The Compleat Mother Email Newsletter November 20, 2002
//-- Mother to Mother by Catherine Young (reprint) --//
//-- Adoption Frustration --//
//-- Friendship --//
//-- Visit these websites (please) --//
//-- Litters --//
//-- Special Dolls --//
One of the letters I received from a woman in New York recently said, “Why don’t they leave us alone?” I couldn’t agree more. Is it because we are not “like them”? Or are there deeper and darker issues involved? It’s not just about birth issues. Homeschoolers, though making headway, are also at risk. What about homeopath physicians? The co-sleeping issue comes readily to mind.
As some of you know, my wife is involved in a major legal battle with the State of Illinois and also the IDPR (Illinois Department of Professional Regulations). On this Wednesday, November 20, we go down to Springfield, Illinois, where her attorney will present oral arguments before the Supreme Court. The IDPR’s contention is that the Nurse Practice Act already in force was “meant” to include independent midwives. We are arguing that if it is not written in the law, then it does not exist. Yvonne is not a registered nurse in Illinois, thus we argue that the IDPR should not be involved. They issued a “cease and desist” order to Yvonne about two years ago.
Interestingly, the IDPR’s brief to the court say that only nurses may administer CPR. That must be a surprise to the paramedics in Illinois.
This Supreme Court case will have significant implications, not only in Illinois, but in many other states as a spillover effect. We’ve learned that the states do monitor decisions from other states. See: http://www.compleatmother.com/yvonne.htm
For quite some time I’ve felt a strong impetus around the U.S. which, in effect, says that our children belong to the state rather than the parents. Very recently, a midwife AND the parents were charged with child endangerment after a homebirth in Missouri. I don’t know the current status of the case which began in October, but that is not the most important issue. See: http://compleatmother.com/missouri.htm
Please stay tuned. In my opinion, our right to choose where we birth is in extreme jeopardy.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. ~Mahatma Ghandi, In Philosophy
Adoption Frustration by Summer Joy
I feel certain I could successfully nurse an adopted baby and seriously tried to adopt. I was (an am) not set on the idea that a child has to be my own flesh and blood. I realize that children are a lot like food – there is plenty to fulfill everyone’s wishes and needs, but the distribution is totally screwed up. Is it something like 40,000 children live on the streets of Brazil? Or is it 400,000? And here, waiting lists for adoption are miles long. I went to Human Resources and they did a home study. I passed with flying colors, and applied for a program to adopt from Brazil, a female child under six years old. (I sped some Spanish) and did not get my sights on a blonde haired baby. India would also have been just great but their government only accepts applications from married couples. Any of those little Oriental girl babies killed every year would be lovingly nurtured and thrive under my care.
Human Resources assured me I would not be prejudiced against because I was single. But, you know what? The head office rejected my application because I didn’t have what they considered to be enough money. You probably have an understanding of how we live- a small, cozy handbuilt house (I built it myself out of second-hand scrap and beach materials). a large garden, our own eggs, a healthy vegetarian diet, no TV and no rampant consumerism. Our clothes come from our recycling center’s free clothing store or from thrift shops or I make them.
We have a happy, healthy existence on ten acres of land, the beach a few minutes away, and we have very little need for money. We’re big on love though. But that’s not enough in the eyes of the government. So, I got rejected. The thing is, in order to adopt aas a single person, you either have to be independently wealth or work full time so you have lots of money; meanwhile putting your adopted kid into daycare for most of it’s life. Just doesn’t make sense. And now that Tony and I could apply to adopt as a couple, we’re not eligible as 40 years old is the cut-off date and we’re both over that. Still doesn’t make any sense. I did pursue private adoption as much as I could, but as we don’t live in a big center, my resources are limited.
Doctors and lawyers, through whom many people arrange private adoption, would likely be just as judgmental about our small finances. I contacted the Right to Life Associations, but they assured me they don’t do anything about trying to find homes for babies they convince women to go ahead and have. I was even willing to adopt a young mother and her child. This whole experience was really exasperating.
