Sunday, August 13, 2017

Maiden to Mother and Society's Erasure of that Journey

Quick disclaimer. This post is geared towards ciswomen who have gone through pregnancy and childbirth, but the importance of progressing through the natural phases of life and fully accepting each stage of your path is integral for all people in order to have a healthy psyche.

One of my favorite deities is the Triple Goddess. As a woman, I have recognized my personal connection with the moon and its importance in my life which is a big reason for why the Triple Goddess resonates so strongly with me. All of life is cyclical while simultaneously being linear for us as individuals. But let me back up and unpack exactly what I'm trying to say as well as explain how I see Society forcing the natural flow into hiding.

In Neopaganism, the Triple Goddess is symbolized as the moon waxing, full, and waning. This relates to the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone (in my opinion, poorly named and offputting, but still a very important role I hope to one day fulfill). The Maiden represents new beginnings, youthful wonderment, enthusiasm. The Mother represents sexuality, achievement, the fullness of life. The Crone represents wisdom, peaceful acceptance, endings. Each of us embodies our own Triple Goddess journey whether literally or figuratively.
We all know the circle of life. We're born, gain some education, have life experiences, work, grow old, try to pass on our wisdom, hope we made a difference, and die. But as we are each living, we have a beginning and an end. Our individual lives have a linear path. Society, however, clings to just one part of life: possibilities. Endless possibilities are embodied by youth. Society has created a whole market around erasing our aging, our linear path.

Society has attached such shame and stigma to women who "look" like they have had children. Stretch marks, loose skin, extra weight, less time spent on appearance.  Those are the markings of a "failed woman." We're supposed to lose our ignorance while maintaining our innocence. But really, who wants to look like they don't know what they're doing? Who wants to be mistaken for a Fool when really you're a High Priestess? I know I don't. I have carried life within my body. I have felt that life grow and have new experiences while inside me. I am the vessel through which she was able to enter into our plane of existence. I have grown and am proud of my trek. Why should I be ashamed to wear the proof of that plainly on my skin?
Just as the moon has this course it has to take, so do we. We can't skip the waxing crescent to jump straight to the full moon just as we cannot skip or erase the changes we go through to get from Maiden to Crone. Each phase of life needs to be accepted as it is and its lessons learned if we want to have the wisdom of the Crone. That's why no one should feel stressed about their transition from Maiden to Mother. Don't let Society erase the ravages of time; they just want to sell more product. ;)

What's holding you back from being fully present where you're at? Is there anything about your story that makes you feel less than? What is your favorite part of your journey so far?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Why Natural Parenting?

Attachment parenting. Helicopter parenting. Permissive parenting. Authoritative parenting. The list goes on and on, and parenting really is more of a sliding scale as opposed to an all or nothing when it comes to the myriad different approaches people can use. But what exactly is Natural Parenting (NP)? Natural parenting is multi-faceted. It's about parenting consciously, and it looks different for everyone who chooses to parent this way. For us, it means attachment parenting with a gentle parenting mindset for discipline. It means chemical awareness and avoidance. Lastly it means being open and flexible when it comes to how our child(ren) learn best.

What is Attachment Parenting?

Attachment Parenting (AP) is a school of parenting that is based on 8 principles. For us, the principles of attachment parenting just make sense and put into words how we want to run our family. One of my biggest pet peeves is people treating children not like people but as extensions of themselves. Children and newborns are people now. They're unpracticed people who just need the chance to learn about the world around them and grow their brains. Plus, physical touch is the love language for both of us so it's unlikely that our child(ren) will be any different. We both love to cuddle, and we're grown people so why should we then deny our child(ren) something that means so much to each of us?

What is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle Parenting (GP) is very often confused with AP. A key difference between the two is that GP does not have guiding principles that its followers adhere to. GP is more choosing to maintain a relationship with your child based on respect. Discipline with GP looks a lot like having a conversation with logical consequences. You need to make sure the consequences as you explain them are things that you can follow through on while still giving your child choices. You very clearly explain why a rule exists and how their actions have the potential for harm. If the warning isn't heeded, then comes a consequence such as no more playing with the balls today if we can't stop throwing them inside, but we can try again tomorrow.

