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Growing up: how exhausting! Childhood is likely to be remembered as the happiest period of your life and, for many reasons, we can all agree that it’s true. You just play and stay with friends without any kind of worries for study and exams or work, love, life, family, mortgages, taxes etc. etc. However, kids have their own problems that, as the years go by, look less insignificant. But you are living that moment, some problems can look like they’re huge. When we’re young we receive the first ideas about the world from the people we trust more and we spend more time with: usually, our parents. By not being able to understand a situation in its whole complexity (because, you know, we’re still young) we can make up our own ideas and formulate our theories. It goes without saying that it is really important how a message or an idea is conveyed by our parents as well as the sensations they transmit to us. Kids are difficult from this point of view: they understand things you wish they wouldn’t but they couldn’t understand, indeed, the simplicity of other things and, so, thinking about them as big problems. For example, socializing and feeling accepted in a group is important when you’re young; probably from the primary school to the high school and even after. You can’t just say to your child that if a group of classmates don’t want to hang around with them, whatever, they will make some other friends or will stay by themselves because people are mean and real friends are few. Some children, instead, seem to be really good at making friends because since an early age they demonstrate a charismatic personality, or they can be funny or just have the quality of a leader that is not accepted in a group but they form the group and decide who’s in and who’s out. It is important to help self-confidence in our kids, as said, to help them avoid living social situations and a source of anxiety in the constant fear of not being “enough” to their friends. This feeling of insecurity, once created, will be difficult to escape from and will condition the attitude of the future adult in every situation during its life. At the same time, we have to find a balance and not just boast to our children repeating how marvellous and how fantastic they are. It is positively seen by society to have the qualities of an alpha man/woman but, just for the fact of being young, children could misunderstand and use their qualities in a negative way. You could find yourself dealing with the fact your kid is being bullied but also with the fact that he/she is the bully. Both these scenarios are unpleasant: they will lead to future problems that will prevent the child from living peacefully and happily in society. What are the best things to say as a parent? We want to infuse self-confidence and calm but also talent and intelligence. One piece of advice to give is surely to show what we would like to be emulated. If we do things with a calmness, our children will do the same; let’s not forget that they are more sensitive than what we think. The can learn and copy our methods; moreover, there are no reasons to make them paranoid about all the bad people they could meet. Just put them on guard for what concerns the real risks (“don’t accept lifts from strangers’’ or things like this) clearly explaining why that is dangerous but without going too deep in illustrating what paedophilia is, for example. Concerning other figurative risks that you might see, ask yourself if it is really fundamental to fill your child’s brain with so many worries. The answer might be: it’s not. Kids do run dangers to harm themselves when they play, when they are in the house (just think about the rate of domestic accidents)… they could bump into people with bad intentions and they need time to learn what they can do and what they can’t. So, thinking better, is it really necessary to stress them telling them about that classmate you think is envious and maybe is badmouthing them? The answer is: it’s not. We spend our entire life as adults saying that we are just what we are and we won’t change to please others. Our children should be left free to do the same. Another thing not to do as parents is to encourage too much rivalry with the other children even if there’s something that your kid is really talented at doing and wins much more than the other children. They could find out they are much weaker in other activities and they cannot always win: teach them this or the clash with the hard truth will definitely be heavy. In the end, another mistake that some parents can do is to project wishes and passions of their own on their kids that the parents themselves didn’t have the chance to pursue. If you were not allowed to sing because your parents wanted you to do sport, you can try to transmit your passion for music but if it’s not really a genetically transmitted talent, let it be. It is easier said than done, but do you really want to force your kids to do something they don’t really appreciate as your parents did with you?
