Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy birthday, baby Charlie Linden!

Charlie was born 2 years ago, November 1st, 2005. It seems like a long, long time ago. I know most moms are supposed to say it went so fast, and of course I can't believe he is 2, because 2 sounds like a little kid, and he is not a little kid at all, he is a baby, but as I get older and as my children get older, I get more perspective on just how funny it is to think any 2 year old is a--quote--KID. But I know I thought little Greta was this big giant woman when she turned 2...its a firstborn thing....

So, the dear baby is turning 2 tomorrow. This is funny because that is the age when some folks get freaky about nursing, diapers, co-sleeping, etc. But he is just a little fat rollypoly baby, same as yesterday, same as tomorrow. His hands are little plump stumps, he walks like a duckie, he rides in a baby carrier, he sleeps in a crib. Sometimes.

So, I will save all my sniff sniffies for 3. He is still a baby, and we love him eternally. Happy birthday, little sweet baby head!

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Here is a link for my friend who just this week really laid into me for "Still" being angry about my own life experiences.

And for the commenter a few entries back who got upset at me for using the word RAPE.

And for all my sisters who are getting sliced up tonight.

and for all of the @#$%&*& people who beg and implore me to hush hush cheer up take your knifings and move on, for your own healthy state of mind! Move on, move on--

I HAVE moved on. Life moves you on. Time ticks on. But shit is STILL messed up and like any abuse situation in this world, there need to be activists who STAY pissed and who WORK for change.

So, no, I will not placate the queasy. I will not "drop it". It doenst make me some sick freak who is "wallowing in my past", it makes me an aware caring person who refuses to turn a blind eye to shit that is BAD.

Thank you, SageFemme for the linky head's up. Thank you to this new blogger for sayin it so boldly. Thank you and my deepest empathies and sympathies to all the Mamas who have been butchered, and thank you to my heart and my brain for lining up and for that pathway refusing to be blocked or cluttered from what it is that I have concerns about in this world.

P.S. I have had non-consentual sex. It was a billion times worse getting sectioned. That is MY life's experience, and nobody gets to negate it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Homebirth stats needed for old friend

Ok, someone got my goat. I wasn't going to let them, but they did. They asked me for proof that homebirth is "actually safer" than hospital birth, etc, and I just am not in the mood to really get all into this right now. I guess they wanted some of those good studies with the stats and numbers.....I am so past that part of my personal life's education, if that makes any sense, and my heart just wouldnt be into the sleuthing when I get so little time online anymore, anyhow.

But, admittedly, it would be cool to have some sidebar stuff, and yep, to send to my old accquaintance who laid the challenge before me, though I do not understand just why they did...

So, dear readers, if you've got links, can you please leave me some? I wouldnt mind brushing up on this stuff myself. Thank you in advance :)


SO sexist and messed up!

I was screwin around on Wikipedia the other night and ran across the most rediculous, hateful thing:

"A persistent instability of mood, involving numerous periods of mild depression and mild elation. This instability usually develops early in adult life and pursues a chronic course, although at times the mood may be normal and stable for months at a time. The mood swings are usually perceived by the individual as being unrelated to life events. The diagnosis is difficult to establish without a prolonged period of observation or an unusually good account of the individual's past behaviour. Because the mood swings are relatively mild and the periods of mood elevation may be enjoyable, cyclothymia frequently fails to come to medical attention. In some cases this may be because the mood change, although present, is less prominent than cyclical changes in activity, self-confidence, sociability, or appetitive behaviour. If required, age of onset may be specified as early (in late teenage or the twenties) or late.
The essential feature is a persistent instability of mood, involving numerous periods of mild depression and mild elation, none of which has been sufficiently severe or prolonged to fulfill the criteria for bipolar affective disorder or recurrent depressive disorder. This implies that individual episodes of mood swings do not fulfill the criteria for any of the categories described under manic episode or depressive episode."

Cyclothymia??? Gimme a fricking break! What kind of robotic freak-a-zoid wrote this shit? Changes in mood now have a disorder? Oh, the issues I have had with the DSM over the years, such a messed up scene, the whole psych community is, huh? Look, the MILLISECOND I read this, I was thrust into a CYCLOTHYMIC moment, do ya hear me? My MOODS were a-shifting, believe me! I was DANGEROUSLY SWINGING!

