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Integral Parenting Thread!

Last post 04-11-2007, 11:13 PM by miriam. 161 replies.
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  •  08-12-2006, 8:32 AM 4167 in reply to 4100

    Issues

    what do integral parents, like all of us here on this list Wink [;)] feel about the following:

    1. spanking

    2. infant formula

    3. co-sleeping (letting baby sleep in parent(s) bed)

    4. breast feeding in public

     

    later,

    gene

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  •  08-12-2006, 7:52 PM 4230 in reply to 4167

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    Re: Issues

    Hi Gene,

    You know I can't resist replying to this!

    1. Spanking-- I think it's violent and teaches force and violence. I don't believe in spanking EVER. I was spanked as a child and it was a humiliating experience which still causes me to cringe in memory. I felt hated and abused and those feelings stayed with me and required therapy to work through. In fact, I probably still have some shadow work to do on that because I'm feeling a lot of energy run through me as I write this.

    2. Infant formula? Is there a controversy over this that I missed somehow? My daughter was allergic to most formula and I had to get Nutramagen for her, which smelled very cheesy and awful. But she thrived.

    3. Co-sleeping-- the family bed. Yeah, I'm for it. With an infant. Did I mention William Sears MD. and his "attachment theory?" I was big on Sears. However, I know a mom who still sleeps with her kid at age 10; that seems extreme to me-- not enough "separation." My daughter opted out of my bed at about one and half. I got lucky in that I'd rented a house in the country for a month one summer and the bed in the master bedroom was very high. She didn't like the look of that master bed and that's when she moved into her crib. Her choice. Don't know how long she'd have stayed if that hadn't happened. But then again, when we got back home (to the city) she went into the crib again with no fuss.

    4. Breast feeding in public-- Mostly I'm OK with this. Guess I'd think twice if it were flaunted, with a breast in full view, or say in the middle of a very fancy restaurant. There's all manner of public places and with a reasonable amount of discretion, and a sense of what's appropriate, breast feeding seems pretty OK to me. Of course, I'm sure it could be done in a way that was offensive (like almost anything) if a person tried.

    Thanks for these fun questions, Gene! The spanking one nearly gave me apoplexy.

    later, (I'm sure)

    Robin

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  •  08-12-2006, 7:53 PM 4231 in reply to 4167

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    Re: Issues

    Uh, Gene,

    I forgot to ask, what do you think about those 4 issues?

    Robin

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  •  08-12-2006, 10:58 PM 4242 in reply to 4231

    Re: Issues

    Boy Gene, you're really going for the Integral jugular here, aren't ya?Wink [;)]

     

    But just a few things for the moment (and since I have taken some time to consider writing about these issues):

    One, if it is assumed that the "Integral" view on these issues is coming from view that is of multi-perspectival vision-logic, although there are varying degrees of complexity involved in each issue (i.e. some are simpler than others), it is surely pretty much impossible to arrive at some kind of always-yes/always-no answer. All that mouthful means is that to attempt to be a truly integral parent -if the word "integral" has any meaning -would be to consider, or already be considering, multiple or as many perspectives as possible on all of these issues. Further, I think it would mean to, more than anything else, consider the multiple perspectives that apply to your individual situation and in each ongoing moment.

    Two, I would just like to point out (and see if all or some or any of you here agree with me) that these are the types of issues that culturally (in every sense of the word) put an incredible amount of pressure on parents. And not just pressure but extreme and narrow judgmentalism from all different sides. But all of that cultural pressure and all of that extreme, harsh, unforgiving and so on judgmentalism come from having some kind of absolutist views, which are more often than not deeply held and emotionally charged, and all can be traced or linked to the first tier value memes.

    Which, for us, is supposed to in some way shape or form mean - they're all right! . . . and all partial as well.

    The third thing we should bring to any discussion like this is an acknowledgement that pathological is pathological, shadow is shadow, no matter where you are coming from. And so any kind of pathological or shadow imbued parenting or parenting decisions-purple, red, blue, orange, green, yellow, turquoise, coral or beyond is going to be less than desirable. Or at the very lest, have a few problems with it.

    And even after saying all of that, I still have not covered the complexity surrounding these issues! Good gracious.