To handle a toddler is complicated, whether it’s your first experience or you have already experienced the joys of becoming a parent. It is very important to understand that every toddler has a different personality that will change (maybe preserving many or few peculiarities) until it becomes an adult. It is not possible to paint us all with the same brush and things don’t change when we talk about learning. Let’s just think about all the techniques of learning and studying developed through the years: e.g. the philosophy about infant education according to Italian teacher Maria Montessori. The Montessori Method is still in practice in many schools in various countries even though there are detractors claiming that it has proved to be inefficient. Instead, what about Steiner’s pedagogical approach? His method, also called Waldorf education, is appreciated by many parents and used in many schools; yes, other experts of the field claim the Waldorf Method is not only useless, but actually dangerous in developing the character of children, mostly for the large freedom of expression left to the students without any kind of barrier. Many people disagree with the fact of not giving rules to children even though, luckily, corporal punishments are not considered as a way of educating your children anymore. So, supposing that we are wondering what is the best way to help our toddler become a clever, respectful, kind and smart person. What’s the answer? Schools exist to provide, together with teaching subjects, some basic concepts (they can slightly vary depending on the normative of each country). These concepts derive from the study of psychology and pedagogy. A toddler should be free to develop some ideas rather than achieving tasks. Those ideas will then bring them to follow some interests and, just in that moment, to excel in something. So the inputs we should provide a toddler to give them a good starting point should be something like the following: 1. Relating with the others. This is particularly important for an only child. Through social relations the young human being learns firstly about themselves and how treat others and be treated. There is surely much to learn from encounters with different personalities and, if the toddler is a little bold this would be a chance to let it understand that a certain negative behaviour will have consequences. If they want to be accepted in a social group, they will need to consider and respect different points of view. Let your kids socialize with others; try to find the time to bring them where they can meet friends. 2. Moving the body. Help the toddler learn how their body works. They will need to become autonomous: feeding themselves, dressing up, taking care of personal hygiene. Don’t spoil the toddler and don’t be too indulgent; yet, you also have to be patient. For example, bedwetting is normal until a certain age but if you criticise them too much you could obtain a result other than what you desire: the reproach could generate a high level of uneasiness, transforming a small thing into a type of trauma. 3. Learning to speak. It is important for a toddler to listen before learning how to talk. Speaking in two languages could be a plus because the young brain is more capable of learning. The toddler will absorb an impressive quantity of words so try to avoid rude language. We all enjoyed learning the “bad words” when we were younger and the more our parents were telling us “don’t say this word” the more we liked saying it. 4. Familiarizing with creativity. Together with language, it is useful to introduce a toddler to other forms of communication: images, sounds, handcrafting, dances, technology. The purpose is not to find out that you have a prodigy child who can play the piano at the age of two, but to make it conscious about the things it might want to do in the future. 5. Learning about the world. Drawings, listening to music and hanging out with friends are all activities we can do indoors. But we mustn’t forget about the contact with nature. This is important for two reasons: first, to discover the different environments around us (e.g. how is country life perceived by a toddler living in the city and vice versa), to learn that the world is not just what we can see outside our window and, second, to make the toddler aware of itself in the space. Its brain will be able to understand where its body is located in the space, to orientate itself and to follow directions. Spending time doing outdoor activities will allow the toddler to observe natural phenomena and living creatures; they will start formulating hypothesis to explain what they see, to learn specific terms to describe what they see. Parents will provide them with the appropriate language and explanations and, possibly, they will be able to teach their children to respect nature and living things.
