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Author Topic: Motherhood Issues
athena_dreaming
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posted 03 November 2003 12:19 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So we all know feminism's reputation as "anti-family" and therefore "anti-mothers." And I'm assuming we all know that's not true, since plenty of feminist women (if not most) do end up becoming mothers and starting families. But.

At the same time, it seems that many of the advances of hte feminist movement that have so helped women have helped single and childless women far more than women with children--it's as if the doors that were opened had signs on them "No one with family responsibilities, please." Since men are still largely assumed not to have family responsibilities, even when they have families, they go through--but women with children are Not Welcome.

Women are in the workforce in great numbers, but recognition of unpaid domestic labour is slow in coming (if in fact it ever comes) and the primary responsibility for it remains with women. This leaves many women with families with the feeling that they have two jobs, neither of which they can do as well as they would like. After being put into this position it's cast as a "choice" in a way that choosing to become, say, a dental hygenist or a chiropractor is not. That is: You made your bed, you lie in it; and if you don't like your working conditions, well don't go complaining to society about it--you just shouldn't have had kids.

Never mind that someone needs to have kids or we won't have any future dental hygeinists or chiropractors, and it's in all of our best interests to ensure that these kids are happy, healthy and well-adjusted so they can be competent at whatever they do and make a positive contribution to society.

Women with children have a number of unique burdens. They are more likely to be poor and even more likely than women in general to be depressed and suicidal, for instance. In fact choosing to become a mother is the most important factor in a woman's lifetime risk of poverty.

These same barriers also pose a challenge to women who are currently childless but who want to become mothers--and aren't sure that there will ever be a right time. The message is that children should be planned, and you should be in a committed, monogamous relationship with a steady job that will provide for your child's physical wants and needs so that no one else in society ever needs to help you out with the work you do (although all of society benefits from it). For many women that time will never come.

It seems to me that there is lots and lots of work for feminism to do with motherhood. So far I've just ranted some of it off hte top of my head--but what do you think is most important? What should be done? What needs to be changed? And how do we do it?


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 03 November 2003 12:42 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Great thread topic Athena_Dreaming! I agree with you about mothers being the underepresented group of feminists. Choosing, or having that choice made for you to be a mother can sometimes bring about lack of respect from other feminists. Motherhood used to be recognized as a vital role within the social structure, but over the last years of the 20th century it's role lost respect and recognition.

Nurturing our loved ones, not only children can be looked upon by society as frivolous. In my view of life, nurturing each other is paramount to living in peace and harmony in our daily lives. This needs to be a reciprical relationship in most situations other than caring for children,the ill, the elderly or the disadvantaged. ie: between partners or friends.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 03 November 2003 01:35 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Along with women providing the vast majority of care for their young children, the next generation of people, they often are the unpaid caregivers for the elderly in their families. I forget which babbler pointed this out a couple of weeks ago, but it is also a vital point.
From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 03 November 2003 02:28 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
As a young woman in "child-bearing' years, but not yet a mom, all these things that Athena mentioned do definitely weigh on me as I contemplate becoming a mother.

I'm nowhere near ready at the moment, and that has everything to do with not having a solid or stable career, not having a mate who I can be sure will stick around for the next 15-25 years, and not really being sure that my brains and body are up to the challenge of producing and then raising a baby or two.

I don't really feel like this is a bad thing, because I'm still fairly young and I don't feel that I'm in any hurry to have a baby, but I do wonder when the time will be right. I hope that it's not too long before I feel like having a baby is feasible--when the idea no longer sends me into a panic. I do wonder sometimes if such a day will ever come.

So, thinking about how my life will have to change before I'm ready to have a baby, I find myself contemplating what it would be like to just get married and settle down and be a stay at home mom. I wonder if I could stand it to not have a job out in the 'real world' or if it would be satisfying enough to work in the home raising the kid(s). I wonder if there are men my age who want to have a marriage like that. I wonder what my current boyfriend thinks about such an arrangement.

These social conditions surrounding motherhood do a lot to keep women in traditional, domestic maternal roles. I think that's part of why it's been so difficult to see too much real progress occur.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 03 November 2003 02:56 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There is never a "right" time to have a baby. There will always be tugs in one direction or the other, usually both at once.

There are no guarantees, no such thing as security. They're illusions we create for ourselves.

I've been lucky. I have two wee grils, and have managed to shift my life around in ways that work for career and motherhood. I've made choices that result in less money and financial security, but it's working better for me this way. I know a lot of women can't do this.

I've also been lucky in my choice of a partner. I'm fairly sure he will stick around, and he's a devoted father. But again, anything can happen. He could be hit by a bus tomorrow or find himself in the throes of a middle-aged crisis. So could I.

I think you're ready to become a mother when you look at all the hardships and choices and sacrifices you might have to make, and decide you're capable of sucking it up and doing it anyway. My first daughter was a surprise, but I knew I was ready for her because my first thought was "What do I need to do to make this work?" instead of "Should I have this baby?".

Anyway, I'm popping in briefly 'cause I'm up to my eyeballs in way to much stuff right now, but I hope to have a more coherent post to add later.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 03 November 2003 03:01 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Anti..."Family"?

If I try to make that compute my brain will have a General Protection Fault.

How can it be anti-family for a woman to decide for herself when she can best raise children to be happy, content, and loved?

Perhaps if I get a lobotomy and a brain tumor all at once, I'll see the light and figure out why it's anti-family for women to want to raise good families, not just any old family.

End foray into feminism forum.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
mighty brutus
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posted 03 November 2003 03:38 PM      Profile for mighty brutus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by windymustang:
Motherhood used to be recognized as a vital role within the social structure, but over the last years of the 20th century it's role lost respect and recognition.


I think fatherhood has lost even more recognition and respect than motherhood has, sadly.


From: Beautiful Burnaby, British Columbia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alix
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posted 03 November 2003 03:49 PM      Profile for Alix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
So talk about fatherhood in a different thread.

It's not that it's not a valid point, it's just that this was posted in the feminism forum, and yet again it has taken, what, all of five posts (sorry, eight) until someone tries to divert it to being about men?


From: Kingston | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
mighty brutus
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posted 03 November 2003 04:12 PM      Profile for mighty brutus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Alix:
So talk about fatherhood in a different thread.

It's not that it's not a valid point, it's just that this was posted in the feminism forum, and yet again it has taken, what, all of five posts (sorry, eight) until someone tries to divert it to being about men?


Colour me gone.

[ 03 November 2003: Message edited by: mighty brutus ]


From: Beautiful Burnaby, British Columbia | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 03 November 2003 04:48 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
So, what are some issues we should be thinking about? What questions might we ask? Where to begin (again, after that minor-but-so-deftly-addressed diversion)?
From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 03 November 2003 06:59 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I guess my issue comes with the idea of "motherhood" as opposed to "parenthood." Unlike some people, I see little in good parenting that requires a woman, and the traditional and still strongly adhered to division of labour with regards to children reinforces the unwillingness I have to take on a parenting role - I don't want to end up being a "mother," with all the good and bad that that entails.

My mom was a "mother" in many traditional senses - she worked inside the home (taking care of other people's children, as it were, for a good portion of my childhood, when the income was necessary) until I was 11 or so, and thus I had a full time, stay at home mom who baked cookies and had lunch on the table every day and was there. And I am so grateful for that - I think in many ways my close relationship with her stems from the fact that she was my stability, that my home was always a warm and loving place full of people, but centred by her. But then again, there was no stable, live in father figure who could supplement and offset that until I was about 11, and since then he's been a man who doesn't have the ability to do the caring work that is usually associated with "mothering," and which would for me be required in any shift to "parenting," rather than the gendered nature of it now.

And I don't want to say that I don't respect "mothers" or "mothering," because I do think it is one of the most valuable things in society, but for me, I see the sacrifices that my mom made to be a "mother" - she gave up work on a nursing degree to be a stay at home mom, since my father didn't want a wife working outside the home, and then for a whole variety of reasons took jobs that were far below her intellectual abilities because she did what she had to do to support herself and her kids, and was punished by an employment market that didn't respect that need and choice, and so it wasn't until I was in my late teens that she had a job that was even somewhat on par with her abilities. And I think she thinks it was worth it, looking at the kids she raised (including the ones that weren't biologically hers) and the job of "mothering" certainly isn't easy, but I couldn't see myself making those types of sacrifices, when the other person doesn't feel the need to, who feels they can "father" while I "mother," justifying it based on a spurious nature.

I guess that what would make me reconsider becoming a parent would be seeing a change in "fatherhood" and "motherhood" to "parenthood," because I find these gendered notions of parenthood too constricting for both sides. I can't attach myself to the concept of "motherhood," and while I can somewhat understand women who do, not completely. I'm sure much of this is just rambling, and so full of my own emotional baggage about my father, and unclear, but I guess my thoughts on this are a work in progress.


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 03 November 2003 07:30 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by swirrlygrrl:
quote:
I guess my issue comes with the idea of "motherhood" as opposed to "parenthood."

quote:
I guess that what would make me reconsider becoming a parent would be seeing a change in "fatherhood" and "motherhood" to "parenthood," because I find these gendered notions of parenthood too constricting for both sides. I can't attach myself to the concept of "motherhood," and while I can somewhat understand women who do, not completely. I'm sure much of this is just rambling, and so full of my own emotional baggage about my father, and unclear, but I guess my thoughts on this are a work in progress.

I believe I understand what you're saying, swirrlygrrl. I hope that you can find the sort of partner who would enable you to continue your career while he does the greater extent or at least equal extent of parenting - if this is your wish.

I do know a number of men are the primary caregivers, but they are few and far between in comparison to the women who dedicate themselves to this role. Sadly, society doesn't encourage or support this situation so perhaps we're missing out on something great.

Athena_Dreaming's original post:

quote:
These same barriers also pose a challenge to women who are currently childless but who want to become mothers--and aren't sure that there will ever be a right time. The message is that children should be planned, and you should be in a committed, monogamous relationship with a steady job that will provide for your child's physical wants and needs so that no one else in society ever needs to help you out with the work you do (although all of society benefits from it). For many women that time will never come.

It seems to me that there is lots and lots of work for feminism to do with motherhood. So far I've just ranted some of it off hte top of my head--but what do you think is most important? What should be done? What needs to be changed? And how do we do it?



IMO, the 1st step towards supporting motherhood would be to financially acknowledge the monitary value that women contribute to society in their role of motherhood. Society values $ above all else unfortunately, so having parenting acknowledged by a tax rebate or however it could be done would be a step. If we had a universal child care system, the value could be related in that manner.
Edited for spelling

[ 03 November 2003: Message edited by: windymustang ]


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Gir Draxon
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posted 03 November 2003 10:46 PM      Profile for Gir Draxon     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A possible solution to take the load off of women: support the idea of male caregivers.

I am very fortunate in that I came from a house where my father was just as much a caregiver (at times, maybe moreso) than my mother. This allowed my mother to persue her career, even going to universtiy after giving birth to me. I don't know where my family would be if my parents had strictly adhered to the tration of mothers being the ones who raise the children.

But the strict tradionalists beleive that men can never take the place of women in things like parenting. A beleif unfortunately bought into by some radical "feminists".


From: Arkham Asylum | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 04 November 2003 11:23 AM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My mother is a healthcare professional.

My father went on E.I. shortly after I was born and my mother went back to her job. For the first year or so, my father was the primary care giver while mom worked full time. He then went to work on the oil patch, away for six weeks at a time, it was very hard.

When my sisters were born, my father quit at the patch, and took a mining job closer to home.
When my sisters were still toddlers, Dad was laid-off from the mine, and again, became the primary caregiver.

It was really tough for my parents, financially, living off of my mothers wages with four small children, but, it was great for us as kids. No more 12 hour stints of babysitters: Dad was home!

He built things and landscaped the property, and he baked pies and cooked supper.... all the while telling me to never let a man tell me that he couldn't do this or that "because" he was a man. Feminist training at four.

The only draw back I see when it comes to the father staying home for the first year is that breastfeeding doesn't take place.

While this would be the best, in my opinion, that the mother and the father take a more balanced role when it comes to children, I realise that this isn't the case with many families, women still do the vast majority of the "domestic" work along with rearing children, even if they do work outside of the home.

Also, my parents were really really pinched in our situation, it wasn't exactly by choice that Dad stayed home and Mom worked.... it was for the best, in hindsight, but, they could have used a guaranteed income.

So, I think that's the answer. A support system for parents who stay home to raise their children, most of them being mothers, make that "unpaid labour" paid.

Affordable daycare for those who want to head back to work before school age, or for those who do not have a partner who can earn most of the income and wish to work.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 04 November 2003 11:36 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Not being a parent, I hesitate to post on this thread, although issues of nurturing other than mothers of small children have been raised by several posters here. But I must express my political disagreement with what you've said, Trinitty. It is nice to look at your dad, the minority of men being stay-at-home parents (my uncle also raised his two daughters alone, and we know Tommy has a lot of parental responsibilities, seems like the principal ones). But usually what you are referring to means sending women back into the home and kitchen - and having children see women as servants at their beck and call, limiting the horizons of girls, and encouraging boys to see women as subservient.

Other than the fight for longer and better-paid maternity and paternity leaves (and later parental leaves, for example to care for a sick child) and the development of a universal, publicly-funded daycare system, the main way of tackling the problem of not enough hours to see one's child grow up would be best handled the way all these work-life problems would - by a drastic reduction in working hours, which modern technology could easily make possible.

We've fought very hard to gain access to the labour market, and I'm adverse to anything that questions these hard-won and fragile victories.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 04 November 2003 11:41 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think that moving towards a concept of parenthood vs. mother/fatherhood would be great, and so would paying primary childcarers. There is, far as I know, one main barrier to this idea taking off in practice: the continuing wage gap between men and women.

Today, men and women in Canada are equally entitled to parental leave and benefits for 8 months (the first 4 are reserved for the woman who bore the child, as a recovery period). But it's still mostly taken by women.

And the reason for that is because it is easier for the family to take the financial hit of a woman staying home than the man staying home because of the difference in wages.

The EI payments are 55% of up to 38,000 year (is that indexed? I can't remember). So if the female partner earns 38,000 year, they lose 45% of her salary while she is off, or $17,100. If the male partner earns $50,000 year, they lose $29,100.

The exact numbers would depend on the relative incomes in each family, but for any family where the man earns more than the woman, it will be more cost-effective for the woman to stay home than the man--and then you set up that pattern of female caregiver/male provider that becomes so hard to shake later on.

The only way out of that that I can see is to have a program of full income replacement or some equivalent so that there is no difference int he economic penalty for a family depending on whether it's the man or the woman who stays home. Or bring about a society where men and women actually earn equal incomes. I don't know which would be harder, quite frankly.

I think it is important to have the work of unpaid domestic labour recognized financially--but would that work best as a paycheque, or a benefit, or some other type of program? I think it would be politically quite difficult to start a program of giving salaries to people who stay home and care for their children--is such a program in existence anywhere?


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 04 November 2003 11:44 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by Trinitty:
quote:
So, I think that's the answer. A support system for parents who stay home to raise their children, most of them being mothers, make that "unpaid labour" paid.

Affordable daycare for those who want to head back to work before school age, or for those who do not have a partner who can earn most of the income and wish to work.


HERE HERE!!! or is it HEAR HEAR? The 2nd I think. I agree with you completely. The best care for our children needs to be provided with the financial support of society because it affects everyone when children grow up without their needs met.

I too was a stay-at-home mom by choice after spending a couple years as a single outside working parent, I had the opportunity to raise my children at home for almost 7 years. I supplemented the family income with a family daycare centre and various other businesses out of the house. My mother was a SAH mom and the benifits we received from her being there not just during the preschool days but before and after school and lunches were tremendous.

Careers outside the home when people have children should be an option not a necessity. Raising children in a nurturing environment benifits all of society, not just those with children. Removing financial obsticles would be a start in the right direction. Gender should not be an issue IMO fathering and mothering can be equally nurturing aside from the fact that fathers can't nurse, but many mothers choose not to.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 04 November 2003 11:53 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
But the strict tradionalists beleive that men can never take the place of women in things like parenting. A beleif unfortunately bought into by some radical "feminists".
Let me get this straight. You're suggesting that women, so called "radical feminists" are responsible for women getting all of the caregiving dumped on them because they won't allow men do their equal share of it?

Are you on crack? We've always had all the caregiving unloaded on us, long before feminism was even conceived. You want to care for the elderly and help raise the kids? Then just fucking do it, and stop whining, because we're all too tired from cleaning up everyone's shit to listen.

[ 04 November 2003: Message edited by: Rebecca West ]


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 04 November 2003 11:54 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by lagatta:
quote:
But usually what you are referring to means sending women back into the home and kitchen - and having children see women as servants at their beck and call, limiting the horizons of girls, and encouraging boys to see women as subservient.

I disagree lagatta. As stated before, I was a SAH parent as was my mother and we raised between us 7 strong feminists who are getting stronger every day.

I know of countless SAH parents who are raising strong feminists who have goals and aspirations of careers as well as being strongly community minded fine people. Many of the strongest feminists were raised by SAH parents, so your arguement doesn't hold.

I realize your concern about how children mimic their parents so seeing the example of mothers being homemakers throughout society would be bad. I acknowledge your opinion, but I disagree based upon experience.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 04 November 2003 11:58 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by Rebecca West:
quote:
Let me get this straight. You're suggesting that women are responsible for getting all of the caregiving dumped on them because they won't allow men do their equal share of it?

Fuck off.



Who? What?

From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 04 November 2003 11:58 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
See the edited version.
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 04 November 2003 11:59 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
lagatta, I understand what you're saying, in theory. I have to vehemently disagree in practice.

I have a wonderful life partner who takes on an equal share of the child-rearing and housework. He has always been very involved with nurturing the wee grils.

But we both recognize that, in the first year and somewhat into toddlerhood, mothers have a somewhat different relationship to their children. See, men can't breastfeed. It tunes you in differently, hormonally. It's part of how we're wired.

Now, I know there will be some who disagree with the degree of importance we put on breastfeeding in our family. But I've noticed that even women who don't breastfeed tune into their babies in a way men don't. Maybe it's because you've had months (especially the latter ones) of pregnancy to develop a feeling for the rhythm of the wake/sleep cycles of the baby before birth. Maybe they're more easily comforted by mother's heartbesat because that sound has been a constant. I don't know why, that's for the professionals to figure out. But with babies, I maintain, we women are wired differently.

It's not a good thing or a bad thing. Just a biological thing. It doesn't mean that women are better parents than men, or that they need to stay home permanently. But I've run into few women who weren't glad of some time to spend concentrating on their offspring, especially at an early stage. It doesn't mean you've been relegated to the life of a 1950s homemaker.

But again, if that lifestyle appeals to you and your spouse, why are the rest of us so unwilling to acknowledge it as a viable, acceptable choice? Isn't choice what feminism is about?


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 04 November 2003 12:05 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
See the edited version.

