Winter Solstice: A Time for Rest, Reflection, Rebirth

Artwork by Jessica Boehman, Illustrator 

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.

-Brigit Anna McNeill

Read more from McNeill: https://brigitannamcneill.com

Mabel, age 12, creates her fantastic rendition of Jessica Boehman's original.
Note the extra books - little lamb must be making a run to the library for more!
Follow more of Boehman's work on Facebook: FB.com/HansMyHedgehog


• Peaceful Parenting on Facebook: FB.com/PeacefulParenting
• Peaceful Parenting Community: FB.com/groups/ExplorePeacefulParenting



Baby It's Cold Outside Lyrics Rewritten


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:



*******


First Baby Born From Uterus Transplanted from Deceased Donor

By Maria Cheng for the Associated Press
Read more from Cheng


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."

Transplant team with baby

Related Reading:

The Lancet: Uterus transplantation from a deceased donor. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)32106-8/fulltext#articleInformation

Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181204183703.htm

CNN: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/04/health/uterus-transplant-deceased-donor-study/index.html

Hire an Expert for the Type of Birth YOU Want


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!

—Lauralyn Curtis

Read related content at Midwifery Today: The Heart and Science of Birth

Birthing Group: FB.com/groups/Birthing (holistic)
Pregnancy Moms Due [this year]: FB.com/groups/DueDateGroup (mainstream)
Peaceful Parenting Community: FB.com/groups/ExplorePeacefulParenting (gentle parenting group)

How to tell if a toy is for girls or boys...


When shopping this season, use this handy chart to determine if a toy is for girls or boys...

Hint: toys made for children are for all children, regardless of sex!


The Lasting Impact of Trauma and How We Can Help Survivors

By Ryan B.


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.

Be Patient.

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.

*******

Also by Ryan B.

A Father's Regret: http://www.SavingSons.org/2018/01/a-fathers-regret.html

When Should You Start to Prepare Flower Girl Dresses


Flower girl dresses are some of the cutest and beautiful dresses you have at any wedding, while the bride should be the center of attention it’s often the flower girl who steals everyone’s heart. Yet, it can be a difficult job preparing flower girl dresses for any young girls as they grow at a rapid pace compared to bridesmaids and older women. It’s not easy planning a wedding, and when you have to think about flower girl dresses, it’s even more confusing and complicated. That’s why we’ve put together this guide, we hope it helps you in preparing the dresses before your big day comes around and takes a little stress off of you when you’re thinking about everything else.

Choose a Style and Design

This is possibly the easiest part of preparing any flower girl dresses, simply take a look online or visit some stores with your little one to try on different styles and designs. Since they’re only young, you want to choose something suitable and comfortable for them to wear. Typically flower girls are below the ages of 6, so they’re going to get very uncomfortable if you make them wear a dress style that isn’t perfect for them. Although ordering online is more affordable, we would definitely recommend going to a store in person and trying on the different styles on accordingly. If you’re thinking about color too, ivory flower girl dresses are popular!

Consider Their Age

One thing many brides forget when they’re buying flower girl dresses is that young children grow – a lot! They can have growth spurts overnight depending on their age. This is why it’s essential to think about how old they are, after 2 years old, it is averaged that a child will grow by around 2 and a half inches per year up until adolescence but may have a major growth spurt between 8 to 13 in girls. In this growth spurt time, they can grow up to 5 inches every few months. This isn’t the same for every child, but it’s important to consider the idea that you may buy a dress 3 or more months in advance and when the time comes around to wear it for the wedding – it won’t fit.

Buy a Dress Too Big or Wait to Buy It

Thinking about the growth of the flower girl(s) you have two main options to think about. You can either buy a dress that is a little too big for them right now (but it can be altered according to their growth), or you can wait and buy it only 2 weeks in advance. We understand this may seem stressful as it will be so close to the wedding but in fact, it saves the confusion and having to keep trying on dresses all the time. We would recommend choosing a style you like beforehand but only buying it nearer to the wedding.

To efficiently prepare a flower girl dress, you’ve got to be armed with the right tools and know that not everything is going to go to plan – there may be incidents or mistakes that happen during your wedding planning, just don’t let the flower girl dresses ruin anything! You’re more than capable of planning a beautiful and successful wedding day – we believe in you.


Happy Travels: Best Kids' Tablet for Less Stress Travel with Children

By Danelle Day


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):

Amazon Fire: https://amzn.to/2TPABdk $49

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... 

Micro SD card of any type/size (depending on how much you want to hold): https://amzn.to/2ztmMJg (price varied)


Happy Travels!


Please, Respect Your Wives as Mothers


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.

Please respect your wives as mothers.

