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I have strung words together for The New York Times, Vice, and more. I write and shoot people (with a camera, you guys) from my home in upst...

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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    mom skittles adSkittles USA/YouTubeThere's just something about holidays that brings out the idiot in some American companies, and it seems Mother's Day is that holiday for the folks at Skittles. The candy that's long had us tasting the rainbow will probably have people opting to just get Mom some flowers this weekend instead. The problem? This Skittles Mother's Day commercial, dubbed "umbilical," that the company uploaded to YouTube. You see where this is going already, don't you?

    What's so creepy about it?

    Where do we begin? It all starts out innocently enough with a woman pouring Skittles into her hand, as one does. Then the camera shows a man -- sitting in what appears to be a living room that hasn't seen a decorator since the '70s -- naming flavors of the candy. 

    More from CafeMom: Fidget Spinners Aren't Annoying Toys -- They Actually Help Kids Learn

    Despite all the harvest gold in the place, everything seems to be going somewhere normal enough, and then blam-o. This happens:

    Skittles Mother's Day ad

    Ah, yes, nothing says "Happy Mother's Day" like picking on old stereotypes that moms don't know how to cut the cord from their sons.

    Because that thing running from Mom's vagina to her grown son's belly button is exactly what it looks like ... or rather doesn't look like. 

    Real umbilical cords get pretty white and blah-looking a bit after birth, even if Mom opts for the increasingly popular procedure known as delayed cord clamping (that's another article ... but it's pretty fascinating). Then again, no one in the history of the world actually wants to stay yoked to her baby much more than a few hours past birth. No, really -- no one. Even helicopter mamas like to pee in peace ... at least once their toddlers are locked in their padded rooms, and the video monitor is turned on. But moving on.

    The look of the thing is weird. The fact that a mother is still attached to her grown child and apparently feeds him through a tube that hangs out of her vagina is ... well, you saw the image. 

    And yet, it all manages to get even creepier!

    More from CafeMom: 33 Mom Tribute Tattoos ... Because We Love Her So!

    There's the very Oedipal eye gazing between mother and son:

    Skittles umbilical cord commercial

    And some truly creepy mother/son laughter that reminds us of something out of a serial killer movie. 

    And then there's Sonny boy's sudden declaration, "I miss Dad," just before an announcer cuts in urging you to "cut the rainbow, taste the rainbow."

    Wait, what happened to Dad? Did they eat Dad? Did he taste like lemon? Or was he orange? Is that why that poor dog looks so terrified?

    More from CafeMom: 15 Outrageously Expensive Gifts Celebs Have Given Their Kids

    Not to mention the entire premise of the commercial is flawed ... every good mom knows that when you get some candy you like, you go hide in the closet to eat it precisely so you don't have to share it with your kid! 

    Which is what we're going to do ... with some M&Ms. 

    If you want to see the scary Skittles commercial for yourself, here you go ... but don't say we didn't warn you.

     

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Rachel Rosoff

    A child's senior year is a bittersweet one for most moms, but Michelle Rosoff is facing the unbearable. In early September, her 17-year-old daughter Rachel died in a tragic accident while lifeguarding at a pool near her home in Wake County, North Carolina. Now, just a few months later, Rachel's school has refused her mom's request to honor her daughter at graduation. 

    Michelle shared an email from Rachel's principal at the William G. Enloe Magnet High School on Facebook last week that's quickly gone viral, explaining to her that the 17-year-old's name wouldn't be mentioned at graduation because the ceremony is supposed to have a "happy, vibrant feel" and "be a ceremony for students' accomplishments."

    school refuses to honor dead student at graduation

    "They feel bringing up my daughter may cause sadness among the students, and they will not be equipped to handle it because they don't have counselors on hand," Rosoff tells CafeMom, "aka total BS."

    When the teen died, there were school counselors on hand for grieving students, and months later they held a grief group for students who lost family members, Rosoff says. But she wasn't asking for anything much at the ceremony -- just acknowledgement that her daughter was also a part of the graduating class.

    More from CafeMom: We Spent Months Preparing for Our Daughter's Death -- and We Still Weren't Ready

    "I was hoping that someone can speak about her, but a moment of silence at this point is okay," she says.

    It's not unheard of for schools to pay tribute during graduation ceremonies to students who have passed away. At some schools, a seat among the graduates is left empty for the student who has died, while at others the child's name is actually called out and a diploma awarded to their parents in their name. 

    But it's a tough road for parents who are already grieving the loss of their child, to then have to face a fight with a school. 

    "My heart is again broken," Rosoff says. "When you lose a child, your worst fear is that they will be forgotten, but I never imagined anyone would try and act as if she never existed. She was nothing but greatness."

    Rosoff says the pain isn't just hers -- Rachel's friends are angry, her siblings upset. Rachel's sister Jordana is responsible for a petition that's already garnered more than 10,000 signatures, urging the school to reconsider:

    I am writing this petition because her High school, Enloe, which I too attend, refuses to acknowledge my sister during graduation. They feel it may cause sadness and bring people down on a day that is suppose to be celebratory. They want to pretend she did not exist, which not only hurts me, but my family and her friends. This is so hurtful and wrong. I just want my sister to be recognized and acknowledged for the beautiful, goofy, funny, care free, caring person she was. She lived her life in a way we can all learn from, she was truly exceptional.

    The school hasn't changed its mind, despite other students weighing in, calling for Rachel to be recognized. All this frustrates her mom, who says the message Jordana and her peers are getting is that "no matter how good you are, when you're gone, you no longer matter." 

    She hopes that the kids learn something else from her standing up to the school. 

    More from CafeMom: 

    "I hope they learn from me how important it is to fight for what is right." 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Ashley Graham
    If you're wondering how Ashley Graham grew up to exude the kind of body confidence that comes screaming out of her photos on the covers of magazines, her childhood has a lot to do with it. But the first plus-size model to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition has made no bones about how hard it was growing up with a dad who put her down

    Graham has been making the media rounds promoting her new book, A New Model: What Confidence, Beauty, and Power Really Look Like, and she's speaking out about the cruel things her father used to say when she was a kid. Among them? 

