Category Archives: Natural Living
I don’t often share Christian articles here. I am a Christian, a conservative one at that, and that is essentially the reason why Wallypop exists in the first place. While I am not ashamed of my faith and do not hide it, I know many of you are not also believers, and see no reason to drive you away from the rest of my dazzling blog content (ha ha) by posting a lot of stuff you won’t be interested in.
So please respect that this is one of the few occasions when I WILL post something that is very overtly Christian. And also note that you STILL might be interested in reading it.
I don’t often share articles about natural childbirth here. blah blah, same disclaimer as above. I believe every woman has the right to make her own educated decisions about how she will birth her children, and those decisions should be supported by her caregivers and family. Unfortunately, relatively few women in this country get to experience what that’s like – making educated decisions and being supported.
I do not necessarily personally agree with some of the finer points of Christianity discussed in the article. I don’t even necessarily agree that childbirth is or must be painful. (Mine have been uncomfortable, but I associate the word Pain with having a kidney stone – and I’ve passed two. The experiences are nothing alike.) And, last, I find it annoying that the author seems to believe that medical interventions in childbirth are at a mother’s request. Certainly, they are at her approval (as the OB must have consent to treat), but I think the author underestimates the pressure put on women by their care providers and that, as a man, he also lacks a good understanding of the mental status of a woman in labor.
All that said, I liked the article because I’ve not read such a thorough examination of current childbirth practices from a Christian/Bible perspective.
“Many mothers-to-be today buy into modern medicine’s disdain for God’s natural, physiological processes, and in essence agree that God’s design is inherently defective.”
“The so-called “experts” in the field of obstetrical practice desire that families do minimal thinking on their own and submit to the superior wisdom of modern medical science.”
“Because today there is an unrealistic expectation on the part of parents and medical personnel as to how long labor should take, especially a first labor, the many ‘helps’ that are available from the hospital ‘pain reduction’ menu often are the very factors that lead to eventual C-sections.”
And particularly these questions, which I think hit that nail squarely on the head:
“Had adopting the hospital model caused women to lose their innate instincts of how to give birth? Had the shift
in thinking produced a generation of women who wanted ‘natural childbirth’ but found it difficult to proceed because their own perspective (as well as the hospital’s perspective) of ‘natural childbirth’ lacked a full understanding of the process?”
When we had Wally at Mercy Hospital, one of the things that was important to our family was to bring his placenta home with us. This amazing organ that kept him nourished and safe for all those months was NOT going to be incinerated like a piece of garbage. We ended up planting a pear tree with it (which, um, yeah, subsequently died). The process at Mercy was easy, they had to do some testing on it to make sure it wasn’t diseased and then they just handed it over to my husband in a big ziplock bag.
At Methodist Hospital, the process has been similar for a number of years. I have heard rumors of some people having difficulty getting their placentas released recently, and this was posted at the Holistic Families of Des Moines Facebook group this morning, written by local doula and placenta encapsulator Sabbath Jackson:
Hey there everyone!After a phone call tonight with a local doula – I am at my wit’s end. I am writing a note out to all of the local birthworkers to try and find some support and some help with what’s going on over at Methodist Hospital regarding the release of patient’s placenta’s.
It started off kind of quietly, but it is in full swing now – Methodist Hospital will not release any placenta’s to their patients to take home. They advise patients that the placenta has to be transported to a funeral home (HA!) and must be rendered non-pathogenic (i.e. no longer suitable for encapsulation, placed into a formalin solution). They are claiming that it is based on a brand new law. I contacted the Iowa Department of Public Health and asked why Methodist would be under the impression that there was a new law, as Mercy Hospital gives us not a bit of trouble with patient’s who want their placenta. Iowa Department of Public Health wrote back:
IDPH and the Department of Inspections and Appeals are not aware of any rules or regulations. I would ask the healthcare facility for their reference for their requirement. It seems an odd restriction to be placed when such a small number of patients would be requesting this.
I am sort of at my wit’s end. As doulas in the community, and as other people who work with childbearing women, I am looking for some support with this. I am currently trying to set up a meeting with Methodist Hospital Administration, but I am having no luck. My next move will be simply to show up and request to speak to someone.
I would love to hear about anyone who has had an experience with trying to get their placenta home, for whatever reason. I am aware that other people in the community are also preparing placenta’s and I am hoping that the efforts I put forth here will serve to benefit us all, so please don’t be afraid to talk to me about issues that go beyond just Beth and myself. I need to get some good patient stories to come at the hospital with, but please make sure that you discuss anything that you might talk to me about with your clients first, or better yet, simply give them the option to contact me directly.