Ahhh, gotcha Rebecca


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 04 November 2003 12:10 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sorry 'bout the rant. My patience is rather thin today ... was up in the middle of the night with a crying toddler.
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 04 November 2003 12:12 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Zoot, first of all you know a lot more about mothering than I ever will, in the literal sense of a woman's care for her small children. In my post I was careful to call for longer maternity leaves, and proper compensation for them (as well as paternity and later parental leaves, but maternity was deliberately listed first, for obvious biologica reasons). I was thinking specifically about breastfeeding, recovering physically and mentally from labour and the hormonal bonding you describe.

But beyond that, I fear the talk about "choice" - all people need more choices - but a lot of the talk about choice seems to me to underline the terrible fragility of our access to the labour market. That is why I had the nerve to impinge on this thread - I really feel as if my own access to work is limited by such a discourse. It is very hard to get them to take us seriously.

I'm older than you, so for me feminism was very much rejecting the idea of being a good housewife and mother. In my own life, my dad was chronically ill (killed himself smoking) and my mum had to go back to work, but not under the circumstances she should have been entitled to. It is good indeed that younger feminists feel freer to embrace parenthood without seeing it as the horrific trap we did in the late '60s. I remember the 1950s with utter horror.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 04 November 2003 12:17 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And I can agree with you so easily on those points, lagatta.

I went back to work as a freelancer -- had a wee one on my back for much of it. And with my younger daughter, was back at the desk when she was 2 weeks old, held her in the sling while I worked.

Contract and freelance/self-employed mums need some things to change, too.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 04 November 2003 12:26 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
So, I think that's the answer. A support system for parents who stay home to raise their children, most of them being mothers, make that "unpaid labour" paid.

Affordable daycare for those who want to head back to work before school age, or for those who do not have a partner who can earn most of the income and wish to work.


But, Lagatta, if it were paid labour for either men or women to stay home, isn't it then a discussion between the man and woman as to WHO stays home? I think we've come far enough now for the gender to become less and less of an issue when it comes to who stays home. The man making more is a good point though... that often could be a factor when determining WHO stays home.

But, if affordable day care were provided for those families who have parents who BOTH want to work when their children are small, wouldn't that then balance things out and leave it up to people own personal desires to stay home? Not force women back into the home?

I totally agree with you that the work week needs to be reduced, but, I think that a support system for parents of small children is much more plausable at this point.

Edited to add:

Zoot, I hope to be in your situation when we have children. How is balancing working for you as a mother?

[ 04 November 2003: Message edited by: Trinitty ]


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 04 November 2003 01:25 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Let me get this straight. You're suggesting that women, so called "radical feminists" are responsible for women getting all of the caregiving dumped on them because they won't allow men do their equal share of it?
Are you on crack? We've always had all the caregiving unloaded on us, long before feminism was even conceived. You want to care for the elderly and help raise the kids? Then just fucking do it, and stop whining, because we're all too tired from cleaning up everyone's shit to listen.

I'm going to step in and disagree with you on one level Rebecca (though I completely agree with your frustration and the solution - as Nike would say, just do it!) There are strands of feminism, maternal and on some levels radical, that assert that women are very different than men, unique by nature and thus uniquely capable of caring duties. Women as creators and nurturers, men as destroyers. Sexual division of labour in this respect as proscribed by our natures. Me, I completely disagree, but I can acknowledge that there are strands of feminist thought that buy into this.

As to whether women don't "allow" men an equal share of familial and home responsibilities, that's a more difficult question, because in many cases it deals with individual women's actions, and we all can think of those examples of individual women who strongly resist (or would) a loss of control in the domestic sphere. In part this comes I think from the fact that there is some level of power involved in being the primary caregiver, in being the one the children come to, in being the one praised for them when they are good. There are rewards for being typically feminine - we acknowledge that many women resist the challenge of beauty standards and the valuation of youth and the equation of femininity with weakness because while fleeting, fickle and ultimately oppressive, in certain circumstances this is the only avenue to some level of power that many women see.

And there are rewards for being a "mother," though in my opinion they aren't any substitute for the benefits of equality, but which unless there are guarantees of something better, and a clear idea of what will replace it, some women won't buy into. (I think there is a corollary for men, too, who aren't happy with the masculine role but can't see how in their lifetime they can benefit from the feminist project, or see it as requiring the relinguishing of too much power without its replacement by something they value, ie full humanity).

I guess I can't see patriarchy as making women completely powerless, and I definately don't think that there would continue to be such a mass buy in were it not for the fact that some women feel rewarded in some ways by the roles they are asked to play. I don't think this is such a simple situation with easy answers.

Oh, on a related but tangential note, anyone ever read the study of women and men and domestic labour in Flin Flon? I think it was called "Two hands for the clock," - had some really interesting illustrations and analysis of the relationship of men and women and domestic labour, and how men reacted to the request/need to take on more domestic labour. Including examples of something I have experienced myself, women not wanting to give up control over domestic labour (ie the job didn't get done as quickly or as well as when the woman did it, so rathe that fight a spouse who couldn't or wouldn't do it propoerly, or give them the time to learn, or lower their standards, women took the work back on again).


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 04 November 2003 01:42 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Zoot--you might be interested to know that studies have been done on the ways that men and women respond to infants.

In one that I know of, men and women were asked to listen to tapes of babies crying. The subjects (men and women) were hooked up to machines to measure stress/anxiety levels--heartbeat, breathing patterns, pupil dilation, and so on.

What they found was that when the infant's cries reflected genuine distress or pain, the response of men and women was equal. BUT when the infant's cries reflected lesser levels of distress or discomfort, women had much stronger physiological reactions than men did.

I suppose an argument could be made that this difference is sociological, but I think it is likely not. It appears that women are biologically primed to respond to infants in different ways than men are. I think oxytocin is the prime suspect at the moment.

And I say this as someone who is typically categorically opposed to essentialism.

I still think that it is best for men, women, babies and families to get men involved in childcare as much as possible from as early as possible, and I intend to do so in January. When the baby comes you can all ask me how it went.

I also agree that choice is a pretty meaningless concept without considering context--and if the context is set up to make some choices all but impossible for women, then we're right to be afraid of it. I think it should be an absolutely viable, acceptable choice to have a female homemaker and a male provider--but in the system we have right now, it's very rarely a completely free choice. It's constained by economics and expectations and social conditioning and a host of other things.

When those constraints are addressed and men and women are equally free to choose homemaking and childcare, I'll feel a lot easier about it. In the meantime, I support any woman's decision to choose that for herself and her family, but I wonder if she would have made the same choice in a more equal world.

Personally I can't see myself as happy in the role of SAHM. I'm looking forward to that first eleven months (hubby's taking the last month of leave) but I think that I will find I need a certain amount of adult interaction and outside purpose to feel healthy. I also know too many SAHMs to romanticize the role much. They don't seem very happy to me!


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
vickyinottawa
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posted 04 November 2003 01:45 PM      Profile for vickyinottawa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
My sister and her partner divided the year of leave ; she took the first six months, and he took the second. He enjoyed it so much he's actually reduced his workload. I think any policy should build in flexibility for people in different situations to make different choices. Me, I'm just grateful that my union negotiated a 100% topup for the full year of leave - since I'll be going it alone.

Now, where's that universal day care program?!


From: lost in the supermarket | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 04 November 2003 02:31 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
vicky, I know you'll understand why I am seguing from your post to the reminder I'm about to write. No way do I ever want to see hard-won benefits taken away from anyone. (Specially you.)

However: we have some unsorted class issues here. Zoot referred earlier to contract/freelance workers -- which means her, lagatta, and me, at least -- who have access to NO benefits at all (unless we are piggy-backing on a partner's benefits). Beyond us, there are all those women who work part-time or in small businesses that aren't organized, or who don't work outside the home at all.

Does a woman earning $80 thou a year in a federal government job, even as she takes that six- or nine-month drop in pay, ever think of her sisters who don't get maternity benefits AT ALL? For whom her reduced pay would still be a luxury wage? Does she notice that the Finance Dep't allows her to drop her low-earning year out of her CPP averaging, whereas people who stop work to care for ailing seniors cannot do the same thing, and just take the hit in their CPP?

Again: I'm a socialist and a feminist, and I'm for sure never going to argue that any of us gives up the ground that was so hard to win.

But I think it should be noted here, at least, that a few women have won a lot more ground than most. And sisterhood is going to require taking account of the inequities. It ain't as though anyone is working any harder than anyone else, given that we're all working 24/7.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 04 November 2003 02:38 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I'm going to step in and disagree with you on one level Rebecca (though I completely agree with your frustration and the solution - as Nike would say, just do it!) There are strands of feminism, maternal and on some levels radical, that assert that women are very different than men, unique by nature and thus uniquely capable of caring duties. Women as creators and nurturers, men as destroyers. Sexual division of labour in this respect as proscribed by our natures. Me, I completely disagree, but I can acknowledge that there are strands of feminist thought that buy into this.
I agree that these elements of radical feminist thought exist, but they are not responsible for women having to take up the slack. Lack of participation in work that is still gendered is the problem. Yes, there are notable exceptions where men and women share caregiving and childrearing equally, and also instances where men do most of the child-rearing and caregiving, but this is not the case on average. Most of the women I know who do almost all of the "nurturing" work in their families, do so because they've given up trying to get help from their "if you'd just tell me what you want done" husbands.

And if you've been doing all the raising of children and caring for elders for years and years because no one else will, or because you get tired of asking, when help is finally offered, your knee-jerk response is often, "I can manage." Martyr-mode. Superwoman complex. Call it what you will, but it's the result of actually having to do it all for so long you can't let it go, even if it means your life is easier for having done so.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
vickyinottawa
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posted 04 November 2003 02:43 PM      Profile for vickyinottawa   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree, skdadl. There'd be no way I would be considering having a kid if I was still working on piecemeal contracts. As it is, I'm doing this way later than I would have wanted to because of my unstable financial situation, and in many ways my career choices have been connected to my desire to have kids and my increasing acceptance of singledom.

I am not sure that EI-supported is the best way to support new parents of any gender. I'm glad it's there for me, but we do need to start thinking about alternatives. Especially since an increasing proportion of the workforce is employed in a part-time, temporary, casual, self-employed, 'non-standard' capacity.

There's a role here for the labour movement as well.... Labour has ignored precarious workers for far too long, thereby letting our hard-won gains slip through our collective fingers.


From: lost in the supermarket | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 04 November 2003 02:55 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Skdadl, I may work in a federal government job (although not one anywhere near as lucrative as $80g!) but I do realize there are many inequities and I think about the people who don't have access to my privileges frequently. I did a whole paper on mat benefits last year as part of a social policy class, and was quite shocked to see how many women don't qualify for benefits at all. Or leave.

If anyone wants to see it, actually, let me know and I'll email it over to you.

EI really isn't the best way to deal with it, and besides, it sends the message that staying home and raising an infant is being "unemployed."

quote:
in many ways my career choices have been connected to my desire to have kids and my increasing acceptance of singledom.

Yes. yes yes and again, YES.

I don't really like my job. It's too easy, there's long stretches of no work to do, it's a government bureaucracy so everythign moves at a snail's pace, and it's not in the field I'm doing my master's in (one of the reasons I'm doing the masters).

But I'm pregnant and it has a 93% top-up for the year of maternity leave. Financially, I can't afford to leave it. That top-up comes with making a promise that you will continue to work for the feds for 18 months after the leave ends. So I'm looking at at least another 2 1/2 years in a job I don't really like, and lots of lost career-development time, in order to provide for my family financially.

OK, so this is not really linked to the singledom part. But I have definitely changed my career plans to make it feasible to have children at the point in my life when I felt it would be best.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 04 November 2003 04:58 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I did a whole paper on mat benefits last year as part of a social policy class, and was quite shocked to see how many women don't qualify for benefits at all. Or leave.

If anyone wants to see it, actually, let me know and I'll email it over to you.



Yes please athena, do you need my email address? Please check your mail as you have an unopened personal message from a while ago from me.

P.S. This is one of the most intellectual conversations I've seen on babble. Well done folks!

[ 04 November 2003: Message edited by: windymustang ]


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 04 November 2003 05:02 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
No problem. Ack, I never remember to check my pm's.

An aside: I remember reading somewhere how intersting it is that the Powers That Be are constantly telling middle and upper class women to stop working, stay home and raise their kids; and telling working class and poor women to stop lazing around at home, get their butts in gear and get a "real" job. I wonder if that's part of the class structure of the mat leave/benefit thing? Not even consciously necessarily.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 04 November 2003 05:19 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
My mom has always maintained that things go sour for a lot of women when they have kids. As people have mentioned, women are generally earning smaller incomes than their male partners (where the family is made up of man+woman+kids) so they 'elect' to have the woman stay home with the kids and then she never quite gets back on the track she was on before the babies came. (Please excuse my bias toward "traditional" family make-up. It's the model that I'm working with personally, so it's the one I think about most.)

So, all the reassurance that there is never a right time to have a baby is probably right, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to have a stable and reliable career, my own source of income, and a definite track to be trucking along on. Even depsite these best laid plans (should they come to fruition), it's highly likely that I'll fall into more traditional domestic and maternal patterns when I have a baby. I'll be at home, I'll be cooking and cleaning up and doing the bulk of the childcare, and I'll have very little or no income of my own. Definitely nothing to match my partner's, and not enough to be self-sufficient (unless I have to be, I guess), so a new power dynamic will emerge in my relationship with my partner. Money is the determinant of power in our society, after all.

I'm speaking in a fairly fatalistic way about this, but it seems to be the pattern that I've witnessed most consistently, and definitely the pattern that my mom and her peers played out in their lives--though things have probably changed a fair bit in the 25 years since I was a baby.

I guess it makes sense that subsidized, public childcare and greater, more universal parental benefits would ease this financial tension, and therefore help to minimize the power disparity between male and female parents. I don't know how much they'd help with an individual woman's consistent participation in the workforce and the stigma and challenges attached to being a parent in the workplace (a burden that I've seen effect women more than men, but not exclusively women by any stretch).

I guess I don't have much of a point, just piping up with my two cents.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 04 November 2003 05:43 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Two things, you guys:

1. We must never forget that we have to keep fighting for economic equality. We must not forget; we must not keep fighting. We don't claw away at any gains that anyone else has made: we just keep demanding that everyone else be raised up to that level. Yes?

2. That said, we know that that ain't gonna happen tomorrow.

So we commit to two things: to helping each other when, where, and how we can, and to living out our lives according to the greatest human strengths that traditional feminine training has given us all.

In my experience, that second commitment is worth it. Even when it costs you a lot of money, it is worth it.

Why would we fight for anything -- status or money especially -- if we did not believe that they were necessary to the feeding of the human spirit? In some ways, they are, and feminists have not been wrong to argue so.

It is so easy to pervert those goals, though. They are worthy goals in and of themselves. We must remember why we argued in the first place that women must have a place at the table. We weren't arguing just for ourselves, just for the tax deductions that would allow us to create our own little atomic family-units, but because we believed that women's training and understanding could change the world. The whole world.

No, not tomorrow. But not never if we don't keep reminding ourselves of the context.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 04 November 2003 05:47 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Reading this discussion, I am reminded what a perverse creature I am.

As skdadl noted, self-employed/freelance/contract workers are not entitled to benefits for maternity leave or for having to care for a family member in ill health -- situations that we both have been dealing with.

And yet, when I had my first daughter, I was working a gov't job (not 80k, either, but good remuneration, much like athena), and had 6 mos paid leave and 6 mos unpaid. I actually chose not to go back when my year was up.

I took the second 6 mos to find out if we could make the household work comfortably on what I could earn as a freelancer working around her child's needs, sans daycare. I was breastfeeding, and just didn't want to be away from her in the first year. Risky, as the blond guy is self-employed, too.

We managed to adjust, and I found a way to work and keep my baby with me -- including doing archival research in China with baby in tow. I quit my day job.

Now, things were sticky when my other wee gril came along. I had contracts, I hate to turn down work and we needed the cash. I had a tough period balancing the two roles of mother of a newborn and self-employed professional. There was no option to not take on work, and I could have used about 3 mos without work issues to deal with.

That being said, I would choose the less secure path again, no question. What a conventional workplace doesn't offer is the flexibility that my very insecure and sometimes chaotic professional life has. I feel like I've traded one kind of stress (ie: working in a job I don't like and which, at its base, had a lot of inherent stress) for another, more natural (?) sort. I've seen enough friends lose jobs to layoff or whatever to feel that the security I thought I had was largely illusory anyway. I feel more in control of my own fate, in some ways, now.

quote:
Zoot, I hope to be in your situation when we have children. How is balancing working for you as a mother?

Some days better than others.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 04 November 2003 06:14 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I would choose the less secure path again, no question.


Moi aussi.

Sweet dreams, all.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 04 November 2003 06:21 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Lovely post Skdadl. Actually, they all are, but Skdadl's particularly. Thanks
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 04 November 2003 08:11 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A small part of something that elementary children say about mothers..

Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just got to work at work.

That is how I felt many years ago.


From: Canton Marchand, Qubec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 04 November 2003 10:30 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This topic got me thinking about many discussions I have had with other mothers when I was spending a fair amount of time with the La Leche League women. It was the first time I ever came across the phrase "mother-substitute", which many women (and men) who are into attachment parenting throw around.

I found this article, and another short one that may provoke some discussion, as it bears on both identifying as a feminist and a mother, and how that translates into the work world and the gains feminism has made there.

A caveat -- the opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily mine (I'm more moderate), but they raise some good questions.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 04 November 2003 10:55 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There can be no substitute (not even the best daycare centre, the most loving grandmother, the most caring friend or neighbour) for the concerned, loving, mature disciplined, aware and perceptive mother

quote:
Today's societal mentality conspires to disrupt and demean the basic necessity of mother-baby togetherness and symbiosis which ensures our humanity. No mother-substitute can have the concern, the empathic intuition for need-meeting, the emotional rapport, the awareness of growth and growth experiences that a mother has. No one in all their life, will duplicate the profound intimacy she/he has with a loving mother. I grieve for all the children today who will never know that intimacy by virtue of being relegated to surrogate mothers.

I agree, Zoot, that there are interesting points raised, but in general it is this type of an attitude (that you are enlightening us on, not advocating) that galls me. One caregiver only, please, and that caregiver must be biological mom, or the child will be profoundly stunted or scarred. Yes, mothering is incredibly valuable, and the caring work done in families needs to be respected and validated by society, but this attitude relegates women to the home should they choose to have children, and is horribly essentializing in that only women are seen as possible caregivers (fathers are mentioned once, in parenthesis).

Yes, children need stable, secure, attentive care, but there is no reason I can see why this must be provided exclusively by the biological mother. She ties this somewhat to breastfeeding, but as wet-nurses prove, one does not have to be the biological mother to nurse a child; as well, there are reasons for not breastfeeding (there was a really good thread on this issue a while back). And again, why must there be a single caring person dealing with an infant or child? (She refers to "perceptive parents" at one point, but then again continues her discussion exclusively dealing with women as the soure of all caring). As long as there is stability, and enough contact for bonding, (I'm not anywhere near an expert on infant development) why must we tie a biological mother to a mothering role, to the exclusion of all others?

