Life is being drawn into the earth, painlessly descending down into the very heart of herself.
And we, as natural human animals, are being called to do the same -- the pull to descend into our bodies, into sleep, darkness, and the depths of our own inner caves continually tugging at our marrow.
But many find the descent into their own body a scary thing indeed; fearing the unmet emotions and past events that they have stored in the dark caves inside themselves, not wanting to face what they have so carefully and unkindly avoided.
This winter solstice time is no longer celebrated as it once was, with the understanding that this period of descent into our own darkness was so necessary in order to find our light. That true freedom comes from accepting with forgiveness and love what we have been through, and vanquishing the hold it has on us, bringing the golden treasure back from the cave of our darker depths.
This is a time of rest and deep reflection, a time to wipe the slate clean as it were and clear out the old so you can walk into spring feeling ready to grow and skip without a dusty mountain on your back and chains around your ankles tied to the caves in your soul.
A time for the medicine of story, of fire, of nourishment and love.
A period of reconnecting, relearning and reclaiming of what this time means brings winter back to a time of kindness, love, rebirth, peace and unburdening instead of a time of dread, fear, depression and avoidance.
This modern culture teaches avoidance at a max at this time; alcohol, lights, shopping, overworking, over spending, bad food, and consumerism.
And yet the natural tug to go inward, as nearly all creatures are doing, is strong, and people are left feeling as if there is something wrong with them -- that winter is cruel and leaves them feeling abandoned and afraid.
Whereas in actual fact winter is so kind. Yes, she points us in her quiet soft way toward our inner self, toward the darkness and potential death of what we were, but this journey, if held with care, is essential.
She is like a strong teacher that asks you to awaken your inner loving elder or therapist, holding yourself with awareness of forgiveness, and allowing yourself to grieve, to cry, rage, laugh, and face what we need to face in order to be freed from the jagged bonds we wrapped around our hearts, in order to reach a place of healing and light without going into overwhelm.
Winter takes away the distractions, the noise, and presents us with the perfect time to rest and withdraw into a womb-like love, bringing fire and light to our hearth.
Couple rewrites 'Baby It's Cold Outside' to emphasize importance of consent As shared at CNN by Alexandra King | Read more from King
A couple from Minnesota has re-imagined the classic Christmas song "Baby It's Cold Outside" for a 21st-century audience, changing the song's lyrics to emphasize the importance of consent.
Singer-songwriters Lydia Liza and Josiah Lemanski, both from Minneapolis, said they were inspired to rework the song after bonding over a mutual dislike of the original's lyrics, which were penned in 1944 by Frank Loesser.
The duet features a man trying to dissuade a woman from leaving a party despite her repeated protestations that she has to go home. "What's in this drink?" is one of the female lines. "What's the sense in hurtin' my pride?" implores the male voice.
The song's seeming disregard for the woman's desire to leave never sat well with Lemanski or Liza.
"I've always had a big problem with the song. It's so aggressive and inappropriate," said Lemanski, 25.
Liza, 22, said she felt the same way as her boyfriend.
"We started thinking of the open-ended questions that song has," she said. "You never figure out if she gets to go home. You never figure out if there was something in her drink. It just leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth."
So Wednesday night, the couple decided to write a complete set of new lyrics.
"We wrote the whole thing in an hour and then we went back and used my little demo-recording microphone and did that in 15 minutes," Liza recalled.
And though the melody is still the same, the lyrics strike an entirely new chord.
"I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that" opens the song, as the lyrics recall the original's format of a woman leaving a party. Except in Liza and Lemanski's version, she does so without protest, the man helps her get home safely and the fictional couple makes a date the next day at The Cheesecake Factory.
"I ought to say no, no, no," sings Liza.
"You reserve the right to say no," croons Lemanski.
And as for that dubious "What's in this drink?" line. It's still there. Except, in the new version, the question is actually answered -- by Lemanski, who responds with the oh-so-now ""Pomegranate La Croix" (obviously).
"I thought we were just doing like a really good, cool, funny thing and it just felt right," Liza said.
"And emphasizing consent is one of the causes that I've always really been behind because I don't think I can think of one friend of mine who's a woman who hasn't been in dangerous situations with men. I've always cared about this so much," she added.
After the duo uploaded the song to SoundCloud, the couple found that what started out as a shared gripe between a boyfriend and girlfriend also resonated with the public at large.
"We've heard a lot of people say, 'Wow, we never actually paid attention to the lyrics before -- this is awful!'" said Liza.
The couple also said they hoped the song would raise awareness of the need for consent, given the problem of sexual assault on college campuses.
"It's not just a rare thing -- it happens all the time, everywhere. Every day. And I'm afraid for my sister. And I'm afraid for my friends. And I hope that this song gets people thinking about it," Lemanski said.
Liza added that she hoped that the song would inspire others to take action to help prevent violence against women.
"I hope it will be on people's minds and that people will donate to charity or do some volunteer work at shelters or sexual assault centers. Like, if you think about this and you think it's a problem, definitely step out of your comfort zone and do something and help someone," she said.
And having successfully designated their re-imagined "Baby It's Cold Outside" as an unofficial anthem for the importance of consent, the couple joked that there were some other candidates for the Liza and Lemanski treatment.