If you are able, please feel free to also contact Methodist Hospital. I hate to be awful, but honestly, if this is their new policy, I will advise clients to seek care at another facility. I am hoping that if they start to see some community support for allowing placenta’s to be released, they will reconsider their policy. That could mean also having your clients, current and otherwise, also write in a letter as a consumer asking for them to change their policy. You can direct your clients here to submit their note.
Also, if anyone is more skilled at perusing Iowa state code, please feel free to locate any new legislation for 2011 regarding this. I looked for a long time and was not able to find anything new.
I know we are all busy, but this is seriously starting to have a major impact on childbearing families citywide. I think I am up to 8 families that haven’t been able to bring home their placenta, or have had it ‘accidentally destroyed’ (once is an accident…three times isn’t).
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
As you might remember, I have a goat, Ginger, and consequently, I have a lot of goat milk.
I’ve been making yogurt and yogurt cheese (and cheese-based fruit dip, which I am in love with) from our goat milk for months now, but Friday was my first foray into actual cheese making, by myself.
I’ve blogged about it, with pictures, over at Boulevard Farm.
I get this question a LOT. A lot lot. Someone asked again on Tuesday at the evening Babywearing meeting. Here’s my secret. I don’t.
Here’s something to think about. The people in your life who continue to try to engage you in discussion about the choices you’re making do so because they continue to believe that you care what they think, and that they might be able to convince you. They continue to believe this because you continue to engage in conversation with them about it.
Stop talking about it. Problem solved.
“But, Sarah, I don’t bring it up! They do!”
Right, but do you answer? Stop. Don’t be rude, just don’t engage. “You know, that baby’s never going to learn to sleep on his own.” “Oh, we’re not worried about it. Hey, that reminds me, we’ve been hoping you’d share your recipe for corn salad. Do you happen to have that handy, and I can jot it down while I’m thinking of it?”
I’ve found that children are particularly good for these sudden subject changes. “What, are you still going to be breastfeeding when he’s in college?” “ha ha, maybe. <turn to child> Uh oh, I think you need a clean diaper!”
A recent one from my life. “You should coat a pacifier with honey to get her to take it.” “Hm. That’s something to think about. Oh, hey…(on to another subject).” And I did think about it. For like 2 seconds.
This is how I do it, personally. My family and friends stopped commenting when Wally was about a year old. I know they comment to themselves. That’s fine. They don’t comment to me. They know it is pointless.
Some people (like my husband) take a different approach. It works for him, but I don’t think everyone can pull this off. Randy’s snotty. “What are you still going to be breastfeeding when he’s in college?” “Well, we hope he goes to Drake, so he can pop over between classes for a snack.”
“But, Sarah, isn’t it better to try to educate those around me?”
Of course. And certainly give it a try, at first. I don’t suggest disengaging from the get-go. When you first make a new, controversial decision (like cloth diapering, you wild and crazy parent), people are bound to express their opinions, and most of these opinions will be based on misinformation. Absolutely, giving correct information is a good idea. Answering questions is a good idea. Many, many customers have been pleasantly surprised to find that family and friends were supportive of their decisions (including cosleeping or not vaccinating) once they understood the facts and/or the reasons.
But there are always going to be those people who won’t listen, or who don’t care, or who are just certain that their way is the right – the only – way. And that’s fine. We all have things we’re not willing to bend on. Then there is the small percentage who not only are convinced that you’re crazy, but who feel the need to constantly remind you of that. That is NOT ok. That’s when I recommend the “Oh, ok, thanks for your thoughts, change the subject” approach.
“But what if that doesn’t work?”
If you’ve tried talking reason, and then you’ve tried just disengaging, and it’s still not better after a while (at least a few months – it took some people in my life nearly a year to give up), perhaps you need to sit down and talk about setting limits. “I really love how much you care for the kids. (insert related compliment here.) But…” then talk about how their actions make you feel, and ask for their help in settling on a solution. Maybe they could agree to try to keep their comments to themselves. Maybe it gets to a point that you have to limit contact.
“But I really want to convince them! If only they would see how awesome babywearing/cloth diapering/cosleeping/whatever is, their lives would be changed for the better!”
Yes, maybe. But I personally think that this goal is unreasonable for at least 80% of relatives and probably 50% of friends.
Also, this should go without saying, but needs to be said. Do NOT complain about sensitive things to these people. If someone in your life disagrees with cosleeping, then don’t tell them that you’re tired because you were up all night with the baby. If someone in your life wants you to stop breastfeeding, don’t mention that your toddler recently started biting and you’re frustrated.
The reasoning here is two-fold. First, you’re probably seeking support in these situations, and you’re not likely to get it. Instead, you’re likely to get criticism. Second, if you’re really frustrated by the situation, you might find yourself starting to be swayed by this criticism, or well-intended but bad advice. “Oh, honey, just put him in his own bed and let him cry… you’ll feel so much better with a full night of sleep.” It can start to sound pretty good to a tired mom when presented by someone who really believes this is a great idea. You might decide to try it. You might hate yourself in the morning.