    Duh. 

    As in the mocking noise grade-school kids tend to use to make other kids feel bad about their intelligence ... and the nickname she says her dad had for her because "he didn't think [she] was very smart."

    More from CafeMom: 5 Signs Your 'Healthy Eating' Has Become an Eating Disorder

    "The worst I ever felt in my entire career was when, a few years into my career, my dad agreed with my new agent, who said I needed to 'tighten up,'" Graham writes in her book. "I was sobbing because my dad thought I should lose weight."

    [code][/code]

    It's not easy to get past that kind of thing, specifically when it's a parent making the comments. Scientists have found that girls labeled fat by parents at a young age are more likely to be obese later in life than girls who get the label slapped on them by teachers or friends. Not surprisingly, the studies have shown emotional and psychological effects too. 

    Parents are supposed to be kids' first cheerleaders, the people who make them feel like they can do and be anything. Even when they step in with criticism to help shape kids, parents are supposed to be constructive rather than reductive. 

    More from CafeMom: 17 Quotes From '13 Reasons Why' That Remind Us How Hard High School Can Be

    Graham father's treatment has apparently helped shape who she will be as a parent, because she tells Good Morning America that she wants to give better to her kids than she got. In a society that's finally starting to come to terms with the idea that some parents are simply toxic, and more people are coming out of the shadows to admit that they've cut off ties with bad parents or at least refuse to take their abuse anymore, Graham's comments are inspiring.

    She's showing that there's no reason to sit back and take it. You can defy the people who try to make you feel like you are less or that your body is less because it doesn't fit their ideals. 

    Fortunately, Graham did have at least one role model who gave her positive examples on how to talk to and about your kids, a model who helped her become the fierce woman she is today. 

    More From CafeMom: 16 Plus-Size Athleisure Looks Under $100 That We're Seriously Loving

    The model was her mom, who did the exact opposite of her dad -- focusing on body positivity not only for Graham but for herself as well. Graham's mom did what an increasing number of researchers have been advising moms do: She kept mum about her own body in front of her daughter. Today Graham calls her mom her best friend. 

    It's a good reminder for every parent out there: What you say matters. Yes, what Graham's dad said hurt her. But what her mom said helped build her up and counteract the damages being done by one parent's cutting remarks. 

    Every positive thing we say, be it to our kids or to other people in general, can make a difference. Sometimes we don't even realize just how much a difference we need to make. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    water birth photography

    There are plenty of reasons to choose a water birth -- it can be done in a birthing center or at home, and many women find the water soothing and helpful in terms of pain management. Then, of course, there are the photos! Birth photography can make beautiful memories for mom no matter how she delivers, but seeing a baby come into the world through the shimmering water is undoubtedly spectacular. 

    CafeMom asked birth photographers to share some of their most magical water birth photos, and they didn't disappoint. Check them out! 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    senator breastfeeding baby

    There's a saying that well-behaved women don't make history, but Australian senator Larissa Waters just did it anyway. The new mom showed up to Parliament with her little girl, Alia Joy, and proceeded to breastfeed from her seat on the Senate floor. It's the first time a mom's ever been able to do so in the building, thanks in part to Waters's own campaigning for parents' rights to care for their infants in Parliament. So how's the Internet reacting to a mom enjoying a historic moment? 

    Well, let's just say we haven't yet reached the historic moment when society sees a woman breastfeeding and thinks, Oh, that kid was hungry, must carry on, nothing to see here. 

    Waters posted an image of herself with Alia on Twitter, along with a call for more women and parents in Parliament:

    Larissa Waters breastfeeding

    More from CafeMom: This Is Why You Should Never Google Your Sick Kid's Symptoms

    It's hard to believe that it has taken until now for something like this to happen, at least when you consider women have been breastfeeding for as long as there have been humans. That this is "historic" in 2017 is not going unnoticed, and there's been plenty of mom power swirling around these past few days thanks to Waters.

    Breastfeeding activists and everyday moms have come out to thank the senator for normalizing not just breastfeeding but working motherhood too:

    thank you tweet

    why did it take so long tweet

    But it wouldn't be the Internet if people weren't trying to shove women back to the '50s, would it? Waters's historic moment has gotten some people very, very worked up.

    Some people are just plain grossed out by everything parenting:


    And there will always be the folks who think feeding your baby is just another way of showing off (Look, Ma, no hands!). 

    breastfeeding showboating comment

    There have been a lot of strange comparisons between breastfeeding a baby and ... sewing old pants?

    feeding cat breastfeeeding

    There have been a lot of questions about the timing too ... at least from folks who are convinced you can tell a 2-month-old when to get hungry:

    timing breastfeeding
    Facebook

    Sure, maybe Waters could have fed her little girl earlier. But then there wouldn't have been a photo op to show the world that there's no reason a breastfeeding mom can't work and breastfeed at the same time, even a powerful senator.

    Interestingly, Waters's move also opened up a debate over whether babies belong at work at all ... even among people who pledge their support for breastfeeding. 

    Even if babies are okay in a workplace setting, some are wondering if it creates undue pressure on women to feel that they have to juggle parenting in the workplace:

    breastfeeding at work

    More from CafeMom: Mom's Side-by-Side Photos Show the Imperfect Reality of Motherhood

    breastfeeding at work

    Either way, Waters showing up with the baby in tow meant she's handling the return from maternity leave like a total boss.

    She's both working and mothering at the same time, which is exactly what she fought for in pushing for parents -- of both genders -- to be able to bring their infants to work.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.


    When Summer Bostock's pregnant belly began to itch, she figured it was just another side effect of having her skin stretch out to accommodate the baby growing inside of her. And then the itching got worse. And began spreading. And left the mom-to-be in agonizing pain. Bostock had a severe and rare case of polymorphic eruption in pregnancy, often called PUPPP (short for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy).

    The condition itself is fairly common. Although experts haven't been able to pin down whether it's caused by hormonal changes, issues with the connective tissues in the belly, or maybe even something having to do with the placenta, it's the most common skin condition that crops up during pregnancy.