    Okay, in order of increasing difficulty, what do I(we) feel about

    4. Breast feeding in public

    Well, I don’t think that there is any question that this issue in America has some very puritanical roots. There are plenty of other cultures in the world that do not see seeing part of a breast as a problem! Especially if it involves feeding a child-which means using a breast as what nature designed it for! But it has roots in modernity as well. Word is that my grandfather’s response to my mother’s stating that she was going to try breast feeding was (in the 50s) “Breast feeding? Only fat farm women do that!” My feeling (and my wife’s) is that to take any kind of stance that such a thing should be outlawed is beyond ludicrous and deeply pathological. I/we also think it is just egregiously out of touch with . . . . a lot of things . . . . and pretty deeply unfair to force women to go into “seclusion” to spare people the horror Surprise [:O]of seeing a baby feed off of a breast. Surprise [:O]Oh my god somebody call the police! Stick out tongue [:P]

    That said, I also think it is a loosing battle to try and single breastedly change the world all by yourself and what really is the point of that anyway, so, well, in the end, just try and consider the multiple perspectives of each and every different situation before breastfeeding in public or semi-public. Certainly, yes, it could be rude if other people are uncomfortable and it is just not necessary to force them to get over their pathologies (or simply cultural conditionings- which is one quarter of us) and aggressively put them in an uncomfortable position or - put yourself in one.

    So, last thought is, I think it is ridiculous that it is even an issue, but just because you have a baby does not mean that you are now in a position to change the world. Use care, consider all perspectives, but that is also speaking only as an American! If you take a trip to Argentina, for example, you will be more than welcome to breastfeed your baby at the dinner table and nobody will raise an eyebrow (and see you as nothing other than a good mother).

    2. Infant formula

    This issue also has roots all over the place in modernity but also pathological blue as well. But . . .

    Millions and million and millions of people from the last four to six generations have grown up to live perfectly healthy and normal lives being fed off of infant formula  -and I am one of them. There are obviously a million and one ways that breast feeding is better (health wise, immunity wise and so forth), but it is simply ridiculous to try and make some kind of case that the world is going to end and your baby will end up with a lower IQ and/or a deformed maladaptive disgrace if you happen to feed it infant formula. It happens to work well too.

    But also, back to culture, . . . . when to wean from breastfeeding? That is a whole other issue in itself. Our children have been both bottle and breast fed and each time for many different various reasons, including the fact that they weaned themselves pretty early.

    3. co-sleeping (letting baby sleep in parent(s) bed)

    I don’t think there is any problem with baby sleeping in bed and it can be convenient for middle of the night breastfeeding. This is, of course, provided you are aware of the safety issues and are safe. (An asleep adult can roll over on a baby . . .) As they get older, get out! No, just kidding, we eased all of our kids into their own rooms . . .. I think there’s a lot of Middle Way that should go on in integral parenting.

    Last issue

    1. Spanking

    I read an article the other day that made very good light of the very real fact that you can not even talk about this issue unless you first define what you mean by spanking.

    Obviously Robin takes deep issue with it, but what is her definition? Chances are it is not the same as the next person’s and there really are about a dozen different definitions if not more and probably almost as many as there are cultures and parents!

    That said, I really was surprised about how many different perspectives you could take on this issue, even past the myriad definitions. But one thing does seem to me to be sure; that the real issue at the heart of the sensitivity surrounding the “spanking” issue is not even spanking at all so much as it is pathology. Which opens up a whole new set of issues.

     

    Studies do show that one spank does not scar a person for life and cause long term psychological and emotional damage. Beyond that . . . . well, here come a million issues.


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  08-13-2006, 7:26 AM 4249 in reply to 4167

    Re: Issues

    I'm guessing that most of these aren't going to be terribly controversial in this forum. But I'll answer, and since I'm usually the one to cause heated debate, maybe we'll get some good controversy going! :-)

    Spanking: What's the point? To hurt your kid? To scare the crap out of her? To give her "something to think about" next time she feels like expressing herself? Using violence to solve your problems teaches kids to use violence to solve problems, simple as that.

