Thursday, September 26, 2013

When You Thought Your Children Weren't Looking

Tomorrow is my parents' anniversary. My mom acknowledged it without much fanfare. As if it wasn't a big deal.

How many parents quietly slip another year under their belt? Even with a celebration, a party, a fancy night out, do they realize how much that year means to their children? Do they see that it's a big deal? Just like the mundane moments of parenting, those daily activities in a relationship add up, turning into thousands of moments that impact children for a lifetime.

As I sit here thinking about their many years together, flashes of moments surface in my mind.

Those times when you kissed in front of us, making the children giggle or cry out, "Ew!" Those moments were a big deal. They taught us that people who love each other show each other frequently.

Those times when you passionately argued in front of us, voices loud, emotions strong. Those moments were a big deal. They showed us that two people can have individual opinions and still be safe in a relationship.

And those times when you had a quiet, civilized debate and then took the time to talk to us about PAIRs and about communication skills. Those moments were a really big deal. They showed us how to be honest with ourselves and others and how to communicate our wants and needs for effective teamwork.

When you smiled at each other and talked without words, you thought we weren't looking. But we were, and we learned that two people could be intimate beyond words.

When you quietly sacrificed for each other and worked outside your comfort zone, you thought we weren't looking. But we were, and we learned what it means to love beyond the thrills of emotion and hormonal sparks.

When you worked until your bones were weary but still had time for each other, you thought we weren't looking. But we were. And we learned to cherish what was really important in life.

And when dad farted and you could both laugh about it, everyone was looking, or running away. LOL. But we learned not to take ourselves too seriously on this tiny planet spinning in a tiny universe.

For every smile, every look, every kiss. For every harsh word and debate, every concern and every trouble that weaves its way into the tapestry of was all a big deal.

I can't chronicle every second of two lives intertwining over many years. I can't share every tear and every smile. But as the moments blur together, they do send a resounding message. It's one of quiet, resolute commitment where you know that no matter how hard things get, you will keep going together. And it's mixed with plenty of the good stuff, the stuff that gets you through life: laughter, silliness, prayer and affection.

So when this day rolls around on the calendar every year, it really is a big deal. Not just for the parents, but for the children, too. A happy anniversary is a salute to the thousands of moments of living that swirl together to form a family.

Hope you have another good one.

Easter photos
Vacation in MO
Showing us the way
So many moments!
Meeting Finnian

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finnian Xavier's Family Waterbirth

If there's one thing I've learned from the little handful of births I've had so far, it's that each one is as unique as the child. Not only that, but I'm not the same, either. Oh, looking back, I don't think I've radically changed. But each birth is a different process, a different journey to walk for different reasons.

The conceptions are different, too. With our first, we had the confidence of youth, sure that we could control our destinies and make our own decisions. She was carefully charted out, marked on the calender, as if we were the ones responsible for her presence in our family. With the second, we reached an entirely new level, one that perhaps many people deny. I knew our son before he was more than a thought in our minds, a casual reference in our conversation. I heard his name and I saw his face. Along came our third, crashing into our family exactly like his red-haired personality, entirely sure we would love him no matter what.

This last little soul, he was somewhat different. We didn't assume control, nor did we receive a surprising gift. We hung on the edge of a precipice and looked at each other and surrendered, fully understanding for what. Every moment of this journey has been about surrender. Surrender reminds me of forgiveness. Both concepts are filled with contradiction yet point towards hope and trust. Surrender can leave a bad taste in the mouth if not fully aware of the power rushing beneath the surface. And like an autumn leaf falling into the river, I rushed along with surrender pounding in my ears.

Here we grow again!
When you stop resisting or running away or controlling or hypnotizing...things get real. I had already figured this out in a small way going from my first birth to my second birth. My first birth was all about careful "management" during contractions. I managed them. What that really means is I used tricks and ideas to try to control them, to get above them and run away from them.

It wasn't until the end of my second birth that I released myself and dove down, deep below the surface, letting go and yet receiving more than can be described. It was a small taste of surrender and the difference stood out. With the next birth, I had no choice but to surrender, to drown in the birth, swirling around and around as if tumbling along the bottom of a fast moving river. Hitting lots of rocks. (Just sayin').

This time I had finally surrendered during pregnancy and the results surprised me because the pregnancy turned out a little more intense than the others and I seemed more accepting of it. I thought that was interesting because that's how I had perceived the differences when surrendering during birth. My symptoms seemed a little stronger and appeared a little sooner. Obviously, this was my fourth pregnancy so the nuance could be dismissed due to frequency. But I carefully cataloged my observation, wondering what it indicated for the upcoming labor.

I had conceived to birth under another harvest moon, but as the betrayal moon approached in August, I felt its pull. Don't laugh, I really did. I'm not trying to be all hippie dippie; it was a pain in the butt. I started to lose parts of my mucus plug, couldn't walk anywhere without pausing and breathing through the tightness and for one moment honestly thought I'd be birthing early. But the time passed and my body settled down to wait.

The official due date photo

As the next moon slowly grew, I stared at it, night after night, thinking ahead to the labor and breathing deeply, willing myself to surrender. Any tightness in my mind and body I tried to release and soothe. I think deep down I knew a lot more than I was willing to admit. I had known from the beginning who this little person was, but I joked around for quite awhile about having a girl. I knew the birth was going to be hard on me. It wasn't fear, which is okay to feel. It wasn't excitement. It was a quiet, resolute feeling of what was going to happen. Stoic perhaps.

Swimming under the growing moon at almost 41 weeks
Saturday morning before the birth, I awoke to a gush. Could this be my waters breaking? That's new, surely not. I stood up quickly and it stopped. It might have been the cervix opening up and releasing a bit. I found more mucus plug, tinged with blood. I knew the time was here, but I figured it wasn't going to happen during the day so I got all quixotic and cooked with my kids, then took them to the zoo for one last hurrah.

As the night approached, I knew what was coming for me. But I couldn't fall asleep. I stayed up, looking at all the people sleeping around me, watching their chests rise and fall peacefully, a contrast to the feelings swirling around inside me. Listening to DH snore. Contractions appeared at some point but not close enough or long enough to really record. I knew what they meant but I don't think anyone would have said it was labor. They were prickly beasts, lasting barely 10-20 seconds but bringing tears to my eyes.

Around 5am, I couldn't stand lying in bed and waiting for the random pain, so I started pacing around the house. I quickly learned that the only tolerable condition was on all fours, waving my hips and leaning my head on a support (such as the couch with pillows). The labor had a posterior aspect to it, as if dilating my backside. But the real pain was in the broad ligament area. In my head, I figured this was the earliest start of labor and I had some hours to go as contractions were 10 minutes apart.

