natural mother magazine
THE “BEST OF” ISSUE Our Publisher Chooses a Few Favorite Articles
Raising Non-Violent Boys Empathy: The Anticote to Racism Political Activism for Moms Nightmares & Night Terrors Jaundice and the Newborn The Defiant Child Peaceful Limits that Stick A Doula’s Bookshelf
Issue 40, Jan./Feb. 2018 NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE |1
PUBLISHER & EDITOR IN CHIEF Jessika Jacob
COPY EDITOR Ingrid Sorensen
EDITORIAL REVIEWS Holly Scudero
Dr. Ted Zeff, Ph.D Paige Lucas-Stannard Dr. Jen Schwartz, Ph.D., CFLE Moore Malatt Linda Palmer, DC Naomi Aldort Mariah Joy Holly Scudero
Ginger Horsburgh Earthside Birth Photography
Information contained herein is not intended to replace professional medical or legal counsel. This publication may contain affiliate links and/or paid content. Â© 2017 All rights reserved 2 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
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Letter from the Publisher
Saving our Sons: 10 Step Guide to Keeping Them Non-Violent 10 Empathy: The Antidote to Racism
Political Activism for Moms
Bump in the Night: Understanding Nightmares & Night Terrors
Jaundice & the Newborn
The Defiant Child
Peaceful Limits That Stick
A Doulaâ€™s Bookshelf
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For nearly 30 years, Motherlove has been dedicated to making organic products specifically for breastfeeding. Our More Milk Plus is the most trusted herbal supplement for supporting lactation and is available in thousands of stores across the United States.
letter from the publisher We are coming up on our 5 Year Anniversary here at Natural Mother Magazine. Four and a half years in and 40 issues later, I find myself still humbled by the support of our publication.
We have helped mothers through the hardest of times by support through our forum; divorce, stillbirth, miscarriage, leukemia, high fevers, self-doubt...you name it.
We have reached, and helped, mothers in dozens of countries around the world, we are creepingup on a million reads of our 40 issues, we have built relationships with some of the most influential parenting gurus in the natural realm, and have had the opportunity to touch many hearts through our forum.
The countless emails and thank you cards, brighten each of my days. Afterall, I am a mom, too. And human as well. All humans have hard days. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this journey. Itâ€™s been a long road, and we still have so far to travel, together. Stay with us as we rebuild and rebrand here in early 2018. Come summer, Natural Mother Magazine will have a lot more to offer each of you. In th emeantime, please email me at jjacob@naturalmothermagazine. com and share with me our thoughts of how youâ€™d like to see NMM evolve. Happy New Year to you and your families, may this year hold the biggest personal growth for you all. Sincerely,
Jessika Jacob Publisher
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Dr. Zeff is the author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide, The Highly Sensitive Person’s Companion, The Strong Sensitive Boy, Raise an Emotionally Healthy Boy and The Power of Sensitivity. Elaine Aron, Ph.D., author of The Highly Sensitive Person, has written the foreward to his books. Dr. Zeff’s books have sold more than 75,000 copies and have been translated into 7 languages. DrTedZeff.com Paige Lucas Stannard is a parent educator and coach specializing in social justice and feminist-focused, respect-based parenting practices. She is the author of Gender Neutral Parenting and the upcoming book, based on her popular online class, Transformative Parenting. Follow her on Facebook at Parenting Gently and on Twitter @parentinggently. Dr. Jen Schwartz. PhD, CFLE, recently completed a dissertation entitled “Childbirth as a Profound Experience: Exploring Narrative and Image of Experiences During Birth.” Jen is the founder of Sego Lily School, Utah’s only school for self-directed learning in a working democracy, she works as a Family Life Educator, working with individuals, couples, and families to support them through all stages of family life. Moorea Malatt is the founder of www.SavvyParentingSupport.com, an online resource for gentle, natural and attachment-minded solutions to early parenting challenges. Moorea is an expert in gentle potty learning, gentle sleep learning, and gentle discipline. She leads sold-out workshops and provides private phone consults for parents of kiddos newborn-4years. Moorea wrote an album of jazzy, folky songs called “Whip It Out: Songs for Breastfeeding.”
issue 40 contributors Linda Folden Palmer, DC is the author of Baby Matters: What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Caring for Your Baby, and Baby Poop. Palmer advocates for evidence-based healthcare options, and writes, consults, and lectures on natural mother and infant health. You can find an assortment of articles at her website BabyReference.com and on her Facebook pages Baby Matters and Baby Poop. Naomi Aldort is the author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. Her advice columns are published in progressive parenting magazines worldwide. Aldort offers guidance and counseling by phone/Skype internationally regarding all ages, babies through teens: attachment parenting; natural learning; peaceful and powerful parent-child relationships and more. www.NaomiAldort.com. Mariah Joy is a Conscious Parenting Guide working with parents and educators to cultivate deeply connected, long lasting relationships with their children and more peace and calm in their homes and classrooms! You can find her website at www.mariahjoy.com
Holly Scudero is a full-time at-home mama and wife. She has two beautiful sons. Her passions include natural parenting, birth, reading, writing, vegan cooking, nontoxic living, and being active. She occasionally blogs about whatever is on her mind at Leaves of Lavender.
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SAVING OUR S
A 10 Step Plan for Keeping Them Non | by Dr. Ted Zeff, Ph.D.
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Increased violence in young males is spinning out of control. Since the 1999 Columbine shooting, there have been 31 school shootings in the U.S. (*citation from 2014). Violence and violent images permeate our society. Boys are constantly bombarded witht he false information that real boys must always be strong, aggresive, tough, in control, and repress their feelings. Boys are continualy saturated with this distorted version of manhood from television and movies, video games, the internet, peers, coaches, and other adults. In the last 15 years, the violent video games and movies children have been exposed to have become more graphic then ever. And now the ubiquitous internet allows our boys to be brainwashed constantly with horrific, savage images of what a man is supposed to be like. One study showed that children in Ameri-
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ca between the ages of 5 and 18have watched 20,000 murders and 100,000 cats of violence on television. And violent media does spur real-life aggression. Research has consistently shown that after watchingviolent movies, children intereact in an aggressive manner, while after watching movies about kindness, children treat each other with gentleness and compassion.
tling and sword fighting with friends. 3. Give him a pet. Taking care of a pet not only teaches a boy responsibility, but through cuddling a kitten, for example, he will learn about the sanctity of all life. Caring for a pet will make him less likely to mistreat an animal.
4. Have him meet new people. Have your son interact with people of different faiths, nationalities, and races, With these 10 steps, you can help to learn the commonality of humancombat the culture of violence and ity. raise a non-violent son. 5. Embrace beauty. Expose your son 1. Don’t tolerate someone shaming to the arts and increase your son’s your son. Never tolerate anyone respect for Mother Nature by visiting shaming your son when he is express- an orchard or nursery, spending time ing gentle, compassionate behavoir. at a lake, river, or the ocean, or garHelp your son understand the causes dening. for society’s negativity toward gentleness in males and talk with your 6. Talk about what “being a man” son about all of the positive aspects means. For dads, talk often with your of being a compassionate boy. boy about what it really means to be a man. reassure him that he doesn’t 2. Encourage non-violent games and need the approval of aggresive safety. Monitor your son’s exposure boys, star athletes, or the alpha male to violence as much as possible and to feel good about himself. Let your provide non-violent games and ac- son know that it’s okay for him to extivities. Encourage your son to hang press fear and sadness and ask for out with friends who enjoy less-violent help. Discuss with your son the detgames. Frequently discuss the harm- rimental consequences of violent ful effects that exposure to violence males being so frequently extolled can have on him. Create safety for in the media. Red books or watch your son when he engages in poten- movies with your son about the lives tialy dangerous activities, i.e. estab- of great spiritual men, i.e. Jesus, St. lish rules for fighting when play wres- Francis, Moses, Buddha, and discuss 12 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
how they have created peace on Creating goals and using games will earth through righteous behavior. create motivation. Assemble a team of at least three parents of boys to 7. Defend him. Make sure you always meet with your son’s teacher and/ defend your boy if others shame or principal (or your PTA) to discuss him when he expresses his feelings. how to make your son’s class more Teach your son how to respond to boy-friendly. aggressive children by role-playing with him. Model setting limits with 10. Create a class constitution. Enothers so that your son will learn how courage your son’s teacher to creto set boundaries with violent peers. ate a class constitution with the help Let your son know that it’s okay to of the students, detailing how they set personal boundaries with others should treat one another, and ask rather than going along with peer the teacher and students to sign it. pressure. Suggest that your son’s teacher give rewards to students for kindness and 8. Increase his compassionatena- good sportsmanship. ask your son’s ture. To increase your son’s compas- teachers to read and discuss excitsionate nature, it would be good ing tales that promote noble and to do activities with your son that brave qualities of heroes who help help people, aimals, and the envi- others. You and your son’s teacher ronment, such as planting trees or shoul dlet him know that everyone cleaning up trash in your commu- has different abilities and interests nity. Volunteer to help out in a hos- and that those differences need to pital, nursing home, or animal shel- be repsected. ter. If you have carpentry skills, you and your son could help a neighbor, It’s tough raising an emotionally friend, or relative fix up their house or healthy, respectful and compasyour own house. sionate boy in a cruel culture that glorifies violence. But by listening to 9. Try to make his school more your son, showing him unconditionboy-friendly. Since boys learn dif- al love and support, and giving him ferently than girls, encourage your permission to express all his feelings, son’s teacher to incorporate more you can help him transcend the dismovement during instruction and torted and damaging view of mantake physical breaks between sub- hood. And by doing so, he will grow jects, incorporating active learning into a happy, confident and thoughgames and more outdoor learning. ful man. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 13
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The Antidote to Rasicm by Paige Lucas-Stannard
(This article is the third installment in a three part series, Talking Racism with White Kids. In Part I I discussed why starting at an early age is essential. In Part II I busted some common myths about racism. In this final installment I’ll look at the antidote to racism and answer some reader questions.)
second-nature, racism has almost no chance of taking root. Racism and empathy can not exist side by side. One side must win and it will always be the side we feed.