I think this might be the other half of my successful formula. One half disengaging, the other half showing no fear and absolute confidence. Part of the reason that my parenting choices don’t come up is that I never, ever discuss them.
Now, let me note that this is also a LOT like parenting. When we are having some difficulty with our children, one of the first things we should do is check to make sure that our expectations are in line with reality. It is not realistic to expect a 2 year old to sit still through an hour-long wedding, for example. So the first thing to do is adjust your expectations. It IS reasonable to expect a 2 year old to sit still for PART of the wedding with quiet toys, and then maybe need a bit more interaction from you to make it through the rest of the service. This is called being realistic.
It’s the same thing here. With some people, it’s not realistic to believe that you’re ever going to convince them. So you need to adjust your expectations.
Wow. Drudge changes all the time, so the link might be gone now, but here’s a screenshot:
The link (“Bottom reached”) leads to this brief snarky bit in an Australian paper.
I am simultaneously delighted and hurt and amused. First, I love the implication that I’m part of some vast left-wing environmental conspiracy. Second, the traffic to Wallypop has been THROUGH THE ROOF today. Hoping I don’t exceed my bandwidth, actually. Third, OMG – DRUDGE!! (First, Drudge. Second, Limbaugh. Next: The world!!)
At the same time, I never understand these types. Will reusable toilet wipes save the planet? Hardly. I use them because they’re cheaper than buying TP, and they’re so soft. (just like diapers) (I mean, that’s why I use cloth diapers.) Do some of my customers use them as part of their overall environmental mission? Probably.
But I don’t ever imply they WILL save the planet. “For one, it’s a lot more comfortable and soft on your most delicate body parts. It’s also more economical, uses less paper, and saves you those late-night trips to the store. And cloth wipes can be used wet without any of the sopping disintegration that regular toilet paper is prone to.” (I’ll note, I have a LOT of customers who prefer to wipe with wet cloths, and buy my wipes for that purpose alone. Wet TP is no fun.)
But what’s hurtful is all the snarky comments after the snarky article. Comments from people who I probably have more in common with than they think. I’m a conservative and I’m not an environmentalist. You don’t need to read too much of my online stuff – blogs, twitter, Facebook – to see that. People who are on MY SIDE politically who think it’s A-OK to be so judgemental.
I’m really about saving money and keeping my PERSONAL environment clean…if that happens to coincide with things that others feel will also help the planet, then that’s a happy coincidence. It’s not my mission, though. However, I’m not out to judge those who feel differently.
Actually, I have advocated for YEARS that people who are concerned with the environment AS WELL AS others like many conservatives should be embracing the grassroots stuff like cloth diapers… when choosing reusable or recycled or whatever is a CHOICE and not a government mandate, we’re ALL better off. And so companies like Wallypop exist to give people that choice.
If you don’t want to use them, then don’t.
I had a nastygram from some Australian guy this morning (one of several – thanks guys – I have nothing better to do with two sick kids and orders to process than read your hate mail) suggesting that I was PUSHING a natural lifestyle on people.
Really, if only I could… Randy could quit his job and Wallypop would quickly become the Empire it was always meant to be. Ha ha.
But really, I would never push this stuff on anyone. People who stop by the Wallypop booth at the hospital baby fairs certainly learn that. “Oh, cloth diapers, that is NOT for me!” my response? “OK. I have a flyer that debunks some common myths if you’re interested. Thanks for stopping by!” Whatever. To each his own.
I found this lovely little slide show with audio. http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~tm322203/Midwife/
Simul-posting at all my blogs.
Central Iowans have an opportunity next month to see an awesome film about childbirth in America – The Business of Being Born is a movie about the business of childbirth in this country. In the film, actress and former talk show host Ricki Lake and filmmaker Abby Epstein draw on their personal experiences in exploring The Business of Being Born.
This 85-minute long documentary follows clients of NY midwife Cara Muhlhahn as they consider their birth choices. The film includes interviews with well-known advocates for physiological birth including: Dr. Michel Odent, an OB/GYN and author of The Caesarean; Susan Hodges, President of Citizens for Midwifery; and Dr. Robbie Davis-Floyd, PhD in Medical Anthropology and author of Birth as an American Rite of Passage.
The Business of Being Born debuted in April 2007 at the Tribeca (NY) Film Festival, receiving a standing ovation, and will have a very limited release in 11 large cities. You can bet Des Moines is not one of those cities. BUT! You can catch a sneak preview hosted by ICAN of Central Iowa.
