31 March 2009
Bridge, if your reading VF this month, you might want to toss out your copy. Of Bridget and Tom's son, Gisele says,
"I understand that he has a mom, and I respect that, but to me it's not like because somebody else delivered him, that's not my child. I feel it is, 100 percent. I want him to have a great relationship with his mom, because that's important, but I love him the same way as if he were mine. I already feel like he's my son, from the first day."
Um yeah. That's nice and all but baby's got a mum, sweetheart. That's some nerve going in a national publication and talking about the child of a woman you have never met as your own, considering the circumstances of the breakup.
Read more: And God created Gisele
F*%cking fashion magazines.
According to W, the uber-hip style mag for women who wear clothing sizes smaller than their show sizes, maternity leave is sooooo 5 minutes ago and returning to work in 2 weeks or less is the new sine qua non of power mum status.
"In an era when France’s justice minister recently gave birth on a Friday and attended a cabinet meeting the following Wednesday—and when, more famously, Sarah Palin took just three days off from her Alaskan gubernatorial duties after the birth of her fifth child—an increasing number of women are making childbirth look, if not like magic, certainly a lot easier than it was for their mothers by taking mere weeks, not months, off from work."
Women in the story describe feeling torn between work and home, pressured to by their employers to go back to work in record time, fear of financial insolvency and pumping their breasts in their corner offices while, as one gal remembered “The UPS man [at my office] saw more boob in the last couple years than in his teenage heyday." Rather than thinking about these mums as superwomen for juggling home and work, you feel like this is a remarkably sad state of affairs that only reaffirms what most working mothers have been complaining about for decades.
I find it interesting that the women who went back to work fairly soon after giving birth, justify their decisions by suggesting that their children are more well-adjusted as a result. One woman, however, hired a nanny to look after her child while she worked and this clearly changes the terms of the game. As most women can't even conceive of affording a private nanny, it's sort of like, 'Duh' of course the transition back to work was easier. Realising she had more time for herself, this woman says:
“When Coco was born, I would never even have a babysitter on the weekend. I was really moral about it. And as joyous as those moments were, part of it was slightly miserable,” she admits. “I was being too much of a martyr to the mom world.”
Yikes. I'm all for women's choices, working or not, whatever. I don't know about you, but I sort of cringe at this woman's surprise at feeling like a martyr to her children. Isn't parenthood (and not just mothers are involved in this) about sacrificing most of yourself to your child for the formative years of their early life? I mean isn't that what parents do?
Read more: Born Yesterday
Read more: Concerns raised over milk
30 March 2009
If you tell a friend that
1. It doesn’t matter if she gets fat, the weight will drop off afterwards, especially if she breastfeeds.
What you really mean is:
1. Her stomach will never be the same again, not even if she goes to the gym every day (which she won’t be able to because she won’t have the time), breastfeeds until her child goes to university and observes a strict vegan diet.
What are some 'lies' that you were told about pregnancy and birth?
29 March 2009
“There’s never been a hotter time to be a mom,” Jessica Denay said. A mother in Los Angeles, she wrote “The Hot Moms Handbook" and founded The Hot Moms Club, a place where women are supposed to be 'empowered' (a highly overused term that annoys me) by wearing t-shirts that say motherhood is sexy.
According to Denay, being a momshell is about working up to doing their hair and putting on a pair of stylish jeans instead of sweats, or taking a yoga class. The idea is that a mom will gain energy and confidence that she can give back to her kids —- “and that,” Denay said, “is hot.”
Do I have to even go there? As if a 2 year old cares if mum is wearing her Sevens or a pair of holey track pants. Rather than making the strange leap in judgement that women who dont dress up and do their hair are less than hot mums, why not spend some time worrying about the increasingly globalised culture that tells women (whether they are mothers or not) that they must be hot and thin or else they are worth nothing.
28 March 2009
Source: Jeri Ryan cries over ending maternity leave
26 March 2009
Were you allowed to eat during birth?
