Monday, April 30, 2012

Not Fertile

Cycle Day 22 
Not fertile

Those words blinked at me today. I was standing in the bathroom, sensor poised on my tongue, children clamoring and jabbering in the background. I looked down.




Was that moment, that feeling, that almost indiscernible jolt what people feel everyday when they battle infertility?

I mean, it certainly wasn't a reasonable sensation for me to feel. I'm nursing three children right now. My youngest turns 3 months old on the 5th. We're trying to avoid a pregnancy, not achieve a pregnancy. And infertility isn't my cross in this life, at least right now, unforeseen future pending.

Welcoming children into our family occurred seamlessly. We started right away with our first born. And we quickly had our result as one afternoon I heaped a pile of pickles onto my plate. DH laughed at me. We smiled at each other, knowing we were right, fully expecting our baby.

And then there was the day I woke up thinking about babies. 

"I'd like a baby," I told DH one morning.

"Really, another one?" He eyed me suspiciously.

"Yes, a baby boy. We'll name him Ian, after your father. Ian Daly." I was excited. Presumptive. Of course we could have another baby. Without a second thought or trouble or any adversity whatsoever.

We did go on to have that baby. We did name him Ian, after DH's father.

Ian's birth story: http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/12/ian-dalys-birth-story.html
We were even granted another baby. He entered our hearts and our lives like lightning, different from his two siblings who were so carefully expected and unsurprising in their arrival. His presence was like opening a door and finding a beautiful gift, left there for you without any strings attached. It's not your birthday, but there you have it. A gift, perfectly intended for you in every way, waiting for you to accept it. 

Ciaran's birth story: http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2012/02/birth-story-of-ciaran-james.html
But there was I was, today, standing in the bathroom, looking at a monitor that told me I'm not fertile. For one nanosecond, my shadow was lined up with the many other people who expect this from their bodies every day. They see the monitors and the test strips all blinking: Not fertile. They hear the doctors and the healers all saying: not fertile. They hope and pray, light candles and sing, eat special diets and drink certain herbal teas all to one day see that red line melt onto the white strip of a pee test or that cheerful smiley face that indicates, YES! You are pregnant! You are fertile!

That line I took for granted. That line I didn't even bother with for Ciaran, refusing to pee on a stick to learn something I already knew.

It was only a moment. Yet I felt a drop in my stomach, as if I had run to the edge of a cliff and looked over the edge, peering down into blackness, my mortality represented by darkness and an eternity of black. I can't take my fertility for granted anymore.

When I began this fertility journey, committed to blogging about my experience and originally wanting only to compare various charting tools for my crunchy friends, I didn't know I was starting on a journey of such stark self-awareness. The discovery of what could be and what might not be has begun.

Resources

My beginning post:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2012/04/my-fertility-journey-begins.html

Naprotechnology uses NFP to assess and begin treatment for infertility and other female issues:
http://www.naprotechnology.com/

This institute is dedicated to finding answers:
http://www.popepaulvi.com/

50 top infertility blogs for support and understanding:
http://www.invesp.com/blog-rank/Infertility


Sunday, April 29, 2012

5x7 Folded Card

Dad Collage Navy Father's Day Card
Click here to see graduation announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Older Siblings at Birth

A question that regularly comes up is: Can older siblings (especially not-so-old older siblings) be present at their new baby's birth?


This is a personal question and the answer will depend on many factors from personalities to what resources the mama has such as people who can be at the birth to help with the older children.


Here are my two experiences. 


First, with my oldest, Zon, present at Ian's birth when she was 22 months, then my second experience with Zon at 40 months old and Ian at 17 months for Ciaran's birth. 


With Ian's birth, Zon was very impatient. She didn't understand that it would take a long time for the baby to arrive. And by a long time, I mean anything over 5 minutes. For example, when I was in the birth pool, she kept yelling at me to stand up so she could see the baby, when I was only a couple hours into hard labor. It made her angry that the baby was not COMING OUT NOW as she kept saying.

I woke up DH to start filling the birth pool at 5am. She woke up around 6am b/c of all the noise we were making (not moaning birth noises, but things like filling the tub, taking a shower, talking, etc). That is early for us. So she was cranky and confused. Being in labor didn't bother her or scare her, but then again, I don't think I was ever loud. I never screamed for example. Some contractions, I was saying, "ooooo" and "aaaaahhh" in a meditative tone. And then the rest of the time I was talking really low to myself, like, "I am doing this. I am birthing my baby."