Where do I start, with the male model as the norm for all humans? With the logic versus emotion bit? Head versus heart, bla bla bla? So everysingle interesting person on this Earth has this disease, I am concluding, right? I sure as hell do. Proud of it. I am a cycling female and it ain't a disorder, it is normal and natural and I wouldnt want to be whatever flour and water emotionless dough-girl the DSM would want me to be to garner it's NORMAL label anyhow, so PFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!

Cyclothymia. Bite me. So rude, I am aghast. I feel an episode of mild depression followed by mild elation coming on! Grab my meds!!!!!!!! Lock her, up, she's gonna get all mildly excitable on your ass!

I really do hate so many things (evil grin) and it is so, so fun.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007


If something goes wrong, it is all your fault.
If something goes right, you got lucky.

This is the repeat mantra and theme of motherhood. You can apply it from pre-conception to pregnancy to birth, post partum, breastfeeding, teething, sleeping, crying, crawling, walking, talking, toddling, lving, learning, homeschool/choice of schools.....

There will ALWAYS be someone clucking their toungue at you, wagging their finger at you, knowing what is "best" for you. Screw all of that. Smash it and stomp it and smear it into the cracks in the concrete.

These *people*, who we worry so so much about impressing, pleasing, convincing, converting haven't walked one second in your shoes, and they never will. Nobody can. Not your lover, not your child, nobody can walk in your actual shoes. This can be terrifying, liberating, helpful, grounding, scary, empowering, awesome, sucky, but nothing changes the fact that it is true.

So, Mamas, keep that little path that goes from your brain to your heart nice and clean. Sweep that path and keep it swept. Only you walk that path, and you have a choice who to let clutter it up or not.

You ARE a good mother and no, it ain't just LUCK. You know that, sometimes boldly and sometimes very very faintly. But MamaJoy is giving you permission right now to be as proud and as righteous as you oughta be, everyday. Show it to the world, show it to your babies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't you wanna see a real doctor, honey?

There are still a few people in my life who refuse to hear me and Steve tell about our prenatal care and birth experience with our midwives. I hesitated to write about this because, for my UC friends, there might be some gaps or some defensiveness or what have you. (I wish you only knew how much I respect and understand what it is that the UC families are about!!) but this is about midwifery, so maybe the few folks who need to read this will end up at my blog, and maybe they will finally get it. And if not, that's ok, too.

My midwives checked my blood pressure every visit. By hand. With a cuff. Carefully. More than once if needed.

My midwives checked my heart rate every visit. By hand. Carefully.

My first midwife weighed me because I wanted her to. My second one gave me the choice and I opted not to.

My midwives checked my urine with the medical strips. They also let me do it myself and left me the strips. I had a history of UTI's and of excessive protein in the urine and I wanted this done.

My midwives took blood from me at a few key points in my pregnancies. I do not remember them all but one was to see if my blood did the thing its supposed to do around 28 weeks and it did :) right on my couch. Lovely.

My midwives felt my tummy and felt my baby. They warmed their hands first and asked me and the baby's permission to touch us. Measuring the fundal height was only a small part of this, and it was funny to see how erratically the number grew and changed depending on position, etc. No freaking out when I "measured big" and no freaking out when I "shrank" one week.


My midwives shared good books with me, dog eared ones with little pencil notes in the margins. Books like Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, and Naturally Healthy Pregnancy, Mommy Diagnostics and Wise Woman Herbal.

My midwives turned me on to bulk teas and made me a lifelong fan.

My midwives turned me on to tinctures and insisted on Herb Pharm as their favorite brand available widely.

My midwives turned me on to Rainbow Lite prenatal vitamins and for the first time, my barfing lasted 4 months instead of 9.

My midwives took better care of me than anyone ever has in my life. They listened more than any shrink ever could, they respected me like an adult capable of making choices and they cared about me and my family and our journey to birth and beyond.

There really isn't anything else I can explain about Midwifery care.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

buried alive

I am so angry about the way that I was abandoned after both of my c-sections, I scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream and scream scream and I scream.

"What if something went wrong?"

What if something went wrong?

