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Category Archives: Social Justice

April is a happening month

Just a sampling of some local events:

April 6:  Movie Day at the Hughes Main Library.  Watch “Born in the USA” and learn about birth choice in SC.  I’ll represent the doula perspective on the Q&A panel after the event.  10.00 donation suggested.

April 8:  The Spartanburg Babywearing Group meets at Labors of Love.  11am

April 10:  Greenville Cloth Diaper Group has a monthly meeting at the Taylors branch library.  10am.

April 11:  EarthFest at Greenville Tech’s Barton Campus.  I’ll be there working a table for Upstate BirthNetwork.  Stop by and say hello between 10am-2pm!

April 11:  Prenatal Yoga at I Love Natural Baby.  5pm

April 12:  Parent and Toddler Yoga at I Love Natural Baby.  10am

April 12:  Parent and Baby Yoga at I Love Natural Baby.  10:45am.

April 13:  Come hear the sexy-voiced Michel Odent, MD speak about birth.  Sponsored by the Bellies to Babies Foundation and the SC Birth Coalition.  Info here.

April 13:  Cloth Diaper 101.  A free class to introduce you to cloth diapers!

April 15:  La Leche League of Greenville meets at I Love Natural Baby.  7pm.  Other meetings throughout the upstate.  Check http://www.llli.org to find the meeting closest to you!

April 20:  Thrive:  A Conscious Health Experience in Clemson.  Looks like such a fun day full of exhibits, kids yoga, and special speakers.  10am-4pm.

April 20:  The Great Cloth Diaper Change is happening at I Love Natural Baby.  Come break the record with your baby!

April 23:  Meet the Midwives event at Greenville Midwifery Care.  6-8pm.  Registration is online through our home page on website or you can email to GMCmidwife@ghs.org.

April 27:  Blessingways:  A Gathering of New and Expectant Families.  April is Cesarean Awareness Month.  Join the discussion.  2pm.

April 28:  The Fair Exchange.  This is the third year that I’ve organized this amazing event to raise $$ for a cause.  This year, we’re raising money for the SC Birth Coalition as they lobby to protect birth choices in SC.  Stop by and shop gently used baby clothes, cloth diapers, babywearing products, etc and buy some raffle tickets for fantastic prizes.

This month, I’m teaching three Hypnobabies series and will attend two births, two postpartums, three prenatals, and meet with a few new couples for the first time.

I thought this was a part time job?  I love it so.

SC Lay Midwife Act–Bill 3731

You may have heard that SC is going backwards again.  Not surprising, really.  But for a conservative state, I’m surprised at the movements lately to squeeze in more governmental control.

Enter Bill 3731, the SC Lay Midwife Act.

What the heck is a “lay midwife?”

I’ve attended over 100 births as a doula.  If I decided, “Hey, I think I know a decent bit about childbirth.  Why do the OBs and midwives get paid the big bucks?  I think I’ll start catching the babies.”  That.  That would be a lay midwife.  I would be a person without training hanging up my shingle. (*see footnote)

When I first read this bill, I thought the legislature’s intention was to criminalize, well, lay midwives (i.e. people who were DIY babycatching).

Surely they could not mean SC Licensed Midwives.

Then I read on.

Now, I realize it may be difficult for a layperson (pun intended) to understand the in’s and out’s of midwifery with it’s many acronyms and differences state-to-state.  Let me break it down.

To apply the misnomer “lay midwife” to our licensed midwives is offensive.  Simply that.  And clearly the bill understands this offense as it belittles midwives and the families they serve by requiring a name tag (!):  A lay midwife shall wear a clearly legible identification badge or other adornment at least one inch by three inches in size bearing the lay midwife’s name and the words ‘Lay Midwife.

Do you see the absurdity of this?  These midwives are attending births primarily in homes.  They have spent hours with the families they serve prior to the birth.  Name tag?

Back to this lay midwife term.  The bill defines lay midwife as a “midwife who may have had little formal training or recognized professional education in midwifery, who learned by accompanying doctors or midwives attending home births.”