Pregnancy is a moment of life where several changes are about to happen. They are not only related to the mind of the woman, but also to her body. These physical transformations need some time to be perceived and they do not come all in a sudden. In fact, pregnancy is composed of three semesters and each of them entails different effects on our body. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and know your own body before the perception of these symptoms may worry you. Changes are inevitable during pregnancy, that’s why you should only need to be well informed and ready to accept your new needs and physical conditions. Weeks 1-4: The first sign of pregnancy is the absence of your period, even though this doesn’t always happen. When your egg implants, you may experience vaginal bleeding. This phenomenon is very light: women should become worried if it causes pain or a heavy flow. At the end of this period, you may perceive two other signs: breast tenderness and morning sickness. Weeks 5-8: Mood swings are about to start. Hormones and emotions go hand in hand in this moment of life, a fact that women should simply accept and live with. Other symptoms can be, for instance, exhaustion, nausea, headaches, super-sore breasts, and faintness. Although this stage may sound unpleasant, it is preparing your body for the changes that are about to take place. During week 7, you may also start putting on weight and eating for two. Weeks 9-12: Because of the increasing of blood volume, it is normal to feel dizzy, to urinate more than usual, and to experience light vaginal bleeding. The good news is that your facial skin will be smooth and shiny thanks to the increasing production of oil glands. This is also the moment where your belly won’t let you hide the secret anymore! Weeks 13-16: Feeling clumsy is absolutely normal in this stage. Due to a hormone called Relaxin, your legs, hands, and arms will be more relaxed and less strong. The risk of miscarriage is now very low, that’s why you can enjoy your pregnancy without being too worried. Furthermore, your appetite, energy and mood are going to improve. Several pregnant women experience also another phenomenon: skin darkening, especially if you have dark hair and pale skin. It is also the moment where you can feel your baby kicking! Weeks 17-20: Some digestive problems may be troublesome, as well as a fast breath or, on the contrary, shortness of breath. You may also experience nosebleeds and, once again, dizziness. If you feel wobbly, it’s because your body is getting used to this condition and is going to be prepared for the birth moment. Weeks 21-24: Ligament pains will be part of your daily life very soon, you only have to get used to them. Furthermore, the presence of unwanted hairs on your body shouldn’t bother you: removing them is not the right solution. Because of you being dizzy and tired, your libido may drop in a drastic way, especially for a short period of time. Weeks 25-28: Carpal tunnel syndrome is pretty common during this stage, as well as other ligament pains. This is mainly provoked by your weight and your round belly! Weeks 29-32: Breathing difficulties are more than normal after the second semester. You may also experience unpleasant side effects, such as varicose veins and stretch marks. The main reason of hip and lower-back pain is related to your hormones, which are relaxing your ligaments. Weeks 33-36: Your baby is settling lower into your pelvis, getting ready to discover the world. In fact, you may feel lighter during these days. It’s now time to lay down and wait to become a mom! If knowing pregnancy symptoms is very important, expecting women should always rely on the support and the advice of their own doctor. In case of bleeding or constant dizziness, for instance, it is necessary to book an appointment and ask your doctor if everything is alright with you and your baby. Nevertheless, pregnancy is something more than a careful attitude. Here is another essential tip for pregnant women: enjoy this period in all its unicity, listen to your body, and welcome every change that you are about to experience.
Growing up: how exhausting! Childhood is likely to be remembered as the happiest period of your life and, for many reasons, we can all agree that it’s true. You just play and stay with friends without any kind of worries for study and exams or work, love, life, family, mortgages, taxes etc. etc. However, kids have their own problems that, as the years go by, look less insignificant. But you are living that moment, some problems can look like they’re huge. When we’re young we receive the first ideas about the world from the people we trust more and we spend more time with: usually, our parents. By not being able to understand a situation in its whole complexity (because, you know, we’re still young) we can make up our own ideas and formulate our theories. It goes without saying that it is really important how a message or an idea is conveyed by our parents as well as the sensations they transmit to us. Kids are difficult from this point of view: they understand things you wish they wouldn’t but they couldn’t understand, indeed, the simplicity of other things and, so, thinking about them as big problems. For example, socializing and feeling accepted in a group is important when you’re young; probably from the primary school to the high school and even after. You can’t just say to your child that if a group of classmates don’t want to hang around with them, whatever, they will make some other friends or will stay by themselves because people are mean and real friends are few. Some children, instead, seem to be really good at making friends because since an early age they demonstrate a charismatic personality, or they can be funny or just have the quality of a leader that is not accepted in a group but they form the group and decide who’s in and who’s out. It is important to help self-confidence in our kids, as said, to help them avoid living social situations and a source of anxiety in the constant fear of not being “enough” to their friends. This feeling of insecurity, once created, will be difficult to escape from and will condition the attitude of the future adult in every situation during its life. At the same time, we have to find a balance and not just boast to our children repeating how marvellous and how fantastic they are. It is positively seen by society to have the qualities of an alpha man/woman but, just for the fact of being young, children could misunderstand and use their qualities in a negative way. You could find yourself dealing with the fact your kid is being bullied but also with the fact that he/she is the bully. Both these scenarios are unpleasant: they will lead to future problems that will prevent the child from living peacefully and happily in society. What are the best things to say as a parent? We want to infuse self-confidence and calm but also talent and intelligence. One piece of advice to give is surely to show what