One problem is that she wanted to nurse. Which I welcomed at first b/c nipple stimulation is supposed to help. But I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to be touched at all during labor. No massage, no holding hands...ugh even the thought of someone's breath touching me frustrates me lol. So I cringed internally and nursed for a bit, then had my sister take her to the park. 

When they came back from the park, I was literally a couple minutes from pushing. I will forever regret that I was so involved in the moment of birthing (probably the tail end of transition), that I was unable to stop her from running out the door with Memaw. She missed Ian's actual birth by minutes!!!!! And it did impact her. She came right back inside but it wasn't the same. I remember lying on the futon, holding him and seeing her face as she peered over at us. :,( The first thing out of her mouth was, "I missed baby come out!"

I think being there for Ciaran's birth finally brought her full circle and healed a hurt that didn't have words. All of Ciaran's pregnancy, she talked and talked about being at his birth. Every day, she would ask, "And I'm going to be there when the baby comes out, right, Mama?" 

In the beginning of my labor with Ciaran, it was simple as I woke up laboring so we just let them sleep in...I think we got about 2 hours out of that trick lol. Then they colored, ate snacks and finally DH put them into the bathtub b/c they were getting antsy. (They like the tub). I don't want anyone around me in labor, so it was great that he was with them in the bathroom. 

Then at the end, I crawled into the tub and started pushing, so I yelled for everyone to jump in NOW lol. She got to guide Ciaran out. Ian from what I remember/see in my mind, just jumped around the tub, splashing and laughing. When Ciaran was born, he said, "OH WOW" then went back to splashing hahaha.


Oh and this last time around, I was very whiny, but they weren't bothered by it. I also remember saying, OW OW OW OW through the ring of fire and I swear I screamed at one point but DH claims I was super quiet. I don't know. I always feel as if I make noise, but I guess it's just the intensity of it in my mind.


Anyways, that's our experience. And yes, I absolutely think that being present at Ciaran's birth has connected my children on a deep level. They adore their little brother and although Ian, being 1.5, can get too rough, I have yet to see jealousy or malice. It's just him hugging too hard or pulling on his arm as if Ciaran will jump up and play with him. I'm really happy with the way they stayed preoccupied during my labor, yet they were there with me. I think this might be a good compromise for those parents who are worried about whether or not this will work. Have a dedicated caregiver who can 100% focus on the children and leave if needed. 


Other questions I've received:


1) What if the pool is gross? Pee, poop, amniotic fluid, membranes, blood. Yeah, bodily fluids can be gross. But they aren't guaranteed and a quick rinse off in the shower is all that's needed. Ciaran's birth pool was really clean b/c my waters did not burst until his head appeared and I didn't bleed until I moved to the bedroom. At any rate, kids love playing in mud and dumping their dinner all over. Exceptions aside, I bet most kids won't notice or care.


2) What if I don't want my child present? I think mamas can create a lot of guilt over this one. But, hey, to some point, birthing is a private process. I don't like co-showering. I don't like kids in the bathroom when I'm going to the bathroom. Nothing wrong with admitting these things. And it's important to analyze this feeling because if you are uncomfortable at birth, that will impact your experience, even stalling it or making it more painful. The key is to create a plan (such as going over to a relative's house) without negativity or stress. I've also heard of some mamas planning for the children to play outside, then having a provider call the babysitter's cellphone and everyone rushing in just for when the baby is physically being born. Others have said they get raw footage just for the other siblings to watch afterwards.


3) What if my midwife/care provider doesn't allow it? Your midwife might be concerned that no one will be able to attend to the other sibling's needs. But if you have a clear plan and a caregiver for your child, and your midwife is still saying no, you might need to re-evaluate your choice of a care provider and make sure this isn't one aspect of a bigger issue that will negatively influence your birth experience. Nonetheless, from what I hear, most out of hospital providers encourage and appreciate having children and other family members present.


Resources


You can preview the hundreds of home birth videos and slideshows on youtube. Look for ones that clearly show how the mother is laboring (look for a variety of labor styles) and that preferably show the baby being born and what happens afterwards. Short ones were helpful for my toddlers.


Here is a popular one for kids


I loved this book, a story about a little brother's home water birth

The Business of Being Born is for adults, but it has several births in it that were my daughter's favorites. During pregnancy I had to fast forward to the births at her request haha.

Welcome with Love is another home birth book for young children


Ciaran's birth story is here: http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2012/02/birth-story-of-ciaran-james.html


A few minutes after Ciaran was born



If you have a sibling birth story and would like to share it as a guest post, please email the story to me or message me on Facebook. You're welcome to include photos and/or video as well.

