Bear with me as I continue with my string of personal posts. I have some super good birth-philosophy and postpartum-oriented posts planned for the coming weeks, but first I need to spend just a little more time swooning over my baby (I mean big girl!). I know I already posted about her birthday, but I since I wrote the post prior to the actual day, it didn’t include any pictures from her actual birthday:
One thing I noticed on her birthday was very gendered gift choices. I see this, have feminist philosophies about it, and yet still totally participate in it! This is why I will never claim that kids just “naturally” choose certain toys and are “naturally” different from the beginning, because I think it is impossible to separate out what is actually a “natural choice” and what is very actively constructed or promoted from the environment and people around you. One thing I do admit about Alaina that is very stereotypically “girl” is the obsession with changing clothes—she picks out new underwear to wear several times a day and chooses new clothes multiple times a day as well, sometimes specifically asking for something that is “pretty” or “sparkly.” This is not something that I feel like I am actively cultivating in her (because, it is frustrating, really!). I AM actively contributing to her interest in dolls, babies, and baby care stuff, because I like those things too! And, it is fun! And, I also bought dolls and baby care stuff for my boys when they were this age too (and, they too, baby wore. I didn’t buy them an expensive doll carrier though—but, I did make them a homemade mei tai and let them wear my slings with dolls in them).
Here is a very short (22 second) video of Alaina on her birthday answering the question, “how old are you?” 🙂
She’s such a joy. I can honestly say that there has not yet been a single day of her life that I haven’t marveled at and cherished her. She is annoying sometimes too and frustrating and overwhelming and I want to “get away” sometimes, but she has spent every single day of her existence being treasured, loved, and having me spend conscious moments in total appreciation of her.
And, back on topic, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! I read a friend’s blog post this morning and she included this favorite quote:
“Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.
I don’t actually use this quote in my own article, but it made me think of our “small stones” of birth activism and so in honor of the day I am re-sharing my Small Stone Birth Activism post:
While reading the book The Mother Trip by Ariel Gore, I came across this quote from civil rights activist Alice Walker: “It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes failing over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame. This is the tragedy of our world.” Ariel adds her own thoughts to this: “Remember: as women, as mothers, we cannot not work. Put aside your ideas that your work should be something different or grander than it is. In each area of your life—in work, art, child-rearing, gardening, friendships, politics, love, and spirituality—do what you can do. That’s enough. Your small stone is enough.”
These quotes caused me to reflect on the myriad methods of “small stone” birth activism that can be engaged in as a passionate birth activist mother embroiled in a season of her life in which the needs of her own young family take precedence over “changing the world”…