The sharp, unusual pain in my ligaments made me angry. I guess anger is the word. I started to sweep the kitchen floor furiously and bang around pots and pans while loading the dishwasher. This woke up DH who came rushing out as if he suspected the baby was already here lol. He fell in step silently with me, clearing the dining room and setting up the tarp and pool. During one particular contraction where I started cussing, he tried to rub the deep blue essential oil onto my back.

The lovely inspirational wall

DH preparing the birth pool

I tried out some other positions, such as standing/squatting, rocking, lying on my side, on the toilet, etc but they were all very unpleasant and I rushed back to all fours, leaning against the couch and creating an odd sounding meditative song with the classic "ooooo" of birth but filled with fucks and damns and shits. Thinking back I find it comical but at the time I could have bit off someone's arm from that ligament pain.

At 7am, the pool was ready and I quickly climbed into it. My little doula-son followed me over, wanting to comfort me.

Right away I got a pushy contraction. I reached inside and felt his head, still pretty high up and I felt the rest of my cervix sitting there. Same as the last 3 births, I had a posterior head ready to birth despite the cervix. It is always a bit unnerving because you hear about lips and swelling from pushing too soon. But this time I didn't really need to worry about that because I was having trouble with my surrender mantra.

This was probably transition, of course. Since by this point I turned to DH and calmly told him, "Sorry. I'm not doing this. You'll just have to pistol whip me and take me in for a c-section." After all the moaning and whining and cursing earlier, the direct, calm statement out of my mouth shocked me. And yet there it was. Somehow I had let the tightness into my body, hunched my shoulders over, turned away from DH, and stopped. I refused to go another inch. I think I literally shut down my labor. I got a few irregular contractions and basically quelled them before they peaked. And I kneeled in that birth pool for probably a good hour, refusing to give birth.

It's all rather ridiculous, I know, because if I had just continued surrendering I would have popped him out in 20 seconds and been done. Instead, I kneeled in that pool and I stared into myself and I sat there, fighting with myself for a long time. I'm still not sure what all I worked through or why; that will take time for me to process. DH never left my side and to be honest, part of me wonders if he is the only reason I pushed the baby out in the end!

As we reached 8am, I started a running dialogue that slowly changed from resistance to surrender. I told DH over and over. "I can't do it. I won't do this. I'm not going to do this." The phrases began to morph. "I don't like this. This is going to hurt. This is so overwhelming." I think DH heard the change. He grabbed my arm and said, "You're already doing this. So let's do this together and be done." I literally slammed down and he popped right out. Never ceases to amaze me how my kids can be so huge and posterior and fly outta there. A little scary to say the least lol.

That end wasn't really a process that could be broken down into sections. He was up there, then he was out and the whole 5 or 10 seconds, I was saying something like, "Noooo. Get him out of me." I was hanging onto the top area of my genitals thinking about splitting into two lol and felt something squishy as his head popped out, so I think he had a nuchal cord. But out he flew.

I quickly turned around to see him floating beneath the water, face up. He looked like a serene alien. DH picked him up, handed him to me and it was over.

It was over. That is the highlight of the birth story. I'm sorry. I don't have anything profound or amazing to share about birth. My third eye of enlightenment wasn't opened, as a friend referred to the process. The little twinkle light candles I lit at the beginning were almost a joke as a backdrop against that experience. I didn't have surges or waves. I didn't lie back and breathe my baby down. I didn't find God's manna. I dragged my uterus over hot coals for 3 hours and then shoved him out and it was over. It was hard-ass work, it was completely unpleasant, I shed tears and I cowered away from it and it was over. 

Finnian Xavier, born at 8:13am into the water, was here.

The rest of the experience went fine and almost seems irrelevant, tucked behind the looming wall I had just jumped. Yes, the placenta released and I pushed it out about 10 minutes after birth. No hemorrhage in sight. That was wonderful. Yes, despite the same head size and position, I had torn a short, clean rip that really didn't require stitches, but a dear midwife stopped by to put a couple in so it would heal a bit better. Yes, all my children and my husband were there and we all experienced it together and they fell in love with their new brother and it was beautiful. And yes, I even got a little footage of the birth, finally!

But it was over.
Epsom salts, an herbal mix and essential oils in the pool seemed to help but who knows?
Out of 4 similar-shaped babies and births, I tore the least with this one.

First placenta with a normal cord insertion!
I guess we'll never really know his weight. DH tried to
weigh him after the birth but didn't get him fully into the sling.
This was his weight 48 hours later lol.

Once again, many thanks to the awesome people who helped out including Michelle R for the la bassine birth pool, Jennifer for her wonderful mother shower support and Hollie and Natalie for their excellent ideas on PPH. (I'll have to write up a 3rd stage article with more info).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Pregnant Women Should Avoid Cod Liver Oil (Omega 3s)

If you've been in the natural community on here, you've probably seen it before.


And then if you've been in the natural community for awhile, you've seen the bigger and better one.


I see people asking all the time: What is CLO? What does FCLO stand for? Why take it? Is it safe?

Cod Liver Oil and its better counterpart, Fermented Cod Liver Oil, are highly promoted (and rightly so) as nutrient dense products helpful for a variety of conditions and just overall healthy living. From heart disease to better sleep quality in children, this foul smelling, nasty tasting, traditional food is a champion.

But what about during pregnancy?

Many women fearfully ask about vitamin A levels during pregnancy. Or they worry about contamination (heavy metals, radiation, PCBEs etc). Those are valid concerns. But one I don't see people talking about is the way CLO influences clotting in the body.

Or rather, the way omega 3s influence clotting in the body. Part of the magic in that fishy oil is the fatty acid known as omega 3. Just a basic breakdown to get everyone on the same page:

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that we need. One form is plant-based (ALA) but some people cannot convert this form properly. DHA and EPA are animal-based, such as from that cod liver oil. But you will also find omega 3s in various other foods such as salmon and beef.

Now, for most people, including most pregnant people, omega 3s are great, they don't get enough of them in the typical American diet and CLO or other sources of omegas are a good idea during pregnancy.

But for some people, omega 3s present a concern. Studies tracking omega 3 levels found that after 2 weeks of intake, clotting factors were altered. In short, cod liver oil can thin the blood. This explains why the stuff is associated with heart health and this fact could be a big benefit for some people out there.