*UPDATE*

Jennifer shared a photo with us, showing her two older daughters at the birth of their brother, Liam. Her children were present during labor and watched her birth Liam, with Daddy catching him.



Her oldest daughter drew pictures while waiting for Liam to arrive.

My Fertility Journey Begins

In line with my commitment to natural, clean living, unconditional partnering and my personal Catholic faith, the question of fertility monitoring leads me away from the various artificial and hormonal options on today's market.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that Natural Family Planning (NFP) also known as Fertility Awareness Monitoring (FAM) is not a well-known topic in the crunchy community.

This surprised me as artificial contraception has a variety of concerns from synthetic hormones that damage our bodies and our planet to mutilating the body permanently.

Additionally, I was surprised to find very few resources from a crunchy standpoint. And even fewer convenient options are available other than the expensive Ladycomp and the classic form of charting in its many alterations. I can't help but grumble as well that now synthetic hormones will be covered by insurance, but healthy alternatives are completely ignored in the current birth control debate.

So I've decided to blog my journey of learning more about NFP/FAM, using different monitors and testing methods and analyzing how fertility awareness influences my relationship and my own self emotionally, physically and spiritually.

As of now, I've acquired the Ovacue classic version (the original) with the oral sensor and vaginal sensor for $140. It takes one 9v battery. This is a handheld monitor, nothing fancy, that tracks your hormonal changes and predicts fertility. You place the oral sensor on the tip of your tongue every morning. Once the monitor begins to detect potential fertility, you use the vaginal sensor internally in the evening (like inserting a tampon) until ovulation is confirmed.

Please note! This monitor is intended for trying to conceive (TTC) and not for trying to avoid (TTA). The company is currently seeking FDA approval to market it as a contraceptive device. It's allegedly extremely accurate at pinpointing ovulation, which means you can use it to avoid pregnancy, but we have no "proof" that it will effectively help with that. I am choosing to use this monitor in addition to other charting methods with the understanding that I could conceive. Just wanted to put this disclaimer here in case anyone thinks the monitor is foolproof.

Right away I noticed a frustrating issue with the classic version. It can only show you the current reading of the day. There's no way to view your entire charted cycle for comparison or curiosity unless you purchase separate software and take the time to download the information to a computer. I hear the ova cue II remedied this and am trying to buy that monitor on ebay. I bought one a couple weeks ago but the seller didn't ship it.

Anyways, by the time I received the classic ovacue, I had just started my second cycle. I began daily monitoring, which is simple and fell into my morning routine without issue. On cycle day (CD) 8, the monitor gave me a reading of 3 bars, which is potential fertility, or the lowest level for possible conception. I began using the vaginal sensor in the evening.

On CD 17, it gave me a cue peak reading, which is the highest level.

If you want babies, this would be the time to do the cha cha cha!
There is a term in the NFP community: conservatively charting. It means you strongly want to avoid pregnancy and are not taking any chances. For those who are being conservative, this monitor seems helpful. Note that it began to warn about upcoming ovulation on CD 8, even though the peak wasn't recorded until CD 17. That's an early warning to avoid all potential conception days. Other monitors such as the Clear Blue Easy will only give 2-5 days warning, and pee sticks might only give 1-2 days warning. Since sperm can live an average of 3-5 days and even up to 7 days theoretically, this advanced warning should be helpful in attempting to avoid pregnancy.

I really struggled with this first cycle of officially trying to avoid. In fact, part way through, I wanted to give up, or "let go and let God" as they say. As with other topics in the crunchy community, being self-aware is not always easy. Like when we want to eat crappy chocolate but we remain sharply aware that enslaved children were involved in harvesting it. Sometimes you just want to scrunch your eyes closed, plug your ears and say "lalalala." Being able to pop a pill every day, or put a cross-shaped device into your cervix/fallopian tubes and ignore the issue for years removes that personal responsibility and self awareness. I understand that temptation.

I spent some time talking intimately with my husband on that feeling. (Talking intimately becomes more of a possibility when you're not having sex hahaha. Ok, couldn't resist the joke). What ARE we doing? Do we really want to avoid pregnancy right now? Do we really have good reason? IS this right for us and our family? The answers are so simple, but the feelings and ramifications run deep.