This one sentiment is, I think, the real pivotal point to wrap our heads around when we contemplate, discuss, envision, consider, support, and/or choose homebirth.

For many mothers, fathers, couples, grandparents, friends, neighbors, strangers, reporters, authors, nay-sayers, and well-wishers alike, I really think this is the Big One. You know what they picture--and you know that for some people, you can tell them and tell them and tell them all about what you would do if such and such occurred, and they still wont care, still wont hear you.

So, what is really involved here is multi-layered and complex. (You know how I abhor trying to write impressive statistical scientific essays...)
You have the basic fact that childbirth in the popular culture is based in fear, secrets, and avoidance of lawsuit.
You have the basic fact that no one, not even obstetricians, knows what natural spontaneous unhindered unmanaged childbirth even looks like, sounds like, IS like.
You have the basic fact that there are huge amounts of bucks wrapped up in the system that has taught us all that we cannot think for ourselves, we cannot seek information from each other, and that only experts can save us from the perils of our life processes.
You have the basic fact that most things natural and whole are secreted away, hushed, hidden, even reviled and feared as a matter of habit and commonplace.
You have the basic fact that a dramatic "thank goodness for the doc because of XYZ" childbirth story is probably the ONLY kind anyone of your moms, dads, neighbors, pals or enemies have ever had any exposure to whatsoever.

Roll all that into this big nebulous that is the murky imagery that floats around in *most* folks' heads when they hear that you are pregnant, and then tell them you are going to have a homebirth. they do not hear you say "we are planning a homebirth", they hear "We aren't going to the hospital".

The Hospital, the big safe magical place where all the guardians are with all of their minty fresh technology and impressive masked men? You're NOT going? Wha-wha-what do you mean???

You just shook up their little snowglobes in more ways than one. Be aware of this on some level. You don't have to give one hoot, but it helps to be aware of it.

When you demonstrate to some people that you are willing to forge your own path, that you are willing to eschew popular custom, that you are willing to follow instinct and reason and personal research, you can unwillingly piss them off. How dare you do what they could not. How dare you question your reality when they could not. (How dare you succeed, lets not forget, either.)

They might see you as foolish, but if they stick around long enough to hear all of your lovingly gathered safe birth statistics, they might just get bristlier. So they will turn to fear and aggression, out of habit and needing to remain within their own comfort zones. Especially older people. Not everyone wants to take their life by the horns and bust out of the box and stand for wildly progressive change. For some people, even talking like that will upset them. Que sera.

So, in order to talk you out of your choices, in order to make their own selves get back to a more comfortable zone, they will unconsciously think "hey, why does anyone go to the hospital to have a baby--oh yeah--cuz its so safe" and then they will bust out the WHAT IF SOMETHING WENT WRONG?

A perfectly legitimate question--for all of our lives experiences, really. We try from our first waking moments in the morning to the end of our day to avoid injury, danger, and death, right? Brush your teeth, buckle up, don't grab the hot stove, careful with the knife, don't throw glass, shut your eyes tightly in a sandstorm. We try to be safe naturally. So the actual question is not so dumb--I spent every single visit with my midwives asking variants of this exact question, and the UC-ers inform their selves the same way, most likely---educate yourself on negative scenarios involving labor and delivery and then plan solutions and options.

What would granny and pappy say if you told them that babies and mothers die ALL THE TIME in the hospitals?? For alot of folks, this would end the conversation because that would be too much truth and too much radicalism and too much reality chipping away at the Big Beloved Buildings of our communities. They might counter with something about "well, in rare cases", etc. But that's just it. Birth has no guarantees, your living through today has no guarantees. Life has no guarantees. But for some of us, instead of just lining up at the doors of the local popular OB/GYN's office for 3 minutes visits by grumpy strange doctors who don't know our names, for scheduled inductions and unnecessary interventions that put our bodies and our babies and our psyches at grave risk, like so many sheeple, we stand up and choose something different. Something we researched and heart wrenched and soul searched about, some of us for years. We choose to have our babies at home, at birth centers, in water, in forests, in peace, in safety, in dignity, in wholeness, in humanity, in sanity.