How do we feed our empathy and Did you know the antidote to rac- not our prejudices? Let’s look at the ism is already inside of you? We are developmental stages of empathy. all born with it. The antidote to our propensity for stereotyping and prej- BIRTH-3 YEARS: udice--a necessary side effect of our FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS ancestors’ dangerous lives--is in our amazing neocortex just waiting for Humans are prone, just like we are prone to fear snakes, to be empaus to activate it. thetic. Our development during the It’s called empathy and it is a skill first five years is really an exercise in that, like a muscle, can be worked developing the concept of “self” out and strengthened no matter and of “other” which is the basis your age. When we activate it at of all empathy. At birth infants are birth and train it to be powerful and primed to notice and focus on huNATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 15
man faces. At 7-9 months of age infants understand the concept of attention to objects by others. This shared attention is the result of the baby understanding that a person besides themselves finds an object of interest, and is a milestone in the 16 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
development of this sense of “self” and “other.” By 12 months old infants can predict the behavior of someone else, further demonstrating a rudimentary sense of “other.” 18 month olds show understanding of another person’s goals and in-
tentions but do not do so for inanimate objects. And by 24 months old, emerging toddlers begin to display comforting behavior in social situations (see the research here). We are social animals so of course attention to the mental states of others would be part of our neocortex tool box.
because all respect, all love, stems from self-respect and self-love. Hence, respect for bodies, feelings, and identity (choice) become the foundational skills for the next three layers: respect for OTHERS.
In order for a human to fully have respect for others they have to have You might wonder how you can respect for themselves and they deteach a baby about racism before velop that by being respected by they can even utter “mama.” That’s their primary caregivers. because the first set of ideas you’ll want to impart are not about racism Mainstream parenting is based on at all but about developing its anti- the opposite of respect. It is based dote: empathy. on control (the actionable side of hierarchy) and conditionality (the Racism sits on a foundation of hierar- heavily adultist version of conformichy, the idea that one person is more ty). We say, “My way or the highimportant or worthy and deserving way” and, “Because I said so” and of power than another, and confor- parents are harshly treated in pubmity, the idea that people should lic discourse for having kids who are groom themselves into an “ideal” “out of control.” (See the recent paversion of themselves as dictated by rental blame regarding the boy who society’s standards. We make racism fell into the gorilla pit at the Cinncina comfy companion when we raise natti zoo.) Kids raised this way see kids with hierarchy and conformity the world as naturally hierarchical. as standards of parenting. They see some groups (children) are weak and wholly beholden to other For my parenting courses, I created groups (adults) with all the power. the “Parenting Onion” (I originally How easily this skeletal framework called it the parenting roadmap but wears racism! “onion” just kind of stuck and is much more descriptive) to look at the de- If, instead, we treated our children velopment of empathy and pro-so- as whole and equal and worthy cial skills in children. fellow humans instead of a class of people designed to be controlled, The first three layers are about SELF how much more difficult a time NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 17
would racism have taking root? Bolster your child’s racism “immune system” by teaching them that all people, including and starting with their own self, deserve to have their bodies respected, their feelings heard and validated, and their needs and choices considered equally important to every other human on the planet. This core belief gives them a defense to racist ideas born from the incongruity of racist ideology to their lived experience. Treat children with respect and change the world. Let’s look at the three layers of respect for SELF and how we either support or undermine it. 1. Respect your child’s body as their own. Ingrain in them that they have a body that is THEIRS and they get to decide what happens with it and to it. You can do this by making consent a core value of your parenting. Choose wisely, much more wisely than traditional parenting, the areas where you are going to demand something of them. Being buckled in a car seat might be non-negotiable. What they wear, when and how they wash themselves, who they “have to” hug, these are areas where we can give our children much more respect for self than they would get in the traditional control/obedience 18 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
paradigm of mainstream parenting. Their belief that they own their bodies will naturally evolve into an understanding that all people deserve to have autonomy over their bodies. 2. Validate your child’s feelings. Control-paradigm parenting denies children their feelings often. And I get the lure. Young kids will say they’re hot in the snow, they’re hungry after demolishing a large pizza, they’re “not tired” as they rub their eyes. It is easy to just say, “No you aren’t” and force them into a coat, to wait for dinner, or to go to bed. We are encouraged by our culture to do exactly that. Control, by definition, puts the child’s feelings on the back burner in preference to the adult’s feelings which are always “right” while the child’s are “wrong” or “silly.” Instill in them the idea that a person, any person, all persons, deserve to have their feelings and thoughts valued even when, or especially when, we don’t agree with them. This will evolve into a firm belief that all people deserve to have their feelings validated. 3. Validate your child’s identity. This is so crucial and such a hot topic these days with the discussion of
transgender people. You can not, I’ll repeat CAN NOT, teach self-love by disrespecting the spoken identity of a person. It is not compatible. This is because respecting someone else explicitly means respecting their identity. If your three year old says, “I’m a lion today,” say, “Hello, lion!” When my child wants to be called Speed instead of Boston, I try my best to call them Speed (no joke, this actually happens a few times a month). Which isn’t to be confused with permissive parenting. If Speed’s feelings matter then so do the other people around him. If a situation requires non-lion, non-Speed behavior, like at the grocery store, I don’t say, “Knock if off Boston. You’re not a lion now.” Instead I say, “Hey Speed? Running in the store is dangerous so we need to rest your legs until we get home. I bet they’ll be even faster after a break!” I want to instill in him a sense that he is not the labels anyone else puts on him. He gets to choose what he identifies as. No one else can.
finally get into how we treat other people (and although there is a reason I start this section at age 4, which I’ll explain shorty, you can actually practice these things from birth). The first three layers have created a child that expects human interactions to be mutual and pleasant. Navigating “discipline” with a spirit of mutual respect and emotional connection has primed them for applying this outside the parent/child relationship. The only thing missing is a developmental milestone called Theory of Mind.
