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Archive for July, 2012

Caring for a new baby by Jacqueline Bacino

A friend is a single mother of a new baby, struggling with the crying. I asked Jacqueline Bacino to give suggestions:

Being a single parent is difficult.  The first 4-5 months of an infants life is very similar to still being in the womb because they sleep, eat, and lay a lot. Still, don’t underestimate the power of song, language and communication to them, teaching them that their needs are important and will be met by a loving caregiver.

There are at least 5 things single mothers must do to take care of themselves and therefore the baby.

1. Read your baby’s cues to avoid stress. A 3 week old infant is still too immature to calm themselves and communicate their needs on their own, so try to be prepared so you baby is not waiting too long for a bottle, getting over tired, needing a diaper, etc. Infant crying makes an adults blood pressure rise, stressing you and your infant even more. Try to stay calm and build an understanding of what they need and how it sounds when they cry for it. Your infant needs to stay as stress free as possible to grow, and you too in order to adapt to their needs. Optimal stress for an infant is not too much crying, but just a little. If your infant persists and cries more than 4 hours a day, consult a doctor because there is a chance your infant has ‘Colic’ and more steps to promote calm caregiving can be provided.

2. Promote plenty of rest for you and the baby. The rule of thumb for baby’s is they really are overtired most of the time, so every 90 minutes after they wake up they should probably go back to sleep. If you can set a sleep schedule for them then you’ll be able to rest when they rest or take care of much needed chores and personal time. There are many resources at local libraries that can help you learn about the 90-minute sleep schedule technique.

3. Try swaddling and “The Happiest Baby” technique as suggested by Dr. Harvey Karp. A swaddle promotes a calming device within the baby so they sleep longer and feel more secure in the world. A video of such can be found on You Tube searches. Make sure you ask your doctor about swaddling or ask a local mother friend or someone experienced to show you the technique.
4. Build a relationship with your infant based on their temperament.You can’t expect your infant to change, but you can promote a relationship by understanding them. Infants need security to thrive in the world so your relationship with them will be the first steps to building social relationships for life.

5. Ask for help. If you have a community, church, child care center, friendship network, etc., ask for what you need and let others help you. Single parents deserve 10 times as much praise as two-parent households, and they are challenged for support in our independent culture. 

Ask Dr. Gayle Kimball Q&A Column. Have a question?

Have a question about a quality of life issue?


Lotus Guide Column for July 2012


Q: I just got dumped by a guy I was madly in love with who had been affectionate and warm. I thought I was going to marry him. He got drunk, hit me for the first time, and has refused to talk about so I can have closure. How can I cope with such a shock?

A: Keep in mind that we have multiple subconscious personalities. One part of him did love you, but his feelings for you triggered other parts that he couldn’t handle. Psychoanalyst Carl Jung explained that when we repress unconscious feelings without making them conscious and understanding them, they project on others like a movie on a screen. It feels to me like he has controlling women in his family and his defensiveness made it impossible to open up to another strong (although not controlling) woman. Your only fault was scaring him with his intense feelings for you. It seems he’s afraid of being emasculated and one way for him to stay safe is to stay detached.

Treat the end of the affair as you would a death. Allow yourself to acknowledge the stages of grieving—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You might want to have a ritual funeral with a friend to support you, something as simple as throwing rocks into water to release fear of being alone, anger at being dumped, confusion, and feeling ungrounded about the abrupt ending. Eventually you’ll feel grateful that his “lava” erupted before marriage and children. Write in your journal about patterns in your romantic relationships and what you learned from this one, such as the need to look deeper beneath a surface of charm and warmth. This experience clarifies what you’re looking for in a partner so you will not be fooled by appearances.


Q; I’m really messed up on the guy I’ve been seeing. We were talking for a few hours a day and it became apparent that he wasn’t going to give me the monogamy I was searching for. Time is helping the connection fade, but I really like him. Why is this so dramatic? Is he acting when he tells me he loves me?

A: See the answer above about sub-personalities. It’s so dramatic because it’s off and on, and uncertain, which creates anxiety and intensity. That can be confused with love when it’s just uncertainty. The core issue is to figure out why you’re attracted to unavailable men. Imagine living with a good guy and be very aware of any fears that come up, such as I’d lose my freedom, I’d end up like my parents, or I’d be bored. Your choices reveal that the problem is not the guys but who you find attractive.


Q: I’m a man in a happy relationship in Oregon but am dismayed that lately I’ve had performance problems in the bedroom. What’s up—or not?

A: Classic sex therapists Masters and Johnson found the main barrier to satisfying intimacy is going into observer mode, thinking, “How am I doing?” The main sex organ is the brain, so engage it by fanaticizing. For example, think about a movie star you’d most like to make love with as if you are with two women in one. Also consider what men’s liberationist Herb Goldberg pointed out in his classic book The Hazards of Being Male: In his chapter on “The Wisdom of the Penis” he asks that men consider the emotional context of their sexuality rather than thinking of the penis as a separate performance machine.


Q: I get disgusted with myself when I revert to overeating or the habit of smoking before I go to bed. How can I feel better about myself?

A: I am a big believer in substituting rather than just saying no. Repressing a desire amplifies it over time. If a child is playing with something unsafe, we give her something else to do rather than just taking the toy away. If you want to relax and feel full, drink herb tea with a drop of stevia and some coconut milk. Exercise. If you need to chew out anxiety, make popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast or eat an apple with cheese slices, or celery and almond butter. Talk with a therapist about cleaning out the underlying anxiety.


Q: I met a guy online who says he only stays with his wife because she’s ill, that he plans to get a divorce. His site also indicates he’s bisexual. I know these are warning signs but he’s a fabulous lover and I like him. What should I do?