    Isn't it interesting that the only time our Western culture allows (even promotes, to some extent) using violence is when it comes to defenseless kids and evil enemies?

    Obviously, most people use violence to try and control their kid because they have no idea what to do, and they are afraid thier kids will turn out "badly". (Like maybe they will turn out to be violent!) You can't expect people to know how to help their child grow up healthy without at least some understanding of how kids learn, and what is actually healthy. So I would say that basic childcare as well as psychology and sociology should be included in every school curriculum at a variety of levels. And families having babies should be given basic childrearing info by their doctors and offered classes as a part of the medical package that comes with having a baby.

    Infant formula - mostly a corporate scam. As Tim discovered with his dad, in the mid-late 20th century, companies used traditional psychological manipulation to convince people that breastfeeding was backward and primitive and that new technology was a much better way to feed your child. It's amazing what people will believe! Luckily, science wasn't too horribly bad, and the synthetic food was relatively nutritious. But who knows what problems it caused, since most of the maladies food causes don't show up for many years.

    So, again, here's a case where the knowledge of basic health needs to be included in every kid's education, so that corporate profiteers can't manipulate them so easily. And, also people who know better need to do what they can to hold the medical field responsible when they let corporate profits interfere with health. (But that's a part of a much, much larger problem than just synthetic baby food.)

    Oh, and I'd include feeding humans cow's milk in the same category as infant formula. It's time to bring back the idea of feeding human babies the food that they are designed to eat!

    Co-sleeping - sure, why not? As long as you don't roll over a lot in your sleep... Studies show that the energy of the human heart goes a bit beyond the body and has a direct effect on others. So if you are healthy and love your kid, being close to them, physically, helps them feel safe and loved. Humans are one of the few mammalian species where babies don't sleep with their moms (and maybe dads) for at least several months. So there's probably something useful about sleeping with the kids that we're missing out on.

    Breast feeding in public - I think this one is pretty clear. Tim said pretty much the same thing I'd say here. Breast feeding is the best thing for your kid (as long as mom is healthy and making healthful milk), and eating in public is pretty much a normal thing, so breastfeeding should be perfectly acceptable. But some people have been taught to be creeped out by it. So, again, here's a case where more basic human psychology and sociology in schools would be helpful in creating a less neurotic culture.

    So did I surprise anyone? Anthing strike a nerve in what I said? No? Didn't think so. Not here anyway!

    But I did get "written up" at one of my teaching jobs when I called DSS on a parent who was whipping his daughter with his belt, in school. And this was in ultra-liberal, anti-war Cambridge, Mass. I guess my bosses were just a bit more Blue than I imagined. Though I did get the "Well, that family is from a different culture, and we shouldn't force our standards on them." lecture, which supposedly comes from Green. (I think this lecture was evident of a Green system, while my individual bosses were probably more Blue, and using the system as an excuse for expressing their own beliefs that corporal punishment is a fine way to teach a child.)

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
    Turtle
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  •  08-13-2006, 10:28 AM 4256 in reply to 4249

    Re: Issues

    I know this may be a bit of an off-current-topic thought but as a result of the current topic some very interesting clarity on certain issues just occurred to me.

    So, forgive me if I share, but I just find it, at the moment, very exciting.

    Years ago I taught in one community in a certain area and developed a certain style and adaptability and so forth to the culture of that area, and since it represented my first experience, I thought it was mastering the whole story.

    I then moved to another area and found, much to my confusion and sometimes almost shocking amazement, aspects of this style did not work.

    The issue at hand was one of respect for authority. And I have traced the major difference to a liberal community vs. a conservative community or in many very real and evident ways an orange achiever community vs. a blue mythic-membership community.

    In the first community, the liberal/orange/achiever - there was absolutely no problem with the students, kids of all ages calling me by my first name. It worked perfectly, no problem, there was never any question about respect for authority and it was always incredibly easy.

    In the second community I eventually realized that when they called me by my first name . . . they had pretty much zero respect for me. What is amazing is that I simply changed the rule to "You will address me as Mr. -" and we were back to some kind of respect for my position and authority.

    But if you read that back over, isn't that interesting? Same all kinds and ages of kids, . . . absolutely different cultural necessities.