Resources


My only blog post on the topic until now:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2011/01/oral-contraceptives-impact-and.html

A secular and awesome resource for fertility awareness (BUY THE BOOK):
http://www.tcoyf.com/

A Facebook page w/ crunchy undertones:
http://www.facebook.com/iusenfp

If you have more links and resources, please share them with me and I will add them to this series.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Confessions of an Unassisted Transfer Mama

Continuing with our Confessions Series, where readers submit stories on a variety of childbirth and parenting topics, here is Jessica's birth story. Jessica had a traumatic experience with her previous birth and prepared to birth unassisted this time. But unforeseen circumstances developed, leading her to visit the hospital for the NST and biophysical monitoring. The doctors found that the placenta was calcified and that her fluid levels were low.

 © Jessica C, 2012

  • "I was 16 days overdue on Tuesday, April 3rd. At 10:30pm I started labor. My contractions were going good and at 1:30am my water started leaking. It was clear, so we were thinking not much longer before baby would arrive. I continued to contract every 5 minutes and have clear fluid gushes. 

    At 3:45pm on Wednesday, April 4th, I felt a gush of fluid and when I looked down it was dark green. We immediately called my mother in law, then the hospital. We dressed the girls and went to the hospital, finally getting upstairs at 4:30pm. Then they did an assessment at 4:45pm and husband and I were on the way back to the OR at 5:15pm. 

    My fluid went from green and liquid to dark green and applesauce consistency by the time we got back to the OR. Our daughter, Carly Jane, was born via cesarean surgery at 6:04pm Wednesday, April 4th. She was 9 pounds, 8 ounces and 20 3/4 inches long. 

    We spent all night of the 4th co-sleeping and nursing. On Thursday around 9am, my nurse noticed her breathing was rapid so they took her to nicu to be checked while I put on a new gown and catheter. When the nurse went back to get her she said they want her respiratory rate to be between 40 and 60, but her rate was 85. They told me the pediatrician ordered some blood work and they wanted to get her breathing under control before she left the nice or was allowed to breastfeed. 

    They did blood work and discovered that her WBC was elevated by 10 points and her inflammation score was 1.6. (Should be at a 1). So they started antibiotics and officially admitted her to the nicu. They wouldnt let her eat for fear of her aspirating it. 

    She was in the nicu from 9am until 9:30pm without eating! Then at 9:30pm, her respiratory rate started going down to normal so they brought her to me in my room to nurse and see her daddy and 5 yr old ad 19 mth old sisters who roomed with me. All night her resp rate, wbc, and inflammation level were going back to normal with every rep and lab work check and by 8:00am Friday morning they discharged her from nice. 

    They decided they could just leave in her IV and run her last 3 rounds of antibiotics in my room. Everything except her WBC was perfectly normal by 1:30am Saturday except her WBC was still raised by 6 points. They said they weren't worried about that and as long as her blood culture came back normal on April 7th with nothing growing in it, then we were going to be discharged and get to go home.

    At 11:15 they came in and stopped her last round of antibiotics and said she didn't need them anymore and that everything was perfect and we were leaving. I have never prayed soo hard before in my life nor have I ever been soo scared before. I truly believe it was all the prayers from family, friends, internet friends, and the random people spread out on prayer trees, that turned her from being seriously sick to completely healthy in under 48 hrs."


    In the photo above, Jessica holds her precious daughter after a long journey. The love of a mother surpasses all fear, pain and abuse. Jessica courageously faced her fear and previous trauma to make an informed decision to protect her daughter after it became clear she could not safely birth at home. 

    This amazing, strong mother, who fought for her child every step of the way from pregnancy to after birth, who made difficult decisions amidst unclear information and harshness from medical providers, expressed concern on my page that she was a failure.

    A failure? Does anyone see a failure here? 

    I don't. I see true, authentic love, courage and faith beyond what many would expect from any one. Here are some quotes I want to share for her:

    "Do not dwell in the past, do not fret about the future, instead, focus on the present. Live in the moment with courage and perseverance." ~Pauline Kenyanya 

     "Have courage enough to accept what you can not change, but yet courage enough to stand up and fight for what you can." ~Robert M. Hensel 

    "Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose." ~Tom Krause 

    "Strength and courage aren't always measured in medals and victories. They are measured in the struggles they overcome. The strongest people aren't always the people who win, but the people who don't give up when they lose." ~Ashley Hodgeson

    Jessica might not have "won" a birth at home, but she fought courageously for her daughter and won against her darkest fears.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Milk and Cookies

Remember this photo from last week? It's a legitimate Oreo advertisement that went viral online. But, soon enough, Facebook users received warnings for posting it, some even having their publishing rights suspended or their accounts deactivated.

