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    Showing posts with label Parents News. Show all posts

    Pregnant Ballerina, Mary Helen Bowers, Encourages All Moms To 'Embrace And Celebrate' Their Bodies

    Ballerina Mary Helen Bowers is about to give birth to her first child, and has been dancing through pregnancy with unbelievable agility and breathtaking grace.

    Bowers, the woman behind the Ballet Beautiful fitness company and the trainer who helps get Victoria's Secret models into runway form, has been documenting the stages of her pregnancy in a series of stunning photographs. She has been sharing these steps of her journey to motherhood on her Instagram account.

    "I've found the entire process of being pregnant to be such a miraculous, beautiful time," she told The Huffington Post in an email Friday. "As a first-time mom I am so excited! My instinct has been not only to capture this special time, but [also] to share it with others, too. Pregnancy is magical, I've never felt more connected to my body. Looking back I'm so happy that I've taken so many photos and really documented the different stages."

    The 33-year-old, who is most famous for working with Natalie Portman for her "Black Swan" role, is due to give birth next week, according to TODAYMoms. She has been dancing through the entirety of her pregnancy, with her doctor's approval.

    "The changes that your body goes through during pregnancy are so radical, I've really tried to embrace and celebrate my new body and hopefully I can encourage other women to do the same," she told HuffPost. "I've also spent a lot of time over the last nine months developing a new prenatal series for Ballet Beautiful to help other moms-to-be stay healthy and active during pregnancy."

    She previously told ELLE.com that ballet has helped her avoid back pain and swelling through her trimesters.

    How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body

    How to talk to your daughter about her body, step one: Don't talk to your daughter about her body, except to teach her how it works.

    Don't say anything if she's lost weight. Don't say anything if she's gained weight.

    If you think your daughter's body looks amazing, don't say that. Here are some things you can say instead:

    "You look so healthy!" is a great one.

    Or how about, "You're looking so strong."

    "I can see how happy you are -- you're glowing."

    Better yet, compliment her on something that has nothing to do with her body.

    Don't comment on other women's bodies either. Nope. Not a single comment, not a nice one or a mean one.

    Teach her about kindness towards others, but also kindness towards yourself.

    Don't you dare talk about how much you hate your body in front of your daughter, or talk about your new diet. In fact, don't go on a diet in front of your daughter. Buy healthy food. Cook healthy meals. But don't say, "I'm not eating carbs right now." Your daughter should never think that carbs are evil, because shame over what you eat only leads to shame about yourself.

    Encourage your daughter to run because it makes her feel less stressed. Encourage your daughter to climb mountains because there is nowhere better to explore your spirituality than the peak of the universe. Encourage your daughter to surf, or rock climb, or mountain bike because it scares her and that's a good thing sometimes.

    Help your daughter love soccer or rowing or hockey because sports make her a better leader and a more confident woman. Explain that no matter how old you get, you'll never stop needing good teamwork. Never make her play a sport she isn't absolutely in love with.

    Prove to your daughter that women don't need men to move their furniture.

    Teach your daughter how to cook kale.

    Teach your daughter how to bake chocolate cake made with six sticks of butter.

    Pass on your own mom's recipe for Christmas morning coffee cake. Pass on your love of being outside.

    Baby Jasleen, Born At 13.47 Pounds, Is Germany's Heaviest Baby Born Vaginally

    Jasleen was born at University Hospital in Leipzig on July 26, weighing in at 13.47 pounds, and measuring 22.6 inches long -- and she was delivered without the help of a C-section, reports the New York Daily News.

    The medical term for babies born weighing more than 8 pounds, 13 ounces is "fetal macrosomia," and heavy babies are often attributed to maternal obesity and diabetes, among other factors. In Jasleen's case, doctors said her size is due to an undiagnosed case of gestational diabetes, reports the German paper Der Spiegel, which adds that both baby and Mom are doing well, though Jasleen remains in the hospital.

    Until Jasleen's birth last week the title of Germany's "heaviest" or "largest" baby belonged to one named Jihad, who was born in November 2011 and weighed in at 13 pounds.