    In the blue community, without the immediately verbally spoken and recognized rule, role and position of authority -there was none. I repeat I found this an absolute necessity. (And didn't really especially like it either!)

    But in the orange community, same kids, same ages . . . it was not necessary.

    Why?

    And most importantly, what exactly was the difference that the orange community instilled in their children that, I would contend, yes, automatically caused them to behave in a manner that was more developed?! Why was it NOT NECESSARY to state that rule since it seemed as if it was already inherently learned? AND there were FAR LESS conflicts with the children! (Not to mention parents and just simply conflicts all around.) 

    Another thing is that formal discipline WASN'T NECESSARY in the orange community! "Formal discipline" as in, well, in the other community I eventually HAD to come to some sort of (stupid!) "three strikes" system -one, a "formal warning," two a formal "talk with your parents," three, you just have to be asked to leave. (I never had to enforce it but I DID have to HAVE it in place.)

    So what I think the summary of this is, and what is truly amazing is that the more developed parents in the more developed community  in general inherently had MORE DEVELOPED-or maybe better, more READY to develop- KIDS! and NO MATTER WHAT THE AGE!

    This is quite a revelation and shocking to me and perhaps a VERY valuable clue to truly integral parenting.

    That center of gravity, it would seem from this story, is nearly everything! But it also spans out into community.

    I found that the predominantly orange parents were much more willing to allow someone else to teach their children something and value it. Which is to say had a more developed sense of community!

    And that seems counter to what we would think of as blue which suggests to emphasize community. It really doesn't, or at least not a very advanced idea of commnunity. (The constant suspicion and sizing up and down and inherent lack o trust in this blue community . . .!) Community sure, but with . . . honestly, a lot of other baggage that, sure, may help development past red, . . . . but not very much beyond.

    Extremely interesting!


    Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  08-13-2006, 5:02 PM 4276 in reply to 4256

    Re: Issues

    Back to the controversy -

    Turtle and All,

    These are questions, not answers:

    Question one: If violence necessarily breeds violence and spanking is necessarily mindless violence and will cause your kids to "turn out violent"  why then above does Robin refuse ever to "spank" her kids? Based upon that evidence -that as a result of violence she wont commit violence-what is missing from your argument?

    Question two: If there are to be no limits on expressing one's self then what is the matter with violence?

     

     

    These again are questions, and not answers.

    Tim


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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  •  08-13-2006, 6:47 PM 4286 in reply to 4276

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    Re: Issues

    Hi Tim,

    About "spanking," while I'd agree that some types and intensities of spanking are less bad than others, I think they're all destructive of the spirit of the child. Even a moderate flat palm slapping on the behind-- which I'm assuming is the least harmful spanking-- still seems like an a physical attack. An attack, moreover, on a child-- who by definition is smaller and weaker in stature than the aggressing adult. Further, the child is dependant on the aggressing adult for his/her survival.

    Now, some grown adults get their feelings hurt when they're criticisized. It's fairly common, right? How is a child (with a less developed ego and less context in which to hold experience) going to understand/ interpret the event of being hit by their parent? What they're going to feel is shame and self hatred and disbelief-- that's my guess--also some rage at the parent and a sense of betrayal.

    Why would I never hit my daughter, in spite of the fact that I was hit? Because, after a million years of therapy, I remember what being hit felt like and would never do it to my child that I love. But if I had repressed or denied the pain I experienced as a child--if I had gone numb to the horror of the spanking experience as an ego defense-- then I might hit my kid and think it wasn't so bad.

    Back to definitions: I guess I'm thinking that if we're talking about anything other than the flat of the hand on the rump of the behind, I'm going to want to call that a beating.

    Yep, I guess I really do mean that.

    And Turtle, I'd have wanted to call the authorities on those parents who were whipping their kid too. I'd only have made the call though, if I'd thought it would help the kid. Sometimes that kind of action makes the parent hit harder-- just to show you they have the right! I might have tried to work the situation some other way-- although I recognize that there might not have been many alternatives available to you. I am sad to hear that your BLUE school supported the practise. Very sad.

