Monday, October 11, 2010

Natural Parents Network, and Birthing without a stopwatch

I have some exciting news! Dionna of Code Name: Mama and I have launched a new site called Natural Parents Network, designed to connect like-minded natural parents and parents-to-be.

Our hopes for Natural Parents Network:

Inform: Whether you are a seasoned parent or are pregnant with your first baby, we want to make NPN your first choice to find information and resources on natural parenting. We are currently working on resource pages that feature relevant sites, articles, and books on every natural parenting (NP) topic. We will also feature fresh, new content from NP writers/bloggers as well as republish (with permission) the best content from other sites. From cloth diapering to selective vaccinations, natural births to child-led weaning, we want to be a trusted hub of information.

Empower: Parents who choose nontraditional parenting paths may face questions, criticism, and even ostracism from family and friends. We want NPN to be a safe community for parents who are looking for support and wisdom. NPN will host a forum (coming soon!) where parents can find camaraderie and guidance, where you can be encouraged and challenged, where you can connect and feel “normal.” We are not meant to travel on this parenting journey alone!

Inspire: We hope that by sharing the failures and successes, the pain and the triumphs, and the courage and humanity of other parents, you will be inspired to celebrate your own strengths and realize opportunities for growth. NPN will publish personal stories from readers and contributors, and we will feature our own amazing community of NP bloggers.

But we can't have a community of natural parents without you!

The site is live now, but it still needs a lot of love to get up to full speed by November 1. Here's how you can get immediately involved:

  • Add your site to our blogroll. This is an easy one. Fill out the blogroll submission form so we can feature the best sites that promote the natural parenting philosophy. Don't worry, you don’t have to follow every aspect of natural parenting – we understand and support families who “take what works for them and leave the rest.”
  • Nom nom nom. We're hungry for content! We especially need contributors to submit original posts on natural parenting topics, e.g., breastfeeding, birth, balancing home and family life, etc. — see our What Is NP? page for ideas for subjects, but know that if it's interesting to you and your readers, it will probably be interesting to ours as well! Bloggers who submit at least five original posts that are accepted for publication will enjoy time on our front page and an interview as an “NPN featured blogger,” and you will always get to link back to your personal blog page. Please submit your post in html if possible, and include a short bio and an image to represent you (your photograph or a site logo, for instance). Please see our Contributor Guidelines for more details.
  • We will take previously published posts as well. We want to republish your natural parenting posts on NPN. As above, please check out the list of NP topics and our Contributor Guidelines. Then mail us the specific link to the archived article(s) plus the html code of the article(s) along with a short bio and image to represent you.
  • Submit your NP pictures. We need pictures for our static pages (like the resource pages, etc.) and for posts. Do you have quality pictures that show some aspect of natural parenting? We would love for you to share them with us! Please email us and attach your pictures, or let us know if they are in an accessible online location (such as a public flickr or photobucket account). You must own rights to share your pictures. Feel free to submit more than one.
  • If you run a natural-parenting business or know a good one (and no business is too small!), please contact us about sponsoring a giveaway or advertising on NPN. We would love to promote your products and business if they're a good fit for our readers!
  • You know what kind of participants we like best? Unpaid workers! Yes, please consider volunteering for NPN. Volunteers will automatically enjoy time on our front page as an “NPN Featured Blogger,” and they will also be featured on our “Contributing Editors” page. We are looking for several types of volunteers:
    • Forum Moderators: We need people who can help moderate the NPN forums. This might entail approving new members, answering questions, enforcing any forum rules, etc.
    • Resource Page Editors: For each NP topic, we are hosting a page with links, book titles, etc., along with descriptions of each resource. We need volunteers to research resources, write descriptions, and keep the pages up to date. Here is an example of one of our resource pages: Respond With Sensitivity. Even if you can't commit to moderate a page, we will always accept applicable resources (helpful links, books, media, etc.) to add to the pages.
    • Moderate Comments: We’d love to have volunteers to help us moderate comments so that every comment adheres to our comment policy.
    • Manage Social Media: Help manage our StumbleUpon, Twitter, and other social media accounts.
    • Panel Member: Serve as a panel member to answer reader questions in a special advice column. If you always considered yourself the Dear Abby type, this is for you. If you have a special area of expertise (say, pumping at work or parenting a teenager), we would love to have you on retainer for any pertinent questions.
    • Miscellaneous: Do you have a particular talent that would lend itself well to our community? Are you an editor extraordinaire with a flair for picking out typos and grammatical errors? Edit submitted posts! Do you have established relationships with companies that cater to NP families? Help us solicit advertisers! We will take your help in any way, shape, or form.
  • Participate in the November Carnival of Natural Parenting. As we mentioned, our official launch will be November 1. To give you a little heads-up, our November CarNatPar topic will be:
    “Explore one concept from the NP philosophy – why is it important to you/your family? Why does it resonate with you? Or what does it look like in your family?”
    We will select several of your posts to publish exclusively on NPN (with your permission). We will feature the remaining posts over several days in November (instead of on one day as we normally do). Note that the October Carnival of Natural Parenting will go live tomorrow as usual!
  • Because this is a new site and we're still working out the kinks, we will graciously accept your constructive feedback! Let us know what works for you, what doesn't, and what you'd like to see more of.
  • Spread the word! We need you to help tell people about Natural Parents Network. Feature NPN in a post, Tweet about the new site, encourage your followers on Facebook to add NPN. We appreciate your help in getting the word out about the new natural parenting community.

To get in touch with us about any of these opportunities, please just contact us through our online form or let me know directly by email: lauren {at} naturalparentsnetwork.com.

I'd also like to give a big shout-out to Tom, Dionna's husband, for being our tech whiz and making the site function and look as beautifully as it does.

We hope that you will join us as we launch this new community. We are excited to connect more naturally minded parents together. We feel like there is a real need for a site that brings natural parenting bloggers to one location to support each other as we get our message out to interested families, and we look forward to seeing it take shape.

Stay tuned for even more targeted opportunities to submit articles on particular topics and get involved in the community. The site is live right now, but we hope to have things really humming by November 1, with your help!



birth labor moments before birth in bed -- Christy ScherrerI have a guest post up at Natural Parents Network today called "Birthing without a stopwatch," so I hope you'll check it out. It relates my recent Couch-to-5K running experience to my need during birth to have an unhindered labor, without a lot of vaginal checks and progress reports given to outsiders.

"[Checking my timing] made the running a little more stressful, because I was so focused on how far I'd been and how far I'd still to go. … Every time we had to describe how long we had come and speculate on how far we had yet to go [in the birthing], it served only to remind us how very little we knew about the future and how very long the labor so far had been. It was like having someone yell at you at a water station during a rest in a race, 'Does it hurt a lot? Are your legs burning? Aren't you getting tired? Do you even know how far you have yet to go? It looks like it's still really far!' It wasn't helpful."

Go tell me what you think, and be sure to check out the new site while you're there!

Photo courtesy Christy Scherrer on flickr (cc).

5 comments:

Momma Jorje said...

Do you have a button for us yet? I haven't clicked over yet because I'm about to pass out, but I'll take a look and perhaps volunteer soon...

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

Button, button, who's got the button? :) Another thing on our to do list!

Lauren @ Hobo Mama said...

That is a good idea! :) And, Jorje, get some rest, and we'd love to have you volunteer as you're able!

Earth Mama said...

Hey cool site ladies - fab work!! I would also LOVE a button and I would love to submit articles AND I can be on a panel if you need:-) would love it!

Blessings and thanks again for a great carival!

Amber said...

It's so exciting - congratulations and good luck on the big launch!

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