Does that apply to SC Licensed Midwives?  In the 1930′s, the state embarked on formal training of midwives.  There were thousands of midwives practicing in rural areas, equipped by the SC government.  In the 1970′s, a move (eerily similar to this one) ended government support of midwives.  The people of SC reacted in protest and a new licensure program developed in the early 1980′s.  This licensing process is still in place and ain’t broken.  DHEC sets standards and regulations for midwives.  Their outcomes are public information.  Nobody is hiding anything.

A layperson can go to the DHEC website to view more information than s/he would ever want to know about regulations, current care providers, reporting, and more.

“Little formal training?”  Licensed midwives must complete a formal education program approved by DHEC and finish an intensive clinical apprenticeship.  Typically the preceptor-apprenticeship ratio is 1:1 or 1:2.  It cannot be more than 1:3. The apprenticeship generally takes 2-3 years.  Then the applicant completes an examination.  Once licensed, there are continuing education requirements and peer review processes.  And, of course, there are fees, fees, fees.

Calling Licensed Midwives “lay” would be the equivalent of suddenly calling all Licensed Builders in the state “lay” and requiring citizens to hire structural engineers to build their deck.

This bill will end the licensing of midwives in SC.  It calls for direct supervision of “lay midwives” by obstetricians.  Obstetricians and licensed midwives practice in different environments and under vastly different models of care.  Don’t let the wording fool you, this bill would end legal midwifery for out of hospital birth in SC.  This supervision wording is merely a smokescreen.

What will happen if there are no licensed midwives in SC?  There will always be families who don’t want a medical birth.  There will always be families who choose homebirth.  And there will, I trust, always be midwives who will serve them.  But these midwives will do so under the threat of criminalization.

There are many other issues associated with this bill:

  • Financial considerations:  a homebirth with a licensed midwife typically costs less than 4000.  An uncomplicated vaginal birth at the hospital may cost 10,000.  Medicaid reimburses licensed midwives.
  • Freedom:  this bill removes access to professional midwives.  It will destroy an entire profession in our state; a profession recognized world-wide.  If you care about freedom, this bill is one to fight.
  • Safety:  I would need to write an entire post to discuss this one!  This bill is not about the safety of mothers and babies.

So now, what will you do dear layperson?  I saw a few weeks ago how a rapid response from citizens pressured the sponsors of a homeschool bill to remove their support.  We can make that happen here, too.

Keep up to date on talking points, petitions, and information at the SC Friends of Midwives website.

Write, email, call the members of the 3M committee.  Let them know you  oppose this bill.  You don’t need to write or say anything fancy.  I think numbers are more important at this stage.

Please help SC families who want access to licensed midwives and protect our freedom to choose where and with whom to birth.

*There are many wise and experienced midwives who choose not to license.  Some have called them “lay midwife.”  I do not because I think the whole term “lay midwife” is oxymoronic.  This bill isn’t addressing these unlicensed midwives anyhoo.  It is addressing SC licensed midwives.

The story told

A language is not words only,

it is the stories

that are told in it,

the stories that are never told.

–Margaret Atwood from “Beauharnois”

I am a repository of birth stories.  When I reveal my vocation, the stories pour out from young mothers and white-haired grannies.  I’ve learned that a woman might forget many things but she holds tightly to this powerful event.  And she remembers with passion and detail how she was made to feel during her births.

Some stories bring me to tears.  This one is such a story.  It took place in a developing country in Asia and was told to me by a friend of the mother.  We will call this young mother, Sara.

I asked permission to share Sara’s story and she agreed.  I share it because she is my sister and her horror is my horror.  And yours.  I believe we honor her grief and her courage when we hear her story.

Sara and her husband do not have much money.  They chose a birthing clinic for her first baby.  This decision is a common choice for families without many resources.  When her labor began, her midwife did not think she was progressing well but told her not to worry; that she would be with her the whole way even if she had to go to the hospital.  At midnight, the midwife decided that Sara needed to go to the hospital but that she would not go with her because she (the midwife) was not feeling well.  Sara’s blood pressure went up and anxiety set in.  She and her husband would have to find a way to get to the government hospital far away in the middle of the night.  Transportation is tricky even during the daytime.

