This post has been brewing in my head since I first read the news story about the Steubenville Rape Case. This story gets my blood pressure boiling. This morning I read a blog post by Jenny Rae Armstrong which references this news article by Dan Wetzel on Yahoo! Sports. And then I read this post by Shayne Moore who is co-author of Refuse to Do Nothing. After reading these, I realized I couldn't keep my opinions to myself any longer.
After talking with someone about this story, they asked why this was national news. I thought for a minute and maybe it is because the football team is famous, maybe. But maybe it is because it is time that this is finally brought to light. In that same conversation they said that it really shouldn't be news because "this happens all the time, girl-gets-drunk-boys-take-advantage, so this makes it not news worthy." REALLY!!! Because it happens all the time it isn't news worthy!!! This person went on to say that "they shouldn't be labeled rapist or sex-offenders because that places them in the same category as serial rapists, child pornography collectors/viewers, and more." I can see their point, but at the same time they were wrong, it was at least sexual assault which would place them in the sex offender category anyway. I also heard, "Well they were the same age or a year older so why should it be that bad?" ARE YOU F-ING SERIOUS????? If I was raped or received any unwanted sexual touching by another 29 year-old would that make it less bad????
I kept going over these comments and thoughts until my anger went to heartbreaking sadness. How in the world is it 2013 and we live in a world with more slaves than ever before, most of which are sex-slaves? How is it that people feel more sympathy for the young men who performed unwanted sexual acts on a 16 year-old girl who was passed out than for the young girl?
Oh that reminds me of another argument I heard, "Would it really affect her since it wasn't actual sex, but penetration with the fingers? It wasn't like she was really raped?" O-M-G!!!! Just stop right there! She was freaking unconscious and any, ANY, A-N-Y, touching, that is not wanted is WRONG!!! I don't care if it was a stripper, let alone a 16 year-old girl, NO ONE should be touched when they don't want to be and definitely not when they are unconscious. Unconscious = NO!
How have we come to this point that the other young men riding around in the car with them and watching this take place in the home, didn't think it was wrong? If it weren't for social media, the poor girl would have never known what really happened. She would have just felt that something happened but never have known for sure. With social media, not only did people "hear" about it at school but they read about it and they saw pictures of her. Social media takes rumors and gossip to a whole new level making it harder to deny something happened and making it harder for this young lady to recover.
In the news article above, it said she didn't know what to do when she found out, she didn't know if she should tell. Why? She was violated. Why should any girl or woman ever feel like they shouldn't tell when they have been touched when they didn't want to be or even know they were being touched inappropriately? How have we not gotten further than this? Why do girls and women still feel powerless when it comes to standing up for themselves and their own bodies? Why do boys and men feel they can touch us however and whenever they want?
Part of it is because they know the defense will dig up their entire past and drag this out as long as possible. The defense attorneys, others they know, exes, and so on will tell of why their past is tainted and they basically deserve this. People always feel sorry for the girl when she is completely innocent but when she has even the tiniest bit of a sexual past, she is made out to seem like she was "asking for it." It isn't just men saying this, it's women. We as a society have made the victims feel they are to blame. When in all reality they are truly victims who will live with these actions taken against them for the rest of their lives.
This is beyond sad. Is our world really raising boys like they are simply animals that wear clothes and have the ability to talk? Do our young men hear, "Here son, you have a penis and that gives you the right to do whatever you want in this world, including do whatever you want to girls without any repercussion. You are a boy and girls are just a whole to stick your things in?" If that isn't what we are telling them, then why do stories like this keep happening, not just here, but around the world?
Looking at my 2 year-old daughter, this scares the mess out of me. Kids are going to do stupid things, they are going to screw up. That's what humans do. But some mistakes and screw-ups should never happen. We have to teach our sons and daughters that they are responsible for their actions and that they need to stand up for anyone not being treated like a human. We need to teach our daughters (and sons) to come to us even when they aren't sure.
These boys ruined their own future. They won't have their football future they dreamed of, their high school diploma they dreamed of, or their freedom. They will have to live with the label of sex offender the rest of their lives because of one night of incredibly stupid decisions. It is sad that their lives are forever changed but what if they wouldn't have gotten caught, would they have kept doing this. This might have been the only time these young men ever did these things but one time is one too many.
The young women will have the live with the fact that she was violated and have to see all the people in her town who saw pictures or who even saw the acts taking place and didn't stand up for her. She will most likely have to go to counseling and these events could show up later in her life with intimacy issues. No matter what she was wearing, what she was drinking, or how she was acting, she did not deserve this. No woman ever deserves this!!
