He can learn wherever

Recently I was questioned about how I could possibly be teaching my kids. We don’t really follow any curriculum, we don’t have particular set “school” times. The closest things we get is the older two have quiet time when the littlest is having his nap, and they are supposed to exercise their brains. The thing is they choose what they do. Some days they play with Lego, or put together a craft. Other days they will grab work books or ask for a word search.

The thing is that is not the only time they are learning. The are learning something most times in the day. It has been amazing this past while as we are learning to trust our children, that they can learn and figure things out. Sure there are things that need to be improved on as they mature and grow. Spelling will come with time as will their reading.

In the picture above Ainsley was asking me how to spell words so we were sounding them out and he was printing the letters. Previous to it he was doing a word search and an I spy game on his placemat. The family we were with for some reason were stunned that he was capable of doing this. It is stuff he is interested in and has been wanting to do, so he has. Both my husband and I believe in being open and allowing our children the knowledge they seek. We don’t tell them that they are too young to do something or overly dumb down the answer to their question. At the same time we don’t use big fancy words that we barely understand. We speak to them as human beings who deserve to know about the world around them. If the boys don’t understand they know they are allowed to ask questions for clarification.

The point is, sure we do things a bit differently but that is okay. My children are actually well rounded people. They are individual and while they may have to learn things at a different rate, they learn at their rate and they learn to love what they learn. They are empowered to learn wherever they are.

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Politics, policy and other BS

” All that matters is a healthy baby.” This statement strikes guilt through a mom that is suffering trauma from her birth. Birth trauma is a very real thing. Often it involves losing control, having procedures done to you without consent, and doctors and midwives who have a different agenda than the birth mother. There are times when things change and things happen but how you are treated can greatly affect how you feel. Being respected in choices that are beyond your control, having someone talk to you in a respectful manner, as opposed to being treated like a less being.

Birth is a very raw and real time for families. It is a time where you are literally sitting at the cusp of life and death. It can be magical and wonderful, or it can be terrifying and traumatic. Birth is a very normal and natural thing but it does come with risks for everyone. Know one knows how any one birth will go, you just jump in when it’s time and go for the ride of your life. It is much easier to survive and come out unscathed if you are respected and feel safe.

With the birth of our fourth child coming up soon, the birthing time is very much on our minds. This is our final planned child and we would like this birth to be a healing and joyous experience. Unfortunately we are hitting road blocks along our way that is leaving us to change what our original plan was. Unfortunately I am not really sure why these road blocks are in place, as I can’t seem to get a real straight answer.

Now I understand that there are some concerns and questions in the medical mind about this pregnancy for me. This is going to be my first baby after having a caesarean section with my third child. Apparently in the community that I live in that leaves me ineligible to have a home birth. Our problem with this is surrounding communities will attend a HBAC ( home birth after cesarean ) but mine wont. They used to but now they wont and no one will give me a straight answer as to why. I have heard many different answers, but none are really what I feel to be a valid answer. They work as answers but they really fall more into the cop out range for answers. So I went with the next logical choice when I can’t get an answer from the practitioners I went to their governing body and asked them for a policy or reasoning. I really thought that a governing body that is paid and regulated would have some sort of concrete out lined list of requirements. I thought that said governing body since they are always saying what a midwife can’t do and where her scope end would also say where her scope is and require them to fall within it. Guess what? I was wrong.

I had decided to try and connect with the College’s ” Quality Assurance and Clinical Practice Policy Director”. I figured she would be the best person to speak with seeing as my questions were well within her title, so it should be in her job description. I simply sent her an e-mail a week ago and this was that e-mail.

Hello

I am a mother to three children and expecting my 4th in a few months time. I am writing this to inquire what the Colleges standards and policies regard a homebirth after 1 c-section. I have two previous uncomplicated hospital vaginal births before my third child which resulted in an unknown tachycardia in both mom and baby, resulting in a c-section. With testing that was done following the birth I have had an OB state that there was no reason to repeat c-section. 

The main reason I am writing this to the college is after looking through the Colleges page. I have read the code of ethics and the standards of practice. As well I have read the study that you actually have on VBAC’s listed. Also I have talked with various midwives, and been hitting walls within communication. I feel that I am getting conflicting information on the policy of a homebirth within regulations. I desire a homebirth for my 4th and final child and I wish for a clear stated communication about what is required by the College and if there is some informed choice policy that can help me reach my desired birth. I understand it is the College of midwifery’s goal to give women freedom in their birthing and I feel that I am not receiving this model of care. I am being spoken to strictly in fear and limited information thus not actually allowing my my rights to informed choice. 