Around age 4 children develop a new mental ability crucial to the development of empathy. Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person within the other person’s frame of reference. Empathy is not, “If that were happening to me I’d be sad” but rather, “I understand that these circumstances are making you angry (regardless of how I would feel in the situation).” Before the development of ToM children literally can’t imagine another This will evolve to grant this right of person’s frame of reference. self-identity to all people. Can you see how some recent bigotry in the ToM refers to a person’s ability to news would dissolve if all people em- understand that other people have braced this truth? different thoughts and ideas completely separate from their own and AGE 4-10: EXTENDING THE it is demonstrated in the famous Sally FOUNDATION TO THE “OTHER” Anne False Belief test. In this experThe next three sections of the onion iment the researcher uses dolls to NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 19
present the following scenario to the is in the backpack, Sally, being out child test subject. of the room at the time, holds a different view in her mind of where the Before (approximately) age 4 kids apple is. This seemingly simple task will answer that Sally will look for of recognizing that another person the apple in the blue backpack. holds a different view of the world in They havenâ€™t yet reached the men- their mind is a major step in the detal milestone of understanding that velopment of empathy. even though they, as the observer of what Anne did, know that the apple The goals of the OTHER layers (re20 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
spect for people, diversity, and culture) are achieved by expanding on the values of the inner, SELF layers. Letâ€™s look at some specific ways to we can accomplish this. 4. Practice perspective taking. I think perspective taking is the single most valuable tool in creating a better world. The skill of imagining what another person is experiencing/feeling/thinking and understanding that their experience/feelings/thoughts are completely separate and completely different from our own is a huge developmental milestone. Its super easy to practice too. Humans, with their big brains, developed a powerful way to practice our empathy muscles: storytelling. Books, television, and movies arenâ€™t the mindless drivel some people want to convince you they are. Storytelling has been used for milllennia to teach lessons about life (parables and fables for example) and we can use them to talk about race too. I love this list from HumaneEducation. org of 14 picture books about racism for children under 10. And this list from NPR of novels about race and racism for adolescents. This is one of many reasons that we are not a screen-free home. The stories we tell through books, TV and NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 21
movies can be excellent tools for talking about a myriad of things. All you have to do is ask open ended questions like, “What do you think that person/character is thinking/feeling/ experiencing?” Give your own opinion without the shade of authority: “That’s interesting. I thought...” When we say instead with authority, “No, this is what they’re thinking” we shutdown dialogue. By practicing focusing our attention on the perspective of others we increase our capacity to empathize with them. More importantly, the act of thinking about others becomes habit. It becomes something we naturally do with each person we meet without conscious thought on our part. (Psst: we just tricked our prejudice-prone brains to turn off, at least for fellow human beings, our “curvystick-might-as-well-be-a-snake” short-cutting!) 5. Model emotional literacy. We often think of parenting as tools and skills to manage young people. We are so wrong. Parenting is about personal development. It’s not called CHILDing but PARENTing. It is about being the best version of ourselves today and growing better every day. That might sound scary but I actually think it is kind of awe
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some. It means that taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do for your kids. When I do metta meditation (see the January issue of NMM’s article Compassion Training) it is amazingly self-serving. It feels good. I get to grow and expand. It is simultaneously self-centered and one of the best things I can give my kids because it helps me become more empathetic and I can then model that for my kids. Like reading literacy, which means a person can read and understand the written word, emotional literacy means we can identify, understand, and successfully manage our own emotions. It is essential to be able to “read” ourselves before we can gain insight into another’s emotions through perspective taking. When you are angry, name that. When you are sad, name that. If you can’t in the moment then do it later (“I was really angry this morning.”). Be transparent in why you have feelings (“I think it is because I didn’t get enough sleep/I was hungry/I was in a hurry/seeing marker on the wall really upset me.”) and how you managed them (“I had something to eat/talked it out/did yoga and that helped me calm down.”). Every time you do this you model dealing with human emotions. You demonstrate that everyone feels out of control
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sometimes and that those feelings are both normal and manageable. It is an amazing lesson in resilience as well as giving children practice in identifying the emotions of others. 7. Celebrate Diversity The acquisition of language is a trial in unseeing the unique and instead grouping the alike. All those unique individuals are “trees,” all of those varied, hairy animals are called “cows,” unique people with melanin-rich skin are called “black.” This isn’t inherently a bad thing. I’m not calling on you to stop teaching your kids language (like we could if
we wanted to!). I do think it is a crucial period of human development to ALSO point out the similarities shared by things that appear to be different and to instill an appreciation of variety. Yes a housecat and a horse seem to have very little in common. But, on closer inspection, what do they have in common? Four legs. Covered in hair. Live birth. Making milk for babies. (If you’re a homeschooler you’re probably seeing the biology taxonomy lesson here). A tree and a panda bear have nothing in common, right? Or maybe we could help our kids see that both need food and water, they both desire to reproduce, both want to thrive. If we can show (or develop) NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 23
our own awe at the beautiful variety tion that can’t be ignored: culture. in the world around us, our kids will pick it up. Culture is different from other ways humans learn because it is made The leap from “how sad the world by humans. A human child is born would be if all the trees looked ex- knowing how to suck. No one teachactly the same” to “how sad would es them this the way no one teaches it be if all people looked exactly the a sea turtle to lay her eggs on the same” to the fundamental belief that beach. This is instinct. it is exactly that diversity that makes us wondrous and powerful isn’t too Humans also learn to chew through far to jump if you learn it when you their own experimentation with are a child. Kids raised this way will food. We aren’t born knowing how have an easier time seeing that, de- to chew but we learn through expespite of our differences in skin color, rience. This is experiential learning. we have amazing similarities that are much deeper than appearance. We also learn that it is rude to chew with your mouth open. Is this some8. Celebrate Culture thing we learn through experimentation? No. We learn it through anothFinally, the Parenting Onion looks at er human telling us (either through celebrating culture. This can look example, being told outright, or punlike attending cultural festivals, visit- ishment/shame). This is social learning cultural centers, and expanding ing. our social circle past people who are similar to us but, even more valu- This is such an important distinction. able, is that this forces us to look at Our culture is influenced by where what culture is. and to whom we were born. It is dangerous and wrong to think that our Allow me to veer into evolutionary bi- particular culture is reality or “better ology again. I’ve talked about how than” another. our brains grew to be quick-thinking, short-cut generating machines. This If I had been born in ancient Sparkept us alive (read Part I for an ex- ta I would find it perfectly normal to planation). We also have this capac- give my children to the state at age ity for empathy in our big, impressive seven for brutal, violent training to neocortex. But, there’s another part be soldiers. This would be normal to of the amazingness of human evolu- me. If I had been born in the Sambia 24 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
tribe I would find it quite normal that adult men receive fellatio from adolescent boys as part of a coming-ofage ritual. This would be “just how the world works.” I’m hardly advocating either one of those. I was born in a rural mid-west town and my “normal” says that violence against children is wrong and sexual acts with children are worse. I’m not even remotely interested in changing my viewpoint on either of those topics. However, I am acutely aware that my viewpoint is just that--a collection of ideas, ideals, rules, and ethics--that are completely dependent upon my arbitrary birth into this particular culture. This perspective created by my social learning, is called a frame of reference and not understanding our own frame of reference pushes us into prejudice.
me through my parents and other adults, was that it is rude to speak out in church. That public displays of emotion were inappropriate. I was judging people from a different cultural upbringing based on my cultural frame of reference and expecting them to conform. This is prejudice pure and simple. (And you’ll notice it didn’t require hate or racial slurs.) Much misunderstanding and violence is caused by not understanding our frame of reference. When Christopher Columbus met the Taino people he saw them as both savage and “simple.” His frame of reference was that “civilized” people wore layers of clothes and shoes and that “smart” people built huge cities, had a written language, and fought with guns. His misinterpretation of the culture of the Taino people launched a century of genocide and forced assimilation to Columbus’ culture, his religion, his form of education, his language, and his form of civilization. Meanwhile all of Columbus’ successors and the financial backers in Europe prided themselves on “saving” the “savages” because European culture was obviously better.
As a personal example, during my freshman year of college I went to church with a friend from my dorm. It was a “black church.” I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a white church and a black church. I remember at 18 years old thinking the people in the black church were rude and rowdy. I was very uncomfortable. They were blind to their own frame of reference like fish are blind to water. My frame of reference, my cultural knowledge that was passed to Teaching kids about the culture of
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others by going to a cultural festival is wonderful. But don’t forget to teach them that they have a culture too and that while it seems ubiquitous and “true” it is only one possible frame of reference. Teach them to guard against prejudice that might crop up because they believe “their way” is the only way. It might seem like I haven’t talked about racism much in this article. That was intentional. Racism is a secondary infection, a symptom of the underlying virus plaguing our world. Racism is a direct result of things like hierarchical, control-based social stratification and a lack of understanding of how our fancy, powerful neocorticies function. The cure then is to find the seemingly unrelated practices and beliefs that allow this infection to run rampant and cure the underlying problem. I certainly hope you talk to your kids openly about racism (since we know children are not colorblind and teach them the modern, researched-based understanding of racial bias. But it will all wash away like water off a duck’s back if the underlying ideas of self-respect and empathy aren’t included. On the other hand, raise kids with mutual respect, autonomy, and empathy and racism won’t ever be able to take hold. 26 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS Q: My three year old pointed to a black person and said, “That person is chocolate.” I wanted to melt into the floor. What should I have said? The most important thing to do when your child embarasses you because of something concerning race is that you don’t shush or reprimand them. They don’t know it is rude to call out someone’s appearance. That’s a cultural rule that they aren’t born with. If you lead with “shhh, don’t say that,” you’ve made yourself more comfortable (and probably the person of color who overheard) but you’ve taught your child that “race” is taboo. Like swatting their hand away when they touch their genitals teaches them that there is something dangerous or bad about sex, silencing them or distracting them about race tells them there is something dangerous or bad about color. This is the exact opposite of what you want them to learn. Start off by saying something positive and validating. “She does have beautiful skin!” or “I see, she is a chocolatey color,” or, “Isn’t it cool how people come in different colors like flowers?” If the person being pointed at is aware I’d also say, “Do you want to say hi or wave to her?”
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Maybe point out the similarities, “She’s buying bananas too!” For a three year old, being open and positive is important. Your primary goal is that they know that talking to their parent about race is ok and that color differences are amazing and not taboo. This sets up an openness that will serve you both as your child ages.
Also, don’t be afraid to show how shocked you are. If you hear someone on a show say something racist, say so! Let your kids see that you analyze your media and question it when it is telling you something wrong. Q: My kids are multi-racial and I am white. How do I teach them about racism?