    But Bostock's was anything but common. Hers was spreading beyond her stomach -- where it typically shows up on expectant women -- to other areas of the body, covering her legs and arms in angry, red, painful pustules. 

    PUPPP on legs

    More from CafeMom: This New Mom Who Confessed to Peeing Her Pants Is All of Us

    And when Bostock went looking for help, she tells CafeMom her doctor was mystified ... and not particularly helpful. Her mom had Googled her symptoms, and the women had a feeling she might have PUPPP, although they couldn't find anything on the Internet that looked like what she was experiencing. 

    When Bostock got to her doctor's office, she said he had to Google the condition and how to treat it. 

    "He gave me some cream which just didn't help for a few weeks," Bostock recalls. So she changed doctors ... hoping someone could quell the agony spreading across her body. 

    pregnancy belly rash

    "I can't even tell you just how many doctors I saw to try and find something that would work, and pretty much every doctor also had to look it up. It was so strange when no doctors knew what it was," she says. 

    It's why Bostock has been speaking out about what happened to her and sharing photos of late. The condition occurred during her first pregnancy, which is common -- most women with PUPPP have never been pregnant before -- but that was back in 2012. Her son Izaiah is now 5, and the rash and pain resolved after his birth. Bostock has had two PUPPP-free pregnancies since then. 

    Still, all it takes is a look at the photos of her belly to send her back to those painful days, and to make her more convinced they need to be shared.

    More from CafeMom: 15 Breathtaking Photos of Babies Being Born in Water

    "I love the fact that spreading my story is actually helping mums know what they have or even did have in pregnancies when doctors didn't know," she tells CafeMom. "To just put a name to it and know you're not crazy helps!"

    Her best advice for moms dealing with unbearable pain and itching during pregnancy? 

    Don't accept that it's just something you have to deal with because you're pregnant.

    "Plus don't be scared to go get other opinions!" she says. "Research, find out what's going on with your body. You know your body best!"


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Mama June and Honey Boo Boo
    You can file this under news that we really hope isn't true: Mama June Shannon is reportedly in talks to do yet another spin-off reality show. This time the focus would be on her kids -- including 11-year-old Alana Thompson, better known to the world as Honey Boo Boo -- and their efforts to lose weight

    If you just cringed, welcome to the club. Pull up a chair, and get comfortable, because we're about to unpack this thing. 

    More from CafeMom: Jessica Simpson's Daughter's Poses Are Not Sexy -- So Don't Go There

    Sometimes a child's parents (or at least parent, in this case -- Mama June Shannon is said to be pushing for this, according to Hollywood Life's source) need to sit him or her down and discuss the child's health and how current weight factors into it. Sometimes a doctor, nutritionist, therapist, or a combination of all three need to be called in to help craft an appropriate weight loss plan. It's not something any parent really relishes, but in a nation where 19 percent of little boys and 15 percent of little girls are considered obese by medical standards, sometimes it's a matter of health.

    But weight and body image are tender topics, and they're especially fraught for kids around Alana's age -- when hormones are beginning to surge, and the body is beginning to change in ways that kids have absolutely no way of controlling. A majority of cases of bulimia and anorexia begin sometime between tweenhood and the mid teen years. For girls, that's when they're developing hips, and boobs, and stretch marks, and hearing a whole lot of mixed messages: Honey, you're beautiful the way you are! Hey, look at that model Photoshopped within an inch of her life on the cover of that magazine that is marketed directly to you! 

    That's the reality for kids Alana's age, and it's hard enough to figure it all out when you're just going to school, hanging out with your friends, and spending time with your family. 

    More from CafeMom: 17 Quotes From '13 Reasons Why' That Remind Us How Hard High School Can Be

    Now picture what it would be like to do all of that in front of the rest of the world. 

    More to the point, what it would be like as a kid who has been pretty adamant that she has no intention of dieting like her mom because "I like my curves." Even pushing a kid who is content in his or her body toward a weight loss scheme could wreak havoc on one's psyche. Then add cameras and the judgment of millions of TV viewers to the mix, and you have the recipe for a whole lot of future therapy. 

    Could a reality show about a child losing weight and pursuing a healthier lifestyle be interesting for parents who are having their own struggles trying to navigate tough talks about weight with their kids? Maybe. It might even be instructional -- if done with the inclusion of the right experts, like nutritionists who can help draft a diet plan and therapists who can help balance the emotional needs. The topic is one so terrifying for parents, additional resources can never hurt. 

    More from CafeMom: 15 Outrageously Expensive Gifts Celebs Have Given Their Kids

    At least ... this likely wouldn't hurt those parents looking for answers. But putting a kid on a reality show centered solely on her weight can hurt that child. Maybe it wouldn't. But there's a very high risk that it would ... a risk so high that if we're hoping to see a show like this just because we need answers, we need to consider what we're asking a child to do, and what it's really worth. Our kids may need help, but not at the sake of another child's emotional and mental health. 

    If Honey Boo Boo wants to (or is going to) lose weight, that should be between her, her mom, and her pediatrician. That's about it. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Trump lawyer Michael Cohen
    What's creepier than a dad posting photos of his daughter wearing lingerie on Twitter? If you said not much, then the Twitter feed maintained by the president's personal attorney Michael Cohen just might give you the heebie jeebies. And you wouldn't be alone. Since the lawyer posted a photo of daughter Samantha dressed in nothing more than black stockings and a lacy bra, the Internet's been calling Cohen just about everything but a good dad. 

    Cohen accompanied the photo of Samantha with a pronouncement of his pride in her beauty and brains and a comparison to the late model Edie Sedgwick. 

    [code]

    So proud of my Ivy League daughter...brains and beauty channeling her Edie Sedgwick. On Instagram @samichka_pic.twitter.com/mpQxhr3mh3

    — Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) May 15, 2017
    [/code]

    The image was originally posted by Cohen's daughter on her Instagram account (yes, the one her dad shouted out in his tweet). It's well composed, Samantha looks lovely, and by itself it's a perfectly fine photo. 

    Only Cohen didn't leave it by itself, did he? He just had to be the dad who did a screenshot, loaded it to his own Twitter, and showed off pictures of his daughter in her undies to the world. And he did on Mother's Day, no less!

