Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Please, Niger Innis

I have gone back and forth about whether to believe the sexual harassment allegations about Herman Cain. Currently, I do tend to believe them, for a variety of reasons. But that's not really what I want to talk about right now.

Now that a woman has come out and said she and Cain had a 13-year affair, Cain is considering whether to continue his bid for presidency. Speculation is being passed around in the media like a joint. Is it true? Are any of the allegations true? What will he do? How will that impact the Republican race overall?

Reading about this, I ran across an ugly little piece of opinion in The Washington Post:

“What if it is true?” said Niger Innis, a civil rights activist who said he has advised Cain’s campaign, speaking of the alleged affair. “This isn’t sexual harassment. If Herman Cain needs to apologize to anybody, it’s his wife — not anybody else.”

So. As long as the other woman consented, it doesn't matter at all if Herman Cain strayed beyond the bounds of his marriage. As long as his sexual advances weren't rebuffed, it doesn't matter at all if Cain systematically deceived his wife, the person he is supposed to be closest to in the world, for over a decade. Niger Innis, I don't know if it's possible to say anything more stupid.

The brand of selfish dishonesty it takes to have a long-term affair is definitely not a characteristic that someone in any leadership position should have. Especially someone that wants to run our country. How could you trust anything he ever said if he was capable of lying day in and day out to his entire family? How could you think that he would act with integrity and selflessness as a leader when he's proven that his own jollies are more important to him than basic values or respect for his loved ones? 

I just find it disgusting that someone could so casually brush off the potential of Cain being a liar and an oath-breaker because he has "good ideas." Good ideas don't mean a whole lot if you don't have the strength of character to implement them. But I guess we have good ole Bill Clinton to thank for establishing the precedent that even if a man is a total rat to his wife, he's still "capable" of being a "good" president. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thank you, home I was born into

Over the weekend, I turned 25. Pretty cool! I wanted to write this entry on my birthday, but I was too busy having an awesome day with my sweet husband and sweet little Luke. But still, I have been thinking a lot about the home I was born into--literally, since I was born at home, and not in a hospital.

My very existence as the 5th child of a family (of 7 children total) defies a typical Western home. And there is so much more about my family, particularly my parents, that I am grateful for.

I was born into a home with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I was born into a home where my father faithfully and willingly served in the United States Army. His wisdom and leadership as a father are the prime reasons that I have such high standards for people in any leadership position, be it parents, politicians, teachers, church leaders, or anything else. Any time I write a blog entry about people in the public eye or in a position of power, my dad's influence shines through.

And I was born into a home where my mother believed that bearing, teaching, and raising her children was the most amazing, fulfilling, and meaningful thing she could do with her life. My word, I don't know that there is any way possible to describe how grateful I am for her investment in me as her child. She homeschooled me and all of my siblings. It is not easy to be at home with small children. Hours and days and months and years spent orchestrating the joyful chaos that is a family.

This article, published the day before my birthday, made me reflect a lot on my mother, and if I may generalize, countless other LDS mothers and women. Emily Matchar (the author) mentions several times how her mother was absolutely not interested in domestic endeavors, and how she has had to delve into domesticity via books and blogs. I do not believe I have an overabundance of domestic hobbies--I can't even sew. But my mother is an excellent seamstress, and I know that should I desire to sew, I can go to her. My mom has taught me numerous other physical skills that are part of a home. Those are important, to be sure, but most of all, she taught me that being home with your children is fabulously worthwhile, for you and for them. It isn't a sacrifice, because you're not giving anything up. You're gaining the most intensive quality time you could ever have with your family and yourself.

Women have the potential to do anything, and I am so excited for my female friends who are becoming teachers, lawyers, doctors, and more. To me, women's liberation and feminism means that women have options, all the options in the world--whereas historically and in some parts of the world today, they couldn't even attend school. Personally, I have always wanted to be a writer, and since I was young it has been my plan to homeschool my children and author books, and so that is the option I chose. Was this choice impacted by the home I grew up in, and the example of a mother I had? Absolutely. Other women choose different life paths for all the reasons under the sun. And I really hope that the more women there are in the workplace, the more flexible various careers will become to accommodating family time.