For pregnant women on blood thinners, who have reverse clotting disorders or who take medication for clot issues, who have PPH risk or a PPH history, who have blood-related complications or who need surgical intervention during pregnancy or birth, omega 3 might not be beneficial at all. In fact, it might be enough influence on the body to be a downright problem.

Interestingly, unlike other fatty acids, omega 3s are not stored as body fat. This means intake will be used rather quickly and expelled from the body quickly, in a matter of a few weeks. So a discerning pregnant woman could, for example, consume omega 3s during the earlier part of her pregnancy to provide nutrients for her baby but then reduce or eliminate omega 3s closer to birth (or timed with administration of medication or surgery) thereby getting the most benefit and reducing the most risk. But independent research and working with a knowledgeable health care provider is a must to ensure an individual decision is made based on personal risk factors and needs.

At any rate, I just felt I had to speak up about this topic to my natural friends and let them know that even though cod liver oil is super awesome...sometimes it's not.

"The mean bleeding times exhibited a marked increase (by 81%) with supplementation and returned to near basal (day 0) values within 14 days after the supplement was terminated. Cod-liver oil supplementation significantly reduced thrombin-induced platelet aggregation with a partial recovery being exhibited by day 28."
"The overall adhesion represented by the cumulative adhesion count and the rate of adhesion showed drastic reductions when fish oil was administered." This is a great paper, cited, that explains how omega 3s increase the risk of hemorrhage.
"Cod liver oil can also interact negatively with certain medications, particularly blood thinners such as warfarin and clopidogrel, brand names Coumadin and Plavix respectively"

By the way, yes, I do still think Green Pastures is the
only one worth spending money on if you're going to eat it.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bris Shalom: 'Bloodless Bris' is Becoming Popular Among Rabbis and Jewish Parents

Bris Shalom: 'Bloodless Bris' is Becoming Popular Among Rabbis and Jewish Parents   

Rabbis Against Circumcision: Brit Shalom and Bris B'lee Milah (The Jewish Covenants Without Cutting).

Many Rabbis are welcoming intact males into the Jewish community, and a growing number of Rabbis feel that surgical circumcision is no longer appropriate in the 21st century. Over 100+ Rabbis, Cantors and other Jewish leaders perform covenant ceremonies without surgical circumcision, and many more will do so upon parental request. These include Rabbis in the Reform, Conservative, Renewal, Reconstructionist and many other branches of Judaism. This is another sign thatintactivism is gaining social acceptance even in the Jewish community.

Hundreds of thousands of Jewish males around the world remain intact. Most Eastern European and South American Jews remain intact, and many Western European Jews have long ceased circumcision, seeing it as a violent leftover of pre-civilized times. Reform, Humanistic, and Reconstructionist Judaism welcome intact Jews.

Increasingly young Jewish parents are choosing to keep their newborn sons intact. Many of these parents want a welcoming covenant ceremony that affirms their Jewish faith without damaging their son's body. This movement exists in the United StatesCanadaIsrael, and around the world. Intactivists are those who believe that child circumcision is a violation of human rights and civil liberties, and a growing number of Jews are adopting this position. Jewish leaders, Rabbis, and scholars are evolving tradition to create a covenant without circumcision.

For over ten years, Mark Reiss, MD, a Jewish doctor and co-founder of Doctors Against Circumcision has published a list of Rabbis who will celebrate a bloodless Bris Shalom. Among the members on this list are Rabbis with intact grandsons and Rabbis who after decades of officiating at circumcisions, have stopped doing so for moral reasons. Many parents are also finding that their regular Rabbi or Cantor are happy to do so as well, even if they are not on this list.
Jewish parents can find a Rabbi, or Cantor to lead a Brit without cutting on this Bris Shalom Celebrants List

The Intact Male Foreskin and Human Rights.
The human body is a delicate biological eco-system and surgery on any part of it has an effect on the whole system. The intact male foreskin is an innate part of the human anatomy with a valid protective purpose. Read a medical appraisal of the protective biological value of the foreskin. The presence of the Intactivist movement has thankfully brought these human rights issues to the forefront of the American consciousness.

Judaism has evolved enormously over the last two hundred years. Jews were active in the early civil rights, peace, women’s, gay rights, and environmental movements, making huge advances for human rights in many areas. The prevalence of female Rabbis and the acceptance of gays and lesbians in most Jewish communities shows just how quickly Judaism can evolve on issues of fundamental human rights.
Here are some of these Rabbis and other Jewish leaders speaking about a covenant without circumcision in their own words.

"I cannot support circumcision with any conviction, just because it has always been held in high regard. It remains a barbaric, bloody act, which fills the father with anxiety and subjects the mother to morbid stress. The idea of sacrifice, which once consecrated the procedure, has certainly vanished among us, as it should. It is a brutal act that does not deserve continuation. No matter how much religious sentiment may have clung to it in the past, today it is perpetuated only by custom and fear, to which surely we do not want to erect temples." - Rabbi Abraham Geiger, one of the founders of the Reform movement of Judaism.

"I believe circumcision is a major mistake...  Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition."
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul, One Rabbis' Thoughts on Circumcision
"After officiating at [traditional bris] ceremonies for over three decades, I've concluded that it's just too painful and traumatic for me to inflict on a neonate... If I doubt it's something I'd subject myself to as an adult, I'm certainly not keen on inflicting it on a baby."
Rabbi Jay Heyman quoted in Some Jewish parents break ranks over circumcision, By Judy Peres, Chicago Tribune, May 22, 2007.

I will never conduct a “bris” service or be present for a male ritual circumcision."
- Rabbi Jeffrey Falick, Miami Beach, Florida. 
"We do not engage in circumcision, so that we celebrate all babies being born, girls and boys and the ceremonies are the same for welcoming both girls and boys into a poetic kind of covenantal ideal of love and support. We're all born into the world vulnerable and in need of people who love us and take care of us…  we depend upon each other for love and protection and that extends in this case I would say also to creating a covenant without circumcision….  There’s no official place in our movement’s philosophy for circumcision… the welcoming ceremony has no place for it… it’s really unimportant actually… most Jewish people who have any of covenant actually focus primarily on how we treat each other…   we’re all in this together folks… we all have to live some kind of ideas… not sacrifices of children’s bits - I think that’s completely absurd at this time in history. I will say that I would not circumcise a child. … I think many Rabbis actually if they were going to be honest would say that circumcision is an unimportant part of Jewish life.”
- Rabbi Binyamin Biber, Georgetown University, September 22, 2011

