Health

essential-oil

Are you on the essential oil bandwagon? Nevermind, don’t answer that. Because if there is anyone more missionary-minded than Mormons, it’s people who are into essential oils. You would think that essential oils are the cure-all to every ailment under the sun, the way do-terra people talk. I do like the idea of essential oils, though, and think there are all sorts of nature-ey substances that can help people get well.  I tend to be a little distrustful of mainstream medicine. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good antibiotic and my kids are vaccinated right on schedule. But on the whole I think doctors are just educated guessers. Sometimes they can hit the nail on the head but a lot of the time they are just way off-base. But they refuse to believe that they are; so instead they throw a bunch of expensive prescription medication at every ailment and think it will all be OK.

A couple of months ago York got a nasty case of Mono. If you’ve ever had Mono you know there is nothing to treat it. Just take some Advil and get a comfy pillow because you’re going to spend the next six weeks sleeping your life away.  That’s it. That’s seriously all the doctors have to say. So I was more than happy to have a friend of mine offer to help out with some essential oils. Essential oils are especially appealing to me when modern medicine has zero to offer.

She came over and gave York some oils to gargle with to help with his killer sore throat and some other oils to make into pills to boost his immune system. Or something.

After three doses York was feeling well enough to drag himself to school. But he called in absolute dismay by the end of the day. He was covered with a red rash and his face and lips were quite swollen. I called my friend who had given me the essential oils;  “A rash is just a symptom of the body adjusting to the powerful essential oils,” she explained. “This is just his body’s way of detoxing.”

I raised my eyebrow. A rash doesn’t seem like a reassuring side effect. What’s next, getting rid of bad humors through blood-letting?

I was assured by my friend that it wasn’t an allergic reaction, and after doing some investigative reporting on the almighty interwebs, I felt assured that York wasn’t having an allergic reaction. (Just to be sure I gave him Benadryl which made zero difference in the rash or swelling.) If essential oils are powerful enough to cause this sort of reaction after just a few doses; there needs to be a lot more education before people start recommending these products, willy-nilly. Obviously essential oils can pack a punch if this is what can happen. Learning how to use these products properly should be a much bigger deal than it seems to be.

Here’s my big beef with essential oils: it’s really hard to find actual, truthful information. Instead people are being “educated” by the companies that sell the oils. That seems all wrong. Everyone knows that corporations exist to make money. They can say that they just want to help people, but if that were true they wouldn’t be charging the prices they do for their oils. They want to make a buck (well, lots of bucks, actually). So of course these companies want to sell all the oil that they can. I get that and I understand that’s what business is about. But I think this causes a conflict of interest. I basically don’t trust what these corporations have to say. It’s like a petroleum manufacturer making cars; wouldn’t a petroleum company make a car that requires you to use even more gas because that’s how they make money? Selling people gas? So why would I trust them to make a car that gets good mileage?  Same idea with essential oil companies.

Trying to find a reputable website or book to educate myself has been almost impossible too. What I’ve had have a hard time finding is a book that is unbiased. Many of the books and websites are affiliated with essential oil producers and affiliates. These books want me to use all sorts of oils every day for every complaint I have–surprise, surprise!  Again it makes me very skeptical of anything E.O. companies have to say. These are huge corporations that have all sorts of catch-phrases and hype that are meant to replace education with enthusiasm. (And lets not forget about the whole MLM aspect which makes me plain old uncomfortable.)

Here’s something I would like every essential oil company to know: the more copywrited terms you use, the more skeptical I become; so save your “certified pure therapeutic grade”, “seed to seal” and “certi-5″ testing and just give me the honest truth. I am not interested in your slick marketing and websites featuring beautiful people surrounded by flowers.

What is a smart and savvy girl to do? I stumbled upon a few resources. Here were some incredibly helpful blog posts:

Which Essential Oil Company Should YOU Buy From?

The Great Essential Oils Showdown

These great articles piqued my interest in finding out the truth about Essential Oils. Just this week I took a big jump and registered for a couple of courses from Vintage Remedies. I’ve done a ton of info-gathering on the web and it seems like these classes are just what I’ve been looking for: research-based classes using actual science to educate and teach the way to use essential oils properly. These classes are not cheap but I really feel like I’ll be able to get the truth that I’ve been looking for to help my family find a healthy way to use natural substances to heal and prevent illness.