As it is, women have had to enter a work structure based on men and what they are biologically capable of--not bearing children, and leaving their children for long periods of time even when they're young. You could say formula and daycare have given women those same capabilities, but both of those things are far from ideal for mothers and children. And I maintain that if formula had never been invented, women's lib and equal opportunity battles would have included breastfeeding from the get-go, instead of women now getting to pump in dank utility closets if they're lucky.  Adjustments to the workplace have been painfully slow in America. Though corporate Facebook's 4-month maternity/paternity leave and nursing rooms are amazing and impressive here in the US, Scandinavia is still far more practical for mothers and fathers alike.

In her article, Ms. Matchar speculates whether the growing return to domesticity will end up cycling back, and whether her grand-daughter will end up feeling trapped, resentful, and obligated--like many women felt in the 19th and 20th centuries. But I don't think that will happen. I really believe that the internet is going to continue transforming the meaning of work and workplace, and  that flexibility for men and women to be at home with their families will only grow. The women who are currently re-learning the value of do-it-yourself already have vast amounts of opportunity and freedom compared to their predecessors, and the daughters of today's knitters and beekeepers will have even more options. That will be the true women's lib--when the things that women have done for centuries, by biology and by tradition, are truly respected by everyone, but when it is just as normal for a woman to be a Mayo Clinic doctor or a CEO or the President of the United States of America.

For my part, I am grateful that in my home, there was never any question of the value or capacity of a woman, whether she's changing diapers or changing laws.

Thank you, Emma Sullivan

I absolutely love the way social media democratizes fame.

Does an 18-year-old girl high school senior from Kansas deserve 9,000 followers on Twitter? Maybe, maybe not. But apparently 9,000 people want to follow Emma Sullivan after her rad refusal to apologize for a governor-bashing tweet.

Seriously, what a cool girl. Way to stick to your guns! I love how her family supports her as well. I would not be happy if somebody told me I had to apologize to Rick Perry for saying he's a rat, or Sarah Palin because I readily say she's an embarrassment to women. And though I don't know much about the the governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback, I will say that any governor who decides to veto the entire budget for a state arts commission definitely sucks. So yeah, Emma was spot on.

At least the governor had the wisdom to say his staff was out of line. But sadly for him, after one weekend Miss Sullivan still has more Twitter followers than he does after being governor for 11 months. Booya!

(And what I'm really interested to see is, what will Emma do with 9,000 followers? How will this change the way she tweets? Will her following grow? Will she get more involved in politics because of this? Or will it all eventually peter out? Fascinating stuff.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thank you, Alexander Tsiaras

With the personhood movement in Mississippi aiming to say human life begins at the moment of fertilization, I have been thinking off and on about this topic--in the long period of growth in the womb, when does a spirit enter a human body?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have an official stance on this. In other words, we believe that God has not yet revealed that information to a prophet at this point in time. So, using knowledge that has been revealed about the journey of spirits, I feel it acceptable to speculate. I think a lot of LDS people speculate on spiritual mysteries, and I feel that pondering and trying to come to your own personal resolution is great--as long as you keep it foremost in your mind that your thoughts are not official church doctrine, and could very likely be not quite right. Throughout this entry, please keep in mind that I do not promote these thoughts of mine as truth, but as possibilities.

Previously, when I've thought about a spirit entering a human body, I've thought of it as a single moment. Does it happen at fertilization? At implantation? When the first neurons develop? When the heart starts beating? At birth? There are so many possibilities, and people believe different things all over the world.

Even before I went through pregnancy and felt the immense spiritual impact of another life growing inside me, I felt like...doesn't the spirit have to enter the body early on? It just makes sense.

But then...what about miscarriage? What about the millions of fertilized eggs that never get implanted? What about stillborn babies? Why would a spirit enter a body only to be ejected when the pregnancy doesn't work out, or never even really begins? Why would God organize it that way? Not satisfying.

It seems like the spirit must enter at some monumental point. But other than moments like fertilization, conception, and birth, any other potential times for spiritual engagement seem kind of arbitrary. Not satisfying.

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we believe that before life on earth, all spirits dwell with our Heavenly Father and that spirits continue after this life, eventually being embodied again. Coming to earth and receiving a body is critically important to our eternal development--we believe physical bodies are divine, not corrupt, (though are earthly bodies are imperfect), and we do believe that God has a body.

