Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A tale of the recurring "3 lines" ..

When I was pregnant with my first I was very excited of course,  If you asked me what I wanted I would have given you the cliche "whatever baby is, as long as it's healthy" answer (I know would change that just plain and simply "a baby" because of course I would not "not want" a baby if he/she wasn't healthy We love our children as they are).

I secretly hoped for a boy though, I was just barely becoming content with people my gender and barely embracing all things "girly". You see I spent most my teens and early 20's in a somewhat gender stereotype limbo. I was too "girly" to be a tomboy and too awkward to pull off being "girly".  My mother embraced the society rule of what a woman of the 80's should be .. heels, make up, dresses, fashion trends, perms, shoulder pads, floppy bow ties.. She never did teach me how to "be a girl" though.  I don't blame her, she didn't grow up with a mother as hers passed away when she was a toddler, whatever she learned she learned from TV, her peers etc.,  and she must have figured I would learn the same way.  Too bad I also grew up with an interesting contrast of an anti-social paranoid father who never wanted us to be sheeple and who threatened to beat me up if I became a whore or  beat me up if I became a lesbian.  I couldn't be girly and I couldn't be a tomboy. I didn't know who I could be if that makes sense..  I couldn't be like my peers so I was a bit confused until I moved away from them.

I was always the girl who had many male friends because I couldn't relate to girls, Back then I blamed it on them being drama now I admit I just felt awkward around them.  So  fast forward to my first child..  I secretly wanted a boy!  I wanted to dress him up in little punk rock clothing, I wanted to roughhouse, I wanted to give him a little Mohawk. I wanted trucks and Dinos and all those stereotypical boy things..  I wanted to teach him to be a good man! week 20th came along and when the sonographer said  See those 3 little lines? "it's a girl" My heart Sunk to dephts unimaginable!  I felt very deep disappointment and sadness, then I felt overjoyed and elated and happy and looking forward to the future all in the time frame of 5 seconds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I am sure some of you understand that feeling.

Picture from Second Sono Yeah this time I was happy to hear she was "still a girl" ! :)

My little princess!
I had my second daughter in 2010,  When we got pregnant with her I knew she would be a girl.. I just had that feeling.  The day of the ultrasound came and I was 1% hoping they would say boy and alas.. those 3 lines again..  This time though.. I was not disappointed, I was super excited that my daughter would have a sister, something I didn't have and always wondered what it would be like.  I was excited to use the baby clothes I had saved from my first daughter and I wanted everything pink and girlie!

This time around?
Well  I didn't want to find out the gender, I didn't want to think of the possibility of a 3rd girl.. I didn't want to deal with the insensitive comments .. I already had gotten plenty from announcing that I was pregnant again just 10 months after giving birth to my second.  My husband wanted to find out though and curiosity got the best of me. I swore up and down it was a boy because this pregnancy has been so different from my last two..  I wasn't going to announce the gender because I wanted to avoid stupid comments like "your poor husband" or "wait til they're teenagers"  "better luck next time" etc..  but I think by not announcing it I am making it seem like we are disappointed and we're not.. we're elated to say  the 3 lines came back! It's  a girl!! 

Prior to finding out we started panicking at the possibility of this baby being a boy,  what on earth would we do?  When we go to grocery stores all we see are whiny crying boys! (I am sure there's whiny crying girls too but our biased view only lets us notice the boys hehe)   My oldest daughter didn't want a "little bother" (Thank you Olivia the pig for coining the phrase) so when the 3 lines came up on the screen we all literally clapped and cheered. "A girl! YAAAAAAYYYYYY"

I asked over at the Instinctual mamas page about other families with children of the same gender and your answers were so varied and yet so alike because the children we all have are loved no matter what! So here are my answers to the questions I asked.

Where you disappointed to find out your latest was of the same gender as his/her siblings?
Absolutely not! I was very relieved and excited!

Did you get insensitive comments from family and friends? How did you handle it?
Though I have been avoiding them I have gotten a couple from some.. to which I jokingly reply "Not my fault Hubby doesn't make boy sperm" lol..

Do you feel like you are not done ? If you are ...Do you ever wish you weren't?
No, I am not done I want 1 more though I actually want another girl just so people wont assume I am "trying for a boy"

Do you feel jealousy when someone has a baby the opposite gender?
Sometimes!  I think it's natural.. I sometimes feel like I am inadequate for not being able to get pregnant with a boy then I remember I am not in the middle ages.. I'll leave raising boys to someone else! Plus if it's the last name? My girls can always keep theirs! We live in the 21st century after all!