If you can please get back to me I would like to progress in my planning and preparing for this birth. I do not wish to cause issues but I do desire that my rights be respected. 

The response I got back was a bit unexpected actually. I thought they would just send me some paperwork, that outlined a policy and to do with it as I please. Instead they wanted my contact info so they could speak with me.. I figured this could be a good thing they want to know more so they can set this right and allowed the informed choice right that I have in my birth. Once again I was wrong.  Being wrong really stinks.

So I gave them my info and she called me. Luckily it was during C’s naptime so I had time to talk without being too interrupted.  I explained to her a bit further about the fact that the community I was living in was refusing to respect my informed choice and attend my birth at my home. Unfortunately I didn’t have a recording device to put the entire conversation out there. Though here is the summary, and then my thoughts on each point.

  •  You need to respect your midwife and her comfort levels ( while this is understandable. What about MY comfort levels? I am the paying client, don’t we need to respect me?)
  • You can always find another caregiver. Or travel to a city where they will attend you.( This sounds wonderful and like the option I would be going for except in my community there is no one who will attend. I tried this already, I got shut down. I don’t have anywhere else to go to see a midwife, it’s not like I have a secret house somewhere. The other option is to rent a hotel room, the time of year doesn’t exactly allow for a bunch of freedom in this. I also feel that travelling to a different city in a different home kinda defeats the purpose of staying home. )
  • We can’t force a midwife to attend a HBAC. It is up to them and their community as to how they want to attend births ( Okay so you can regulate and tell women who have been doing midwifery for years what they can’t do and take their career away. Though you can’t have the group that you have specially selected to be midwives to follow the woman’s’ right to informed choice about her birth? )
  • You need to keep communication lines open. If they still wont attend then find a different provider. ( I have been keeping the lines open. Apparently I wasn’t very clear though, I’m talking and no one seems to care)
  • Ultimately everyone needs to be safe and comfortable. ( I didn’t really understand this statement, to be completely honest. I just felt like I was being dismissed)
Through out the conversation she kept telling me to just change providers. I really felt like she didn’t care about the situation or the facts that are going on. I felt like I was getting lip service from the people that are supposed to be creating and upholding a standard of care for midwives. Finally at the end she did tell me that there is a form that we can work though. It is for when a client is refusing recommended care, but then she said that my midwife might not even know about the document?!?!? I fund it very odd, I will be e-mailing her to get a copy of this document so that I have it, just in case. She also told me to bring copies of the Standard of Care, Code of Ethics and the study on VBAC’s on the college’s page. This honestly really made me wonder what is going on within this governing board. If I need to be bringing these things into my midwife. Shouldn’t she be fully aware of their policies and procedures?
So now I sit with a few options in my corner and I know what we are likely going to do and we are comfortable with our choice. My fight is feeling now more for women who don’t realize they can fight for their choices. That having a surgery does not always limit your choices. That we as women and people have rights to informed choices about our birth and that we are allowed to make those choices. We don’t have to let doctors or midwives decide our and our babies birth. We have a voice and we can stand up. I’m tired of being held down and I’m going to do this the way I feel that will be best for me and my baby.

It’s not awareness, it’s insensitive

Wow I’m surprised I made it past the middle of the month before getting the “awareness” message on Facebook. You know the one I am talking about where you post something ridiculously stupid about some mundane thing and it is supposed to miraculously raise awareness for women’s breast cancer.

There have been various ones over the years. Travelling, where you put your purse, colour of your bra or even the worse, pretend pregnancy.( this was the worst seeing as most cancer treatments render people infertile) The problem is none of this raises awareness. I am pretty sure we are all aware of breast cancer by now. It’s a real thing! Heck there is an entire multi billion dollar industry that makes all this fancy junk to raise awareness.

Now before you all go and boo and hiss at me for being a party pooper, let’s talk about what we do to raise awareness. First let’s actually talk about it. Talk to women who have experienced it. Learn their story. I can tell you for a fact that is going to raise more awareness in you than putting ” I like it on the floor” or ” I”m going to London in 7 months”.  Let’s look breast cancer in the face. Let’s look all cancer in the face and start talking about what we can do to change it. We need to stop playing stupid Facebook games like giggly little school girls, that we don’t include the boys in. Which by the way is silly because men get breast cancer as well, but their big month is next month so we don’t want to include them.