So when is this moment? When do spirits first unite with their physical form?

It occurred to me recently that maybe, just maybe, it's not a moment. Maybe it's more fluid than that.

We're all familiar with near-death experiences--stories where people seem to partially cross into the afterlife in a spiritual way. Maybe their heart has even stopped, and they were technically dead, and had to be revived. There seems to be some flexibility of spirit at these times; like a spirit almost passed entirely into a different realm, but ended up staying where it was, perhaps even inhabiting both the mortal and post-mortal spheres for a time.

Perhaps there is that same fluidity between the pre-mortal and mortal realms. Maybe at the moment of fertilization or implantation, a small portion of spirit enters the cells. Maybe as the body develops more in complexity, more of the spirit gradually inhabits the physical self, until eventually, perhaps at birth, the spirit has fully entered the body.

When an early miscarriage happens, or when a fertilized egg doesn't implant, or a baby doesn't develop correctly and doesn't live to be born, perhaps it's similar to a near-death experience, but it's a near-birth experience. People cross partially into this life in a spiritual way. Maybe their body had started to develop, maybe they were technically alive. There's flexibility; a spirit almost passed entirely into a different realm, but ended up staying where it was, perhaps even inhabiting both the mortal and pre-mortal spheres for a time.

This entry is titled for the man giving this beautiful TED talk. After thinking about these things for the past few weeks, I loved watching this video, and I will probably watch it again and again. I loved the reverence with which Alexander spoke of the development of a baby; it really touched me. I am so grateful for the work he and others have done to give us this knowledge about life in the womb. The visualization spoke to me; it resonated with the idea of a baby's spirit and body developing on the earth together. This idea makes sense to me because I feel intuitively that no human body is without spirit at any given time--but I also don't feel that a fertilized egg is sufficient to house the full spiritual intelligence of a child of God.

These ideas again are, just speculation. Maybe sometime a prophet will indeed receive revelation about the details of spirits coming to earth--how beautiful and exciting would that be, to know for certain? For now, this is probably the way I will conceptualize the sweet spirits of babies coming into this world.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thank you, Emma

This is a continuation of my thoughts on co-sleeping from my previous entry. I was going to leave it where it was, but a friend of mine engaged me in a quality conversation via Facebook message. I'd like to share portions of the conversation we had, because when topics are so sensitive, it's hard to really "talk" to people, especially online. I am really grateful to Emma Wirkus for sharing her thoughts and experiences.

Emma: I totally don't want to be difficult or play devil's advocate or anything. I work in a pediatric office and I see a lot of moms and babies and talk to a lot of doctors. We have ten pediatricians in our office and you really get a wide variety of opinions from them on how to raise your kids. Anyway, your post just struck a chord with me because we had one of our families that we just love call us the other day to cancel their baby's two week appointment because the mom accidentally suffocated him while they were co-sleeping. She wasn't drunk or heavily medicated--just exhausted from lack of sleep from a new baby. She was just devastated and it made me so sad. I do think co-sleeping is a really lovely thing... but maybe not worth the risk? I'm really not trying to pick a fight or anything, I just am really interested in what people think about these types of things. I know that at least most of our doctors do not recommend co-sleeping because they've seen too many incidents like this. They really love their patients a lot and just want the best for them. A lot of times it feels like everyone there is just one big family. Anyway, I'd love to hear more on what you think about all this.

Linda: thank you so much for what you shared with me. i have to say, i really appreciate how kind and conversational your tone is. i know i write about things really strongly on my blog, and i'm grateful that you still addressed me as me--someone you know. sometimes when people are replying, they address the ideas they feel strongly about instead of the person writing the blog, and that can be difficult. i have no idea if that made any sense, but the point is, even though i blog like "ARRRGH I'M MAD" i still really want to have quality conversations about these topics. so thank you for starting one.

i'm so sorry for the mama who lost her baby. i cannot imagine the pain of losing a child, i truly cannot. in terms of "is co-sleeping worth the risk?" i believe that all baby sleeping situations pose risk. you could say that by not co-sleeping, you eliminate the risk of suffocation, and so why not get rid of a risk you can control? but what if when a baby is sleeping alone, they don't regulate their breathing correctly and that causes them to die? you could say that by co-sleeping, you eliminate that risk. so many studies have found that SIDS is lowest in countries where co-sleeping is the norm. 