In this country, the patient must show her money before she will be admitted to the hospital.  So Sara and her husband had to scrounge for money.  When she arrived, she was 4cm.  She labored in a room with 30 other women–some two to a bed.  Her blood pressure was high.  No one monitored her baby’s heartbeat.  Sara says she could feel her baby trying to get out.  Her water broke and her pain increased.  The nurses ignored her and told her to be quiet.  The only encouragement she received was from the janitor.

Sara’s husband had to leave to get medicine (the don’t have them at the hospital).  While he was gone, someone decides she needs a cesarean and informs the doctors.  It took five hours before she was wheeled (by the janitor) into the operating room.  When she is given anesthetic, she falls asleep.  After laboring for two days, her baby is born alive but in distress; possibly from meconium aspiration.  The baby, a little girl, dies.

When Sara wakes, she is alone.  Her husband is not at the hospital.  He is making funeral arrangements.  Sara is in the recovery room where other mothers hold their newborns.  Sara sees a tiny, white butterfly land near her and she knows in her heart that she her baby is gone.

The hospital staff tell Sara not to talk or to cry because it would hurt her incision.  Her family believes it would be better for Sara not to see or hold her baby.  She is not allowed to go to the funeral because her family thinks it would be too hard for her.

Her mother blames Sara for the death of the baby because she missed church a few Sundays.  The doctors say the baby died because the baby was too big.  They blame Sara, saying she must have had diabetes even though she was tested more than once.

The hospital staff tell her that she should not have sex or get pregnant for 3 years.

I’m not gifted in creating a tidy moral from Sara’s story.  I think her story can stand alone without platitudes or homilies.

Remember her, grieve with her, and love her.

*And if you need to take action/learn more/give/get involved, there are many organizations like Bumi Sehat, for example, that will get you started.

My Mother’s Day Manifesto

I’ve noticed that people on the interwebs are becoming increasingly prickly.  Maybe it is because everyone has a soapbox platform now.  We blog, tweet, facebook, comment, vlog.

Hey, I get it.  I’m doing it now.

But this phenomenon has turned every news article, research study, opinion piece, heck–even the obituaries into an opportunity to express one’s anecdotal experience.

Laboratory of one.

Want an example?

I read an article about a kindergarten kid who was forced to sit in her own feces during testing.  Terrible story about a specific incident.  I knew what I would read in the comments.  “That is why we homeschool.”  And, “If you have a kid about to enter the odd social experiment American public schools have become I fear for you.”  Over 1000 comments.  Ad nauseam.

A study that shows breastfeeding boosts immunity?  You guessed it:  “Well, my kid wasn’t breastfed and he never got sick.  Not once.”

A soccer team gets sick from germs on a reusable bag.  “Please hippies, stop using your reusable bags.  You’re going to kill the rest of us.”  Real comment.

Can we please stop taking everything so personally?  Everything isn’t about you.

Cloth diapers vs. disposables.  Breastmilk vs. Formula.  Bed-sharing vs. Crib-sleeping.  Free-Range vs. Helicopter.  Public school vs. Homeschool.  Hospital vs. Homebirth.  SAHM vs WOHM.  Vaccinations, Cry-it-out, Attachment Parenting, Child-Led Weaning.

Guess what?

At the end of the day, these are not moral decisions.  They are choices.

I know they are important choices to the parents making them.  But in the scheme of things?  These are distractions to bigger issues.  And bottom line:  who cares what choices other parents make?

The so-called Mommy Wars keep us busy fighting petty battles.

I admit that when I was a new mom, high on oxytocin and prolactin, I proudly stamped the labels after my name.  Have you seen such?

NorahsMom: non-CIO, babywearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, no-circ, waterbirther.  Go ahead.  Google me.  You’ll probably find pages of forum activity.  You’ll find me all fluffed up with icons and smileys.  Full of advice.

Embarrassing.  Ridiculous.  Thank goodness I realize now we’re all pretty much clueless, hanging on by a thread, and doing the best we can for these children we love.