Summer Joy Hornby Island, British Columbia
//-- Friendship --//
Friendship By Mary Duggan (reprint from the Summer 1993 issue)
I met Adrienne five years ago at a friend’s house. Her one year old bumped his head and came crying to his mother. He nursed a few moments, then went happily on his way. I was struck by how naturally and easily this woman comforted her child, yet didn’t miss a beat of the conversation. I left feeling that she and I could become good friends.
My opportunity came during a brief career (one day) selling cosmetics. I knocked at her doo, showed her the catalogue, and stayed two hours. My children were five and six, hers one and three. During the next four years, Adrienne gave birth to two more children and I adopted a child. Between us we had seven.
Our friendship has always had an easy-going nature. We accept each other as we are; we share many confidences. We both strongly believe in stay-at-home-mothering. We have similar parenting style. My husband jokes the strongest similarity between Adrienne and me is an obvious distaste for housework. There is usually a lot of laughter when we are together.
In 1991 my husband was transferred.
The move was difficult; I was leaving my dearest friends. We vowed not to lose touch and have all put forth great effort to make sure that does not happen.
In the fall of ’91 Adrienne told me she was expecting another baby. I was thrilled, but also a little sad. I had been there throughout Adrienne’s last two pregnancies and was the one who went to her house in the middle of the night to stay with the children. I felt a little left out.
In the winter of ’91 the unexpected happened. A phone call informed us we were expecting another child by adoption. Adrienne and I discovered our due dates were almost the same.
We talked often about the babies. Adrienne was a big help when I told her of my plans to breastfeed. I embarked on a roller coaster of lactation information. Adrienne received a very excited phone call from me when I first expressed drops of milk.
One fine spring morning Adrienne’s daughter, Veronica, was born. I was there by lunchtime. I cuddled this delicious newborn for several hours. She had a mop of dark hair and the puffy, endearing look of a newborn babe. This was a special baby.
Just days later, my daughter was born. It was a strange feeling to know you have a baby, but not know what she looks like. She was 48 hours old when I, my husband, and our 11 year old went to pick her up. She was beautiful; soft downy hair, blue eyes and long delicate fingers.
Adrienne also came that day. As I introduced her to my baby I could not hold back profound tears of joy. I had loved this baby from the day we were told she was on her way, four months earlier.
Nursing my baby has been greatly successful with the aid of a supplementing system. I’ve had tremendous support from my husband, friends and family.
Nursing has also had a comical side; it took the combined efforts of Adrienne and myself to make a pot of tea. Each of us with a tiny baby at the breast and one free hand, we fumbled with the kettle teapot, sugar, milk, and mugs. My husband found the sight of us amusing.
That summer I was thrilled to become Veronica’s Godmother. She slept throughout the service, passed from person to person. She barely flickered an eye.
I had plans and dreams for our two babies, including first steps, first words, birthdays and a bond between them that would be similar to the one their mothers share.
But life can be cruel.
Veronica’s fingers and toes would become blue for no apparent reason. A visit to the family doctor revealed she had an unusual heart rhythm. A cardiac specialist confirmed everyone’s worst fear. Veronica had a serious heart defect. The baby endured several medical procedures before surgery was scheduled. I went to Adrienne’s to care for the children. The surgery was cancelled as Veronica had oral thrush.
Everything was postponed one week. This time surgery went ahead as scheduled. It did not go well. Veronica’s heart rejected two attempts to put in a shunt. Her blood clotted too quickly. Surgeons were left with no alternative but to perform open heart surgery. Veronica endured twelve hours in the operating room. She remained in guarded condition for three days, then passed away quietly – her parents with her, her mother’s loving arms around her. She was seven months old.
The last time I saw her alive, something overwhelming compelled me to take her tiny face in my hands and study it. I had a terrifying fear that I would never see her again. I was angry at myself for allowing the thought into my mind. I now have a permanent picture of that moment in my memory.
I do not know exactly how Adrienne feels. As a mother myself, I can only imagine her agony. She is an amazing woman, her strength gives me strength. I feel close to Adrienne now than I ever have. I am truly honored that she considers me to be her friend, and part of her family.
