Sunday, July 26, 2009

I brought my baby

Steph over at adventures in babywearing, has posted about taking her child with her to blogher. I guess she has gotten some flack about it, and this pisses me off.

I am a child IN society advocate, and from the moment Keya was born, have taken her everywhere I have gone. I've gone to meetings with her, she has traveled to my presentations and readings with me, and will continue to do so. She is my daughter, and I am her mother, granted she is nursing, but even if she weren't, she would be with me. I did not bear a child to put her in daycare. That being said, I do have someone travel with me who cares for her when she can't be in my arms or on me.
I have gotten a few looks and in one instance, a few nasty comments when I brought her to one of my readings and then had to tend to her, after my reading was finished. Now when I say tend to her, I mean, I walked over to hubby who was holding her, took her into my arms and then went on answering questions. I got very ugly comments on the comment form. They said I shouldn't have brought my child to "work". If they had left their names on those comment forms, I'd have called them out by name to say this.

I CHOOSE to take my child everywhere, to have it written into my contracts that she travel with me. I am blessed in the sense that I have the kind of job that allows such things. I am blessed in the sense that I don't have to be a full time dull job working mom. I'm blessed in the sense that I love my job, I can make money at doing my art. I'm blessed that the rest of the time, I get to be a SAHM. Now, even if that weren't the case, I still would not work a full time job. I'm going to stop right here on this path, because it's going in a different direction of my main point.

In my culture, the concept of other caring for your child while you went off to do whatever, didn't exist. We had the extended family unit in place. But, that all fell to pieces, in such a way that is much too long to go into right now. Enter acculturation, (which encompasses NUMEROUS things)

As a result, Lakota babies/children are put in daycare just like every other wasicu baby. Oh yey, look at us blend in. Now, there are many reasons for this, which I should address in another post, but one of the main reasons is because a winyan (woman) is the major breadwinner of the family. However, traditionally, the children wouldn't be in said daycare because they'd be home with a grandparent, or an auntie, or both. Or they'd be WITH the Ina (mother) wherever she might be.
Sadly, that is not the case, as our society is dominated by wasicu ideas of what is "right" and "wrong" and all too many of them who make the rules come from a child is seen and not heard society/background. And that is never challenged.
But it should be.

For the utmost health of the child, Mothers should wear children, mothers should take their children wherever they go; if they are so inclined. If children are brought to the various activities, meetings, etc, then they learn the appropriate behaviors for the varying situations. If they are shoved into daycare, (and I say shoved into as if they are being put in a closet, or a box; because that is what I feel daycare is.) and only "brought out" in "child appropriate" situations, they will only know how to behave in a limited sense.
Now, for those crabby people who are not "child friendly" that is their problem. And to whom I say, the US population didn't hit 305 million on it's own. You are bound to run into a child or two.
The exclusion of children is discrimination, and no less detrimental than any other form of discrimination. Unfortunately, for most it's a shade of gray, so it is allowed more. (You want to argue that point? I suggest you go look up the definition of discrimination. )

For every different woman or man, each will have different takes on what is right, wrong or other on how to raise children. I'm not arguing that, or begrudging it. But for the ultimate health of our societies, and continuation of our cultures to be at their best, we must remember the important roles and balance children play in them. Now don't get me wrong, while I'm all for children being taken everywhere, understand that I mean everywhere that is appropriate. Obviously, if you think your child/baby should be allowed in bars, you have bigger problems that what I can assist with. Again, it's all about balance, and need I say, common sense.

A while back, I posted the Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children Essential truths.
Let me re post a few vital ones here, as a reminder:

#4: Breastfeeding, skin-to-skin contact, and being carried on the body, in arms, slings, etc. are critical (did you get that, CRITICAL) for brain, nervous system, and immune system development and promote long term health benefits for BOTH baby and mother.

Oh, and a very important one....

#15. Families benefit from a supportive, nurturing community that values the art and science of parenting.

So, my point in all this is, quit crapping your pants the next time a mother and her baby show up somewhere that YOU don't feel is appropriate. Because, weather you feel it appropriate or not, doesn't matter, what matters is if it feels right and good to the mother, and is right, good and appropriate for said pair.

And if you see me and baby out and about, deal with it, because I brought my baby to life.

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