we would like to be emulated. If we do things with a calmness, our children will do the same; let’s not forget that they are more sensitive than what we think. The can learn and copy our methods; moreover, there are no reasons to make them paranoid about all the bad people they could meet. Just put them on guard for what concerns the real risks (“don’t accept lifts from strangers’’ or things like this) clearly explaining why that is dangerous but without going too deep in illustrating what paedophilia is, for example. Concerning other figurative risks that you might see, ask yourself if it is really fundamental to fill your child’s brain with so many worries. The answer might be: it’s not. Kids do run dangers to harm themselves when they play, when they are in the house (just think about the rate of domestic accidents)… they could bump into people with bad intentions and they need time to learn what they can do and what they can’t. So, thinking better, is it really necessary to stress them telling them about that classmate you think is envious and maybe is badmouthing them? The answer is: it’s not. We spend our entire life as adults saying that we are just what we are and we won’t change to please others. Our children should be left free to do the same. Another thing not to do as parents is to encourage too much rivalry with the other children even if there’s something that your kid is really talented at doing and wins much more than the other children. They could find out they are much weaker in other activities and they cannot always win: teach them this or the clash with the hard truth will definitely be heavy. In the end, another mistake that some parents can do is to project wishes and passions of their own on their kids that the parents themselves didn’t have the chance to pursue. If you were not allowed to sing because your parents wanted you to do sport, you can try to transmit your passion for music but if it’s not really a genetically transmitted talent, let it be. It is easier said than done, but do you really want to force your kids to do something they don’t really appreciate as your parents did with you?
To handle a toddler is complicated, whether it’s your first experience or you have already experienced the joys of becoming a parent. It is very important to understand that every toddler has a different personality that will change (maybe preserving many or few peculiarities) until it becomes an adult. It is not possible to paint us all with the same brush and things don’t change when we talk about learning. Let’s just think about all the techniques of learning and studying developed through the years: e.g. the philosophy about infant education according to Italian teacher Maria Montessori. The Montessori Method is still in practice in many schools in various countries even though there are detractors claiming that it has proved to be inefficient. Instead, what about Steiner’s pedagogical approach? His method, also called Waldorf education, is appreciated by many parents and used in many schools; yes, other experts of the field claim the Waldorf Method is not only useless, but actually dangerous in developing the character of children, mostly for the large freedom of expression left to the students without any kind of barrier. Many people disagree with the fact of not giving rules to children even though, luckily, corporal punishments are not considered as a way of educating your children anymore. So, supposing that we are wondering what is the best way to help our toddler become a clever, respectful, kind and smart person. What’s the answer? Schools exist to provide, together with teaching subjects, some basic concepts (they can slightly vary depending on the normative of each country). These concepts derive from the study of psychology and pedagogy. A toddler should be free to develop some ideas rather than achieving tasks. Those ideas will then bring them to follow some interests and, just in that moment, to excel in something. So the inputs we should provide a toddler to give them a good starting point should be something like the following: 1. Relating with the others. This is particularly important for an only child. Through social relations the young human being learns firstly about themselves and how treat others and be treated. There is surely much to learn from encounters with different personalities and, if the toddler is a little bold this would be a chance to let it understand that a certain negative behaviour will have consequences. If they want to be accepted in a social group, they will need to consider and respect different points of view. Let your kids socialize with others; try to find the time to bring them where they can meet friends. 2. Moving the body. Help the toddler learn how their body works. They will need to become autonomous: feeding themselves, dressing up, taking care of personal hygiene. Don’t spoil the toddler and don’t be too indulgent; yet, you also have to be patient. For example, bedwetting is normal until a certain age but if you criticise them too much you could obtain a result other than what you desire: the reproach could generate a high level of uneasiness, transforming a small thing into a type of trauma. 3. Learning to speak. It is important for a toddler to listen before learning how to talk. Speaking in two languages could be a plus because the young brain is more capable of learning. The toddler will absorb an impressive quantity of words so try to avoid rude language. We all enjoyed learning the “bad words” when we were younger and the more our parents were telling us “don’t say this word” the more we liked saying it. 4. Familiarizing with creativity. Together with language, it is useful to introduce a toddler to other forms of communication: images, sounds, handcrafting, dances, technology. The purpose is not to find out that you have a prodigy child who can play the piano at the age of two, but to make it conscious about the things it might want to do in the future. 5. Learning about the world. Drawings, listening to music and hanging out with friends are all activities we can do indoors. But we mustn’t forget about the contact with nature. This is important for two reasons: first, to discover the different environments around us (e.g. how is country life perceived by a toddler living in the city and vice versa), to learn that the world is not just what we can see outside our window and, second, to make the toddler aware of itself in the space. Its brain will be able to understand where its body is located in the space, to orientate itself and to follow directions. Spending time doing outdoor activities will allow the toddler to observe natural phenomena and living creatures; they will start formulating hypothesis to explain what they see, to learn specific terms to describe what they see. Parents will provide them with the appropriate language and explanations and, possibly, they will be able to teach their children to respect nature and living things.