-David Brinkley

*******

Related Reading on CoSleeping and Healthy Baby Sleep:
http://www.DrMomma.org/2009/06/truth-about-co-sleeping-how-stats.html

CoSleeping Community: FB.com/groups/CoSleeping

This piece originally appeared publicly on Facebook.

Midwifery Care Leads to Better Birth Outcome


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.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: 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.

SETTING: This population-level, retrospective cohort study used province-wide maternity, medical billing and demographic data from British Columbia, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS: 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).

RESULTS: 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).

CONCLUSION: 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.

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Mama, You Are Home To Me




Dear Mama,

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.

And Mama, I love you.

{author unknown}




AMAZON




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The Last Time




The Last Time

From the moment you hold your baby in your arms,
You will never be the same.

You might long for the person you were before,
When you had freedom and time,
And nothing in particular to worry about.

You will know tiredness like you never knew it before,
And days will run into days that are exactly the same,
Full of feeding and burping,
Whining and fighting,
Naps, or lack of naps.

It might seem like a never-ending cycle.

But don't forget...

There is a last time for everything.

There will come a time when you will feed your baby for the very last time.

They will fall asleep on you after a long day
And it will be the last time you ever hold your sleeping child.

One day you will carry them on your hip, then set them down,
And never pick them up that way again.

You will scrub their hair in the bath one night 
And from that day on they will want to bathe alone.

They will hold your hand to cross the road,
Then never reach for it again.

They will creep into your room at midnight for cuddles,
And it will be the last night you ever wake for this.

One afternoon you will sing 'the wheels on the bus' and do all the actions,
Then you'll never sing that song again.

They will kiss you goodbye at the school gate,
The next day they will ask to walk to the gate alone.

You will read a final bedtime story, and wipe your last dirty face.

They will one day run to you with arms raised, for the very last time.

The thing is, you won't even know it's the last time until there are no more times,
And even then, it will take you a while to realize.

So while you are living in these times,
Remember there are only so many of them,
And when they are gone,
You will yearn for just one more day of them -
For one last time.

Author Unknown


Your Baby's Signs of Hunger




This poster, created by the Women's and Newborn Services of Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, highlights a human baby's hunger cues - her way of communicating to parents that she needs to eat.

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 related reading, see the Breastfeeding Resource Page.


A little tiny tummy wisdom from Baby Wisdom (UK):

Size of a baby's stomach.
Day One - the size of a cherry
Day Three - the size of a radish
Week Two - the size of a large egg
Month Two - the size of an apricot

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.


*******

The 10 Most Important Things I've Learned Since Losing My Son

By Richard Pringle
Originally on Facebook
Also at The Mirror and Newsner



1. You can never, ever kiss and love too much.

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.

*******

Mother Loses Baby to SIDS and Cautions Parents to Protect Their Own from Circumcision


The following is a letter to Saving Our Sons, the intact education branch of Peaceful Parenting:


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.

❤ Audrea


Awareness raising stickers and cards at Etsy

How to Choose the Best and Safest Infant Car Seat for Babies

From the time you got out of your hospital room with your newborn, you are required by law to have an infant car seat. Find out how to get the best one for you and your family.


Essential Things You Must Know Before Going On The Market For An Infant Safety Seat 

Finding the perfect infant car safety seat for your newborn is not an easy task, especially if you're a new parent. You can't help but get overwhelmed with so many choices available out there. There are also many factors you need to take into consideration including car seat laws.

Infant seats come in different types, from convertible car seats to lightweight and portable ones for smaller vehicles. Moreover, once your child is a toddler or older, you have another task of finding the right booster seat that also comes in several types including high-back and backless booster.

Car seats are not created equally. Knowing your requirements will help in choosing the right one for you and your baby. Reading reviews and articles online on top-rated infant safety seats such as Mother How TOP List can help you with your decisions as well.

What Is An Infant Safety Seat?

An Infant car seat is specially designed to cater to a child weighing up to 35 pounds. These seats are also always positioned facing the rear of your vehicles. It comes with several features that provide comfort for both you and your adorable newborn.

However, one of the main reasons why you need to get one is that car seat law across the country requires your infant to be in the rear-face mode until he or she have reached its height and weight limitations, which is typically by the age of two.

Today, there are convertible car seats you can buy with extended capacity for the rear-face mode and can grow with your child.

Difference Between Infant and Convertible Car Seats

Infant Safety Seat 

  • Its weight limit is up to 40 lbs. 
  • You can only use it on rear-face position. 
  • Majority of brands come with a handle making it easy to carry and transport. 
  • You will not disturb your baby's sleep when you're getting him in and out of your vehicles.


Convertible Car Seat 

  • Offers a weight range of up to 50 lbs. 
  • There are also some brands that offer a greater weight capacity. 
  • You can use it as rear-facing if your infant is smaller. 
  • You can use it as front-facing when your child is older and has reached the maximum limitations of the rear-face mode.