"A lot of people have suggested a bunch of songs, like Ella Fitzgerald's 'She Didn't Say Yes, She Didn't Say No' and Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines,'" said Liza.
"We'll just do a whole album," she laughed.
Lydia and Josiah perform 'Baby It's Cold Outside' - with updated lyrics:
Baby It's Cold Outside - New Lyrics
I really can't stay/Baby I'm fine with that
I've got to go away/Baby I'm cool with that
This evening has been/Been hoping you get home safe
So very nice/I'm glad you had a real good time
My mother will start to worry/Call her so she knows that you're coming
Father will be pacing the floor/Better get your car a-humming
So really I'd better scurry/Take your time
Should I use the front or back door?/Which one are you pulling towards more?
The neighbors might think/That you're a real nice girl
Say, what is this drink?/Pomegranate La Croix
I wish I knew how/Maybe I'll help you out
To break this spell/I don't know what you're talking about
I ought to say no, no, no/you reserve the right to say no
At least I'm gonna say that I tried/you reserve the right to say no
I really can't stay/...Well you don't have to
Ah, but it's cold outside...
I've got to get home/Do you know how to get there from here?
Say, where is my coat/I'll go and grab it my dear.
You've really been grand/We'll have to do this again
Yes, I agree/How 'bout the Cheesecake Factory?
We're bound to be talking tomorrow/Text me at your earliest convenience
At least I have been getting that vibe/Unless I catch pneumonia and die
I'll be on my way/Thanks for the great night!
Bye/Bye--Drive Safe Please. Don't watch that episode of 'Breaking Bad' without me/I won't, I'll save that for you!
Lydia and Josiah discuss their rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside" further:
Baby born from transplanted uterus, from deceased donor
Brazilian doctors are reporting the world’s first baby born to a woman with a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor.
Eleven previous births have used a transplanted uterus, but from a living donor, usually a relative or friend.
Experts said using a uterus from women who have died could make more transplants possible.
Ten previous attempts using deceased donors in the Czech Republic, Turkey, and the United States have failed.
This baby girl was delivered last December by a woman born without a uterus because of a rare syndrome. The woman — a 32-year-old psychologist — was initially apprehensive about the transplant, said Dr. Dani Ejzenberg, the transplant team’s lead doctor at the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine. "This was the most important thing in her life," he said. "Now she comes in to show us the baby and she is so happy!"
The woman became pregnant through in vitro fertilization seven months after the transplant. The donor was a 45-year-old woman who had three children and died of a stroke.
The recipient, who was not identified, gave birth by cesarean section. Doctors also removed the uterus, partly so the woman would no longer need to take anti-rejection medications. Nearly a year later, mother and baby are both healthy.
Two more transplants are planned as part of the Brazilian study. Details of the first case were published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.
Uterus transplantation was pioneered by Swedish doctor, Mats Brannstrom, who has delivered eight children from women who each received a donor uterus from family members or friends. Two babies have been born at Baylor University Medical Center in Texas, and one in Serbia, also from transplants from living donors.
In 2016, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic transplanted a uterus from a deceased donor, but it failed after an infection developed.
"The Brazilian group has proven that using deceased donors is a viable option," said the clinic’s Dr. Tommaso Falcone, who was involved in the Ohio case. "It may give us a bigger supply of organs than we thought were possible."
The Cleveland program is continuing to use deceased donors. Falcone said the fact that the transplant was successful after the uterus was preserved in ice for nearly eight hours demonstrated how resilient the uterus is. Doctors try to keep the time an organ is without blood flow to a minimum.
Other experts said the knowledge gained from such procedures might also solve some lingering mysteries about pregnancies. "There are still lots of things we don’t understand about pregnancies, like how embryos implant," said Dr. Cesar Diaz, who co-authored an accompanying commentary in the journal. "These transplants will help us understand implantation and every stage of pregnancy."
If there is one thing you can do RIGHT NOW to ensure your best birth experience, it is this: choose a care provider who is an EXPERT in the type of birth you are planning.
If you are planning a safe, skilled cesarean birth, you should hire someone who is an expert at cesarean sections. You wouldn’t hire a doctor to perform that procedure who said, "Well, actually, I’m not really comfortable with that type of birth, but I’ll let you do it if you want, I suppose..."
If you’re planning a safe, natural, unmedicated birth, you should hire someone who is an EXPERT at supporting natural birth. A doctor with a 30% c-section rate is not a natural birth expert. Neither is a doctor who does routine episiotomies, or doesn’t understand how to catch a baby unless mom is [lying] on her back. A doctor who says, "Well, most of my patients do end up getting an epidural, but if you want to go natural you can do that, I suppose..." is NOT an expert in unmedicated birth.
When you find the right care provider, they will understand your birth plan before you even show it to them -- because it is what they already do every day!
The impact of severe trauma is possible to last a lifetime, and it can come and go.
The symptoms vary in each person. Sometimes trauma symptoms are not as apparent -- they can present though a down mood, or even physical symptoms. A person can often find themselves in a bad mood, or feeling physically sick, without a conscious understanding that there was a trigger or associated experience (time of year, smell, or anything that is associated with the trauma).