i feel like this is a similar issue to home birth. people who are anti-home birth think "that's an unnecessary risk--what if your baby dies and the hospital could have saved it?" but they seem to forget that hospitals are not perfect. babies die in hospitals too. and so then if your baby dies because of a hospital danger you could say "what if i had a home birth? would my baby have lived if they hadn't been exposed to that risk in the hospital?" home birth is neither unsafe nor safe--there are risks you have to weigh, knowing your own situation. the hospital is neither unsafe nor safe--there are risks you have to weigh. 

while yes, sometimes there are genuine co-sleeping accidents (not false ones induced by drugs or alcohol) that cause the death of a baby, babies die in cribs too--in some studies, significantly more than they do while co-sleeping. a baby sleeping alone in a crib poses some dangers, and co-sleeping poses some dangers. my biggest thing is that mothers need to know the truth about their options, and not just be scared to death of one option (co-sleeping) and be convinced that the other option is 100% safe, because it isn't. if mothers know the truth, then they can take every necessary precaution. and whatever a mother's choice, if a tragic accident occurs, she must know it is just that--an accident. if a mother has done everything she can to protect and care for her child, then neither she nor anyone else should blame her for a tragic accident.
co-sleeping mothers and home birth mothers who suffer tragedy are often the recipient of cruel comments--people easily sling out "well it's your fault." but if a baby dies following AAP standards or in a hospital, then no one ever blames the mother. and conveniently, no one tends to blame the doctors, either, since people usually think doctors must know what they're talking about.

but sometimes they don't. sometimes there are other forces at work. as i mentioned in the blog, sometimes i do think about the financial side of this--co-sleeping doesn't make money for anyone, and so there's no one to finance a truth campaign about co-sleeping to help mothers do it as safely and successfully as possible. however, crib manufacturers directly benefit from people being terrified to sleep with their children. the same is true with home birth--midwives don't have the money or political clout to make people aware about home birth, but doctors have the money, power, and the incentive to convince women that ONLY the hospital is a safe place to have a baby.

Emma: Linda, I just love you. That response was perfect. I have to admit, I grew up in a physician, hospital loving family. My dad is actually a pediatrician and so I grew up loving and trusting the institution. I know everything he does for his patients is out of love and concern for their well being. But on the other hand, I studied nutrition at BYU and now I'm in a public health program at the University of Utah and I am finding a love for the other side too.  Although I love and trust the science, there's a lot to say in that some other countries that have much less sophisticated systems also have lower infant mortality rates. I think there isn't one right way to do things... I just want to make sure that when I have kids, I can make informed decisions, like you said. I want to know what really is a risk and what will benefit my baby the most. And I want to make the decision knowing my options. So I really appreciate what you said about co-sleeping- there was a lot there I didn't know! It's great to hear both sides.

I have truly never heard of a mother doing her best to co-sleep safely who suffered such a terrible loss. Again, I am so sorry for what happened. I am grateful that Emma was willing to share that with me, because when you are making a choice as a mother, it's important to know all potential risks. But as I said, risks are everywhere, and you have to choose what risks to take. 

In Emma's final message, I appreciate how she talks about her background and education. Her different perspectives are really interesting, and it's so cool how she is taking the best from a variety of life experiences and educational opportunities. What she said made me think about the background I come from. In my family, I feel like there's kind of a duality. On the one hand, my mom instilled in us a great admiration for the potential good that modern medicine can do. My oldest sister had cancer when she was young, (late elementary school to middle school) and we would have lost her if it weren't for medical advances. On the other hand, my mom gave us an active wariness about the institution of medicine and the people who practice it. When my sister had cancer, my mom was told by three different doctors to ignore the walnut-sized lump on her neck. If my mom was a more timid or doctor-trusting person, she might have done just that. And my sister's cancer might have advanced too far to successfully treat. 

(And side note: this is just an illustration. I could tell you many frustrating stories about my mother's experiences with doctors over the lives of her 7 children). 