What You Need To Consider When On The Market For A Car Seat

Rest assured that all car safety seats you will find on the market today are obligated to satisfy the safety regulations and standards of the government. So keep in mind that a lower price tag does not necessarily mean that the seat is not as safe as those expensive ones. The difference lies in the extra features for more costly seats such as straightforward installation and additional safety measures not obligated by law.

Nevertheless, there are several things you need to take into consideration. Getting a car seat is just like purchasing a new vehicle wherein you have to see it as whole.


  • How it will fit your car. How it will fit your car. Make sure to select an infant car seat that correctly fits your car. You also need to consider how comfortable it will be to switch the seat from one car to another if you'll be using more than one vehicle. Choose a portable one if you have a smaller car.



  • Buying second hand. If you're on a tight budget, you may be considering getting a used seat. But it may have some damage to it not visible to the naked eye. Also, it may not be up to the current safety standards. If you can't afford a new one, make sure to buy from someone you truly trust. Furthermore, check its expiration date or if it has been recalled.



  • Cleaning. Babies can create a lot of mess. So when shopping for an infant seat, look for one with a removable and machine washable cover. Comfort. A crying infant on a long road trip is a headache waiting to happen. Choose a padded seat that offers enough head support to keep your baby comfortable no matter how long or short the drive is.



  • Check for recalls. Your baby's safety should always be your top priority. Always check if a brand or model is a part of a recall. You can check online or call the seat's manufacturer. The best way to know is by visiting the website of The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


The Best Baby Infant Car Seat

When it comes to reliability and safety, the best choice out there is the Peg Perego ® - Primo Viaggio 4/35. This infant car seat packed with superb features to keep your infant safe and secure during the ride. It combines aesthetics and functionality as what you can expect from Peg Perego.

This rear-facing seat passed the government safety regulations and crash tests with flying colors. It also provides further protection to your infant by adding an anti-rebound bar to its base reducing the impact of both rear or front collision. For side impact protection, it comes with head support and energy-absorbing foam. You can also recline it on different angles so your baby will be very safe and comfortable.

However, it does come with some drawbacks. You cannot wash the seat's Italian-made cushion in the washing machine. Also, the anti-rebound bar is not adjustable, so it may not be suitable on some vehicles. Overall, its extra safety features and durability makes up for some of its shortcomings.

Pros


  • Easy-to-install base with LATCH connectors. 
  • Designed with your baby's comfort and safety in mind. 
  • You can use it easily when traveling without the seat's base. 
  • Offers additional protection in the event of a crash. 
  • Comes with a two-year warranty.


Cons


  • Not many stroller brands are compatible with it. 
  • The cushion is not machine washable. 
  • You may find the handle a little bit uncomfortable when extending the canopy.


Related Facebook Group for Q&A: CarSeats



Why You Need To Give Your Kids A Tech-Free Holiday


Although it sometimes seems like a million years ago, I vividly remember what it was like to be a kid. As a child of the 80s, my youth wasn’t spent living up to the unrealistic expectations that social media places upon us or being glued to electronic devices. I have fond memories of countless hours spent outdoors, playing with my neighborhood friends until the streetlights illuminated at dusk, signifying to us that it was time to run along home.

I am eternally grateful to not to have had to spend my early years in a time that was consumed by technology and all things social media. I secretly wish I could offer my children this same luxury that was awarded to me as a means to keep them safe, and allow them an opportunity to grow up in a time when their self-worth didn’t rely on a “like” from a stranger or reaching that next level in a silly game. Sadly, many children today are codependent on electronics, and their parents overindulge them with tech gadgets in place of parenting.

Being a parent in this day and age is hard, but what’s harder is being a child in a time when social media and technology in general have so much control over a person’s day to day life. Our role as a parent is often to shield our child from dangers, but to teach them limits and to know when “enough is enough” for things that should be practiced in moderation.

Think you could put yourself on pause from all things tech for 2-3 weeks? Here’s why you should do it for your kids--and yourself--when possible.

Give Your Littles a Chance to Recharge Their Brain And Rest Those Tired Eyes

Staring at LED screens isn’t good for our eyes, and the same can be said for our little ones. With the explosion of handheld devices in the past decade, opthamologists are seeing a steady increase in vision impairments in young children. Breaks from screen time are vital, and a tech-free holiday can essentially be just what the doctor ordered for your children and their precious eyes. Also, encourage your child to use their endless imagination when it comes to playtime. Their budding brain will thank them--and you!

Real Quality Time Together as a Family

We all know that we’ve been guilty of being together but not actually being present. When we’re glued to electronics we aren’t giving others our undivided attention. Put those phones, tablets and game consoles aside and focus on what’s really important when you’re with the people that you love the most, each other! Another simple trick to implement even when you’re not on a designated tech holiday? Always keep those electronics tucked away during family meal time. Breaking bread with those you love should be a cherished time and a chance to catch up on the day and get to know those people you adore even more.

Keep Your Kids Safe From Those Hidden Dangers Lurking on the Internet

For any parent, our biggest fear is something terrible happening to our child. Life is truly unpredictable, but there are certain precautionary measures that we can implement to keep our kids safe. The very first step towards protecting your kids from online predators is to start a dialogue on the topic so that they can become aware. Teach your kids that they should never, ever for any reason give out personal information about themselves to a stranger on the internet. The internet is a scary place for a parent of an impressionable youth, and we must always keep that in mind. There are even websites openly selling Fake IDs - and Fake ID reviews websites too. Go a step beyond that initial chat by implementing parental controls and limiting their screen time, along with monitoring their online activity. When it comes to our kids, we can never be too safe.

Think you’re ready to the challenge and start your tech-free holiday? Make a pact to stick to it together and accept the challenge for yourselves. We promise you won’t regret it, and we assure that it is possible. Start with a weekend, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the real time spent together goes by.


10 peaceful travel tips for high-flying families


If your extended family is far-flung or you’re working abroad on a diplomatic posting, you might fly more frequently than most. And while technology strives to make travel smoother, fate sometimes conspires to make everyone a little antsy about airplanes. With that in mind, here are ten peaceful travel tips for high-flying families.

St. Christopher

St. Christopher’s the patron saint of travelers, so many of us like to seek his blessings by wearing a discreet charm inscribed with his likeness on a chain. Shop St. Christopher medals at joyjewelers.com to find something suitably subtle. 

Vehicle games

If you’re driving to catch your flight and your kids are climbing the roof with boredom, don’t despair — old school vehicle games like the license plate game, I Spy and 20 questions are more entertaining than you might remember.

Compression socks

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can be deadly, so guard against it by buying some compression socks from a specialist supplier like Vital Active. They may not help you win the style stakes, but they’ll keep you safe at 35,000 feet.

Airport parking

Traveling to the departure airport with kids can be less stressful in your own vehicle than public transport. But book airport parking with Looking4.com to keep your care safe while you vacation — they’ve got secure facilities in locations from Newark to Nashville and beyond.

Ear pop prevention

Young children can find the ear-popping sensation which often accompanies takeoff and landing very painful. And while sucking sweets can help, soaking a tissue in warm water and applying it to the ear works wonders — ask the cabin crew to help prepare this remedy.

Self-hypnosis

If you’re flight phobic but are entering a period of your life when you can’t avoid taking to the skies, self-hypnosis with the assistance of a program from hypnosisappstore.com might help. In time, you’ll teach yourself to feel completely calm and confident in as little as ten minutes.

Irish affirmation

As a nation with a large global diaspora and a deep history, Ireland has developed smart and sophisticated ways of wishing travelers well. Learn this travel blessing from IrishCentral.com by heart to turbo-charge your positivity ahead of a big trip.

Snacks

Healthy travel snacks are a surefire way to keep kids calm and cool during a flight — so pre-pack some granola bars, trail mix, PB&J sandwiches and fruit juice. Full bellies lead to travel bliss, so don’t leave home without nice nibbles.

Magnet games

If your kids prefer real-life tactical fun to electronic entertainment, travel magnet chess or tic-tac-toe can be carried on the plane with minimum fuss and provide hours of entertainment. But be warned — when children get bored of playing with each other, parents have to be prepared to step up to the plate and take part.

Audio books

An audio book is an excellent way to while away the hours on a long flight. There are thousands of titles to choose from, but Buddhism for Busy People by David Michie is especially relaxing and cathartic.

So ends our list. Add your own peaceful travel tips in the comments section.





Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood & The Tree of Life Congregation


💔 Let's love each other along life's journey.

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."



Related Reading 

• Healing power of art inspires Pittsburgh lawyer's Mister Rogers drawing: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/neighborhood/2018/10/30/Mister-Rogers-Pittsburgh-lawyer-art-synagogue-shootings-Tree-Life/stories/201810300132

• After Pittsburgh shooting in Mr. Rogers' real-life neighborhood, Squirrel Hill neighbors follow his lead: https://abcnews.go.com/US/pittsburgh-shooting-mr-rogers-real-life-neighborhood-squirrel/story?id=58849272

• Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS: https://pbskids.org/video/mister-rogers/1421146807

• Won't You Be My Neighbor (2018 Documentary) on Amazon

• Artwork by Sasha Phillips: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10218143154789258&set=a.10201884967024725


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