People can end up blaming themselves for the way they feel or call themselves 'selfish' and many other negative things, when in reality they are only experiencing the results of trauma. This can become a form of self abuse, or even a means to control the abuse that is coming. Again, the coping with past trauma is not always a conscious process.
What helps? What can a person who has been through trauma do? What can their loved ones do?
When a person who has been through trauma can talk about how they feel it helps. When the person is in a safe environment that doesn't tell them to 'get over it' directly or indirectly with statements like 'Why are you in such a bad mood?' it helps. When your loved ones understand this it helps.
Friends and family can even help an individual see what is happening before this person makes the connection that it is that time of year, or the physical symptoms, are trauma related. Loved ones can be attentive and aware.
Telling someone who has survived trauma (even when that trauma was in infancy) that it is okay to speak and share as they feel like doing; that it is safe to talk any time, or share the negative emotion they are feeling, tends to allow the processing of trauma to go more quickly.
It is when someone holds things in, or tries to fight through the memories, associations, or emotions, that the impact of trauma is prolonged and continues to present itself time and time again through various means: anxiety, mood fluctuations, physical symptoms.
We are sending our love and support to trauma survivors. Reach out when you need to.
Pre-kids I believed I would never allow my children to watch screens until they were at least 5 years old or more... and then for a very limited amount of time. My own mother limited our screens to no more than 30 minutes/day as children, and while I hated it at the time, I grew to appreciate that this forced us into other activities. So my intentions were good. They were rooted in what I wanted for my kids -- the best!
Then life happened.
And mothering happened.
And my husband was deployed for many months at a time, and to see him (or any family) I often had to travel cross-country with children and a baby by myself. To do so (long car rides or on flights) I had to keep the kids HAPPY. And to do so, screens -- Baby Einstein, Baby Signing Time, Wonder Pets, Thomas the Train, Paw Patrol, Blues Clues, and everything in between -- came into our lives. I learned that having a happy, calm toddler is more important than rigidly attending to my no-screens desire. The 'lesser evil' is Baby Einstein if the alternative is a crying, stressed, unhappy, cortisol-spiked traveling tyke (and mom)! I wish that someone had put this little compilation together for me years ago (though technology is far different now from when I had to balance a portable DVD player and hope I could keep discs from scratching while traveling...)
For those who need an affordable option for videos on long trips, this combo is perfect for little kids. It is a combo not easily broken, lasts forever, and you can stock the micro SD card with kid-friendly, brain-stirring shows (for babies under 30 months I do most recommend the various Baby Einstein and Baby Signing Time videos):
Foam Kids Case: https://amzn.to/2PXEEGu $19 -- our kids have dropped, thrown, spilled on, etc. this and it keeps things secure -- they are better than the Amazon Fire kids' edition because they have a holder that doubles as a stand, and the foam casing is thicker.
Screen protector: https://amzn.to/2r3sFrW (3 for $6) -- these are so great that it has even held together a broken Amazon Fire screen for over a year for us without allowing it to crack or break further! It was broken before we found the foam cases above...
My wife is a best friend kind of woman. She has hour upon hours of long conversations with her friends ALL the time, and occasionally I get to hear little pieces.
Recently she was talking to a friend and they were talking about this thing called "cosleeping" and I heard the other person ask, "Doesn't your husband hate that?
My husband would never let me do that..."
This blew my mind, and has bothered me for days. So I just decided to come out as a man and set a few things straight.
I do NOT hate any part of what makes my wife the mother that she is.
I would NEVER degrade or disregard anything that she feels like doing for my children.
Do I have to squeeze into a small corner of the bed sometimes? Yeah? But, my God, how beautiful does she look holding my children? Making them feel loved and safe?
The thing is that our wives only experience these little seasons in motherhood for a short time.
They carry our babies, they birth them, they nurture them, and maybe while they are little they let them crawl into our beds and snuggle; but eventually our babies get bigger, they grow up, they get "too cool" for snuggles, so why would we as men want to steal a single second of this time from them?
Being mothers is part of their identity and what's a year or three out of decades of life spent together?
I just want to say that I am proud of the decisions my wife makes as a mom and I support every single one of them.
I would never want to rob her of this time she has or these seasons that are, in reality, too short to not enjoy.
Yet another study has demonstrated that birth with an experienced midwife reduces the likelihood of problems during pregnancy and birth. With this study the focus is on women of lower socioeconomic status (more often positively correlated with pregnancy and birth complications). Researchers looked for three problems in particular: small size of baby (SGA = small for gestational age), having a pre-term birth (PTB) and having a baby with a low birth weight (LBW).
Researchers compared the outcomes of 4705 women cared for by midwives in British Columbia, Canada, with 45,114 cared for by general practitioners (GPs), and 8053 cared for by obstetricians.
Women who received midwifery care had the best outcomes of all groups. With a midwife attending to pregnancy and birth, women were less likely to have a small or low birth weight baby, and they were less likely to have a baby born preterm.
Reduced prevalence of small-for-gestational-age and preterm birth for women of low socioeconomic position: a population-based cohort study comparing antenatal midwifery and physician models of care.BMJ Open. 2018 Oct 3;8(10):e022220.