How have we come to a point in the world, especially in the US, where people will stand up for animal rights before they stand up for human rights? How have we come to a place where woman are still violated and made to feel like the bad person because of the events that lead up to the violation?
If you have children, especially a teen, take time to sit down with them today and talk with them about this. Don't assume they know this is wrong. Maybe they are as naive as the other young men and even women who testified in this case. Don't assume your daughters would know you would support them. Tell them.
To my daughter:
I know you are 2 years old and have no clue what anything I just typed says but I want to make sure you know that you ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a right to stand up for yourself. I don't care what you were wearing, what you were doing, who you were with...when you say no, or when you can't speak for yourself and someone touches you in anyway that is inappropriate, you come tell mommy and we will take the steps needed to make sure this doesn't ever happen again. I don't care if you are in the middle of the most heated make-out session ever where the only thing left is to have sex, if you change your mind and say no, and that boy/man doesn't listen and takes advantage of you, tell me or your daddy. You are not wrong. No means no. You have the right to change your mind at any moment. Your body is your body and no body else's, not even your husband's. And through all of it, please remember you are never alone. I hope and pray we never have to act on this but if the unthinkable ever happened, know you are forever and always loved and supported.
Please talk to your kids, teenagers, even adult children, and let them know that they are no one's property!
***Just before making this post go live, I was checking the spelling of Steubenville, and ran across this article on CBS News about a 15 year-old and 16 year-old girl being arrested after threatening to kill the victim. For those who pray, say a prayer for this girl. She has a long rode of recovery. And parents freaking talk to your kids and teach them right from wrong!!!!
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I applied to review Nurturing the Soul of Your Family - 10 Ways to Reconnect and Fine Peace in Everyday Life by Renee Peterson Trudeau. I was so delighted to find out I would get a free copy to review. Although I received a free copy of this book, I guarantee you it did not skew my thoughts and review of this book. With all that said, here is the review.
This book is for any parent who desires to have a better family life. If you are pregnant and looking for ways to develop your family and how to get started on the right path or have a been a parent for years but feel that what you are doing is not working, it is for you!
Have you ever started reading a book and in the first page or two you realize, "Wow! I really need this book at this moment in my life!" That is what happened to me. As the mom of a toddler, who has become a stay at home/work at home mom and wife to a husband who travels, I long to make the time we have together meaningful. But most of the time it seems too hard to change. It's easy to stare at the television or computer to just space out and forget your troubles for a few minutes. But those few minutes often turn in to wasted hours. Now, don't get me wrong, I still like tv and my computer but I wish there was less of it in our lives. There has to be more to family time than that!
Trudeau shares stories from her family growing up, her relationship with her spouse, her son, her friends, and people she trusts, admires, and calls her teachers throughout her book. It makes the book more than a random self-help book with steps and to-do lists to improve your life. It becomes almost like a friend that you are sitting having coffee with, discussing your lives and how you want to make the most of the time you and your family are given together. Trudeau opens her heart and life to show you where she has been, what she has been through, what led her to her life now, and that we can all change and develop the family life we all long for, one baby step at a time.
The chapters of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family include:
Chapter 1: The Transformative Power of Self-Care
Chapter 2: Peace Begins with Me: A journey to Wholeness
Chapter 3: People First, Things Second: The Digital Divide
Chapter 4: Nature: The Ultimate Antidepressant
Chapter 5: Returning to The River: Finding Spiritual Renewal
Chapter 6: Spending Time Together (Life You Mean It!)
Chapter 7: Defining, Celebrating, and Honoring Your Family Culture
Chapter 8: Do Less, Experience More
Chapter 9: Breaking Free: Making Hard Choices
Chapter 10: Building Your Support Network
Each chapter begins with a "Pause for Peace" where you take a moment and take a look inside to see what you need at that moment. Sometimes they include journaling activities, moments of thought, and other times it is taking a few deep breaths to settle yourself. She keeps it interesting in that every "Pause of Peace" is unique to that chapter and what you will be reading, thinking about, and discussing.