I’ll let you know how my journey goes!

 

One day last year I was killing myself on the rowing machine (I have realized that I hate HATE HATE running), watching Netflix. I clicked on a show called Addiction. It’s a really good, graphic non-fiction show about–surprise!–addicts and alcoholics. The woman on the show was talking about how low she had fallen because of her heroin addiction and how she simply couldn’t stop using even though she was ruining her life and the lives of everyone around her. When she was describing what is was like with the heroin having so much power over her and not being able to stop, I burst into tears. I sat there and sobbed because I felt exactly the same way. But my drug of choice is not illegal. It is sugar.

If you scroll through my recipe tab you will notice that pretty much every recipe I list is chock full of carbs and sugar. These things are my very favorites in life. I grew up baking, teaching myself how to bake at an early age because I simply couldn’t get enough suweets (this is what I did whenever you left the house, Mom! You told me not to use the stove or oven but I just had to). Luckily I was blessed with a decent metabolism that tidily sorted through the sugar and pop I existed on for most of my life. Once I hit 40, though, my metabolism waved goodbye. Practically overnight it came to a screeching halt. I did what I had done in the past: went to Weight Watchers, tried to be reasonable about portion sizes and switched my full-sugar Mt. Dew habit to Coke Zero (sorry, but I find Diet Coke to be utterly vile.)  Nothing happened. I couldn’t lose a pound if my life depended on it.

Then I was called to be the Relief Society President. This means I was put in charge of all the women in my church congregation. Not only am I in charge of planning activities and lessons, but I’m the one on the front lines when the women have major setbacks due to illness, depression, death or unemployment. All sorts of fun things. All this new stress and responsibility left me exhausted and depleted at the beginning. So I did what every red-blooded American would do; I turned to food. Now I wasn’t stress-eating just for my own problems, I was stress-eating for everyone’s problems! The results were not pretty. I didn’t even know you could gain weight that fast!

I cut down on calories and took up running (I had to try it before I realized I hated it so), and rowing and exercise videos. Unfortunately my weight stayed exactly the same. The scale would not budge. I cut out most white flour and ate nothing but whole grains (hey, whole wheat chocolate chip cookies are really fantastic, by the way! Super chewy!). And there were no more calories from soda since I was drinking diet. I couldn’t figure out what was going on or how to change it.

I knew exercise must be important but so far I hadn’t found the thing that rocked my world. And I knew I needed a partner to help me find some accountability. I’d been hearing about crossfit a lot so I found a place near us that had fantastic reviews on Yelp and got my friend Anna to go with me. It was hard. Really hard. But I really liked it. And hated it. If you know crossfit, you know what I mean. I’ll talk more about it another time. But the foundation of crossfit is good nutrition. That’s a really big deal. In particular, crossfit people are totally into paleo.

My crossfit coach suggested I try Paleo but once I found out that sugar and grains are forbidden I was like, “HELL NO!” Like, no way would I ever, ever eat that way in a million years. My coach just smiled, “after about a month of crossfit I bet you’ll try it.” I snort-laughed because there was not even a shred of possibility that that might happen. Obviously he didn’t know who he was talking to; I have won blue ribbons for my baked goods! That stuff is in my blood! Sugar and flour are my soul!

But this voice in my head kept nagging at me to think about it. Even doing crossfit several times a week was not helping my weight. The numbers refused to get lower. I began to face the fact that flour and sugar were like a dysfunctional relationship: they were doing me nothing but harm although I still loved them desperately. It was time for us to break up.

I read several books about eating Paleo* and here’s what turned me onto it: it’s all about getting over sugar and carb cravings. It’s about teaching your body to have a healthy relationship with food. It’s about healing your body from the damage you’ve done over your lifetime, and becoming as healthy as possible through clean eating. And most importantly to me it means eating foods that provide a healthy psychological response.

In other words, not eating because of sadness or boredom. You don’t think of food as a reward (that’s a big deal for me. I think of food as the ultimate reward). You can find all sorts of “heathy sweets” that have honey or agave. Or sugar-free chocolate. But those aren’t going to do you an favors if you’re a sugar addict. I needed to teach my body how to not crave things like that anymore. And the only way to kill a craving is to starve it to death. (Not starve as in “no calories”, starve as in “no more sweet things whether they are ‘healthful’ or not”.)