    More from CafeMom: How You & Your Kids Are Under Attack by the New Health-Care Bill

    But don't worry, if you're speechless at the moment, plenty of people were more than willing to call out the questionable parenting moment for you.

    michael cohen not appropriate tweet

    It's not as though Cohen didn't have some idea of what might be a good way to tell the world how excited he is about his daughter's smarts. Remember the guy who used to live where Cohen works?

    "Every parent brags on their daughters or their sons," President Obama said just a few months ago, when he was doing his farewell tour of the media. "But man, my daughters are something. And they just surprise and enchant and impress me more and more every single day." 

    Oh, how things change in just a few months ...

    miss obama tweet

    Cohen does have high sock–wearing, plumber's crack–showing, bad joke–telling dads everywhere looking really, really good today. 

    reply to Michael Cohen tweet

    But then he isn't exactly slinking into a corner and hiding out. When he was called out for not having the good grace to notice something on his daughter's Instagram account and just keep on flipping through until he found a nice dog or cat photo to LOL at, Cohen went ahead and threw this seventh grade retort out to the world:  

    Michael Cohen tweet

    Cohen seems to take his boss's approach to parenting a daughter. The more you can treat her like a sex object, the more you do.  

    michael cohen trump creepy

    But hey, just think, it could always get worse ... 

    Twitter

    More from CafeMom: Ivanka Trump: Your Dad Works for You, So Speak TF Up

    At least Cohen left comments about dating his own daughter to the big guy ... 

    See this video on The Stir by CafeMom.

    Samantha Blake Cohen, by the way, says her dad's not creepy. She told site FourTwoNine, "My father does not think I'm 'hot,' and him posting a professional photo taken of me in a bra and pants does not mean he sexualizes me."

    The way she sees it, this is all just liberal hate: 

    "Those who seek to make it something it is not are merely Trump haters who are using this as an opportunity to stir up drama. I find it hypocritical that those who consider themselves liberal would criticize a woman embracing her body ... it is tasteful and it is demure."

    And yet, it's not the woman embracing her body that has the world talking. It's the way her father shows off his daughter's body to the world.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Blue Whale challenge warning

    It can feel like there's a new social media "challenge" threatening our kids every time we turn around. Some are dismissed out of hand by the experts just as soon as they hit the airwaves, while others are verified as health hazards right from the start (remember the cinnamon challenge, anyone?). But the so-called Blue Whale suicide challenge lies in that in-between area that leaves parents uneasy. 

    Supposedly born in Russia, the challenge -- also sometimes referred to as a game -- is said to give kids a series of tasks, akin to a scavenger hunt but with a much darker twist. It all goes down via social media, and the tasks include things like cutting a whale into your skin (hence the name of the challenge) and waking up in the middle of the night to think about death. The very last task on the list requires the kids to kill themselves

    Suicide is no joking matter, so it's no wonder parents are worried about this one. 

    Warnings have been popping up on American school websites and community Facebook pages for weeks now, telling parents to be wary of any reference to "blue whale" in speech or on social media. 

    Blue Whale Challenge

    More from CafeMom: Why My Kid Won't Be Watching '13 Reasons Why' & Its Dangerous Message

    Blue Whale challenge warning

    And even Instagram itself has crafted a warning that appears for anyone who searches the term #BlueWhaleChallenge:

    Blue Whale Challenge

    On the other hand, there are a number of sources that say this challenge is one that falls in murky territory, if not securely in the "fake news" category.

    It's not that hard to believe something like this could take hold -- or reach our most vulnerable kids. We're all too familiar with deadly social media"games" like the duct-tape challenge. And, of course, it's too often that we read about social media–related suicides, like the 11-year-old boy who reportedly took his own life after his girlfriend played a cruel online prank on him.

    Even if your kids haven't heard about it yet, they probably will soon, as rumors spread and kids start addressing it on social media, in one way or another.

    As of writing this, the following video has 77,775 views:

    [code]

    I know I uploaded this on my story but had to put it here because the stupidity is real. No offence is meant by this video if you're considering suicide please reach out for help. You all deserve to live happy lives. Personally I think this blue whale challenge is the most disgusting and fucked up thing on the internet. Please please don't play this game! Anyone who wants to play it must be vulnerable and in need of serious help. This video isn't meant to offend anyone I just want to put my point across in a light hearted manner. Much love to all my followers and I'm always here if any of you need to talk. �� // ��� #suicideprevention #bluewhalegame #bluewhale #bluewhalechallenge

    A post shared by L �� || DISCHARGED (@lolcamhs) on

    [/code]

    And posts like this are popping up:

    Blue Whale challenge warning

    Whether or not the Blue Whale is "real," adolescent psychologist Barbara Greenberg tells Yahoo Beauty: "This should not be referred to as a game. Basically, what happens is that depressed kids are led to believe that they are playing a game -- when in fact they are dealing with mental health issues." She adds, "I am not a parent blamer, but this is further reason why parents need to monitor their kids' behavior. Depressed kids who are isolated are susceptible. Parents should monitor changes in behavior."

    So what can parents do in the face of these rumors?

    Blue Whale challenge warning

    Even if we can't suss out their veracity, we can talk to our kids. We can ask them what they're hearing at school and what they're seeing online. We can encourage them to be open with us if they do see something about the so-called game. 

    And we can talk to them about suicide.

    More from CafeMom: 13 Apps That Make It Impossible for Teens to be Sneaky Online

    Whether there is a blue whale challenge or not, it's an inroad to a conversation every parent should be having anyway. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, and yet there are warning signs to watch for and things we can do. 

    Don't know where to start? The American Psychological Association has guidelines for talking to kids, and the toll-free suicide hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255) offers support not just for those who are struggling themselves but folks who don't know how to help someone else. You can also check out the wealth of resources offered by the Trevor Project on preventing suicide

    It always better to be vigilant -- and to be safe, than sorry.

     

    If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, please let them know they are not alone. Text START to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    mom stroller stolen at disney world

    When you spend the day in a fun, family-friendly spot like a Disney park, the last thing you expect is to have a stranger walk off with your baby gear. But that's exactly what one mom says happened to her. Lauren Collazo shared a viral photo she says shows a woman stealing her pricey stroller at Disney World. The shocking photo has landed the alleged criminal in hot water with the police ... and put parents on high alert.