Q: What if a story I’m reading to my child or a show we are watching de- This was the question I was most frepicts something racist? quently asked. I’m a white woman raising white kids and, if you rememThis is a great question because so ber last month, I said that de-centermany of the media we consume is ing whiteness is an important part of profoundly racist. Sometimes I skip being anti-racist. Part of this means a work I know to be racist but other that everyone should stay in their times it can be a wonderful prompt own lane of experience and experfor discussing difficult topics. There tise. I can not give advice on a realare many resources online for talking ity I don’t live. I shouldn’t. But I can about the racism in “classic” chil- point you to some writers discussing dren’s books. For example, PBS has this topic; a whole curriculum around the racial issues in Huckleberry Finn. Know “Multiracial Child Resource Book: the context of the work as well. We Living Complex Identities” know Huck Finn to be racist today Edited by Maria P.P. Root and Matt but when it came out in 1885 it was Kelley considered “vulgar” simply because it had a white boy being friends with “Does Anybody Else Look Like Me?: a black person. We’ve progressed in A Parent’s Guide to Raising Multiraseeing it as racism. But are the stereo- cial Children” types of Jim so different from what By Donna Jackson Nakazawa black people experience today? It is a great opportunity for discussion. “I’m Chocolate, You’re Vanilla: Rais-
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ing Healthy Black and Biracial Chil- Are all your dolls white? Are all your dren in a Race-Conscious World” books and tv and movies featuring By Marguerite Wright only white characters? Diversify your children’s environment. Here’s a [list Q: I live in an all white area. How do of some great toys and books that I teach my kids to appreciate differ- are racially diverse (as well as queer ent races? and ability positive). Hello, fellow middle-American! I also live in a very homogenous area. I was eighteen years old the first time I met a black person. No, really! For now at least I’m also raising three white kids in the same hometown. How to do this and still raise anti-racists is very important to me. First, if your means allow, try to drive to activities in nearby cities so your kids won’t be like me on their first day on campus. I drive an hour north to use the YMCA or to visit some of their playgrounds. I like seeing my kids run around and have fun with a myriad of different colors of skin. We also go to cultural events whenever we can, from drum circles put on by local Native American tribes to the local Greek cultural festival. That isn’t always possible but never fear, there are many ways to make your environment diverse. Look at your toys, movies, books, and art supplies. Are they diverse? Is your only “flesh” toned crayon a peach
Lastly, break up your culturally conditioned holidays. Thanksgiving and Columbus day shouldn’t be celebrated without the historical context. Halloween shouldn’t consist of culturally appropriative costumes. Expand into new-to-you holidays like Juneteenth and Kwanzaa. My two can’t-live-without resources for this are Teaching Tolerance and The Zinn Education Project. Both have lesson plans and resources for teaching non-white-washed history as well as learning about racism. Q: My kids are all over age ten, is it too late? It is never too late. I was in my twenties when I started learning about racism. My dad was sixty. And the same resources you use for learning about racism can be used or adapted for teenagers. Teaching Tolerance and Zinn (links above) both have searchable teaching resources where you can limit by age group and topic.
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Make it a family affair! I know a family with older kids that are watching W. Kamau Bell’s excellent series on CNN called The United Shades of America. Here’s a list of docmentaries you can watch online about race. Model ongoing learning and expanding of your understanding of race as something grown ups do too. This will create lifelong learners.
the Edmund Burke quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” This is how you live that. Be the good person doing something.
You have a right to filter out racism from your kids environment. A person violating this does not belong around your children. In my opinion, that person has a choice: stop using racist language or stop seeing my kids. You have a right and responsibility to set healthy boundaries.
Q: My area is super racist. How do I protect my kids?
If your kids are older and getting savvy at all things race, let them loose on your relative. There is nothing quite like being schooled by a eleven year old to make you rethink your Q: A family member is overtly racist. stance. Plus your kids will gain that I don’t want my kids picking this up. valuable skill of being a good person What can I do? doing something.
Don’t protect them, arm them with information. I live in a tiny town in Ohio with more confederate flags per capita than should be normal. I can’t ignore this and let my kids develop their own ideas about those Don’t be a racism bystander. Let flags so I don’t. “Hey kids, see that your kids see you put your foot down flag? It is a symbol for racism...” and stand up for racial justice. This might take practice because we’ve I know that anti-racists often get been taught from birth not to talk slack for being “intolerant” of others about race (and also, perhaps, not with different views, turning our own to question our elders). I may have words back on us to make us flounstarted years ago with a timid, “That der. Don’t be swayed. You have is racist, please stop.” But the more every right and a huge pile of reI engage, the easier it becomes. sponsibility to be 100% INTOLERANT Now friends and family know they’re of racism. I tell my kids that everyin for an ear-full if they utter bigotry one who is racist isn’t a bad person around me. You’ve no doubt heard at heart. While they have an individ
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ual responsibility to not participate in racism, they were also trained by their culture to be racist. This isn’t an excuse but a valuable way to hold empathy for a person you disagree with vociferously. We should treat them with dignity and respect as all humans deserve to be treated. That being said, there is no reason that you or your children need to accommodate racism. Even (especially) if it is couched in “southern pride” (I’ll remind you I live in OHIO, well north of the Mason-Dixon). Even young kids can learn the history of the confederate flag (it includes pirates!). Knowledge is power. Q: How do I talk to my kids about racism in the news? I’m glad you asked because people often ignore current events with their kids and I think this is a mistake. You are growing a human being to be independent and valuable to society. You can’t do that if you don’t engage them in the very real events of the day. Anytime an event happens you can usually Google, “How to talk to kids about [fill in blank]” and you’ll find some advice. For example, this guide discusses how to talk to kids from preschool to highschool about
the Orlando massacre. Remember when you’re talking to your kids you don’t have to pretend to be all-knowing. Be real and raw. If it makes you cry, let them see that. If it makes you afraid, tell them that honestly. I know we don’t want terror to rule our kids’ lives, but pretending never works. Kids are master pretenders and they’ll see right through you if you try to downplay your natural reaction. Don’t sugar-coat the incident and please don’t white-wash it. A “bad man” didn’t shoot “some people.” A homophobic, racist white man killed latin queer folk. A “bad cop” didn’t shoot a 12 year old. A racist cop murdered a black boy. If you pretend that color or sexuality had nothing to do with it you are telling your kids a lie. Maybe your three year old doesn’t know the difference but every time you use the words it helps it seep in a little more and makes you better at the conversations. By the time your teen comes to you with something deep you’ll be ready because you’ve been real and honest since they were babies. What questions do you have about raising white kids to be anti-racist? I’d love to hear them! Contact me via message at facebook.com/parentinggently.
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POLITICAL ACTIVISM FOR MOMS by Dr. Jen Schwartz. PhD, CFLE
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2017 brings a new political landscape for those living in the United States. There are those happy with election results, those who are unhappy, and of course there are those who are uninterested or neutral in their reactions. For many people, however, there are concerns with this new administration that include women’s rights issues, the potential of losing health insurance (and therefore affordable health care), environmental concerns, economic worries, and much more. There is an upswing in people wanting to be involved in political activism and social justice. If my own personal social media is any indication, many people are unsure how to best go about participating at a local, state, or national level. For most of us, adding yet another thing to an already busy life is difficult. For many mothers – especially those of us with young children –the idea of adding more to an already full plate is an overwhelming idea. Fortunately, there are many ways that we can involve ourselves with important causes while raising children. 1. Educate your children: If it’s important to you, it’s probably important to them, too. Even very young children can understand the importance of
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loving one another, taking care of the earth, and making sure people have their needs met. While the full explanations of many actions can be scary (it certainly would not be age appropriate to explain sex trafficking to a three-year-old), knowing that their parents are taking action to make their world a safer place can be comforting to a child, and having an opportunity to help make that happen is empowering. Finding books, videos, and even examples of other children activists is a simple Google search away. 2. Make it a family affair: If your children are old enough, or young enough, they can participate in political activism with you. If you have a small infant or toddler, you can wear them to safe protests and bring them to marches in good weather. If your children are old enough to make these walks or stand at these events, bring them along. Of course you have to make the right decision for your child(ren), but many times marches and protests are very family friendly. Some of my favorite event signs have been created by children. Encouraging them to voice their opinions can help them develop strong voices. As Anne Frank said, “How wonderful is it that no one need wait a single moment before
beginning to improve the world.” Our children don’t need to wait until they reach voting age to start making a difference!
mail, so making them when the kids have gone to bed isn’t any less effective than a 9-5 call. Emails can of course be sent any time of the day. If this kind of action calls to you, find 3. Working behind the scenes: Some your local Facebook groups and get children won’t do well in large crowds started! or during long days. There are always ways that you can be involved with 5. Follow your children’s lead: What large events without being there for issues are important to your children? the big day. Organizers are always There have been many viral videos looking for volunteers for lots of jobs of young children who have strong that can be done from home, or opinions and voices about importbefore the event. Sign-making par- ant issues, such as 6-year-old Henties are one fun way to help, while ry Marr’s tears and statements that allowing children a safe place to “the planet is going to be wrecked!” play or contribute. Volunteers across Of course our children often take up the nation recently knitted hats for our own agendas, but if you listen the Women’s March on Washington, you will hear what matters most to held the day after the inauguration. them. Find ways to not only involve Match your activism with your talents your children in your important causand passions, and you can probably es, but ways that you can get infind a way to participate. volved with theirs. 4. Make calls and send emails: you don’t need to leave your home to help make positive changes in our world. There are many groups and pages on social media that have come about just to send out important “Calls to Action.” Many of these involve calling or emailing a senator or representative to show your support or opposition of an upcoming vote. These phone calls are almost always answered by aides or voice
6. Remember that most things begin at home: Activism isn’t only about national issues. In fact, Roberto Vargas writes about “Family Activism” – the idea that the connections we form with our family and friends, and the actions we take to strengthen those connections, are the most important kinds of activism we can be involved in.