Listen mamas.  There are real issues that involve moral decisions.  Issues like maternity leave, access to healthcare, toxic food and products, children without mothers, maternal mortality and morbidity.  There are children who are trafficked and children who work on coffee plantations.  Why aren’t we taking our fierce mama bear selves and fighting about that?

I write a blog about my life, my work, and my choices.  My life.  My work.  My choices.  I parent in the way that feels normal.  To me.  And yes, I advocate for natural birth and cloth diapers and the like.  I’m passionate about these things.  But I do not assume these translate into roadmaps for other families.

Yesterday when I overheard some women talking about attachment parenting in a dismissive and demeaning way, it made me angry.  But then it made me wonder, when have I done the same?

The so-called Mommy Wars keep us busy fighting petty battles.

Polarizing us.

Paralyzing us.

A mom is a powerful force.  With our multi-tasking skills, our sacrificial love, and our relentless desire to protect, we are unstoppable.  Sounds a bit like a superhero.

Alright, I admit I am caught up in the Avengers.  Maybe I am dreaming of a Mothers Initiative.

So I’ll start small.

I’ll start with not taking everything personally.  And taking a step away when I get too close to the choices I’ve made.  My fight is not with other mamas.

We are on the same team.

(And while we’re talking teams, can we please pick out some uniforms à la avengers?  Something high-tech with snazzy gadgets?)

Chasing ants, geckos, and grace

My final post about the trip to Cambodia.

We went to share life with the Slagels. So let me talk about where/how they live.

They live in a third floor apartment at the end of a dirt road. The apartment is spacious and has a wrap-around balcony with a great view. Two bedrooms are air-conditioned. The rest of the apartment is hot, hot, hot! The kitchen is insanely hot.

All the doors and windows have bars because from time to time someone wanders up. Thievery can happen even with bars and we were told not to leave anything sitting out that could be pulled through the bars. One afternoon, we returned home to find we were locked out. So we slid Norah through the 5 inch space between the bars, coached her to climb on the refrigerator to get the keys, and unlock her very first padlock! She called herself superhero the rest of the day.

Yep, she really did fit through that window!

Noelle wages a constant war against ants. Upon arrival, we were taught proper protocol for food and crumbs. Namely, food scraps go into a bag in the freezer to await trash day and NOT in the trash can. Crumbs must be immediately swept up. We had to stay one step ahead of those watchful creatures. Here is a picture of the one set of shelves that is ant-proof. See the bowls that the shelf legs sit in? Noelle carefully organizes the packed shelves a few times a day.

The lizards were less of a threat but we were instructed to close cereal bags tightly and check the toaster before using it. Noelle’s had a few reptilian surprises. The girls, however, loved seeing geckos run about the house. The doors and screens were kept closed because of mosquitos.

They have a washing machine. The laundry is hung on the balcony to dry. Sometimes the wind blows too strongly and the laundry flies away. Sometimes they never find their lost items. Of course, shoes are not worn inside Asian homes. As a result, my feet always felt dirty and I was constantly washing them. Random cuteness:

They have riverfront property. In their backyard, flows the Smelly River. Mmmm-hmmm. And we knew precisely which way the wind blew from the smell. The smelly river is coated with a film of some sort and the banks are littered with trash. Everywhere fires burned, smelling pretty toxic. I’m pretty sure some sort of large reptilian monster lives in it.

Noelle and I took the kids on an evening walk along the river armed with rocks to throw at aggressive dogs. We got caught in the dark and I admit the rustlings in the grass and the shadows of rats were creepy.

The Slagels have a part-time househelper who is precious. She has the kindest smile and softest voice. And she cuts their fruit and meats into to tiny bite-sized pieces. I loved that part! She helps Noelle with the market shopping, food prep, and cleaning. In Cambodia, it would be offensive for a westerner to live there without employing a local. I enjoyed listening to Noelle and her househelper speak Khmer. I was shocked that the househelper wore sweaters and socks in the heat. We visited during their cool season. “Cool season” even though we were baking. And swimming in pools. Noelle says that her househelper is often surprised at foreign practices like putting children to sleep in separate rooms from their parents.

