another matter. Regardless, Jewish people have have fought and died to protect this parental freedom, as well as because of it.

Routine Infant Circumcision vs. Religious Circumcision

Not long ago in the anti-circumcision community, RIC was the term used and the primary focus by nearly everyone. Many felt it was unnecessary to get into the thorny issue of religious circumcision since it accounted for such a small percentage of male infant circumcision in the U.S. However, awareness about the harms of all forms of gential cutting has grown and there has been a shift away from talking just about RIC. Principles of genital autonomy assert that every child—whether male, female or intersex—and regardless of religion or culture, is entitled to the body they are born with, absent medical necessity. In the past 5-10 years, talk about RIC (which is more narrow) has evolved into talk about genital autonomy (which is more encompassing).

With this shift, vocal circumcision critics will inevitably find themselves in the tough position of criticizing the time-honored religious or cultural practices of a group to which they don’t belong. This is often a recipe for misunderstanding—or worse. The listener may be forever turned off to the concept of genital autonomy. The genital autonomy movement itself may sustain collateral damage should the matter become widely publicized. So how can Jewish circumcision (or for that matter any kind of religious or tribal genital cutting) be discussed in ways that help to avoid this?

The Inside Advantage

First of all, my feeling is that religious circumcision is best addressed by those who come from within the particular circumcising religion/culture, or are otherwise very familiar with it by virtue of extensive study and/or firsthand experience. Ronald Goldman, Ph.D., first made this assertion and it has always stuck with me. This doesn’t mean that if you aren’t Jewish you should never talk about Jewish circumcision, but understand that you’re at a strong disadvantage when it comes to such a conversation. Every religion (in fact every generation and every culture) has its own lingo—and getting the lingo right is vitally important.

This is why the thoughtful genital autonomy advocate will turn a discussion of Jewish circumcision in the direction of Jewish resources. The Jewish Circumcision Resource Center, Beyond the Bris and Dr. Mark Reiss’s Brit Shalom Providers Page are all good websites to mention. (Brit shalom is a bris-without-circumcision ceremony for intact Jewish boys.)

There are also a few good books. Dr. Goldman’s Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective remains relevant and invaluable. My own forthcoming book, Celebrating Brit Shalom, will be available this fall and can now be pre-ordered via our current Kickstarter campaign. With the anti-circumcision activist in mind, my co-author and I have included a “multiples pack” as a reward for backing our project—perfect for sharing with others as a component of outreach. The campaign lasts just 45-days, beginning on June 17, 2014, so please consider supporting us!

Improving the Conversation

Overall the treatment of Jewish circumcision within the intactivist community is respectful. However, there are times when I cringe at Facebook threads and article comments. Anything that starts with “You Jews” is a prime example. “How can anyone belong to a religion that expects circumcision?” is slightly less offensive, but still unhelpful. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, this kind of talk reflects poorly on the whole genital autonomy movement and I wish it didn’t exist. Those who are wise enough to identify, stand up to, and redirect such conversations are worth their weight in gold.

There are certainly things that can—and should—be said about Jewish circumcision. Here are a few of them:

(1) Not all Jewish people circumcise; it’s a choice.
(2) The movement to question Jewish circumcision goes back a long time and includes many notable Jewish people.
(3) Brit shalom exists as an alternative to brit milah (religious circumcision).
(4) Infant circumcision actually conflicts with many aspects of traditional Jewish ethics and practice.
(5) Jewish ritual practice is diverse. Just because a family opts out of one aspect of it doesn’t mean they’re any less Jewish—or less valuable to the Jewish community.
(6) There are now many rabbis and other officiants who are willing to perform bris without circumcision (brit shalom).
(7) Some of today’s most vocal members of the genital autonomy movement are, in fact, Jewish.

Of course, one can never go wrong in pointing out the obvious—that all children, regardless of religion, have a right to their natural sex organs.

