Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sometimes, we do not win.

You can fight and be fierce and never surrender your power...and still not win. Sometimes they are stronger, sometimes they have power you do not. Sometimes, they take what is yours from you, without your consent. You still need to fight- we are counting on you. Your children, your partner, your self, are all counting on you. You can be loud, or quiet, you can fight actively or resist passively, whatever suits your heart and the situation.

Our world is one that does not respect the autonomy of women as mothers.

When we are pregnant, we are offered threats and fear tactics. We are not given evidence based health care.

When we are birthing, we are cut- more than 1 in 4 of us are cut. We are threatened with the lives of our babies. We are not given evidence based health care.

Some of us choose midwives, who are threatened by the medical system as well. Increasingly, they cannot provide evidence based care, when they must answer to the traditional standards of care provided by OB/GYNs.

Wishing to avoid those threats, some of us choose freebirth. We are threatened with the removal of our children from our homes. We are punished when we seek appropriate care from mainstream practitioners.

We try to breastfeed our babies- most of us do not succeed in breastfeeding them to recommendation. We struggle to receive proper care in a system that does not want us to nurse our babies.

If any of the above sound extreme, they are. Some of us have great experiences, others are raped, abused, punished, lied to. Some of us go home with no baby, victim of the infant mortality rates. Some of us do not go home, victim of the maternal mortality rates.

As long is it is happening to one, it is happening to us all. It is happening to us all. We need to fight- quietly or loudly, with the weapons we have at hand- the love for our children, our sisters, our friends, our selves.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Young Punks.

Punk: A young person, especially a member of a rebellious counterculture group.

Anarchist: It seeks to diminish or even abolish authority in the conduct of human relations.

I am raising punks. Anarchist punks. 3 of them. Maybe more.

The alternative parenting bubble I live in seems to be mostly inhabited by 2 groups- punks (& other alternative types appropriate to the era during which they came of age) & conservative people devout to various religions. Seems like an odd convergence, but it really isn't. We all live outside the largely secular, conformist mainstream that encompasses most of North America. We all believe that mainstream society & culture has more potential to hurt our children than to help them grow safely. We all want better for our families & are finding better, more often than not, on the fringes of society.

The punk scene has always centred around questioning &/or rejecting authority, so it should come as no surprise that as they become parents, those in the counterculture will question & reject the norms around birth & parenting too. Hospital birth? Fuck that. Public school? Fuck that too. And fuck your vaccines, your processed garbage food and your behaviouralist parenting too.

Wow, I sound angry, don't I?! That's because I am. I am angry that in order to birth my babies safely, to feed them in a healthy way, to educate them in a way that respects their individuality, I have to say fuck so much. Really. I am angry that it is so much work. Why do I have to be fierce to protect my kids? You mean society won't do that for me? Hell no, they won't. It is up to me & their dad. So I choose to raise tiny little anarchist punks.

I don't make them share. I don't make them go to school. I don't make them eat junk food that will kill them before their time, making them sick on the way there. I don't subject them to public health policy that I am nowhere near convinced is in their best interest. I don't make them follow rules that don't make sense. I let them choose their own birth day.

I am teaching them to question authority. Yes, even mine. I certainly do say "Because I am your mama & I said so!!" more often than I ever intended to, but I also am ok with them standing up to me. I am fierce, I can get over that. We talk about how to be safe in the world, how to make their own choices & be responsible for those outcomes. I let them fall, cry, hurt. I help them get back up.

I am teaching them that the world is good, despite the negative aspects. I point out how many people love them, how we can always count on friends to be there for us. I make sure our door is always open & that there is always food & drink & friendship to share with anyone who shows up at it.

I am teaching them to rock out- to sing and scream and dance their joys & frustrations loudly enough that the heavens will hear them. I am teaching them to love art, music, the land, everything that holds beauty. I want them to trust the earth we stand on, the plants & animals & people that grow on it. I want them to travel, so they see that our culture, our political system, our way of being is not the only one.

I am teaching them to take care of themselves. To eat, sleep, make good food from scratch, to move their bodies as much as they need. I want them to care for their souls by having integrity. I want them to be intuitive, spiritual beings who know God. Whoever that is. I want them to love; themselves & others.

I want them to stand up, to speak up, when they see something wrong. I want them to say "shut up" when they hear bigotry, to say "fuck that" when they see violence. I want them to always be willing to help those being marginalised. I want them to know they are perfect beings worthy of everything good this life has to offer them. I want to empower them to take it if no one is giving that to them.

I am raising punks. Maybe you should too.

By Arie Brentnall-Compton