Schedule for the evening
6:00 PM: Doors open for a meet and greet and book signing with Jennifer Block author of Pushed. (Books will be available for sale–cash or check only–for $20)
7:00 PM: “The Business of Being Born”
8:30 PM: Comments and Question and Answer session with Ms. Block
Location: Varsity Theater!
Advanced tickets will be $8 each (two for $15). To order tickets in advance:
Click HERE for a mail-in form (paying by check, money order or cash).
Or click HERE to order online (paying by credit card or Paypal).
Or you can purchase tickets from me.
All orders have a will-call pick up option or may be mailed to you.
Tickets at the door the night of the show will be $10 each.
For more details
Please visit the following sites for more information on the movie “The Business of Being Born” and the author Jennifer Block:
simlu-posted at Natural Living Des Moines.
There was an environmental rally in Des Moines on Saturday. I wasn’t there. But I’m disappointed. I can’t tell if it’s disappointment at the event or, more likely, at the media coverage. “Green Lifestyle” in the media seems to equal carpooling, walking, or riding the bus.
Which is certainly important. Carpooling is impractical for me (even carpooling with one friend at this point usually means at least three carseats and two adults, which means a bigger vehicle is needed, thereby cancelling out any environmental benefits of carpooling), but we do combine errands whenever possible, and cut our driving down as much as we can.
But there is so much more to a green lifestyle than just your chosen mode of transportation!
There’s the choices you make when it comes to what food you eat. How you care for your family’s health. The way you clean your house. The way you build your house. The clothes you wear. The diapers you choose. The activities you participate in. Even your job, or the way you carry your groceries home.
I have an article in the works about easy steps to take towards a greener lifestyle, because I think this is a major stumbling block for many people. They want to do something to live a bit greener, but they can’t afford to buy a new car and riding their bike everywere seems a bit out of reach. So they give up, but carry that helpless, hopeless feeling around with them. That’s not a good thing!
Household cleaning is one area that offers a lot of opportunities to save money while also living a little greener. Our society has grown accustomed to using harsh household chemicals, but these expensive – not to mention dangerous – cleaners are not the only choice.
In the Bathroom
Let’s start with the room that receives the harshest cleaning chemicals, the bathroom. Most American households use caustic cleaners in the toilet, bleach-based cleaners on the sink and shower, and still more chemicals on the floor and mirrors. Yikes!
Instead of using expensive harsh chemicals in your toilet, try mixing ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 cup of white vinegar. Pour into the toilet, let sit for a few minutes, then scrub. (Vinegar is antibacterial in nature.) Additionally, consider swishing the toilet with a toilet brush as part of your morning or evening routine. You’ll find that a quick swish every day keeps the toilet from getting too disgusting.
For the sink and shower, apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar) does a fine job of removing soap scum and hard-water deposits, as well as killing the bacteria that thrives in the humid environment of the bathroom.
If scrubbing is needed, try using baking soda. It’s mildly abrasive, but won’t scratch. If more abrasion is needed, a good scouring stone (pumice, available at hardware stores) will usually do the trick. Keep the stone wet and gently rub.)
For mold, spray on a solution of diluted hydrogen peroxide (available at pharmacies). Let sit for several minutes (15 or so) before scrubbing or rinsing.
In the Kitchen
Many families these days prefer to wash their produce with a special fruit and veggie wash meant to safely clean the produce better than simply rinsing them with water. A homemade alternative is to soak the produce in diluted vinegar – try ¼ cup of vinegar for a sinkful of water. Soak the produce for 15 minutes, then rinse and dry.
For oven cleaning, use your oven’s self-cleaning cycle, if it has one. Not only does this save labor, but there are no chemicals involved! If your oven is not self-cleaning, or if you have baked-on spills that need special attention, try dampening the interior of the oven with plain water (using a spray bottle), then sprinkling on a few layers of baking soda. Let the whole thing sit for a few hours, then scrub with a rag. Use steel wool for really tough spots.
For clogged sinks, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and follow with a cup of vinegar. The chemical reaction that follows will help break down greasy clogs. Let this sit for a few minutes before pouring a panful of boiling water down the drain to help clear the clog.
The Whole House
For general cleaning – de-smudging, polishing, dusting, and wiping – consider purchasing some microfiber cleaning cloths. These cloths make clean-up a snap, and do a fine job of cleaning up without any chemicals at all. You can use them dry, or with plain water.
For hard-surface floors, you can’t beat the old-fashioned broom and dustpan, or the more modern Swiffer. (For an economical, nondisposable alternative to swiffer cloths, consider Sweet Sweepers.) Follow up with a mop and some hot, soapy water – just use plain old dish soap, no need for speciality floor cleaners.
There are a lot of good resources out there for economical, environmentally-friendly household cleaning. My favorite is a book called Clean House, Clean Planet.