"I have already written about my opposition to infant circumcision.  Now, with the release of a new film and a new website, there is finally some momentum building among Jews to do away with this antiquated and barbaric custom.... I cannot imagine why any sane person would put their baby boy through an unnecessary and painful surgery without even the benefit of anesthesia.  Yet, until recently, no one in Jewish leadership has challenged this obsolete and primitive ritual."
- Rabbi Jeffrey Falick, Eliminating The Cruelest Cut, October 4, 2011

"We're seeing [circumcision's] decline, and we're seeing Rabbi's like me and others in other communities saying these practices are not warranted and we're seeing a generational shift away from them. One of the things that I think that's also critical is the growing popularity, and I think a rightful popularity of natural medicine and natural childbirth ideas. And I think that this is clearly seen as inconsistent - circumcision, male infant circumcision, female infant circumcision or genital mutilation - not consistent with natural childbirth, natural health. To the extent we see within nature patterns of evolved health and wellness. This is clearly not one of them. Inflicting a wound on an infant is clearly not one of those... If circumcision is ever wanted, it's not warranted at this point. “
- Rabbi Binyamin Biber, Georgetown University, September 22, 2011

More and more Jews are choosing to not circumcise their boys.. (Thank God!) And just as we accept Jews who do not keep kosher or observe as we do, we recognize the amazing diversity of practice and belief that is part and parcel of our astounding heritage.
Genital cutting does not create a 'mensch' (a conscious-caring individual). Indeed it is more of an obstacle to our natural development and [a] source of anger and confusion. Coming from an Orthodox background and having lived in Jerusalem, i am very aware that the problems of domestic violence and sexual pathology are just as prevalent in the observant communities as in the secular. Deuteronomy 10:16 says: "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart..." In Hebrew, the word foreskin is 'orlah'... there is an 'orlah' covering the ear and the heart... What is preventing us from 'hearing the word of God and opening our hearts in love and compassion.. This is the real circumcision that needs to occur. and it is a life-time learning ceremony…. 'Brit Milah' is the Hebrew for the covenant of 'circumcision'. 'Mila' also means 'word'.. We can welcome the child with songs and praises and holy words, gentle tones, and soft touches and smiles.”
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos.

"The issue of circumcision, in my view, is whether we want submission and wounding, as a symbolic act, to mark a man's relationship to God and to the community in general. I no longer believe such a wounding is defensible."
"There is more emotion about eliminating circumcision than perhaps any other traditional practice. But it is time to find a different symbol of a boy's entrance into the community. Instead of cutting our sons, we might celebrate their masculinity. A more appropriate symbol would be a nurturing act, one that would affirm a boy's relationship to a loving father, both his own and that of his God. We might, for example, feed our sons, since a meal is also a traditional symbol of covenant. Indeed, in one text, Moses and Aaron and the elders go up to the top of the mountain, and when they see God, they eat and drink. Feeding our sons, rather than wounding them, would be a symbol of our nurturing relationship to them."
- Rabbi Howard Eilberg-Schwartz, A Masculine Critique of a Father God, Tikkun, Magazine, September/October 1995

"…the ritual and religious consequences of not being circumcised amount to nothing. There is absolutely nothing that an intact Jewish male today cannot do. Contrast this with - I'm talking from the Orthodox perspective - non-Sabbath observance. Jews who are not Sabbath observant are not trusted in Halachic courts of law, they cannot be witnesses at people's weddings, they cannot be trusted with issues of Kashrut, making sure that things are Kosher... Here's an issue that is very easy to solve. You don't even have to argue for the eradication of male circumcision in the Jewish tradition for everyone to be happy. All you have to do is say that this will be a decision that an individual makes at an age when they can make the decision.”
- Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon.

“That just raises one of the ethical problems that I think is so central. There’s not a huge number of medical accidents, but the fact is that this is an unnecessary surgery. And so the fact that there would be any medical accidents whatsoever raises an enormous ethical question. Why should there be a procedure that is unnecessary… that there'd be any medical risk at all, and that there'd be pain afflicted at all. And no anesthetic given in 50% of the cases. What the hell's going on there?... If you look at the Hebrew Bible text you’ll see a place where circumcision is actually compared with the act of sacrificing animals.“
- Rabbi Binyamin Biber, Georgetown University, September 22, 2011.

"The thought of saying Hebrew prayers over the cutting of a baby’s flesh seemed truly barbaric to me. I wondered, “if mothers had the power to design Judaism, would circumcision have played such a central role?”... My second son came into the family by adoption at eleven months of age. He was born in Guatemala (where circumcision is not a general practice) so he had not been cut. Again, I was straddling the fence about whether to circumcise or not.... I did not take him for surgery. His body is intact and un-cut. Now he is an older teen who participates actively in the synagogue. Not once have I witnessed or heard from him about a single instance of raised eyebrows or persecution about his penis... I know that there is a time-tested and very valid way to be Jewish without being circumcised. All I have to do is look at my three daughters. Fifty percent of the Jewish people have managed to be fully Jewish without any ritual cutting of skin—the females. I think this is an issue where being beyond gender in our decision-making would be worthwhile.... Twenty two years after making the decision about how to welcome my firstborn son, I am more confident as a rabbi and as a mother. If I were making the decision today, I might not have made the decision to circumcise my first baby.”
- Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Cutting and Covenant: How I Decided Whether Or Not To Circumcise My Sons,

"It seems very silly that people who are not Jewish would engage in circumcisions. It makes no sense to me either. And neither does today from where I'm at, neither does a brit milah work for me. Because when I see the babies crying in your film, and I've spoken with neurosurgeons as well, and I know that babies undergo - that there's a lot of pain involved. Your conclusion was absolutely right. Our faith should be about healing and joy, not about inflicting more pain. And so from my perspective I'm very interested in performing brit shalom. You can do everything you do in that ceremony - except the violent part. Everything works. You can adapt a couple of brahot and it's beautiful... That's the beauty of who we are today. We should be joyful and not hurt little babies... I too am rooted in tradition. I went to Yeshiva. I've davened with Lubbovovich. I've led services in the Conservative synagogues and in the Reform synagogues."
Rabbi Steven Blane, Rabbi of Congregation Havurah Sim Shalom, and Dean of the Jewish Spiritual Leader's Institute.

“There are really no practical religious ritual consequences - and I’m speaking about this from an Orthodox perspective too - to not being circumcised… The only exclusion in Jewish law – even from an Orthodox perspective, for an intact Jewish male is the Pascal Lamb, the Korban Pesach which hasn’t been brought in 2,000 years, and it won’t be brought again until the Temple’s rebuilt ostensibly. If it’s even brought when the Temple’s rebuilt, if the Temple’s rebuilt.“
- Eliyahu Ungar-Sargon, Georgetown University, September 22, 2011.