So, I guess that's where I'm coming from when I tend to see many doctors as "the man." I don't hate doctors; I highly value a quality doctor who has respect for his/her patients. One day, I will write about my pediatrician from Utah, Dr. Robinson, because I have so many reasons to be grateful to that man. I just don't think doctors are infallible, and I am very aware of the bureaucracy that twists medicine in America. 

Emma, you have raised my awareness and made me think, all while exhibiting gentleness and love unfeigned. You are a true friend! 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Please, anti-history doctors

I am really tired of doctors fear-mongering and promoting the idea that before modern times, every mother and baby was just dying left and right. It's not true.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists condemns homebirth as completely dangerous.
The American Academy of Pediatrics basically tells mothers that they'll kill their babies if they co-sleep.

I'll have to save ACOG's treatment of homebirth for another time. For now, let's tackle this ad campaign by the city of Milwaukee.

The AAP's current "safe sleep" standard is that a baby has to be absolutely isolated in their own crib or bassinet--no blankets. And absolutely no co-sleeping.

And yet, the AAP and the city of MIlwaukee say that breastfeeding is great! It's the the best way to feed your baby! They say they're doing everything possible to help women breastfeed, that they are top advocates of breastfeeding.

It is so ridiculously illogical to say you promote breastfeeding and then in the same breath say you'll kill your baby if you co-sleep. Show me a woman who successfully breastfeeds (I'm talking exclusively for 6 months, continuing way over a year) without ever co-sleeping. Maybe they exist, if they have some kind of miraculous milk supply. But if they do exist, I bet they don't get much sleep at night. Or maybe they forced their babies to cry it out. Maybe they feed their baby tons of solids at an early age before their little systems are really ready.

Babies are meant to be by their mothers nursing at night. Human evolution has driven women to produce the most milk at night--that's when babies get a lot of their nutrition. Breastmilk digests fast and babies need more at night, especially 6 months and under. For all of human history, babies have been safely sleeping with their mothers.

Does this matter to the AAP? No. Do the studies validating the safety of sleep sharing matter? No. So what matters to them if neither mothers' instincts nor scientific proof does?

I really don't know. I think their stance on co-sleeping is completely insane and baffling. Co-sleeping is not only safe, it is good for babies.

Why can't the AAP and other health officials talk about how to co-sleep safely? All of the stories about co-sleeping deaths in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Empty Cradles series (about the tragic infant mortality in the city) include the fact that whoever was sleeping with the baby had been drinking or was on regular heavy medications. The one exception to that was a baby who had been left alone on an adult bed. So why in these cases is co-sleeping given as the cause of the baby's death? Why is the city of Milwaukee pushing these horrible, violent anti-co-sleeping ads instead of talking about the dangers of alcohol?

Or trying to reduce the number of pre-mature births, or the number of pregnant women using drugs, or the number of obese pregnant women? These all contribute to way more of the infant deaths in Milwaukee.

I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere, crib manufacturers are quietly slipping money to "experts" who make these crazy, counter-intuitive and counter-science sleep rules.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Please, fans of Bishop Kloosterman

A lot of my friends have been linking on Facebook to Bishop Kloosterman's address at the recent Circling the Wagons conference.

I too am concerned about the welfare of homosexual members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being in Utah really forced me to clarify my thoughts on these matters. However, that has nothing to do with why I'm writing.

I know God is a god of order. This is reflected in the organization and strict hierarchy of his church on the earth. This organization is really, really important. If you are a father or mother, you receive revelation for your whole family. If you are a zone leader in a mission, you can receive revelation for your zone. If you are a bishop, you receive revelation for your congregation, of course within the standards set by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who have the authority from God to lead this church. As a bishop, you can call your congregation to repentance. You cannot receive revelation for the whole church, you cannot speak for/to the whole church, and you shouldn't make public, official-seeming statements about the church as a whole.

It is the responsibility of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to determine if something going on in the membership of the church is "an atrocity." It is their responsibility to call the membership of the church to repentance. It is their responsibility to encourage the membership to be compassionate and patient and help others in their repentance process.