During each chapter she gives you stories, ideas, reasons, and research to support what she suggests. At the end of each chapter she first encourages you to think about what is working. It gives you a chance to acknowledge those areas and things you are doing that are on the right path. Next she gives you a task (they can be as short as you want or you can stretch them out) to dive into the things discussed in the chapter, and then a journaling exercise at the end. Now don't be nervous about the journaling, they can also be as long or short as you like. And to top it off, she even gives those of you new to journaling tips on how to get started. You can still read this book without doing the journaling and other exercises discussed but you won't get the full benefits of the book. (And for that reason, I will be rereading it so I can dig in deeper.)
When I first started reading this book, I thought maybe the reason why this book spoke so much to me was because of where I currently am in my life. But the more I thought about it, so many of the people I know feel the same way I do right now and we are all at different stages in life. So I really think this book can be appropriate and useful for any family. So if you have children of any age, I highly recommend you order this book today!!
Here is a link to Renee Peterson Trudeau's website with links to buy the book at a discount!
And here is a direct link to Amazon:
Below are the areas of the book that most personally touched me, along with a little "Thank You" to the author!
All of the chapters were wonderful and I enjoyed reading and thinking about the issues in all of them but the chapters that got me most were the first two which discussed self-care and also the chapter about "The Digital Divide." Obviously these are the areas I most need to work. The digital divide hit so close to home because I have been realizing I am very much addicted to Facebook. Not in a keep my blog site and business site updated but in a read-random-things-that-provide-no-extra-joy-or-quality-of-life kind of way. I am not saying Facebook is bad but when we put it ahead of our children or spouses it is. You have to control it like you do the way you don't eat the entire tub of ice cream. (That's also a challenge!)
The self-care chapters hit home because that is a constant battle for me. I always feel guilty when it comes to this area. I hear this little voice telling me I am selfish to need time for myself: If I take time away from my daughter, I am a bad mom. If I take time away from my husband, I am a bad wife. All of these are incorrect. I love this quote regarding self-care from the book by Renee Peterson Trudeau:
"Learning to attune and respond to your needs and desires -- practicing self-care -- impacts every aspect of your life. Nurturing yourself is not selfish -- it's essential to your survival and well-being."
The second chapter of the book is titled: Peace Begins with Me. How true is that! And if I am not taking care of myself, every single thing I touch suffers. My best friend once enlightened me of a major tendency I have and I realize not that not taking time for self-care heightens these abilities: To make mountains out of mole hills.
Trudeau also says, "Often we have to break down in order to break through."Little did she know that someone would be reading the book who had just had a break down. I'll get a whole post on this soon enough but last week I started therapy because I am just completely overwhelmed by life. I can't keep up with the normal "mom" things or "housewife" things much less my CPR business, childbirth educator certification, and occasionally working at the hospital. I feel like I am drowning. And go figure, once I decided to go to counseling, I immediately felt guilty because I would be spending money on me and not the family and I go alone so it's extra "selfish."
But now I get how wrong my thinking is/was! I can't be the mom, wife, friend, business owner, daughter, or sister that I know I have to capabilities to be if I don't look at what I personally need. And right now, getting to the bottom of the cause or issue that is making me feel out-of-control-overwhelmed is the very best thing I can do for everyone around me.
So Renee, thank you for your book. It has offered me words of encouragement in a dark hour and time in my life. At a time that I know I have everything to be happy about yet I am barely keeping my head out of the water. You book has challenged me in wonderful ways and helped me see that taking care of myself is not selfish or wrong, it is a must! My one word theme of the year is "Now" and your book fit perfectly because I need this now, not tomorrow or next year, but now! Self-care is needed now and every day for everyone!
I highly recommend this book to all the moms in my life!!
Monday, March 11, 2013
I just finished reading Nurturing the Soul of Your Family - 10 Ways to Reconnect and Fine Peace in Everyday Life by Renee Peterson Trudeau. I received a free copy to review and I fell in love with this book and it's message, I would have happily bought it! I wanted to make sure I really read the book in order to give you a good glimpse of it and that wasn't hard at all! I will be writing my review later tonight but I wanted to introduce you to the author, Renee Trudeau. This book really moved me and it came at an incredibly perfect time in my life. I'll share more later in my review. For now, enjoy this Q & A and get to know the incredible woman behind the book!
An Interview with Renee Peterson Trudeau
Author of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family
Many of your book’s supporters — Harville Hendrix, Jennifer Louden, Vicki Abeles — talk about the timeliness of this book, which you stress in the introduction. Why is this?