    What kind of emotionally mature argument justifies spanking? I'd really like to know. What possible educated, psychologically oriented perspective would validate hitting a child? Honestly, is there such a thing? If there is, I'd like to read it.

    Respectfully,

    Robin

     

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  •  08-14-2006, 7:14 AM 4293 in reply to 4286

    Birthing

    hopefully a new set of questions won't complicate this thread too much, and spread everyone out too thinly . . .

    if a friend of yours was having a baby would you recommend a particular childbirth practice over another . . . and then the birth itself . . .

    1.  Lamaze, Bradley, silent birth . . . something else?

    2.  epidural or no?

    3.  c-section?

    4.  hospital (doctors) or at home (doula)

    5.  positions other than mom on her back on a bed (hospital type bed)

     

    p.s. i'll weigh in on the issues thread soon . . .

     

    later,

    gene

     

     

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  •  08-14-2006, 8:06 AM 4299 in reply to 4167

    breast feeding in public

    recently, a parenting-style magazine published a breast feeding baby on its cover, showing a side view of a breast, which caused a media stir.  some of the comments that were published, most of them from women, voiced the opinion that it was wrong.  one of the women wrote that breasts are for sex and shouldn't be shown on magazines where children might see them. 

    One mother who didn't like the cover explains she was concerned about her 13-year-old son seeing it.  "I shredded it," said Gayle Ash, of Belton, Texas, in a telephone interview. "A breast is a breast - it's a sexual thing. He didn't need to see that."

    see the magazine cover here:

    http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/many-outraged-by-breast-feeding-magazine/20060727182509990006

    after reading many of the responses, one of the things that saddened me was the negative self-image that a lot of the women apparently had toward their bodies (the magazine said about one-quarter responded negatively to the cover).

    anyhow, i don't have any objecions to breastfeeding in public, though i wouldn't want to offend others if i had a breast.  discreetness may be the bette part of valor here, though i don't think mothers should have to hide, such as in a bathroom.

     

    later,

    gene

     

     

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  •  08-14-2006, 9:33 AM 4301 in reply to 4276

    Re: Issues

    Hi Robin,

     

    Each of my two sons were raised with a great deal of freedom, -maybe too much. Here are two instances of violence between the elder and me.

     

    At about age three he was sitting on the kitchen counter, where he picked up the innards of a lockset that i had left there; extending from it was a thin blade of metal, maybe a millimeter in thickness, and 3 mm wide. Near at hand was an electrical outlet, my full attention was drawn to his hand as it moved to insert the thin blade into one of the openings in the outlet. With no time for thought or discussion, my hand swatted his preventing him from having an unexpected introduction to electric shock.

     

    About ten years later, coupled with the onset of adolescence and the experience of much permissiveness/freedom he became very angry with me. He had reached a point where he was not only challenging my authority as parent but of all authority everywhere. We were face to face in yet another kitchen; this time his hand found a kitchen knife. He seized it and came at me with fierce intent; knife raised with malice and menace. Again, there was no time for thought or discussion; the fingers of my right hand formed a fist, and before he could do some real damage with the blade, i struck him –full in the face!

     

    I am a slightly built man and not prone to violence; and as such, i was stunned as he fell to the floor as if Mohammed Ali had struck him! I remember clearly looking down at my hand, wondering about the source of this hitherto unknown power!

     

    It took me days to come to grips with what i had done; striking my first born with such force and effectiveness. I had no peace with this bit of violence affected on a loved one, until the notion came to me that the part of him that resides in the unborn joined with my hand that struck him down, energizing it.

     

    That was long ago. These days i might use a different term to describe such drastic action, calling it the sword of Manjushri; where power asserts itself in a graceful and controlled way.

     

    Warmly,

     

    Charles

    88W18'28" 41N58'02"

     

     

     

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  •  08-14-2006, 4:49 PM 4319 in reply to 4301

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    Re: Issues

    Hi Charles,

    Well, you have certainly come up with some exceptions to the don't hit your kid rule! In my opinion-- saving your child from danger with a quick hitting gesture or reacting in self defense against an assualt from your child have got to be two of the best exceptions going.

