Boycott Nestle

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Circumcision: whose choice should it really be?

Lately I've been feeling a lot of guilt over having had my son circumcised.  The truth is, I did absolutely no research on the subject (which is not like me at all).  My husband thought it should be done, and other people suggested that there were medical benefits (such as being cleaner, resulting in fewer infections, and a correlation with lower rates of STDs) so I said, "okay."  I barely even gave it a second thought until it came time to do it.  When the doctor came to take Monkey away for the circumcision, I felt sick about it.  When they brought him back and I saw his raw little penis, I cried.

So, why did I do it?

If only I had taken the time to learn more about it before he was born, I probably wouldn't have consented.  I know now that there was no legitimate medical reason to have it done.  I know now that it was painful for him.  I know now that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend it.  I know now that I made a decision that cannot be undone, and my son will have to live with it for the rest of his life.

Since there is no medical rationale, why are we still cutting our baby boys? For the sake of tradition, culture, or religion?  Just because something has gone on for a long time (e.g., slavery, female genital mutilation, hazing) or is done in the name of culture or religion (suicide bombings, honor killings, ritual human sacrifice) doesn't make it right, and male circumcision is no exception.

I don't know any men who would voluntarily be circumcised as consenting adults, so why on earth do we, as parents, subject our sons to it?

"He won't be able to remember it, so it's okay."

Really?  REALLY???  Most people can't remember anything before the age of two (and some before the age of 5), so does that mean that it doesn't matter how we treat our children for the first couple of years because they won't remember anyway?  Go ahead and slap your kid around - he won't remember when he grows up, so it doesn't matter.  This kind of "logic" helps parents feel better about the mistakes they've made along the way (and hey, nobody's perfect), but it shouldn't be used to justify abuse - or unnecessary cosmetic genital mutilation.  Besides, we wouldn't allow this to happen to our daughters, would we?

I can't undo what I have already allowed to be done to my son, but I can (and do) support the MGM Bill to end nonconsensual genital mutilation.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm a Little Bit Crunchy

The Definition of a "Crunchy Mama" (according to Urban Dictionary):  
"Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods. See crunchy and hippie.
'That crunchy mama is breastfeeding in public again!'"
While I remain undecided on having a homebirth myself (the four doctors who make up my child's grandparents would have a collective conniption), I fully support a mother's right to make that choice for herself.  I am a passionate breastfeeding lactivist (and IBCLC-in-training).  I wear my baby as often as possible and my collection of baby carriers is ever expanding.  I like the idea of cloth diapering, but Hubby thinks it's gross, and the truth is, the initial cost is so much more expensive than sticking with disposables.  I believe that co-sleeping is natural for babies and cribs are silly.  Gentle discipline has always been my way, even as a teacher.  I hate using anything with unnecessary dyes or fragrances, especially on my baby.  I am vegetarian and I plan on feeding my baby whole natural (preferably organic) foods rather than jarred processed foods through baby-led weaning when he is ready for solids.  I am a vegetarian, but that's not a choice I plan on making for Monkey.  And don't even get me started about extended breastfeeding!  That one's gonna open a big can of worms after Monkey's first birthday.

So it seems that, now that I'm a mom, I'm a little bit crunchy.  I don't think I'm super granola crunchy, but just a little crunchy (although urban dictionary may beg to differ).  Unfortunately, outside of my online circle of friends, I don't have many people in my life who would describe themselves as such, so I often find myself keeping my crunchy opinions quiet.  And, you know what?  That kind of sucks.

But, what to do?  I like my friends so I'm not looking to trade them in for crunchier alternatives, nor do I wish to "convert" them.  The truth is, I would guess that most of them would be surprised to learn that I'm a little bit crunchy.  Hubby is aware (although slightly in denial) and tolerant of my crunchy tendencies and is even somewhat supportive (as long as the ideas that I propose are not too much more expensive than their less-than-green alternatives as we are on a tight budget these days).

Are there any other closet-crunchies out there?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bring back the Leaky B@@b!

Breastfeeding did not come easily to me but I was lucky to have the support of my husband, my mom and dad, a handful of fabulous lactation consultants, oh and about 5,000 "Leakies" on a facebook page called The Leaky B@@b.  I'm not sure how I found TLB, but boy am I glad that I did!
Nursing my little Monkey...
Tell me, is this hateful, threatening, or obscene?
When posting on TLB, I felt safe.  I could ask questions about nipple pain without embarrassment or proclaim "BREAST IS BEST!" without offending anyone.  It wasn't long before I felt like a part of the Leaky family.  We cared about and supported one another without judgement.
On new year's eve, I posted for a friend who was suffering from chronic clogged ducts and within a few minutes, a handful of Leakies had responded with encouragement and helpful suggestions for relief.  My friend was amazed, and I felt proud to introduce her to my virtual family.
Approximately 24 hours later, The Leaky B@@b was removed from facebook with the following explanation:
"Your Page "The Leaky B@@b" has been removed for violating our Terms of Use. A Facebook Page is a distinct presence used solely for business or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. If your Page was removed for any of the above reasons, it will not be reinstated. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in the permanent loss of your account."

Huh?  Apparently my caring, non-judgemental, supportive family was considered by some to be "hateful, threatening, or obscene."  It's so absurd, I can't even wrap my head around it. Too many breastfeeding mothers have encountered ignorance and discrimination or have been made to hide under blankets or in bathrooms to feed their babies (despite laws protecting their right to breastfeed in public).  That was out in the real world, and now it's happening on facebook as well.
Shame on you, facebook, for violating your own Terms of Use by "attacking an individual or group."
Please, do the right thing and Bring back the Leaky B@@b!