Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

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Mommie Dearest: Tales Of An American Mom Traveling Abroad

Mommie Dearest: Tales Of An American Mom Traveling Abroad

I’ve been out of the country for the past two weeks, spending almost the entirety of that time in Israel. Along the way, I’ve learned some interesting things about taking an extended global trip while parenting.

Contrary to what you might think, there are some pretty sweet perks to traveling with a child. I made the trip out to Israel with just my son and while there are some challenges traveling as a solo parent, I also noticed some up sides. People tended to treat us with more patience and kindness then when I travel solo (and I do, often). We bypassed regular TSA security to go in the fast lane, where shoes blissfully remain on and you don’t need to take out laptops or toiletries. We were also allowed to board first if we wanted to, we got meals served to us earlier, and there were more smiles and less scowls from airline employees —  although perhaps this is just an Air France thing? They were pushing the free booze … Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: How Moms Talk About Their Bodies Matters

Mommie Dearest: How Moms Talk About Their Bodies Matters
Bikini Body Truths
Bikini Body
Six "bikini body" truths to remember this summer. Read More »

We’re on the cusp of “bikini season,” if magazines in the grocery shore checkout line are to be believed. I’m sure you’re familiar with the wide variety of products — ones that remove hair, ones that firm up jiggly thighs, ones that promise to burn stomach fat — which supposedly get a body ready for a teensy two-piece.

Want to know my secret for getting a bikini body? Buy a bikini. Put it on. Voila.

But, we don’t live in a society that allows people to just put on a bathing suit and not think twice about it. Instead, we live in a time and space where we are inundated with messages of what the “right” type of body looks like. I felt and absorbed those messages growing up, and that was before the 24/7 barrage of media via the Internet. I remember going through my tween and teen years, always giving a second or third glance in the mirror. I never felt 100 percent comfortable in my skin. Keep reading »

The Soapbox: Why Macklemore’s Costume Matters

SB-macklemore

Last Friday, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis performed a surprise music concert at the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle. Awesome, right? Only, because it was a surprise, Macklemore wanted to go a bit incognito and donned a costume. But the costume was anything but awesome. To me, and many others, the costume looked like a negative stereotype of a Jewish man.

For his part, Macklemore denies that he purposefully intended to mock Jewish people with his costume. Late yesterday, he took to Tumblr to issue an apology.

“My intention was to dress up and surprise the people at the show with a random costume and nothing more. Thus, it was surprising and disappointing that the images of a disguise were sensationalized leading to the immediate assertion that my costume was anti-Semetic. I acknowledge how the costume could, within a context of stereotyping, be ascribed to a Jewish caricature. I am here to say that it was absolutely not my intention, and unfortunately at the time I did not foresee the costume to be viewed in such regard. [...] I truly apologize to anybody that I may have offended.”

Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Gwyneth Paltrow & GOOP Wade Into The “Mommy Wars”

Gwyneth Mommie Dearest

With the way the media shoves the “mommy wars” down our throats, I’m amazed that there isn’t already a reality show based on that concept out there. (Reality TV producers, this is NOT an invitation to prove me wrong). You could have a handful of women battling it out for their child’s love! Or society’s approval! They would earn or lose points based on whether they ate deli meat or soft cheese during pregnancy, whether they had a homebirth or a highly medicalized one, whether they breastfed their kids, used cloth diapers, only fed organic, stayed home or went back to work.

It would be exhausting to watch, and truth be told, there wouldn’t be any winners. This is exactly how I feel most days as I watch the “mommy wars” being trotted out as a way for women to pit themselves against other women in morning news segments, blog headlines and magazine covers. I still shudder when picturing TIME‘s infamous “Are You Mom Enough?” cover.

So it should surprise exactly no one that when I read Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest GOOP newsletter with her own thoughts on the “mommy wars,” I couldn’t help but cringe. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Let’s Talk About The Placenta

MD-placenta

It always amuses me when something concerning pregnancy, birth, or parenting pops up as a “trend.” Odds are, that “trend” has been in practice for ages, but most likely in non-urban, non-privileged, non-U.S. areas. Take, for example, the notion of using midwives to deliver babies over OB-GYNs. Only when it hit Brooklyn and the New York Times Style section covered it, did using a midwife become a trend. Nevermind the fact that midwives remain the only option for maternal health care in much of the developing world! They’re also the preferred choice in places like the UK: midwives perform 80 to 90 percent of all low-risk births in England.

Recently the “trend” of doing stuff with your placenta post-delivery seems to be resurfacing. I say resurfacing because I feel like I’m always hearing stuff about other people’s placentas and what they’re doing with them. From burying them under a tree in the front yard to dehydrating them them into capsules, eating them , or using them as art pieces. Recently, Nick Baines wrote a piece for UK Guardian in which he described in great detail the various ways he ingested his wife’s placenta after the birth of their son. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: An Interview With Dana Ben-Ari, The Filmmaker Behind “Breastmilk”

"Breastmilk"

Breastfeeding: it’s one of those heated topics of motherhood where everyone has an opinion and they’re not afraid to share it. For me, nursing was just something that was a part of having a baby. I was breastfed, I grew up among women who breastfed, and it was assumed that I would as well when the time came. After a bit of a rocky start, I got the hang of it and had a successful three-year run nursing my son.

Personally, I’m a proponent of breastfeeding, as there are numerous benefits to it for both baby and mother. But I’m also fully aware that we live in a society that is not set up to help support women who want to breastfeed. When debates surrounding breast milk versus formula arise, I’d rather attack the system rather than individuals. That’s why I appreciate the new documentary “Breastmilk” by filmmaker Dana Ben-Ari, which follows a handful of new mothers to learn more about their breastfeeding journey and the challenges they face. There’s no stigma or judgment about choices here. Instead, it’s a refreshing look at breastfeeding in today’s society and the challenges and joys that come along with it.

I had the pleasure of talking to Ben-Ari about the film to learn more. Our conversation, after the jump: Keep reading »

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