//-- Visit these websites (please) --//
OUR PRIMARY SPONSOR FOR THIS NEWSLETTER
Mission Statement - "Healthy Families Make A Healthy World!" Web site address - www.naturalfamilyco.com Conference info - Sponsor and Organizer of The 2nd International Husband/Wife Homebirth Conference - Theme - "When Faith Endures" - Keynote Speaker - Laura Kaplan Shanley - This Unassisted Childbirth conference was held in Boulder Colorado in July of 2001 and is available exclusively from the Natural Family Website. Cost - $39.95 For Compleat Mother readers - mention this ad through email when purchasing the conference e-video and receive a $5.00 rebate upon purchase through pay pal. Offer good until 6-03-03.
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//-- I Want To Nurse! --// “I Want To Nurse!” reprinted from Summer 1993 issue
Every few years one of the mainstream parenting magazines runs an article about the pros and cons of breastfeeding. The pros include some compelling facts.
Children who are breastfed as infants have a reduced risk of developing juvenile diabetes. Women who breastfeed are less likely to get breast cancer. But there is one pro that I rarely see mentions: Babies love to nurse.
By the time she was 2 ½ and speaking well, my daughter Hilary made her passion for breastfeeding very clear. She loudly and vigorously demanded to be nursed in such inconvenient places as the supermarket line-up and the boss’s living room. Her clear cries of “I want to nurse” always turned a few heads. However, I don’t think I really understood how much nursing meant to her until an interesting incident occurred. We had gone out for a large vegetarian pizza and while I was taking Hilary to the washroom her interest was caught by a mother changing a very new baby. I had noticed them too, particularly the fact that the mother was wearing a knee-length, high necked maternity dress. It was the sort of outfit one would have to remove entirely in order to breastfeed. I wondered if the baby was being bottlefed.
As she was washing her hands, Hilly watched the baby intently, then she turned to me and asked, “Is the baby going to have pizza?”
“No,” I explained. “He has no teeth. He can’t eat pizza. He will either have a bottle or he will nurse.”
A look of shocked disbelief came over her little face and she cried out in her most heartfelt voice, “That baby doesn’t want a bottle, he wants to nurse!”
To spare the baby’s mother any embarrassment, I quickly ushered Hilary back to our table. But inside I felt like shouting out “Yes, yes, what she says is true.” Talking nurslings play a very special role. Young enough to still be babies (at least when they are tired, sick or in pain), yet old enough to articulate their feelings, they tell us what every baby would if it could. “I want to nurse.”
My sister just had a baby (32 weeks - 4 pounds) and a nurse came into her room with a little enfamil thing on her uniform and my sister said, "Shame on you! You shouldn't be advertising for formula companies!" The nurse said she wasn't, Susan said, sure you are. The lady said they were free, and Susan said of course they are in exchange for the advertisisng they get. And the nurse said she believes ladies make their own choices and she would never tell anyone that they should breastfeed, and my sister said, (can you believe this?!) "Then you shouldn't be a nurse!" It is your job to advocate the healthiest choices for your patients.
This discussion went on a while, and the lady said she respected my sister's position and my sister said, "I don't respect yours." Is she a superstar or what! Here she is in the hospital (had been for 4 weeks!) totally at their mercy, and she is giving them an education! The nurse came in later trying to smooth things over, and my sister held her ground.
She mentioned the Code of Ethical Marketing, the nurse didn't know what that was. I told her if she sees her again, remind her the reason she said she wears it is because it was free. Ask her if we get her something free will she wear it instead? (Not in addition, but I will trade her mine for hers.)
Janis Honea. Sparks, Nevada
An older and wiser friend slipped me a copy of TCM, and I was a little nervous to even read it. Imagine! So can you send me some back issues? Lisa Merchand, Winnipeg, MB
Someone from my very own Chicago of medicalized childbirth, no nursing, and single use diapers found her first copy of Compleat Mother at her local bookstore. It was I who dropped off my extras there. Meredith George, Chicago, Illinois
Thank you for re-printing your mother’s first editorial. I was one of the lucky women who had a copy of that issue, but I passed it on to my daughter when she gave birth (at home) to my first grandchild. She’s preganant again, and thinking of water birth. Send her your video and bulk subscription. Joan Richards, Vancouver, BC
I just have to tell you that I LOVE the mother!! …spent the whole night reading all of the extra back issues you sent. Thank you so much!!!! I will be passing it on to all the pregnant women I can! ? Darci (in email)
//-- Special Dolls --//
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