Compleat Mother Newsletter November 2003

//-- Greg’s Notes --//

//-- Singing For Life -- //

//-- Amina Lawal Released from Stoning Sentence //

//-- Dear Mom and Dad --//

//-- QUOTES --//

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//-- Greg’s Notes --//

The waiting is over! We now have a very capable individual to distribute The Compleat Mother in Canada!

Meet Angela van Son. You can once again order your subscriptions on the website at http://www.compleatmother.com/canada . You can email Angela at [email protected]  All costs are Canadian.

Jody McLaughlin and I will be meeting Angela personally at the APPPAH 2003 Congress in San Francisco this week. If you are in the area please stop by and meet us at our Compleat Mother table. We would love to see you there!

We invite you to participate in APPPAH¹s 11th International Congress: Birth,

Brain & Bonding: The Psychology and Science of Attachment, on December 4-7, 2003 in San Francisco, California. Pre and Post-Congress workshops are also offered.

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//-- Singing For Life -- //

SINGING FOR LIFE

Like any good mother, when Karen found out another baby was on the way, she did what she could to help her three year-old son, Michael, prepare for a new sibling. Day after day, night after night, Michael sang to his sister in Mommy¹s tummy. He was building a bond of love with his little sister before he even met her.

The pregnancy progressed normally for Karen. In time, the labor pains came. Soon it was every five minutes, every three, every minute.

But, serious complications arose in the hospital, and Karen found herself

enduring hours of labor. Finally, after a long struggle, Michael’s little sister was born; but, she was in very serious condition.

With a siren howling in the night, an ambulance rushed the infant to the

neonatal intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The days inched by. The little girl got worse. The pediatrician told the parents there was little hope and to prepare for the worst. Karen and her husband contacted a local cemetery about a burial plot. After months of excited anticipation for the coming of their new baby, they now found themselves planning for a funeral.

Little Michael kept begging his parents to let him see his sister. “I want to sing to her,” he kept saying. During the second week in intensive care, a

funeral seemed imminent. Michael kept begging to sing to his sister, but

children are never allowed in Intensive Care. Karen decided to take Michael

whether they liked it or not, because if he didn¹t see his sister right then, he may never see her alive.

She dressed him in an oversized scrub suit and marched him into the ICU. He

looked like a walking laundry basket. The head nurse bellowed, “Get that kid out of here now! No children are allowed.” The mother grew strong inside Karen, and the usually mild-mannered lady glared steel-eyed right into the head nurse¹s face, her lips in a firm line. “He is not leaving until he sings to his sister,” she stated.

Then, Karen towed Michael to his sister¹s isolette. He gazed at the tiny infant struggling in her battle to live. He began to sing.

In the pure-hearted voice of a three year-old, Michael sang, “You are my

sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray.”

Instantly, the baby girl seemed to respond. Her pulse rate began to calm down and become steady. “Keep on singing, Michael,” encouraged Karen, with tears in her eyes.

”You never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don¹t take my sunshine

away.”

As Michael sang to his sister, the baby’s ragged, strained breathing became as smooth as a kitten¹s purr. ³Keep on singing, sweetheart,² Karen coaxed.

”The other night, dear, as I lay sleeping, I dreamed I held you in my arms.”

Michael’s little sister began to relax, as rest and healing seemed to sweep over her. “Keep on singing, Michael.” Tears had now conquered the face of the bossy head nurse. Karen glowed.

The very next day, the baby girl was well enough to go home. Woman’s Day

Magazine called it, “The Miracle of a Brother¹s Song.” The medical staff simply called it a miracle. Karen called it a miracle of God¹s love.

Submitted by Robert J. Oliver, MD, Sylva, North Carolina

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. -Albert Einstein

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AMINA LAWAL RELEASED FROM STONING SENTENCE

In March 2002, Amina Lawal, a 30 year-old single mother was sentenced to be buried up to her neck in sand and stoned for giving birth to a child out of wedlock. The punishment was postponed to allow Amina to nurse her daughter, Wasila who is now almost two years old.

On September 24, 2003 in Katsina, Nigeria, Amina was freed from her

sentence by four of her five judges. The Islamic court overturned the conviction for having sex out of wedlock, citing procedural errors including adequate opportunity to defend herself and having only one judge present during Amina's initial conviction in 2002 instead of the three required by local Islamic law.

