January 12, 2016

Join the Revolution for a Family-Friendly US

Are children, elders, families in general, the poor better off than they were in 1968, at the start of the Second Wave of Feminism?  Are you outraged  with a society where 2 month olds are cared for by strangers for 10 hours a day  because there is no genuine paternity and maternity leave? Are you outraged that  childhood bipolar disorder has only been discovered in the United States? Are you outraged that 2 year olds and 3 years olds are pushed into early academics, that 5 year olds are perceived as backward if they can't read before leaving kindergarten? Are you outraged that teaching for the standardized tests is replacing art, music, recess and gym? Are you  outraged that our four year olds are taking  dangerous anti-psychotics not proven safe for chronic schizophrenics? Are you outraged  that poor immigration women are exploited as nannies and home health aides? A nonviolent revolution as sweeping as the civil rights movement is required to make the US a child-friendly, family-friendly, elder-friendly, human -friendly society. Join me.

When I was an active young feminist in the late 60s and early 70s, the upper middle class nature of New  York feminism was profoundly disturbing. Only a tiny minority of women could afford to become doctors, lawyers, college professors, corporate executives. The needs of  women of color  were ignored. African American women had always worked and taken care of their children. They were more dubious about abortion, since the babies were more welcomed and taken care of by family members.

Unlike many women with my intellect and education, I stayed home with my four children full-time for 15 years and part-time until the youngest was in high school. I also care for my mother in my home 24/7  during the last four years of my life.  Both my husbands made career and financial sacrifices to make that possible.

January 4, 2016

Women's Issues Are Family Issues

The recurring reference to women's issues in the media needs to be clarified. Most of these are better described as family and caregiver issues. However, vitally important women's issues exist. These include the availability of abortions and the morning after pill, the scandalous C-section rate, and the obscene harassment of nursing mothers. Too many companies expect breastfeeding mothers to pump in filthy toilets for 20 minutes and refuse to provide a comfortable room for them to pump and adequate short-time storage for breastmilk.This is a health issue as well since the American Academy of Pediatris recommends breastfeeding for at least a year. Working mothers of infants are heroic, incredibly dedicated to making sure their babies only get breastmilk and not formula. Encouraging, supporting, and facilitating breastfeeding is an integral part of wellness and prevention.

The best way to reduce the C-section rate is to to use nurse- midwives for normal births, but obstetricians fiercely resist giving nurse-midwives hospital privileges. At this point in New York City, the first question after how big is the baby is did you have a C-Section? It appalls me that the most educated professional women in history are allowing that to happen to them. When I was pregnant with my first child 35 years ago, baby books advised not considering a doctor with a C-section rate higher than 5 percent. Obviously the human race would have died out long ago if a 30 to 40 percent C-secton ate was the norm. I crusaded for natural childbirth and had my two youngest daughters at home with a nurse midwife.