"Mother-substitute" - I also find that an offensive and derrogatroy term. What a way to demean those who currently provide care. Surely there must be some way of acknowledging the fact that women currently are responsible for the vast majority of the caring work in society without essentialization and naturalization of such conditions?


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 04 November 2003 11:20 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Did anyone read the New York Times Magazine article on the "Mommy Track" about ten days ago? It was quite interesting. The author profiled six grads of Princeton who had become mothers and chose to stay closer to home, and turned down promotions.

I'll try to find it, though, I'm sure you need a subscription to access it online.


Our situation is that I'm a journalist, on the verge of getting another contract. (fingers crossed) It would most likely be union with pretty decent job security.

I worked in government (kind of) for two years, and worked in radio news for two years before that. One had great benifits but ZERO job security, the news job had alright benifits and just provincial labour code security.

I'm almost 26. My husband will be finished his MA in September, and will most likely do his PhD. By the time he's finished, he and I will be 30 or older.

I always wanted my children, at least the first couple before hitting thirty. I want to stay home with them when they are young, possibly freelancing.

What to do?

Do we have kids on my savings and my husband's salary as a Teachers Assistant (while a student) and possible scholarships, hoping that he lands that "big job" fresh off of his doctorate?

Do we wait and wait and wait for that mythical fincancial stability?

How will I adapt to staying home with children, when it was my father who did most of the hands-on stuff?

All of these things swim through my head everyday, and I wonder if other women my age are juggling these issues. This board and many I meet tell me YES.

Zoot, did you co-sleep? I only ask since you attended Le Leche meetings and knew folks into attachment parenting.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 04 November 2003 11:22 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by skdadl:
quote:
Two things, you guys:

1. We must never forget that we have to keep fighting for economic equality. We must not forget; we must not keep fighting. We don't claw away at any gains that anyone else has made: we just keep demanding that everyone else be raised up to that level. Yes?

2. That said, we know that that ain't gonna happen tomorrow.



I just quoted the one section but the whole statement is worth framing. Well said and also a great point about financially supporting the fight not until equality is a reality.

As for the Zoots articles interest, I totally agree with you swirrlygrrl, stating or infering that only biological mothers can be nuturing caregivers is ludicrous. As for the nursing issue, although I nursed my children and support and encourage new mothers to nurse, what a load of guilt and crap to place on parents.

The position of the article seems to enhance the guilt that I find tends to come along with parenting as a given, that most of us are trying to balance within ourselves. We strive to be the best possible parents, but can't always succeed. We don't need people laying guilt trips on us for the above mentioned reasons.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 05 November 2003 12:05 AM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Interesting reads.

The primary care provider does certainly matter.

Articles like that.... hmm.

I want to do the "whole thing". Homebirth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and homemaking for my children.

This is in stark contrast to the female role model I had as a child. My mother is hostile to these things... to the degree that if I tell her I've cooked, baked, made, or mended something (even now without children) she taunts me about it. Actually taunts.

I am MUCH closer to my father, but, he's not a woman.

Is this the reason?

I don't really like thinking about it because I was a loved child, and was fortunate to have the parents that I did.

But, I also want to rear our children the way _I_ want to, and not have her resenting me for it... I can see that happening.

Sorry, personal rambling. Those articles really hit chords deep within me.

[ 05 November 2003: Message edited by: Trinitty ]


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sara Mayo
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posted 05 November 2003 01:54 AM      Profile for Sara Mayo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I must repeat the obvious, this is an amazing thread. Thanks to everyone for putting in the time towards this fascinating discussion.

I am very much in the baby frame of mind these days. I just started taking folic acid today in preparaion for my eventual pregnancy. No particular time has been decided, but I hope we will make a decision in the next year.

--

I hope this isn't too much of a thread drift, but I just wanted to explore this point made by vicky:

quote:
I am not sure that EI-supported is the best way to support new parents of any gender. I'm glad it's there for me, but we do need to start thinking about alternatives. Especially since an increasing proportion of the workforce is employed in a part-time, temporary, casual, self-employed, 'non-standard' capacity.

There's a role here for the labour movement as well.... Labour has ignored precarious workers for far too long, thereby letting our hard-won gains slip through our collective fingers.


There is also a major role that can be played by progressive political parties!

I think it is vital that the Parental/Maternity leave program be seperated from the EI system. It is completely unfair to children that their parents can only stay home with them if they are qualify for EI (700-900 hours of "insurable" work in the last two years). As we all know this excludes all self-employed people, people working on family businesses and students. The feds just say "tough" to us.

The PQ government in Quebec in 2001 wanted to try to solve this improtant issue. They developped a program to replace the EI parental leave program, that would only require income of 2000$ in the year before the birth of the child, and which would give better benefits than the EI maternity/paternity program. Basically the program would cover almost every new parent in Quebec.

This article gives a good backgrounder:
Parental leave plan pull & tug

The PQ, rightly I think, lobbied the federal government for its share of the EI funds that are given to Quebec parents, so that Quebec could set-up its own program and make it better with its own tax dollars. But as the author of the article says "Baby leave would be a major bite out of the federal goody basket." So of course Chrtien said no.

This is a great example of where traditional Canadian social democratic demands for national programs arein conflict with Quebec social democrats who want the flexibility to use their own tax dollars (and EI premiums) to create specialized programs that are better suited to Quebec's socio-demographic reality and/or political leanings.

We in the NDP have to use this example in two ways:

1) We should steal many of the "family friendly" policies promoted by the PQ in their time in government and in their election platform. For example, the NDP should advocate that a national paternal leave program be created with greater benefits and coverage, with the funding seperated out from the current EI program. We would sway a lot of traditional family values Conservative types into supporting us because of this program as well as a lot of low-wage or self-employed people.

2) We should relax our tendancy to insist on "national programs" in favour of provinces having more flexibility in delivering programs as they see fit. We have to allow provinces like Quebec to be given their money back so that they can improve upon the national program, and tailor it towards their population. This can only be a good thing for social democracy in Canada, as it would create a sort of "test case" for innovative social programs, and it could also lead to the feds or other provinces copying a particular program because they see it is so popular.

Anyway, I am sorry for this long tangential post. Keep up this great discussion.

[ 05 November 2003: Message edited by: Sara Mayo ]


From: "Highways are monuments to inequality" - Enrique Penalosa | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 05 November 2003 03:17 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Are you on crack? We've always had all the caregiving unloaded on us, long before feminism was even conceived. You want to care for the elderly and help raise the kids? Then just fucking do it, and stop whining, because we're all too tired from cleaning up everyone's shit to listen.


He he. I expected to find copious amounts of fresh Gir Daxon blood mingling with the dried, flaking and blackened blood of my own on this floor; and I repose undisapointed.

I've been following along for a couple of days. I'm encouraged by the tone here that indicates this issue isn't one of one gender vs. another, but something that must be addressed in concert.

quote:
There's a role here for the labour movement as well.... Labour has ignored precarious workers for far too long, thereby letting our hard-won gains slip through our collective fingers.

This should be the subject of another thread in a labour forum if we had one. I just want to say that I don't think labour's lack of ability to organize precarious workers should be laid at the doorstep of labour. There are a lot of problems associated organizing workers. It may be fair to say that the wrong unions have been trying to organize workers (mostly women) who are being marginalized by part time work etc, but even the best unions would have a very hard uphill battle here, in the best of circumstances.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 05 November 2003 11:04 AM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm so glad this thread is working well.

Windy, I brought that paper to work with me today. PM your email addy and I'll send it over.

On those articles:

Hmm....

quote:
There can be no substitute (not even the best daycare centre, the most loving grandmother, the most caring friend or neighbour) for the concerned, loving, mature disciplined, aware and perceptive mother....

What about mothers who aren't concerned, loving, mature, disciplined, aware and perceptive? Is the author arguing that all mothers are like that? From personal experience, they're not.

Also, where does this leave the substantial number of the world's babies whose mothers die in childbirth? Is it then a kinder fate to kill them than to relegate them to the care of a "mother-substitute"?

I don't have time to go over the other one now, but it looks interesting.

If anyone is interested in some scientific research on the subject, I found Sarah Blaffer Hrdy's "Mother Nature" a really interesting exploration, from an evolutionary biology context, of what babies need, what mothers need, how those needs often conflict, and how those problems have been resolved in other animal species and other societies. Her position is very pro-daycare; she makes what I think is a good argument that humans have always used "allomothers" or adults other than the mother to care for young children.

Re: Trinitty's point: Financial security is a myth, unfortunately, today moreso than ever. My SIL went on mat leave and her employer laid her off when she tried to go back; she ended up being unemployed with a new baby for a whole year (after the leave was up). A friend of mine waited for years to get to the point where she felt she would be "secure"--relationship, home, good job--got pregnant and was laid off as soon as she started showing (of course they had some other excuse).

I personally decided I had to wait for a "good enough" time, not a perfect or ideal time, or it would never happen.

I'm not advocating this for anyone else, it's just something to think about.

Sara: Yay for you on the folic acid! Ah, I remember the day I started taking it--like two years ago. *lol* Took a bit longer to get to this point than I expected. Good luck to you!

Another point in your criticism of the current EI system: I find it especially ironic that young people, who are being urged to become parents before it is "too late" and IMO would often like to start families, are the most likely to be tenuous workers who would not qualify under the EI program. Even just qualifying for mat benefits can take a woman until she is nearly or past 30. Irritating.

I don't know, though, if we should be exclusively advocating Quebec's right to do their own thing (although I think they should). I think it is also important to advocate for these changes at a national level so that all CAnadians can enjoy these programs. After all, how long has Quebec had $5/day daycare? And has any other province adopted it? And now it looks to be in danger of being cancelled in Quebec, thanks to another right-wing liberal government.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 05 November 2003 11:35 AM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:
...An aside: I remember reading somewhere how intersting it is that the Powers That Be are constantly telling middle and upper class women to stop working, stay home and raise their kids; and telling working class and poor women to stop lazing around at home, get their butts in gear and get a "real" job. .

Sorry to divert a bit, but I find this particularly interesting, especially as it relates to social assistance and the new redefinition of lone moms as "employable" ...don't suppose you remember where you read it?


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 05 November 2003 12:05 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
We should relax our tendancy to insist on "national programs" in favour of provinces having more flexibility in delivering programs as they see fit.
I agree, provided a a national standard for parental leave support be established. Provinces should be encouraged to improve on the standard set federally, but should not be allowed to fall below it (because of political/ideological differences between provincial and federal governments) and create the kind of disparities between provinces that we see between states in the US.

Regarding the LeLeche League literature, I got one of their books on breastfeeding when I was expecting the Wee Tyrant, and while there's a great deal of practical information in it, I was intensely irritated by the kind of bad-dog-peed-on-the-rug tone they took when discussing women who go back to work while their children are still infants. The assumption was that mothers who work, do so out of choice (which, in my books, is fine too) and not out of necessity. Like working, for women, is frivolous and selfish when placed next to the needs of the child.

What was required was acknowledgement of varying choices and necessities, without the bad-dog attitude, and practical information on how best to continue breastfeeding after returing to work. Especially in a workplace that is rather less than supportive of the needs of nursing mothers, as mine was (and probably most still are).

What is really required is better funding for parental leave (everyone - regardless of whether they're self-employed, working part-time or on a casual basis, or permanent full-time) so that either parent (or both, by splitting the leave time) can be fully-funded, health benefits included, for at least one full year, regardless of the length of top-up (or lack of) from the employer. 18 months would be preferable, because it's less expensive to staff and run a toddler daycare program than it is to run an infant program.

Also, women should have the opportunity to choose to return to work part-time. As it stands now, on EI, you're only allowed to make $100 bucks a week before being penalized. So, if you're only getting 55% of your salary for the second six months of mat leave, you can only bring in another $450 a month to supplement it. That means most women can't afford to choose to stay home beyond whatever top-up their employer might offer.

In addition, most daycare programs don't offer part-time daycare. It's just too expensive to staff. That, combined with 2 year waiting lists for subsidized (and regular) daycare spots in some major urban centres, where the need is greatest, make options for returning to work very limiting.

I'm not going to make any argument around the importance of promoting parenting in maintaining the national population levels when there are millions of refugees and displaced persons worldwide, but government immigration policy remains blindingly myopic. But many (if not most) people still want to have children, and they will have them, regardless of their circumstances. Children brought up in households with very few resources have a harder time growing up sane and happy. Financial strain can undo even healthy marriages. Real poverty robs children of their childhood and adults of their ability to be adequate or even exceptional parents.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 05 November 2003 03:55 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mush: Nooo...I wish I could. Sorry. It seems almost one of those things I've read from so many authors in so many places that finding the original source could be a problem. If I happen to remember one of the places I saw it, though, I will be sure to let you know.

Rebecca: That attitude is what drives me bonkers about a lot of stuff on Attachment Parenting. That is, it seems to become Attaching Mothering awfully quickly; and if the mother isn't doing the AP thing, well then, shame on her. :sigh:

One of the stats I do remember from my study is that 21% of women return to work within 6 weeks of childbirth in Canada--that is before you have even physically recovered from pregnancy and labour. Obviously if 1/5 of pregnant women cannot afford to stay at home even as long as they need to allow their bodies to return to a pre-pg state, there is a serious problem. (And we have our very own case study here on the thread!)

And benefit levels are actually lower today, in real-dollar terms, than they were in the 1970s. It drives me crazy. When housing and childcare and food and what's considered "necessary" for baby-rearing are so much more expensive, benefit levels are lower.

OK, so we have quite a laundry list of What's Needed so far:

1. Pay equity for real
2. Extension of leave and benefits to workers who are not covered by current programs
3. Better leave and benefit provisions for all parents
4. Better daycare options for all parents
5. More equitable distribution of housework and childcare within families

Did I get most of it? What did I miss? And how do we go about achieving this?

I have to believe that if the vote, and the ability to work in professional fields, and basic pay equity, and maternity leave were achievable, that this has to be too--but where do we start?


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 05 November 2003 04:12 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
A_D, thanks for trying to remember...I'm sure it's an oft-made observation, but if a reference does come to mind, that would be great. But I've been thinking, reading this thread, that the Swedish experience, where there is strong pay equity legislation, strong parental leave programmes, etc., has continued to be that Swedish women do more domestic labour (including mothering, I suppose) than Swedish men. I'm a materialist at heart (tatooed on the back'o me neck), but this suggests that there is a lot that is not addressed by parental leave, benefits, and child care. I guess I'd hoped that #5 would fall out of #s 1-4. Since the others are concrete (if politically difficult) goals, I wonder what we can do to address the domestic labour problem.
From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 05 November 2003 04:27 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
I think the domestic labour problem is something a little more personal, perhaps. We as women have to continue to demand that our spouses pick up their fair share of the household responsibilities. I don't think there's any kind of legislation or social program that can do it for us.

We can work publicly to change attitudes towards men mopping the floors and folding the laundry, but I think, really, it comes down to personal convictions that cannot be eroded by a partner who holds archaic views on such things. It's hard work, most likely, but if we don't demand this in our own homes, we can hardly hope for societal change.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 05 November 2003 05:19 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by Rebecca West:
quote:
Regarding the LeLeche League literature, I got one of their books on breastfeeding when I was expecting the Wee Tyrant, and while there's a great deal of practical information in it, I was intensely irritated by the kind of bad-dog-peed-on-the-rug tone they took when discussing women who go back to work while their children are still infants. The assumption was that mothers who work, do so out of choice (which, in my books, is fine too) and not out of necessity. Like working, for women, is frivolous and selfish when placed next to the needs of the child.

I agree Rebecca, when I went to the LLL, back in 1980, 1985 and 1988, I encountered the same problems. I felt really guilted into nursing and continuing to nurse until the children were adults! Well, almost. I felt that my situation, and opinion didn't matter, that my only priority should be to nurse my child until a given age(?) and that weaning earlier made me a bad mother. I found no support in that, and that came from a group who's purpose is to be supportive to nursing mothers.
quote:
Children brought up in households with very few resources have a harder time growing up sane and happy. Financial strain can undo even healthy marriages. Real poverty robs children of their childhood and adults of their ability to be adequate or even exceptional parents.

Great point. How many of us have experienced these problems? I sure have and most know of others on a personal basis.
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:
quote:
One of the stats I do remember from my study is that 21% of women return to work within 6 weeI have to believe that if the vote, and the ability to work in professional fields, and basic pay equity, and maternity leave were achievable, that this has to be too--but where do we start?

That is so sad. I have no idea how long it takes to recover from birth, do you have those figures?

From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 06 November 2003 03:43 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In defence of the La Leche Leaguers, I found the group I went to was a pretty broad mix of women, ranging from suburban moms who hadn't breastfed earlier children to die-hard attachment parenting/homeschooling advocates. The really rabid attachment parents were a vocal minority.

I never felt guilted into breastfeeding, but it was a choice I made early on and was very committed to. That was really the common thread in the group I was with, we were all committed to breastfeeding.

Now, I'm aware that some of the attachment parenters felt I was a little laissez-faire in some of my attitudes, and my vocal expression (especially with the second babe) to the new mums that you take the bits that work for you and discard the rest was, *ahem*, eye-brow raising, to say the least.

There are so many things we do, as parents, that we feel guilty for later. Nobody's immune, and I don't need other people accelerating those feelings for me. And it's amazing how a little assertiveness goes such a long way.

A note on attachment parenting -- some do it strictly as a mothering thing, but I've noticed that if dad isn't heavily involved, you wind up with much weakened marriages. A chicken and egg thing, for sure, but I've seen some awesome attachment dads in action, too.

quote:
Zoot, did you co-sleep? I only ask since you attended Le Leche meetings and knew folks into attachment parenting.

I co-slept to some degree. First baby did sleep with us a bit, but didn't have a problem sleeping on her own. She also got carried around in the sling a lot, but has always been a kid who is really sensitive to overstimulation and just seemed to need space from time to time. She breastfed for a year and then gave it up spontaneously.

Second baby would not let me put her down. Would not sleep on her own. So she slept in our bed a lot longer, until I started having back pain from the sleeping positions. I started rocking her to sleep so she would start the night in her own bed, then spend the second half in mine. As she slept longer and longer, she spent less and less time in our bed. Although she still (at 2 1/2) still likes to climb into my bed if she wakes at night. She'll go back to her own bed without trouble.

I also did more "attachment parenting" technique with the second, simply because she seemed to need to be in contact with me more. You just have to guage what the kid needs, what you need, and try to strike a balance.

quote:
I want to do the "whole thing". Homebirth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and homemaking for my children.

Good for you, and don't let anybody tell you different. If it works for you, it should be good enough for anyone else.

I had a home birth with my second baby, and if I have another would like to do it again. I'm not really a homemaker in the strict sense, but try to balance it with working out of home.

[ 06 November 2003: Message edited by: Zoot Capri ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Scout
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posted 06 November 2003 04:16 PM      Profile for Scout     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Maybe somebody here can't point out an article that discusses this, I know I have read one and experienced the feeling of being not taken seriously due to the fact that even though I don't have children that by being 30 and engaged I am some sort of employment liability?