"Ritual circumcision poses difficult moral and religious issues for many liberal (non-Halachic) Jews… First, there is the issue of inflicting pain on the newborn in a religious ceremony. There is always tension as we gather around for a bris. Very often the mother (and sometimes the father) prefer to absent themselves as they can’t bear to witness the event. The cutting of the foreskin violates our instinct not to inflict any unnecessary pain on our children….We regard female genital mutilation to be utterly abhorrent and immoral. Why not circumcision?
While many anti-circumcision activists focus on the important question of pain or mutilation which could be thought of as the rights of the child, I want to focus the nature of circumcision as a core element of a Judaism that contradicts our commitment to a Judaism that fully includes both men and women.… When my son was born some thirty years ago, I felt I couldn’t break that tradition and chose to honor the power of tradition over my ambivalence. I just couldn’t imagine breaking the tradition. Over the past three decades I have become even more ambivalent about circumcision.... There are Jews who refuse to circumcise and create an alternative ceremony. You can find more information about this on the website: <>.
- Rabbi Brian Walt, To circumcise or not, that is also a question., Congregation Tikkun v’Or Newsletter, Issue 163, July – August 2011.
"The code of the Jewish law is called "halacha" (the way). Within the Code, there is a provision that if a mother loses a son because of circumcision, she is NOT obligated to circumcise her next son. I extrapolate from this, the inter-connection of my human family, that enough deaths and maiming have occurred because of circumcision. Therefore - circumcision is no longer a requisite! Just as we no longer practice the animal sacrifices in the traditional temple, so let us not sacrifice an important piece of our mammal in the temple of tradition."
- Rabbi Nathan Segal, Rabbi of Shabbos Shul.

Jewish Intactivist Link List
Bris Shalom and Brit B'lee Milah Writings for Jewish Parents.
HowJudaic is the circumcision? An Israeli Hebrew scholar on Biblical intactivism.Rabbis who lead covenant without cutting ceremonies worldwide.
Naming and Welcoming Ceremony on the Birth of a Child by Rabbi Jay B. Heyman.
Brit B'lee Milah Ceremony
A Brit Shalom Ceremony
Song for an Intact Jewish Boy’s Welcoming

Judaism, the Foreskin & Human Rights.
Rabbis on a Covenant without Circumcision
Jewish Evolution, the Foreskin, & Human Rights | Part 1.Jewish Evolution, the Foreskin, & Human Rights | Part 2.Jewish Evolution, the Foreskin, & Human Rights | Part 3.

Jewish Intactivist Families: Jewish Parents' Experiences Keeping their Sons Intact.
Laura Shanley: A Jewish Woman Denounces Circumcision | A Jewish Childbirth Educator keeps her sons intact.Moshe Rothenberg: Ending Circumcision in the Jewish Community? | Envisioning an Intactivist Judaism.Michael Kimmel: The Kindest Un-Cut: Feminism, Judaism, and My Son's Foreskin | Published in Tikkun. Intact & Jewish | Published on the Natural Parents Network.The Naming | Published on Very, Very FineDiane Targovnik: How "Cut" Saved My Son's Foreskin: A Movie Review | Published on Beyond the Bris.Humanistic Judaism is Increasingly Intactivist.Circumcision
Questions (letter from an intact Jew)
. |  Published in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin.
Outlawing Circumcision: Good for the Jews? By Eli Ungar-Sargon. Published in the Jewish Daily Forward. 
Dear Elijah: A Conservative Jewish Father's Letter to His Intact Son | Published on Peaceful Parenting.Stacey Greenberg: My Son: The Little Jew with a Foreskin | Published in Mothering Magazine.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ecococoon Stainless Steel Cups REVIEW and GIVEAWAY!

My friend made me aware of these products, which have just recently entered the US market. I was intrigued. Upon trying them out, I had to share.

They are stainless steel drinking cups.

Yes. I can hear many of my awesome friends gearing up to defend glassware. All I have to say is...good for you! With my kids, it's been a constant struggle to ditch the plastic for glass, especially with our hardwood floors. To say I closed my eyes in gratitude and jumped up and down when I learned about these cups isn't an exaggeration!

Especially now that people are catching onto the BPA-free myth, these cups come at a great time. Even though companies are making BPA-free products, it unfortunately just means they are switching to other, lesser known but still toxic chemicals to coat their products.

So what are these things? I chose a set of 4 small, plain cups. You can order them in different colors and styles. They are the perfect size for my kids and immediately went into heavy labor when I brought them into the home. So far they have been dropped (ok, thrown, maybe even kicked on occasion) and they stand up excellently. No smell, no stains and the plain design is painless to clean.

If you're feeling stuck between wanting to ditch the plastic and wanting to avoid steam cleaning the dining room after every glass dilemma, these are an awesome option!


I've been given a special discount code for my readers. Just enter Guggie10 at checkout on any order of $24.95 or more until September 24th. Visit the store here.


One lucky winner gets to choose a cup set or travel bottle as the prize! To enter, follow the rafflecopter form. Please include a valid email address in your profile or comment when commenting on the blog or I won't be able to contact you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Note as always that my opinion was given freely, without obligation or reimbursement. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A Birth Center VBAC to C-section for Chorioamnionitis

E's Birth Story, submitted anonymously by request.

Let me just start this by reminiscing on those lovely weeks of what I called prodromal labor, which may or may not have been, but was certainly hard to handle. Especially from 36 weeks on, I had contractions for hours and hours and most would become regular and then end up fizzling out.

We thought it was truly labor once or twice, and I was really concerned I wouldn't know when it was time. I'd been planning a birth center birth and all of the midwives kept telling me, "Trust me! You'll KNOW!" ...They were right! I continued drinking my RRL tea and taking Evening Primrose Oil capsules daily, in hopes that it, along with my prodromal labor, would make for a smooth, easy, quick labor.

We live 45 minutes away from the birth center, so I had my fair share of worries about not making it on time. Boy, was I worried for nothing! On the evening of June 20th, I started having bloody show. It was coming only a little bit at a time, but consistently. I'd lost some of my mucus plug weeks earlier, but it would only be like one piece here and there, and not bloody. I got a little excited, but decided to just calm the hell down because I'd been there, done that too many times so far.

Husband came home and I shared the news, told him to get some good rest because I may need him soon. I was still hoping inside that contractions would start coming on, but I fell asleep and didn't wake to anything unusual during the night. Sometime in the morning of June 21st, contractions DID start, and I wasn't sure they were that regular, but I texted my doula and told her I thought it might be time.