Nurturing the Soul of Your Family was born from a movement I started in 2009 — inspired by my late father--called Live Inside Out. Live Inside Out challenges people to slow down and live more intentionally. More than ever, thousands of us are hitting the pause button and reflecting on what’s really important in life. Due in large part to the economic recession, our worst since the Great Depression, we’re realizing our external environment can change on a dime: job gone, house gone, investments tanked. And when what we “thought” makes us happy, vanishes—where does that leave us?
Men and women — particularly parents — are doing more soul searching than we have in the past. We’re ready for a new way of being. We want our lives, careers and relationships to have more meaning, to be more personally fulfilling. We want to feel more connected — to ourselves, to those we love and to humanity. We want to align our actions with our core values. And, we’re desperately looking for teachings and tools to help us find this balance. Not in a “this would be nice” kind of way, but in an “I’m sick and tired” of feeling bad and having my sense of happiness come from “out there.” Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family helps readers pause, slow down, learn to nurture their inner life and live more intentionally so they’re driven by their internal values—as opposed to external or societal values. (Renee offers weekly insights on how to Live Inside Out on her global Live Inside Out Facebook community.)
You have worked with thousands of women at all life stages from around the globe for almost 14 years through your Personal Renewal Group program and workshops. What do they share are the biggest challenges they face?
Many women (and men) share they feel overscheduled, overworked, like they’re always rushing and life has become a giant to-do list. Overuse and misuse of technology is making them feel disconnected and it’s hard to unplug and just “be.” Due to an extreme lack of self-care — they’re parenting from an “empty cup,” feeling exhausted, and are concerned that they’re losing the ability to find joy in daily family life.
You seem very passionate about the topic of emotional well-being for families. What inspired the work you now do?
My mom suffered from clinical depression and I grew up navigating a lot of chaos and uncertainty (part of this was due to coming from a family of nine). I never knew what to expect day-to-day and feelings of peace and harmony seemed fleeting and far between. My emotional well-being was entirely dependent on what was going on around me. I was never taught that it’s possible to experience inner peace even in the midst of disequilibrium. Nurturing the Soul of Your Family teaches parents an invaluable skill: to anchor within themselves and that they can experience happiness, harmony and well-being, even in the midst of mayhem.
Why are the rates of depression, antidepressant use and stress (in adults and children) at an all-time high?
Most of us have bought into the mindset (whether we know it or not) that we’re self-improvement projects. These feelings of unworthiness, combined with unrealistic expectations about how “life” should be, can cause tremendous stress and anxiety in parents and in kids. We’re messy, raw, unpredictable, beautiful human beings who are constantly growing, stretching, expanding and evolving. Conscious parenting and family work can be some of the hardest there is. Also, our culture’s over-emphasis on the “outer world,” while paying very little attention to our “inner world,” can be devastating. Dis-ease and depression often manifest when we’re no longer connected to our true selves. We need to work together to create a culture that advocates for the care and feeding of our hearts and souls, which is equally as important as caring for our bodies.
Your book outlines ten paths to peace to help readers reconnect and experience more peace on a daily basis. What are they?
- Tapping the transformative power of self-care: attune and respond to your needs and desires
- Healing from the inside out: peace begins with me
- Unplugging to plug in: remember, people first, things second
- Unleashing the healing power of nature: the ultimate antidepressant
- Making time for spiritual renewal: return to the river within
- Loving the ones you’re with: spend time together (like you mean it!)
- Defining, celebrating, and honoring your family culture: what do you stand for?
- Slowing down: do less to experience more
- Exploring a new way of being: make hard choices, break free, and do it different
- Building your tribe: ask for and embrace help as you create your support network
If families were to just embrace three or four insights or strategies from Nurturing the Soul of Your Family that would make a big impact on their daily lives, what would they be?
1. Be open to a new way of being: Be bold, do it different. Be willing to take the road less traveled. Open up to the possibility that there is another way of seeing and experiencing life and begin to imagine what that would look like for your family. 2. Be compassionate and loving with yourself: treat yourself as worthy of the same self-nurturing, acceptance, and tenderness that are afforded your children. 3. Invite in playfulness and curiosity as you begin your journey;
awareness is the first step towards positive change. 4. Get support — smart people do. It makes everything easier.
People’s desire for spiritual renewal seems to be growing. What have you observed about this as you travel and teach?
I definitely think we’re experiencing a hunger for more sacredness, meaning and connection to something bigger than ourselves in our daily lives. I am passionate about teaching “everyday spirituality”—meaning how we connect to the Divine (whatever that means to you) in the midst of carpooling, homework and meetings. Ways of connecting to the Divine might be service to others, music, meditation or prayer, or for a huge number of us — nature. I think feeling a connection to the Divine as we work, parent and relate to one another, can have an enormous impact on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Spiritual renewal is as essential as eating or exercise — it gives our life purpose, fulfillment and helps us feel more connected to others and to our own true nature.