If anyone ever says to me "what if something went wrong?" in regards to birth, I can tell them it already has, and then show them all my external scars. I don't care if we are in the middle of Sunday dinner, and in fact, I hope we are. They can consider themselves lucky that my deepest scars are inside of me, or Id show those, too.

Monday, October 8, 2007

What I needed, at that moment

I always wanted my blog to be the kind where the real meat was in the comments section, and it is happening lately--so thank you to everyone who takes the time out of their days and nights to come here!!!!

These comments sections are fueling new topics for me faster than I can get them all down, even if I had nothing to do all day but sit and here's one out of the last post's comment area:

I had two c sections in the hospital, and both times, here is what I think I needed to save me from the surgeon's knife--or at very least--what I wish I could go back and experience, try, and then feel something closer to peace regarding the whole things.

When I was ten centimeters dilated, and hooked up to every flipping birth-intervention device there is, EVERY SINGLE ONE YOU CAN HAVE, (I think) I needed this:

A big strong positive female presence to come into the room, and unplug me from everything. First she would have to be VERY stern--even a bit mean. She might need to grab my face hard in her hands and STARE into my eyes as all those intoxicants wore off. I even give her permission to smack me or shake me. Once she unplugged me, she would immediately give me a few homeopathics under the tongue and long, nourishing, icy cold drink of some amazing beverage--maybe a laborade or an iced tea or hell, even some RedBull. She would help me to stand up and rub out my neck and shoulders and back really well, and get me out of that fricking hospital gown. She'd lead me over to an area of the floor that had some carpet and a big birthing ball, and Id get on my hands and knees, with my face and upper body draped over the ball. She'd see to it that I had a ponytail holder and a fan blowing on me. She'd turn the lights way down, and she would go sit in a nearby rocking chair. My husband would immediately join me down on the carpet area and we would labor together. Id push and Id bellow and Id rock that baby down. Mickey would have come down just fine, little 39 weeker, little under 9 pounder, and my obstetrical history would be forever righted. Baby #4,Charlie, same thing--although he was huge, 12 pounds, he was still smaller headed and chested than Baby #3,Casey was who was born at home just fine.

I am not saying some carpet square on a hospital floor is my ideal birth. I like home, I like water, I like freedom, etc. I am talking about how in the hell I was going to get out of the upside-down-paralyzed-turtle-rape situation that I found myself in twice. I should have had midwifery care from my first baby on, but that is not what I am referring to here.

I often 'talk to' this imaginary woman, and wonder who she is. I can see her face and feel her presence here and there in my life. I'm not too into ghosts and stuff but she is very real and important to me. Maybe she is me when I am an old midwife. She is very tall and quite large, maybe 300 pounds. She has ruddy cheeks and dresses in flowy fabrics, and is quite strong and serious and powerful and forthright. She had darkish hair and smelled of dusty herbs and ivory soap.

Midwives do it, too

A recent post by Radical Midwife caused me to re-discuss this:

I have been having difficulty with that show House Of Babies. ( a TV show which chronicles a birth center which specializes in unmedicated births) First I praised it all over my blog, wow wow natural water birth on TV, yay yay. But then I was getting really uncomfortable with how EXTREMELY hands on the staff was. Each birth was EXACTLY the same. Episode after episode: Mom laying backwards in the jacuzzi, sitting on her tailbone, them telling her pushpushpushpushpush stop stop stop stop, pulling on her baby's head, plopping him on onto her chest, talking talking blabbing blabbing all the while she is laboring, joking, chit chatting, teasing her....and then in 3rd stage, there was no reverence, there was cell phone calls and jokes and just LOADS of intervention.This is not respecting the birth process. Not even close! I wonder how many of her clients have excessive perineal damage and excessive bleeding. They don't show that part.

Why do so many midwives act like so many doctors? When will the real need for hands off birth guardians be understood and the void filled all over the country?