Family Activism: Empowering Your Community, Beginning with Family and Friends, Vargas, 2008.
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BUMP IN THE NIGHT UNDERSTANDING NIGHTMARES & NIGHT TERRORS | by Morrea Malatt It isn’t paranormal, but it is parasomnia. Parasomnia is scientific word for night terror and nightmare. All children have nightmares at some point and many children have at least one episode of night terrors. What are nightmares and why do children have them? Daytime anxiety or a scary movie can cause nightmares. Nightmares are most common in children ages 3-6 with approximately 30-90% experiencing nightmares “sometimes” and up to 30% of children in this age group have them “often.” Nightmares happen in the REM stage of sleep. REM is very near to actual consciousness and it happens right before we come to the waking end of our sleep cycles. Children’s sleep cycles are between 30 minutes and an hour long and most adult sleep cycles are about 70-120 minutes.
Children tend to remember their dreams more vividly and for a longer period of time. Night terrors, on the other hand, can be really spooky. Your child is technically between the worlds of the subconscious and conscious. The marker for a night terror is when it seems like your child cannot see you, though their eyes are wide open, or violently responds to your attempts to comfort them. They are usually in a panic or very angry. They may shout, punch, slap and kick themselves or anyone near. They have no memory of these events later. Though common and totally normal, in both medieval and puritan times, night terrors were thought to be demon possessions. Night terrors occur in the short wave sleep before REM occurs. A night terror can last as long as 30 minutes without being consoled and eventuNATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 37
ally, the child comes to the end of the sleep cycle, wakes up, and is so tired they immediately go back to bed with little help -- where simple nightmares may need a little consoling because of what the child remembers.
local pediatric sleep specialist. A a talented childrenâ€™s psychologist can help your child rehearse the situations and fears that are coming up in dreams and help them find ways to put the mind at rest.
The things I recommend to all famiNight terrors are much more com- lies as a sleep consultant are also tips mon in children who have other that help decrease nightmares and sleep disorders and in children who night terrors. They are: have family history of sleep disorders like apnea, restless legs and sleep 1. Regular bedtime routine. walking. 2. No sugar before bed. If a before What Can You Do? bed snack happens, it should be a whole carb or protein. There should Night terrors are simply grown out of. be at least 20 minutes between that The best thing you can do is sit near- snack and sleep. There is conflictby to your child (not touching) and ing evidence about eating before be there to protect them. Make sure bed. Some evidence shows eattheir room and bed are safe. Sleep ing before bed harms sleep, some walking can be part of night terrors shows it helps. Low blood sugar can so make sure the room is picked up also cause nightmares. This may be before bed and there is a baby gate something to just watch and tweak at the top of the stairs. If you notice in your own unique child. that your child ever has more than one night terror in a night, wake the 3. No screen time 1.5 hours before child after the first night terror sub- bed. Make sure any evening screen sides and keep them up for a bit to time is calm and free from violence fully reset the sleep cycle. or confusing themes. There is little that can be done for nightmares from a medical standpoint unless they are being caused by a different sleep disorder. If you suspect an apnea or if there is also sleep walking, get a referral to your 38 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
4. Get as close to circadian rhythms as possible. Up in the morning, donâ€™t sleep in too late, get as much outdoor time as you can during the day, get a short walk together or sit on the porch at dusk so your bodies
feel the sun go down.
6. Meditate. I highly recommend the Indigo Dreams CD series for kids to 5. Donâ€™t let naps get too close to help them let go of anxieties and renight time sleep. This can really cause lax for bed. more nightmares. All naps should end before the sun goes down. This 7. Bed sharing. Is it right for your famimight mean the last nap of the day ly? Children have less frequent nightis short, even if it was the only nap mares and less night terrors when of the day. (A tip for waking a child sleeping next to a parent. This likely out of a late nap without them be- has to do with lower anxiety levels ing cranky is to find their REM sleep. in toddlers and preschoolers when Whisper their name 6 inches from they are near a parent. their ear. If there is no eye movement or body movement, they are Sources: in a deeper sleep- leave them alone http://www.journalsleep.org/Articles/300203.pdf http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?artiand try to find REM again in 5 mincleid=204790 utes.) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9143074
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Jaundice & the Newborn | by Linda Palmer
â€œJust as it seems to happen so often with even the seemingly simplest interventions in natural processes, medical blue light therapy is found to cause unwanted side effects.â€? Jaundice is Normal Over half of all newborns gradually develop a little yellow coloration to their skin and to the whites of their eyes, often lasting for 2 or 3 weeks. This appearance, known as jaundice, develops from a rapid breakdown of red blood cells that occurs after birth. In utero, babies maintain more red blood cells to carry oxygen from the placenta than they need for breathing air after birth. Rapid breakdown of excess red blood cells after birth leads to a buildup of a yellow pigment called bilirubin. While waiting to be broken down and excreted in the stool, bilirubin is deposited into the skin and eyes. Once processed by the liver, prod-
ucts of bilirubin breakdown leave through the stool. The newborn liver may need some time to process this excess amount of bilirubin for elimination, and elimination in stool does not occur until meconium is cleared and good stooling begins. Mild to moderate jaundice is highly common in newborns and is harmless, and possibly beneficial. Jaundice is an appearance, not a disease. Now known as physiologic jaundice, it should be considered normal. Watching Out for Excess Bilirubin Various liver disorders and several other rare problems can lead to greater jaundice with threateningly high levels of bilirubin. Most of these will lead to a tell-tale pale color of the stools. These are entirely different from physiologic jaundice of newborns. Such pathologic jaunNATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 41
dice needs definite attention, and newborns who develop higher levels of normal jaundice are monitored to be sure it is only normal newborn jaundice. Whereas physiologic jaundice develops gradually over days, an infant born withâ€”or very quickly developingâ€”jaundice alerts pediatricians to check for certain disorders.
knees. Pale-colored stools, dark-colored urine, and reduced alertness are other signs that warrant a prompt call to the doctor. With examination and a simple skin test, and possibly a few blood tests, your pediatrician can discern simple physiologic jaundice from rare health problems that require medical attention. A little cautious observation can prevent very rare brain damage that can Strangely, the yellow coloring of occur when bilirubin levels climb well jaundice begins in the head and above simple newborn jaundice levface, with greater amounts of biliru- els. bin causing coloration in the upper arms and trunk, and then spreading Over-Reaction lower. Still greater levels, which warrant serious attention, will bring yel- In general, over-reaction to newborn lowing to the palms and below the jaundice has been common for de-
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cades, with treatments that are not healthy and that can complicate the situation. In our book, What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child, pediatrician Susan Markel explained that pediatric textbooks have long fed an excessive jaundice anxiety in doctors through treatment recommendations that are intended for babies who are much sicker. Boston University School of Medicine performed a review of medical textbooks and found breastfeeding information to be both greatly lacking and largely inaccurate. Parents need to be informed and proactive when medical recommendations threaten to interrupt exclusive breastfeeding without very good cause. Not only is physiologic jaundice not found to be harmful, it may actually serve a purpose. We know that inflammation and a weak immune system are normal challenges to be overcome by all newborns. It turns out that bilirubin beneficially acts as a powerful antioxidant and, in newborn infants, it helpfully regulates inflammation created by certain immune cells (neutrophils) and increases their antioxidant production, when needed. As a matter of fact, a significant portion of newborns showing prolonged jaundice, and possibly fast onset, actually have a hereditary condi-
tion known as Gilbert’s syndrome. It’s been found that people with this condition, which brings on mild bouts of jaundice and itchiness throughout life, have much longer lifespans than the rest of us. The assumption is that the longer lifespan is a result of the powerful antioxidant benefits of bilirubin. This finding demonstrates that common bilirubin buildup just can’t be all that bad for breastfed babies. “Breastfeeding Jaundice” Sometimes newborn jaundice is deemed to be increasing because baby is not receiving enough breastmilk. Called breastfeeding jaundice, it would be better to change this term to “not-quite-enough-breastfeeding jaundice.” Bilirubin products are not being removed well when baby is not eliminating quite enough. Less stooling comes from breastmilk delivery being less than optimal. Although formula supplements are typically recommended, these can endanger the establishment of a good milk supply, which is the opposite of what is needed to both clear the jaundice and sustain healthy breastfeeding. Lactation assistance and more intensive breastfeeding are the beneficial responses. To keep things moving, excessively sleepy newborns need to be wakened to eat, day NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 43
with 10 to 12 or more feedings per day. In cases of greater concern, a little intravenous fluid can reduce bilirubin concentration quickly and prevent dehydration while milk supply is being improved. â€œBreastmilk Jaundiceâ€? Another newborn jaundice seen in some one third of breastfed babies tends to develop a bit later, grow a little greater, and last longer. Often hereditary in manner, this occurrence is referred to as breastmilk jaundice. Curious, but harmless, it used to alert strong medical responses because formula feeding and mixed feeding were once so common that those babies were used as the benchmark of normal. It was once believed, and the idea continues to be promoted, that some mysterious factor in breastmilk detrimentally causes greater jaundice; in fact, at least 10 different components of breastmilk have been accused. Okay, a link to breastmilk does exist, but as breastfeeding is the human norm and no actual damage from the jaundice occurs, I find it a funny way to look at itâ€”thinking that humans somehow made it through all these millennia with breastmilk being somehow harmful to so many newborns.