What can you do?

Check your breasts, they are on you become familiar with them.
Eat a healthy well balance diet.
Get some exercises.
Get your check -up done often. You don’t want to be caught off guard.

In other words get healthy and keep healthy. It may not solve everything but it is a good start. Take care of yourself. Get to know cancer in it’s real form, and get serious. It’s not a game it’s not funny. People are dying here and there currently is no accepted methods of curing the problem. ( I believe it’s out there but there are reasons why it is being kept silence, my guess has to do with big money)

So stop the “awareness” games. We are all aware by now, your just being insensitive.

We are still a home learning family

We live in a province that gives us amazing freedoms with our children’s education. We have your normal standard brick and mortar schools that most of us grew up attending. We have publicly funded speciality schools, environmental, traditional, alternative, arts based, Waldorf, Montessori and Christian. We can also teach at home through various distance learning( DL) programs. Where you have to report to a teacher on a regular basis and work with a curriculum of their or your own choosing. These distance learning programs are funded and either designated as either public or independent schools. With these some programs offer even partial days of school or classes for the students, some at a cost and some included in your enrolment. Finally we also have the options of being Section 12 registered, where you simply let a school of your choosing know that you are home with your child so they can be counted for numbers. You are then completely free to do what you want with your child.

They are so many options sometimes it is hard to decide what you want to do. For us it came down to I wanted to keep my children home. I still wanted the freedom of choosing our curriculum, but the funding from a DL was necessary in order for us to be able to offer them the extra enrichment programs. Now we don’t do anything fancy but having memberships to Science world and the zoo and being able to attend various art and music classes are important to my boys. Being able to put them into swimming lessons go rock climbing, Beavers or other things that come up are important. Unfortunately the budgets only goes so far with kids, and things like food and shoes need to take priority. In case you haven’t noticed kids classes are super expensive. I didn’t realize how expensive at first but they sure are. $200 for one art class is very standard and that is only for 8 classes. This is why I needed to choose the DL route. I found a program that respects my child’s needs and encourages me to follow his lead and let them show me what interests them.

We are very lucky with our program, we have freedom in education in our province that most don’t. The freedoms we have with being able to just be registered is not available to many others. The government wants some sort of knowledge and /or accountability, not sure why but that is how it works. I was reading a post  the other day about how if you are enrolled in any various programs that you are not truly a homeschooling family. That got my back up a bit because while yes we have a teacher that we talk with for us it is really no different than the boys talking to a friend about what they are doing. Yes there is more reporting and we are not totally free and off the grid, we are still schooling our children at home according to what we want to do. Now yes there are some programs out there that are much stricter with very particular requirements. We were in one, it wasn’t for us.

My thing is no matter how you decide to do home learning for your children, whether it be online or completely alone. You are still at home with your children day in and day out, teaching them. You are infact homeschooling. Sure the government may have a different term but don’t they have that for everything? You teach your children and i’ll teach mine. We are both doing the same things, teaching our children with love and trust in an environment that fosters their needs.

Happy Thanksgiving 2013

It’s that time of year again here in Canada. Time for reflections, and expressions of gratitude. Looking back on the year we have had some amazing times and celebrated wonderful things. We have also had down times, but those help us remember the better times.

From our table to yours Happy Thanksgiving.

Project Doula

I think that Doula’s are one of the most under use birth tools out there. They are a wonderful tool for any birthing mother or couple out there. Now often doula’s are misunderstood and people have no idea how they can actually help you. Doula’s are not midwives and midwives or doctors do not replace a doula. This is an important thing to clarify right of the get go. They are very different professions and they have very different jobs.

I didn’t have a doula with my first. Honestly I didn’t know they existed. I didn’t know a lot of things when I had my first. ( more on that in a later post ) I had my husband and my grandmother there, they were both wonderfully supportive of me. Though with only a loose birth plan, not knowing my rights of informed choice, and a medical staff that refused to listen to a first time mom. Let’s just say some stuff happened and I’m not happy with how I was treated.

With my second I had a team of doula’s. They were wonderful ladies who were essential to my birth being more respected than my first. They took notes and pictures, massaged me. Lifted me up when I was feeling like I couldn’t do it anymore. Along with them was my husband and my best friend. I can honestly say it was my best birth of the three. There was still some things done that were not consented to but I’m feeling it was just part of being in the hospital.With my third I had a doula but due to the circumstances surrounding the birth she was not much of an asset. Things happened to fast and with a transfer to the hospital due to health related concerns she walked into turmoil. I don’t fault her as no one knew what was going on and I was in such emotional upheaval that I barely noticed her and don’t know what, if anything she said to me.