    The photo popped up on Facebook in mid-April, shared by a couple who claimed their $1,800 Bugaboo stroller had been wheeled out of the stroller parking area at the Hollywood Studios theme park. 

    stroller stolen at disney world

    It wasn't just the stroller that went missing -- the family said there was a wallet in there (meaning the mom was stranded without any money once her stroller went missing), an expensive EpiPen, and more. But once they took to the Internet with their story, they found a whole lot of sympathy ... and help from some 700 folks who hit the share button. 

    facebook comment

    And it worked! The Orlando police say the woman in the picture is Michelle Craig, and she's turned herself in. Craig is now facing charges of grand theft after allegedly selling the stroller to another mom on Craigslist ... a mom who found the original owner's name on items in the stroller!

    More from CafeMom: I'm Not Rushing My Kid With Potty Training -- Despite All the Pressure

    Cops are apparently investigating whether Craig stole other high-end baby goods, like expensive diaper bags, and sold them online as well.

    If the whole story has you a little nervous about an upcoming summer vacation at a theme park or one of the myriad spots that require moms park their strollers outside, well, you're not alone. People have been coming out of the woodwork to share their own stories of stroller thievery that make you wonder just where all those "great deals" on some of those Facebook swap sites originated.


    The unfortunate incident is a good reminder to make sure you thoroughly check those stow-and-go compartments for anything that might be picked up by someone with sticky fingers. Even something like an EpiPen could suddenly walk off while you're inside having a blast with the kids. 

    More from CafeMom: We Have to Admit: This New Meme Has Moms Nailed

    It seems other moms have already thought of this, as they offered up a ton of good tips that could get you through the summer season. 

    You can hit the hardware store for some sort of lock. 


    bike lock idea

    Or go high tech with a tracking device: 

    track your stroller

    And as always, if you see something that doesn't look right in stroller parking, say something. We're all in this mom thing together!


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    90s onesie Growing up in the '90s meant running around with a Super Soaker and wearing jeans with legs big enough to fit you and your friend. Styles have changed. The world has changed. But if you've got kids, you can relive it all again, thanks to retro baby fashion! 

    (Yes, that does mean that the '90s are retro. Do you feel old yet?)

    From Clueless to Skee-Lo, the best of the '90s lives on in baby onesies. What can we say ... we like big blocks and we cannot lie!  


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    sunscreen burns baby

    Summer is just about here, and parents everywhere are stocking up on sunscreen to keep the kiddos safe. But a mom's scary warning about those aerosolized spray sunscreens may have you opting for the old-school lotions instead. Alarming photos of a burn Rebecca Cannon's baby girl got from her sunscreen (yes, you read that right) have been making the rounds on Facebook, and they're painful to see.

    In her Facebook post, Cannon says she picked up a can of Banana Boat brand SPF 50 spray sunscreen and followed the directions when applying it to her 14-month-old.

    Unfortunately, Kyla's face swelled up so badly that they had to go to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with second-degree burns.

    baby sunscreen

    In a separate update, Cannon says a dermatologist confirmed that the toddler's injury is a chemical burn -- likely caused by the sunscreen itself.

    sunscreen burns baby

    Spray sunscreen has gotten a pretty bad rep in recent years, with groups like Consumer Reports and the Environmental Working Group coming out to say that the aerosols are dangerous for little kids who don't know to hold their breath when you hit spray.

    More from CafeMom: Putting Sunscreen on a Toddler Is Worse Than Having a Root Canal

    It's suggested that if you use aerosolized sunscreen, you spray it on your hands, then use them to apply it to your kid's skin.

    But that's just what Rebecca says she did. So, it wasn't the spraying that caused little Kyla to break out. It was the sunscreen itself! It's no wonder parents are concerned if our old work-around trick might not protect our kids! 

    Baby Kyla's face actually got worse as time went on. Here's what she looked like a day later:

    baby sunscreen burn

    The little girl is doing okay thanks to some meds, and her mom says she's in good spirits, but the backlash against spray sunscreen has been fierce online.

    Other moms have been sharing their own stories of sunscreening gone wrong and showing off photos of their own little ones after using canned sun protection that they say didn't work very well. 

    banana boat sunscreen

    More from CafeMom:  

    And it's not just kids! It seems spray sunscreens have been shown to burn adults too:

    burned by sunscreen

    It's hard to tell what your kiddo -- or you -- will be sensitive to until it happens, but the Environmental Working Group offers up some tips for parents to find a sunscreen that will keep their kids safe without the risk of the toxic chemicals that are more likely to bother the skin.  

    There's also been some good advice floating around on Cannon's Facebook posts for parents who are nervous about trying something new: 


    Now's the time to test out that sunscreen ... before you're depending on it to keep your child safe on vacation! 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    high school graduation fight
    It's graduation season in America right now, and that means hundreds of thousands of people have been getting all dressed up and heading out to celebrate the accomplishments of kids who've worked hard to achieve something big. Well, folks are celebrating the kids. The people who turned an Arlington, Tennessee, graduation ceremony into a brawl, on the other hand, clearly didn't have the kids in mind. 

    Videos of the melee at the Bellevue Baptist Church -- where students from Arlington Community Schools were lining up for commencement -- have been making the rounds on social media, and they feature folks who are the very definition of "you're why people can't have nice things."

    It was a graduation. In a church. 

    More from CafeMom: This 'Depraved' Sex Ed Video Is Exactly What American Kids Need

    And folks started kicking and punching when they should have been clapping and cheering. 

    A series of videos on Facebook seem to show the very beginnings of the fight, or at least a woman very agitated over people saving seats: 

    [code][/code]

    A second video, shared by the same woman, shows the beginnings of the rumble ... the sort of behavior you expect in a WWE match, not at a gathering of people who have come together to honor 13 years of studying, test taking, and homework finishing.  