Read more: No need for ban on eating during labour
25 March 2009
I just came across an adorable and thoughtful blog from a man who has been documenting his wife's pregnancy with photos and lovely captions. He's a professional photographer so unlike most preggo side-on snapshots from the rest of us amateurs with cut-off heads and blurry backgrounds, his snaps are gorgeous and his wife has incredibly chic outfits.
24 March 2009
Ever feel like a 'bad' mother? Too embarrassed to tell your friends that you hate your toddler sometimes or that you occasionally lock yourself in the bathroom just to get away from it all? Well, looks like you're not alone. One Los-Angeles mum has started a website called True Confessions (and now just released as a book) where mummy (and anyone else) can tell her 'secrets' freely without the assurance of complete anonymity and a support group of thousands. The site has sections for secrets about bodies/dieting, the office, wives, brides, singles and even a whole section for military wives. Some of the confessions from the body site are hopeful but some are also heartbreaking:
"I had a baby 3 mo ago and i hate my body stretch marks,fat rolls, nothing fits and i don't want to spend money on fat cloths [sic]."
"Good Bye 30 pounds. I will not miss you when you are gone... but I will enjoy the memories we shared."
"I hate that I constantly compare myself to other women. It doesn't nothing but make me feel worse about myself. I am 5ft.3 and weigh 140 pounds. I've had two kids and hate the damage inflicted as a result of pregnancy. I do my best to eat right (I don't eat Twinkies and wash it down with Coke), I exercise when I can, and am even considering plastic surgery. I just hate how I look and know that I need to change my attitude. I will be devastated if I pass this on to my daughters. I just want to feel as beautiful as people tell me I am."
What are your motherhood confessions?
Feel free to post them in the comments section anonymously.
23 March 2009
For those of you that saw Ricki Lake's documentary Business of Being Born, you will be familiar with Muhlhahn's as a selection of her homebirths were featured in the film. The book is a rich recounting of Cara's 30 years of experience as a midwife - she recounts her formative adolescent experiences, the homebirth of her own son and a selection of stories from the 700+ babies that she has delivered over the years.
Watching Muhlhahn in action in BOBB, for me, was one of the highlights of the film. Sensitively attending to each woman's concerns, providing unconditional and unconventional support and reassuring women at their most vulnerable was not only heartwarming but profoundly moving.
Nevertheless, in New York Magazine feature, Muhlhahn is painted as a renegade in the homebirth movement, as 'fearless' to the point in which women's lives are at risk. Her self-assuredness and confidence from years of experience is positioned as hubris and perhaps arrogant. Homebirth is positioned as 'extreme' and merely a growing 'trend' among middle-class women who have taken to birth at home like the latest Gucci handbag and those women that opt to do so as selfish and perhaps a bit clueless. This is quite a divergence from the sensitive and thoughtful portrait painted of Muhlhahn by Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein in their documentary and by Muhlhahn herself in her memoir.
Has anyone else read the book? Thoughts on the movie or the article?
22 March 2009
I often get sent books by publishers asking me to review them on the site. I was recently sent The Australian Baby Guide (rrp $29.95) from Goose Books. Here are my thoughts for those of you who are in the market for an Australia specific all-purpose parenting book:
-lots of practical information in easily digestible sections, nothing too overwhelming (but also nothing particularly new)
-well organised, very easy to find things
-provides a wealth of web resources for parents across Australia
-vox pop from mums and dads on a range of topics
-some of the information seemed outdated. For instance, given that I have a keen interest in maternity clothing and have spent a considerable amount of time in maternity shops and interviewing designers, I was surprised to see that many of the most relevant designers did not even get a mention. Rather, the usual suspects like Pumpkin Patch seemed to get pride of place (which leads me to my next point). Also, no resources for those mums in need of plus-size maternity clothing (Boo!).
-There is way too much advertising material in this book. The publishers never disclose how certain items/services make it to the top of their lists. It is no wonder that many of the independent or smaller businesses don't get a mention (probably because larger corps like Huggies have paid for ad space). Sections on 'Leading Brands' following each chapter seems out of place and inappropriate.