With my fourth I am planning a very different birth experience. I’m going into this as a  empowered woman with tool and the belief in herself. and her capabilities. I have found a doula who respects birth in it’s most natural form. She trusts the natural process and she believe in the woman’s ability to birth. I know that she is supportive of my choices and I know she will stand by me as I advocate for my rights. I may almost go as far as saying I love her.

Having a doula that will blend well with you and respect your space is most important. This person needs to be trusted, as they will be with you in your most primal and vulnerable state.  They will often be with you more than your care provider, having a front seat to all the goings on in the birthing space. You doula will remain a part of your birth forever and hopefully they will be a wonderful peaceful part of it.

Did you have a doula? Do you want a doula?

The Vaccine Debate Continues………

I don’t know about the area you live in, but where I am there is a war being waged. This war is between two sides, well almost three sides, of the vaccine debate. In one corner you have the pro vaccine people and in the other you have the anti vaccine people. The third side is where people who either delay, or selectively vaccinate their children for one reason or another. Some reasons for what they do can be related to allergies, family history, or just plain fear from both side of not knowing what to do.

This battle has been being waged for years but this year I am noticing it so much more. There are all sorts of “news” sources that have no backing ( for either side) and are generally opinion based being shared as medical advice. Studies that are financially backed by Big Pharma companies which doesn’t exactly lead to an unbiased outcome. Blog posts and theories about what is going on from both side that are literally name calling and flinging shit at either side.

Both sides feel that either side is full of uneducated morons that as just mongering fear to the masses. Hard to really get a feel for what is actually the truth when both sides are yelling the most extreme risks and side effects.  All most parents want to do is do what is best for their children. They want to keep them safe and whole by their side as long as possible. No parent wants to know that a choice that they made has permanently affected their child. This goes for both sides of the war. I don’t believe that any parent who vaccinates their child wants them to end up having a severe reaction that leads to life long problems or even death. Just like those who choose not to vaccinate are not wanting to get a illness that can leave them in dire situations as well.

Both side of the debate have people who are educated and researched. The people who have done their research are very likely to be very firm in their position. Just because it is different than yours does not make them an idiot. The risks on both side are from people who are doing what they choose out of fear and not education. They are the people who make their choices based on being told that is they don’t do this___________ their child will die. That statement is on both side of the war.

There are truths on both sides.

Yes maybe you were vaccinated and so were your children, and they are just fine. But that mom who watched her child have a reaction and change before her very eyes after a vaccine, they are not fine. They should not be discounted in anyway. If you were to say to that mom that her kid was just the one to benefit the hundred she may want to beat you. No parents want their kid to be the guinea pig in someone else experiment.

Yes in order for vaccines to be effective there needs to be a certain percentage vaccine rate. ( I have seen different stats so I won’t quote any one) With all the opt outs in children that is not being met, apparently in some areas. The issue there is it is not just the children, there are other populations that travel where they don’t have the vaccines, and there are many adults who do not get their boosters. Heck just now people are learning that they are supposed to even have their boosters. I would imagine that the rates would be very different if the adult population was added in and we shifted some blame there. ( For the record in my area has had very steady rates for the past 8 years, yet there is an increase in vaccine related illness)

I have made a choice for my family and it is what it is. My choice is from hours of research and a consultant with a neurologist and other medical professionals. I feel comfortable with my choice and I know the risks that go with it. I take precautions that I need to to keep my family safe just like any other mom wants to do. Now I should say the my choice is also an our choice, one between me and my husband.

While I have made my choice, I will never tell you to go one way or the other. What I will tell others is to make sure you are comfortable with your choice. Make sure you are educated by real sources on either side. Yes it is a lot of work and it might just be easier to be told what to do. The problem with that is being told what to do, gives you someone to blame for any possible issues. I will not be blamed for you choice. You have to make your choice, and educated yourself to the level that you feel comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable either way you need to confront the reason you feel that way. Release the fear and find the truth. Just remember your truth may very well different someone elses and that is fine. We are individual and each of our children have different needs.

Whether you choose to vaccinate or not you should educate yourself, that is the bottom line. Ignore the fear and go with what you know with your true inner knowledge.