Paleo pyramid

Not eating carbs and sugar is pretty much the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Without a doubt. I face a temptation every hour of every day. Unlike heroin addicts, though, sugar is not only served everywhere, it is encouraged!  (Who’ll bring refreshments? Who wants some birthday  cake? It’s free slurpees today!) I’ve had to stop bringing people cookies because I can’t bake them and not eat them. I have to buy snacks for my kids that I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole so I won’t be tempted (It would have to be the end of the zombie apocalypse before I would put a baked Cheeto in my mouth.) I psyche myself up and do a pep-talk before I go to any church function (Refreshments are so hard to say no to!). And I practically wear blinders when I go to the grocery store .

It’s getting easier, though. I pray a lot (seriously. “Please Heavenly Father, do not let me think about peanut butter M&Ms”. I know it sounds pathetic and cheesy but it really works). This morning I took my kids to our favorite donut shop  (I love donuts with a grand passion) and I sat and watched them eat their donuts without even having a bite. I abstained from ordering a donut for myself even when I saw them carry out a fresh, hot tray of chocolate glazed with peanuts–my favorite! I haven’t had soda or caffeinated anything since New Year’s Eve and I’ve stopped staring at the soda fountains longingly. I no longer think about how great a Big Gulp would taste right now. When it gets really hot out, though, I’m probably going to die without pop. Gotta stay strong!

The good news? The weight is coming off. Slowly. But it is coming off. And unlike Weight Watchers** or starving myself, I have plenty to eat. I’m never hungry. Thank goodness bacon and cashews are paleo or I would probably kill myself. The best thing, though, is that I feel strong and healthy. Not just physically healthy but mentally and emotionally healthy. I don’t reach for food when I’m bored. Although I have discovered that I am not a bored or sad eater. When I’m depressed I don’t want food. I’m an angry eater! When I’m frustrated and angry I want to “show everyone” by pigging out. I know, it doesn’t make any sense. But that’s what I’ve discovered about myself.

Will I stay paleo forever? I don’t think so. I really do think that whole grains need to be part of the human diet. I’ve been doing a lot of research and really feel like whole grains are important. But I need to be in a healthy state of mind before I can make that happen. I need to exist without thinking/wishing/pigging out on sugar day after day. I need to get cravings out of my system so one cookie doesn’t turn into fifteen cookies (which is what happens now, no lie). I need to be able to say, “that’s enough” and so far that’s not part of my lexicon.  But I’m hoping that I will be able to change that soon. And permanently. Until then, bring on the pea pods!

 

*If you’re interested in Paleo (which is a stupid, stupid name), I would HIGHLY recommend getting the book The Paleo Coach by Jason Seib. It’s fantastic.

**Weight Watchers has worked really well for me in the past but recently it just hasn’t done the trick. Plus it doesn’t really help with my sugar addiction. Instead I end up eating all my points by lunchtime and then I’m left with ten more hours of starvation. You’d think I would learn my lesson but I never did. Then there is the whole issue of weight being the ultimate gold standard. Weight is just a number. It doesn’t mean you’re healthy or that you look good. And who hasn’t felt great going into a meeting because you’ve tried so hard only to have all the feelings negated because of what the scale says. It’s not right!

Here’s the latest update on my stupid arm. I got my cast off a week after my injury. My arm felt so feeble and defenseless. It was nice to be able to wash my arm though. Since I’d gone to the hospital straight from crossfit where I’d been doing pushups and burpees, my hand was still filthy when they wrapped it up. Hence it looked like this a week later:

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In order to keep my elbow from popping out of place again I was sent over to Enrique. He fitted me with an incredibly uncomfortable brace.

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I had to wear it all the time. Even sleeping. Normally I sleep like a dead person but this made it totally impossible.

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The worst part was having to wear it outside. It’s still in the high 90′s here and all the plastic made my arm drip with sweat. I had a few cotton sleeves that Enrique gave me but by the end of the day they’d all be soaked. Gross. So I ordered 25 yards of the sleeve material on Amazon and was much happier.

On the positive side, though, I got a lot of sympathy and people offered to do everything for me. I’d just wave my arm pathetically and people would carry things, pump my gas or whatever else I wanted. You have to make the most of a bad situation, you guys! Also, I looked pretty bionic which was cool.