Its not about waterbirth versus landbirth, or even unassisted versus attended to me right now. Its just about the huge ball of assumptions that birthing women are IN DANGER, that things WILL GO WRONG, and that just BIRTHING is too risky. The whole thing. Too risky. (insert favorite horror story, aggressive/defensive language, historical examples to fill and fill and fill the mother's mind and personal space and home until she is this enormous ball of fear and concern and passivity and need)

It was hard enough for me to feel mighty and healthy and strong and capable by the end of my pregnancies, to be quite honest. I felt sore and tired and slow and cumbersome and even a bit incapable and vulnerable. I will even shatter the glory-of-pregnancy picture and say that I found it degrading to be all most constantly peeing or trying in vein to wipe myself of get myself dressed. I did not like my pubis symphasis pain and how it hobbled me. I didnt like that I wasnt able to run to the store or clean my house or even sit in regular chairs without my feet sweling up and turning purple. I didnt feel powerful, I felt awful, and I wasn't sleeping, either. Also, it is pretty clear that I wasnt getting any help with my daily activities until 7pm when my husband got home to the filthy home and weepy wife and scraggly kids.

For me, it took serious focused meditation and shutting myself into my bedroom with all my natural and good and loving holistic pregnancy and midwifery books all around me to feel even slightly like a powerful Earth goddess or a giver of golden power. "Suggestible" would be an understatement. If I had a care provider who brought their own mistrust of me and my body and birth to the situation, it didn't take much for me to absorb all those vibes. Yuck.

I think Ina May needs to put out an uplifting audio CD-- or maybe I will!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

More double standards disguised as feminism.

I was made aware of this article about "Mommy Makeovers" from someone who, I am assuming, thought that I would be 100% outraged at the woman-hating idea of it all.

This is a new trend in plastic surgery where they do your boobs and belly, and sometimes more, and sell it as a package deal, with some corny little name like a MomJob. The aformentioned article presents a good argument at how messed up this is, and how hateful to women it is that we mothers are being made to feel like we are damaged goods after we so gloriously gave life to the next generation, and how sick of a society we live in to not honor our post-partum bodies, etc. It proposes a fearsome day when hardly anyone will know what a postpartum body looks like, and how abnormal is gonna be the new normal. Yeah, yeah, I nodded along in agreement. my own secret hypocritical ironic whatever you wanna call it mind, I didn't really feel all THAT shocked or disturbed by what I read. You see, I have been wanting to write about plastic surgery/cosmetic surgery for some time now. But I knew it could be a very polarizing topic, and I worried that probably nothing positive would come of me discussing it, so I waited. But here is the perfect time for me to come clean, and if you want to think I hate mothers or women's bodies or myself, then who gives a flying crap? Those who know me and the track record that I have and the way I conduct myself will know the real deal. Those who have a low ability to put themselves in others' shoes will also have a hard time connecting to my opinions and experiences, and hey, that's not my problem. So here goes.

Given that I basically agree that this world is an effed up place and that women have been sufferin from a bad case of The Hate since the beginning of time, let me be the first to say that I think that ALL women are super, super beautiful. Huge women, lumpy bumpy roly poly women, old women, saggy women, I just do not think that it is for me to therefore deduce that they are all necessarily comfortable. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but comfort and happiness, well, those things are purely subjective. Are they beautiful? Are they comfortable? In their clothing. In their activities. In their daily lives.

(Now, I'm not talking about any kind of neo-psycho-babble "comfortable". as in "comfortable in her own skin"--no--I am talking about actual day-to-day comfort. )

I am talking about myself and many other women--people--mothers who, in this modern era, have the option to alter their body through surgery to improve their quality of living. Whatever that means to them. No matter if you think it is silly, shallow, or hate-based, unnecessary, media-fueled or just plain sick, I would like to point out something that this article, in my opinion, misses:

We are so ready to be open and accepting and "p.c." when someone wants to have cosmetic surgery in some cases, aren't we? The poor kid with the "crooked" nose...the poor guy with the big birthmark...what about sex changes? Advanced dental work?....these things are commonplace now, even among the not-wealthy, and for the most part, we all feel like good for them, or you go girl or whatnot.

But then we hear about Mommy-Makeovers and oooh that's so horrible! We think of clever things to say about stretch marks are badges of courage, and we all bust out our Willendorf statuettes. We say things about how sick the whole world is and how in a matriarchy, boobs down to our laps would be the hottest thing going, and how revering a teenage or even pre-pubescent form is just hateful pedophilia and detestment for the amazing life giving force that is motherhood--am i right? am I wrong?. But you know what? Does anyone smell a little pile of bullshit over in the corner? 'cuz I sure do--and its called unfair, unjust martyrdom and inequality for mothers.