When did you feel at peace with your family as is? (if you were ever not at peace)
I felt at peace after my second daughter, after finding out just how awesome girls are!

Is the amount of children you have the result of seeking for a specific gender?

What is the most awesome thing about having all boys/girls?
That they are mine!! and best of all.. that when they have babies of their own I wont have to walk on eggshells with a daughter in law.. Well I know not exactly like that but I am sure the children of your daughters are less off limits than the children of your sons <3

What are you most looking forward to?
Seeing them grow into women!, Grandbabies, perhaps attending their births if they want me to.

What do you wish people knew about having all boys/girls.
That you don't have to have "one of each" to enjoy your children, proof of that is people with big families of different genders, and sometimes.. having just a girl and a boy can still be lonely for the kids. I have a brother whom I love dearly but I always wished I had a sister too!

and with that said, I leave you with this...

"You can't always get what you want.... And if you try sometime you find...You get what you need"
Rolling Stones.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Happy Ending, thanks to online efforts!

Rough translation by Rockin' Momma blog,  Source: "El Mundo"

CAM gives the baby back to the Moroccan mother who refused to wean.

Pedro Simon/Madrid.

Three weeks after the abrupt weaning caused by the Administration, Habiba once again is able to hug her 15 month old. The Ward Commission of the Instituto Madrileno del Menor y la familia (IMMF) decided yesterday to release custody to a woman Habiba, that by priory  had all the 3 defeat cards.  Immigrant (from Morocco) Poor and abused.  The case is that David has won the battle and Goliath has had to rectify. On the 30th of May the Madrid Community took the custody away of a 15 month old to a woman dependant on social services for lacking "economic resources" and "refusing to submit to a parenting class" (which implied to wean the child)  and yesterday it gave it back.

Never has custody been given back so quickly and that is due to something. The Official explanation is that Habiba now has an "employment offer" in the past couple of days she has "secured a place of residence" and she will initiate "psychological treatment". The unofficial story is that the matter was on fire in social networks and on pro breastfeeding forums, there were 20,000 protest signatures. The state Ombudsman, the prosecutor, and even the Spanish Association of Pediatrics were looking into the matter: the hypothetical case that custody had been taken from a low income woman for the simple fact of refusing to wean. 

Lourdes Reyzabal President of  "fundacion Raices" the organization responsible for bringing the case to light commented, "What happened deserves some serious though, You need a court order to tow a car from a garage  but not to take custody of a child, You should see the child as soon as she came out she has not let go of her mother: You have to see them they glow like never before!"

Who would have thought but the fact that the mom can hug this child is because Facebook exists the case came to light, she needed a job offer and now she has several, she has an offer to be a child care provider, to give Arabic classes, to be a lactation consultant, to cook Moroccan recipes...

A happy Ending!   One thing she has clear... Habiba will only work where they will let her be with her daughter.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Querida Habiba: Dear Habiba:

Querida Habiba:

Queria escribir un poco sobre como has conmovido a una parte del mundo que aunque pequena se sentia enorme el amor y la pasion con la que peleaban por ti.

Yo solo soy una madre con una bebe de la misma edad que Alma, con las mismas maneras de criarla que de solo imaginar que algo asi le pudiera estar pasando a una madre tan intuitiva, se me quebranto el conrazon y llore lagrimas del dolor que solo una madre puede entender.

todas lloramos contigo... cada lagrima que paso por tu rostro fue acompanada por mil lagrimas mas de otras madres que pensaban en ti cuado amamantaban a sus pequenos.

todas estuvimos contigo, pensando en ti, escribiendo, gritando, peleando porque te regresaran a tu bebe.

espero que sepas que estamos felices de que finalmente tengas a tu bebe en brazos y que recuerdes que algunas veces cuando el mundo parece cruel es cuando se demuestra que todavia hay gente buena en el mundo la mayoria de ellas madres.

Gracias por ser una madre ejemplar al excuchar a tus instintos, no dejes de ser asi.

Con mucho carino

Tanya y las miles de madres que lloramos contigo.

Dear Habiba:

I wanted to write to you about how you moved a part of the world that though small, the love and passion with which they fought for you was enormous!