When I see this, I hear "SPARTAAA!" 


Yeah, I know. It's an OREO. In the hand of an infant! *GASP* That issue aside, I thought it was one of the cuter images to appear on my newsfeed. It's always been an inside joke at our house that the kids love their milk and cookies, or granola bars, or carrots, or anything, actually. I guess my kids inherited the multi-tasking gene! 

So here is a milk and cookies blog post. I could say it's to counteract all the hand slapping, or just to stand up to The Man of Facebook. But we all know it's really because we need something cute and precious to recover from Monday.



It should be noted that many oreo-knockoffs, chocolate chip cookies and other goodies were eaten in the making of these photos. If you have a photo to submit, email, PM me on Facebook, tag me...you know the drill!





Taryn Gray

Submitted by Lauren Houston

Argentina Coy

Argentina Coy

Katie Newton



Ashley Neal

Jennifer Vanderboegh

Jennifer Vanderboegh

"It is the nature of the child to be dependent, and it is the nature of dependence to be outgrown. Begrudging dependency because it is not independence is like begrudging winter because it is not yet spring. Dependency blossoms into independence in its own time." ~Peggy O'Mara

Nursing beyond one year:

http://kellymom.com/ages/older-infant/ebf-benefits/

Weaning the Older Child:

http://www.naturalchild.org/guest/norma_jane_bumgarner2.html

Child-Led Weaning:

http://crunchydomesticgoddess.com/2010/08/30/child-led-weaning-they-arent-going-to-nurse-forever/

Tandem Nursing/Nursing During Pregnancy:

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2012/01/and-then-there-were-two-tandem-nursing.html

The World Health Organisation on breastfeeding:

http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/




The World Health Organisation states that “A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.” (WHO 2008)


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that "Breastfeeding should be continued for at least the first year of life and beyond for as long as mutually desired by mother and child... Increased duration of breastfeeding confers significant health and developmental benefits for the child and the mother... There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer." (AAP 2005)


The American Academy of Family Physicians says"Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned." (AAFP 2001)



Friday, April 20, 2012

Protecting Children from Abuse

Recently, I've discovered a bittersweet milestone. My children have reached that stage where they are able to spend time with others, where they can separate from me and enjoy a party, an evening with Grandma and Grandpa, a gymnastic class with their peers or even something as innocuous as running to the backyard with a flock of children on a play date, content to play in the fort or hang out in the sandbox for hours.

With this new independence, how do I continue to ensure their safety? How do I balance their newfound autonomy with awareness of dangerous situations? How do I prepare them for the real world out there without violating their innocence?

I'm talking about personal boundaries, or as most people recognize it: protecting children from sexual abuse. 

But it's so much more than introducing children to the evil and unspeakable! How do I journey into this next step of parenting within the context of unconditional parenting? [Unconditional parenting, similar to attachment parenting, gentle parenting or positive parenting, is about avoiding shame, negativity, punishment, stereotypes, etc and meeting the individual needs of our children, well, unconditionally.] 

In other words, I'm not going to scare them with stranger danger or "break their innocence." 

I'm going to use normal terms because their bodies are normal, not shameful or embarrassing. I'm going to talk calmly about vaginas and penises, but I'll also remind my children that sometimes adults try to use other terms. 

We'll celebrate good secrets, like a secret birthday party. And we'll talk about how bodies don't need secrets and that adults don't need children to keep secrets about bodies.

I'll mention other children, young and old, boys and girls. Violation knows no boundaries; it knows no gender or age limit. I don't want my children to think that they can say no to adults, but that children at the park are different. I don't want my daughter to learn to fear men or for me to fall into a lax state, assuming all people of one age or sex are safe. It's not about building fear in their hearts; it's about respecting their bodies and demanding that respect from ALL people.

Now, my careful decision to use "no" sparingly as a parent comes to light. Now, every time I acknowledged my child's strong will is going to pay off for her. Now, our calm, open and honest relationships will steer us into conversations without shame and negativity. 

I didn't break their spirits and I am making sure they know that no one else can, either.

Here is a quick book review of several books I purchased on this topic. Keep in mind that I have a daughter, 3 and a son, 1.5. They do not attend daycare or other school situations. 