It seems your career took a radical turn when you moved from being a corporate communications director to the work you do today—teaching, speaking, writing and coaching on life balance. What inspired this shift?
There were three “life defining” experiences. First, the loss of three family members from 1992-2000 really woke me up to the awareness that life is short and “the time is NOW!” Second, I had a life-changing experience in 1996 at Dachau — the German concentration camp — that really challenged me to reclaim my life, stop blaming others for what I didn’t like about my circumstances, and move into the driver’s seat (I write about this in Chapter 9). Last but not least, having my son Jonah in 2002, had a profound impact on me on every level and was the inspiration for the creation of the now global Personal Renewal Group program for women and my first book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal.
Having coached thousands of men and women around coming into greater alignment with how they desire to live and work, what is needed for change to occur?
Three things: Clarity and a vision for what they want (what does the life/career you desire look and feel like?), lots of self-compassion (making a life or career change is courageous work!) and taking deeply guided baby steps while getting lots of support (often we try to run before we’ve learned to crawl). Support could be from a friend, mentor, coach, a therapist, a minister or someone else. Learning to ask for and receive help can take years of practice; it’s like strengthening a muscle.
What’s the most important thing we should be teaching our kids right now around self-care and emotional health?
As parents we spend a lot of time and energy around our kids’ cognitive and physical development, but we rarely focus on their emotional or spiritual health. Conveying to our kids-through our actions that they not only deserve and have permission to nurture their hearts and souls, but that it’s their birthright to do so — could be one of the most important lessons we ever share.
You’ve got a lot going on — two businesses, a new book, travel, a family—what do you do in your day-to-day life to stay grounded and at peace?
I practice moment-to-moment self-care. This means I do my best to attune and respond to what I most need in the moment. Sometimes this is stopping work in the middle of the day for a 10-minute meditation, going to yoga or dance when it looks like I don’t have time to do this, having tea with a spiritual mentor, hiking out in nature, giving myself permission to say “no” to a new work project or social invitation or practicing “good is good enough.” I’m highly motivated to “feel good,” so I try and make choices that truly support the emotional well-being of myself and my family moment to moment.
What is your greatest hope for families?
My greatest hope is that this book will inspire parents to open to new ways of being. That it will help them find their center and move through chaos and uncertainty with renewed strength and ease; live in greater alignment with their values and what matters most; slow down, live more intentionally and know what's best for themselves and their family; and release old fears and learn to live more in the present moment . And most importantly, that it will help them see that their family members can be their greatest source of joy!
# # #
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Renée Peterson Trudeau is the author of the new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family. A sought after life balance coach/speaker and president of Career Strategists, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and numerous media outlets. On the faculty of Kripalu Center for Yoga & Wellness, she leads life balance workshops and retreats for Fortune 500 companies and organizations worldwide. Thousands of women in ten countries are participating in Personal Renewal Groups based on her first book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and son. http://www.reneetrudeau.com.
NURTURING THE SOUL OF THE FAMILY by Renée Peterson Trudeau
March 1, 2013 • Parenting/Personal Growth • 240 pages • Trade Paperback
Price: $15.95 • ISBN 978-1-60868-158-7
Friday, March 8, 2013
|Sadly, I just learned of International Women's Day a few years ago. I thought it was something new but it has been celebrated since the early 1900's.|
International Women's Day is a day to be thankful for all the brave women who have come and gone before me. To be thankful that they had the courage to stand up for their own rights and mine. It's a day to be thankful for parents who encouraged me to dream. It's a day to appreciate the beauty and wonder of all we are as women. It's a day to be thankful that my daughter's world will look so much differently than my great-great grandmothers.
It is a day to remember that while we here in America still have battles to fight and win over issues, women in other countries are still yearning for the right for education and health care. They want to be able to choose who they marry. They want to be able to have a childhood instead of being a child-bride. They want to be able to stand up to their husband who is HIV positive yet still refuses to use a condom with her so she becomes infected. Girls want a chance to go to school and learn to read and write. Girls don't want to be sold into sex trafficking just so their family can afford to eat. Women want to be able to speak their mind and not have acid poured on their face. Women want to be able to get help after they are raped and have their raper prosecuted. Women want to be able to have their female babies and not have to abort them because they are the wrong gender for their country.