I am just a mom with a daughter Alma's age, with the same ways of  raising her that just imagining that something like this could happen  to such and instinctual mother broke my heart and I cried  for your pain that only another mother could understand.

We all cried with you, thought of you, wrote, shouted, fought for your baby to be back in your arms.

I hope that you know that we are joyful that you have your baby back in your arms and that you remember that though sometimes the world seems like a cruel place it is then that we get reminded that there are still good people out there.. the majority of them mothers.

Thank you for being an exceptional mother and listening to your instincts! Don't stop being like this.

With lots of love,

Tanya and the thousands of mothers who cried with you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I am Habiba are you? A mother relates..

The quest is still on, we're still fighting for Habiba to regain  custody of Alma her 15 month old daughter. Our chant is that we are all Habiba.

And now with the release of the report made on her parenting I can say that really indeed we are all Habiba, at least a lot of us are.
I am guilty of all of the things that "flawed" her as a parent, things that should be considered wholesome, healthy, and in the child's best interest!

"The hours and type of food are chaotic" and " she uses breastfeeding as a pacifier and a toy, offering her breast any time the girl cries and letting her take it anywhere, no matter the time and context in which this happens (offices, corridors). "

When my daughter cries...

She gets boob....

When we're out...

She gets boob...

This is not dirty.. it's natural and I feel it is my duty as mother!

"She gives her the pureed food that is already prepared by the shelter, but also other solid foods that are inappropriate for her age (like the ones Habiba eats). Over the weekends when she needs to make the pureed fruit herself, more often she doesn’t and breastfeeds instead. "

My baby eats what I eat...

and when in doubt... I breastfeed!

"We attempted to regularize and limit breastfeeding times, but it did not seem possible, so the possibility of stopping breastfeeding was raised ...." "... she continued to breastfeed. She was given pacifiers, but she didn’t use them either

try telling that to a baby!!  "Sorry kid bureaucracy says you must stop nursies and you gotta suck on this plastic instead"

"She (Alma) does not have proper sleep patterns. From the first moment Habiba didn’t want the girl to sleep in her cot and she lies with her in her own bed. She uses the cot to drop off things and toys and on very rare occasions to leave the girl ... "

HA! this is how my baby went to sleep tonight..

And how she's been sleeping every night...

 Nap time? No crib for her!

"Habiba is very affectionate with Alma, uses physical contact and verbal expression as a means of communication. The child is constantly searching for visual reference from her mother and has been some anxious fear towards the separation. "

Everywhere I go... my baby is with me!  Why would I want her to become independent so young?

I consider my children, cared for, loved, nourished, respected...

Why has society strayed so much from this that it would even be deemed questionable?

So many children who NEED this type of parenting don't get it.. why would a mother be persecuted for this?



Sunday, June 12, 2011

When did birth become a war?

cabanel the birth of venus

I think I have been living under a rock when it comes to the subject of birth.  I have been around the block when it comes to mommy blogs and forums for the past 5 years since being pregnant with my first and I have been aware on certain touchy subjects,  I can even understand why people on either sides of a controversial subject (do I even need to name them? lol)  can be upset, but birth? really??

A while back Facebook pages that I love got into a bit of a debacle, it was tough to witness as I loved them all  for different reasons, and I got great info from all.  I am my own person and I have a mind of my own, my own expectations of birth my own vision, my own respect for it.  If one page talked about something I wasn't comfortable with I would just simply ignore it, plenty of other advice was applicable to me anyway.  If someone tells me don't seek medical attention and I am feeling ill umm I don't know about you but I am going to do what I feel is best for me and my baby who the heck cares at that point who the person at the other end is.  If someone tells me I am being "selfish" for wanting to give birth at home, I really don't care either who the other person is.. I will do what I want to do, the other person doesn't know me and I don't know them, they do not know how I came to my decision and I don't know how they came to have the viewpoint they have.  In the end.. I march by the beat of my ow damn drum!  And I would expect that most people feel the same way. Why all the fighting?

After all of that dust settled  I noticed other pages popping out.. antithesis of other pages promoting natural birth, homebirth, freebirth etc. These pages express pride in c-sections, hospital births and it's fine  that's not the issue.  What I find disturbing is that these pages seem to be created out of believing that natural birthers think that giving birth at a hospital is lazy or uneducated.  I am saddened because I myself wouldn't want that label on me. 