Our aim was to investigate if antenatal midwifery care was associated with lower odds of small-for-gestational-age (SGA) birth, preterm birth (PTB) or low birth weight (LBW) compared with general practitioner (GP) or obstetrician (OB) models of care for women of low socioeconomic position.
This population-level, retrospective cohort study used province-wide maternity, medical billing and demographic data from British Columbia, Canada.
Our study included 57 872 pregnant women, with low socioeconomic position, who: were residents of British Columbia, Canada, carried a singleton fetus, had low to moderate medical/obstetric risk, delivered between 2005 and 2012 and received medical insurance premium assistance.
PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES:
We report rates, adjusted ORs (aOR), and 95% CIs for the primary outcome, SGA birth (<the 10th percentile), and secondary outcomes, PTB (<37 weeks' completed gestation) and LBW (<2500 g).
Our sample included 4705 midwifery patients, 45 114 GP patients and 8053 OB patients. Odds of SGA birth were reduced for patients receiving antenatal midwifery versus GP (aOR 0.71, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.82) or OB care (aOR 0.59, 95% CI 0.50 to 0.69). Odds of PTB were lower for antenatal midwifery versus GP (aOR 0.74, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.86) or OB patients (aOR 0.53, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.62). Odds of LBW were reduced for midwifery versus GP (aOR 0.66, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.82) or OB patients (aOR 0.43, 95% CI 0.34 to 0.54).
Antenatal midwifery care in British Columbia, Canada, was associated with lower odds of SGA birth, PTB and LBW, for women of low socioeconomic position, compared with physician models of care. Results support the development of policy to ensure antenatal midwifery care is available and accessible for women of low socioeconomic position. Future research is needed to determine the underlying mechanisms linking midwifery care to better birth outcomes for women of low socioeconomic position.
Could you wake up for a minute? I know it's hard for you to open your eyes - we haven't slept a lot yet tonight. But Mama, I kinda need you right now. You see, the thing is, I feel a bit lonely at the moment. I'm laying here and I'm somewhat cold.
I didn't mean to cry so I'm sorry I did. I've been trying to get your attention by making some noises for a while now but you were in such a deep sleep, you couldn't hear me. I don't know how else to get your attention. During the day, I see and hear you all make noises and I see you respond well to each other. You talk to me like that too. And I try very hard but I don't know how to do that yet. So I cry so you'd listen to me.
Mama, I'm sorry for crying. Like I said, I feel a bit lonely. I just spent nine months inside your belly where I've always felt safe. It's a bit scary to me to be in such a big bed all by myself. I miss your heartbeat, the rushing of your blood, the warmth and the food. I miss your breathing and your hands you put over me to protect me when I still was inside your belly.
So Mama, would you please listen to me? I'm calling for you in the only way I'm able to. I feel really alone. I need your warmth and your peace for a moment. I need to know for sure you're still here. So can I lay with you for a little while to feel your warmth?
Some cuddles first. Mama, this feels so nice. When I feel you holding me while you gently rock me and when I can smell and feel you, I feel so safe. I can feel your hand on my back and my ear is placed just right on your heart. Mom, this is home to me. Do you remember back when we were always together? I always felt like this back then. Sometimes I miss that time. It was so nice to be close to you.
I hear you softly whisper into my ear, "Everything is okay little one, everything is fine." Your voice is so soft and familiar. You smell good mom. A bit like me and a bit like you.
Mama, will you hold me just a little longer? I'm really tired and I feel so relaxed in your arms. It almost feels like before. I'm going to close my eyes for a little while, okay? Can I please stay with you here a little longer to enjoy your love and your presence?
And can I drink some more? Mama, since we're laying like this anyway... I'd like to ask you something. I know, it sounds pretty sad because I can't talk like you can yet so I'm sorry for crying again. But mama, can I please drink some more? My throat is dry and my tummy is empty and since we're here anyway... maybe I can have a few more sips? Your milk tastes delicious and is so warm and familiar.
Thanks Mom, that's exactly what I needed. I was really really thirsty. Your finger on my cheek feels great by the way. And you're smiling at me. Nothing makes me happier than seeing your smile and feeling your presence. I'll close my eyes again, okay? Please don't put me away straight away, I really enjoy falling asleep here. This feels really good. Can I stay with you?
My tummy hurts. What is that?! Mama! Can you feel this? Mom? My tummy hurts so bad. What is happening? Please help me mama, I don't know what's happening. I've never felt anything like this.
Thank you for rubbing my belly mom. It's late and everyone is asleep. I'm so happy you're here for me. I don't know what I'd do without you mama. My tummy already hurts less and when you hold me like that... I feel pretty tired. Maybe I'll close my eyes again. Please hold me a little longer?
Can I have more cuddles? You won't believe this mama! I'm a bit scared. I just woke up and I didn't know where I was for a second. It was all dark and a little cold again. I know you're tired mama. But I really missed you, can I please be with you again for a while?
Mama, I can see that you're tired. There are tears in your eyes, and every now and then a tear rolls down your cheek. I'm sorry Mama, but I feel really strange in this new world. I miss home. I miss always being close to you.
Sometimes I feel a tear fall on my head while you gently rock me. You're singing me a song so that I can go back to sleep. You softly dry the tears that fell on my head with your hand. That feels nice Mom, do that again?