    [code][/code]

    Once a few people started, the domino effect kicked in:

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    [/code]

    The Internet is mixed on what's more shocking here ... the fact that people threw down at a graduation ceremony or the fact that they did so in a graduation ceremony inside a house of worship. 

    facebook comment

    facebook comment

    According to a district statement, private security managed to shut the whole thing down, and the 500-some graduates still got their diplomas, accepting more than $30 million in scholarship money as they embark on their next adventures. 

    More from CafeMom: Video Shows Students Basically Tortured With Pepper Spray for Extra Credit

    But there will always be a cloud over their day because people couldn't contain their emotions and focus on the children and their accomplishments. That's why the viral video today isn't this one, shared by the Bellevue church, but those above: 

    [code][/code]


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    dress code violations

    It's a story that's becoming all too familiar: A girl goes to school in an outfit she loves that's garnered her parents' approval. And then there's a phone call home. She's been "dress coded" at school -- judged by teachers or administrators (and often both) as dressed inappropriately for a school setting. 

    Yes, boys can be subjected to ridiculous school rules too, but an increasing number of girls have been speaking out in recent years to challenge dress codes that tend to be more restrictive for female students than their male peers. 

    Often it's those male peers that many school administrators call to mind when lecturing female students. One Michigan principal went viral in 2015 for stating dress codes are made to protect girls from becoming "sex objects."

    "Being wired more visual, males are attracted to shape and skin," Jim Bazen said in his now infamous rant. "Yes, a lot of bare skin or tightly covered (Spandex!) skin is a sexual distraction to a male. He will say, the more skin the better ... but this leads him to treat women as 'sex objects' rather than respect her for who she is. So, it would seem to me, that if you do not want women treated as 'sex objects,' you should tell them to cover more skin."

    The attitudes are unfair both to boys who are perfectly capable of existing in a classroom with a girl's clavicle without ripping her clothes off and ravishing her, and to girls who are being held responsible not just for their own bodies but boys' too. 

    Still, some say dress codes are there to protect students, so we decided to take a look at just what students are being protected from. Behold the outfits that schools have deemed wanting ... and for which girls lost precious class time to be lectured, forced to change, and in some cases threatened with severe punishment. 


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    Police and teens manchester attack
    A concert by Ariana Grande -- an artist popular with tween and teen aged kids -- has turned into a nightmare for families in England tonight. What is being called a terrorist attack rocked the Manchester concert arena at around 10:35 pm where the "Side to Side" singer was performing. So far police have confirmed a bomb went off just outside the venue and that there are at least 19 people dead and 50 seriously injured.

    What motivated the attack is as yet unknown, and rumors continue to swirl about the perpetrator, a possible suicide bomber, and how exactly he or she was able to exact a mass casualty event.

    [code]

    EXPLOSION AT MANCHESTER ARENA AND EVERYONE RAN OUT SO SCARY� pic.twitter.com/pJbUBoELtE

    — â�¡â�¡ (@hannawwh) May 22, 2017
    [/code]

    More From CafeMom: Seattle Dad Raises Nearly $25K, Becomes a Hero for Students Owing Lunch Money

    But as #RoomforManchester trends on Twitter, with folks coming out all over Manchester to offer lodging, and hundreds of tweets advising parents separated from their kids that children are being taken to a Manchester Holiday Inn, it's hard not to see the latest terrorist event to rock the world as an attack on that we hold most dear: childhood.

    Grande's crowd was reportedly full of teenagers there to see a 23-year-old singer, who got her start on Nickelodeon's Victorious and whose songs are a staple of the teen social media app musical.ly. The terrorist had to know that the attack would be on a crowd full of kids.

    More From CafeMom: Dad's Brave Essay About Losing Daughter to Heroin Hits on Every Parent's Fear

    Parents have flooded social media, sharing stories about their own kids who were at the concert:

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    Vicky describes the moment she pulled her daughter from the crowd leaving the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. @GranadaReportspic.twitter.com/zIZCxxevWs

    — Michael Worrall (@mikeyworrall1) May 23, 2017
    [/code]

    And contemplating near misses:

    daughter not at concert

    While upset and devastated onlookers have lashed out at anyone who would attack kids:

    Tweet kids at Ariana Grande

    cowards kill kids at concert tweet

    More From CafeMom:  
    See the Heavenly Photo That's Bringing Families Comfort After a Fatal Car Crash

    There are sure to be more details as police and other emergency workers make sense of the scene in Manchester, but the horror unfolding has left even parents whose kids are nowhere near Manchester unsettled. We can't help but be reminded that this is a world in which our kids now live ... a world where a terrorist would attack a concert full of kids. 

    The kids who were at that concert could just as easily have been our own. 

    kids at ariana grande


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    home birth photos

    When Morag Hastings shows up at a birth, the doula and photographer is always excited if she sees the parents have opted to keep their older children around for the event.

    "I love attending births with kids," the owner of Apple Blossom Families in Vancouver, British Columbia, tells CafeMom. "It is such a beautiful, normal, and life-educational experience. They gain so much confidence from getting to be present for their siblings' birth. Even if they are a bit nervous at times, they often reflect back on the experience with positive statements like 'I helped catch the baby.'"

    Every birth is special -- for both the mom and Morag -- but a recent birth turned into a true "family affair," with Mary and Konstantin's 5-year-old and 2½-year-old running around, and a special visitor at the end. Ever wondered what it's like to have your kids attend your birth? Morag (and Mary) shared the gorgeous photos with CafeMom!


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    newborn
    iStock.com/eldimir

    The term "lotus birth" sounds peaceful, and it's taking social media by storm ... but what is it? Moms who choose lotus birth don't allow for the baby's umbilical cord to be cut or the placenta to be removed immediately after birth. Instead, a full lotus birth means allowing the placenta to detach from the baby when the umbilical cord naturally decomposes and falls off baby's tummy. But while some moms are writing essays on why they don't want to cut the cord and posting images of their infants with the placenta still attached on Instagram, the issue isn't exactly cut-and-dried in the medical community.

    Typically moms who opt for a lotus birth will tote the placenta around in a small bag, even wrapping it into baby's swaddle. To help the placenta dry up, many will apply salt throughout the day and use essential oils to mask the smell. Others keep the placenta in a basin of water. Supporters of the practice believe keeping babies attached to the placenta offers physical and emotional benefits, but there are lingering questions about how safe it is.