In addition, under some interpretations of Shariah, strict Islamic law,

babies can remain in gestation in a mother¹s womb for over five years, opening the possibility that her ex-husband could have fathered the child.

Amina nursed her child with the knowledge that when she weaned, the stoning sentence would be carried out. One can only imagine the feelings of fear, desperation and anguish this sentence put into her tiny child¹s being.

In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, writes "the child: who, drawing its sustenance from the maternal bosom, seemed to have drank in with it all the turmoil, the anguish, and convulsions of pain, and was a forcible type, in its little frame, of the moral agony which Hester Prynne had borne throughout the day." Hester endured hours or ridicule and interrogation in the market place as she stood on the pedestal of shame. We can only imagine the impact these two heart-wrenching years had on Amina and her child.

May Amina and Wasila now have their peace.

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//-- Dear Mom and Dad --//

September 18, 2003, Long Island, New York

Dear Mom and Dad,

It is with a heavy heart and unsettled state of mind that I write to you. I am about to share with both of you an issue that is difficult to talk about and has plagued me now for four years. Please hear me out and consider my words. What I am about to say has taken me years to come to terms with and has taken a lot of fortitude to confront. Instead of hiding this issue and my profound feelings I have now decided to face the issue.

About four years ago, during the time of my relationship with OJane¹ I

discovered something about myself I had never thought of before. As you both

know, I was deeply in love with Jane and was involved with her sexually. It was at this time I discovered I had a major problem regarding my sexual sensitivity. This is a problem many men have but not at such an early age. I was not able to enjoy intercourse with a condom. I discovered, repeatedly, that I had little or no sensation while wearing a condom. This of course was very frustrating to me and caused significant problems in our relationship. Sometime after, Jane and I sadly ended our relationship. I started to research possible causes for my problems. The information I discovered both shocked and saddened me. I slowly read pages and pages about the negative effects of circumcision, a subject I had not really had reason to think of until that time.

Slowly I began to learn about the procedure, its history, the effects it has on male anatomy and sexual function, and the many myths and misconceptions held by our society. The more I learned, the more I began to feel a sense of profound loss and helpless frustration. Putting aside the physical damage and loss that was caused to me, what really began to bother me was my body was permanently changed forever without my consent. I felt violated, mutilated, and robbed of something I was born with. The moral and ethical implications of doing this to a tiny baby infuriated me and I began to point that anger towards both of you. So I kept reading, and I found I was not alone in these feelings. I discovered many sources of information mostly from the United States, the only country to routinely circumcise male infants. The saddest part in this process for me was the learning. The more I learned about this complex subject, the more upset I found myself. I want both of you to know I hid feelings from you for many years now. For a time, I stopped thinking about this subject. With the busyness my life took during school, I found a diversion from the pain I felt.

I can only imagine now what you may be thinking as you read this. ³Michael has really lost it this time...² or, ³now he has something else to micro-focus onS² I know how this must seem. I want both of you to know the reason I am coming forward now is because I have discovered that in educating people on facts regarding circumcision, I can regain a little bit of my dignity and feel that I am making a difference in future lives.

I am not angry with either of you any more. I now understand you were both uninformed on this subject, as were most parents. It is hard for me not to blame both of you for how I feel. Both of you were responsible for protecting me when I was a baby, and this has caused me more pain than you know. I am trying to cast aside my hatred of what was done to me and instead take a positive action to help you understand what I have learned. You are my parents, and I know you love me and did not have bad intentions when you had me circumcised. I will not lie to you though, what was taken from me has changed my life forever, and I will never truly be complete again. I cannot regain what was taken from me. I feel both physically as well as emotionally violated, and I will carry these feelings for the rest of my life.

Over the last few weeks I have started my research on this issue again. I have accumulated a collection of readily available information that I have

painstakingly organized for both of you. There is a lot of material. I do find it kind of ironic that so many people in this country can be ignorant of information that has been readily available for decades. None the less, I have tried to present this information to you in a format of informational letters and articles that will allow you to learn as I have learned. Please do not assume that I am over-dramatizing this subject. Please read the materials I have provided.