A few doors down from their apartment is a “training center” that is well-known for the trafficking of young girls. This exact facility has even been featured by a prominent American news syndicate. It is pretty clear from the bold sign out front that they are all about overseas bond labor. The owner is well-connected to a government official. It was heart-breaking to watch from Noelle’s balcony as girls arrived or departed with suitcase in hand.

And to be blunt, prostitution is so very visual. Sure it isn’t called prostitution. It has milder names like massage parlour, beer garden, karaoke bar, nightclub. But the truth of it is that a foreigner can order a child be delivered to his hotel room like he might order a pizza. It isn’t even all that expensive. Also because of a belief that sex with a virgin has special healing powers, the younger the child, the better.

So yeah, it got to me. And I was only there a little while. I knew I was going home. Noelle and Zach live there. They are raising their son there. It is their home. They have already had confrontations. When Noelle lived there before, human trafficking recovery was all she did. She saw police raping victims brought into the jail, she saw children re-trafficked, and she saw infants. Infants.

How? How do you muster the joy? How do you not turn tail? The evil is so huge, the statistics are too big, the corruption is massive.

So lest I give the impression that they live it up with their househelper who cuts fruits in bite-size pieces and their two air-conditioned rooms, let me be clear: they are doing some serious superhero work.

And they cling to every grace. They fast regularly, triple-check their every move, and keep accountability strong within their team. They crave our prayers because they know –know with a capital KNOW–how essential prayer is to their daily functioning.

They know –know with a capital KNOW–when they are not covered by it.

Noelle and Zach are about being good neighbors–loving people and pointing out grace where they see it. They sacrifice so much to do this work. Family, paychecks, friends, holidays, health-care, native language, car, home equity, nest egg, central air, snow, critter-free homes, reliable mail delivery/trash pick-up, and so much more. Why would anyone choose to do this job?

Love. A big, authentic, deep-in-the-gut love.

So please remember the Slagels from time to time. And maybe say a few prayers for them.

Sharing life with the Slagels

This trip to Cambodia, we didn’t do any touristy things. I didn’t want to take the girls to the Killing Fields or Tuol Sleng. And I really didn’t fancy hopping another flight to visit Siem Reap and watch my littles climb all over crumbling temples. What I wanted to do was share day-to-day life with Noelle.  I have one or two more posts about these experiences and then I’ll be back to my usual blog chatter.

Century Plaza

There is a sprawling park/playground near the riverfront.  We went during the day to play.  There I learned Cambodia has real “playground police.”  We had a whistle blown at us multiple times for climbing on play equipment as adults — even to rescue Asher!

We went once at night for a picnic.  It was vibrant and so much fun!  There was a giant Zumba class at one end of the plaza.  At least 100 people dancing.  Exercise must be a government focus.  Along side-walks, it was not unusual to see exercise equipment free for use. 

A giant fountain was lit up and the water show was entertaining. 

But the real fun for our kids was spontaneous dancing.  A guy was doing karaoke on one side of the plaza.  We never did understand why.  Regardless, Norah, Cedar, and Asher danced for over an hour; weaving through the passing people.

At one point, the kids had a crowd of people gathered around them and a few other kids joined the fun.  You can’t see them well in this clip but you’ll get the idea. 

Russian Market

By far, my favorite part of Phnom Penh is the Russian Market.  Hot, crowded, dark, smelly, dirty.  Stalls packed tightly together.  Bodies squeezing past each other.  Haggling.  Lots of haggling.  Sounds like fun, yes?  Oh my.  The last time I went, I was newly pregnant and the fish stalls/heat/smells almost undid me.  But the fruit, oh the fruit!