Being a mother is a daily challenge in women’s life and, even after several years of mothering experience, there are still many things to learn. Even though rewards are numerous, the role of a mother entails several difficulties, overwhelming problems, and drastic changes you are never enough prepared for. Apart from combing private life with working career and deciding whether to hire a babysitter or not, a mother has also to face unwanted criticism concerning personal parenting choices. Known under the name of “mom-shaming”, this judgemental behaviour is becoming more and more frequent among mothers’ parents, friends, and unknown people met on social networks or in a public area. If mothers have been victims of people’s critics since always, the information era has amplified this issue and given voice to people who write with a keyboard. According to reproductive psychiatrist Alexandra Sacks M.D., people have the impression to know more thanks to the internet and the consequent facilitated access to any kind of information. Moreover, people tend to use social networks as aspirational platforms where to depict an unrealistic world made of their own beliefs and theories, pretending that this is the correct way to behave. In fact, it is possible to find many Facebook groups created by women who aim to exchange a piece of advice or a suggestion. In reality, these online communities have turned into a lair of mothers ready to criticise and express unsolicited opinions. In 2017, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health published a survey concerning this issue and has listed mom-shaming’s main targets. Discipline, diet nutrition, child safety and sleep issues are the main reasons that lead a person to judge other parents’ choices. Among these topics, the most controversial one concerns breast versus bottle-feeding. Mothers have strict points of view in the matter of formula, milk supply, and the like. Nevertheless, some women can’t nurse their baby because of specific medical conditions: mom-shaming can also cause depression in these individuals. Experts have analysed the new version of mom-shaming, describing it as a psychological reaction to some feelings, such as pressure and confusion, which are part of the pregnancy and new motherhood experience. Putting the blame on a vulnerable individual is a way to feel more self-confident and less insecure about their own parenting practices. This attitude may be the direct consequence of a  black-and-white thinking, which is a common mindset among overly anxious mothers. It is important to underline that the perfect mother does not exist. Parents should also understand that parenting choices depend on specific contexts and cannot be extended to objective statements. According to psychologists, it may be helpful to share personal experiences where mothers have made a mistake and learnt from it. Showing imperfections and self-improving can be criticised at first, but this honest behaviour is a great source of inspiration for women in the same situation. Acknowledging that mom-shaming can’t be avoided is another first great step to feel confident with your own parenting decisions. In addition, mothers should always remember that those who like to criticise are lacking self-confidence and positivity in their daily life.   As most critics don’t have reliable evidence, people shouldn’t listen to any advice without consulting a doctor or an expert. In fact, dispatching information can have serious consequences, especially if it deals with health problems. Using your sense of humor against “mom-shamers” is the right way to ignore their critics and make them understand that this kind of approach is not well accepted by other parents. The less mothers spend time with them, the more they will enjoy their life and every new discovery made with their baby. As we have already stated, most critics come from unknown people met in public places or on the internet. Ignorance can be at the basis of their comments: by ignoring your history and your personal situation, their critics or suggestions may hurt your feelings and induce you to make wrong decisions. What’s more, a woman who wants to pursue a professional career and build a family shouldn’t be criticised is often harshly criticised. Working mothers have to face two different types of pressure: on the one hand, they feel obliged to reaffirm their commitment at work on a regular basis; on the other hand, they are often called “bad moms” by those mothers who don’t work. In general, working mothers tend to be 40% more stressed than working women without children: adding pressure to their condition is not a helpful way to support them and enhance their efforts to sustain the family economy. Far from being a rare phenomenon, mom-shaming affects the life of thousands. The above-mentioned survey published by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital has shown that 61% of mothers with children aged 5 and younger claimed that they have been victims of mom-shaming at least once in their life. In addition, this sort of criticism comes from mothers’ parents (37%), child’s other parent (36%), in-laws (31%), friends (14%), and other mothers in public (12%). The only person who really knows a baby is his mother and his father. They are the ones who are allowed to make decisions and opt for the right solution. Parents should be able to accept the fact that mistakes are part of the experience: without them, it would be impossible to improve and achieve new goals. In order to fight mom-shaming, parents should start ignoring it and embracing their parenting adventure with its positive and negative aspects as well.
