My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Birds and the Bees and my Boys

Having an 11 and 9 year sons, sure makes me think of how I need to be educating them in the Birds and Bees department. As you know "sex education" doesn't start at a magic age. They are learning and picking up info constantly. Also, "sex education" isn't just limited to "sex" per say. Many of the topics I talk about and write about are actually inspired because I want certain values instilled on them and I want my thoughts organized for when we do "go there." Breastfeeding and how we birth are a part of "sex" education.

For example, let's talk about attitudes about breastfeeding. Nursing them until they reach the age of verbalization and memory isn't enough to "hope their kids will be breastfed." By the older ones observing my role model and see the younger one breastfeed goes a long way. I have stocked up on children's breastfeeding books that re-iterate the message. We do not have dolls/stuff animals/action heroes in the house that get fed with toy bottles. The toys get breastfed, eat whole foods or eat nothing, and get carried in slings. We limit the children's books with pictures of artificial feeds in it. In cases where we choose the keep the book, we discuss it. I was not exposed to much breastfeeding prior to becoming a mother, but my boys continue to be around breastfeeding in the circles I hang around in. As they mature, we will discuss that their future birth and breastfeeding values are topics to be discussed while dating.

As far as birth goes, my older boys were there for the younger brother's very normal breech birth. My boys are familiar with their own birth story, the photos, and the impact of doulas and midwives on me. They will proudly announce what they know while giggling, " We know David's feet came out of your butt first," as they have seen the photo many times. We have discussed cesarean and why doctors are quick to do cesareans. We discuss why it would have been wrong for David to be emergently birthed by cesarean. My boys have a better perspective on birth then most adults.

Lauren's wonderful post about her elementary students discovering her pregnancy is very precious and sentimental. One student innocently states, "Mrs. A, my mom had a baby and they had to cut her stomach to get it out!" And another pipes in with "And Mrs. A- you don't even want to know where else that baby can come out!" OBs aren't the only ones responsible for rising cesarean rates. We parents are! Do you think either of these girls have a chance to have a vaginal birth when you "Can't even discuss that terrible place babies come out!" The girls view emphasize the excellent insight my boys have on the female side of things. These girls view illustrate why if my sons want natural/home birth and breastfed babies, they better know how their future partners feel about birth and bf.

How about the male side of the issue? Is there a book for male adolescents that respects the AP/home centered parenting concept while teaching sex ed? One problem, I fear, with a AP book on this topic, is that the AP community tends to be so hard headed when it comes to discussing circ including bris/Judiasm is that it closes discussion. Even if I can't agree with everything that is said, I want to know that it can lead to my boys better understanding and well-roundedness. With passion and forethought to preserve (for my boys) the Jewish tradition in our assimilated world, I have journaled my experiences with newborn circumcision and bris in the past years. I have organized my feelings and am ready to arm my boys with my perspective as they mature and their eyes widen. I have decided to included appropriate parts of this journey in Permission to Mother. I found it very hard to discuss the spiritual side of birth without the circumstances surrounding circumcision and bris.

As we go through the boys Science curriculum, the boys eyes widen anytime reproduction and anatomy are discussed. They are ready to know more about their changing bodies. I am not prepard to give this lesson. I need your suggestions. I am open for suggestions: websites, books? Please let me know! Anyone hear of the book Puberty Boy. Is it any good?


Scarlett_333 said...

Hi Denise! Obviously, I am no expert on this seeing as I don't have kids (or even brothers!) but I do know of a great resource. I am a "big sister" to a 12year old girl in a volunteer program and since she comes from a really disfunctional family, she came to me about a lot of the same questions. I found this message board on ivillage geared at 10-14 year olds:
They are super helpful. If you don't want to post, this subject has been raised several times by moms about their sons, so you can just check the archives and I know there are a ton of great resources listed!


Kristen said...

My Aunt was a human growth and development teacher and I got a copy of "What's Happening to my Body book for Girls" and my brother got the one for boys. We seemed to like them, but I have absolutely no recollection of whether or not they are AP, or if and how they handle discussions of circumcision.
I know on MDC they suggest a group of books by Robbie Harris for several different age groups. I have glanced at them in the bookstore and they look interesting (I like to plan ahead, obviously this isn't an issue right now for Savannah).

Permission to Mother said...


I ordered the Robbie Harris books. I'll let you know how I like them. I have a feeling my boys will like reading these.

What you gotta do to get them to read!


Permission to Mother said...

My oldest son says he read the book, It's Perfectly Normal" by Robbie Harris the first night it arrived. He seemed very interested in it. It covers far more topics than the "changing body." Sexual orientation, birth control, HIV, and abortion are all covered. The cartoons are detailed. While I would have been happy with a book to just explain hairy armpits and erections and not necessarily all the other topics, I am glad we have the book in the house. I am leaving it on the book shelf so they can access it anytime. I have also clipped a few articles of particular interest and let my sons know I tucked it in the book for whenever they want to read it.

I ended up with two copies of the book. I put one in my waiting room at the office. As a physician I feel its my repsonsibility to lead parents in the right direction with their pre-adolescents. I have had a few comments from parents about the graphic contents. They way I see it is, if my 9 and 11 yo are talking about "gay" and "desire" and "man boobs" and "penis'" etc..., they need to have access to factul information.

I recommend this book.

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