-Considering all of the information that the guide does contain, I was stunned to see two areas in particular neglected: 1) eco-parenting/natural parenting resources and 2) pregnancy body image resources. With the threat of climate change upon us, I would have liked to see more info on 'green' pregnancy and sustainable parenting methods (recycling, cloth nappies, organics). Maybe I'm biased but the lack of body image resources for pregnant women seemed, to me, to be a considerable oversight. Given the focus on maternal obesity, postpartum weight loss and pregorexia panics in our current cultural climate, it seems astounding that the otherwise comprehensive guide has no resources for women suffering from pregnancy eating disorders or who want info on coping with weight gain.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Overall: good resource for basic info on pregnancy and parenting, some info pertinent to raising older children and lots of web resources for those who are internet savvy. Less useful if you are attracted to more alternative approaches to parenting and definitely not so great if you favour small, independent retailers.
20 March 2009
1800 mum 2 mum (1800 686 2 686) is run by the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) and utilises the real-life experience of over 200 trained volunteer counsellors each week who help other mums with issues including the early days with a new baby, expressing and storing milk, weaning, supply and what to do when baby simply says no.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association is a voluntary organisation established in 1964 to encourage and support mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies. There are 300 ABA groups nationwide with over 17,000 members.
19 March 2009
Bad news: The teen birth rate has risen for the second straight year thanks to crucial cuts in sex education funding in American schools. Basically, this is a case of too much sex and not enough contraception.
The most recent statistics have revealed that the US birth rate skyrocketed in 2007 to 4.3 million babies and nearly 40% of those births were out-of-wedlock and to mostly Hispanic and African-American women.
Good news: Premature and low-birth weight babies are decreasing after a long upward trend.
Source: Caesareans soar in the new US baby boom
Jesse Jameson Ortiz and Journey Jett Ortiz....
Not too crazy and no states, foods or seasons to be found....
Source: Us, 30 March issue.
18 March 2009
'I spent two years in the Army so I'm incredibly tough on myself about losing flab. I'm used to discipline.
'Everybody says "give yourself a break" after you've had a baby, but I find it better to get back into a routine.
'And I haven't been dieting as it only makes me think of food more. Breastfeeding has helped me lose the weight and I'm eating what I always eat - Bran Flakes for breakfast, a tuna sandwich for lunch, and dinner has to be something like curry or a roast.'
Hmm. I don't know about you but eating only one proper meal per day sounds like a diet to me. Considering breastfeeding often makes women more hungry as it takes extra energy to produce good milk, I wonder how the poor baby is making it through on mum's barely there nutrition?
Check out photos here
17 March 2009
Source: Jenna Jameson gives birth to twins
According to Dr. Robert Kushner, director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity,
"The whole idea is, as that child comes out of the birth canal, you've already imprinted that child's vulnerability to be overweight," Kushner said."It's like being born with handcuffs on. In this environment, how do they have a fighting chance?"
Each week women in the program meet for nutrition classes, stress and exercise. Focusing specifically on controlling maternal obesity, the hospital has already referred about 20 women so far.
Interesting, considering that new research reveals that Australian babies are larger than ever. This time, however, Dr. Ruth Hadfield of the University of Sydney, argues that big babies are not healthy, they are overweight. As maternal obesity has increased so too has birth weight.
Source: Helping babies beat obesity
Big Aussie babies
14 March 2009
"In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting. Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates. Is breast-feeding right for every family? Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?"
Don't agree with this woman's argument at all but she's ballsy for putting it out there and acknowledging that breastfeeding is not easy and does not come 'naturally' to all women....
13 March 2009
"We don't do a lot of female athletes on the cover," Belsky said. "Candace has made it more interesting. She's got Adidas, McDonald's and Gatorade as sponsors; that's a pretty strong big three. But it's still tough to put a woman on the cover for us.
According to the LA Times, Parker was nervous that the magazine was going to make fun of her. She is planning to return to the court this season and is continuing to exercise through her pregnancy:
"I'm working out three or four times a week. The hard part about being an athlete is learning that when you feel tired you can't push yourself."