Pregnancy is a moment of life where several changes are about to happen. They are not only related to the mind of the woman, but also to her body. These physical transformations need some time to be perceived and they do not come all in a sudden. In fact, pregnancy is composed of three semesters and each of them entails different effects on our body. Therefore, it is important to be prepared and know your own body before the perception of these symptoms may worry you. Changes are inevitable during pregnancy, that’s why you should only need to be well informed and ready to accept your new needs and physical conditions. Weeks 1-4: The first sign of pregnancy is the absence of your period, even though this doesn’t always happen. When your egg implants, you may experience vaginal bleeding. This phenomenon is very light: women should become worried if it causes pain or a heavy flow. At the end of this period, you may perceive two other signs: breast tenderness and morning sickness. Weeks 5-8: Mood swings are about to start. Hormones and emotions go hand in hand in this moment of life, a fact that women should simply accept and live with. Other symptoms can be, for instance, exhaustion, nausea, headaches, super-sore breasts, and faintness. Although this stage may sound unpleasant, it is preparing your body for the changes that are about to take place. During week 7, you may also start putting on weight and eating for two. Weeks 9-12: Because of the increasing of blood volume, it is normal to feel dizzy, to urinate more than usual, and to experience light vaginal bleeding. The good news is that your facial skin will be smooth and shiny thanks to the increasing production of oil glands. This is also the moment where your belly won’t let you hide the secret anymore! Weeks 13-16: Feeling clumsy is absolutely normal in this stage. Due to a hormone called Relaxin, your legs, hands, and arms will be more relaxed and less strong. The risk of miscarriage is now very low, that’s why you can enjoy your pregnancy without being too worried. Furthermore, your appetite, energy and mood are going to improve. Several pregnant women experience also another phenomenon: skin darkening, especially if you have dark hair and pale skin. It is also the moment where you can feel your baby kicking! Weeks 17-20: Some digestive problems may be troublesome, as well as a fast breath or, on the contrary, shortness of breath. You may also experience nosebleeds and, once again, dizziness. If you feel wobbly, it’s because your body is getting used to this condition and is going to be prepared for the birth moment. Weeks 21-24: Ligament pains will be part of your daily life very soon, you only have to get used to them. Furthermore, the presence of unwanted hairs on your body shouldn’t bother you: removing them is not the right solution. Because of you being dizzy and tired, your libido may drop in a drastic way, especially for a short period of time. Weeks 25-28: Carpal tunnel syndrome is pretty common during this stage, as well as other ligament pains. This is mainly provoked by your weight and your round belly! Weeks 29-32: Breathing difficulties are more than normal after the second semester. You may also experience unpleasant side effects, such as varicose veins and stretch marks. The main reason of hip and lower-back pain is related to your hormones, which are relaxing your ligaments. Weeks 33-36: Your baby is settling lower into your pelvis, getting ready to discover the world. In fact, you may feel lighter during these days. It’s now time to lay down and wait to become a mom! If knowing pregnancy symptoms is very important, expecting women should always rely on the support and the advice of their own doctor. In case of bleeding or constant dizziness, for instance, it is necessary to book an appointment and ask your doctor if everything is alright with you and your baby. Nevertheless, pregnancy is something more than a careful attitude. Here is another essential tip for pregnant women: enjoy this period in all its unicity, listen to your body, and welcome every change that you are about to experience.