I am lucky that I now freelance for a friend and out client is governement but previous jobs and during job hunting, my engaged status and age didn't seem to play in my favour. The mentality seemed to be that I am only good for about a year and then I'll be pregnant and then on maternity leave so I am not a good candidate for long term higher.

It's hard to win as a woman. In my teens I was a just a twit not to be taken seriously, in my 20's something to be hit on and/or there to pick up the slack for parents as my life wasn't so important and now in my 30's I'm an employment liability. Reality bites.


From: Toronto, ON Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 06 November 2003 04:45 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
One bit of advice about birthing and parenting - if it doesn't go exactly according to plan, it's totally okay. Things go awry, you make mistakes, and your child is an individual who's going to do her/his own thing, regardless of what your plans are.

I planned homebirths with both my daughters. Neither worked out - my eldest was a very difficult birth, no drugs, but we ended up at a hospital, and the Wee Tyrant was an emergency c-section. While I really wanted to have both at home, I'm not torn up about them being born in hospitals.

I also wanted to breastfeed both. I couldn't with my eldest, and that was very disappointing, but I nursed WT for 11 months, at which point she self-weened. It was a wonderful experience...and while I was disappointed at not being able to nurse the eldest, I was still blissful to hold her in my arms while she guzzled from a bottle.

I wanted to stay at home with my eldest for at least two years, but I had to leave her father suddenly, get a job and a place for us to live. There just wasn't alot of happy time to spend with her, though we got through all that just fine. I got a bit more time at home with WT, 6 months before I was back at work, but she had in-home care for one year after that. She absolutely loves daycare.

Both girls slept with me at varying points - my eldest off and on between 4 and 8, WT slept with me, off and on, in bed and in a sling for the first year. She sleeps quite well on her own every night now, and is almost ready for a grown-up bed now.

I made mistakes with the first that I won't make with the second. I'll probably come up with a few new blunders with WT. But I've discovered that kids are resiliant, and there's nuthin' a few hundred thousands dollars worth of therapy can't fix.

Just kidding.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 06 November 2003 06:47 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Scout:
It's hard to win as a woman. In my teens I was a just a twit not to be taken seriously, in my 20's something to be hit on and/or there to pick up the slack for parents as my life wasn't so important and now in my 30's I'm an employment liability. Reality bites.

Well there's a whole 'nother issue now, isn't there?

I remember last year or so, I heard something or other in the news about how Quebec was planning to have a 4 day work week for parents of young children. FOR PARENTS. I thought this was really unfair, because non-parents should have the same 4 day work week as parents do. I remember arguing pretty hard about it on Audra's board, Marigold.

There is an assumption that if you're single and without children, you don't "need" the same amount of time off or the same flexibility in your work hours or work tasks that parents do. You don't "need" a turn at having first choice with the vacation schedule. A parent uses all their sick days or uses personal days and people nod and say, "Oh, but she has a 3 year-old at home, so that's understandable." A non-parent uses all their sick days or takes "personal days" and it's like, what a slacker. I've seen this in at least a couple of places where I've worked.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 06 November 2003 09:08 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
As well, if everyone had flexible work hours, the childless wouldn't argue that flex time for parents is unfair. I have one otherwise very reasonable friend who genuinely feels that he is unfairly burdened with work because colleagues with children need to take time off, can't work late, etc. Jeesh....

ferinstance, my wife works for the feds and gets a certain number of 'family leave' days, and nobody really gives a rat's ass what she does with 'em, or who she includes in her 'family'. Sounds like a good way to go to me.


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 06 November 2003 10:20 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Occasionally I've come across someone with kids who milks whatever flexibility is extended to them, but most parents I know drag their sick sorry butts into work and save their sick days for their kids.

And alot of us come in early and work through lunch most days, to make up for the fact that we can't stay late if we have to get kids from school or daycare.

I have a pretty flexible policy around sick days, personal days and vacation days, whether a staff member has children or not. Those days are built into your contract and are part of your remuneration. So long as there's some reasonable notice, and everyone who needs to know that you're not in is notified, I don't care why the day or time is taken. Just don't take advantage and don't increase others' workload through frivolous absenteeism...I don't want to have to come down on someone's ass because they're pissing around with others' valuable work time.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 07 November 2003 12:04 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by Rebecca West:
quote:
One bit of advice about birthing and parenting - if it doesn't go exactly according to plan, it's totally okay.

Good point Rebecca. Society places such unreasonable expectations on mothers. Carrying guilt only adds problems, often health related to your life. Who needs it, especially when it is TOTALLY unwarranted?

Also, be very careful about listening to other women's "horror" birth stories. I don't understand why women try to scare other women, but it happens so often, especially to women who are or trying to get pregnant. Sure, pregnancy and childbirth can be a risky health experience, but remember that most women think it's the most incredible and worthwhile experience of their lives.

Originally posted by Michelle:

quote:
There is an assumption that if you're single and without children, you don't "need" the same amount of time off or the same flexibility in your work hours or work tasks that parents do.

I agree Michelle. Here is where the "choice" to have children comes into effect in my mind. Just because I chose to have a child, it should not entitle me to "greater or lesser benefits" on the job. All people have important and busy lives in their minds, not just parents. We all need consideration from employers and co-workers when trying to manage our lives effectively.

Originally posted by Rebecca West:

quote:
I have a pretty flexible policy around sick days, personal days and vacation days, whether a staff member has children or not.

Right on Rebecaa!!! It would be great if you could get your policy out and about to be considered and possibly used as a template for other businesses.

From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 07 November 2003 01:22 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The actual policy is much more stringent, but policies are always open to some level of 'interpretation'. My boss just wants to know that everyone's playing well together and doing their job. And I've slogged under enough crappy management to know that screwing people out of their personal time, and trying to micromanage their jobs, adds an element of unnecessary misery to everyone's life.

Most people, myself included, don't have alot of choice in what they have to do to support themselves and their families. Anything that can make the wage slave experience less odious is worthwhile.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 07 November 2003 12:41 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Mush: You're right that Swedish women take more of the leave and take advantage of the other programs more, too (like the ability to have an 80% work schedule for the first 8 years of a child's life). I read "The Price of Motherhood" by Anne Crittenden (good book, btw) and she discusses this a bit. Swedish men seem to feel that this has more to do with their employers, who tend to be large multinational American and German companies that don't think parental leave is "for men." So they get a lot of pressure from their employers not to take advantage of the programs on offer. I don't know if that's all of it, though.

But I do know that as of fairly recently, one month of the one year of leave in Sweden is reserved for the father. If he doesn't take it, no one gets it. (I don't know how this applies to single mothers or same-sex families.) The original proposal was 3 months, but there was quite an uproar about that, so they watered it down to one. Anyway, a lot more fathers are now taking leave because they don't want to lose that month, and it is apparently having an impact--childcare and housework are becoming more equitable overall because of even that minimal a time investment. I thought that was very interesting.

Lima Bean: I like to blame the advertisers, too. Of course I like to blame them for everything, but I think here I may actually have a case. Why on earth are vacuum cleaners advertised as fun toys ... for women? Why do we see Swiffer showing women so ecstatic with their products that they break into their friends' houses to clean? Why is the person using Mr. Clean always a woman in the kitchen? And so on.

I mean, these products are so heavily marketed to women, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that women end up thinking it's fun to buy a swiffer (and I know women like that) and men just tune it right out.

I was shocked when I went into a Pottery Barn Kids hte other day and saw, right at the front of the store, a whole collection of small, pink kitchen appliances--microwaves, blenders, vacuum cleaners, sewing machines and so on. All pink. All for girls. What message does it send girls to see household appliances as toys? What happens when little girls "play" housework for years and boys don't?

I agree that the personal work in our own relationships needs to be done, too; but we can't ignore those formative experiences that train girls to see mopping as fun and train boys to see mopping as fun for girls.

Windy: I don't know if there is any one actual source. I do know that it takes six weeks after birth for your uterus to contract to its original size, and at least two weeks for any tears to heal. If you have a c-section it can take longer than 6 weeks for incisions to heal enough to permit you to be active again.

Zoot: It's not so much the actual attachment parents I've noticed the "mothering" thing from as the literature. I mean, I can't read anything by Dr. Sears without wanting to find him and strangle him.

On the flex-time thing: I agree that everyone needs a certain amount of flexibility in and control over their lives, and that everyone should be accomodated to the extent possible, whatever their family commitments. However, I feel strongly that parents have much, much stronger demands on their time that are much, much less flexible than non-parents do. For instance, daycares often charge tons of money for every extra five minutes you're late picking up your child. Keeping parents late can turn into a real financial burden for them.

Fortunately the feds are good with all of it, and I haven't noticed a substantial amount of resentment trained at parents. I mean, I get paid time off to attend classes for my Master's, go to prenatal classes and doctor's appointments (which as a diabetic I have a lot of); I work a compressed work schedule so I get every other Monday off. And when I become a parent I'll get family leave (technically I have it now, but rarely need to take time off to care for my hubby).

Now I agree that this sort of flexibility should be offered to anyone, because we all have demands on our time. I would be upset if I couldn't get time off for my endocrinologist's appointments, which are necessary to my health, and someone else got time off to take their kid to the zoo. But I do think we need to realize that the demands of parenting are different and substantially harder than the demands of a single or childless life, often have a different value, and often deserve a different accomodation.

I say this because I've often had discussions with childless (or childfree, whichever you prefer) adults who feel that their garage band should be given the same priority as someone else's sick child. I don't see that.

I think we need to recognize parenting as one of the most valuable of human activities, and one of hte most demanding; sometimes that means cutting parents of very young children some extra slack.


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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Babbler # 3000

posted 07 November 2003 01:15 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I mean, these products are so heavily marketed to women, maybe we shouldn't be surprised that women end up thinking it's fun to buy a swiffer (and I know women like that) and men just tune it right out.

I was shocked when I went into a Pottery Barn Kids hte other day and saw, right at the front of the store, a whole collection of small, pink kitchen appliances--microwaves, blenders, vacuum cleaners, sewing machines and so on. All pink. All for girls. What message does it send girls to see household appliances as toys? What happens when little girls "play" housework for years and boys don't?


As a parent, I think it's your (not just you personally, athena, but all parents) responsibility to be wary of such heavily gendered toys and marketing strategies and be prepared to talk to your kids about them. It's ultimately up to you what your kids play with until they're old enough to buy their own toys (by which time they'll probably be buying entirely different kinds of toys...). You can buy kitchen replica toys for your boys too, and you can buy the little woodshop toys for your girls.

I don't disagree that we should be working to eliminate this sort of gender-stereotyping from marketing and manufacturing, I think it all starts with the individual and the family. We have to talk with kids about why they make those little stoves pink, and what it means, and what we can do about not upholding the stereotypes or embodying them in our own lives.

I don't want to 'blame the victim' of societal gender programming, but I really believe it's up to each and every one of us women to shake our heads and say, "waitaminnit, there's no reason a man can't wield a mop too, and hey, boyfriend/husband/brother/dad--here's a mop for ya"...(Nobody at all should be using a swiffer, as far as I'm concerned. )

If we don't nobody's gonna do it for us.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 07 November 2003 01:28 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I think the parents are the key. My father is a rough-and-tumble construction worker who bought me tool-toys like little drills and saws, and who taught me to fish, chop wood, whittle, and build things. But he also cooked, shopped and did housework, so I grew up cooking, shopping and doing housework. I think part of his plan was ensuring that I'd be able to marry for love.

I was responsible for cooking one dinner a week when I was 11, and I got an allowance for vacuuming, scrubbing the bathroom, and dusting, and even as young as 5 I was expected to do dishes occassionally. Not only is this one small blow against gender stereotypes, but I now have some real living skills. If I had a sister, I have no doubt she'd know how to wire a dimmer, bait a hook and buck a log.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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Babbler # 1873

posted 07 November 2003 01:35 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I don't disagree that we should be working to eliminate this sort of gender-stereotyping from marketing and manufacturing, I think it all starts with the individual and the family. We have to talk with kids about why they make those little stoves pink, and what it means, and what we can do about not upholding the stereotypes or embodying them in our own lives.

I agree. I mean, I would really like the advertisers and manufacturers to stop marketing toys and other products by confining and increasingly archaic gender roles, but won't stop until we do the work to change the perception within the market, the market being us and our kids.
quote:
Windy: I don't know if there is any one actual source. I do know that it takes six weeks after birth for your uterus to contract to its original size, and at least two weeks for any tears to heal. If you have a c-section it can take longer than 6 weeks for incisions to heal enough to permit you to be active again.
It really varies from person to person, pregnancy to pregnancy, and depends on myriad factors like how old you are, your overall health, whether you're overweight and, if so, by how much, whether you breastfeed and for how long, how much emotional and physical support you get from partner and/or family and friends, and whether there's any significant post-partum depression.

On average, I'd say that you'll be feeling pretty good in 2-6 weeks, and will gradually return to whatever state you recognize as 'normal' within a year. It's not uncommon for your body to continue to recover from pregnancy and birth for up to two years after the child is born. And, of course, there are permanent physical changes, running the range from minor to quite significant, again depending on body type and physical fitness.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mush
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posted 07 November 2003 04:08 PM      Profile for Mush     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Lima Bean:

I don't want to 'blame the victim' of societal gender programming, but I really believe it's up to each and every one of us women to shake our heads and say, "waitaminnit, there's no reason a man can't wield a mop too, and hey, boyfriend/husband/brother/dad--here's a mop for ya)


I see your point...it really starts with the individual/couple/family. I think that it is a lot tougher than it sounds, at least in my experience.

I'm pretty capable of using a mop (Aaaaaaaarrrmy training, Suh!) and my wife and I both "know better" than to fall for the old gender roles when it comes to housework, but they come back in insidious ways. I realized this when we first moved in together...on Day 1, I was on a ladder doin' something to a light while she was organizing the kitchen. Woah. Now this gets legitimized because I had some little experience with electricity (she didn't) and she thinks of cooking as a hobby (for me it's a chore). But there you go....despite our best intentions, we were backslidin' on the first day.

Now why do I know more about 'lectricity? Work (gendered labour market), and Dad showed me (but not my sister)...why does she think cooking is fun? Her Ma showed her. Still, as a practical day-to-day division of labour, it is sometimes a lot easier to fall back onto these old roles in the interest of getting it all done, especially if people are busy. I expect that for many women it is also easier to just do something than to explain how to do it, or to get him to see that it needs doing.

Meg Luxton revisited her study of Flin Flon some time ago, and I think she found that part of the way that gender works to divide the labour unfairly was through women's expectations of themselves around housework. It's not only that he won't pick up the mop, but he really doesn't see the mess in the same way. These things are hard to change.


From: Mrs. Fabro's Tiny Town | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 07 November 2003 06:22 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:
quote:
But I do think we need to realize that the demands of parenting are different and substantially harder than the demands of a single or childless life, often have a different value, and often deserve a different accomodation.

I believe that we also have to consider the responsibilities of caregivers of the elderly and the ill. Caretaking for these folks can be even more demanding and more of a psychological burden than parenting, IMO.

quote:
Lima Bean: I like to blame the advertisers, too. Of course I like to blame them for everything, but I think here I may actually have a case. Why on earth are vacuum cleaners advertised as fun toys ... for women? Why do we see Swiffer showing women so ecstatic with their products that they break into their friends' houses to clean? Why is the person using Mr. Clean always a woman in the kitchen? And so on.

Originally posted by Lima Bean:
quote:
"waitaminnit, there's no reason a man can't wield a mop too, and hey, boyfriend/husband/brother/dad--here's a mop for ya"...(Nobody at all should be using a swiffer, as far as I'm concerned. )

Yeah...screw Swiffer, what a load of s#$%. I think we should send this thread to the companies concerned or to the CRTC. What do you think? Is it the CRTC who has control over advertisers?

I believe all of you raised valid points about gender stereotyping, how those are instilled and the effects of marketing on children's attitudes.

I was raised by parents who played the traditional roles and was subliminally encouraged to marry, have children and all that after I had a career. Saying that, my mother made all of us kids do "male and female stereotypical chores." I think that was a great thing as all of us can handle just about anykind of work, depending on physical limitations. My father was also a lousy repairman and electrician, so he told me, kindof showed me how to handle tools and do basic wiring and I took it from there. Interesting that he only showed me, the 3rd of 4 kids, but that's another topic.

I raised my kids by teaching them most of the skills I could (except they didn't want to learn musical instruments) and bought them all "boys and girls toys". They all learned to cook, clean, run machinery and use tools and do basic electronic and automotive maintenance and repairs as they were interested or as required. It's so important to make your children self sufficient in every manner.

[ 07 November 2003: Message edited by: windymustang ]


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 07 November 2003 07:37 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Zoot Capri:
But we both recognize that, in the first year and somewhat into toddlerhood, mothers have a somewhat different relationship to their children. See, men can't breastfeed. It tunes you in differently, hormonally. It's part of how we're wired.
. . .
It's not a good thing or a bad thing. Just a biological thing.

I'm a dad, and I'd really like to dispute that. My wife breastfed our daughter, and yet certainly from toddlerhood I've been closer to her. My wife and I have something of a division of labour, and it involves most of the caregiving ending up with me. She does much more of the housework, I do much more of the taking-care-of-kid (Which is probably not too fair to my wife, I think she ends up doing rather more work than I do--but I've suggested taking some on and she swears up and down she likes things as they are). Not all, on either side, and she and our daughter are certainly close, and love each other lots. But it's fairly clear that the two of us are closer, more in tune.
I think that while breastfeeding is an experience that creates a bond, the bond isn't mostly biological--it comes from doing the time with the child in intimate circumstances. If a guy does the time, they'll have the relationship. I find myself very suspicious of biological determinist explanations for this kind of thing. I also find them worrisome socially, but if I believed them I guess I'd have to set aside my worry and deal with the reality. But I don't believe them.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 07 November 2003 08:10 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by athena_dreaming:
Anyway, a lot more fathers are now taking leave because they don't want to lose that month, and it is apparently having an impact--childcare and housework are becoming more equitable overall because of even that minimal a time investment. I thought that was very interesting.

Yes. I wouldn't be surprised if one component of men not doing the work, both of childrearing and of housework stuff (not all, mind, but a significant piece) has to do with not feeling like they know what they're doing.
I mean, as long as we're trying not to devalue this work we should face the fact that it's not a snap to do it well. I used to do my own laundry, but confronted with a whole family's stuff I'm very vague on which bits can be washed normally, which bits need a delicate cycle or cold water or something, which bits are gonna shrink awfully if I make a mistake, and how it's all expected to be folded. If you get a situation where women know, or are assumed to know, how to do this stuff already and men don't think they do, you're going to get resistance to doing it. After all, we're looking at a bunch of people so scared of looking dumb that they refuse to ask directions in case it might mean admitting they don't already know.