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Unfounded Medical Practices Sometimes doctors ask for breastfeeding to be stopped for a couple of days to see whether the jaundice lessens (formula feeding can reduce the bilirubin levels) and, if not, they assume that they should look for some other problem in the infant. This is certainly not an optimal means of handling the situation. There are other, more informative ways of diagnosing problems that are so rare, and interruption of breastfeeding can lead to problems itself. How rare? A review of infant jaundice suggests that, up to the year 2007, there were no reports of brain damaging excess bilirubin in babies specifically with breastmilk jaundice. Still, there is no reason not to monitor the situation, when levels are in higher ranges, as there is no distinct cut-off level of bilirubin at which damage does or does not occur. Providing bottles of sugar water to a breastfed baby is another common recommendation in presentations of newborn jaundice. Although sugar water may not cause much interruption in the immune provisions of the flora in an exclusively breastfed baby, it can still impair breastmilk intake. Thirty years ago, and several times since, reports stated that this practice has yet to be proven at all beneficial.
Medically, blue light phototherapy is also recommended; however, placing a baby in a basinet in the hospital for phototherapy can complicate matters by impeding frequent breastfeeding. A blue light therapy blanket can be provided to be used in the home, but truly, more blue light is to be gained from sunlight, as described below. Just as it seems to happen so often with even the seemingly simplest interventions in natural processes, medical blue light therapy is found to cause unwanted side effects. Oxidation and damage to red blood cells result, and now some studies are calling for green light instead. Healthier Solutions Rather than complicating matters through formula feeding of a breastfed baby, or reducing nutrition by giving sugar water, there’s a very natural treatment to speed up the reduction of bilirubin levels, when desired. Simple sunlight can penetrate baby’s bare skin and react with bilirubin to break it down so it can exit with the stools. Often, people imagine that it is UV light from the sun that is needed, the kind found to be greatest in the middle of the day, in the summer, and not through a window. Although UV light is great for vitamin D production, it’s not what’s needed here. It is the blue and green
light portions of visible white light that are useful for encouraging bilirubin breakdown. Given the drawbacks found with blue light therapy, and the advantages from green light being discovered, likely, the natural full spectrum of light colors from the sun would be a most optimal treatment. Any time you can see light that’s provided by the sun, the blue light and all colors of light are in it, whereas indoor lighting tends to have very little blue in it. Even in the middle of winter, and even early in the morning or later in the afternoon, mom can sit next to a sunny window with baby, exposing the jaundiced skin areas. Ten to thirty minutes of such sunlight, twice a day, is typically recommended, though more is certainly not harmful, and longer would be needed if it’s dark and cloudy. Outdoor exposure under a shady tree will work, too, when it’s not cold. Some Final Thoughts In many cases, medical customs tend to sound the alarm too soon or too heavily, only worrying new parents needlessly, and sometimes exposing babies to undesirable treatments. Still, awareness of where dangers can lie helps parents know what to watch for. Health-damaging circumstances are very rare in terms of newborn jaundice, but a little caution can head off such occurrences. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 45
REFERENCES: Alex, M., & Gallant, D. P. Toward understand- Nicoll, A., et al. Supplementary feeding and ing the connections between infant jaundice jaundice in newborns. Acta Paediatr Scand 75, and infant feeding. J Pediatr Nurs 23, no. 6 (Dec no. 5 (Sep 1982): 759–61. 2008): 429–38. Philipp, B. L., et al. Breastfeeding information in Christensen, T., et al. Cells, bilirubin and light: nursing textbooks needs improvement. J Hum Formation of bilirubin photoproducts and cel- Lact 23, no. 4 (Nov 2007): 345–9. lular damage at defined wavelengths. Acta Paediatr 83, no. 1 (Jan 1994): 7–12. Philipp, B. L., et al. Breastfeeding information in pediatric textbooks needs improvement. J Hum Crofts, D. J., et al. Assessment of stool colour in Lact 20, no. 2 (May 2004): 206–10. community management of prolonged jaundice in infancy. Acta Paediatr 88, no. 9 (Sep 1999): Roll, E. B., & Christensen, T. Formation of pho969–74 toproducts and cytotoxicity of bilirubin irradiated with turquoise and blue phototherapy light. Deshpande, P., et al. “Breast milk jaundice.” Acta Paediatr 94, no. 10 (Oct 2005): 1448–54. Medscape, last modified May 18, 2012. http:// emedicine.medscape. com/article/973629-over- Shekeeb Shahab, M., et al. Evaluation of oxiview#a0104 dant and antioxidant status in term neonates: A plausible protective role of bilirubin. Mol Cell Horsfall, L. J., et al. Gilbert’s syndrome and Biochem 317, no. 1–2, (Oct 2008): 51–9. the risk of death: A population-based cohort study. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 28, no. 10 (May Soldi, A., et al. Neonatal jaundice and human 2013):1643–7. milk. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 24, Suppl. 1 (Oct 2011): 85–7. Laforgia, N., et al. Neonatal hyperbilirubinemia and Gilbert’s syndrome. J Perinat Med 30, no. 2 Weinberger, B., et al. Effects of bilirubin on neu(2002): 166–9. trophil responses in newborn infants. Neonatology 103, no. 2 (2013): 105–11. Markel, S.G., & Palmer, L. F. What Your Pediatrician Doesn’t Know Can Hurt Your Child. Dallas: BenBella, 2010.
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THE DEFIANT CHILD | by Naomi Aldort
Carol was exasperated at her session with me, saying that she doesn’t know what else to do. “My six-yearold daughter won’t listen to me,” she said. “Like last night; it is time to go to bed, there is school in the morning. Her sisters are ready, but Lili is still in the playroom. I finally literally push her into the bathroom, gently but clearly reminding her of having to get up for school. Next thing, I am reading in bed to her siblings. Lili is not showing up. I go and peek into the bathroom and find her laying on the floor singing. I feel exasperated. I burst out with anger and I hate doing that, but what do I have to do to get some cooperation?” For many of us, such parental ex-
tations seem very reasonable. Yet, our own need to control, our anxiety about the child’s need for sleep, and our expectation for compliance, get in the way of seeing the beauty and perfection of the child’s choice of action. By seeing her as “defiant” and believing our worries about it, we become stressed out and uncooperative. We bring struggle and disconnection into what can be peaceful and beneficial. There is no need to feel guilty; we all miss many cues to peaceful solutions and must forgive ourselves and keep learning. There is always a valid reason for what a child does or doesn’t do, and it is this valid cause we can discover and address kindly. If the child’s NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 49
behavior is harmful, we may have to • To wind down before going to bed. intervene, while still addressing the • Because she loves singing in the cause rather than the behavior. bathroom when no one else is there (good acoustics). Shifting from judgment to discovery: • Because she is singing, so that proves that she needs to. When we use the SALVE formula from my book, Raising Our Children, To these I added: And since you esRaising Ourselves, to calm ourselves, corted her to the bathroom against we can then put attention (A) on her will, she may need to reclaim herthe child and discover why what self: “I am the one deciding when I she does is what she actually needs go to bed.” To which Carol protestto do. We can then shift away from ed, “But she wouldn’t budge and I the judgment, “Why isn’t she getting told her so many times.” ready,” to an inquiry, “How is singing in the bathroom serving my child’s Carols’ daughter was busy drawneeds and mine,” (It does give you ing when Mom kept interrupting her the time to read to her sisters in and telling her to get ready for bed. peace) or, “Why does having to get None of us like to be interrupted. I up for school not motivating her to asked Carol, “If you were not anxgo to bed.” We Listen (L - of SALVE) ious about her bedtime (S - calmto the singing with an open heart ing self-talk), what would you see, that questions rather than dictates. looking at your daughter as she was drawing?” “A child engaged in art,” “Why does she need to sing instead she responded. She pondered quiof getting ready for bed?” Carol in- etly and added, “Oh my. It is all just quired. me controlling her and she tries to When asked with authentic curiosity, recapture her autonomy. But what this is the perfect question to ask. In- could I have done?” stead of listening to our mind’s angry defiant idea that, “She shouldn’t be “How about validation and inforsinging,” it is indeed best to ask what mation,” I suggested (V - Validation, is the valid reason for the child’s and E - Empower, from SALVE), like, “I choice to sing. see that you are very much enjoying drawing. Your sisters and I are going I asked Carol what she thought to bed.” You can then acknowledge would be the reason. She came up her autonomy by adding, “When you with a few ideas: are ready, call me and I will come 50 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
and assist you in the bathroom.” “She will never go to bed then,” protested Carol, and added, “So, she shouldn’t listen to me?” Then she laughed and answered her own question, “No way. I should listen to her need to finish drawing, to sing, to unwind, and to be in charge of herself.” “In fact,” she added with excitement, “Without my expectations, I would join her singing.” Joining her singing can indeed be a delightful way to validate and connect with some children, but not most. A child absorbed with herself is unlikely to appreciate mom join
ing her. She may see it as patronizing when her private world it taken over. It may be better to let her be. Chances are, left to her own, she will sing to her heart delight, and then get off the floor and get ready for bed in joyful and calm spirit. When appreciating the child’s way, mother notices that she calms herself down and spares them both an argument that would take longer than the charming singing. Indeed, she may take a while the first few times, but as she realizes that no one dominates her, she will take responsibility for her bedtime. She cannot develop the muscle when you are
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the one doing the “workout” of responsibility. Giving information is fine, being a leader is needed, but let the child respond to your leadership with a sense of ownership of herself.