It’s known now: during pregnancy we eat for two, so our diet changes as well. But what is best to eat for the baby and ourselves, doubts always remain. Here is a list to guide you through your pregnancy.   Raw/Undercooked meat We should all cook well our meat but especially pregnant women. Toxoplasmosis lives in raw meat and this parasite can be bad for your baby. To avoid any risk, avoid undercooked meat like sausages or mince meat, but also raw cured meat like salami.   Unpasteurized milk and dairy products  Milk we find in supermarkets are pasteurized, but the ones you can find in farms aren’t. So avoid them or boil them to suppress any risk of toxoplasmosis, listeriosis and Campylobacter. Liver and foods containing vitamin A All liver products should be avoided by pregnant women (liver pâté, sausage,etc…) because of the high level of vitamin A it contains, harmful for your baby. It goes without saying then that multivitamins, fish liver oils, food with added vitamin A are prohibited as well. Pâté Yes, this is very sad but pâté is not good when you’re pregnant. And to add to this, it’s not only valid for meat pâté, but also vegetable pâté. Why? Because pâté may contain listeria, causing an infection called listeriosis, very bad for the baby during the pregnancy but can also cause severe illness when he.she will be born.   Some cheeses Another very sad news… But don’t despair, they’re aren’t all prohibited, just a few! Because of listeria, mould-ripened soft cheeses like brie or camembert are banned, same for soft blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort and gorgonzola. Probably the sadest news you’d have as a pregnant woman… Undercooked ready meals Another risk of listeria is present in ready meals. That’s why it’s very important to be sure that the meal is piping hot before eating it, be even more careful with the ones containing poultry. Raw eggs or undercooked eggs If you’re craving for eggs, make sure yolks and whites are solid when you cook them. In cooked recipes, eggs are safe, but not used raw like in mayonnaise or mousse. You’ll avoid salmonella infection this way, really bad for your baby but also you. Bye dear deviled eggs… Some fishes Even if you’re not pregnant you need to be careful about fishes. You should avoid shark, swordfish and marlin, because of their high levels of mercury, very bad for your baby’s nervous system. Same for tuna, this one is known for its high level in mercury, so try to stick to two fresh steaks or four mediums cans of tinned tuna. Oily fishes are also to limit,such as salmon, sardines or trout: you should eat no more than two portions a week because of the pollutants they contain. And last but not least, you should avoid eating raw shellfish like oysters because of the risk of food poisoning ! But don’t worry, cooked shellfish are authorized, such as pre-cooked prawns. Alcohol This one is pretty obvious but there’s some info you might not know. Like that you can have one or two glasses once or twice a week maximum after the first three months of pregnancy! We told you that was some breaking news! Joke aside, experts are still not sure that any amount of alcohol is safe, so technically, avoid to drink for your baby’s safety. Caffeine Limit your consumption of tea, coffee, cola and other soft drink, but also chocolate! You shouldn’t have more than 200mg a day of caffeinated food or drink. It can happen quickly, so be very careful as caffeine can cause miscarriage and low birth weight! If you have any of these foods/drinks and you don’t feel ill, that’s a good sign, and don’t worry, but a doctor’s advice is always good!