I fall asleep on your chest. You feel so soft, so familiar. There's nowhere I sleep better than here. My legs are pulled up, just like they were back when I still lived with you. I can hear your heartbeat again and I move along with your breathing.
Mama, you're the best place to be. I'm so glad I get to come to you over and over again. I don't like being unable to just ask either but I'm really happy you listen to me when I call for you.
Soon, I'll be able to be there for you. Or for my brothers or sisters. Or for my friends in school. You're teaching me how to take care of someone. You're teaching me that you listen, even when I can't ask. You're teaching me I'm safe, even when sometimes it feels like I'm not. You're teaching me that you love me, even when you're very tired. Thank you.
As highlighted in the 2010 article, 7 Breastfeeding Fact You Should Know, parents are reminded that stirring, mouth opening, turning a head (to seek a nipple) and rooting are signs that your baby is hungry. Stretching, becoming agitated, and sucking on her fist, fingers or thumb is your baby's way of telling you that she is really hungry. By the time fussing and crying start, your baby is experiencing hunger that is physically painful. It is the type of hunger you experience after your belly has been empty for 14-16 hours. Your baby's belly is very small - this is the reason she gets full so quickly, and then hungry again so soon. Her tiny stomach cannot handle more than this, and does not have any place to 'store' some for later. She is entirely dependent upon you to provide that fill-up according to her cues that she is hungry.
Too often new parents believe they should schedule feedings or wait until their baby cries to nurse. But crying is a late indicator of extreme hunger. Always eating when you are so famished, when your belly hurts and stress hormones from being anxious to eat are at an ultimate high, leads to things like reflux, gas, stomach aches, 'colic,' and general agitation and general withdrawal from the world around - especially if you are brand new and helpless in this world.
Don't wait until your baby is in pain to nurse. Instead, feed at the first cue of hunger, and everyone will be much healthier and happier all around.
For this reason, babies need to eat small amounts very often throughout the day and night time hours. Watch your little one and his/her cues. Nursing on cue, around the clock, leads to a baseline level of health, development, and happiness for babies, and their parents.
2. You always have time. Stop what you’re doing and play, even if it’s just for a minute. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait.
3. Take as many photos and record as many videos as humanly possible. One day that might be all you have.
4. Don’t spend money, spend time. You think what you spend matters? It doesn’t. What you do matters. Jump in puddles, go for walks. Swim in the sea, build a camp, and have fun. That’s all they want. I can’t remember what we bought Hughie, I can only remember what we did.
5. Sing. Sing songs together. My happiest memories are of Hughie sitting on my shoulders or sitting next to me in the car singing our favorite songs. Memories are created in music.
6. Cherish the simplest of things. Night times, bedtimes, reading stories. Dinners together. Lazy Sundays. Cherish the simplest of times. They are what I miss the most. Don’t let those special times pass you by unnoticed.
7. Always kiss those you love goodbye, and if you forget, go back and kiss them. You never know if it’s the last time you’ll get the chance.
8. Make boring things fun. Shopping trips, car journeys, walking to the shops. Be silly, tell jokes, laugh, smile, and enjoy yourselves. They’re only chores if you treat them like that. Life is too short not to have fun.
9. Keep a journal. Write down everything your little ones do that lights up your world. The funny things they say, the cute things they do. We only started doing this after we lost Hughie. We wanted to remember everything. Now we do it for Hettie, and we will for Hennie too. You’ll have these memories written down forever, and when you're older you can look back and cherish every moment.
10. If you have your children with you: To kiss goodnight. To have breakfast with. To walk to school. To take to university. To watch get married. You are blessed. Never ever forget that. ❤
End Note: Richard Pringle, of Hastings U.K., went through the most unimaginable pain a parent can know when his son, Hughie, passed away following a brain hemorrhage at age 3. One year after Hughie's death, Richard shared his list of the most important things he learned. It’s a list that everyone should read and take to heart. It is a reminder not to take our loved ones for granted.
I want to thank you for all you do in educating people about the cruel and unnecessary act of male genital mutilation. You work to open so many minds on this archaic process built on lies.
I recently lost my second son to SIDS at 24 days old. He was a beautiful healthy baby boy who tragically passed away in his sleep. The medical examiner found absolutely nothing wrong with him. He had an extensive autopsy, and all reports showed nothing wrong.
The hospital I birthed him at kept asking me over and over again if I was going to have him circumcised. Everytime my answer was a clear NO! A day later as I nursed my sweet, perfect baby boy, a nurse came into my room and said, "I am here to take him for his procedure."
I asked, "What procedure?"
She answered, "His circumcision."
I said, "He is NOT being circumcised."
She replied, "Well, he is on the board out in the nurse's station to be circumcised."
I said, "Absolutely not! I don't know who put him on that board but I have clearly stated over and over he is not to be circumcised."
She turned red in the face and apologized. She said someone must have made a mistake.
My point is that a parent has to be diligent in making sure that even though they say NO to genital cutting, that is not done 'by mistake.'
After losing my baby boy I realized that I had to speak up and say something. I am having a difficult time as it is, and if he had suffered that unimaginable pain in his short life I would never be able to live with myself. I just want to warn other mothers and fathers. Some parents send their babies to the nursery to get some rest, and if they take them to circumcise, then the parents would not know until it is too late.