International Women's Day is day of beauty, hope, encouragement and a reminder that while we have come so far, we still have far to go. A day to be thankful and a day to remember those who yearn for something to be thankful for. It's a day to educate ourselves and learn how we can help the women around the world.
Women are amazing. Women can create miracles. Physically, women can grow another living being inside of their own body. We can nourish it and then birth a baby from our own body. We can give that baby nourishment from our own body as soon as it is born. We a life givers. How amazing is that!
As Mao Zedong said, "Women hold up half the sky."
As a mom, I look at the world today and think how happy I am that we live here in America and so many things are instantly better for her just by where she was born. My daughter can be a doctor, nurse, mother, stay at home mom, president, judge, fire fighter, in the military...the possibilities are endless! We need to teach our daughters of the way things were here and they way they are now, here and around the world.
We need to teach our daughters that the world is bigger than themselves, bigger than here and now, bigger than their current situation. It is bigger than her school, friends, boyfriends, prom dresses, American Idol, and Coach purses. We as moms and women, need to teach our daughters of what our ancestors fought for and won! And we need to teach them of what other girls and women, just like us, are lacking and dying from. We as women need to stick together and quite the bitter back biting and help one another when we see another woman down.
It starts with us, you and me. We have to power to teach our daughters and the girls and women in our life that we hold the power in us to make this world a more beautiful place. We hold the power to be anything we want to be. We hold the power to change the world!
So for my daughter and all the women in my life, take a moment today to look deep into your heart and find your passion and purpose. Maybe you won't realize it all today but start the search. Start the search for what you were born to do. We were all created for a purpose. Never short change yourself or the world because you think you can't. The bigger the passion and dreams you have, the hard you will have to work, the more help you might need. Remember to look to those who came before you for inspiration. Again, remember that no dream is too big or too small. If that is your passion, then live it to the fullest! If you make a difference in one persons life for good, you have influenced the world for the better! You are a woman, you are beautiful, you are powerful, and you were meant to change the world!!
Here are some encouraging words from a few amazing women who have made the world a better place. Enjoy! And Happy International Women's Day! Be thankful and be prayerful for the women around the world in need of love and support and basic human rights!
"For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women." - Elizabeth Blackwell, first female physician in the United States
"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again." - Sojourner Truth, African-American abolitionist
"Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.”
"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone." - Audrey Hepburn, actress and philanthropist
"I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet." - Susan B. Anthony, American suffragette and advocate of women's rights
"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live."- Mae C. Jemison, first African-American woman astronaut
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Nearly 1 in 5 children in America struggle with hunger.
Children shouldn't have to worry about hunger. We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. What happens when children don't have breakfast before school? When children don't get enough food they are sick more which leads to missing school more. They also less likely to finish school which leads to making it more likely that they won't be able to provide food for their own family. It's a vicious cycle. But what if they got breakfast?
Here is a short video to give you a picture of the needs and how we can fix them. We need to work together and really see what the children need and how to best help them.
Take a look below to get a picture of what happens when a child is provided breakfast at school:
What if each of us, either as individuals or as a family unit, took time to make sure one child gets enough food, even just breakfast. Think of the difference in not just their life but their future children's lives.
So what can you do to help with this issue?
Here is a list to what No Kid Hungry suggests.
- Educate yourself and your family on this issue and sharing it with your friends and family.
- Tell your elected officials and school boards what you have learned and ask what they are doing, and ask them to help the hungry kids in your area.
- Share what you have learned on social media.
- Put Breakfast On The Map.
- Donate to No Kid Hungry.
- Lead a Cooking Matters Demonstration.
- Volunteer at a local Culinary Event.
- Volunteer with the Cooking Matters Class to help out.
- Volunteer to be Cooking Matters Store Facilitator.
- Turn your birthday or next gathering into a fundraiser.
- Organize a Cooking Matters Class.
- Host a Great American Bake Sale.
Learn about your area and how many children go hungry. You might be surprised at how many children are going hungry in your own backyard. Take time to learn today.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Today is Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss's Birthday. You know, in case you hadn't noticed it everywhere!
I think most people have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss as a child, or even as an adult.
I love reading and I love Dr. Seuss. In fact, the very first thing I ever bought for our baby when we found out we were pregnant was a collection of Dr. Seuss books off of Ebay. When the books came in, I smiled and teared up as I imagined reading them with the little baby growing inside of me.