As we grew up we were Friends, had Sex in the City and eventually became Heroes, or Misfits, and that’s How I Met Your Mother. All these episodes, storylines and characters have had a different influence on us, and even though all the binge- watching can be held responsible for some of our worst hair choices, there was some useful stuff for us queers. Whether we knew about our sexuality, or came to understand it as we saw others be proud on screen, some TV characters have definitely made it easier to come out and live our queer life.  Santana Lopez – Glee Glee was huge, which made Santana Lopez’s coming out HUGE. She told us not only that it is OK to be gay, but also that it is OK to be gay, popular and a total bitch. Because why be quiet if you don’t feel like it, and what if you want to throw slushees at people’s faces? Ok, Santana might’ve been bad influence, but she was bad ass. Also, she taught us that you can be gay and open about it in high school. If everyone was, Tumblr would probably go bankrupt. James Stinson -How I Met Your Mother Barney’s brother was certainly not the first gay character on screen to get married and have a baby, but he still taught us it was cool to be boring, have a family and monogamous sex with a beloved partner. He is kind of the only character of the series to have been both a total player and a classic boring married dude. How amazing is it when the token gay character is actually more complex than most of the straight ones? Nomi Marks – Sense 8 You’d have to be very very young to have grown up with Sense8, but don’t we all grow up a little with every character that teaches us something? On that deep note, let’s acknowledge how hot, badass and insanely clever Nomi was in Sense8. Now let’s repeat the lesson again and again : being LGBTQIA+ is amazing, but it’s not more important than having a great brain. Piper Chapman – Orange is the New Black She might be one of the most annoying TV characters ever written. However, she knew something that most people don’t: being bisexual doesn’t mean you owe anyone an explanation. Piper just goes for whomever she wants, and that’s alright, because the real problem about her is obviously the constant emptiness in her eyes. These are just to mention a few, but there is no doubt that many kiddos have looked up to Captain Raymond Holt (Brooklynn Nine-Nine), that cute lesbian couple in the amazing Black Mirror episode, or even Emily from Pretty Little Liars whose hotness was definitely helpful growing up. #acp_paging_menu, .acp_wrapper {display: none;}
While the aesthetics of Anime and Manga lends itself well to a younger audience, many TV shows and movies that are animated in that style are far from kid friendly. Many are violent, gorey, and deal with very adult themes. Many would also just fly above the head of the average youngster. Visually stunning, most anime is a joy to watch with intricately woven storylines and stunning imagery throughout. Here, we take a look at some of the best anime movies and TV shows with dark, adult themes that you should not miss. But be aware that these are not for younger viewers. Cat Soup What a peculiar, surreal joy this movie is. Cat Soup is the perfect example of Anime as an art form. The story essentially follows that of a little boy and girl cat as they go on an odyssey to reclaim their souls from the land of the dead. The movie, however, is full of surreal, sexually suggestive imagery and vulgar suggestion. Paranoia Agent The second entry from Satoshi Kon to this list, Paranoia Agent, was Kon’s one and only attempt at episodic TV. This is a masterclass in suspense, paranoia, and mounting tension, that any live action director could seriously take notes from. It tells the story of ‘Little Slugger’, an urban legend about a mysterious, rollerblading kid, who can put you out of your misery if your life’s falling apart.  After a vicious attack on a young female as she makes her way home from work, two detectives are called in to investigate. They discover that Little Slugger may be more than just a rumour, and soon, more and more people fall victim to his attacks. But more than just thuggish attacks, as the detectives dig deeper, the reality they thought they knew begins to crumble around them.  Full of violence, with just a smattering of sex, Paranoia Agent takes you in the kind of paranoid, surrealist trips that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Wicked City This absolute gem of a movie flies under the radar for some strange reason. It is a neo-noir detective drama set in a futuristic city. It tells the story of two worlds that have existed in harmony for centuries, Earth and the Black World. The Black World is a realm of supernatural beings that most humans are unaware of. A military group called the Radicals are intent to breaching the peace and returning men to their former heritage : as slaves. Two special agents, Taki, a human, and Makie, a supernatural, are called in to prevent the Radicals from seizing control. The two form the Black Guard who must protect a 200 year-old man named Giuseppi Mayart, the only man who can keep the peace from being broken by the Radicals. This smart, stylish and eerie Anime is one of the early Manga greats. Dead Man Wonderland When the sole survivor of a high school massacre, Ganta,  is framed for the crime, he is incarcerated in Deadman Wonderland, a strange and sinister private prison. This prison has a perverted and insidious take on incarceration, and what inmates must endure. During the massacre, the real killer embeded a red crystal inside Ganta. This crystal imbues him with powers, and he soon learns that all of the prisoners at Deadman Wonderland must entertain the public, by performing in dangerous games, in exchange for privileges. All of it is televised, and performed in front of a live audience. Ganta soon forms alliances within the prison and soon develops a rag-tag band of misfit friends. Together they must fight for survival, and find out what is really going on in the prison.