    Jasleen, however, is not the heaviest baby born this year. We can't forget about about George King, who was born in March to a British couple and weighed in at 15 pounds, 7 ounces -- and again, yes, he was delivered vaginally.

    And on July 11, Pittsburgh-area woman Michelle Cessna gave birth to Addyson Gale Cessna, who was born at 13 pounds, 12 ounces, and measured 25 inches via C-section.

    While big babies seem to be on the rise, the Guinness Book of World Records says the heaviest baby ever born weighed 23 pounds, born to Anna Bates in 1879. No other newborn has tipped that scale yet, but here are seven who have come close.

    Melissa McCarthy's Weight Fluctuates Year After Year: 'I've Been Every Size In The World'

    Melissa McCarthy has been thrust into a new kind of spotlight since busting out onto the Hollywood scene in 2011's "Bridesmaids." But with all that attention comes a lot of criticism.

    McCarthy has been called out for her weight over the years, most recently by movie reviewer Rex Reed, who said she was "tractor-sized" and "a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success.”

    Still, it sounds like those kinds of comments don't affect McCarthy, who says that she's not as sensitive as she once was. In the July/August issue of More magazine, the star of "The Heat" admits that with age comes a newfound respect for yourself.

    "I've been every size in the world," she says. "Parts of my twenties, I was in great shape, but I didn't appreciate it. If I was a 6 or an 8, I thought, why aren't I a 2 or a 4?"

    "I bought into it -- I should be taller, thinner, have better hair. But I think that's part of being young," the now 42-year-old star continues. "Now, especially with kids, you lose any sense of time or energy to worry about all the little stuff."

    The mother of two -- McCarthy has two daughters, Vivian, 6, and Georgette, 3, with husband Ben Falcone -- has been open about her weight struggles, but refuses to let harsh remarks bother her. After Reed's review was released, McCarthy spoke out about his choice of words, telling the New York Times, “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”

    'A Beautiful Body' Book Project Jade Beall, Photographer, Celebrates Mothers' Real Bodies

    When Jade Beall published a series of self-portraits of her semi-nude postpartum body online -- and a followup semi-nude photo of a friend that got thousands of "likes" and shares from her photography studio's Facebook page -- she realized she’d struck a nerve. Hundreds of mothers wrote to her, hoping Beall would be willing to take portraits of them "just as they were" as well. The photographer, and mother of one, was so moved by these intense reactions that she complied, in a big way.

    Now, these women’s photos (Beall has captured more than 50 moms and counting), and written accounts of their journeys from self-doubt to body confidence, will appear in "A Beautiful Body," a book that Beall is bringing to fruition via crowd-funding and help from volunteers. Put together, these images are meant to show mothers as they really look, imperfect but no less beautiful for what society might consider their physical "flaws."
    Story continues with more photos below.

    beautiful body project

    The photographer, whose baby boy Sequoia is now 16 months old, says the concept has roots in doubts that have haunted her throughout her life -- and hit her particularly hard after she gave birth. She explained to HuffPost over email:

        As a teenager I suffered from feelings of deep unworthiness. I had acne and I was unable to look in a mirror for nearly three years, unless it was by candlelight. ... I gained 50 pounds with my pregnancy and that added to my personal history of oppressive self-loathing in a culture that praises mostly photoshopped images of women in media.

    The project is volunteer-driven, and Beall does each photoshoot for free. She writes on Kickstarter that she plans to use some of the extra money she has raised to help people travel to her studio in Tucson, Arizona.

    "We are facing an epidemic of women who feel unworthy of being called beautiful," Beall told HuffPost, describing a world in which "nearly all of us struggle to feel beautiful in our own skin." And the expectations faced by women who have given birth are particularly harsh. "Shaming mothers for not 'bouncing back' after childbirth can cause feelings of failure when being a mother is challenging enough and when a big number of us have already lived a life of feeling un-beautiful prior to giving birth," she says.

    For a glimpse into the experience on the other side of Beall's camera, yoga therapist Michelle Marks (featured on slide 16 of the gallery below) wrote about her journey from terror to exhilaration on Offbeat Home. Marks says the final product made her cry:

        I had exposed myself to Jade -- not just my flesh, and typically hidden parts, but the angles, and lines and aspects of me that came with being a mother. The exposure called to light remembrances of how my body changed shape over two different pregnancies, and two births, and the stories that my body has stored from the act of surrender to motherhood and the unexpected life that has become mine since taking the leap of faith into motherhood.

    Beall -- who describes her photography as "medicinal" -- intends her book as balm not only for the women who volunteer to be photographed, but also the society whose expectations she's hoping to heal.

    Ultimately, she hopes to channel her passion into more than a single book. Future volumes she’s thinking about may tackle themes like aging, cancer and eating disorders. She'd like to photograph men as well as women -- and possibly even expand to other media, such as magazines and film. "My dream is to be a part of a movement of being kind to ourselves and to others and witness a generation of young people that no longer waste years of precious life on self-loathing like I have because they think they are un-beautiful," Beall said. AAX

    Elizabeth Hurley's Bikini Line For Young Girls Called 'Disturbing' And 'Inappropriate'

    Actress Elizabeth Hurley calls her line of swimwear for girls "fun" on her website. But parents along with a child protection charity in the U.K. have had a different reaction -- they're accusing Hurley and her brand of sexualizing young girls.

    "It is very disturbing to see some inappropriate items in this swimwear range," Claude Knight, the director of the charity Kidscape told the Daily Mail.

    Knight points out pieces like the "Mini Cha Cha Bikini," an animal-print two-piece for girls under 8 and the "Collete Bikini," a suit that is held together by a gold ring and is meant specifically "for girls [ages 8-13] who want to look grown up." According to the company's website, "This bikini looks fab with our cheetah ruffled skirt."

    Siobhan Freegard, founder of the community Netmums told the Daily Mail that she knows "a number of mothers who are concerned about the sexualization of their children and would be horrified by their daughters dressing like mini-strippers."

    And, their concerns are validated by science. A recent study found that girls as young as 6 think of themselves as sex objects and want to be considered sexy. In an earlier study, Psychologists named clothing as a factor that encourages these youngsters to objectify themselves. This research was particularly disturbing given that "almost a third of girls' clothing for sale at 15 major retailers [had] sexualizing characteristics."

    Knight told Sky News that Hurley shouldn't take all of the blame now. Rather, the fashion industry should stop making clothes for kids that are so adult-like.

    Jen M.L., a mother of two who blogs at "People I Want To Punch In The Throat" agrees on that front. In a HuffPost blog, Jen says she is "horrified" by clothing selections when she takes her 4-year-old daughter shopping. She recounts a specific Easter shopping trip when "there were several dresses that looked like they should come with a complimentary pole and hooker heels!" But, Jen doesn't blame the industry entirely. She also writes that consumers -- parents specifically -- should stop buying and supporting the production of such items. "If we'd just stop buying this misogynistic whore-wear maybe companies would stop trying to sell it to us."

    With regard to Hurley's line, a spokesperson told the Daily Mail that the collection has sold "extremely well." He added, "Most of our customers are repeat customers who report that their kids adore the designs."

    Son Leaves Mom Insane Letter About Loud Alarm Clock, Lack Of Sleep

    Apparently someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

    In a detailed letter to his mother, one son plots the epic demise of his mom's "damnable" alarm clock.

    The somewhat poetic author notes that if the "hellish cries of such a horrible instrument" continue to wake him up, he "will have no hesitation in wrapping it soundly in a plastic bag before dashing it into numerous pieces upon the driveway."

    The rant continues for several paragraphs, before the author closes in a softer tone, reminding his mother that her banana bread is fantastic.

    Nevertheless, plenty of commenters on Reddit felt the son needed a lesson in good manners. And while mom's response remains unknown, it remains to be seen whether she'll be as frustrated as Tommy Jordan, the dad who shot his daughter's laptop after she posted a Facebook message complaining about her parents.

    What do you think of this son's letter? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

    The New Concerns That Keep Me Up At Night

    I've always had an irrational and bitter resentment toward good sleepers. You know who you are. You probably don't mean to brag, but you guys always do. You always do.

    "I could sleep ANYWHERE," you say, casually. And, "I'm a mess without my ten hours of sleep." And you don't confine your annoying somnolence to nighttime. "I need a disco nap," you'll say, tucking your legs up, closing your eyes and falling asleep at will during broad daylight on some lumpy, scratchy couch without a single ritual or sleep aid or even a moment of doubt about your ability to greet The Sandman. Jackhammers, neighbor dogs barking, horns honking, doorbells ringing, nothing can rouse you from your REM delirium.

    Meanwhile, I could be lying on a mattress made from homemade marshmallows and space-age polymers custom fitted to my firmness needs, my cheek on a silk pillowcase, with Sade and Kenny G perched on the edge of my bed to provide optimum easy listening -- while under the influence of a fistful of pharmaceutical sleep aids -- and still be wide awake even as a team of massage therapists kneaded the kinks from my shoulders.

    Becoming a parent was to insomnia what a box of cupcakes and a gallon drum of Hershey's chocolate syrup is to diabetes. What can be managed under the best of circumstances is now a full-scale crisis that has been ignited by the sweet nectar of parenthood.

    I really had a handle on it before I had a baby two years ago, and looking back, I have no idea what I had to toss and turn about back then. Seriously, any worries subordinate to "responsible for entire human life" seem pretty trivial to me now.

    A Little Advice The Only Parenting Advice You Need

    I don't believe in advice. My theory is that everybody has the answers right inside of her, since we're all made up of the same amount of God. So when a friend says, "I need some advice," I switch it to "I need some love," and I try to offer that. Offering love usually looks like being quiet, listening hard, and letting my friend talk until she discovers that she already has all the answers. Since I don't offer advice, Craig and I find it funny that people ask me for it every single day. Constantly. Craig once asked what I make of that and I told him that I think friends ask me for advice because they know I won't offer any. People really just need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know.

    Recently a dear friend called during a very hard day. She had made a parenting mistake. A parenting mistake is doing something opposed to what you believe is best for your children. I have a friend who is very health conscious and would call four frozen pizzas for dinner a horrible mistake, while I just call it dinner. Parenting mistakes are different for each mama. So when a friend tells me she made a mistake, I don't measure it against my beliefs and say: OH PUH-LEASE. THAT'S NOT A MISTAKE. I'll TELL YOU WHAT A MISTAKE IS, MISSY. Competing about who's the worst is as much of a drag as competing about who's the best.

    In this particular case, my friend had become tired and hopeless and spanked her child. She considered this a mistake, because she doesn't believe in spanking. Please, baby Jesus, let us not debate the spanking issue. It's a mistake for some and not for others. This particular friend, who is as precious as water in a desert, was devastated. She asked me for advice. I immediately switched that to a request for love.

    Then I told her what I do when I make a big or little parenting mistake, which is several hundred times a day.

    I try to remember two things:

    1. Who I am, and...

    2. My most important parenting job.

    First, I remember that I am a human being. And human beings make mistakes, almost constantly. We fall short of what we aim for, always. We get impatient. We get angry. We get selfish. We get freaking sick and tired of playing pet store. That's okay. It's just the way it is. Can't change it. Will always forevermore be. I'm human. Can't fight it. An elephant's gotta be an elephant and people gotta be people.

    Then I remember what my most important parenting job is. And that is to teach my children how to deal with being human. Because most likely, that's where they're headed. No matter what I do, they're headed toward being jacked-up humans faster than three brakeless railroad cars.

    There is really only one way to deal gracefully with being a jacked-up human, and that is this:

    The Reality I Can't Hide From My Daughter Forever

    My daughter has all of the makings of a great activist: Her heart is giant, her mind is quick, and she's as naïve as an elf. She believes that every human being is good and kind and will do the right thing. Occasionally she will see otherwise: a guy throwing litter out his window, a mom sneaking soda into a water cup, a dog on a short leash chained to a tree. Dismayed, betrayed, and outraged, she processes these injustices as rare aberrations to her ideal world.

