Today's guest post for our Parenting in America blog carnival comes from Little Hearts Books (Gentle Parenting Resources). She compares the many parenting freedoms we enjoy (and often take for granted) in America to other countries were such practices are frowned upon or outright banned.
If you write a post on your own blog and publish it today please leave a link in the comments on this post (as I am uncool and have yet to figure out the linkys thing) so I can compile a list to share with everyone and post them on Instinctual Mamas to share with everyone.
I am a breastfeeding American woman. As a mother of six who has nursed all of my children, some well into the toddler years, I can assure you that my breasts have been exposed publicly more than once! Now, I am not a militant public breastfeeder and always strive to be discreet in my nursing out of simple courtesy, but the flailing arms of a newborn and playful ‘peek-a-boo’ removal of a nursing cover by a toddler have occasionally caught me off guard. While I don’t consider nursing publicly a constitutionally guaranteed right, I do believe that our government is set up to protect a mama’s right to feed her baby and to allow for public demonstrations such as ‘nurse-ins’ to promote breastfeeding awareness. Conversely, in October of 2009 Islamic militants in Mogadishu attacked and beat Muslim women for not wearing socks and others for wearing bras. The militants claimed that bras are deceptive to men and therefore dishonor them. Time and time again stories surface of Islamic women flogged for exposing a wrist or ankle, beaten by husbands or fathers for public indecency such as speaking with a non-relative male, and stoned or stabbed to death in ‘honor killings’ for dishonoring their families by being raped.
We are a co-sleeping American family. Our newest little family members go from womb to room, from being held in warm comfort inside of me to being snuggled up beside me. We follow safe co-sleeping guidelines, of course, but feel our tiny new additions are far safer sleeping in our family bed than in isolation. Most naps are taken right in my arms or a baby wrap after being nursed peacefully to sleep. Is it inconvenient? Yes, sometimes. But we didn’t have children for our convenience, and this time is so fleeting I miss it already as my sixth baby slumbers contentedly on my chest while I write these words. Conversely, in Spain young mama Habiba only recently had her baby, Alma, returned to her after Spanish authorities removed the 15 month old for concerns over ‘chaotic’ breastfeeding and co-sleeping patterns. The Spanish authorities first tried to coerce Habiba into weaning Alma and using a crib, but were angered when Habiba continued to “use breastfeeding as comfort” and “sleep with Alma in her bed while using the cot [crib] to deposit items such as toys and clothes.” While I’m thankful that little Alma is safely back in her mama’s arms, my mama’s heart can’t stop hurting for all the other Habibas and Almas whose lives are being ripped apart by intrusive and restrictive governments worldwide.
We are a homeschooling American family. For about 14 years now, my husband and I have made the decision to educate our children at home. I have full autonomy to choose their curriculum, to make (and break!) our own schedule, and to center our school on our Christian faith and conservative values. We can spend an entire school year solely exploring space and the next immersed in archeology. We can take the month of December off and then ease back into school with short days and abbreviated weeks as we recover from the holiday whirl. I can let my children read what they love, write creatively, and pursue their talents and interests. Conversely, in 2008 a 17-year-old girl, Melissa Busekros, was forcibly removed from her parents and placed in the child psychiatry unit of a Nuremberg, Germany clinic. "Homeschooling was first banned under Adolf Hitler, and that ban is still enforced today," says the homeschool legal defense association (John-Henry Westen). And that is just one case among many of a parent’s choice to homeschool being met with government interference in or outright severing of families.
We are a non-vax’ing American family. I, like the majority of young mothers, trusted my children’s pediatrician and suffered through injection after injection and ‘mild’ reaction after ‘mild’ reaction to vaccinations, believing I was doing what was best for my children’s health and well-being. Then came the terrifying seizures when my #5 was six months old. And then came the brick wall. None of the doctors at the hospital, including our pediatrician, would even consider the multiple vaccinations my baby had received a couple of days before as a cause of the seizures. They put that poor baby through test after test after test, and even when no other explanation could be found, they still wouldn’t look at the vaccinations as a possibility and just listed the seizures as “of unknown cause.” That experience taught me to be wary of the medical establishment and set off a massive vaccination research project in my life that resulted in two words: Never again. And I am so very thankful to live in a nation where I have that right, that freedom to make informed choices for my family! Conversely, in 2009 seven year old Domenic Johansson was snatched from his parents’ custody by officials of Gotland, Sweden. They were accused of not vaccinating him and of homeschooling him. No other accusations or charges were brought against them, but to this day he has not been returned to their custody. Once every five weeks they are permitted a one hour, supervised visit. Unbelievable, and so heartbreaking!
We are a church planting American family. Through the years our family has been involved in planting several new churches from helping to grow one or two year old churches, to being a part of core groups starting a new church, to actively hosting a brand new church in our own home. In the United States, this is our right, and we have the freedom to exercise it without fear of reprisal or government intervention. Conversely, Iranian pastor, husband, and father Youcef Nadarkhani has been in prison in Iran since October 2009, sentenced to die for his Christian activities. The appeal of his death sentence was rejected by the Iranian Supreme Court in June of this year. He is to be executed by hanging (Voice of the Martyrs). Stories of religious persecution and the restriction of religious freedoms can be found from every corner of the globe, and the stories are chilling.
We are an American family. Our nation is by no means perfect and our freedoms are by no means free, but here in the United States our Constitution stands resolutely proclaiming, and overseas our troops stand tirelessly protecting, our precious freedom. We thank God for our country and our military. God bless our troops, and God bless the U.S.A.!
Facebook and Twitter @LRKnost
L.R.Knost, Christian author and homeschooling mother of six, is the founder of the nonprofit, Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting Resources, which offers Gentle Parenting workshops, speakers, and consultations in the Central Florida area as well as online Gentle Parenting resources. Her Wisdom For Little Hearts children’s book series weaves Gentle Parenting techniques into colorful, engaging stories for little ones ages 2-6. The first book in the series, Petey’s Listening Ears, was released from Lifeway in April 2011, and Addie’s Inside Voice, JoJo’s Gentle Hands, and Zoey the Happy Helper are due out soon with more to follow! For more information on Gentle Parenting or to order Little Hearts books or products, please visit http://www.littleheartsbooks.com/ or Amazon at http://t.co/dIpvluC.
Her current book, Petey's Listening Ears is available on Amazon.com
If this is the first you have heard about the Parenting in America blog carnival it is not too late, check out the announcement blog First Ever Blog Carnival: Parenting In America 7/3-7/10 for details on how to participate if you are interested. If you would like to guest post on my blog please email your submission to reedfamily55 at gmail dot com. I am still in need of guest posts to host Wed-Sun of this coming week.