But if the men take some time off where they're taking care of the baby and the woman is at work, they have little choice but to learn. By the time their leave is over, they've acquired expertise in at least some of the chores, and are likely to keep doing them to some extent. A possible alternative to this in households where parental leave isn't an option or where housework rather than childcare is the issue would be setting aside some time, vacation time if necessary, for some serious job training, and then making the push for equal participation once both the man and woman are clear that the man knows how to do the tasks properly.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 07 November 2003 08:24 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The ads are pernicious. And while taking personal responsibility for making sure the kid doesn't get brainwashed is a good idea, it does not absolve the advertisers, and it isn't a perfect solution.
Kids get a lot of their ideas about gender from interacting with their peers. And if their peers have all seen the ads where the stuff for girls is in the cute voice with the soft muzak and the domesticity and the little pony, whereas the stuff for boys is in the BIG DEEP VOICE with the LOUD HARSH MUSIC and the VIOLENT ACTION FIGURES, you can kind of predict what kind of ideas the peers are going to be giving them. Thank goodness my kid is fairly independent-minded, and her best friend is utterly unimpressed by the concept that he should be doing boy things.

Oddly, many of the actual kids' programs aren't that bad on the gender thing--but then the moment there's a commercial break it's like you went into a timewarp to fifty years ago.


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 08 November 2003 12:38 AM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I'm a dad, and I'd really like to dispute that. My wife breastfed our daughter, and yet certainly from toddlerhood I've been closer to her.

From toddlerhood -- which actually agrees with what I said.

In the first year and somewhat into toddlerhood. Infancy in particular, and it depends on just how long you breastfeed, but only to a smaller degree.

The blond guy was very much involved with baby care from day 1. He knew more about breastfeeding than I did when Ms B was born, having worked closely with his sis while she was combining her music career and babies. He has also been far more in tune with the wee grils than the majority of dads that I have encountered.

But even he admits that, in infancy, the bond is different. That's not to say that either of us thinks that fathers have a lesser bond -- just a different one. I'm not much for biological determinism at the best of times, as it tends to be exaggerated and misused on a regular basis by those who would prevent women from being equal in our society, but the birthing and breastfeeding are two inescapable facts of being female -- unless, of course, you choose not to have children.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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Babbler # 370

posted 08 November 2003 01:13 AM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
but the birthing and breastfeeding are two inescapable facts of being female --

I think it has to do with the feeding. If the man provides the food, via a bottle, and the main caregiver he will feel exactly the same as a woman would doing the same thing.

I know a father who was chief caregiver to his daughter as the mother was quite ill for two years and hospitalised often. His feelings for his daughter is very 'maternal.'

My experience started some 40 years ago. The woman's place was in the home. Things were changing I was not part of it.

It took me quite a while to understand that I was working my ass off bringing up the kids. Enjoyable and fun most of the time but my job was not considered 'work.' Yet we have'les garderies'
and the caregivers are payed a salary for 8 hours of work. Stay home mother is on call 24 hours a day and she gets fuck all!

Completely nutty.


From: Canton Marchand, Qubec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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Babbler # 4509

posted 08 November 2003 01:41 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
See, men can't breastfeed. It tunes you in differently, hormonally. It's part of how we're wired.
. . .
It's not a good thing or a bad thing. Just a biological thing.

Originally posted by Rufus Polson:

quote:
I'm a dad, and I'd really like to dispute that.
... But it's fairly clear that the two of us are closer, more in tune.
I think that while breastfeeding is an experience that creates a bond, the bond isn't mostly biological--it comes from doing the time with the child in intimate circumstances.

I agree with you there, Rufus. Clersal made the point very well about the original close bond being developed throught the act of feeding, not breastfeeding. Sure breasfeeding is best and a wonderful thing, but the baby developes the bond through who administers the majority of the feedings as well as the caregiving.

I believe that the best choice of a caregiver for our children has nothing to do with gender. I believe it is culturally determined after the birth occurs, the female is expected to be the major caregiver. Often the male is more capable of administering loving care and that choice would be a good one, but society makes the choice incredibly difficult for both men and women to reverse the traditional roles.

Originally posted by clersal:

quote:
It took me quite a while to understand that I was working my ass off bringing up the kids. Enjoyable and fun most of the time but my job was not considered 'work.' Yet we have'les garderies'
and the caregivers are payed a salary for 8 hours of work. Stay home mother is on call 24 hours a day and she gets fuck all!

Completely nutty.


Oh yeah clersal, I sure hear you! My 1st was born in 1980 and although the women's movement was in full swing, it was still less usual in the rural areas for women to have a career while raising or instead of raising kids. I didn't even consider a career. Mind you I was young a foolish and was married at 17. Aye yea yea...if my kids do that I'll shoot them!!!


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 10 November 2003 11:55 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
was not considered 'work.' Yet we have'les garderies' and the caregivers are payed a salary for 8 hours of work. Stay home mother is on call 24 hours a day and she gets fuck all!

No, she gets the kids. Just like when I vacuum my rug - nobody pays me, but I get a clean rug!


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1873

posted 10 November 2003 01:38 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm not crazy about biological determinism either, but we are biological creatures and our bodies are uniquely suited to reproduction of the species. Women experience a wide variety of hormonal shifts once their babies are born, whether they breastfeed or not, but especially if they do. Those changes are meant to, among other things, facillitate the bond between mother and child, regardless of the fact that we now had the technology to ensure health in an infant whether it is fed by a lactating woman or not.

It doesn't mean that men don't form close bonds with their children. My partner and my youngest have a very special relationship, and she isn't his biological daughter, so biology doesn't really enter into it at all.

But the fact is, there is a biological basis for women's attachment to their infants. It may not effect all women in the same way, and may be diminished or severed for a variety of reasons, but it's still there.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 10 November 2003 01:56 PM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Sure, Magoo - kids are just another possession, like the rug that you beat.

I'm astounded by this nonsense, (and similar 'humour' about kiddie canniballism, in another thread). Social attitudes towards our children seem to deteriorate daily. It shows in so many ways, but nowhere more than in our schools... and in our 'jokes'.


From: ... | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 10 November 2003 02:05 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Sure, Magoo - kids are just another possession, like the rug that you beat.

As awful as it sounds, I think many parents DO see their children as "theirs". They expect to be the sole recipients of their child's love and expect to be the sole decider of what is or isn't good for "their" child. They get to see the first steps, read the bedtime stories, and get the cheap perfume on Mother's day.

All I'm saying is that the reason we'll pay a daycare worker to look after your kid is that, unlike you, they don't get to experience the joy of parenting that child. That child won't look after them when they're older. That child probably won't call them on Christmas or bring grandchildren by for a visit. It's a JOB to them. The same as someone who cleans your house, or cooks you a meal.

If I want a birdhouse built, or a garden tended, or my house painted, obviously I'd have to pay someone to have it done for me, but it certainly doesn't follow that if I do these things for myself (and benefit directly by them) that I should expect to get paid just because the carpenter, the gardner or the painter do.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 10 November 2003 02:59 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There seems to be a fair amount of hostility towards the attachment parenting movement around here that I'm always a bit surprised about from such a progressive bunch. For me, my wife's pregnancy was an extremely radicalising process. It's when I began to fully understand how dehumanising and irrarational most of our systems really are - medical, labour, class, political, gender - and nowhere is this more obvious than in the way we regard infants and the adults who care for them. Sheila Kitzinger's books really changed the way I see the world, and I am grateful to her for that.

Attachment parenting and other related "alternative" childbirth/childcare strategies like midwifery seemed to me then, and still do now, to be sane reactions to the excesses of our unsustainable consumerist culture. As far as the guilt that's associated, well, I'm always slightly disappointed whenever our friends choose the OB route over midwifery, just as I am whenever they contribute to political parties I abhor or purchase environmentally damaging consumer items. All are equally political decisions, IMO. Why bother pretending otherwise? Life's too short.

If there is ever going to be any hope for us as a culture, hell, as a species, then I believe that the politics of childrearing is absolutely ground zero.


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Debra
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Babbler # 117

posted 10 November 2003 02:18 PM      Profile for Debra   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ronb:
There seems to be a fair amount of hostility towards the attachment parenting movement around here that I'm always a bit surprised about from such a progressive bunch. For me, my wife's pregnancy was an extremely radicalising process. It's when I began to fully understand how dehumanising and irrarational most of our systems really are - medical, labour, class, political, gender - and nowhere is this more obvious than in the way we regard infants and the adults who care for them. Sheila Kitzinger's books really changed the way I see the world, and I am grateful to her for that.

Attachment parenting and other related "alternative" childbirth/childcare strategies like midwifery seemed to me then, and still do now, to be sane reactions to the excesses of our unsustainable consumerist culture. As far as the guilt that's associated, well, I'm always slightly disappointed whenever our friends choose the OB route over midwifery, just as I am whenever they contribute to political parties I abhor or purchase environmentally damaging consumer items. All are equally political decisions, IMO. Why bother pretending otherwise? Life's too short.

If there is ever going to be any hope for us as a culture, hell, as a species, then I believe that the politics of childrearing is absolutely ground zero.


Excellent post!!!!


From: The only difference between graffiti & philosophy is the word fuck... | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 10 November 2003 02:34 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by Mr. Magoo:
quote:

No, she gets the kids. Just like when I vacuum my rug - nobody pays me, but I get a clean rug!
...If I want a birdhouse built, or a garden tended, or my house painted, obviously I'd have to pay someone to have it done for me, but it certainly doesn't follow

If you want to contribue to a discussion, why not say something relavent to the post instead of making cruel sexist comments. I can't imagine what your attitude towards possession and children must be...or maybe I can.

As far as the carpentry, gardening reference, those things are not essential services. Our children and their care is or at least should be an essential service. What is more paramount to societies well being than the care, support, love, nurturing and overall well being of our children? Without properly raised children, society collapses, as is being demonstrated by the number of juveniles being incarcerated rather than nurtured.

Originally posted by Lard tunderin' jeesus:

quote:
Sure, Magoo - kids are just another possession, like the rug that you beat.


right on Ltj!

Originally posted by ronb:

quote:
As far as the guilt that's associated, well, I'm always slightly disappointed whenever our friends choose the OB route over midwifery, just as I am whenever they contribute to political parties I abhor or purchase environmentally damaging consumer items. All are equally political decisions, IMO. Why bother pretending otherwise? Life's too short.

I can understand your right to choose the care and well being of your wife and child, but you have absolutely no right to judge how a woman cares for her body. While the child is in the womb, it is the woman's body. This is a typical pro-lifer attitude and it really p#$$%$ me off.

[ 10 November 2003: Message edited by: windymustang ]


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 10 November 2003 02:53 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Our children and their care is or at least should be an essential service. What is more paramount to societies well being than the care, support, love, nurturing and overall well being of our children?

Great. Then let's place the same restrictions on parents that we do on professional caregivers. A few years of training, the odd inpection, some minimum standards of cleanliness and safety, and an inclusive, non-homophobic, non-racist environment for the generation of tomorrow. If it's crucial that daycare facilities obey these standards for the good of our children, then why not homes too? And then, having taken the necessary 2 years of formal schooling, a parent who wants to be paid the same way a day care worker is paid can be, by my reckoning, since they'll now be able to provide the same suitable environment and enrichment for their child.

If a daycare were found to be teaching children that "Fags are Bad", or that black people are criminals, or if they left butane lighters or steak knives laying about, we'd yank their licence so fast it would make their head swim, but if a parent wants to warp their child's mind or endanger their body like this, we do nothing.

The idea that, on top of doing nothing, we might also want to pay those parents to do this sounds kind of ludicrous to me.

I'd be a lot happier paying parents to raise their own children if I had some sense that they were, in fact, doing it right.

[ 10 November 2003: Message edited by: Mr. Magoo ]


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 10 November 2003 03:18 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Great, lets get out and put MORE REGULATIONS on the unsuspecting public. Don't you value your freedoms more than that?

IMO the way to improve the quality of life for children is through education, not only educating the children, but the parents as well; my dream of a real community centre...another topic; and eliminating poverty which is a real possibility in NA right now. We just need to make laws guaranteeing a basic survival income.

I don't know Mr. Magoo, sometimes you're just not worth the effort to argue with.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 10 November 2003 03:33 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Great, lets get out and put MORE REGULATIONS on the unsuspecting public

I'm only suggesting exactly the same regulations that this public seems to want daycare facilities to abide by.

You aren't suggesting that only children in an out-of-the-home daycare are deserving of minimum standards, are you? A minute ago it was "Children are our greatest resource", and now it's "Oh crap, another form to fill out!"

I think that if a parent wants to be compensated for raising their child, the same way we compensate a day care employee, then they should provide the same environment that a daycare would, and should be formally educated the same way a daycare employee has to be.

Does it make sense to you to mandate that a day care employee has to have 2 years of post-secondary training, must provide an inclusive and enriching environment, must be safe and clean, etc. - but then allow a parent to cash a paycheque just for feeding their kid Coke, parking them in front of the television, and smacking them with the belt when they're bad?

quote:
Yet we have'les garderies' and the caregivers are payed a salary for 8 hours of work. Stay home mother is on call 24 hours a day and she gets fuck all!

Perhaps I should have added that the mother gets the freedom to raise her child any way she'd like.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 3000

posted 10 November 2003 03:42 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
windy, been there, felt that frustrated. Magoo's a toughie, but I think he's sort of got a point, even if he's a bit puffed up about it.

I don't think it's feasible to have the government pay parents (male or female) to stay at home and raise their kids. It would be a huge, unwieldy (is that a word?), and poorly run program, no doubt. All we have to do is look at what they did with the gun registry to know that they'd probably screw it up.

And I don't think that's the answer anyways. Too many things in our world are assigned a monetary value in place of a real, physical value. We are steeped in a system in which money is the answer for everything, and it's a big part of our impending ruin (IMO, of course).

It's also misguided to think that a Parent's Salary would really change anything, or shift societal values (the non-monetary ones) such that parenting is viewed more positively and given more respect. We want people to acknowledge how important and complex parenting is, and how crucial it is for parenting to be done well. I think this will take a lot more than a government subsidy to parents.

I think more important than getting gov't to pay individual or pairs of parents for raising their kids, we should be fighting for programs and policies that will benefit all parents and families. More reasonable work hours, more accessible publicly funded child-care, better standards for workplaces such that working parents (or anyone) have support/coverage/leave/benefits when they need them, better social assistance so parents who are out of work have enough money to pay rent and feed their kids and keep them in clean clothes and warm boots/coats etc. Perhaps we could fight for the development or improvement of parent-education, and outreach programs so that parents with new babies have support even if they don't have family or friends around to help them.

Stuff like that will go a lot further to making parenting a positive experience, and preventing people from feeling that crunch between their job at home and their role in 'the outside' world.


From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 10 November 2003 05:01 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There seems to be a fair amount of hostility towards the attachment parenting movement around here that I'm always a bit surprised about from such a progressive bunch. For me, my wife's pregnancy was an extremely radicalising process. It's when I began to fully understand how dehumanising and irrarational most of our systems really are - medical, labour, class, political, gender - and nowhere is this more obvious than in the way we regard infants and the adults who care for them. Sheila Kitzinger's books really changed the way I see the world, and I am grateful to her for that.

Kitzinger's books are terrific.

I don't think I'm hostile to attachment parenting itself, but I do find some of its more extreme proponents verging on the irritating sometimes. I've actually adopted and adapted attachment parenting practices to my own needs with both my children.

I found pregnancy and childbirth very radicalizing processes as well. The medical system, even in Canada, is big business. Obstetricians make more money the more they tinker with you, even when you're just fine. Advocating medications instead of education, using scare tactics instead of information... I've experienced it firsthand, and listened to so many women in RL and the virtual world who have been badly abused within the medical system. It has to change.

quote:
Attachment parenting and other related "alternative" childbirth/childcare strategies like midwifery seemed to me then, and still do now, to be sane reactions to the excesses of our unsustainable consumerist culture. As far as the guilt that's associated, well, I'm always slightly disappointed whenever our friends choose the OB route over midwifery, just as I am whenever they contribute to political parties I abhor or purchase environmentally damaging consumer items. All are equally political decisions, IMO. Why bother pretending otherwise? Life's too short.

You can't pretend otherwise. I actually lost my closest childhood friend to the politics of childbearing -- she wanted so badly for me to say that the medicalized way of childbirth was equally good and that breastfeeding was unnecessary. I couldn't say it in good conscience (I didn't bring it up or press the point -- it's not my business to criticise what you do with your body -- but when asked repeatedly for your opinion, what can you do?) and she hasn't spoken to me in years now. I think we've gone to opposite poles in the politics of motherhood.

I chose to have a homebirth with a midwife. There are only two practicing midwives in Saskatchewan, and they are acknowledged in law but discouraged -- no hospital priveleges, not paid for by Sask Health. Inaccessible to most people for that reason. My doctor nearly fell over, and so many people questioned my sanity. I had no idea the choice would be so politically loaded. Every medical type from nurses to lab techs to doctors leaned on me. Even my hubby's doc weighed in when he heard. Unbelievable.

A caveat -- I think that it's actually a good thing that we have the medical technologies that we have. When things aren't going well, you want that. I'm simply not of the opinion that they should be used on women/babies who are healthy and in no distress. An example would be my friend, who, after 26 hours of labour was too exhausted to push, needed that epidural to rest for a little while so she didn't have bigger problems. There is a time and a place for everything.

Edited to add: The word consumer... We women have to decide that we will be consumers instead of patients. Patients wait and do as they're told. Consumers know what they want, and aren't willing to accept "no" without an explanation. Shop around, don't be afraid to fire your doctor. It's your body, not his/hers.

[ 10 November 2003: Message edited by: Zoot Capri ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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Babbler # 1448

posted 10 November 2003 05:05 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I can understand your right to choose the care and well being of your wife and child, but you have absolutely no right to judge how a woman cares for her body. While the child is in the womb, it is the woman's body. This is a typical pro-lifer attitude and it really p#$$%$ me off.

Pro-lifer attitude?!

What's pro-life about wanting to have better choices for women?


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 10 November 2003 06:41 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Great post, Zoot, though I personally have issues with the use of the word "consumer" in this context (its common in the disability rights movement too now, in reaction to the medicaliation and depersonalization faced). my problem of course stems from the fact that I come at this from a political economy type frame, where the move to "consumers" from "citizens" in neoliberal thought is intended to disempower people under the guise of greater accountability. Semantics, here, as the mindset is the opposite, but the word still raises my hackles.

Oh, and by the way, I'm in love with Rufus thanks to his posts on this thread. Got any clones out there, or at least younger brothers??


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 10 November 2003 07:23 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Zoot, to be sure there are some zealots, but there are zealots in every movement. It's how the movements move, I imagine. We too have adapted the philosophy to suit our lives etc, and we have also lost some friends over the politics of childbirth. Thank heavens we didn't have to fight so hard for midwife care though, that sounds AWFUL.

The interference from various and sundry medical professionals sounds par for the course, and is a large part of why I feel that staying "non-judgemental" while women we know decide on birthing strategies is a bit stupid. There is a struggle going on here over who gets to control the birthing process, women or the medical profession. Let's speak up for what is right for crying out loud. My wife tends to be a lot more forgiving on this, but she too has to draw the line as you have on offering her unreserved support for the bottle-feeding and OB industries.