By 10:30 AM, I was sure it was time! The contractions started in at 6-7 minutes apart, lasting about a minute, and so I called the midwife. Since I lived so far away and we worried about a quick labor, they told me to come on in. We got there around 12:30 and the doula was going to meet us in town. I think they checked me upon arrival, but I'm not really sure.

I know the first check I was 4cm, so I think that's where we were at about that time. The midwife suggested that I go get some lunch, and meet my doula somewhere in town. They were going to fill the tub up for me and have it ready by the time we got back there. Contractions were pretty easy at this point, but I practiced swaying and focusing through them so I'd be prepared later. Definitely different than the Braxton Hicks ones, though.

We got some food, met the doula, and decided to go walk around and help bring baby down and make the contractions more effective. We started timing them in the store and they were still 6ish minutes apart. Around 3pm, we went back to the birth center and I labored on the bed and on the birthing ball for awhile before getting in the tub. I did all kinds of position changes, rocking, etc. The tub was just calling my name and I couldn't help but think how awesome it was going to feel since the intensity of my contractions was picking up. I deserved a little break. I think I remember getting checked before the tub and I was about at a 5 then?

The water felt amazing and I thought to myself, "If I can just stay in here, and my labor progresses, I will absolutely get through this!" I kept moving, squatting, and doing what I could to progress things in there. The contractions were coming at 4-5 minutes apart and stayed that way for many hours. I kept getting out periodically when I'd get too hot, or when I needed to pee.

I swear I traveled back and forth between the tub and the bathroom 100 times during the whole course of my labor. Used an entire toilet paper roll and then some. LOL We left to go get dinner in the evening, and laboring in Subway for awhile, I had to really start to breathe and moan through them. I felt like someone was stabbing me, but I tried to keep my mouth open, and envision my cervix opening like a beautiful flower.

When we got back to the center, I saw a picture on the wall above the tub of a flower in bloom with some beautiful statement about 'opening up', which I promptly called bullsh*% during one of my contractions. I didn't feel beautiful, but I felt powerful. I was wondering when the contractions would get closer, though, and if I was really progressing.

Baby didn't feel lower, and all that felt different was that things were getting more painful. We turned some music on to try to lighten my mood. My doula says we listened to Cake, Norah Jones, and Tupac. Sounds just like my tastes. All I remember about the music is it being late in the night, my doula by my side at the tub, rubbing a cool cloth on my face, and Stevie Nicks singing "Landslide". It was the most peaceful moment of my entire labor. I will always be able to look back on that song and feel the joy, the love, the endurance, the power of what my body was trying to do.

Around 3am on June 22nd, my "due date", they checked me and I was at 7cm. We kept laboring in and out of the tub, doing all we could to keep things moving along. Contractions weren't any closer really, that I remember, but still growing in intensity. I needed rest very badly, especially if I were to be pushing soon.

I was starting to feel like I couldn't manage very well, and after vomiting numerous times already, I accepted some phenergan for nausea and to help me sleep. I had restless, painful sleep until around 7am. Everyone around me was so tired and sleeping so peacefully so I waited a bit to really wake anyone up, but it wasn't long before I felt I needed some support. I tried to feel like this would be the day, and be excited, and pumped up to bring my baby down, but this is where I started to feel like something may be wrong.

The midwife checked me and I had regressed down to 5cm. She reminded me this was normal and that maybe some more walking and fresh air would help. We went to breakfast, but I didn't want to eat. I felt so nauseated. I choked down a breakfast burrito and water. Then, we went to Walmart and walked around, but it was too much. Too many bright lights, people, and other distractions.

The contractions HAD started coming closer-like every 3 minutes-but they were dying down in such a busy place. So, we went to the library where it was more quiet. I walked around with my husband and sobbed quietly into him during some of the more painful contractions. It was becoming incredibly hard for me to manage and after being away from the birth center, I wanted to go back and labor there.

At about 1pm, the midwife suggested I go back home since I wasn't any more dilated and after the outing in public, contractions slowed back down to 5 minutes apart. It felt like a kick in the face. I was working so hard, and it was SO incredibly painful, but I tried to keep my faith that a natural birth, and a VBAC, was still possible for me. I reiterated all my birth affirmations, and agreed.

My doula went home for some rest, and I tried hard to rest at home. I took a phenergan pill and it didn't help me sleep. Instead, I woke very quickly to absolutely unbearable contractions, uncontrollable shaking, and I threw up. I called the midwife back and she told me to come right in because it sounded like I was in transition. I met the doula back there at 11pm and the midwife checked me. I was at 4cm, but very loose and soft. About 95% effaced. Baby was at -2 station, which he had stayed at thus far.

The rest of the night is incredibly fuzzy to me because I was focusing so hard on getting through each contraction. Coming very hard, lasting a long time, and close together at 2-3 minutes apart. I labored mostly in the tub, doing some counter pressure and tons of position changes. I could not shake the feeling that something was wrong with my body. I chalked it up to it being my first real labor, and letting some fear in.

I kept rejecting the notion that I was afraid of labor because I had been very prepared and educated regarding birth since my first birth (a failed induction that resulted in an unnecessary cesarean and birth trauma afterwards). I kept my worries quiet since I was battling with myself if it truly was FEAR or instincts telling me there would be bad news.

6am. Midwife comes in to check me and see where I'm at. Contractions still 2-3 minutes apart. Lasting 2 minutes. Extremely hard, intense. I hadn't had even a moment of real rest in many hours. She checks my cervix and I'm still at a 4, with heavily bulging waters baby still at -2 station. Then she said the words I had been SO afraid of hearing. For years, I was afraid my next birth would come to this... She suggested that I either go home and wait for something else to happen or to transfer to the hospital for a repeat c-section.

(NOTE: Here, the hospitals have VBAC bans, so that wasn't really an option to go labor over there.)  I couldn't stomach the idea of going home, the contractions not letting up, and having to go through even another hour of it. I asked for some time to discuss my options with my husband alone. They gave us privacy and I told him that I wanted to go ahead with the c-section.

I honestly felt relieved...the opposite of how I expected to feel. He cried. He told me about how scared he was that I was going to be traumatized over losing my birth experience, and how heartbroken he felt that all the knowledge I'd gained and preparation I had done for a VBAC was all in vain. He was scared about the surgery and what risks there were with that. We embraced each other and I told him I really felt inside like something was wrong and that I didn't feel I was losing my birth experience because I had just been through 45 hours of natural labor and I was such a warrior!