Rebecca Wald is the publisher of Beyond the Bris, a news and opinion website about the Jewish movement to question infant circumcision. Beyond the Bris has received widespread attention, and has been written about in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Village Voice, Tikkun, The Jewish Daily Forward, Haaretz, and The Times of Israel, among others. Rebecca is a graduate of The George Washington University and of Brooklyn Law School.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Moment in Breastfeeding: Showing Less 'Boob' Than the Storefront Model

Laura Goodwin shared her experience in a Texas mall yesterday, and we thought it was a good one to pass along to readers. Thank YOU for nursing in public and normalizing the natural feeding of our young.

Laura writes, "I walked around the mall, nursing here and there, with hands-free while shopping. I don't think anyone even noticed that I was breastfeeding, but I thought I'd capture this moment to make a point about our society's view on breastfeeding in public. I'm 'showing less boob' than the model in the window. #NormalizeSociety, because breastfeeding is already normal!"

Laura continues, "I'm a pretty modest, shy person when it comes to various stages of undress, etc., but I don't see feeding my children as something to hide, or to be embarrassed of. I have been asked to cover up. I have fed my babies in a bathroom stall. And I have been judged for my choices... But just one day (not long ago) I decided I was done hiding and being ashamed. Now, if people don't like it, I just encourage them not to stare so much!"


Laura Goodwin is a 31 year old at-home mom of two (Adalyn, 3, and Asher, almost 1) in Texas. She is an avid writer with a dream to serve mothers and their families as a doula one day. Laura is a natural/evidence-based birth advocate, lactavist, intactivist and children's advocate. She adores bing outside, painting, reading, music, animals and poetry.

For further reading and support visit the Breastfeeding Resource Page.


Friday, June 06, 2014

It's Not a Mess... It's My ROCK Collection!

Our 5 year old has had so many rock collections (and shell collections, leaf collections, feather collections, wood collections) that we decided to get a few glass jars for his very favorite, most special pieces...

And as an always-learning-at-home family, we've come to love some of these activities and ideas for getting down and dirty in nature with the kids:

I Love Dirt!

Nature in a Nutshell

15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids

Roots, Shoots, Buckets and Boots

Fun with Nature: Take Along Guides

Sharing Nature With Children

Why Dirt is Good: 5 Ways to Make Germs Your Friend

The Green Hour: A Daily Dose of Nature for Happier, Healthier, Smarter Kids

Further reading on nature and the powerful, positive effect of being outside immersed in the natural world around us.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Peaceful Parenting Sponsorship

If you are like so many of us who volunteer with Peaceful Parenting, you are always seeking a community of like minded souls - for a little support, camaraderie, and some problem-solving ideas to the questions that surface along our parenting journeys. We are a body that strives to raise our little ones in a securely attached fashion - most of us have a vested interest in research and being fully informed on subjects that impact our lives, our families, our health, and our world. We take advocacy to heart, and share information as we're able so that others may benefit too. Now, as of June 2014, Peaceful Parenting readers and supporters can become sponsors of the community, and support the ongoing efforts of PP. The reason this option is being made is three-fold:

1) ★ To sponsor impacting peaceful parenting booths at baby, maternity, and family expositions across North America, where resources are freely introduced and given to families. ★ To be able to provide for requests and needs that come in from parents who have no where else to turn for assistance, resources and help. ★ To keep and the Peaceful Parenting page free and available to all. ★ To continue to send intact care and forced retraction information to physicians and clinics across North America (currently there are approximately 10 clinical packets sent each week - free of charge to parents requesting for their physician). ★ To continue to send 'new parent' information packets to families expecting babies (currently there are approximately 15 packets sent each week, free of cost to those requesting). ★ To ensure email from those seeking help (approximately 50/day) is able to be replied to by professionals in a timely manner. ★ To keep workshops and clinics on a number of parenting subjects (breastfeeding, intact care/circumcision, baby sleep, babywearing, gentle discipline, etc.) free and open to all.

2) ★ Community building - to have a private place to gather and be able to safely ask questions and receive feedback from fellow gentle parenting advocates, moms, dads and professionals in the fields of birth, babies, and child-rearing.

3) ★ To provide a place where mother/baby-friendly businesses of all sizes (including Etsy shops and personal crafting) can be highlighted and shared with the community -- supporting fellow advocates and work-at-home parents in the process.