We "Accept" every Tom, Dick, and Harry in Hollywood who botoxes their face into oblivion, we put up with hair extensions and orange spray tans and fake noses/chins/eylids day in and day out without so much as a comment anymore. But if a woman doesn't want a numb SACK of discolored skin hanging over 1/2 of her crotch, we take issue with that? If someone doesn't enjoy living with the discomfort and often sorrowful daily reminder of her c-section(s) being chafed and irritated and squashed into her underwear and outerwear day and night, she is shallow or vein or a product of a sick culture? And heaven forbid she want to feel active or sexual--we don't even want to talk about that, right? and what of breasts? sure, its easy to scoff at the assumed desire for tiny, upturned, high-on-the collarbone breasts, but what about so many women who suffer through pinched nerves, burning shoulder pain, spending hundreds of dollars on bras and skin creams for their gouged in shoulder-grooves from the straps digging in, from rashes and sores around their ribcage from elastic digging into their flesh--are they jerkos, too?

Think of how many innovations we have in these modern times. We have eyeglasses for those who might have been cast aside as useless to society only a few hundred years ago. We have back braces for those suffering from curvatures of the spine, and we have braces for maligned teeth. These things help the person cosmetically, for sure, as well as having health benefits most of the time. And surgeries-I could list life saving and life changing surgeries for paragraph after paragraph, but I think you can fill in the blanks.

Dear reader, what this is, is just more double standards. But not in the way that the stance of the article took. This is about mothers being excluded on the grounds of high morals from something that lots of other people are getting done without any fuss.

Yes, lots of the women say things like "I just want my body back the way it was before I had a baby", and yes, it is easy to think "Its not supposed to look like it did before you had a baby, idiot!" But just remember this: for every woman who might have what you think are the "Wrong reasons" for wanting cosmetic surgery, there might be many women who have some other reasons, and its none of your damn business. Moms didn't invent cosmetic surgery, and I don't see why they have to be excluded from it. Its just more of the same old "You went and gotcherself pregnant, now pay the price".

I think it might be sort of obvious by now that I have considered cosmetic surgery. By considered I mean dreamt that a gift certificate would float into my stocking--I don't have the money for that and I wouldn't do it until I was much older, if ever. But I hate what cesareans have done to my body, especially the second surgery. I also miss the days of bra shopping in the regular stores, and feeling more mobile and active when my chest was proportioned to the rest of my body. I went from a C-cup to whatever size is 2 cups up from triple D--some call it G or H, it depends on the brand, in about 6 weeks of my first pregnancy at age 21. I was so flabbergasted that I thought I had cancer or something--so painful and astonishing was the rate of growth that I could barely stand to walk or move, and even though that was 10 years ago, I still do not feel like these things can possibly be my own. So am I shallow, vein, or lusting after something inappropriate? Says who? When I have to listen to how magical the natural changes of motherhood are, does that change anything for me, for my daily experiences? Does that sentiment rub my neck out each night for a half hour, or take care of my kids when I cant turn my shoulders?

Cosmetic surgery has already been invented, people!!! Its already out there. So whether you want to get some or not, I just do not see why one group of people (mothers) has to get judged for looking into it--the very group of people whose bodies have possibly undergone some major stuff, and who probably have to do more running and working and lifting and hustling than any other group of people alive--why they have to be made to feel like they are failing at looking "real" or "natural" when in reality, there is hardly anything real or natural left in this world---yourself included--looking at a digitized box of back-lit letters typed by someone you will never even meet, sitting in a plastic chair, in a man-made building of some sort, under artificial lighting, dressed in synthetics, sipping your NutraSweet soda pop out of a Styrofoam cup. If you condemn a mother for her free right to research or even seek out or obtain cosmetic surgery, then you're judging someone who did do something very natural and real--they carried and birthed a baby. Or four ;)

Nobody should ever be made to feel as if they need surgery to be acceptable, attractive, or beautiful--mothers or anyone else. But I also feel that if someone wants to do something to alter their own bodies, whether it be piercings, tattoos, bleaching, coloring, lifting, nipping or tucking or anything else for that matter, who are we to judge?