Source: Candace Parker Next Big Thing
12 March 2009
In the eyes of surrogacy agents, military wives are the perfect candidates for surrogacy, one agent Stephanie Caballero noting, 'Military wives, they don't cry, they don't complain at the drop of a hat. They're organized. They're efficient. They handle everything when their husbands are gone. A few shots during the first few months is not going to bother them, and they don't need to be told to be polite and professional and show up on time." These women are also attractive to surrogacy companies because military wives can access additional insurance for prenatal care worth up to $10,000.
I find this so problematic. While these women are clearly making do the best they can and are choosing to be surrogates, at the same time, the physical and emotional cost of being a surrogate is extraordinarily high and no amount of money can ever really cover the cost of carrying a baby to term and then handing it over to someone else. We should really be blaming the American government for not paying soldiers enough money rather than having women resort to carrying babies for a cost in order to make ends meet at home.
Source: Carrying someone else's dream
11 March 2009
"At the time, I was just justifying my actions based on saying, 'Well, these are my children, they are extremely valuable -- their lives,' which is true, but I was not placing that above my others," Suleman said after Dr. Phil pressed for an explanation for why she decided to do in vitro fertilization to get pregnant after already having six children at home. "But my heart was in it. Not my head. I wasn't thinking rationally. In retrospect, would I have done that again? I don't know.
"It wasn't a realistic thing to do. It was irrational at the time, looking back. But then I was really reluctant to state that, because I don't want people to think, 'Well, you don't want the babies, you don't love them.'"YA THINK?!
Source: Octo Mom Fertility Treatments
"Why would I want a record of me getting bigger and bigger, when I’m the first to destroy any photograph of me that makes me look even remotely fat?"
Great photos and commentary, check it out:
Portrait of my pregnancy
10 March 2009
According to new research from Tel Aviv University, women can, to a certain extent, reject or accept sperm thanks to powerful uterine contractions and the motion of the uterus is argued to be at the core of reproductive success (i.e. whether or not you actually get pregnant). One anthropologist from Cornell has explained it thus:
"...The uterus actually plays a role in make sure sperm are in the right place at the right time. Apparently, uterine contractions squirt fluid, and sperm, upwards.
After conception, the uterus waits below, for about seven days, as the newly fertilized egg takes its own sweet time to float into the womb, and then the uterus goes into action again.
When the egg finally arrives, the uterus begins to contract again, performing a welcoming dance that sucks the new embryo into the soft lining of the uterine wall, and voila, we have a baby on the way."
In theory, evolution dictates then that women are able to choose (unconsciously) the best sperm and create the best genes for the future child. Yet, women often have sex even when they know that their partner is less than perfect, so.....
There goes that theory.
Source: Secret Birth Control Method
"Scientists believe that early exposure while still in the womb can reduce youngster's sensitivity to the underlying bitterness of many alcoholic drinks, making them more appealing."
Apparently, researchers at SUNY in Syracuse believe that women who drink can give their unborn babies a taste for alcohol by doing experiments on rats. "When offered the choice of sugared water, alcohol, or quinine flavoured water, rats who were not exposed to alcohol [in the womb] tended to plump for the sweeter alternative."
Source: Mothers who drink while pregnant can give their children a taste for alcohol
08 March 2009
As most women suffer in silence, Jonsson has decided to speak out:
"I can't bear the thought of women suffering alone, in silence and feeling so alienated by this condition through absolutely no fault of their own. I mean, there is nothing adult about panicking every time you laugh or sneeze and feeling that you're losing control, so it's so easy to understand the stigma.
At the time, it did make me feel self-conscious, to say the very least, although my minor leakage problems after going to the toilet were alleviated by using the right protection and were not extreme enough for me to be caught out. But I do remember wondering whether I would have to suffer the side effects of childbirth for the rest of my life.
As an independent working woman I felt a bit stupid: what, I couldn't even control my own bladder - something you normally learn to do around the age of three?"
She says the only way she got her continence problem under control was through weight loss (she put on 5 stone in her last pregnancy) and doing pelvic floor exercises religiously.