My all time favorite Dr. Seuss book is Oh, the Places You'll Go!
I think most people have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss as a child, or even as an adult.
I love reading and I love Dr. Seuss. In fact, the very first thing I ever bought for our baby when we found out we were pregnant was a collection of Dr. Seuss books off of Ebay. When the books came in, I smiled and teared up as I imagined reading them with the little baby growing inside of me.
My all time favorite Dr. Seuss book is Oh, the Places You'll Go!
I love so many of his quotes and I found this awesome graphic of 30 Dr. Seuss Quotes that Can Change Your Life on Pinterest which was from MAMIVERSE.com
Thursday, February 21, 2013
What if there was an incredible Superfood for Babies that we could give to children within their first hour of life that could literally save their life? What if it wasn't expensive? Or an even crazier thought, what if it was free to every child in the world?
Not only does this exist, it is free, and it could save 830,000 children every year!
It's colostrum and breast milk!
Breastfeeding is critical in preventing malnutrition and saving children's lives in developing countries. Mothers in the developing world, and everywhere, need to be aware of the miraculous wonders of breast milk, especially the colostrum, and they need the support and rights to provide this lifesaving nutrition to their children.
What is this colostrum you ask? It is "liquid gold." It is the very first "milk" that comes out of the breast. It is sometimes yellow in color or may be clear and is more similar to blood than milk, which is why I put milk in quotations above. Colostrum is full of protective white blood cells and antibodies. It is made naturally by the mother's body specifically for newborns in that it is easy to digest, coats their intestines to protect from bacteria, and promotes bowel movements to help eliminate the first stools, which are black, tarry, and called meconium (Huggins, K. (2010). The Nursing Mother's Companion.).
Breast milk provides all of the nutrients essential for a newborn baby. It grows as baby grows and it adjusts to meet the demands of that individual baby. The human body is incredibly amazing!
Fun fact: If a newborn is placed on their mother's chest, they will search and, most of the time, find the breast to eat!
In a report from Save The Children, it is estimated that if all babies were breastfed within the first hour of life, 830,000 children could be saved! That number is huge! And breastfeeding could make the difference! The reason for the need during that first hour is back up to the colostrum we just talked about. A quote from their report says it all when it calls colostrum "the most potent natural immune system booster known to science."
The magic pill every one is searching for lies within our breasts, ladies!
A few more facts and numbers (from the Superfood for Babies Report):
- 22% of newborn deaths could be prevented if breastfeeding started within the first hour after birth.
- 16% of newborn deaths could be prevents if breastfeeding started within the first 24 hours.
- Infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia
- Infants who are not breastfed are 11 times more likely to die of diarrhea than those who were exclusively breast for the first six months of life.
- A study from Brazil found that infants who were not breastfeed at all had a 14 times greater risk of death than those who were exclusively breastfed, while those who were partially breastfed had a 4 times greater risk of death.
- An infant given breast milk within the first hour of life is three times more likely to survive than one breastfed a day later.
Even with all of these wonderful facts with science to back them up, it's not as simple as it sounds. In their report, Save The Children found 4 common barriers to breastfeeding.
1. Community and Cultural Pressures
- Many mothers in poor countries receive bad advice or are pressured to not breastfeed, and instead to give the infants other things such as water, sugar water, herbal teas. In many of these countries, the water is contaminated so newborns are exposed to parasites and diseases.
- Many women are not free to make their own decisions regarding breastfeeding and it is left to the husband or family.
- Some cultures discard the colostrum because of religious beliefs, incorrect knowledge; i.e. It has been in the breast for 9-10 months and needs to be discarded, newborns cannot drink it because it is too thick
2. The Health Worker Shortage
- One-third of infants are born without a skilled birth attendant.
- This means the mother receives no support for that first feeding.
- The earlier someone can help the mother and baby with breastfeeding, issues can be cleared up from the start.
3. Lack of Maternity Legislation
- When a woman is supported by family and healthcare workers, if she is not supported in her place of employment then breastfeeding rates decline.
- Three areas of national policy play a key role in a woman's ability to breastfeed:
- Maternity Leave
- Financial Protection to help maintain the family's income while the mother is on maternity leave
- Workplace provision to all breastfeeding to continue when she returns to work
- This report calls for every country to ensure a minimum of 14 weeks for maternity leave, with an aim for 18 weeks.
- This is not just for other countries. It is for mothers like you and me who need support when we are breastfeeding our children.