I consoled him and said we would be in good hands since the midwife and doula would come with me. I felt like I had just been waiting for a sign that something really was wrong, and while we didn't know it at this point, there was a complication and my consent to a repeat cesarean was probably the best choice for us. This is where things kind of went downhill. I arrived at the hospital, completely miserable, waiting for them to get me prepped for surgery. I screamed through the cervix check at the hospital, having to be laid down on my back, and I realized this is exactly why labor fails to progress sometimes in hospitals where you're bed-ridden. Mad props to moms who labor like that.

The nurses were rushing around like there was some sort of emergency or like I'd pop my baby out any second. That made me feel really uncomfortable and I jumped in the commotion as much as possible through the pain, stating my wishes for my c-section. The nurses kept assuring me I would be able to watch my baby be born, I would have my husband there, the baby would stay with us at all times, etc. The doctor arrived and finally it was time for surgery. I was incredibly nervous about getting through those contractions while getting my spinal block in.

There was a sweet nurse who held me in the proper position and told me how strong and amazing I was. I still remember the calm, peaceful look in her eyes. Instant relief with the spinal block. They laid me down and I waited for them to get ready to start. They put the curtain up and I kept asking where my husband was and they said he was getting dressed to come in. From this point on, no one acted as if they heard me.

I was talking, yelling, asking for answers and no one responded to me. I kept reminding them of what was most important to me...I wanted to see my baby come out of my body. They had initially agreed they would lower the curtain. They never did. I won't go on about the disrespect I received and how much they really killed my joy in that moment, but it was really awful.

My husband came in as they were cutting me open. He watched over the screen and saw our baby as he came out. E was born at 8:21AM, on June 23rd, 2012 at 40w1d gestation. He was 8lbs, 4oz and 22inches long. They came over to me and said that our baby boy would be going to the NICU, as I had severe chorioamnionitis, an infection, and there was heavy meconium... I told them, "NO. HE CAN'T. You can't take him!", but they explained that he just needed to receive IV antibiotics for 48 hours and that I would still be able to breastfeed him.

I kept asking what type of infection that was, but stopped asking when I saw a glimpse of my baby to my right side. He was across the room and I couldn't make out any details, but I hadn't heard his cry yet. I asked, in a panic, why he wasn't crying. The nurse said they were keeping a finger in his mouth to keep him from inhaling the meconium. I told my husband to go over to him, to be with him. I watched from afar as they stuck a suction tube down to empty his stomach contents. I heard gagging and choking, and then a sweet cry and the tears began to stream down my face.

My husband said he was fine and that he was pinking up. He then left with the NICU team to stay with our son. Once I got into recovery, my husband came to tell me how awesome he was doing and said that our son was right behind him. They'd been trying to get his IV in and give him some sugar water, but he was a hard stick and he was acting so hungry that they were going to let me breastfeed him instead. (Which should have been their first option anyways!)

So, I met my baby boy... I instantly latched him on and it was such an imperfect latch but I didn't care. I just wanted to be near him and get as much time as possible with him before they took him off to the NICU again to get his IV started. It was a beautiful time with my midwife, doula, and husband there. The doula and midwife stayed back to give us some privacy, but I was very thankful for their presence.

Soon after, they left. And they took E. I really wanted my husband to go be with him and so he did. I got a little cat nap in here and there. They brought him to me to nurse a few times, and then at 3pm, they came and said he had been doing so well and since there was so little room in the NICU, he would get to room in with me that day until the end of our stay! We were so thrilled!!!

I've been reflecting on how things turned upside down and how my attempt at a VBAC failed. I have come to realize that I was, indeed, a warrior! Also, if the hospital hadn't had a ban on VBACs, things might have gone much differently. I could have stayed there and labored, with pain medication, and perhaps things would have progressed and he could have been born vaginally, even with the infection. This would have been the time for intervention on my birth. But I won't dwell on the what ifs, could've, should'ves.

I'm healing from my birth by pushing myself into activism so that women like me, can have healthy options for their birth, no matter what happens. I remind myself daily that, "When you know better, you do better", and that going into my pregnancy and birth as an educated woman in charge of her care, ready to birth without fear, gave us the best possible outcome and because of that, I do not regret my decision. I feel empowered and beautiful just by being educated and in charge.

Update: E was born in June 2012 and we're happy to announce our pregnancy with #3 and that we are planning a HBA2C with a fantastic midwife in February! To follow our journey, I started a Facebook page.

What is chorioamnionitis? 

This is a severe infection during labor that can have tragic outcomes including stillbirth. Pathogens from the lower area travel up to the baby, taking hold in the membranes, placenta and cord. It's dangerous to the mother and baby, and is considered one of the more common yet ignored plights during childbirth. The number one way to prevent this infection is to keep a healthy vaginal flora, limit vaginal exams and avoid placing anything else in the canal (e.g. douching, internal exams) while laboring. With severe adverse outcomes for mother and baby, this is not an infection to take lightly, but the initial symptoms can be vague, making it harder to address. Symptoms include things such as low maternal fever, foul odor and tender or painful contractions. Learn more here:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Take a Look Around...You're Not Alone

When it comes to change, you've probably met ridicule from others, perhaps even discouragement in your own heart. If you advocate for a healthier world and a more respectful system, people might laugh at you, tell you that you're exaggerating too much and that you're all alone. In discussions, you find yourself making the same points over and over again while listening to the same myths and canned comebacks.

But take a look around before you feel burned out...things are changing. Here are a few recent examples.

UPDATE 10/31: Kraft is removing artificial dyes from 3 of its macaroni products! This is after a petition started by Food Babe! We ARE making a change in the world!
"Kraft's new recipes, which begin shipping early next year, will be for its macaroni and cheese varieties that come in the SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween and winter shapes. Two new shapes will also be added."

Proctor & Gamble, the world's largest personal care company, has banned phthalates and triclosan. 

Phthalates, long opposed as endocrine disruptors and triclosan, the antibacterial agent thought to cause everything from issues during pregnancy to muscle weakness, are being taken very seriously by the biggest and completely mainstream personal product company in the world. And you think you're a drop in the ocean? You're not a fringe weirdo when the biggest personal product company in the world is removing chemicals, too.

Who knows, maybe this won't be so ironic in future years!

Look at this study showing recent medical graduates are skeptical about vaccines. (Analysis here.)

Some newly graduating doctors think vaccines are more harmful than helpful and at least 15% of them worry about the claims that vaccines are safe and effective. What's that? DOCTORS? Questioning vaccine fanaticism?

It's chasing us!

Let's do another.

Read some scathing words from the American Medical Association (AMA) and keep your jaw off the ground!