    She's wide open with no armor, I often say about her. Not even a thin coat of cynicism to blunt the realities to come.

    She was only in kindergarten when she wrote a letter to the People's Republic of China urging them -- adamantly, like pretty please Sirs -- to renounce its one-child per family law. Her sister was adopted from China, and the thought that her sibling might not have been due to unfair legislation struck her as wrongheaded. Families should have the freedom to make this decision, she argued. Her passionate plea, written in 5-year-old script, was signed with a string of x's and o's.

    Hungry children, neglected animals, polluted environments, look out. If you think one person isn't big enough to make a difference, just try throwing away a piece of plastic in our house. You'd better hope the Reduce-Reuse-Recycle czar isn't around to bust you.

    So when my daughter reads in her "101 Ways to Save the World" book that proceeds from a certain charity will benefit battered women and abused children, she wants to know what it means. What's battered? And why are children abused?

    I would give anything if she never had to know about men who hit, or creeps who lurked behind bushes, or adults who hurt the children who trusted them.

    I stumble my way through an explanation, realizing quickly that there is no way to sugarcoat abuse. At this exact moment, I know that my daughter is growing her first layer of skin.
    When I was a little older than she -- junior high -- I had a friend named Amanda. She was beautiful: thick amber hair, olive skin, and the greenest of eyes. When she chose me to be her friend, I felt as if I had won a prize. I was scrawny and awkward and far from a beauty, but next to Amanda, I couldn't help feeling as if her glow transferred onto me. I liked her parents, too. Her dad was funny, her mom was bubbly. When I played at their house, there was always plenty of snacks, laughs, and smiles.

    One day I went to school and Amanda wasn't there. A week, maybe two, passed, and still no Amanda. When finally she returned, I remember the relief that flooded through me. I ran to her in the courtyard, reached for her hands. "You're here. Finally." We hugged and then pulled back and looked at each other.

    "I'm back, but not for long," Amanda said. "My mom and sister and I have to move -- to California. My grandparents are there."

    "But why?" I whined selfishly because her moving was going to hurt me.

    Amanda looked around, then down at her white Keds. Amanda always wore the whitest of Keds. "Because of my dad," she said, looking up briefly.

    Jamey Rodemeyer, 14-Year-Old Boy, Commits Suicide After Gay Bullying, Parents Carry On Message

    Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old boy from Williamsville, NY, took his life Sunday after what his parents claim was years of bullying because of struggles with his sexuality.

    His parents, Tracy and Tim Rodemeyer, say that Jamey faced bullies for years, though things intensified in middle school, according to NBC 2. Jamey recently became a freshman at Williamsville North High School.

    In the wake of their loss, the Rodemeyers hope to carry on a message of anti-bullying and acceptance. "To the kids who are bullying they have to realize that words are very powerful and what you think is just fun and games isn't to some people, and you are destroying a lot of lives," Jamey's father told WIVB.

    Tracy Rodemeyer misses her son, but hopes the loss can still be used to teach a message of tolerance. "It took him away from our family way too early and we're just convinced that he had a purpose on this planet and it was to touch as many people as he could," she told NBC 2.

    According to NBC, the Rodemeyers had gone to the school about the problem in the past. Jamey even sought counseling to learn to deal with the problem, but it seems it wasn't enough.

    While they say their son seemed happy in the days leading up to the tragedy, his "It Gets Better" YouTube posting from May includes details about how intense the bullying was.

    Through it all, Jamey remained outwardly optimistic. “That's all you have to do. Just love yourself and you're set. And I promise you, it'll get better,” he said in the video, which you can see in full below.

    Gay bullying has been gaining increasing attention in the media, as a number of tragedies has brought the issue into the spotlight. Earlier this month the California State Senate passed "Seth's Law" a measure designed to curb anti-gay bullying in schools.

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