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    A post shared by RDS (@rizkadwisept) on

    [/code]

    The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) issued a statement against the practice of keeping babies connected to their placenta all the way back in 2008, when an increasing number of British moms started asking doctors and midwives to let them put off cord-cutting. The docs didn't pull any punches at the time, noting moms have the right to make medically informed choices about their own bodies, but they did cite an infection risk to babies if the placenta isn't detached.

    "If left for a period of time after the birth, there is a risk of infection in the placenta which can consequently spread to the baby," the RCOG's docs said. 

    More from CafeMom: 14 Kids on the Surprising Things They Say Makes a Great Mom

    Fast-forward to 2012, and popular blogger and ob-gyn Dr. Amy Tuteur, who goes by the Skeptical OB online, published her own take-down of lotus birth, calling it "the wackiest childbirth practice ever."

    Her take on the trend, which is also known as "non-severance" birth, is that it's "a bizarre practice with no medical benefit and considerable risk, particularly the risk of massive infection."

    Nevertheless, the practice still has its advocates -- and not just among the moms Instagramming their lotus births. Dr. Sarah Buckley, an MD from Australia, has become popular in natural birth circles in part for her book, Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering: A Doctor's Guide to Natural Childbirth and Gentle Early Parenting Choices. She's written about her own lotus births (she's a mom of four), with cords that detached anywhere from three to six days after birth and placentas they later planted beneath a tree.  

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    A post shared by Ginkgo Philippa (@blue_storm) on

    [/code]

    Buckley calls the practice "a beautiful and logical extension of natural childbirth [that] invites us to reclaim the so-called third stage of birth, and to honour the placenta, our baby's first source of nourishment."

    More from CafeMom: 

    Doula Mary Ceallaigh, who describes herself as a "midwifery consultant" online, even named her business -- Lotus Fertility -- after the practice, which she refers to as "neonatal umbilical integrity" on her website. On the site, Ceallaigh breaks down the two kinds of lotus birth. The short version, where the cord is cut four to six hours after birth, is common around the world, Ceallaigh says, while the "full" version that's been getting the most attention lately is less common but has a long history.

    There has been movement in the medical community of late that seems to shift a bit more toward the idea of a lotus birth: the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologysts (ACOG), as well as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Nurse–Midwives, all came out in early 2017 behind delayed cord clamping, which means allowing the cord to remain uncut for a period after birth, letting all of the cord blood pump its way into baby. 

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    However, delayed cord clamping is still supposed to occur within 30 to 60 seconds after birth (and in some cases up to two minutes or longer), per the ACOG recommendations. And many doctors (and midwives) will decline to allow the practice of lotus births because there's been little study showing medical benefit. 

    More from CafeMom: 

    As Dr. Robert Atlas, chair of obstetric and gynecology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, tells CafeMom, "The function of the placenta is essentially over the minute the placenta detaches and stops pulsating and sending blood over to the newborn. There is no medical benefit to the mother or the newborn to continue to allow the umbilical cord to be attached to the placenta. 

    "I can use the example of animals," Atlas adds. "When the animal delivers in the wild, they do not leave the placenta attached to the calf (or whatever the animal is called); the mother actually eats the placenta to get rid of the blood and remnants of a birth to try and decrease the smell that may attract predators."

    If that vision doesn't have you rethinking lotus birth, Atlas has this to add: "I don't think there is any increased risk of infection, but dying tissue smells horribly."


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    tova leigh
    Mom blogger Tova Leigh isn't known for holding back -- she's gained a huge social media following for sharing her thoughts about just about anything (literally, her blog is called My Thoughts About Stuff). So when Tova came out on Facebook this week to admit her recent selfie was the result of 20 different attempts to get the "right" photo, and posted a look at what was going down behind the scenes, it's no surprise people reacted. 

    What Tova didn't seem to expect? The outpouring of love for the image of her, as she describes, "in all [her] mum-tum, cellulitis, granny pants and absolutely zero thigh gap glory!"

    More From CafeMom: 9 Things Moms Should 'Never' Wear or Even Try

    Tova Leigh

    "Not the perfect sexy body by some dictated standard, but imperfectly fabulous because it is real and it is mine," she writes.

    Her post, which features the original "20 take" photo of Tova's face, plus a larger image of her whole body in undies and a corset and the hashtages #Fuckbodygoals and #keepingitreal, has generated more than 1,000 comments and more than 7,000 shares, most of which fall under the "thank you for being REAL" category, like this one:

    facebook comment

    Tova's being lauded for her bravery in sharing a photo that hasn't been cropped, airbrushed, and basically edited within an inch of its life, and she certainly deserves a hearty helping of applause. Not least because she's taking on a dangerous issue we all contend with, even when we don't realize it: the fakery that is social media. 

    Scientists have found that logging on to catch up with our friends has a tendency to make us both jealous and depressed ... because we spend time looking at these carefully crafted versions of the people we think we know and love. 

    More from CafeMom: 18 Celebs Who Shut Down Body Shamers & Had Us Bowing at Their Feet

    But it's all a sham, as Tova's viral post shows all too well -- at least two-thirds of us are lying our pants off on Instagram and Facebook both, posting photos that make life look better, writing witty statuses that took us hours (okay, minutes, but still) to craft. Nothing is spur of the moment. It's all plotted. It's all fake ... or at least "adjusted."

    As Tova points out, "So next time you see a 'perfect' image on IG or FB that makes you feel bad, remember this: Social media is full of sh-t. You are beautiful just the way you are. And there is nothing sexier than being real."

    The question is ... why do we waste all that time? Why do gorgeous moms like Tova spend all that time taking 20 photos to find the "perfect" selfie, when photos like the behind-the-scenes image she shared are not only equally beautiful but just as likely to forge a connection with friends and family?

    And what is it we miss while we're spending all of that time trying to be some better version of ourselves? Even if it's just a few minutes, wouldn't the time we spend taking 20 selfies be better spent snuggling with our kids on the couch? Or catching a few more minutes of the last episode of House of Cards while the kids are asleep? Or Facebook messaging with a friend you haven't seen in weeks?