I have felt really uncomfortable because it seems like people are treating this address of Bishop Kloosterman's like it comes from General Conference (where official church business/statements occur), not from a conference organized unofficially by church members. I feel uncomfortable with my LDS friends treating this man like a general authority, and I feel uncomfortable that so many non-LDS people will watch this video and think that he speaks for the church as a whole. They may even confuse the "mormonstories" Youtube channel with the "MormonMessages" channel that actually carries official church videos. Even though Bishop Kloosterman says at the beginning that he's speaking for himself and he can't speak for the church, he still delivers his address like a church talk and like he has authority to be making judgments and giving admonition to the general membership.

I'm not saying Bishop Kloosterman's concern is without reason, and I admire his compassion. But when you as a bishop start telling the church as a whole in a public setting that they need to repent, you have crossed the line into priestcraft.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thank you, Jon 2012 Girls

What do you do when a political rival makes a mysterious, "edgy" campaign ad that gets a ton of press?

You make it look as ridiculous as it really is.

Thank you, Jon 2012 Girls, for bringing some tangy Mormon spoof humor into the crazy Republican race. You really made me laugh.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Please, baseless child takers

Nothing in this world fills me with more horror and rage than hearing about a child being taken from good parents because of a misunderstanding or a petty disagreement with someone in authority. When I hear stories with an outcome like that, I feel like I will literally suffocate with anger.

Yes, there are dangerous parents in the world and some organization needs to exist to care for children who have dangerous homes. But sometimes, social services has too much authority. Sometimes, they can take a child without any real justification.

Your child might be taken...

because you co-sleep and breastfeed on demand.

because you don't comply with hospital staff while in labor and refuse an unecessary c-section.

because you're "suspected" to possess illegal drugs (but never charged or even contacted by police)--but really because you're a Native American and the placement of your child in foster care makes big money for the state.

because you accidentally forget to ring up the wrapper of a chicken sandwich you ate while grocery shopping because you're 30 weeks pregnant and very hungry.

Reading any of these stories is enough to make me go rigid with compassionate anxiety, and then subsequently break down into heaving sobs. Purely as a biologist, I despise occurrences like this because when you are a caring parent, handing your child over to strangers goes against every evolutionary instinct. And because we're human and we're supposed to be "civilized," you can't even fight them or manifest your panic and pain because anything you do to protest just gives them more power, more things to hold against you and more "reason" to take your child.

Anyone who is capable of taking a child from parents who have done absolutely nothing abusive or wrong is a monster.

And let's not forget: a huge reason these stories are so upsetting to me is that with the exception of being (baselessly!) accused of drug possession, I have or would do everything that those mothers have done. I can see myself so clearly in their places. It's only a trick of chance that I am not the one weeping through the night for my stolen child.

Personally, I have had one semi-brush with social services. I won't tell the whole story right now, but when I was learning to breastfeed, things were really hard. I had to try a lot of different things to make it work and to help Luke gain weight. I ended up block nursing, which was perfect and amazing. While I was getting things figured out, I had a really insulting and maddening encounter with a WIC lactation consultant. She did not know anything about me or my baby or my mothering or my breastfeeding habits, she knew nothing except that Luke hadn't really been gaining well for a couple weeks. And she also knew that I called her out when she was rude and insensitive to me. She didn't like being called out. And because she had the power to, she contacted my pediatrician and threatened to call social services on me. She literally knew nothing about me. I don't even know what she would have said to social services--probably some made-up garbage about me neglecting my baby and refusing help.

If I had a different pediatrician, one who was more about the "system" and less about trusting parents and their instincts, I am positive that Ms. WIC would have gotten her way. And who knows what could have happened? Maybe I would still be trying to heal from a cruel seizure of my child, instead of still trying to heal from the thoughtless things she said to me and her self-indulgent threats.

Even the vague possibility of social services trying to take my child fills me with violence. I have literally no idea what I would do if I had to confront an actual official trying to strap my child into a car-seat stained with the horror of hundreds of families.

The long and short of it: I don't think these stories should be possible. I think social services should have to prove that there is an active danger to a child before removing them.

I don't think parents having to go to a police station and pay a paltry bail for "shop-lifting" is reason to take a child for 18 hours overnight. I don't think some uneducated home worker's opinion on breastfeeding should justify three weeks of trauma. I don't think an unsubstantiated drug accusation is enough reason to steal children for 2 1/2 years. And I certainly don't think refusing a c-section should enable self-righteous doctors to destroy your family.

Social services--please make some provision for compassion.