One thing I take solace in is knowing my son never had to experience any suffering, including circumcision. If I had not questioned that nurse he would have been wheeled away to face mutilation that no baby boy deserves.
The Tree of Life congregation is located in Mr. Fred Rogers’ neighborhood. Mr. Rogers once told the world, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the HELPERS. You will always find people who are helping.'"
Artist of the piece above, Sasha Phillips, adds, "This is one of those times that looking is not enough - you have to BE one of those HELPERS, in every way you can - by stopping hateful speech in its tracks, by voting, by being heard, by reaching out to support those who are being persecuted. You have to do this with light and love in your heart. Because 'the only thing evil can’t stand is forgiveness.' Wish we paid more attention to Mr. Rogers."
When we think 'babywearing' the picture that often comes to mind is the snuggly, squishy goodness of a band new baby cuddled gently near the heart of a parent. Babywearing makes a world of difference in the lives of new parents, and has monumental benefits for infants beginning at birth (everything from increasing calm alertness, improving sleep and digestion, enhancing neurological and physical development, to regulating body temperature, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and more). Humans belong to the classification of 'carry mammals.' Part of being a carry mammal means that babies are born with several reflexes (the grasp reflex, spread-squat reflex, and the Moro reflex) to hold tight to a parent and be carried in baby's natural habitat - the adult chest. This close, physical contact for much of the day supports a baby's brain development that occurs most rapidly in the first 36 months of life, and keeps undeveloped systems (breathing, heart rate, temperature, etc.) regulated close to a parent's chest. Babies truly are born to be worn. Babywearing in these initial years is ubiquitous across the globe. But one babywearing topic we don't discuss as frequently includes the benefits and joys of wearing beyond the early baby days.
Over a decade ago, my first son was rapidly outgrowing carriers available, at the same time that Kinderpacks were just starting to take shape one state over. He was an extremely sensitive child who loved to explore the world around us, but always needed to be close to a parent to feel secure. We enjoyed having him up at eye level where we could easily talk quietly with him, and where he was engaged with conversations around us as an active participant, rather than a passive babe stuck in a stroller at our knees. He was able to see, hear, touch, experience all that we were, and safely. Wearing him met his needs perfectly. However, as he soared "off the charts" in height and weight for his age, babywearing became increasingly impossible. The Preschool Kinderpack had yet to be born, and we regretfully had to give up babywearing entirely too early, with no affordable option for a child his size.
Several years later I befriended a family planning to adopt a special needs child. They were avid hikers, and through their treks back and forth to be with this child, I saw their love for her grow, and knew they would need a way to fully include her in their outdoor adventures. I went on a search to see if things had changed in the babywearing world, and fell immediately in love with the Toddler and Preschool Kinderpacks. Because Kinderpacks were difficult to "score" at the time, I set out to raise funds to purchase one second hand from another individual, and it ended up being worth every penny. This sweet child, somewhat timid and fearful, came to live in her new home and find peace in the closeness and bonding that occurs being cozy in a pack next a protective, loving adult. Her mom told me that she would ask for "up" each morning while they did farm chores, and she was able to venture out to see her new world, safe and secure on her dad's back. If ONE simple Kinderpack could have this much positive impact on the life of a child, how much more good could I do sharing them further? It was a question that begged an active, involved response.
Since that time I've had another baby who rapidly grew "off the charts" like his brother, and we have been blessed to try out Kinderpacks here and there that we fundraise to purchase before passing them onto new families in need. We've used them for everything from long day trips to the zoo, hikes in the mountains and along the beach, singing together with this sweet little voice in my ear, taking an older sibling to the dentist, scurrying through airport terminals when I must travel alone with two kids, and having him ride along for work projects when there's otherwise no good spot for a preschooler year old to hang out. As a homeschooling, active duty military family of 17 years, I'm frequently in a situation of balancing solo-parenting with striving to maintain "normal" life at home. Childwearing calms tired little ones, allows for bigger adventures and longer days with older kids, keeps everyone safe, decreases anxieties when Dad is deployed once again, increases the reconnection when he is home, and makes the errands, appointments, and work requirements of life in general more kid-friendly on a day to day basis. I cannot count the ways that our lives are better now because of easy access to preschool carriers.
At this age, little ones are just beginning to move away from their babyhood years (the first ~36 months) into early childhood. Babywearing during this time offers mental, emotional, and physical support for a child to progress through this transition in his/her own perfect timing. Developmental research has shown time and again that when stress is decreased for a child, when a little one feels safe, secure, and close to a loving adult, they are able to observe more, learn more readily, and develop optimally, growing in their individual self-confidence and self-sureness in the world around them at their own perfect pace.
A research nerd myself, I am enamored with data on secure attachment, neurological development, and how babywearing throughout baby, toddler, and the preschool years fits in with this. However, I've found it equally compelling to listen to families who have walked these paths before, and share their qualitative experiences. I've had the honor of meeting with with countless families from all demographics through the non-profit educational work of Peaceful Parenting, and know for certain that preschool babywearing makes a BIG difference in the lives of so many, regardless of their family background. Below are some of the experiences parents have shared with me that are worth considering for the happiness and health of our children.