Some Parts are NOT for Sharing
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Some-Parts-are-Not-Sharing/dp/1606966030
This book seems suitable for younger children. It is shorter and more like a picture book with simple sentences. It explains that sometimes we share our bodies, such as to shake hands, and sometimes we do not share our bodies. It describes the genitals as "private parts" covered by swimsuits. I found myself adding more to the conversation while reading and also replacing "private parts" with the genital terms, along with adding that they can say NO to ANY touching of ANY body part. If your child is younger than school age and/or if you feel unsure about starting on this topic, this book can help break the ice.


Your Body Belongs to You
http://www.amazon.com/Your-Belongs-Cornelia-Maude-Spelman/dp/0807594733
I really liked the way this book addresses touching of ALL kinds. This is important because abusers will often take their time, building a relationship and slowly breaking down a child's boundaries. In other words, a wrong touch might be simply touching an arm, or stroking a leg the wrong way, or forcing hugs and kisses that the child does not want. This builds power in the abuser. The book addresses this issue, called grooming, by reminding children that they can say no whenever they feel uncomfortable or do not want to be touched. As an added bonus, the book gives examples of how to do this politely which is a great social skill. So if a stranger touches a child in the grocery store, he can say, "No, thank you." The book assures children that it is okay to say no and that their friends and relatives will be okay. I personally liked this book the most. 
I Said NO!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1878076493/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0807594733&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0T72400536E6FAH2113Y
If your child regularly spends time with other people or in other places, such as daycare, school, with dedicated caregivers and in after school care, this might be a good book for you. It is geared towards older children (as in, past age 2 or 3) and carefully walks children through a variety of possible situations, such as other children bribing a child to pull down her underwear in the school bus or what to do if someone is scary and threatens a child into obeying. I found myself skipping over large parts of it because it was too wordy for my younger children and/or did not apply, or was too negative. 

My Body Belongs to Me
http://www.amazon.com/My-Body-Belongs-Jill-Starishevsky/dp/0982121601
This book is different from the others. This is my 2nd favorite book. It is very specific. In the book, the child, using simple, non-scary sentences, walks the readers through his experience of being wrongly touched, told to keep a secret and then what he did afterwards. No direct violence, graphic words or stuff like that is used, but the story is still specific enough that children will have an understanding of this sadly too common situation. My daughter especially was engaged by this story, empathizing with the child and asking many questions about what to do and what would happen next. It's simple enough for younger children but would work for older children, too.

Protecting the Gift
http://www.amazon.com/Protecting-Gift-Keeping-Children-Teenagers/dp/0440509009
This book is one of those all-encompassing, transformative, healing and insightful tools that I wish every single parent would have in the home. Gavin addresses the way our culture teaches us from a young age to ignore our instincts or to warp our "good" fears, repressing them and eventually learning to fear the wrong things. He encourages readers to trust their instincts and to retune their senses so that their fear is appropriate and useful. He also addresses details that are important in preventing child abuse. This is the key to his book. I read a lot of things about detecting child abuse or resolving cases when the child tells, but it's hard to find deeper works on how to prevent it. He discusses grooming, dysfunctional relationships, spotting bribery, modeling boundaries and more. Please get this book! Even if you don't find all of it valuable (he discusses how to choose daycares, for example, something not relevant to me) the deeper concepts are still very important!

Online Resources

Child Molestation Prevention Institute:

Tricky People are the ones to worry about:

A list of resources for gentle parenting:

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Educate Before You Vaccinate

I put together a summarized list from my blog posts due to popular demand on the topic of vaccines. If you're beginning to research the vaccination topic, these posts are probably the most helpful at building a foundation of basic information from a variety of sources (including pro-vaccine and government links).


All links open in a new window automatically.

Everything you should know from the pro-vaccine and vaccine advocate experts:

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/11/what-every-parents-needs-to-read-on.html

This link will help you explore what you know about vaccines:

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/05/what-exactly-do-you-know-about-vaccines.html

If you're feeling overwhelmed, here's a strategy for research and some books to read:

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/05/way-to-ease-into-vaccine-topic.html

And here's a post on the first vaccine your child will receive at birth to jumpstart your research:

http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2010/12/lets-learn-about-hepatitis-b-infection.html

Facebook communities and pages

Here's my Facebook vaccine page:

http://www.facebook.com/standagainstvax

My personal favorite:

http://www.facebook.com/insidevaccines

An active page for support and questions:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proud-Parents-Of-Unvaccinated-Children/302370145808


I made this meme due to the frequent comments I hear about vaccinating parents avoiding vaccine-free children.
Do routine vaccinations truly make you feel better in life? Do they truly remove the fears? Do you fully trust them?