We live in a society that routinely sexually desensitizes its male infants. The Unites States is the only medically advanced nation in the world that does this. The non-religious origins of circumcision date back to the early 19th century when it was felt that masturbation was the cause of a host of diseases. The information I have provided will both stagger and shock you, as it did me. I have also provided a separate section on Jewish thought concerning circumcision that I have found enlightening. One such fact being that Jewish circumcision did not always involve the cutting away of the entire foreskin, but rather just the tip. The physical harm in function and sensitivity caused to a man by circumcision is medical fact. I was surprised by how little we know about the anatomy of a man¹s penis and how circumcision is not the ³small snip² it is commonly referred to. The American public has become brainwashed by the common propaganda of a procedure that generates millions of dollars a year in revenue. This is no doubt the reason that non-religious circumcision persists in this country. In recent years, however, there have been an increasing number of human

rights and activist groups educating the public. In addition, the medical

community is slowly beginning to admit the non-necessity for this procedure and the support for it is eroding as the many disadvantages are becoming more widely known.

Mom and Dad, I know this isn¹t an easy subject to talk about. It certainly has not been for me. I have brought this topic to the awareness of many of my friends. For the most part, I have encountered both shock and amazement, as the people I spoke to were brought out of ignorance. For every person that I make think about this subject, the better I feel. I will no doubt be taking further action to inform the public. The bottom line for me is simple; no one in the world has the right to change another person¹s body without his or her consent. Parents do have the right to sanction a life altering surgery to minors when it is medically necessary, but only when the situation is life threatening. Circumcision is neither beneficial nor necessary for the health of a child, and to forcibly impose that decision on a non-consenting person for purported medical or religious reasons is ethically and morally wrong! One day I will learn to live with the physical damage caused to me, but I do not know if I will ever recover from the psychological feelings of violation and loss. How can I possibly make you understand my feelings? I spent countless nights laying awake in bed feeling helpless frustration and rage over this. I only hope you take the time to read these materials and can come to an understanding of my feelings. I

imagine you will be affected by this yourself Dad, as this same crime was done to you as a child. You will no doubt come to a similar conclusion as I in time.

This is truly an issue of human rights and equal treatment under the law. Female circumcision was abolished here years ago as it made news headlines across the country. While I will not try to compare the severity of female circumcision to male, I was surprised to learn of the many common misconceptions and attitudes that are shared between the two practices. Female circumcision is an awful and obscene practice, but to say that male circumcision is not an important issue because the injury inflicted may be less severe, is wrong. A crime against a person is wrong regardless of its severity or benign intentions. This subject has been largely ignored in this country both by the law and the public. Only recently are young men beginning to sue the doctors that circumcised them as infants. In all of these cases, they were awarded significant sums of money for their physical and psychological injuries. This would seem to indicate the trend the law will take in years to come. Mutilation of any person¹s genitals, whether it be male or female is ethically wrong, and should both be treated equally under the law. It is clear our society does not condone female circumcision, is it not then a sexist attitude to ignore the same moral principles for male children?

After you make it through this material we can sit down and talk about this. I felt that a letter would make it easier to break into my feelings. I do love you both, despite what was done to me. Part of the reason I decided to tell you this now is because of my thoughts concerning having a child of my own someday. I found myself not wanting to have a child for fear of it being a boy and not knowing how you would react to my not allowing him to be circumcised. I will be telling everyone what I know, anyone who can be educated. I want to make a difference in the hope that the knowledge will spread. It takes a lot of bravery to stand up to a socially repressed issue, but I feel it is best to start with my family.

There is a lot of material in this binder. Please take the time to read through it slowly. Everything is in here for a reason. I have read all the information in this binder, and I can tell you it only represents a small fraction of the information on this subject. I already feel better just having written this letter. I only hope you both will treat this serious issue with respect. I have said all I can say for now. Read everything, then let¹s talk.

Love, Michael

Michael formed L.I.I.F.E. (life) Long Island Integrity For Everyone.

email: [email protected]

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//-- QUOTES --//

The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with that crime, guilt, and there is the story of mankind. John Steinbeck East of Eden. 1952

Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity. George Bernard Shaw

What is done to children, they will do to society. Karl Menninger, MD

When slavery was a custom, every right-minded person supported it. Nothing is as powerful a legitimizer as social custom, even more powerful than law.

Thomas Szasz, MD

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Angela van Son Compleat Mother Canada PO Box 38033 Calgary, Alberta T3K 5G9 Canada (403) 255-0246 [email protected]  www.compleatmother.com/canada


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