and she will gradually relax, knowing that she is in charge of herself and not needing to make a point of it. The shift comes on at its own time, and much faster than you and I can shake emotional habits.
How the child develops responsible action: A child who is singing and taking the time to feel autonomous and to reThe words “She should listen to me” lease pent up energy before getting are often deceptive. What we really ready for bed is actually making a mean is that the child should do as responsible transition to bed, undowe say. Yet obedience contradicts ing the damage of conflict. Would the development of self-reliance we rather create anger and have to and responsibility, and is not really spend even more time calming the what we want. Compliance is root- child down and singing lullabies loned in fear and domination which are ger than we want to? not healthy motivators. We want the child to do what is necessary of her It is only the parent mistaken thinkown free will because she wants to; ing that perceives self-reliance as in joy and peace. defiance. In reality the child is too self-centered to do anything with a When we listen to the child, under- purpose outside of herself. When we standing her need and intent, we remove our own self-centered point bring forth our own unconditional of view (she should do as I say... she love, peace, and a space in which should understand my purpose...) she feels autonomous and therefore and see instead the child’s intent for eager to flow with her family and herself, we discover pure and valid community. self-care that we can support with love. Be patient in changing from domination to leadership. Realize that a ha- Listen to your child’s intent, unspobitual pattern in which the child feels ken or spoken, and you will become that you are the police doesn’t go a leader in her life; one she wants to away at once. She learned to have connect with and work with, and not to fight for her autonomy repeated- against. Listen to her heart song and ly. She needs many experiences of your heart will sing with her. feeling your vote of confidence, and ©Copyright Naomi Aldort 52 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
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PEACEFUL LIMITS THAT
| by Mariah Joy
Each New Year brings a fresh start, or at least the illusion of such. It is the springtime of the soul in many ways, lengthening daylight, burgeoning energy, the promise of new life. As the new year approaches I set my eagle-eyes on the future and ask for guidance -- what is the theme of this next trip around the sun, what’s in store for me? The word that has settled in for 2015 is ‘guide.’ ‘Guide’ is rich and layered with meaning for me; one layer being specifically how I guide my children, another being how I guide myself. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 55
Perhaps you are among a large number of parents who have resolved to make this the year of finding a way, once and for all, to leave behind those patterns of yelling, threats, punishments, even bribes and rewards. If so, my guess is that you are wondering how to effectively go about doing this. It is not only possible, but a joy to guide our children based on a set of values we hold dear to our hearts. Iâ€™m excited to share with you a powerful way to model healthy boundaries by setting peaceful limits that stick, based on a foundation of core values.
enting in a control-over, Dominant Paradigm creates disconnected communication between parent and child. For a young child the feeling of being disconnected from their primary caregiver, their life support, elicits fear and triggers stress hormones to be released in the brain. Disconnection occurs when we use control-over parenting strategies of time-out, yelling, threatening and dismissing. Over time the exposure to stress hormones in the brain can cause patterns of disconnection leading to a less fulfilling life experience overall and higher instances of depression, anxiety To effectively make change it is and low self-esteem. important to know where we are right now, and know where we are What we know now about parentheaded. There are basically two ing in Relationship-with our children parenting paradigms in our current is that we are sculpting their brains culture, the first being the Domi- in a totally different way. When our nant Paradigm, the second being children feel heard and accepted the Relationship-With Paradigm. The for who they are, and the experiDominant Paradigm is most famil- ence they are having, their brains iar, and likely how you were raised, are bathed in a totally different set it is characterized by control-over of hormones; hormones that create tactics. The primary belief of the neural pathways for connection, Dominant Paradigm is that the par- empathy, and ultimately more life ent is the ultimate authority and satisfaction and success, this is a mathe child is expected to comply. jor incentive to harness a new way of setting limits peacefully. Advanced studies in brain science have shown us that the way we We live in a very exciting time; many communicate with our children has parents are seeking ways of shifting a profound affect on their develop- their ingrained patterns of reactivity ing brains. We now know that par- and looking to parent in Relation56 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
ship-with their children. But let’s be honest here, parenting is hard work at times; our children are born with an uncanny knack for pushing our buttons. Most of my clients come to me in this time of trying to transition into the Relationship-with paradigm and yet they are bumping up against massive frustration in doing so effectively. So what do you do when you aren’t being heard, no one is listening, siblings are fighting, and you’re about to snap?
beacon of light. Gaining full clarity about your core values is essential for the rest of this process to work. Your values are the tools that will allow you to navigate the sometimes tumultuous sea as a united family vessel. These values are the ones that you hold dear to your heart, not the ones that you think you should live by, but rather the ones that are at the core of who you are. If you are unsure what your values are, take some time to unearth them, I promise you have values that you hold Parents often remark that they feel dear. like they have been stripped of all their tools in the effort to shift into a A few questions to ask yourself in this Relationship-with paradigm. I want quest for clarifying your values: Whoto assure you that parenting in Rela- do you admire most in life? What do tionship-with your children does not you admire about their character? necessitate permissive parenting. These character traits are likely valThe good news is that it is fully pos- ues of your own. I have deep love sible to parent in Relationship-with and admiration for my grandfather, while modeling healthy boundaries he was a wildly creative thinker, by setting limits. Children need to fiercely dedicated to his family, and feel secure in the limits of their fami- passionately engaged with life. It ly, and know that there is a scaffold- just so happens that, creativity, faming to support them in their growth. ily, and living passionately engaged Being a guide and having no tools are three of my top values. for navigation is a set-up for disaster. Let’s explore three primary tools for Another way to dig into this is by ensetting peaceful limits that stick, so quiring within; what stirs up heated you are well prepared for this jour- anger in you? Personally, cruelty ney. to animals and children makes my blood boil and my heart race; it stirs Step one: Unearthing your unique deep anger in me. Anger is a call family values for the restoration of boundaries. Your unique family values are your So I ask, “What do I need to restore NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 57
boundaries in this situation of witness ing mistreatment of the innocents?” Kindness, yes, kindness is a core value of mine and by allowing mistreatment I am out of alignment with this value. The inconsistency that stirs agitation and even anger is often within us, hiding in our own lack of integrity around a particular situation, examining your source of anger can be a powerful tool for unearthing your values. I encourage you to spend some time becoming crystal clear about what your personal values are, and then embark on the process of unearthing the values that you hold dear as a family. Keep in mind that it is common to have personal values that vary slightly from those of our beloveds. It is still possible to establish the top three to five values that are commonly held among all members of your family. Step two: Aligning with your family values Now that you are clear on what your top family values are, take a temperature reading. How are you aligned with these values right now? How can you live more fully aligned with your values? I might take a look at where I am showing up with kindness, and where I’m not. It is especially powerful for us, as parents, to point out where we are acting in58 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
consistently with our values. In my case, if I were to raise my voice and act impatiently with my children this would be a perfect opportunity to call myself out on my inconsistent behavior by saying to my children, “Geez, that tone of voice really didn’t’ sound kind, did it? You know, kindness is really important to me and I wasn’t staying true to that value by using that tone.” In this way, we use our shortcomings as a powerful teaching opportunity. Another way to explore our family values with young children is through story and everyday illustration. I’ll continue with my example of kindness as a value. There was a time when we were in need of language to use during a phase of, albeit, very age-appropriate, emotionally impulsive hitting. So, for two weeks we focused heavily on the illustration of kindness. Everywhere we went, I would make a big deal about the little acts of kindness we encountered. At bedtime, I would selectively choose stories where there was some illustration of kindness and I would talk about it at length. We created an alter of kindness, where we placed flowers among many other items that represented kindness to us. In this way, we built an understanding of what kindness is in the world, what it looks, sounds, and feels like.