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 10 November 2003 08:04 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
ronb, you and your wife sound a lot like the blond guy and I... I have strong opinions, but he's even more outspoken than I am.

quote:
Great post, Zoot, though I personally have issues with the use of the word "consumer" in this context (its common in the disability rights movement too now, in reaction to the medicaliation and depersonalization faced). my problem of course stems from the fact that I come at this from a political economy type frame, where the move to "consumers" from "citizens" in neoliberal thought is intended to disempower people under the guise of greater accountability. Semantics, here, as the mindset is the opposite, but the word still raises my hackles.

I can understand your position. However, in this context, it can be really empowering to be faced with a pushy OB who is insisting that you don't have the right to ask relevant questions and say "I'm not buying this! I deserve better treatment! I wouldn't take this from my mechanic and I won't take it from you! YOU work for ME!"

As long as doctors work on a fee for service basis, if you walk out, so does the money. It may be a consumerist attitude, but when you're dealing with somebody on that level, it's an effective tool. And when you are 9 mos pregnant, you don't have time to worry about changing the economic model, you have to do what you can to get what you need right now.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 10 November 2003 09:47 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Thank heavens we didn't have to fight so hard for midwife care though, that sounds AWFUL.

It wasn't so bad. Just grin and face 'em with facts. I actually spent a full hour with my doc going over reasons why I was choosing home birth.

I do think there needs to be stronger advocacy for midwifery care out here, but it's a small group and they've been fighting so long and hard that they're tired. The establishment types have stalled and stalled and stalled. I don't think there will be adequate access to that type of care for some time.

For myself, I felt it was worth going around the gray areas of the law and finding a way to come up with the money to do it my way. But I'm lucky that I was in a position to do so.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 11 November 2003 02:03 AM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by ronb:
quote:
The interference from various and sundry medical professionals sounds par for the course, and is a large part of why I feel that staying "non-judgemental" while women we know decide on birthing strategies is a bit stupid. There is a struggle going on here over who gets to control the birthing process, women or the medical profession.

Originally posted by ronb:

quote:
politics of childrearing is absolutely ground zero.

Originally posted by windymusang:
quote:
I can understand your right to choose the care and well being of your wife and child, but you have absolutely no right to judge how a woman cares for her body. While the child is in the womb, it is the woman's body. This is a typical pro-lifer attitude and it really p#$$%$ me off.

Reading this over again, perhaps I misunderstood your posts. Are you saying that your prefered child birthing policy is with a mid-wife and as little medical interferience as possible? I understand and support that. What I took from your comments before, was that this approach should be legislated as the only approach. That is why I got so angry. While the baby is within the woman's body, it is still her body. If she chooses not to do what is best for her and the baby, IMO that's her choice.

Hospital policies should be and are being changed to encourage women to have mid wives, and I can't remeber the Greek name for a birth coach. It's still a long way off from home birth, which I believe everyone has a right to choose.

I got very angry because I understood you to mean that your prefered choice should be legislated as policy, regardless of what the woman wants.

By all means, empower women and families with knowledge. Offer them the choice, even encourage home births if that is in their best interest, but never legislate it. Women have had a hard enough time gaining control over what they want done with their bodies. As an educated society, we will be able to make the best CHOICE available to us.


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 09:46 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I chose to have a homebirth with a midwife. There are only two practicing midwives in Saskatchewan, and they are acknowledged in law but discouraged -- no hospital priveleges, not paid for by Sask Health. Inaccessible to most people for that reason. My doctor nearly fell over, and so many people questioned my sanity. I had no idea the choice would be so politically loaded. Every medical type from nurses to lab techs to doctors leaned on me. Even my hubby's doc weighed in when he heard. Unbelievable.
I saw a midwife in the States in the early 80s for my eldest. Widwifery wasn't illegal at the time, there just wasn't any legislation in place that regulated or supported it. The midwife I saw a few years back in Toronto belonged to a group practise, had hospital privileges, and was fully covered by public health insurance. I planned homebirths with both, both were born healthy in hospitals when the homebirths became impossible. With low-risk pregnancies, if anything is going to go "wrong", or if you need to cart yourself off to a hospital, you get indications well before anything becomes critical. Usually when a homebirth becomes a hospital birth, it's because the labour isn't advancing as it should, ie. it's too long, the baby isn't dropping and the cervix isn't dialating. Sometimes a midwife or doctor can get in there and shift the baby around so that she drops properly, but you need an epidural to do that, and you need to be in hospital for anaesthesia to be administered. Sometimes the baby just gets "stuck" and they need to perform a c-section. You and the baby are carefully monitored both at home and in hospital, so the risk is still very low.

The great thing about homebirth is that the risk of infection is lower than it is in hospital, there's no automatic episiotomy (unecessary mutilation, in my books), recovery is faster, etc.

As Zoot has pointed out, sometimes you need all the resources medical technology has to offer. But the average preganancy should not be treated as a disease. It does not need to be medicalized.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 11 November 2003 01:18 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
By all means, empower women and families with knowledge.

That's what we are talking about. The couples I am referring to were given the complete picture and yet chose the doctor-centered approach where induction is commonplace, caesarian section far more likely, risk of infection far higher, episiotomies routine and latching problems far more common. So we are naturally disappointed when our freinds choose that approach - in one case out of deference to the prospective Dad's discomfort over midwifery - imagine how well that went over. It's been our experience that this initial decision often leads to a whole host of philosophical childrearing decisions that we can barely stand to be around - Ferberizing etc - hence the cooling off period and eventual estrangement.

As far as legislating against any medical involvement in childbirth, that is way beyond the midwifery movement and into Christian Science territory, not my bag at all. There is a role for the medical profession in childbirth, but it is a supporting one IMO. The fact that some folks might disagree with me - some doctors, some pregnant women - does not alter my opinion in the least.

Edited to add - that coach/advocate is called a doula. A noble profession, not to be confused with a midwife. The two work most admirably in concert.

[ 11 November 2003: Message edited by: ronb ]


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 01:56 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I would never condemn a woman for choosing a hospital birth, even though I personally believe a homebirth/midwife is better. Sometimes women choose hospital birth because of fear of pain and fear of something going horribly wrong.

If a woman is going to give birth in terror and agony because a natural home birth is said to be best for baby and mother, well it's not really best if it's going to be a calamitous ordeal for the mother, or if she has to live in fear for 9 months in anticipation of terrible pain and things going horribly wrong. Sometimes, no amount of reassurance from midwife and doula about non-medicated pain management, no study or set of stats on safety and infection rates, can be convincing.

It's just a better idea to have a low-risk pregnancy see completion in a hospital, when there is excessive anxiety for the parents.

Edited to add: I found a vast improvement in the hospital experience over the 17 year period between my two daughters. There were problems - the emergency c-section healed badly and I was quite sick afterward, but I had a great lactation consultant, and breastfeeding was very strongly encouraged by all maternity staff. That was simply not the case the first time around.

[ 11 November 2003: Message edited by: Rebecca West ]


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 01:59 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by ronb:
There seems to be a fair amount of hostility towards the attachment parenting movement around here that I'm always a bit surprised about from such a progressive bunch.

...

As far as the guilt that's associated, well, I'm always slightly disappointed whenever our friends choose the OB route over midwifery, just as I am whenever they contribute to political parties I abhor or purchase environmentally damaging consumer items. All are equally political decisions, IMO. Why bother pretending otherwise? Life's too short.


I always have to laugh when people who make the decision to breastfeed or go through natural childbirth or do co-sleeping, or whatever talk about how much "hostility" they get for their decisions - and then in the next breath, talk about how parents who decide to use an OB instead of a midwife are some kind of political demagogue on the level of people who vote for neocons or refuse to recycle or whatever.

But I only laugh a LITTLE bit because in fact this kind of judgmental attitude pisses me off more than anything.

I have never EVER berated people who decide on midwifery or breastfeeding. I think those are deeply personal decisions and I really respect people who make those decisions work for them. And yet, I have been treated to everything from mild reproofs to downright nastiness over my decision to go the OB route (complete with epidural) for my childbirth, as well as my decision to stop breastfeeding after a week and a half because I found it wasn't working out for me.

So if you're wondering why you detect "hostility" regarding your choices in childbirth and parenting, ronb, maybe it's because people who didn't make the same choice as you can detect your judgmental attitude and disdain towards them for not being as holy as thou.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 02:07 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
And yet, I have been treated to everything from mild reproofs to downright nastiness over my decision to go the OB route (complete with epidural) for my childbirth, as well as my decision to stop breastfeeding after a week and a half because I found it wasn't working out for me.
That's when alot of women give up on breastfeeding. Even if you attend the classes and have the advice of a lactation consultant, it can still be a real bugger to get a proper latch, and even then it can hurt like hell for about 2 weeks. Both the midwife and the LC said, "give it 2 weeks at least...if it doesn't get alot easier after that, then you've done your best." I made it past two weeks, and it was pretty much smooth sailing after that. I wish I'd had that kind of advice and support with my first.

From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 11 November 2003 03:07 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Hmmm, I didn't know there was so much to consider about having a wee bairn.

Let's see, we had junior at the hospital in TO (great staff, great counseling, great pre- and post-care.) stayed 4 days for nursing lessons (maybe it was credit for a quick labour) and voila, the little tyke and mom are pretty happy. According to many, bad, bad.

Brought him home, breastfeed him, he sleeps most often in our bed (because its the biggest and most comfortable in the apt., not to make any statement) and eats, travels, and plays well with others. Now I find out that, unbeknownst to me, this rather common-sensical approach is titled "attachment-parenting". Hmmmm, a bit of clarifying the blatant there. Maybe I should read more.

So we have two sides which represent the poles of a (evidently?) debate. Little did I know that many of the decisions could be analyzed and dissected for political and sociological meaning. Stupid me, I thought having kids was about, well, having kids, making 'em happy, wiping their faces, filling their cute little gobs, etc. I'll know better next time around.

Instead of doing what's best for oneself, there obviously is a "correct" and approved way of having kids. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Edit: my attrocciuus spellink.

[ 11 November 2003: Message edited by: Tommy Shanks ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2116

posted 11 November 2003 03:09 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
So if you're wondering why you detect "hostility" regarding your choices in childbirth and parenting, ronb, maybe it's because people who didn't make the same choice as you can detect your judgmental attitude and disdain towards them for not being as holy as thou.

Actually, michelle, I was speaking about a generaI sneering tone towards alternative cildbirth/rearing here that I find to be at complete odds with what I assume a progressive community would naturally embrace. I rarely detect "hostility" directed towards me over my own family's childbirth choices - you realize you are slipping into voucher-school-speak there BTW - except from folks who feel some discomfort or guilt over their own decisions and are extremely hypersensitive about the topic.

Then we're talking about what sometimes happens when environmentally conscious folks who drive cars find out that my family bikes or uses transit by choice. I get the "la-de-da, aren't you a saint" thing. Inner Ron says" Well no, I'm not a saint, we just got fed up with not living our convictions is all, plus we're saving a whack of cash to boot, so why the fuck are you giving me a hard time over it, exactly? Sorry, my life's mission is not to make YOU feel better about yourself." Of course I never say this out loud, I just smile and take the abuse as what is for the most part, either somehow guilt-based, or, in the rare case that I'm talking with someone who thinks roads are for cars and bikes and public transit are objectionable, ignorance.

I tend to steer quickly away from these types of topics in person when it is clear that there is some underlying discomfort. I'm pretty live and let live in most casual conversations, unless my core beliefs are openly attacked. But not when I'm chatting on a political forum. Sorry. I consider these choices to be deeply political.


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 11 November 2003 03:22 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Hmmmm, a bit of clarifying the blatent there.

Sorry to burst your bubble Tommy, but "co-sleeping" is hardly considered "common sense" these days. We have had a whole raft of dire warnings from the American and Canadian Pediatricians' associations over the past few years warning how "deadly" this deranged practise really is. Apparently crib sales are down, if you follow. Don't even ask how much harm you are doing if you cuddle your child too often or keep them out of daycare for more than 6 months.

...and you're right, reading is never a bad idea. May I recommend Sheila Kitzinger?


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 03:32 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wow, I'm a really terrible parent then, I guess. Because we actually put our baby to bed in his crib right from the start. And we even had a regular time to put him to bed in his crib. Of course, I rocked him and sang him to sleep every night. And we fed him on demand, including in the middle of the night. But I really wanted him to get used to sleeping in his own bed right from the start as a "normal" thing - I'm more comfortable either sleeping alone or with a (grown-up!) partner, and I didn't want to spend years of my nights with a small child in bed with me at night. I don't sleep easily that way.

I also found it easier when it comes to bedtimes. Because he was always put to bed around the same time, he went to sleep at an early hour (usually sometime between 7:30 and 9, depending on time of year and on whether he was going through some kind of "stage" or cycle).

I'm not a hardass about it. If he has a nightmare, he's welcome to sleep with me the rest of the night. Sometimes if he's feeling sad or needy, he sleeps with me. But my choice when it comes to raising children (and it's personal and I don't have a problem with other people choosing differently) is to get them into a regular bedtime routine where they sleep in their own bed, right from the start. It works well for me, gives me some time to unwind after his bedtime, gives me a good night's sleep when I have the bed to myself, and when I was married, gave my husband and I privacy, not just for sex, but even just to talk, or watch television together in bed, or to argue (ha!) or even just to snuggle while sleeping. Not to mention sleeping without clothes.

I don't think co-sleeping is any more "progressive" than my choice to have my son sleep in his own bed. It's not like I'm arguing for the right to choose a non-progressive form of parenting. I agree, it's better to breastfeed under ideal circumstances, but in my case, breastfeeding was NOT ideal because I was going abso-fucking-lutely insane trying to do it and hating it for a variety of reasons. In my case, I could make the case that NOT breastfeeding was the more progressive choice for me.

And same with having a hospital birth instead of a midwife delivery. How dare anyone (especially a man!) presume to think that they have the right to tell me what the most progressive choice for myself and my body are when I'm considering labour and delivery options. To my husband, who is from a third-world country where women regularly die in child-birth, the thought of a home birth was terrifying. And frankly, I was terrified at the thought of pain in child birth, and I was pretty convinced that no amount of "breathing" was going to give me the relief that painkillers would. And unless you're ME and inside MY BODY and MY MIND, you cannot possibly dispute my own personal fears and perceptions on the issue and therefore you can have no idea what is best for me or my child when it comes to child birth.

The same people who think they have a right to tell women what they should do with their bodies when it comes to child birth or breastfeeding would likely be horrified at the thought of being compared to pro-lifers who think they have a right to tell women what to do with their bodies while pregnant. But that's exactly what they sound like to me, which is why I have such a pissed off reaction when I see judgmental crap from supposedly "progressive" people on this subject. I understand windymustang's anger earlier on this thread.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
rabble-rouser
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posted 11 November 2003 03:32 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There seems to be a fair amount of hostility towards the attachment parenting movement around here that I'm always a bit surprised about from such a progressive bunch. For me, my wife's pregnancy was an extremely radicalising process.
Perhaps you could quote the examples of hostility, as you see them? I've scanned the thread, not at length mind you so I may have missed whatever it is you're referring to, but the only hostility I've seen is towards those who would pass judgement against people who don't choose homebirth and co-sleeping, not towards those choices themselves.

What I've seen is people who don't want to be made to feel like they've made some terrible mistake by making a particular set of choices around how their children are born and how they choose to raise them. Everyone has expressed a wide tolerance for a variety of choices. With one notable exception:

quote:
The couples I am referring to were given the complete picture and yet chose the doctor-centered approach where induction is commonplace, caesarian section far more likely, risk of infection far higher, episiotomies routine and latching problems far more common. So we are naturally disappointed when our freinds choose that approach - in one case out of deference to the prospective Dad's discomfort over midwifery - imagine how well that went over. It's been our experience that this initial decision often leads to a whole host of philosophical childrearing decisions that we can barely stand to be around - Ferberizing etc - hence the cooling off period and eventual estrangement.
I understand that you feel strongly about advocating certain choices, and that the advocasy is important enough to you to estrange you from those who would disagree, but that's hardly a tolerant attitude. Certainly less tolerant than anything expressed by anyone else in this thread.

By comparison, I think the rest of us here look positively Ghandiesque


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 11 November 2003 03:34 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
And it's Gandhi! Gandhi! Why do people move that h to the beginning? Geez.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 03:44 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Thank-you, Rebecca, I really appreciate what you wrote.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 11 November 2003 04:29 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I agree with you too Rebecca.

The first part of the post you pulled I agree with. I think it's important to advocate for women, parents, etc, to have INFORMED choice when it comes to how their children come into the world and what happens to their bodies during and after birth. All to often, parents aren't informed what their choices are when it comes to induction, c-sections, feeding, etc, and the problems that COULD arise from interventions. The recent history of the medicalisation of the birth process in the Western world is pretty shocking in a lot of cases.

But THEN to say that those who had any or all of these procedures causes them to become detached from their children??? Causes them to rely on consumerism? What the hell?

Yeah,... that's an empathic, compassionate way to speak up for someone or try to offer them information in order to speak up for themselves.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 11 November 2003 04:34 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Michelle, nobody is saying you're a terrible parent. I certainly don't think so.

If you made a choice to go the hospital/doctor route with all the information and stats in front of you, that's terrific. My reservation about the medical route tends to be more that the vast majority of women who make that choice do so without all the information. I don't go about being judgemental or pillorying people for their decisions. You do the best you can at the time.

My first baby was, in fact, a doctor-assisted hospital birth, complete with induction. (One difference for me was that I decided on no epidural, as I was a good deal more scared of somebody messing up my spine than labour -- but that's my own foible. I don't trust needles in any form.) Anyway, I can't say it was a bad experience, as hospital stays go, but when I started doing some reading during my second pregnancy, I found a lot of information that was not given me in my first pregnancy. My second experience was much, much better, and even if I had wound up having a hospital birth, I'd have felt much more empowered simply by knowing more. Most medical types will not encourage more information to pregnant women -- makes 'em harder to manage.

So whatever choice is made, I advocate more education for women on both sides of the question. Give us the stats for epidural and c-section, and the stats for no epi and c-section, for example -- then let US decide, instead of telling us only a tiny bit of information because we're too dumb to bother with the whole picture.

I see this as another level of the choice issue -- We're smart enough to be given the decision whether or not we should carry a child to term and give birth to it, but not bright enough to be allowed to make an informed decision on HOW we're going to bring it into the world.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
ronb
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posted 11 November 2003 04:48 PM      Profile for ronb     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Wow, I'm a really terrible parent then, I guess.

That's for you decide, how you raise your kid is up to you. How you vote is up to you. What you choose to purchase is up to you. If these things make you feel terrible, don't do them. If they make you feel happy, do them. You don't have to justify your lifestyle to me or anyone. And I don't have to pretend I agree with it if I don't. We are allowed to disagree on these things, michelle.

I disagree with your sleeping arrangement choice, on a political level, for the following reason - boys are far more likely to be expected to "learn" to sleep alone earlier than girls are, just as they are far less likely to recieve physical reassurance, even as newborns. It is part of the "toughen 'em up" strategy, conscious or unconscious. This has pretty serious consequences, in my view. I have other reasons for disagreeing with the excessive medicalization/commercialization of childbirth. So I tend, when engaged in a philosophical discussion about these subjects, to object to them. If this seems like judgemental to you in a political discussion context, again, sorry. It's not meant to be. To be somewhat trite, some of my best friends aren't attachment parents. Fewer of them than when we started, but...