For Sibling Relationships
"Babywearing has been such a blessing in my life. My older son has anxiety, and when he was preschool aged, he had a difficult time in stores or other crowded places. Babywearing truly saved us all a lot of stress during those times. He was able to be close to me or his father while also participating calmly in our family shopping trips. I'm positive that babywearing helped him develop into the confident little boy he is today. All the times I have tandem wore my kiddos has also had a big impact on them as siblings. It really seems to help with bonding, and avoid jealousy between them." -Michelle
Eszter and her little one
"My husband and I are so grateful to have been able to wear our son for all of his 3.5 years. If he's being worn, he's safe, he's close, and he can see what we see and participate! We recently adopted a large 'puppy' who needs and adores walks. Babywearing makes these walks (especially while parenting solo) a breeze! Not to mention the many times scooting through the airport - everywhere I've been, you don't need to remove your child through security, you can go as fast as you need, and your hands are free (once again, especially during solo parenting). Babywearing is just so much more convenient than a stroller!" -Krista
Krista's little one
For Close Connection
"Babywearing an older child has helped to not only strengthen the bond that I have with my little one, but has also strengthened his trust that I will always be there for him when he is independently exploring the world. It is amazing to see how this experience has helped to develop my child's adventurous spirit -- always ready to take on what wonders the world has to offer, but knowing there is a safe spot back on my back when it's needed." -Anu
"Wearing beyond babyhood has helped me because even preschoolers get tired and need a boost sometimes. But I think more importantly, young children still have a need to be close to parents to help them feel secure and help them deal with sometimes overwhelming emotions." -Megan
"I wore all 3 of my big kids into childhood. I think it only increased our bond and their security. Even now, if my youngest is sad, he'll get our carrier and either just snuggle it or put it on himself. It makes him feel connection, even if I'm not wearing him in it, it seems to represent security to him." -Jami
For Military Families
"I was at sea the majority of our son's early years, and preschool babywearing has allowed for this father-son bond now when we go to the aquarium, the zoo, on hikes, or even visit base, that I cannot see happening otherwise." -Adam
Post-Surgical Healing Time
"Preschool babywearing was very helpful for my second son after surgery when he was 5. We also utilize the carrier often because our current 5 year old has anxiety outside and in groups." -Natalie
John and his little one
To Explore More!
"I love being able to go explore and experience things but have a comfortable and easy way for my daughter to be carried when her legs are tired. It also keeps her safe in the fact that she has severe food allergies that she is very contact reactive to. So when we are in a tricky scenario it's nice to have a safe option for her." -Kindra
"Wearing our 3.5 year old let's us go on bigger adventures!" -Janna
Janna and her little one
For Parents and Children with Unique Needs
"Childwearing has massively helped us. I'm deaf, and I can see my child talking to me from my carrier with mirrors. It helps to calm us both down if there has been any kind of stressful or sad situation and it keeps our connections going!" -Rosie (who writes more on this topic at Carrying Matters UK)
"My 5 year old cannot walk due to CP. We love backpacking! With preschool babywearing, we can make quick trips without hauling out her wheelchair, and we can still enjoy family hikes and outdoor adventures. We also bring the pack along for long walks when our 3 year old gets tired." -Lillie
Rosie and her little one
For Father/Child Bonding
"I'm a dad. I love my boys. I carried my now 14 year old. He carries my now 2 year old. My 2 year old mimics and carries a doll. I would say that it has bonded all of us and helped my boys be empathic and nurturing to their siblings. I feel like we must be doing something right with how much they care for each other." -Ryan
For Sensitive Children
"My son is sensitive and often uncomfortable in new or social situations. Our Kinderpack is his home away from home. When he is in the carrier we are one and he is at ease. With preschool wearing we are able to experience the world together." -Christina
"My huge 3 year old has PANS and 'uppies' help so much with sensory issues and just getting out on tough days." -Sydney
"Our child is high needs, especially in public, and babywearing helps to prevent meltdowns since he is still learning executive skills and emotional stability." -Faith
To Decrease Over-Stimulation
"Our son was so anxious around people that being worn gave him the safety he needed to be social on his terms. It also kept him safe and close once he became sure of himself..." -Brandi
"I have a five year old who is almost turning six. He only weighs 36 pounds and I wear him in a preschool carrier. It has helped in times where we are in crowds and he’s overstimulated, or places where I’d like to walk further and longer than he can. Mostly it’s a space for him to retreat to when tired or overwhelmed. Nothing like those hugs from my back while I walk around!" -Sarah
To Get Errands Done (Safely/Quickly)
"I can do my shopping while my 3 year old naps. I've also done construction, farm animal care, hiking, and fixed my car without having to keep an eye on him thanks to babywearing." -Moira
"I love wearing my preschooler! My kid-wearing has become less and less frequent over the last two years, but when I do wear her it feels so cuddly and special. I still love it so much even though she is getting bigger. I'm so thankful for my Preschool Kinderpack that allows us to continue wearing whenever she wants a ride or needs to be close to me." -Jennifer
"My 3.5 yr old likes being worn when he first wakes up. It’s also saved us many times in stores!" -Bekah
Involving Littles in Conversation