Chemical Awareness and Avoidance

The choice to cloth diaper for us is a health choice. As a woman, not knowing what is in my feminine products is horrifying, and diaper companies are not any more transparent. Chemicals don't belong in my hooha so why should my baby live wrapped up in them? Plus, it saves you so much money in the long run (we're talking easily $1000).
Since my veganism started out because of bad genetics, there's a good chance this baby is going to have the same issues. Eating an organic, whole foods, plant-based diet is an excellent way to cut out a lot of toxins. (Natural cleaning products helps cut out quite a bit, too. Vinegar for the win!) And it's definitely easier to start out vegan and then switch to omni than it is to go the other way around. Which our offspring will absolutely have the option to choose after learning about why I'm vegan and why Daddy is not.
Essential oils, chiropractors, and home remedies will be a huge part of our lives. If there was a pediatric naturopath nearby, that would be our main doctor for Elie, but there isn't. Antibiotics really aren't needed for everything, that's how we get antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. A little dirt didn't hurt anybody.

Education

Everyone learns differently, and with the rise of Common Core, public education in Oklahoma looks pretty sad. I'm looking into having a home Montessori setup to help our child(ren) have the best start, but after that, there are three real options we have for education: public school, home schooling, and unschooling. If I do end up staying home with the child(ren) long enough that they are school age, we may revisit home schooling or unschooling, but until then public school is what we're going with. However, not everyone learns best in that type of environment, and there's a good chance we will be supplementing the school's curriculum at home to further encourage our child(ren)'s own personal interests and strengths while being able to work on the weaknesses.

I know I hit a lot of different areas in a pretty broad/nonspecific manner. I may come back later and write more on the different aspects more specifically if that's something that would interest anyone. But like I've always said, what works best for us may not be feasible for you and your situation. This isn't me trying to be a better parent than others but simply me trying to do the best I can with the hand we've been dealt. What kind of parent are you? What are your thoughts on corporal punishment for your child(ren)? Anybody not doing traditional public schooling?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Why Vegan? Part 2

I'm glad you're back! If you haven't part 1, you can check it out here. Ready for part 2? Today's is definitely more serious than last week so hang on to your keyboards, and let's jump right in!

Animals

The longer I've been vegan, the more research I've done, the more my eyes have been opened to the atrocities of the food industry. I'm not going to go into detail about how mistreated the animals are (look up what "cage-free" really means). There are plenty of documentaries and farms and slaughterhouses out there to check out if you really want to know.
Especially now that I am pregnant, I empathize with all the momma animals out there. I can't imagine anyone taking my baby from me. I would eat meat way faster than I would ever eat dairy simply because death is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. Slavery used to be considered totally fine because society said so. How is exploiting animals unnecessarily any different?

Civilization

Some fun facts for you, if we would just eat the food that we're feeding to the animals instead of filtering our nutrients through another's body, we would be able to feed everyone on the planet. Does anyone remember the trophic levels from 7th-grade biology? Only 10% of the energy in an organism makes it into the consumer (the rest is lost as thermal energy). If we eat the plants, we're getting that 10%, but if we eat the animals that ate the plants, we're only getting 1%.
Animal agriculture consumes so much of our water, and it produces an insane amount of greenhouse gases. I have done practically no research into commercial fishing, but considering the state of our oceans, I can't imagine the overfishing is any more sustainable than beef and dairy production. I for one would like for my child(ren) to live in a world that isn't dying as quickly as ours is currently. We are literally sacrificing countless animal lives and our ecosystem to satisfy bad habits and taste. Yes, vegan alternatives are not exactly the same, but there are some fabulously delicious alternatives if taste is the only reason you have to keep eating the way you always have.

Want to know more? I'll leave you with some awesome things to check out if you're still curious.
And that's what I have for you! I hope at the very least I got you thinking. What surprised you the most if anything? Is there anything I missed?