As for the intolerance, as I said, we generally recieve the midwifery news as a disappointment - expressed at somewhere near the level of "oh, you're voting Liberal, how nice for you" - the more serious relationship breakdown happens gradually as other the other childrearing strategies inevitably follow. This has happened about five times now, and we have watched old friendships wither away and gone on to build new ones with other more like-minded parents. We're not really into being around parents who feel that kids need "discipline" above all and that nursing past 6 months produces grave character defects, so we tend to avoid those folks. If that sounds like intolerance, well, how many anti-feminists do you actively seek out the company of?

BTW. How Gandhi-esque did the "holier than thou" comment strike you?

The hostility I detected started somewhere around Zoot's Le Leche anecdote and continued on from there. As it turns out I was being somewhat hypersensitive, because Zoot, as I suspected, is roughly as hostile towards attachment parenting as I am. It was not the first time I had run accross the inference on Babble that excessive zeal in promoting breastfeeding/midwifery/attachment parenting etc was somehow a terrible thing, whereas similar zeal in promoting social justice issues is quite acceptable, so I picked this one to bring it up. Not sorry I did, frankly. interesting exchange, food for thought. The pro-choice comment was an eye-opener for me. I appreciated the logic behind it, however on reflection I am not advocating denying women the choice to treat pregnancy as a medical condition - I'm just questioning the appropriateness of it.


From: gone | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 11 November 2003 04:51 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
teeheehee michelle.

My wife was convinced that "breathing" would help alleviate any pain she would feel. So we took a bunch of classes and the like.

After almost having the liittle tyke in the taxi(!!!!) and within about 10 minutes of checking-in, she was crying for an epidural. A little while later, pop and voila. Never got to try out all the tricks we learned and, yikes, packing for the long haul was a huge waste of time.

For the life of me I can't see that feeling what I is imagine is excruciating pain is somehow empowering. Please, anyone, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (as no doubt I am for some out there).

[ 11 November 2003: Message edited by: Tommy Shanks ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 04:56 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
If I were to have a third child, I would stick with a midwife, but I doubt I'd try again for a home birth. I have two healthy children, the product of two healthy low-risk pregnancies, but both were unusually traumatic births, the second being far more difficult than the first (that's unusual too). In fact, if labour on a third started to look anything like the previous two, I'd howl for a c-section!

That sounds weird, coming from a natural childbirth/homebirth advocate, but it just isn't an option for everyone. Same for breastfeeding. Lots of women can't, or won't, for very valid reasons. You'll bond with your child, regardless. It might be of benefit to find a way to get new mothers to express the colostrum, so that their infants have all those goodies even if they end up on a bottle.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 05:04 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Well, ronb, if you can't see how your last post is full of judgmental phrasing and self-righteousness (not to mention a nice big dollop of a man - that would be you - assuming he knows what's best for women in general), then obviously there's not much else for me to say.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 11 November 2003 05:08 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
To be somewhat trite, some of my best friends aren't attachment parents. Fewer of them than when we started, but...

You've lost friends over this issue? Wow. And here I was thinking that there was no right or wrong when it came to this. To each his or her own and, in the end, most kids turn out OK. Serious stuff this parenting thing.


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 05:16 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
There isn't, Tommy. I've known people who converted to fundamentalist religions who lose friends too when their friends refuse to acknowledge their beliefs and practices as superior. This isn't much different.

I have very close friends who did the co-sleeping and breastfeeding and home birth thing. The reason I can be friends with them is because neither they nor I expect to "convert" the other to making exactly the same choices, and we don't obnoxiously assume we're superior because our baby sleeps in our bed, or in the bed in the next room.

I figure if you're losing friends due to your own dogmatism, and inability to keep your nose out of their life decisions, then you probably shouldn't be complaining about people being "hostile" to YOU about YOUR choices.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 11 November 2003 05:21 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Many years ago a pregnant friend gave me a small stack of breastfeeding magazines that had been given to her. I've long since lost them, and it's been years, so I can't remember the exact title, but the gestalt of the entire magazine was You're A Bad Mother If You Don't Devote Your Life To Breastfeeding Your Child Until He's Reading Harry Potter Books. Basically, every article was another few thousand words of cheerleading for the idea of breastfeeding a child for as long as was possible, along with endorsements of anything anti-hospital (so, home births, water births, midwives, creative uses for that perfectly good placenta, etc.). Noticibly absent were ads or endorsements for things like breast pumps (what kind of shitty mother would want to go to a movie - or return to work! - when she could be nursing her 5 year old??).

Personally, I couldn't shake the very strong feeling that a lot of this wasn't so much about prolonging a child's exposure to breast milk and the possible health benefits thereof, but about prolonging a certain type of motherhood for as long as possible, with particular attention paid to prolonging the dependence and role of Mom as the source of Food, Love and All Things Good. To be brutally honest (and I'm NOT talking here about Ronb's wife, or Tommy Shank's wife, or Michelle, or anyone else who's ever nursed a child, but...) I really got the feeling that most of these moms really didn't have anything else to attach themselves to or draw meaning from. Stop the nursing and they became the nice lady who vacuums and does laundry. Keep the nursing going for as long as possible and you stay selfless SuperMom.

That said, they're your breasts, do as you wish with them.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 11 November 2003 05:30 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
For the life of me I can't see that feeling what I is imagine is excruciating pain is somehow empowering. Please, anyone, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (as no doubt I am for some out there).

No, I don't expect it is.

However, when I arrived at the hospital with my first labour, they immediately told me I was going to be labouring for at least 4 more hours, no question, and was probably going to get harder. I was really wavering on the epidural decision...

Turned out I was in the worst part of transition, and labour only lasted another half hour.

If my fairy godmother had been able to tell me this was the worst of it, I would have been just fine. It was the fears that were springing up and the inaccurate speculations that created more pain for me than anything else.

Fortunately, the blond guy was there to help me focus and to reassure me that I could do anything I wanted to, all I had to do was make up my mind. Without his encouragement (he believed in my ability to go drug-free more than I did, and he was right), I might well have gone for meds, and I am glad I didn't. In the end, it was empowering for me. I danced from the L&D to Maternity.

There's a big difference in what classes you take, too. I took prenatal classes that were more mainstream with the first baby, and one technique was taught. At the second, midwife-run class, I learned a lot of different techniques, with much more detailed information and spent time with my midwife, who went over them with me. A much more involved system, and one with various choices I could use and adapt to my own likes and needs.

That being said, I've been an endurance runner for a long time, and was in active training for endurance for most of pregnancy in prep for labour. I also really enjoy a physical challenge and like to push myself. Not every woman feels this way, and I can respect that. Still, for me, doing labour drug-free was empowering, and I was queen of the world those two days...


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 05:35 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Personally, I couldn't shake the very strong feeling that a lot of this wasn't so much about prolonging a child's exposure to breast milk and the possible health benefits thereof, but about prolonging a certain type of motherhood for as long as possible, with particular attention paid to prolonging the dependence and role of Mom as the source of Food, Love and All Things Good.

Maybe. Everyone draws the line somewhere. I just haven't seen the qualitative differences between children breastfed and attachment parented and children not. It seems that they're all doing equally well if they're well-loved and cared for.
quote:
I disagree with your sleeping arrangement choice, on a political level, for the following reason - boys are far more likely to be expected to "learn" to sleep alone earlier than girls are, just as they are far less likely to recieve physical reassurance, even as newborns. It is part of the "toughen 'em up" strategy, conscious or unconscious.
I don't think that has anything to do with not co-sleeping. That has to do with limited perceptions of gender roles. I know of many examples where one does not equate the other. Do you have a link to a study that shows clearly that the two are related?

Actually, alot of what I've read seems to suggest that mothers who attachment-parent have the most limitations placed upon them. I'm not adverse to that kind of parenting at all, but mightn't a small child have trouble grasping the subtlies of mummy's political choice to stay at home and devote herself to her children? Might a small child not be indelibly etched with the idea that that's all women should do? I'm not slamming women who stay at home, I wish I could do that for the Wee Tyrant, but I am making a point. Can ya guess what it is?

[ 11 November 2003: Message edited by: Rebecca West ]


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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Babbler # 1448

posted 11 November 2003 05:39 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
There isn't, Tommy. I've known people who converted to fundamentalist religions who lose friends too when their friends refuse to acknowledge their beliefs and practices as superior. This isn't much different.

I don't think you're being fair, Michelle.

To make the analogy accurate, you'd take someone who'd converted to a religion and then repeatedly ask them to say YOUR religion's superior and theirs is so much fluff and propaganda, and if they don't, call them judgemental.

I don't enjoy spending time with people who behave that way toward me. It shows a lack of respect that I don't need in my life. I respect other people's decisions and expect them to respect mine. I'm not out evangelizing, but I'm not willing to go around denying something I feel strongly about.

The reason I'm responding at all is that I think ronb and I are on roughly the same page, here.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 11 November 2003 05:44 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Many years ago a pregnant friend gave me a small stack of breastfeeding magazines that had been given to her. I've long since lost them, and it's been years, so I can't remember the exact title, but the gestalt of the entire magazine was You're A Bad Mother If You Don't Devote Your Life To Breastfeeding Your Child Until He's Reading Harry Potter Books. Basically, every article was another few thousand words of cheerleading for the idea of breastfeeding a child for as long as was possible, along with endorsements of anything anti-hospital (so, home births, water births, midwives, creative uses for that perfectly good placenta, etc.). Noticibly absent were ads or endorsements for things like breast pumps (what kind of shitty mother would want to go to a movie - or return to work! - when she could be nursing her 5 year old??).

Are they really any worse than any other magazine endorsing an extreme lifestyle?

Some of their ideas are good, take what works for you, discard the rest and move on.

[ 11 November 2003: Message edited by: Zoot Capri ]


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 11 November 2003 05:51 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Are they really any worse than any other magazine endorsing an extreme lifestyle?

Beats me. I have no children, and I know for a fact that my friend gave me the magazines because they set her teeth on edge a little, and she expected me to blow a gasket. More than anything I just found it odd. I don't really know if it's good, bad or indifferent for kids to be breastfed until school. I know that a lot of people - even adults - don't really care to think about their parents having sex, or walking around the house in their underwear, so I can't imagine they'd be happy to relive memories of sucking on mom's breast when they were 5... or at least I'm glad I have no such memory. I'll remember hugs, or a birthday party, or Xmas morning if I want to feel warm and fuzzy.

And I'm sure it won't surprise anyone to know that I don't read any extreme lifestyle magazines. I read middle-of-the-road lifestyle magazines.


From: `,_,`,_,,_,, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 05:59 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Zoot, ronb said that he and his wife have lost friends over the years because their friends have chosen to parent differently than them. And he made it clear that it was because he didn't want to be around people who parent differently than he does. He didn't indicate in his post that those friends were trying to make him say that their style of parenting is better. In fact, from his post we can infer that he and his wife are generally the ones to start the evangelizing, by expressing disappointment with their friends' choices on birthing methods.

Obviously we all think our own style of parenting is the best, otherwise we wouldn't choose to parent that way. We all pick the style we think is best, and no one is trying to tell ronb that his way is inferior or try to make him admit that his way is the worse way.

Oh, and as for the boys sleeping alone thing - I love the implication that I made my son sleep alone as a baby because he's a boy. What crap. I would have done exactly the same thing had my baby been a girl and was fully planning to do so in either case. As Rebecca West pointed out, in my case there was absolutely NO gender politics involved in my decision to put my baby to bed in a crib instead my own bed. I also love the assumption that I did it to "toughen him up". I did it because I like to sleep alone. I did it because I was raised that way, got used to it, and now really like to have time alone in bed at night. I did it because I remember when I was a kid, I used to have a wonderful half-hour to hour of imaginary conversations and personal quiet time that I value intensely even to this day. But ronb just assumes that people do it because they've got some kind of neocon, sexist agenda or something.

So I respectfully disagree with you Zoot - I don't think I was being unfair in the least.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 11 November 2003 06:08 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I didn't read it quite the way you did, Michelle.

For the record, co-sleeping only worked for me in a limited way. I don't necessarily think, boy or girl, that sleeping alone is bad for a kid. Ms B co-slept with me only a little of the time when she was a newborn, Ms T wouldn't sleep any other way for a long time. Adapt to the kid's needs and yours -- that should be the primary precept.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 11 November 2003 06:35 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The medical system, even in Canada, is big business. Obstetricians make more money the more they tinker with you, even when you're just fine. Advocating medications instead of education, using scare tactics instead of information... I've experienced it firsthand, and listened to so many women in RL and the virtual world who have been badly abused within the medical system.

No shit! (Pardon my language)

I know I bring this up a lot, but as a type 1 diabetic I'm considered automatically high-risk. That means that family doctors and midwives will not keep me as a patient during pregnancy or childbirth, so I'm stuck with obs. That means that the obs want to see me every two weeks for most of hte pregnancy, and every week towards the end. That means I can count on probably 10-20 ultrasounds, lots of extra tests and monitoring, and it drives me up the freaking wall.

I hate it. But, despite our legal ideal of "informed consent," I know and they know that if I don't do what they 'recommend', they can dump me as a patient and then I'll have no one to attend the birth at all.

One time I was kept waiting 1 1/2 hours for the ob--when I got in and he noticed (perceptive fellow) that I was upset, and I commented that I would now be very late for work, he said, "but they know you're pregnant, that's not a problem, right?"

Uh, yeah right. I noted that I wasn't sure I was getting anything out of these appointments and he said, "well this is the standard of care and you'd be glad if we found anything wrong." How so? I asked. "Well maybe we could fix it." Really? How so? "Well we could give the baby steroids, maybe."

Oh that's just fan-freaking-tastic.

Urgh. I hate it. Teh whole system drives me right up the wall.

And what is this high-risk business, you ask? Well, since I'm a well-controlled diabetic, I have a maybe 1 or 2% increased chance of stillbirth.

yes, that's it.

I've been told that for this reason they will not "let me" go past 40 weeks.

:sound of AthenaD banging head on table:

Another fun example:

I'm trying to negotiate with the obs at the practice to get them *not* to automatically induce me at 40 weeks. I've done oodles of research on the subject, and there is not one study that shows that routine term induction of diabetics has any benefits whatsoever, for either mom or baby--yet it has a whole host of possible complications. I'm eager to pass on the complications, oddly enough.

Says I, how flexible is this 40 week thing?

Says she, Well as you know there is a higher chance for you to have a stillbirth.

Says I, mmm-hmmm. Well. I've done a lot of research in the medical journals on the subject and I can't find anything that backs that up. Could you give me a reference?

Says she (smile becoming pained), There's oodles of them.

Says I, I see. Where would I find them?

Says she, Oh, the ACOG website, or the SOGC website. They should be referenced in the guidelines somewhere.

Says I, OK. Well, I will look them up. In any case, how much flexibility do I have with this 40 week induction thing? It seems that with the number of first pregnancies that actually go into labour before 40 weeks, I'm pretty much going to be induced if the 40 weeks is solid.

Says she, Well. We're out of time.

Did I find those studies or any references on the websites? Noooooooo.

So, anyway. I know that's off topic but it irritates me and I take any opportunity to vent that I can. On to the subject at hand:

I love the idea of Attachment Parenting. What I don't like is that it seems based fundamentally on the anthropological studies of John Bowlby from the 1960s, which have largely been discredited. Among other things, Mr. Bowlby argued that it was necessary for Mom to be the primary caretaker of her children until they reached the age of five or they would fail to "attach" properly (hence "attachment parenting") and would not be able to form satisfying emotional relationships with anyone. That's waht I object to, and I think it's reasonable.

Breastfeeding, cosleeping, babywearing, and the rest of the AP catalogue are wonderful ideals, if you are personally suited to them. Not everyone is, of course, and parenting style has to suit the family in which it is implemented. But parts of it--homeschooling and the idea of daycare as Evil--I can't get behind. They seem to me anti-feminist in a fundamental way.

Anyway, that's it. It's enough, I know, I know, don't I ever shut up....


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 11 November 2003 07:53 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'm sorry they're giving you the runaround, athena. Stick to your guns, though. Really.

I was railroaded into an induction with my first pregnancy. I was at 41 weeks, and they said they could't "let me" go further. I was induced at 9 days "overdue", 2 days later, after asking a bunch of questions and having the OB goes bananas on me. He told me a lot of things that I later discovered were not true, but he frightened the blond guy and I enough that we'd have done anything he told us to by the time he was through.

Three years later, the standard for induction was changed from 41 weeks to 42. Why? No real reason. Just thought it would be better.

The overdue thingy is purely arbitrary. At least my midwife was honest enough to tell me that, even though she still uses it as a guideline.

Induced labours are tougher, and end up in c-sections more frequently. Don't let them push you into anything without a good enough (in your opinion) reason.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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Babbler # 1425

posted 11 November 2003 08:25 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The analogy to religious conviction is a good one.

My experience (well, not really MINE) but one (actually TWO) I lived almost-not-vicariously, is that a pregnant women is living 40 weeks of Saturday mornings at 8:30 AM, with signs on the door saying "Solicitors welcome" and "Can Jehova really give my life meaning?".

Every well-meaning kook who knows everything about childbirth --and they all do-- and child-rearing (that doctors and midwives don't) will bless you with their unique insight.(Who'da thunk 55-year-old confirmed bachelor and moster-truck afficianado Uncle Earl would've had enough time between WF Smackdowns to master the intricacies of getting an infant to "latch on" and "Progressive non-demand feeding schedules"?)

The LaLeche league or --Titty Terrorists, as they came to be known in our house-- were not for us, but they are great for those as likes 'em. Both our critters have slept with us --the young one still does by sneaking in after we've fallen asleep-- and they're fine.

Kids are resilient and parents who read too much advice are only endangering their own peace of mind.

If you spend your time and attention on your children and do it with love and humility, no system you choose to follow will do permanent damage, not even the ones in What to Expect When You're Expecting or Parenting magazine. Really.

Only my $0.02.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 09:42 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Titty terrorists - that's a good one!
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 11 November 2003 09:46 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
The LaLeche league or --Titty Terrorists, as they came to be known in our house-- were not for us, but they are great for those as likes 'em. Both our critters have slept with us --the young one still does by sneaking in after we've fallen asleep-- and they're fine.

Titty terrorists...

I can see how that could happen. One of the good things about being in a small centre is that the zealots are few in number, and all it takes is one loudmouth like me to make the moderates more comfortable. The group I went to had a fairly different character, too, from a second LLL group in town.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 11 November 2003 10:02 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I'd considered joining a local LLL Chapter, but after reading one of their books (which did sport some practical information that was helpful), I felt that, as a single working mother, I didn't fit their idea of what a proper mother should be. Hell, I'm not much of a joiner anyway, but I sure as hell know that I'm a very good parent. Not a perfect one, but a good one.

I've had plenty of unsolicited parenting advice from friends, family and complete strangers, and alot of criticism and outright condemnation from pretty much every sector of society for being a single mother with kids in daycare. Apparently I and my evil ilk are responsible for all social ills I should have so much influence.