"I wore my oldest until age 4 (had to stop due to a car accident/neck injury). I think it made us super close. She was always content, and her language skills developed super early, I believe from always being at face level and in the conversation with me and other adults." -Jada
For the Solo Parenting Mom or Dad
"As a single mom - you do what you gotta do!" -Kelly, while simultaneously preschool babywearing and carrying her youngest
For a Better View of the World Around Us
"Sometimes people give me a funny look for preschool wearing, but I see those same people carrying their preschoolers around in their arms, on their backs and on their shoulders. I’d rather save my arms. Also love that babywearing lifts him up higher, so he’s not stuck in a crowd at hip level. People are made to see and respond to faces. That’s not exactly where a preschooler’s line of sight is in a crowd, and it’s overwhelming for them. I was in Disney last week with him and got down at his level in a crowd and really noticed it—it’s a sea of back pockets and zippers, not people. A good carrier lifts them and lets them see and recognize faces and be part of the crowd, or hide their face against their grown up to reduce stimulus. I know our last days of wearing is coming soon. It’s very infrequent now, and he’s almost six—though still very small for his age. Leaving child wearing behind will be bittersweet." -Sarah
"Our almost 3 year old could never see the exhibits at the zoo from her stroller because of all the adults, so I put her on my back. We also wore her to a local Celtic Fest because of the crowd size." -Kim
To Keep Kids Safe
"My son loves to be independent and is a runner. Babywearing is a way for me to keep track of him and snuggle him at the same time. He often fights sleep in a stroller, but easily falls asleep on me. It’s great for helping him calm down when he’s frustrated or emotional. It helps when he’s tired of walking but still wants to see everything." -Nelisha
Preschool babywearing keeps little hands safe! "So they aren't touching/picking up everything they see. When my littles can see it all from a high view, and they're attached to me, they can't touch unless I move over to help them. It helps to deter tantrums from me having to remove them [from an unsafe situation] or hold them back." -Rosie
"Little legs get tired, but their sense of adventure doesn't! We love to take our daughters hiking or to explore places off the beaten map or places where strollers just are a hassle. They wanna see it all, but their legs get tuckered. Also it is easier for us to keep them safe near cliffs, ledges, or events with large crowds, and they don't feel restrained, but engaged and included." -Molly
"Preschool babywearing because this way I don’t lose my 4 year old in a public place!" -Blair
During Loss and Sadness
"My kids lost their mom to cancer when our youngest was 4. I cannot imagine the added turmoil we would have faced without the Kinderpack you gave us. She had an incredibly tough time with everything, and this was the one thing I could keep the same for her, and to know I wouldn't leave her too, which was another fear. Thank you." -C.J.
For Easier Vacations with Kids
"Childwearing is especially helpful on vacations when walking a lot with tired little ones who want to be carried, or are overtired and need to sleep." -Brittany
"Preschool babywearing enables us to go on hikes all the time. It really allows us to go on actual hikes without it being a death march for her." -Arielle
Jennifer and her little one
For Multiple Options
"Today I wore my 4.5 year old, while his 1 year old sister and 5 year old brother were pushed in the double stroller during homeschool days at the zoo -- switching it up keeps everyone happy (he was also SUPER MUDDY and shoeless!!)" -Megan
Jennifer said that having a carrier for an older child was her 'best toddler purchase ever.' "She is 4.5 years old (still nursing) and rode in the carrier while we were in New York on a trip. I was 4 months pregnant at the same time." -Jennifer
Megan and her little one
For Health Concerns
"Our 3.5 year old had juvenile interval fevers, so carrying was a great way of still continuing with school runs, etc., when she was feeling ill." -Emma
"I love being able to go explore and experience things, but have a comfortable and easy way for her to be carried when her legs are tired. It also keeps her safe in the fact that she has severe food allergies that she is very contact reactive to. So when we are in a tricky scenario it's nice to have a safe option for her." -Kindra
"My wife had an injury when our first was little and being in a wheelchair allowed her to see things from a different vantage point. We both realized through that experience that we wanted our kids up at our eye level, to be really included in the conversations and to see the world up at a height with everyone else -- not sitting in a stroller staring at knees and street posts and rarely being fully engaged with talking adults. Childwearing changes the world experience for a little kid in big ways!" -John
"Our area was demolished with Hurricane Harvey but the flooding in our neighborhood, specifically, was not expected. What does this have to do with babywearing? My husband, myself, and my neighbor all left the area with rescue crews while we were wearing our preschoolers and toddler. It is something you never think about unless it happens to you, but being able to wear a child instead of trying to carry them in an emergency situation is monumentally beneficial. Since that time I think often about refugee families and I wish each one could have a carrier for their children when fleeing dangerous situations as well." -Heather
Katy and her little one
For Gentle Transition into Childhood
"Just today I was wearing my almost 4 year old because he wanted to snuggle me like his little brother does..." -Katy
"My 8-yr-old would still babywear if he could! At church when we're in song service, he'll ask me to carry him (it helps that he's a petite kid), press his cheek against mine, and we will sing together." -Melissa
No matter where your babywearing adventures take you, a sincere thank you for wearing your baby, your toddler, or your preschooler, and changing the world in positive ways - one little life at a time. ♥