- The US maternity law only protects your job for 12 weeks and it does not require your employer to cover pay.
4. The Big Business Barrier
(Before you stop reading here, I am not again formula when it is needed. But clean water is also needed to make formula, which is lacking in many of the world's poorest countries.)
- They often undermine breastfeeding with advertising, free samples, and health claims on packaging.
- Some have been known to offer incentives to health workers in poor countries in order to get them to encourage formula over breastfeeding.
- Again, you need good clean water to give formula.
So why am I sharing this information today? First, because every woman in the world should know how incredibly her body is made and what the amazing nutrition it can provide. Secondly, because mothers around the world need support when it comes to breastfeeding and you can help.
You can go to here and sign the petition for Secretary of Sate John Kerry to demand the renewal of the 1000 Days of Call to Action - a lifesaving initiative that improves nutrition for pregnant mothers and their babies. This helps moms in the US and around the world.
1,000 Days of Call to Action is set to expire in June. This refers to the 1,000 days from pregnancy to a child's second birthday where there are the best chances to prevent malnutrition. Since 2010, this international partnership has helped develop strategies for fighting and preventing malnutrition in infant and children in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Tanzania.
Here is an amazing video that shows the work that is being done by Save the Children.
Save the Children is doing amazing work around the world and in the US. Through their campaign for Health Kids, they have advocated for legislation at the state level to help breastfeeding mothers. Here are the recent ones that have been a success:
- In 2011 legislation passed in Louisiana requiring state buildings to provide suitable spaces (that are not a bathroom) for breastfeeding, which went into effect July 1, 2012.
- In 2011 legislation passed in Tennessee, striking language requiring children to be under 12 months old in order for mothers to be allowed to breastfeed in public, which went into effective July 1, 2011.
- In 2010 legislation passed in Arizona requiring private areas for breast feeding as part of childcare regulation reform.
Please take the few seconds it takes to sign this petition!
As a mom to a two year old who just stopped breastfeeding less than a year ago (March 2012), this hits close to home. I was not aware of the wonders of breast milk until I was in nursing school. I was amazed at the incredible ability of the body to make something that provides all the nutrients this tiny human needs. When I read about it in books, it seems so simple: put baby to breast, they eat. Fast forward 5 years, and I realized it wasn't that simple. Yes a baby will find it's way to the mother's breast immediately after birth but that little minute-old baby might not know the best way to latch. Mothers need education and support when it comes to breastfeeding. They need heath workers who can show them the proper way for the baby to latch to the breast.
My sweet girl was born here in the US and in a good hospital. I had a doctor and several nurses at my bedside, along with my husband. Everyone was supportive and encouraging. My daughter was put to my breast right after she was cleaned up a little and we attempted to feed her. (I say "we" because I had a nurse holding my breast.) And guess what, we had trouble getting everything to work. Yes there was a breast and a baby but we needed more help than that. Luckily, I had access to help. My daughter and I were not naturals at breastfeeding. Their were tearful days and painful moments. When she was two weeks old, I developed mastitis and had to go to the doctor for antibiotics. After that, we had latch issues. Then we had supply issues. But you know what, I had help and support and we were able to succeed at breastfeeding. And I live in an area with clean water so if and when she needed formula, she could have it and I didn't have to be worried that she would die from the parasites and diseases in the water. Some moms don't have the luxury of being able to fall back on clean water.
The entire time I breastfed my daughter I was amazed. My body knew how to make what she needed. It took practice but we figured it out. She was breastfed exclusively for 5 1/2 months (just shy of 6 months) and then partially for 13 months. As the anniversary of her last nightly breastfeeding draws near, I am so thankful for that time. I now appreciate my breasts because they provided life to my daughter. Not only did they provide nutrition but also protection for the rest of her life. I used them for what they were made for and even though there were some painful, tear-filled moments, I wouldn't trade those 13 months for anything.
We all need to do our part and help support moms who want to breastfeed!
If you haven't already, please go here and sign the petition for Secretary of Sate John Kerry to demand the renewal of the 1000 Days of Call to Action.
A simple click and a few key strokes could save the lives of 830,000 babies.
Even if it was just one, isn't that worth your time?
I am a part of the Global Team of 200 and Social Good Moms' 24-Hour Blogathon spreading the word about Save the Children's new breastfeeding report, Superfood for Babies. Sign the petition urging Secretary Kerry to help mothers around the world get more support around breastfeeding and lifesaving nutrition for their babies.