So really, I'm not going to read alot of stuff or join any groups that're going to take a further dump on my choices. I'm pretty good in the self-esteem department, but I'm not really into punitive pastimes. Well, mostly not...


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 11 November 2003 10:50 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Titty terrorists - heh. My term was "nipple nazis". Not for breastfeeding advocates (I had originally planned to breastfeed too!) but for people who went off the deep end when they discovered I was bottlefeeding and felt like it was their right to lecture me like a 4 year-old.

But strangely enough, I loved hearing pregnancy and labour stories while I was pregnant. You know how some women hate hearing them, or getting advice? I loved hearing everyone's stories (whether they chose the same type of delivery I was planning or not), and the more stories I heard, the better it was. I found it comforting, it felt communal hearing everyone's ideas and experience.

[ 12 November 2003: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 11 November 2003 11:26 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
(I had originally planned to breastfeed too!)

Yeah me too for my first child. It didn't work out and I don't remember feeling 'guilty' at not breast feeding but disappointed.

I breast fed my second child and I really liked the idea that I was the walking fridge and no more making formula.

In the hospital when they brought the baby it was; "Sit up. Don't fall asleep. I'll be back." Naturally I fell asleep, the baby and I under the covers. When the nurse came back she forboded(sp) not healthy for the baby. Muttering about smothering. Anyhow I thought, if the child and survived in a non breathing environment, being under the covers was not going to be a problem.

It was fun as the crib was right beside my side of the bed. All I had to do was reach over, grab the baby and plug it in. I think that breast feeding is one of Mother Nature's brilliant ideas.

It is practical as hell.

Slight thread drift, I believe the Inuit used to use moss as diapers. Now that is practical....


From: Canton Marchand, Qubec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 12 November 2003 10:02 AM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:
But strangely enough, I loved hearing pregnancy and labour stories while I was pregnant. You know how some women hate hearing them, or getting advice? I loved hearing everyone's stories (whether they chose the same type of delivery I was planning or not), and the more stories I heard, the better it was. I found it comforting, it felt communal hearing everyone's ideas and experience.
Me too. I still like reading and hearing about everyone's pregnancy/birth stories. Back when my eldest was born, and they kept new mothers in hospital longer than they do now, I was feeling a little resentful about having ended up in hospital instead of having the homebirth I'd envisioned. But the really cool thing about the hospital stay was that a bunch of us new mothers would hang out in the lounge while the babies were asleep and talk about the experience. We were all first-time mothers, and it was a kind of cool, chick-bonding, cathartic experience. I missed that the second time 'round, because even with the c-section and complications, they had me out in a couple of days. I think mothers' groups are a really good idea, a good support system and outlet.

I still like talking birth stories, though I'm careful around first-timers who may not want to hear all the "horror stories". Me, I always feel better knowing as much first-hand info about anything I'm about to embark upon...but not everyone's like that.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 12 November 2003 11:35 AM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I'd considered joining a local LLL Chapter, but after reading one of their books (which did sport some practical information that was helpful), I felt that, as a single working mother, I didn't fit their idea of what a proper mother should be.

That was the problem with the TTs where we were. If you demonstrated that you were unwaveringly committed , not only to the idea the breastfeeding is the best way to go, but also to the view that bottle-feeding was evil, a symptom of personal weakness and proof that you were a Bad Mother, then the advice and support you got was truly astounding. Like the AA "buddies", you could call an LLL agent anytime, day or night, to help you stiffen the upper lip (whose lip was not clear), straighten up and fly right, presenting your Life-giving Treasures of Womanhood in all their glory to the little life whose very soul was being coveted by the satanic Gerber baby .

Life was pretty stessful for us at the time: in-laws (my BIL, MIL) had moved into our two-bedroom, 850 sq foot little housette; post-partum depression; I had to go back to work long hours... I don't think my mate was too thrilled with cracked, bleeding nipples, vicious mood swings, demand feeding for our critter, who was some kind of miracle of physics: able to suck back twice his own volume in breast milk in 24 h. Plus, the constant calls from the diabolically cheerful TT agents:" We're not ready to give up are we? That would be a Baaaad Thing,'kay?


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 12 November 2003 12:25 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That was the problem with the TTs where we were. If you demonstrated that you were unwaveringly committed , not only to the idea the breastfeeding is the best way to go, but also to the view that bottle-feeding was evil, a symptom of personal weakness and proof that you were a Bad Mother, then the advice and support you got was truly astounding.
Yeah, inklings of that steered me clear. I did have a fair bit of post-natal support from my midwife for a few weeks, but it was also a very stressful time for me too. Post-partum depression as well, cracked and bleeding nipples for a couple of weeks (well, I did tough it out after all, and it worked very well for almost a year), sick from c-section complications, a sprained foot, no partner to help out, and a couple of airplanes being flown into buildings. I was a little scared at the time. If I'd had to deal with some breastfeeding fascist harping at me, I might've gone over to the dark side.

Really, I'm a big advocate of breastfeeding whenever possible, but unless you're doing real and permanent damage to your kids (and, I'm sorry, but bottle-feeding just doesn't fall under that category), it's none of my business what choices people make (beyond the fact that I'm always interested in how people cope with life's challenges and what works best for who).


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 12 November 2003 12:36 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Really, I'm a big advocate of breastfeeding whenever possible,

Ditto, though it's easy for me to say . The TTs were right, no argument there, it's just that the ones we had appeared to have confused the terms "support and empathy" with "self-righteousness and condemnation".

Anyway, I'll bow out here, though posting in this forum does have a bit of "forbidden fruit" cachet *tee hee*. It's possible that someone(!) may read this and say "Next time, buddy, let the person with breasts handle the nursing stories. You'll get the vasectomy stories all to yourself."

I'm gone.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 12 November 2003 12:40 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Rebecca, you might like the book "Hard Labor" by Susan Diamond. She's a labour and delivery nurse and has lots and lots of stories.

Really interesting perspective since she originally wanted to be a midwife, and she worked in both public and private hospitals.

The American Way of Birth by Jessica Mitford was really a great book. She was an amazing muck-raker... she also wrote the American Way of Death, and reduced the funeral industry's profits by two thirds.

Lots of research and history of birth and how it's become commercialised and medicalised in the West.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 November 2003 01:03 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
That was the problem with the TTs where we were. If you demonstrated that you were unwaveringly committed , not only to the idea the breastfeeding is the best way to go, but also to the view that bottle-feeding was evil, a symptom of personal weakness and proof that you were a Bad Mother, then the advice and support you got was truly astounding. Like the AA "buddies", you could call an LLL agent anytime, day or night, to help you stiffen the upper lip (whose lip was not clear), straighten up and fly right, presenting your Life-giving Treasures of Womanhood in all their glory to the little life whose very soul was being coveted by the satanic Gerber baby

Wow, that sounds awful. Really unfortunate, too.

I had a totally different experience with the LLL-ers. If you wanted help, you could call any time, but nobody harrassed you. We had several working moms in the group, too, and breast pumps were openly discussed without rancor or disapproval. I used a pump regularly, and don't recall anybody even giving me a disapproving look.

The best piece of breastfeeding advice I had was from a friend, who told me that the first 4 to 6 weeks were going to hurt and be really hard, and if I could make it through the first month, there was smooth sailing ahead. She was absolutely right. Cracks and bleeding, not much fun at latch-on time. But at least I knew it wasn't indefinite, there would be an end in sight.

I was thinking about this last night (kid got me up and I couldn't go back to sleep...), and I've noticed the word "anti-feminist" applied to the attachment-parenting, breastfed-only type mothers... I don't really buy that. If you talk to a lot of these women, the philosophy and focus is really on women reclaiming their reproduction and child-rearing from patriarchal systems. I'd say that they're a different brand of feminist, but feminist all the same.

In fact, their focus on "it's better done by the mother" sometimes reminded me of the whole early feminist "women do everything better" attitudes.

I wonder what Andrea Dworkin would think of it...


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 12 November 2003 01:07 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Actually, I have a few stories from my first hospital birth along those lines...like arguing with a night nurse who tried to bully me into being drugged to shut me up while I was in active labour...refusing to let them shave me for a normal vaginal birth, and having the nurse sneer at me, "that wouldn't have happened if you let us shave you", when the guy sewing up my episiotomy (the one I did not consent to, the one they did before the local anaesthetic 'took') caught some of my pubic hair and pulled it, how several staff actively ensured that I would fail at breastfeeding by bottle-feeding my daughter against my wishes and telling me that I was starving and dehydrating my infant daughter by trying to breast feed her (what, 24 hrs after birth? It takes a few days for just the milk to come in)...trying to bully me into allowing an internal fetal heart monitor when there were absolutely no signs of any fetal distress (what, you think screwing a device into her skull ain't distressing?)

It was pretty draconian...boy was I pissed at the time. I got over it. Luckily, I was educated before I went in, so I knew what kind of line of crap they were going to feed me. And more luckily still, things have improved vastly over the almost 20 years since my eldest was born.

I have a bunch of books at home on natural childbirth and home delivery. Even if you decide on going to a hospital, they're great to read. Information is power, and having the power to make choices about whether and how your children come into this world is what it's all about.


From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
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posted 12 November 2003 01:25 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yup, exactly. I was lucky to have a strong advocate in the blond guy, although the only pressure was for the epidural -- he had to get a little rude ("What part of 'no thanks' are you having trouble with?" ).

Part of the reason that home birth was right for me is my intense dislike (more like phobia) of hospitals, especially only about a year after my father died. They smell like death to me, even the clean linens. I don't trust strangers, there's too much noise, I feel paranoid and can't sleep. 4 days in hospital would have been a living hell for me, I just can't imagine it. Even my day and a half was terrifically exhausting. I was so much more relaxed and rested at home, even with a 3 year old bopping around the house.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 12 November 2003 01:27 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Grantly Dick-Read was the author of: 'Childbirth without fear.' He was a new doctor working in small english villages delivering babies(home births) The first baby he delivered he attempted
to give her anesthetic. She kept pushing him away and finally asked, "It isn't supposed to hurt is it?" The book was born....
It is probably out of print now as he died in 1959. I couldn't find much on the book. I followed it religiously. I found giving birth fun and not painful. I hated being pregnant as I was always throwing up.

Babies were born without the help of doctors for centuries.


From: Canton Marchand, Qubec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Lima Bean
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posted 12 November 2003 01:29 PM      Profile for Lima Bean   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post
I think, when I'm having a baby, I'll want to know exactly how it all goes, way ahead of time. I deal with stress best if I can clearly visualize all the steps along the way, and imagine how they might go, all the possible hitches, or suprises, and kind of work out in advance what my responses will be. I know it's impossible to plan for all of it, but I think it'll probably be really important to me to do a lot of reading, talk to a lot of women who have had babies, and walk through the whole labour-delivery-recovery event with my midwife (because I'm bound and determined to have one--my mom tells me I was delivered by a bald man wearing a bow tie who got her name wrong in the delivery room).
From: s | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Trinitty
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posted 12 November 2003 01:34 PM      Profile for Trinitty     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Wow. Sounds like you got the whole thing at your first hospial birth. I'm glad things have improved though!

Mitford's book details the use of "twillight sleep" -Chloroform- on labouring mothers from the 20s though to the 50s. They were totally disoriented, would often say bizarre things, lose control of their bowels, and the doctor would pull the infant out with forceps, often even if it was still high in the canal. Wake up maybe 12 hours later, confused, with a headache and unable to breastfeed... this was during the bottle craze.

At the turn of the century it was thought that touching an infant wasn't healthy. Many were kept in steel "bassinettes" (for 24 to 48 hours) with a viewing window slot at the top for nurses to check and see if they were crying -needing food or changing. Infant mnortality was high.

Lots of weird things. Interesting read.


From: Europa | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
athena_dreaming
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posted 12 November 2003 01:48 PM      Profile for athena_dreaming   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Zoot, I would love to. I'm trying hard, too, not to give in to whatever they say just because they say it and they're wearing a white coat and have lots of framed certificates on the wall. It's hard, though, when you've been told this clinic is the only one that will see you becauase of your medical status. I get tired of fighting with them all the time. Bah.

And btw, Zoot, I don't mean to dump on the APs. Lord knows there's plenty of so-called "expert" advice out there which seems to serve no other function than to make parents neurotic, paranoid, and guilt-ridden. I can't say I have much use for Babywise, for instance, though I know many parents who swear by it. And hey, whatever works for you, you know?

I find the whole concept of parenting expertise odd. How does someone whose never met me or my baby (hell, at this point, *I've* never met them) know what the best way for us to structure our lives is? Even if there's some study out there that says doing x-y-z is best for 90% of infants/families, that still leaves 10% for whom it is not best.

I think my particular AP bias somes from having read some interviews, articles, and posts in other forums where women who chose not to be their child's primary caregiver for the first five years of their life were told point-blank that they were malforming their child's personality. I think AP can be feminist, but that sure as hell ain't.

Rebecca: That would have pissed me off, too. You'd think to listen to some of the medical "experts" that it is a minor miracle any woman ever survived childbirth and any infant was ever born healthy and survived to one year before the advent of hospitals and obstetrics.

One thing I found interesting when I was researching this myself was the statistic that when childbirth first started moving to the hospital setting, lo these many centuries ago, the women giving birth in the gutters outside the hospitals actually had a better chance of surviving childbirth than the women giving birth in the hospitals. Why? The doctors didn't think they needed to wash their hands when moving between patients. So they'd treat a dying patient, go straight to a labouring woman and stick their hands you know where--and guess what would happen next?


From: Toronto | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 12 November 2003 02:01 PM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
They actually fought sanitation tooth-and-nail, IIRC.
From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 12 November 2003 02:23 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Yes, the "gentlement don't need to wash their hands...they aren't like working-class LABOURERS you know" thing.
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
windymustang
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posted 15 November 2003 10:04 PM      Profile for windymustang     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by Rebecca West:
quote:
The great thing about homebirth is that the risk of infection is lower than it is in hospital, there's no automatic episiotomy (unecessary mutilation, in my books), recovery is faster, etc.

As Zoot has pointed out, sometimes you need all the resources medical technology has to offer. But the average preganancy should not be treated as a disease. It does not need to be medicalized.


Unnecessary mutilation for sure! My last child was born in 88 and I still have recurring problems...pain and irritation etc. With #2, they cut me 3 times, used 3 layers of stiching, totalling 50stitches, and the intern forgot the gauze inside me which caused a severe infection and fever. I also had to have a blood transfusion from the amount of blood lost from the episiotomy...scary thing in 88, with not test for AIDS established. This is not meant to be a horror story for expecting mom's. #2's head was 15.5 cm.

Originally posted by ronb:

quote:
As far as legislating against any medical involvement in childbirth, that is way beyond the midwifery movement and into Christian Science territory, not my bag at all.

fine
Originally posted by Michelle:

quote:
I always have to laugh when people who make the decision to breastfeed or go through natural childbirth or do co-sleeping, or whatever talk about how much "hostility" they get for their decisions - and then in the next breath, talk about how parents who decide to use an OB instead of a midwife are some kind of political demagogue on the level of people who vote for neocons or refuse to recycle or whatever.

But I only laugh a LITTLE bit because in fact this kind of judgmental attitude pisses me off more than anything.


Me too, Michelle, that's why I got so irate with the pro-life comparison.

Originally posted by ronb:

quote:
Wow, I'm a really terrible parent then, I guess.

That's for you decide, how you raise your kid is up to you. How you vote is up to you. What you choose to purchase is up to you. If these things make you feel terrible, don't do them.


Just where do you get off with this kind of comment? Who the #$%# are you?

Originally posted by Athena_Dreaming:

quote:
And what is this high-risk business, you ask? Well, since I'm a well-controlled diabetic, I have a maybe 1 or 2% increased chance of stillbirth.

yes, that's it.

...
Did I find those studies or any references on the websites? Noooooooo.


This just amazes me!! It also makes me really angry. I was diagnosed as gestational diabetic for #3, and told I was probably so for 1 & 2, but it wasn't diagnosed. I wish I had been for 1 & 2, because being on insulin and following the diet, regulating my blood sugar, gave me the only comfortable healthy pregnancy I had.

I was induced with 2 & 3, because of the risks, although #1 was 3 weeks overdue and my mother and sister had the same experience (3-4 weeks). Some mothers have a longer gestation period. Our children did not look like overdue babies and were much healthier for going to term.

Induction is a terrible way to give birth. My 2 inductions lasted for 2 days each, with nurses hassling me re drugs, choice of walking through labour etc. When I finally had the drugs administered, I got hassled for that too.

I am glad I didn't have an epidural, with #3, they administered morphine instead of demoral because there is an antidote given to the baby immediately.

I too am an athlete (kayaker, swimmer, x-country skiier) and see no point in doing a marathon birth. If it hurts beyond endurance, lighten up and relieve the pain. Why else do we have modern medicine. It really ticks me off with other's "holier than though attitude" as well.

As far as sleeping with my children, I was a lot like clersal's 2nd. I had the cradle beside the bed until my babies were sleeping through the night. Just made sense to not have to get up until nursing was finished and time for diaper change (cloth diapers BTW). Afterwards, I moved the baby to his/her crib to reestablish a sexual relationship with my husband (around the "safe" six weeks time). I too like to sleep in the buff and don't feel it's good for my kids to experience that or sex no matter what the age.

That's my opinion. I don't need anyone else to comply, and I won't call you down for loving your children in a nurturing, healthy matter. I just don't like my experiences at the time or choices at the time to be criticized by anyone who wasn't in my shoes...which no one else was.

[ 16 November 2003: Message edited by: windymustang ]


From: from the locker of Mad Mary Flint | Registered: Oct 2003  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
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posted 16 November 2003 01:20 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
I too am an athlete (kayaker, swimmer, x-country skiier) and see no point in doing a marathon birth. If it hurts beyond endurance, lighten up and relieve the pain. Why else do we have modern medicine. It really ticks me off with other's "holier than though attitude" as well.

Can I assume this shot was aimed at me? I'll assume so, since I was the one who mentioned fitness/endurance in relation to labour.

I think you've misread me. I'm not advocating that somebody who is having a really hard labour shouldn't use medication or pain relief. There is clearly a time and a place for everything.

However, I think that being physically fit and doing some endurance training as preparation for labour is very helpful in avoiding a harder labour and managing pain without meds, if that is something you want to do.

Now, I recognize that I've had two relatively easy labours, even with the induction for the first one (bit of a fast forward, which wasn't fun, but not a horror story). Both were under 8 hours, and pushing stages were 20 and 7 minutes respectively. My midwife seems to think that my level of fitness was a factor, and so do I. I also think a proactive approach to one's health in many areas, not just the maternal, is a really good idea.

I don't think that means I have a holier than thou attitude -- you've related your experience, and I'm relating mine. It doesn't have to set us at odds.

athena_dreaming, if you are looking for medical studies, here is a very good link: PubMed. It has an extensive database of abstracts, and you may find some good information to at least generate more discussion with your doc.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 16 November 2003 02:33 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is a fantastic thread, but it is far too long.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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