Jewelry, scarves, fabric, household goods, fruit, chickens, fish, clothes, DVDs, shoes, bags.  None of it priced.  Here is how it goes:  I pause to admire a dress.  The seller (a girl of maybe 20 yrs) immediately “you like?”  “How much?” I ask.  “For you, special price.  7.00.”  At this point, I have a choice to move on or stay.  Let’s say I stay.  She draws me into her little stall and begins pulling out dresses from thin air and handing them to me.  “Oh you look pretty in this one.”  “you are so pretty.”  “this one for you.”  “I give you good price for this.”  “2 dress for 10.00.”  And at that point, this super saleswoman has done her work:  complimented me, made me feel I have to buy something since she unfolded so many items, and given me a bulk discount.  But there is still haggling to be done.  It really is fun because the prices are low anyway and the sellers are so sweet, smart, and sassy.  And if I didn’t like something or it didn’t fit, I could bring it back (no receipt!) for a refund.  Here is my dad buying a tool to fix something at Noelle’s apartment.  I don’t know how he found the right things!

Now Cedar hated the market.  Because everyone touched her.  Her hair, her cheeks, her body.  They wanted to pick her up.  They laughed when she screamed at them “Don’t touch me!”  And Norah hated the market because it was hot and everyone noticed Cedar. 

Emotions

One of the BEST parts of my trip was the last day.  I had a rough morning.  I got a facial at an NGO that employs women who have been pulled from the trafficking industry.  I cried a little knowing what this beautiful girl placing hot towels on my face had been through.  Norah was grumpy the whole time I was trying to relax.  We went downstairs for sweets and she threw a tantrum (!), kicked the plastic table with our coffee and smoothies.  I had to remove her and walk down a side-street until she calmed.  When I came back, Cedar had a tantrum and threw her large chocolate smoothie into the wall.  I cried.  So my parents took the girls and gave Noelle and I some time to shop.  But you know what we also did?  We sneaked in a quiet lunch at Cafe Yejj.  And I cried there, too.  Because I realized that emotional life in Cambodia is hard.  Evil is so visible there.  The heat is stifling.  Transportation is frustrating.  Communication is difficult even for someone who has learned Khmer.  Did I mention the evil so visible there?  And it brings out all your stuff.  All your issues bubble up and spill out.  My kids behaved very differently in Cambodia than in Thailand.  They were easily angered.  I was easily angered.  That is what I wanted — to share life with my sister.  I couldn’t understand this before.  She had tried to explain it to me.  Now I know, or at least I had a taste of it.  A bitter taste.  And I know precisely how to pray for Zach and her.   

The last quiet moment with Noelle before we left that night.  A sweet prayer, conversation, and tears shared over yummy food.

Hero Stories

I have a super duper brother-in-law, Zach.

Zach is married to my beloved and only sibling, Noelle.

Today (or tonight if you live in Cambodia) is Zach’s birthday! 

Zach is my polar opposite.  He has mad self-discipline skills.  And, as is typical of such folks, he is a runner.  He can also deny himself the yummiest foods on the planet.  Words that describe Zach:  integrity, devotion, passion, and father-of-my-nephew. 

He had a pretty sweet engineering career here in the US.  He left it all to travel to a place where it isn’t easy  is impossible to find fat-free cheese and where this intelligent man is reduced to toddler-speak communication.  A place where he depends 100% on the financial support of people with first-world problems like “the dominos pizza tracker app isn’t working so I don’t know when to get off the couch and put my pants on” or “my hand is too chubby to fit in the pringles can so I have to tilt it “(stole that from I don’t remember where). 

[insert:  if you want to support this amazing couple with a meager 25.00/month, email me!!]

Ok, so in honor of Zach’s birthday, a story of how we met. 

My sister returned to the states from Cambodia where she worked with children rescued from brothels. Total hero work.   Zach found her blog because he was passionate about ending sex trafficking [read:  he wanted to be a hero, too!].  Noelle had no contact info on her blog but mentioned she was enrolling in a master’s program in the states.  He googled until he found her email address at Wheaton.  Contacted her out of the blue.  They seemed eerily compatible.  Too compatible.  He must be a psychopath serial killer luring her into his clutches.

Or so, I thought.