    More from CafeMom: 15 Moms Who Epically Shut Down Body Shamers

    The time we spend trying to make ourselves over for social media may make us feel better, but it doesn't make our friends or our families think any better of us ... at least not according to science.  

    As Tova herself realized, thanks to her awesome fans, people aren't looking for an alternate version of you. They want you. The real you. That's why they became friends (or, in her case, fans) in the first place. 



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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    benneton ad

    You've heard the saying, a photo is worth a thousand words? The folks running social media for the United Colors of Benetton are probably wishing they'd let the photo of three little boys that they posted to Instagram recently do all the talking. The image shows the little boys with their arms wrapped around each other, a perfect picture of friendship/promotion for the brand's colorful line of shorts for kids. But the caption beside it has the Internet hot and bothered over some not-so subtle sexism. 

    "Girls not allowed!" the caption screams (seriously, they added an exclamation mark on this one).

    benetton girls not allowed
    benetton/Instagram

    While plenty of brands like Princess Awesome or Svaha are working to make their clothes more inclusive, Benetton seems perfectly fine with sending the message that parents (and kids) should be sticking to one very specific side of the store and that wearing the "other" type of clothing is somehow wrong. That kids really don't realize which gender clothes were originally made for -- until the marketers show up -- doesn't seem to have crossed their minds.

    More from CafeMom: 16 Words You Didn't Know Before You Became a Mom

    People are looking at Benetton's shorts ad this week, and they're sounding off about the toxic masculinity in both the photo and the caption.

    benetton shorts instagram


    belcolt/Instagram

    benetton instagram comment

    And it's not just about the shorts. It's also about the subtle sexism implied in the caption itself. The person who wrote the caption surely thought it was cute and innocent -- maybe they had the Lil' Rascals and their He Man Woman Haters club in mind. Maybe you're nodding along thinking hey, "no girls allowed" is something every little boy says at some point.

    See, the problem isn't three little boys gathering together, deciding girls have cooties and telling them to buzz off. That's fairly normal behavior. The problem is that we, as a society, encourage this sort of exclusionary behavior. We pat boys on the back and tell them it's cute, instead of sitting them down for a gentle discussion on why it's not okay to be mean to other kids, certainly not mean to someone because of her gender. 

    The problem is further compounded when we let these "boys will be boys" attitudes leak out beyond the playground, and allow them to become accepted societal mores that dictate how girls should think, behave, and, yes, dress.

    More from CafeMom: The 8 Best Kids' Sunscreens -- and the 8 Most Dangerous

    The company's responded to the brouhaha with assurances that its shorts are also for girls.

    benetton shorts response

    Indeed it does sell a Bermuda short for girls that's fairly similar to the pair sported by the boys above ... and surprisingly cheaper at $12.50, compared to $24.50 for the "boy" version. If only it'd focused on inclusion rather than exclusion among kids, people might be more inclined to talk about summer clothes instead of sexism.


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    Post by Jeanne Sager.

    pharmacist

    When you walk up to the pharmacy desk with a doctor's prescription for your child's medicine, you're expecting to walk out the door with that medicine in hand. You're not expecting to be
    shamed by the pharmacist for the prescription drugs you let your child take. But that's exactly what one New Mexico mom says happened to her at a Walgreens pharmacy last year, and it's why she's turned to the ACLU for help.

    The mom -- identified as M.S. in court documents to protect her child's privacy -- says she went to the Albuquerque pharmacy with three prescriptions in hand. One was for Misoprostol, a drug that can be used for stomach ulcers or to soften the cervix for an IUD insertion, which is what the teen would be undergoing the next day. The drug can also be used in conjunction with another to chemically induce an abortion

    M.S. says the pharmacist refused to fill the prescription, citing his own "personal beliefs," and turned her away. When she challenged him on it, pointing out that he didn't know her daughter's medical history (she was reportedly experiencing difficult periods) or the reason she was using the drug, M.S. says the pharmacist's response was "oh, I have a pretty good idea."

    You can just hear him saying it, can't you? In the voice your grade school principal used when the kid who was always eating his boogers swore he didn't do it this one time? 

    More from CafeMom: Sexist 'Girls Not Allowed' Clothing Ad Is Pissing Parents Off

    The family has got the ACLU and the Southwest Women's Law Center on their side in the fight against Walgreens. Together they recently filed two complaints stating that the pharmacist's refusal to give this mom her kid's medicine amounts to sex discrimination, which is illegal under the New Mexico Human Rights Act. Walgreens, meanwhile, has released statements saying company policy is to allow pharmacists to decline to fill a script based on personal beliefs but that they must turn the job over to someone else, so the patient is still served. 

    But it's hard not to wonder why someone goes to school to be a pharmacist at all if this is his or her attitude toward patients and their needs. Pharmacists are supposed to help people on the path to getting better, not stand there with their arms crossed over their chests and a snide grin on their face, making you feel worse. 

    There's certainly room (and an obligation) for a pharmacist to speak up if they spot a medication issue that could put a kid at risk -- it's why using the same pharmacy for all your prescriptions is helpful. Pharmacists can catch drug interactions before they happen. That's literally what they're trained to do. 

    But medical training is focused on the patient. Personal beliefs are just that. They're about you and not about the patient. 

    This kid spoke with her doctor about her medical needs. She had both doctor and parental support. 

    How dare he say he knows what's better for this kid than all three people in such a situation, three people who are much more intimately familiar with the teenager's health history and current situation? 

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    Can you imagine the reverse? If a parent walked into a pharmacy, knew nothing about the person on the other side of the counter, and said it's his or her personal belief that medicine is not useful and the pharmacy should be closed immediately? Or if the pharmacist walked into a grocery store where the Jewish clerk said the patron wasn't allowed to buy a non-kosher hot dog because the clerk happens to keep kosher? 

    Personal beliefs are fine. But they're just that -- personal. Unless you're speaking up based on some actual knowledge (i.e., a possible drug interaction), imposing your beliefs on someone else is crossing a very distinct line. 


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