I am a homebirther, that does not mean I am trying to be a rebel, it does not mean I am proving my womanhood, it does not mean I am a martyr, it does not mean I look down upon your c-section it does not mean I think you are uneducated, it does not mean I think all c-sections are unnecessary, It does not mean I hate hospitals or science or Drs, OB, Nurses etc.  It does not mean I preach homebirth to everyone, it does not mean I am better than anyone, nor inferior either, I do not follow a fad, I didn't educate myself on google, my midwife is not someone who is just educated online and I found off the Internet.

I love birth! I think it is miraculous, marvelous, amazing, no matter how it happens, I am happy for babies being born no matter where or how or when, Even if it's a woman wanting to schedule a c-section because she doesn't want to push I respect that as long as it was her decision to make and she wasn't tricked into it.. and even then I don't blame the women  I blame the Dr's.. I don't blame ALL Dr's I blame the status quo on birth in the U.S and I blame the fact that it has created lazy Dr's (NOT women) and it has created bad midwives as well who can take advantage of unsuspecting women who just want their picture of their "ideal birth".

There are  great Dr's out there and there are great hospitals too! and my wish is that the way they practiced was the norm in the U.S so that everyone was/felt safe  there.  Some women birth at home solely for the fear of a repeat traumatic birth, it's not even about proving anything to them it's just about avoiding being treated like Cattle about to be butchered again because this is how they felt their previous time. There is women who don't even have a choice as they cannot afford a homebirth, there are women who go to the lenghts of going unassisted even though that would have not been their ideal choice  because the thought of going to a hospital makes them panic!

There are women who have complicated pregnancies, complicated deliveries, and the only place that it's safe for them to give birth is at a hospital where the technology is readily available, there are women who just feel safer there, there are women who after much research have come to the conclusion that this is the safest way.

Birth is birth, to me if someone went through a pregnancy no matter what lenght and the end result was a baby full term, preemie or angel..  it was a birth. Vaginal, cesarean, 24 weeks  later, 42 weeks later, happy, sad, healthy baby, sick baby, angel baby. I am equally amazed by the strenght it takes for a woman to experience this life altering experience, from the moment there is a plus sign and a life is there a mother is born.   I listen to each birth story or loss story with respect, awe and intrigue. 

I love birth, I am not better than you and you are no better than me.. what matters in the end is that you feel healthy, fulfilled, satisfied, content and at ease.

So please... don't label me as a snob nor a dumb sheep doing following a flock.. because I don't label you either.

I birthed at home because this is what I felt was best for me personally. I have birthed at a hospital and the experience wasn't great and this time around.. though I plan to give birth at home again, I am fully aware on the implications and I am not blindly thinking this will go as planned.  Nature is a force to be respected and just like the second time I birthed I go into it with an open heart and an open mind. I am not afraid to seek the help of a hospital if needed, I just don't want to be there if I don't have to. But again, this is me and only me that I am speaking for.

Your birth matters! no matter how, when, where. Your baby matters and YOU matter!.

Happy Birthing to all! <3 Please know it's not  one vs the other when it comes to birthing, we are all different and we are all similar. Opening your heart to someones story without cynicism is a great opportunity to learn together, once we understand that birth isn't dictated by a mold we can then fight to keep it from becoming one. Birth comes in all forms.

An open minded birth aficionado <3

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Worldwide Mothers show they care!

2 days ago I wrote about a story I came across about a Moroccan mother in Spain whose 15 month old got taken away for failure to comply to the IMMF's rules of weaning her 15 month old daughter. because they deemed extended and on demand breastfeeding as "chaotic" and "harmful.

In 48 hours the group "worldwide mothers support Habiba" has grown to over 600!   and the original group in Spanish is over 3000! 

Habiba is not alone! We are all thinking of her and spreading the word and the longer they have their child the more the world will be fixing its eyes on just how fair the system is at the IMMF, and hopefully many institutions such as these start getting scrutinized more.

I wrote a note yesterday in the group about some of the things happening

" Some media and people linked to the IMMF have been vilifying Habiba taking advantage of the privacy that has been agreed upon. She can not defend herself so all I can ask is to give her the benefit of the doubt when you read such things, Put yourself in her shoes. If the media thinks this is about Lactivists in an uproar over nursing a 15 month old they are wrong! This is about a child, not only taken away from her mother but from her source of comfort.