A: Be logical. Do not get involved with a married man with a poor me story. There are good single men out there. If you were his wife how would you feel? Do you really want to be get enmeshed in a lie? Better get tested for STDs. No good can come out of this.


Q. I’m having a business dispute with a person with a Ph.D. and therapeutic background who is aggressive, paranoid, and rude, threatened legal action from the onset, and says I’m not taking him seriously. How can I handle this and why is a smart person acting so irrationally?

A: Don’t descend to his level of discord; model the kind of behavior you expect in a professional setting. Using Non-Violent Communication’s suggestion to identify underlying need, it looks like he told you he needs to feel respected and have control. Whenever possible, tell him you respect him for…the clarity of his demands? Honesty? Also, tell him you expect collegiality and civility, a polite way of pointing out his errors without using the blaming word “you.” Can you find an area of agreement? Benjamin Franklin suggested this as a tactic when in conflict with a difficult person. Daniel Goleman developed the notion of Emotional Intelligence, explaining in his book that non-cognitive skills are as important as I.Q.—although he may be smart, your colleague is lacking in the former. When dealing with an irrational bully, it helps to have an ally; you may need to consult an attorney since reason probably won’t get him to back off.


Q: I have a critical judgmental sibling who is coming to visit me. How can I shut him up gracefully?

A: Use an assertiveness technique and simply repeat a phase like, “Your visit is about having fun. Let’s stick to what’s enjoyable for both of us.”


Q:  I have a major life decision to make and flip from one possibility to another. How can I decide?

A:  Take your time; wait for certainty. Start with the logical approach and list the pros and cons of each option. To tap into your intuition, ask a clear question before you go to sleep and write down your dreams. Interview people who might have useful information to help make a wise decision but know that the final decision is an internal process.


Q: I’m a medical professional who would like to include more holistic health practices. What resources do you suggest?

A: Dr. Andrew Weil provides books, a website, and holistic training for medical professionals at the University of Arizona. Check his website fwww.drweil.com for specific health problems and his remedies. Include Dr. James Balsch’s books in your library, some co-authored with a naturopath or a dietician. The People’s Pharmacy radio show and website also has current information. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com.


Q: I can’t get going on a job search. How can I make myself get down to business?
A: Plan to spend 30 minutes a day or more on the Internet on sites like Monster. Use behavior modification; give yourself a simple reward when you follow through, like taking a short walk. Have a friend you can call to report on your progress. Approach the voices of procrastination like a chess game; what tricky moves do they come up such as, ”I must clean my room,” or “I need to take this phone call?” Laugh at them and start the job search.


Q: I’d like to make money with a clear conscience to know I’m not support tobacco and oil companies, sweat shop labor, etc. How can I do this?

A: Check out http://www.socialfunds.com. /It also offers a free guide to investing in socially responsible mutual funds.


Q: I’m a new mother. My mother-in-law tries to be helpful but she does it in a critical way. It bothers me and I don’t know how to handle it.

A: Try turning everything into a positive, as in “Thanks for your concern/suggestion/observation.” You don’t have to defend yourself or say anything more than that. You can also limit conversations, saying something like  “The baby needs my attention now.”







How to Stay Current with Occupy Movements

www.occupytogether.org, OccupiedStories.com, Occupy.com,  OccupyWallSt.org




Truthdig.com MoveOn.org http://pol.moveon.org/keepmeposted/

NationofChange info@nationofchange.org

A Critique of Indian Feminism by Rita Banerji

A “gender activist,” Rita Banerji, believes despite the activity of thousands of women’s organizations in India,[i]

The women’s movement today in India unfortunately is like an ingrown toenail. It is going in the wrong direction. For example, there are women arguing that sati [when a widow joins her husband on his burning funeral pyre] is not murder but cultural and religious way of women committing suicide, so we shouldn’t defame it; or that we should continue to allow Muslim men to legally have four wives. It is hurting itself. So mothers-in-law murder daughters-in-law; women strangle their own baby girls. When a group of women at a pub last year were molested and beaten up for “violating Indian tradition” the NCW (the National Commission on Women), the highest office protecting women’s rights, said the women had asked for it because they were drinking and inappropriately dressed.

The Feminist movement believed that a woman’s body and being is her personal domain. Freedom within and freedom without. But in India the women’s movement sees women just as suppressed citizens that have to be given rights. Do you see the difference? The only feminist movement we had has now died out completely. The women who started it were getting death threats and they just shut everything down. I wrote about it online.[ii]


Ms. Banerji maintains that what she refers to as gender-based genocide in India is the most massive in history and the violence is increasing. Young married women and baby girls are killed every few minutes, without evoking anywhere near the same response as killing a cow. The highest female death rates are in the middle and upper educated classes. In response, she sponsors an online petition called “The 50 Million Missing Campaign” that demands that laws against female infanticide, dowry, dowry murders, and honor killings be implemented.[iii] In an article titled “Why Kali Won’t Rage: A Critique of Indian Feminism,” Banerji charges that despite ongoing assaults on females, women don’t share and disapprove of “disapproval of western feminist anger” and emphasis on the harmful effects of patriarchy. Indians are raised to accept a gender hierarchy where women are expected to be “domestic,” meaning compliant, despite a countervailing tradition of female goddesses as powerful shakti forces. As in the battered women syndrome, women self-blame and try to please the abuser so that the murderers in bride burning are often female in-laws. The consequences of lack of feminist protest is women hold only 11% of political offices, it’s a low 112 out of 134 countries ranked on a Global Gender Gap report, has one of the lowest female literacy rates in the world and one-third of the child brides.

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