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Archive for the ‘Field Notes’ Category

And yes, we persisted!

In Field Notes on 15 June 2017 at 11:14 am

Chetana Amma’s latest despatch!

Source: And yes, we persisted!

For pocket, planet and a happy period: Nirmala talks about the menstrual cup

In Field Notes on 5 April 2017 at 10:41 am

One form of untouchability that we must work to eradicate is menstrual untouchability.  Unique to women, this oppression is based on the idea that a woman’s body is defective and dirty, and can pollute people and spaces if not kept in check.  A recent incident in a school in Uttar Pradesh highlights the need to fight the notion that menstruation is a cause for shame or punishment.  The principal of Kasturba Gandhi Residential School in Digri village made 70 girls strip and be searched for menstrual blood.  Following complaints by students and parents, the principal was fired.  Parents and teachers of  girls should help them to manage periods comfortably and to value the vitality in their bodies, including their menstrual blood, which makes it possible for a woman to nourish new life.

It is good that the community in Muzzafarnagar took decisive action against this outrage; yet menstrual untouchability persists in stark and subtle ways, not only in far flung villages but also among the urban educated.   In the march to consign menstrual taboo to the dustbin of history, one important step is to make periods more comfortable.

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Sari Sling in a Jiffy

In Field Notes, How on 14 March 2016 at 6:29 am

Arpitha Shankar, Amma to two daughters, aged 4 and 2, in Bangalore, shares her family’s experience trying out baby wearing using a sari wrapped around baby’s Appa!

Our daughter loves to be carried everywhere… although we used to enjoy it when she was a baby, as she became heavier, carrying her for long periods left us exhausted quickly especially when we used to go for short hikes. Thats when we came across baby wearing. The DIY youtube videos are so simple to follow and a cotton saree is enough to make a comfortable sling to carry her around. The first time around we didnt get her to sit in a deep seated position so that her legs are in M position, but nevertheless, both my daughter and husband were ecstatstic. The best thing was being handsfree and doing the other chores freely with the baby happily in the sling.

Arpitha Shankar sling

Vel and his 4 year-old daughter are ready for a hike!


 

Ask Amma thanks Arpitha, Vel and their daughters for sharing these lovely photos.

Amma Dudhu: A Farewell Poem

In Field Notes, Poems on 14 December 2015 at 2:42 am

The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years and beyond for as long as mother and baby wish.  The benefits of breastfeeding do not disappear at a specific age, but rather continuously prepare children physically, intellectually and emotionally to digest what the world has to offer, literally and figuratively.  Curiosity, experimentation, illness, growth spurts and adaptations to circumstances will prompt children to modulate breastfeeding and eventually outgrow it.

And how do you say goodbye?  In this guest post, Divya Singh, Amma to 3½ year-old Navya in Portland. shares her story along with a poem. 

Last week, my 3½ year-old and I said bye-bye to our breastfeeding relationship on a very happy note…wanted to share this for Ask Amma.

Here’s how it worked out-
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Who says money doesn’t grow on trees?

In Field Notes on 26 August 2015 at 7:49 pm

Who says money doesn’t grow on trees… 🙂

A guest post by Peter of Appalagraharam Andhra Pradesh

After school and on Sundays, the village kids come to play with the AID “Toy Library” toys…
Each day there is a different scenario enacted. One day the space may be a market place, with the children, as small groups or individually setting up there stalls with various wares for sale … tea stalls, tiffin stalls, hair studio, scrap merchants, general stalls etc…
Another day it may be the anganwadi centre with a teacher (who always seems to be yielding a big stick… 😦 teaching songs and games to the children whilst somebody else is preparing meals for every one…
One of the favorites is “Birthday parties… one or more children are selected as “Birthday Kids”
All the other children collect leaves and flowers to lavish the the birthday kid and their mudpie cake…

There is one common thing that revolves around all the scenarios…. money. Read the rest of this entry »

Liberté, Égalité, Non à l’intouchabilité!

In Field Notes on 14 July 2015 at 8:00 am

10 years ago today, I first used the cup. It helped me transform my personal fight against menstrual untouchability to a public one.

GrandCanyon123

Allons enfants!

What do you see in this picture?  Just a family enjoying a day out.  All day, I might add.  There was a time when I would have preferred to plan such an outing on a more convenient date – one when I was not menstruating. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Watermelon Birthday!

In Field Notes, What on 17 March 2015 at 4:43 pm

We had the pleasure of Disha’s company just as she was approaching the big 5.   She was traveling with her parents to the heart of the country and lucky for us they had a break journey in Mumbai.  We thrust a candle into a plump watermelon and burst into an enthusiastic chorus of “Happy Birthday” which delighted Disha to no end.  The Birthday Watermelon was sweet and juicy and we ate the whole thing!  Cheers to Disha as she sails through the final days of being 4 and three cheers for watermelon birthdays!

Disha enjoys a little watermelon birthday party :-)

Disha enjoys a little watermelon birthday party 🙂

Tip of the Day:   Yes, you can celebrate your birthday with watermelon!

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Becoming Nanna …

In Field Notes on 4 October 2014 at 3:22 pm

Anand takes a moment to collect his thoughts on the journey to becoming Nanna to three-week-old Anagha. 

Anand's newborn daughter Anagha.

Anand’s newborn daughter Anagha.

Life has always been kind to me. Fortunately I never had a big testing moment and I think one of the biggest decisions if not the most for me was about the place where my baby would be making it into the world. Thanks to my friend Chetana Kulkarni, who is leading advocacy efforts on natural birth and breast feeding awareness as part of Banglore Birth Network, me and my wife Anusha Debbadi made an educated decision in choosing Healthy Mother Sanctum.  Their website is http://healthy-mother.com/.

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Nothing can stop you!

In Field Notes on 21 June 2014 at 1:30 am

Dancer, Writer, Yogi and Mama, Mirabelle D’Cruz from Mumbai shares the secrets of her backpack, her sling, and getting back to “plurk” with baby in tow.

They tell you that once you have a decent job and get married, you will be “settled.”  Then they tell you you will only be really settled once you have kids. I was always critical of the settled business, though I can see value in the concern of those who talk about it. Even if you have a child, like my husband and I, when you truly feel ready, have been a party-holic, travel –holic and how can I forget work-a-holic and know you’ll have no regrets because you lived your life fully and don’t feel an ambitious desire for position, lifestyle or keeping up with the Joneses, the roller-coaster will only start after the LO arrives. This is not a complaint or judgment on parenting,  its an observation on learning, growing and most of all on integrating.

I’m sharing a little of my journey, as one of the possibilities to parenting, hoping it may provoke, inspire, help or just provide an interesting read.

Mirabelle

Mirabelle leads an energizing session on West African Dance

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My vegan pregnancy and natural birth experience

In Field Notes on 27 March 2014 at 8:00 pm

Sejal, Amma to 1 year-old Shaurya in Hyderabad, shares her story of pregnancy and birth. Sejal is vegan and active in raising awareness about the benefits of a vegan diet for the health of ourselves and the environment.

Random musings

I have often been asked to share the experience of my natural and vegan pregnancy. I had been vegan over 2 years before pregnancy, so, without a doubt, my pregnancy was going to be vegan too. And, I am very glad to be yet another person to have shattered many nutritional myths created by vested interests about veganism during this period.

Here’s how awesome being vegan has been for my pregnancy and my baby’s health:

  • ImageI gained 18 kg of weight during 9 months of pregnancy.
  • My son, Shaurya, was born with 3.75 kg of weight (considered extremely healthy).
  • My calcium and protein levels were excellent throughout the pregnancy, without any supplements (except for 15-20 days), as detailed below.
  • I had a completely natural delivery with no external induction, no cut or stitches, no pain management through epidural!
  • To top it all, my postdelivery recovery was super-smooth! Since my pregnancy…

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