    They don't however constitute an emotionally mature defense of "spanking" which is not one slap, but repeated slapping. Also-- in neither of your two instances was hitting administered as a "punishment."

    In fact, in your 2 cases, I would feel you acted appropriately with what I would agree is physical aggression, but not abuse.

    Thanks for sharing so honestly about these two instances.

    Appreciatively,

    Robin

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  •  08-14-2006, 4:58 PM 4320 in reply to 4276

    Re: Issues

    timelody:

    Question one: If violence necessarily breeds violence and spanking is necessarily mindless violence and will cause your kids to "turn out violent"  why then above does Robin refuse ever to "spank" her kids? Based upon that evidence -that as a result of violence she wont commit violence-what is missing from your argument?



    What is "missing" is free will, and the power of the human desire to to grow and be more successful in life.

    One can unlearn the harmful teachings we recieve and start over from scratch to learn healthy ways of approaching life. But it seems far more useful to have learned the healthy ways of approaching life in the first place. Struggle and challenge are good sometimes, but being misled isn't really that helpful, and as I've mentioned before somewhere in this topic, I think the universe presents kids with plenty of difficulties and challenges without parents intentionally adding more. :-)

    timelody:

    Question two: If there are to be no limits on expressing one's self then what is the matter with violence?




    Do you think there are to be no limits on expressing one's self? I certainly don't! If you are causing harm to yourself or another, I think that's a good place to draw the line on freedom of expression. Ultimately, I believe that the only person I really should try to control is myself, so that I avoid causing others harm, intentionally or not.

    When it comes to caring for kids (or anyone else for that matter), I extend my control just a bit, but only to the point where I will take action to stop immediate danger to others that seems likely to cause irreversible harm (for example, I would probably be likely to grab a kid who starts to run in front of a speeding car). But I wouldn't be likely to stop a kid from harming me, unless it was really serious. (I let a kid bite me pretty hard to show her that biting me wasn't going to get her what she wanted, and she never bit me again.)

    And as a teacher, I tend to offer my own beliefs about personal responsibility to those who might be able to use it. For my students, that means me talking about my perceptions and feelings about a situation and asking them questions about their perceptions and feelings, as well. If someone acts violently in my class, I ask them what they were hoping to accomplish with their act, check in with their victim to see how the act affected them, and then maybe offer better solutions for achieving the perpetrator's goals in the future. (Though I do this in a far more natural language when I talk to the 4 year olds!)

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
    Turtle
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  •  08-14-2006, 5:06 PM 4323 in reply to 4301

    Re: Issues

    Charles, what do you think would have happened if you had not responded the way you did in those two instances?

    Also, do you think there may have been other possible solutions to dealing with your fears?

    (I'm not implying that you should feel bad about what you did, just wondering if you would choose the same responses if you were to face a similar situation in the future.)

    Peace, Love, and Bicycles,
    Turtle
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  •  08-14-2006, 6:14 PM 4325 in reply to 4293

    Re: Birthing

    coppersun:

    hopefully a new set of questions won't complicate this thread too much, and spread everyone out too thinly . . .

    if a friend of yours was having a baby would you recommend a particular childbirth practice over another . . . and then the birth itself . . .

    1.  Lamaze, Bradley, silent birth . . . something else?

    2.  epidural or no?

    3.  c-section?

    4.  hospital (doctors) or at home (doula)

    5.  positions other than mom on her back on a bed (hospital type bed)

     

    p.s. i'll weigh in on the issues thread soon . . .

     

    later,

    gene

     

     

     

    I would say, it really is your body, your birth and your baby and make your choices on all of those however you see fit. With, however, one exception- please be realistic and remember that before doctors and modern medicine, child birth often resulted in death of the mother, death of the baby or both.

    Not only did my wife almost die after the birth of our third child, but even just recently, had a young mother we know not been in a hospital she would have died also.

    Make it as beautiful and as comfortable as you wish, but remember nature is not exactly as perfect as a romantic view would allure us to believe.

     


    "With whom or with what are you in communion at this moment?"
    . . ."I?" he replied, almost mechanically. "Why not with anyone or anything."
    "You must be a marvel . . . if you are able to continue in that state for long."
    -Constantin Stanislavsky
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