Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Poverty Script is Cunning and Clever: Do you see it?

Think about a woman you highly regard. Someone you consider amazing, someone you admire. Perhaps you love her deeply and want to be like her. Perhaps you think she's saved lives or changed lives. 

Maybe she's a celebrity. A saint. Maybe even your mother. Maybe your mom died, and you'd give anything to see her again, the woman you've loved above all other women on this planet.

Imagine this woman is sitting across from you at your kitchen table. She's smiling at you. She says she has time to eat with you and visit.

Your children are peeking around the corner, watching, wondering who this lady is and learning how to be polite and host a meal by watching your behavior. Who is she? What value does she hold? They wonder silently as they throw toys around the living room.

Now, you place before her:

A dirty plate, with some leftover spoonfuls of cold mac n cheese that your toddler discarded. You hand her a dirty Paw Patrol spoon covered in something sticky that you hold gingerly w/ two fingers.

And a cold cup of cheap, contaminated coffee with fake sugar and 1% cheap milk in it.

Then you tell her to eat it in 20 seconds because you don't have time to chat before getting back to laundry and dishes. You'd never dream of doing this to someone you love. You'd probably never even do it to someone you despise for that matter.

Now, if this picture has sunk in with familiarity for you, I want you to hold that image and take it past 101, to the step I've been talking about for awhile:

Imagine you look down at that mac n cheese and say, "Carbs are bad! Grains are bad!" So you throw it away and tell her to intermittently fast instead. As she gapes at you, speechless, you quickly explain that carbs are the true reason she's fat now and that grains contain GMOs. "You'll feel wonderful if you just fast instead!"

Imagine you look at the coffee and say, "Coffee is bad! It's an addiction, a weakness of character!" So you pour the coffee into the sink and tell her to quit cold turkey. You remind her that OTC pain medications are unhealthy, so she will need to chew on a raw piece of ginger while she's fasting the next few days to get through the shakes and migraines from withdrawal.

THAT moment... hold THAT right there....THAT is what I'm talking about when I try to discuss things such as deprivation, restriction, and poverty scripting for parents. You think eliminating food groups is superior, but IT is MORE of the SAME. You think going onto a restrictive, difficult diet such as keto is healthier, but IT is MORE of the SAME. You think labeling your behaviors, desires, tastes as, "addictions" is called being enlightened. But IT is MORE of the SAME.

Now you can see in context how elimination, restriction, and deprivation are not nourishing or loving. It is tightening the buckle down more.

The transformation to abundance means choosing nourishing, delicious, good tasting foods that bring you happiness and satiation. It means sitting down and slowly appreciating your food, being aware of the tastes, sounds, smells, and textures of it as you let your digestive system prepare to process it.

It means finding a fair trade, organic coffee and using a moderate amount of cleaner sugar or stevia if you prefer it and a creamer that tastes smooth with a few ingredients. It means making it piping hot, and telling your children they can, indeed, wait 5 minutes for you to enjoy a cup while you watch the sun rise or listen to the songbirds outside or catch up on a newspaper.

 Look again at what's happening in the natural world, because it is NOT part of our true community and it will NOT bring true healing.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

When Every Baby has a Tongue Tie (Defect)

"Dear Guggie,

You're welcome to share my story if you wish. I just can't. I'm too ashamed. It's everywhere, I can't escape it. It's traveled through the mainstream to gentle and attachment parents. And it's not just first time mums at risk, it's literally every single mother out there. I was going to post on your discussion about tongue tie but I'm still coming to terms with it and it still brings up a lot of trauma for me. But I wanted to speak up. These people promoting tongue tie cutting are not just medical professionals. They are also other breastfeeding mothers pressuring vulnerable mothers.

When I had my third baby back in 2016, he was born unexpectedly at 34 weeks. He spent over a month in hospital with breathing and feeding issues. He was tube-fed and then later EBM (exclusive breastmilk) bottle-fed. I agreed to that because it would get him home sooner. I had already breastfed my older girls both to 3 years each. I was experienced!

So when Dane came home I started weaning him onto the breast. I was having a very difficult time. He didn't know what to do so I found a breastfeeding page on Facebook and asked for help. From the minute I started that post there were comments such as, "Oh, look how little his lips are, it must be a tongue tie." "Fussing at the breast? Yep, he's got to be tied." "He has reflux? Oh yes, he's tongue tied." I had never heard of this tongue tie thing before. My two eldest were born in '05 and '08. It was a 7 year gap!

I hung in there, persevering and working to keep our breastfeeding relationship. I did skin to skin, left him in charge and he eventually latched. It only took three days after that for the nipple damage to set in so I went back for more advice. Once again, I was flooded with responses that he had a tongue tie.

At the time, I was pumping around the clock. It was the norm for me because he was a NICU babe. But, not only was it taking its toll on my mental health, I was also getting less and less milk each pumping session. My freezer stash was rapidly declining. The hospital wanted nothing to do with our situation, so once again I asked for help online. The responses: "No it's not because he was bottle/tube fed for 6 weeks." "His mouth is small because he has oral ties and not because he is 4 pounds." "The reflux isn't because he is a preterm baby being made to drink 150ml." (The specialist had him on that amount.)

The women online gave me a list of symptoms and he met them all. They then gave me a list of providers in my area. So of course, what did I think I had to do next?! My freezer stash was gone, it was too painful to nurse at the breast, and I had no support besides these so-called gentle breastfeeding mothers. I made the appointment to take my baby to a professional for tongue tie diagnosis.

Of course, the professional I went to diagnosed him with lip, tongue, and cheek ties. As we sat in the waiting room, waiting for our turn, all I could hear was this ungodly scream from another baby. Everything inside me was telling me to get the hell out of there. But I didn't. They wrapped him and splayed him on my partner so my partner could bear hug him to restrain him. I asked for my baby to be numbed but they assured me he wouldn't feel a thing.

The second it started, he let out a scream. Not a normal baby cry, not even a cry of pain. This was something I had never heard as a mother before. I will never get the smell of the burning flesh out of my head. I was standing there while my precious baby was screaming. I asked the professional to stop. He didn't respond. It took me shouting, "Get your fucking hands off my baby," and reaching for him to listen to me. I picked my baby up and ran out of the room, and you know what I found when I unwrapped my pre-term, 7 pound, 3 month old baby? I found blood spots under his skin, on his cheeks, and his arms. And popped blood vessels in his eyes. By then, he was pale, breathing very fast, and had gone limp. He was in shock!

Dane fell asleep right after the partial surgery.

I still don't know why I didn't listen to my gut but I am glad he only endured the beginning of it, on his lip. There was no way in hell he should've endured the whole thing, nor was I doing those stretches on his tongue that they prescribe afterwards.

The thing is, despite our rough start, I stayed determined to breastfeed him until he was 13 months old. At that point, I fell pregnant and my milk dried up. His issues were never tie related despite what I was pressured into feeling and doing. Fast forward to my next child. I posted online, "Does this look like thrush? I have one very sore nipple." The immediate flood of responses included, "No, those are blisters, a sign of being tongue tied...get that sorted quickly" And I easily had 20 mothers agreeing that it was a tongue tie. This time, I went to the doctor, received some drops for yeast, and treated it successfully."