" To use evidence properly, clinicians need to share evidence with patients so that they can make well-informed choices about their care. Evidence is ethically essential to informed consent, and employment of evidence is an ethical duty of the clinician.
Nevertheless, in many U.S. hospitals today, the management of labor and delivery doesn’t look very evidence-based. Many well-intentioned obstetricians still employ technological interventions that are scientifically unsupported or that run counter to the evidence of what is safest for mother and child. They do so not because a well-informed pregnant woman has indicated that her values contradict what is scientifically supported, a situation that might justify a failure to follow the evidence. They do so out of tradition, fear, and the (false) assumption that doing something is usually better than doing nothing [2]. These problematic motivators are not unique to obstetrics, but obstetrics seems to be particularly resistant to the evidence, perhaps because of the emotional climate surrounding pregnant women and babies." (Emphasis mine.)
It seemed like a good idea at the time!

So before you accept any mockery about your fringe ideas or your lonely advocacy, remember that you aren't the only one and that change is happening! Keep up the hard work, keep standing for what's right and enjoy the good news!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Boiling Buckets of Water, Wearing Wreaths of Garlic and Bloodletting at the Local ER

I've noticed a problem with risk assessment and time periods when it comes to discussing the necessity of intervention in a variety of parenting topics.

For example, when people debate homebirth versus hospital birth, for or against, they inevitably refer to historical rates and cases of things such as post-partum hemorrhaging or true cases of CPD perhaps due to malnutriton and pelvic/back injury that healed without hospital management. (Side note, tragically severe cases of true CPD still occur in other areas due to impoverishment and injury from early, hard labor.)

It reminds me of a birth story in Marilyn Moran's book, Birth and the Dialogue of Love. In the story, the woman experiences a complication so they rush to the hospital parking lot, where the husband uses a phone to call a local doctor, waking him up in the night. They then wait in the parking lot until the doctor dresses and drives over to the hospital, unlocks the doors and turns on the lights. Do you have a local hospital staffed with one doctor and closed at night?

Another common topic that misuses historical cases: vaccination. In addition to widespread vaccination, our entire country also experienced changes in everything from basic living conditions, food production/storage/preparation, medical care and knowledge about disease. We began to treat our water as one example. Refrigeration and food sterilization are two more.
Bottom's up!

If your child, vaccinated or vaccine-free, contracts pertussis for example, you won't hold him over the fire in your log cabin in the wilderness and hope for the best. The thing is, any risks that exist TODAY cannot be compared to the experiences of 50, 100, 150 years ago. No, that doesn't mean they are automatically dismissed and I'm not discouraging discussion. But I am pointing out that the factors contributing to your individual situation need to be assessed within your time period (and geographic location and economic status for that matter, although that goes into other topics).

Do you lie awake at night, fearful of cholera coming to get your child
because he isn't vaccinated for it?

Newsflash: you're not hundreds of miles in the wilderness, in a log cabin without electricity or running water. You're not pulling drinking water from the river, the same place you use as a toilet. You're not completely ignorant of disease pathways and healthcare options. You're not decades away from standardized emergency health care. You're not overworked, half-starved from the long winter and scarred/impaired from numerous injuries that had to heal on their own. You don't eat the same exact food, limited vegetables and fruits from the same geographic location, rationing them out through periods of drought or harsh winters.

Maybe some blood letting would have saved you.

"Bloodletting Scene."
Cintio d'Amato.
Nuoua et vtilissima prattica di tutto quello ch’al diligente barbiero s’appartiene. (Naples: G. Fasulo, 1671).
Probably not.
Anyone recall the stories in the Little House on the Prairie series, such as when they eat a potato and bread as their meal every day during winter, or how Pa was so starved, he couldn't carry a bag of grain across the street? How do you think a person in that situation responds to disease compared to you in your current situation of excess, varied, nutrient-dense food, supplements and medicines?

Where we are right now in history and in our culture of accessibility is something new. We have at our disposal limitless information available online, or limitless resources that can direct us to people who have information in real life. We can network across the country and world in an instant. We can send photos on our phones for diagnosis and scrutiny. We even have "drive-thrus" to pick up medication and health supplements at local stores, stores that are so numerous they tend to have one on every block.
And this is only Walgreens.
In addition to the stream of information, we also have a mind-boggling array of interventions available to us, whether natural or allopathic. Historically, the interventions people used were based on location. Depending on where you lived, you used the herbs or healing foods available in that area or you hoped to stay alive until traveling businesses came by to sell their wares.

That's not true now. You can throw everything at an illness. Superfruits from around the world are in your local grocery every season. You can buy essential oils, herbs in every form, homeopathics of any kind, aids from all countries such as manuka honey...the list goes on...and you can pay for overnight shipping if needed. If you suspect nutritional or mineral deficiencies, a quick pop into the local doctor nets you complete testing.

Heck, you can even order custom-made vitamins these days based on lab reports or do substantial genetic testing. You can stop by your local naturopath for advice on a condition, then hop over to a chiropractor for adjustment, then stop by your local urgent care clinic or pharmacy for medications. Then go home to dig your essential oils out of the mailbox.

In addition to people over-emphasizing outdated risk profiles, they also then tend to dismiss or minimize current risks. For example, a person might oppose homebirth due to fears about bleeding out like "in the olden days" but the person won't exhibit fear towards the idea of bleeding out on the surgery table. Fear of the conditions largely uncontrolled or unpredictable, conditions of "fate" such as prolapsed cord, placental abruption and uterine rupture are strong and lead people to avoid homebirths. But then complications that could be avoided or reduced such as those caused by exposure to pitocin, epidural or other obstetrical interventions are almost accepted as normal, not even mentioned.

Or to use the second topic, vaccinations: A person might fear the rare complication called encephalitis that can occur with various diseases. But will ignore the listed warning of encephalitis on the vaccine pamphlets. With the advent of newer vaccines such as the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, we now have generations growing up with an intense fear of dying from the chickenpox, but showing little to no concern about things such as shifting epidemiology, a more invasive strain from the vaccine and increased shingles cases.

People do this in other topics, too.

In other words, the risk assessments used to make decisions about the level of intervention in these topics is not accurately adjusted for the person's time, location and resources. This is leading people to make decisions that aren't evidence-based or tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. Powerful imagery and phrases encourage this short-sighted way of thinking. When you see images making a plea to outdated fears, stop and think twice about the underlying messages. Decide if they are truly relevant to you and if so, to what extent based on the myriad of other factors in your life.

It's coming for you.

Just in a different way than you've been taught to fear.


Custom Vaccines for YOUR Child: