We changed minds last weekend. I actually saw the process happen.
Sometimes like this: a pregnant mother walks up, admits she hasn’t researched circumcision and has no opinion on it, is told there’s no medical indication for routine circumcision, and walks off with her eyes glued to a handful of information she just received.
And sometimes like this: a mother of circumcised boys walks up, her attention caught by “117+ boys die” written on a frame, says “I didn’t know any of this when my boys were born,” is told “I’m so sorry,” and assures us “Don’t be sorry! You are doing a good thing. Tell EVERYONE.”
It was clear our message was supported, even by many of those who were hearing it for the very first time.
We wanted people to know about babies. That all babies want to remain whole. That babies of both sexes are equally “too cute to cut.” We wanted people to know about foreskin. That foreskin is normal. That its absence is a big deal.
We had a message about parents, too. We want to help you. We support you. We have answers.
This weekend I attended The Global Big Latch On as a mother, a resource person, and an advocate.
So what’s the point of women and their nurslings congregating to breastfeed together at 10:30 a.m. for sixty seconds? (Most of the kids were latched long before and after, of course). First, GBLO wanted to set a new world record for the most children simultaneously latched to breastfeed, and for the most moms simultaneously breastfeeding.
This popular World Breastfeeding Week event also spreads awareness of all the different ways mothers breastfeed (nursing newborns, infants and toddlers, older kids, tandem nursing, adoptive nursing, wet nursing, with various apparatus like nipple shields or SNS, restricted diet nursing, supplementing, and exclusively pumping mothers were counted for the latch, too).
It intends to encourage support networks for families within their communities during the breastfeeding years and beyond.
This weekend, I joined with advocates from across the nation to Chalk The Walk with our favorite peaceful parenting messages.
As always, this is a family-friendly event and all ages are welcome to participate. Perfect for us — especially this time with a 1.5-day-old baby and a 3.5-year-old kiddo in tow!
A variety of peaceful parenting topics were on display: Informed birth choice, breastfeeding, nighttime parenting (no CIO), cloth diapering, babywearing, gentle ‘discipline’, genital autonomy…
Last weekend I hosted a Peaceful Parenting table for Intact Houston/Intact Texas, local chapters for Saving Our Sons (the not-for-profit organization Peaceful Parenting/Dr. Momma‘s focus on circumcision).
My challenge was to include genital autonomy as one crucial component of the peaceful parenting lifestyle … without calling it by name.
I had spoken with a marketing director at my local Babies ‘R’ Us about setting up inside the store to hand out information. After browsing the Dr. Momma web site, she said she’d love to have us there. In fact, as a company they’re very welcoming toward many of the topics mentioned, she explained. Ones like co-sleeping, breastfeeding (they hold regular classes there for newbies) and child-led weaning, babywearing (regular classes at Babies ‘R’ Us for this too), encouragement of gentle discipline and alternatives to punitive parenting (i.e. spanking and crying-it-out) and so on.
But…(there’s always a but, isn’t there?)
Anyone who follows this site will understand this post is *OBVIOUSLY SATIRICAL.*
Newcomers, take a moment to think about what the above picture symbolizes to you. The mother, naked and vulnerable, preserves a bubble of peace with her baby, in seemingly necessary quarantine from the bold, harsh words that hope to infiltrate their haven with little concern for the affect it might have upon them.
Here are not-so-uncommon perspectives (inspired by actual commentary I’ve seen or heard) that demonstrate how to upset and further isolate yourself from the not-so-uncommon kind of woman described above.
1). Let him cry… it’s good for his lungs.
Then try to convince her that dropping him on his head is good for his brain.
2). You’ll spoil her.
A baby spoils by being carried just like an apple spoils simply by being carried. That’s how it works.
3). She’ll never learn to walk.
Then you can explain how it’s better for both of them if the child is forced to walk everywhere. It’s not like it’d inhibit the mother from moving about in a timely manner or result in the child feeling abandoned. Continue reading
Babies aren’t pizzas.
They’re not delivered… They’re born.
Babies aren’t punches on a time card.
They don’t come “too early” or “too late.” They meet us when they’re meant to.
Babies aren’t dolls.
Their noises have meaning. They can’t be “put away.” Their bodies are worth respecting.
We were all proud. We have been proud, actually. So we showed up ready to nurse.
We did it modestly, though not one of us bothered to “cover up.” We did it with discretion, being that we nursed exclusively among supporters — though we wanted to be seen and heard. So we shared our experiences on every format far and wide with a movement of hashtags and brelfies and nurse-ins to prove that breastfeeding can work (more on that in a bit).
We wanted to count; in fact, we made sure we were being counted.
And we broke the standing world record: 14,889 children (simultaneously!) latched on to nurse for at least one full minute on Friday and Saturday all over the world for the Global Big Latch On. I attended one of the Houston events as a local representative for peaceful parenting/Dr. Momma. There, 73 moms and 82 children were officially latched on!
This event kicked off World Breastfeeding Week, for which the year’s theme is “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work!” The idea is to draw attention to issues faced by working mothers who want to breastfeed.
It also reminds of all the things that hope so badly for breastfeeding to not work.