"Pride of Motherhood" by Chidi Okoye

When you become a Peaceful Parenting Sponsor you will:

1) Join with a close community of other parents and supporters with a heart for gentle, informed parenting and natural living. You will be invited to participate in the private Peaceful Parenting Members group. Here, questions can be asked and answered directly between individuals, or anonymously via email (admin re-sharing) as well. The benefit of this group being peaceful parenting supporters and families only is that it ensures the community remains one with similar passions, goals and interests and lasting friendships are built. ❤

2) Be eligible to win fabulous weekly give-aways among Peaceful Parenting sponsors. Winners are typically selected at random from among interested individuals after the items for that week are announced. Businesses (of any size) with an interest in donating merchandise for this purpose (items that would be useful to families, parents, babies, breastfeeding mothers, babywearers, cloth diapering fans, homeschoolers, teething little ones, growing children, those who are health-conscious, seeking a natural living lifestyle, etc.) should see the business sponsors page to become involved.

3) Receive a bi-monthly email newsletter sent out to Peaceful Parenting sponsors that includes coupons, discounts and deals to businesses you may have an interest in. Etsy shop owners and Peaceful Parenting members are welcome to contribute to this list. See the business sponsors page for further information.

4) Most importantly: Support the ongoing mission of Peaceful Parenting. Plant seeds, support families and change lives! Ultimately, the sharing of information and empowerment of parents (to care for their babies and children in a healthy and gentle manner through resources and support) is the mission of Peaceful Parenting. As a member, you are supporting the ongoing efforts that are truly life-changing in the lives of little ones today. Each baby born, each child growing up, deserves gentle, conscious care - and this is what we strive for day in and day out. We serve a greater good through a variety of measures -- from the resources at and our effort to keep the website free and available to anyone, anywhere; to items freely provided at expos and events; helpful books lent and sent and added to libraries across the U.S. and Canada; to the responses written to hundreds of emails and letters each week; and the many parents who are met in person for council or assistance. If you have ever benefited from Peaceful Parenting, or been encouraged as a part of this network, you know first hand the difference that this community makes along our parenting journeys. Peaceful Parenting operates fully as a not-for-profit group and is only able to continue thanks to the generosity of individuals with a heart for others. We invite you to become a part of this mission!

To become a Peaceful Parenting Sponsor:

Sponsorships are $12 for the year and can be set up as a one-time donation, or as an auto renew. Use the donate options below and include the following information in the 'notes' section, or in an email to To give the gift of a membership to another individual, include their name, email and address.

1) Your working email if you would like to receive the bi-monthly newsletter with discounts and coupon codes, as well as give-away items. Be sure to add both and to your email addresses.

2) Your name on Facebook if you wish to be a part of the Peaceful Parenting Discussion Group. Request to join at:

We look forward to getting to know you and your family!

Join With Monthly or Annual Donation:

Annual Options

Join With One Time Donation ($12 or more):

If you prefer to give one time without PayPal taking out a percentage, you may do so in the following manner or via mail below:
1) Log onto
2) Click the "Send Money" tab at the top of the page
3) Enter in
4) Put in the amount you wish to give
5) Check "I'm sending money to family or friends."
6) Include a note on the next screen if you wish.

Join By Mail:

Peaceful Parenting
P.O. Box 1302
VA Beach, VA 23451

Nurse Reveals Top 5 Regrets People Make on Their Deathbed

Painting by Lewis Isaac Testa

For many years I worked in palliative care. My patients were those who had gone home to die. Some incredibly special times were shared. I was with them for the last three to twelve weeks of their lives.

People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them. When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly, in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip. But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks, love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness.

This article first appeared at Real Farmacy.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Marvel of an Ordinary Life

Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. 
Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. 
Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. 
Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry when pets and people die. 
Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. 
And make the ordinary come alive for them. 
The extraordinary will take care of itself. 

 -William Martin



Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fabulous Reasons to Wear Your Baby!

Some of the many parent/baby-friendly reasons to wear your little one. ❤
(click image to open and view larger)

Infograph from Onya Baby:

For further babywearing information check out items on this page, or resources here. 



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