Step three: Staying on course – Setting Peaceful Limits that Stick. To stay the course there will be times when limits need to be set for ourselves, and our children. Limits are carefully planned based on a solid understanding of our family values. A limit is set when there is a clear understanding of what family value is being upheld by doing so. If you find yourself setting limits from reactivity, rather than consistency with values, ask yourself, “What value am I trying to stay true to by setting this limit?” Be honest, it might be an old pattern of control, or a reaction based on fear, that is driving you. If you find yourself back in the Dominant-Paradigm, parenting with control-over methods switch to curiosity; get curious about what your child is needing and why this limit is important to you. We set limits, not to have control, but rather to give our children a sense of being securely held in the family, to teach family values, and of course to keep our children safe. Setting limits is just the beginning of the conversation, contrary to the old ‘because I told you so, end of conversation’ motto. In the Relationship-with Paradigm, setting limits is the launching point for really exploring why we hold this value dear and how we go about living in alignment with it.
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BOOKSHELF by Holly Scudero
There’s no question that doula services are becoming more and more popular in recent years, and not just among those seeking a “natural” birth. A doula is essentially a birth attendant, usually (but not always) a woman, who provides the laboring mother with physical and emotional support. She provides information in order to assist with informed decision making, knows many comfort measures to help cope with labor pain, and is generally there for the dura-
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tion of labor and birth, as well as the immediate postpartum period. Studies have shown that woman who are attended by a doula during birth generally have shorter labors, less interventions, less pain, lower cesarean rates, and a better birth experience overall. Doulas provide other services as well. Postpartum doulas help new mothers adjust to life with an infant, focusing on breastfeeding support
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and sometimes helping around the house so that mama can relax and just bond with baby. Bereavement doulas specialize in helping mothers and families cope with pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and neonatal death. Some doulas are trained to support parents through the adoption process, while others help women who undergo an abortion for any reason. Professional doulas generally have some sort of certification. The most well-known organization certifying doulas is DONA International, although some doulas instead choose less well-known certifications through CAPPA, Birth Boot Camp, or other organizations. Many hospitals and birth centers offer less intensive training for volunteer doula programs. Doulas have spent countless hours studying everything related to birth and most This book is one that belongs in evhave to attend numerous births be- ery doula’s labor bag, and one that fore they can become certified. most are already familiar with. The Labor Progress Handbook deals with Birth workers never stop learning. many of the practical, physical asWhether you are a certified doula or pects of labor, and specifically with an unofficial one who simply likes to handling the many reasons why a help friends through birth, whether particular labor might be deemed you are in-training or merely dream- “dysfunctional.” There are guidelines ing about a future goal, this list will for assessing labor progress, ideas for hopefully provide something new to handling dystocia in the first and secadd to your reading list. ond stages of labor, low-tech interventions to promote labor, and two chapters featuring ideas that every The Labor Progress Handbook doula needs in her “toolkit.” Labor by Penny Simkin, Ruth Ancheta positions, movement, and comfort 62 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
measures are all vital aspects of a doula’s work, and this extremely little book packs all of it into a well-researched, well-referenced package. Birth Ambassadors by Christine H. Morton, Elayne Clift Becoming a doula requires a thorough understanding of labor, a lot of ideas for helping women cope with pain, and a lot of experience. But one thing that most doula books don’t cover is the history of doula work. That’s where Birth Ambassa
dors comes in. This book goes into detail about the emergence of doula work and how it carved out a niche in maternity care. Packed with observations and personal stories from doulas, this book promises to get readers thinking about the past, present, and future of doula work. The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin This book should be required reading for anyone who plans to support a woman through labor and childbirth. Penny Simkin, well known for her
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Optimal Care in Childbirth by Henci Goer, Amy Romano
many books that deal with pregnancy and birth, offers this guidebook that is packed with knowledge for doulas, dads (and other partners), and anyone else who plans to be there for the birth. The Birth Partner is currently in its fourth edition, discusses what “normal” labor looks like and walks readers through essential information like pain management (both medicated and unmedicated), complications (including cesarean sections), and even a section on newborn care and breastfeeding. This book is user-friendly, well-organized, and packed with facts, including plenty of illustrations. 64 | NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE
Over the course of their study, many doulas come to realize that there are indeed many flaws in the medical model of childbirth. Interventions have a time and a place, but many are overused and lumped under the blanket of “standard of care,” and the rights and experiences of women often suffer as a result. This massive tome by Henci Goer and Amy Romano aims to offer readers up-todate, scientifically-backed information about how to keep labor safe, healthy, and satisfying. Optimal Care in Childbirth is quite possibly the most comprehensive book on natural childbirth available; every section is well-researched and contains plenty of solid evidence to support a natural, physiologic birth. Better yet, each chapter can easily stand alone, allowing readers to easily find information about whatever topic is currently at hand. Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth by Dr. Jolene Brighten, ND While some doulas specialize in postpartum care, even most birth doulas provide at least one postpartum visit
When Survivors Give Birth by Penny Simkin, Phyllis Klaus A shockingly high amount of people suffer some form of sexual abuse in their childhoods—it’s estimated that 25-40 percent of girls are abused, and 20-25 percent of boys. There are lasting ramifications of this kind of abuse, and it’s not surprising that many previously abused women discover during labor that they have a lot of unresolved issues. That’s why it’s so important for doulas to read a book like When Survivors Give Birth. The wonderful Penny Simkin has teamed up with psychologist Phyllis Klaus to provide birth workers with
as part of their services. For that reason, a book like Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth is essential reading material. Author Dr. Jolene Brighten is a naturopathic doctor with tons of experience in using natural methods to help women recover during the postpartum period, and her book takes over where most pregnancy books leave off. This book will help readers utilize herbs, essential oils, food, and self-care techniques to help with a variety of postpartum issues, including milk supply, physical healing, hormonal imbalances, fluctuating moods, and more. NATURAL MOTHER MAGAZINE | 65
guidelines for effectively working sibility for birth workers. Doulas would with pregnant women with a history do well to read Companioning at a of abuse. Time of Perinatal Loss, which handles this topic with grace and sensitivity. While the book’s intended audience The Radical Doula Guide is nurses and other hospital staff, the by Miriam Zoila Perez information is equally pertinent to doulas. Readers will gain a better unThis very slim book is primarily about derstanding of the grieving process inspiring doulas to think outside the for the family involved, and they’ll box. The most common forms of dou- find themselves better equipped with la work are birth and postpartum, but useful strategies to help the mother this book also discusses lesser known and everyone involved cope with a doulas such as abortion doulas and tragedy of this nature. adoption doulas. Birth activist Miriam Zoila Perez gets readers thinking The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to about how issues such as race, gen- Making More Milk der/sexual orientation, and even by Diana West, Lisa Marasco basics like age or body size can impact the birth experience. Easy to All doulas should have a decent read and packed with information, The Radical Doula Guide is a great introduction to some issues that are not discussed in other books. Companioning at a Time of Perinatal Loss by Jane Heustis, Marcia Meyer Jenkins Many woman who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth found themselves encountering well-meaning professionals who truly didn’t know how to handle the situation. And such a loss is always a pos-
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knowledge of breastfeeding, especially doulas who perform any amount of postpartum care. While she cannot replace a true lactation consultant, a doula should be prepared to help with some of the more common breastfeeding problems, as she will often be the first person a new mom calls when troubles arise.
While the book title indicates it’s primarily about boosting low milk supply—a common fear among new mothers—it also contains a wealth of other breastfeeding information, including the basics of milk production, how to determine whether baby is getting enough, maintaining supply while working away from home, and even special circumstances like breastfeeding preemies or multiples. The Doula Business Guide by Patty Brennan
While there are many fantastic books out there about the basics of breastfeeding, doulas might find more benefit in a book like The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk.
The vast majority of doulas find themselves drawn to their work through an overarching love of all things birth. Many describe their work as a labor of love, but it takes a lot more than love to turn birth work into a successful business. Patty Brennan knows this, and she has compiled thirty-five years of experience into The Doula Business Guide. Now in its second edition, this book promises to help doulas figure out all the nitty gritty details of running a business. She walks readers through business structures, marketing ideas, financial details (including tax laws, nonprofit status, and how to apply for grants), the effective use of social media, and more. This book is an essential guide for running a doula business.
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