We as mothers and fathers put ourselves in her shoes and her daughter's shoes.. we know this is not the first nor last time a child gets taken away from a parent's custody for X reason. It's time injustices are stopped and the psychological well being of children are considered! Why would it be so bad to have supervised visits while this is sorted? They say she can get her daughter back if she takes certain classes, why not let her be with her daughter under supervision while this happens? A psychiatrist who is not biased and is not liked to the IMFF has said she is mentally stable and is apt to be a parent.

Makes you wonder what motives these people have to institutionalize an innocent child.

It can make anyone furious!"

See this can potentially go beyond Habiba, it's about time we opened our eyes to injustice to mothers and children done all over the world.

But baby steps..  and most important right now is to get Habiba and her baby reunited! 

We need your help!

If you can translate the press release from my previous blog to other languages please feel free to do so!

Also.. If you are a blogger write about Habiba!

Write about the importance of child lead weaning
the strenght of  a nursing bond
how Habiba's story has impacted you
write if you or someone you know have gone through something similar

Help spread her story!!

Find her support pages on FB

Worldwide Mothers support Habiba

Que el IMMF permita que Habiba amamante a su hija ya!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What if you were this mother?

"We are all Habiba"  Graphic Courtesy of Louma Sader Bujana

This Morning, I read a startling article about a Moroccan  mother:  Habiba, a low income woman  in a program ran by the Madrid Institute of Mothers Minors and families (IMMF), whose 15 month old daughter was taken away because of failure to comply with their wishes to wean her child, referring to this act as "chaotic" and "harmful".

The Article hit home because I have a 14 month old who still nurses, I cannot imagine someone trying to rip her from my arms and from her much needed "boo boo" I am horrified to think what this child must be feeling, surrounded by strangers, wondering where her mommy and where her milkies have gone.. no comfort in sight, feeling abandoned and this just brings me to tears to think of my daughter having to go through this..  to think of ANYONE'S daughter having to go through this.

As a mother I want to reach out to Habiba and let her know I am with her an  mothers in the U.S are with her.. I am trying to find info in English but I can't so far so I will try my best to translate what I find..

Here is one of the MANY  articles in Spanish talking about the case:

The Press Release Goes something like this: (roughly translated)

Four days ago, the Madrid Institute for Minors and Families (IMMF), decided to separate a little girl from her mother for not complying with the objectives of  a psychotherapy program and "maternal abilities" that imply to abandon  extended breastfeeding and breastfeeding on demand because it is considered "chaotic" and "harmful for every boy and girl".  With these considerations all lacking scientific or legal facts, they force mothers to take medication to cease milk production.  

According to the Spanish Association of Pediatricians, breastfeeding should be on demand and it can be extended as long as both child an mother wish.  No legal action has been taken to separate mother and child, and the mother has not been allowed to say goodbye nor has she been told where her daughter will be taken causing a grave defenselessness on both.  Habiba is engorged and on the brink of mastitis and with a broken heart with pain, with barely any sleep or bite to eat. This woman has been evaluated by a psychiatrist  and she does not show any signs of  mental illness, drug consumption or anything that would justify making her victim of such aggression.

They threw Habiba on the streets the same moment they took her daughter telling her she had no more
room there because the resources they offer are for mothers and children and she did not have a child anymore. A humanitarian foundation has decided to help this mother donating legal support as well as shelter . We are deeply concerned by Habiba's pain and it pains us to imagine the circumstances this 15 month old child might be in, separated from her mother in an abrupt fashion most likely with no one explaining anything to her.

.We consider Habiba and her child's case as a serious violation of human rights as well as children's rights. The damage is already done but if mother and child are reunited immediately it can be repaired because of this we urge you to write to write and protest to IMMF management, asking for the immediate return of the child to her mother

There is a group formed in Spanish
Que el IMMF permita que Habiba amamante a su niƱa YA with constant updates by people close to Habiba and  those familiar with the case.

I am not but a mother who was moved by this story and my plea is for you to be moved as well.. Madrid is far away but the pain  of a mother can be felt the same in any language. I created a group:
U.S mothers support Habiba! Hey IMMF Give her baby back!  To show International support for this mother in her time of need. 

If you have any articles in any language please  email them to me  tcast030406(at)gmail.com or share them on the wall.  Lets show Habiba that  American  mothers feel her pain as well as other countries!
Breastfeeding is a human right!


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