So I did what older sisters are supposed to do.  I secretly asked my friend, Mr. Private Investigator, who happened to live in Zach’s alleged town, to follow him.  Mr. Private Investigator sent me a report.  Zach checked out.  Mr. Private Investigator had even followed him to his church.  Good thing.  I cancelled the call to Mrs. Hired Killer.  I’m just kidding.  I don’t know any hired killers.  And I’m a pacifist (except where my sister is concerned…).

I think this is the moment at their wedding rehearsal when I revealed my detective work and presented Zach with the background check!  Glad he was a good sport.

He assured himself a solid spot in the family when he got Noelle to my first birth.  When my water broke, I called Noelle who was in Chicago.  She got on a plane but it was grounded for snow in D.C.  Her new boyfriend, Zach, lived in D.C.  He left work, picked up Noelle, and drove her to SC where she arrived in time to read a verse of scripture to me right before Norah was born.  I met Zach and Norah on the same day.  It was a good day. 

As Zach protects his family against rabid dogs, language miscommunications, critters hiding in their home, pit vipers, and foods high in cholesterol please stop a moment and say a prayer for him.  If you are inclined, say many prayers for him.  I don’t think many of us can imagine the challenges he faces. 

Happy Birthday Zach!  I’ll see you soon!

The Dark Side of Chocolate

After a long night of trick-or-treating, I admit I love to scrounge through Norah’s treats for all the twix and baby ruths. Mmm.

But the reality is that most chocolate found at the grocery store has a dark side.

Yes, I did just rain on your Halloween parade.

This Monday, October 24, I’m hosting a free screening of “The Dark Side of Chocolate.”. This documentary explores the production of chocolate and it’s involvement in child trafficking.

Come join me if you’re interested in watching the film. 6pm at Natural Baby. Kids are welcome to join us. There are toys around the store to entertain them.

Last month, I was happy to hear that Mars (maker of my beloved twix) did agree to make one product Fair-trade certified. It will only be sold in the UK. Hershey continues to avoid any sort of fair-trade progress. So much for kisses.

That said, isn’t it weird to acknowledge your company is mostly unethical by agreeing fairly produce one product? How can you not go all or nothing on this one?

The trick-or-treaters who come to my house won’t get chocolate. But I compromised with Scott. They won’t get organic raisins and pretzels like last year.

Easter Traffic

Two of my old posts always get loads of traffic around Easter:

Natural dyes for eggs

and

Cadbury Eggs

Update:  it looks like Cadbury Eggs in the US are still slave-made.  What can we do??  Global Exchange has some great ideas including a printable coloring page for children to mail to Hershey.  I’m considering throwing together a screening of The Dark Side of Chocolate to share in my community before Easter.  We’ll see if I can pull that off.  What will YOU do?

The Fair Exchange

What:  A benefit for Noelle Slagel
When:  March 19, 9am-noon
Where:  Natural Baby, downtown Greenville
How:  Rent a space to sell your baby items or enter raffles to win wonderful gifts!
 
Join us as we say farewell to a local mama by raising awareness about human trafficking. Noelle Slagel will be returning to Cambodia on March 23rd with her husband and 6 month old son. Noelle will again be working with girls who have been rescued from brothels. Only this time, she’s a mama and needs to have a village of mamas supporting her.

We need your help to make this day a success!

We’re asking you to gather your gently used diapers, baby clothes, and gear to sell or swap. We’ll have a space for you to throw down a blanket and display your items. You keep your earnings and you’re responsible for all of your money and swaps. We suggest a 5.00 donation to “rent” your space.

We’ll also have raffle tickets for 1.00/ticket. Some of the raffles include a 1-hour massage by Blissful Massage, Henna Art by Katy, a free 3-d Ultrasound, and much more!

All proceeds from the day will go to Noelle. We’ll have info on how you can follow her journey and how you can get involved in local efforts to end human trafficking.

For parents who just want to come and shop for great deals, no need to rsvp. We’ll see you there!

If you’d like to reserve space to sell your stuff, please rsvp here or by emailing info (at) ilovenaturalbaby (dot) com.  We’ll send you more info as the date draws near. 

We’d like to make The Fair Exchange a semi-annual event to benefit other moms on a mission. But we will need your help!
 
 
 
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