Urinary incontinence explained
Continence Foundation of Australia
Always Envive: Sense & Sensitivity Campaign UK
Does anyone have any thoughts? Is urinary incontinence affecting you? What did you do to strengthen your pelvic floor?
Source: Ulrika reveals her most embarassing health issue
"I get negative comments all the time, but that's their problem," she told the Daily Mirror.
"Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world - and it's so good for my son that I don't see any reason to stop.
"I would never tell other women they have to breastfeed because it's down to individual choice.
"And by the same token if a mum wants to carry on breastfeeding until their child is five, six or seven that that's fine too."
As a fomer undies model and former Playboy centrefold, McAndrew knows that getting your boobs out in this culture is often encouraged if it is for the pleasure of men. She says, however, that now her breasts have a different purpose:"Now they have a different function, to feed my baby - you suddenly realise that's really what they're there for."
Source: Real Life Lara Croft Defends Her Right to Breastfeed
Thanks to Cherryskin for the tip!
05 March 2009
Check out the list of other great blogs here:
04 March 2009
“Diet and lots of exercise, I worked my big, little butt off,” Milla reveals. “It’s been a lot of work and I’ve been working with Harley Pasternak and his 5-Factor program, they actually have diet food sent to my house. At one point I just ate oatmeal, salmon and artichokes everyday for a week. It was definitely a lot easier putting it on!”
Milla wants another baby but not yet because of all of the hard work she has done:
"I do want another baby but not for a little bit," she says. "I’ve only just lost all the weight so I want to enjoy my old body for a while before I have to become a crazy alien again."
03 March 2009
Salon has an excerpt from a new book called "Unbuttoned: Women Open Up About the Pleasures, Pains, and Politics of Breastfeeding," edited by Dana Sullivan and Maureen Connolly in which Rachel Sarah details how she went from breastfeeding her daughter to breastfeeding her blind date.
Check it out: http://www.salon.com/mwt/excerpt/2009/03/02/rachel_sarah/index.html
Come on admit it, how many of you out there have shared your powers of lactation with anyone other than a baby? Are nipples off limits just because you're nursing? After all, it's no secret that there exists a whole genre of lactation porn...
Image via Salon
Did you feel prepared for motherhood? Is there such a thing as a maternal instinct?
02 March 2009
Although less than 1% of all births in Australia take place at home, more than 50 % of submissions to the federal Government's recent maternity services review came from women calling for greater support for homebirthing services, which according to The Australian claims up to a 10-fold greater share of births in some overseas countries such as Britain.
This is devastating and dangerous. Women who are committed to have homebirths will do so anyway and many obstetricians agree that it is much more reasonable to support midwives in the provision of quality care to women wherever they choose to give birth, rather than knowingly risk the lives of women who make choices outside the medical model.
In the UK, doctors and patients are struggling over new regulations surrounding the use of epidurals during birth. As new guidelines have characterised the use of epidurals and caesareans as 'unnatural' in a bid to reduce interventions by up to 40%. The goal of the new guidelines is to ensure that more women are having 'normal' or 'traditional' birth. Obstetricians, however, have problems with this.
Kim Hinshaw, a consultant obstetrician at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said: ‘I have major concerns with this. I don’t think we will ever reach a figure of 60% normal delivery using this definition. For example, in Sunderland we have an epidural rate in first labours of 60%.
‘This definition implies that if you ask for an epidural for pain relief, but go on and deliver normally after a six-hour labour, your birth was not ‘normal’. That is a disgrace.’
And Professor James Walker, a consultant obstetrician at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust added: ‘This is a very rigid definition of what normal birth should be. Epidurals should not be done without reason; they should be kept to a minimum. There are some women, however, who require an epidural because they cannot cope with the pain in any other way.’I have to agree. While I am fully in favour of supporting national guidelines that seek to minimise the unnecessary interventions, at the same time, I bristle at the thought of women giving birth in pain and not being allowed to have relief if they ask for it.
Would you be happy with this model of care in your own country?