I got the OK from my doctor to get rid of the brace and I have to say that I’m thrilled. My arm feels way better. It doesn’t really ever hurt. it’s just incredibly weak and my range of motion is pitiful. I can’t make a ponytail, fasten a necklace or hook up my bra. And forget touching my arm to my shoulder. It will be a while. I’m supposed to start physical therapy one of these days and I’m sure that will help loads.

Sadly I can’t lift weights for another six weeks which means no crossfit til then. My doctor is an avid crossfitter so I don’t think I’ll blow off his advice. He did tell me that I’m okay to do box jumps, though. I was like, “Box jumps? That’s what got me here! Forget it!”

But best of all I can type again! So yay for being able to blog more!

This is what I’m looking at right now. It’s a hard core, prescription laxative that’s getting my intestines sparkling clean for my colonoscopy tomorrow. Don’t let the name of the stuff fool you; it is not prepping you to watch a movie. I wish. There are movements involved; I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. (I can actually feel your jealous vibes coming through my computer right now.)

I also am on a clear liquid diet all of today and tomorrow until my procedure around noon. I am thoroughly  starving and peevish and the only reason I haven’t killed someone is because I can drink pop. It’s considered a clear liquid, thank goodness. Since it’s a special occasion I’ve broken out a six pack of Mt. Dew.

The only thing getting me excited is that I plan to have a ginormous pile of BBQ brisket after my colonoscopy. I’m not expecting the doctor to find anything while he’s all up in my business. I’m merely going because my family history puts me at a higher risk. And, hey, sometimes moms have to resort to complete anesthesia in order to get an uninterrupted nap.

Arabella broke her arm shortly after the new year and just got her cast off. It’s really odd to me how this one child, the one who is probably the most sedentary of all, is the one who has broken her arm(s) three times. Nobody else has broken anything ever.

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Lest you think I’m some sort of child abuser, I would like to point out that not once was I around when these arms were broken. The first time was when Arabella was a toddler and my mom was staying with the kids while Mister and I were in Las Vegas. Poor Arabella fell off the slide in the backyard. My mom insisted it wasn’t swollen and didn’t seem broken so I didn’t bother taking her to the hospital for several days after I got home. By that point it had already started healing. Whoopsie.

The second break was on her other arm a couple of years ago. She was running on the playground at school and tripped. She caught her fall with her left arm and broke the radius and the ulna. We took her in right away for that one. The sobbing and bulging gave the broken bones away. Plus the school nurse said that when kids brace their falls that way they almost always break their bones. File that tidbit of information away for later use, everyone.

In January I sent Arabella out to get some exercise. She was bored and complainy and it was Christmas Break so she went out to ride her bike. I ran over to the grocery store to pick something up and while I was gone she hit a rock with her bike, fell over and landed on her left arm. Again.

She cried a lot, according to Mister. I didn’t make it home for another hour and she said it didnt hurt that much. So I made her wait a few days to see of the pain went away. Of course it didn’t. So off we went AGAIN to the orthopedist. It was broken and Arabella got her third cast.

What a pain.

I don’t want to suggest that Arabella is in any way klutzy, but the evidence points to the contrary. “It’s your fault for making me get some exercise,” she pointed out as they were wrapping up her cast. “I told you to ride your bike, not fall off of it,” I reminded her.

She’s supposed to be riding her bike to school now that her cast is off but I’m a little wary, seeing as how she is accident-prone. But I can’t very well not let her ride her bike ever again. Chances are, though, that she’ll find a way to injure herself no matter what she does.

 

*Yes, she’s wearing the same shirt both times. And yes, it’s the same nurse.

 

I know you’re expecting me to tell you about that mascara or lipstick that you simply must have. Here’s the absolute most important thing you need:

Sunscreen

Yep. Every single day. Winter, summer, even if you live in Oregon and the sun hasn’t come out in days. If you can see without a flashlight, your skin is getting bombarded with UV rays. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this truck driver who spent decades with only one side of his face exposed to the sun. And this is through a window! It’s not even full-on sun exposure!

If you’re under 30 you may think, “meh, I’ll worry about my skin when I’m older.” No, no, no, no, no. If you worry about your skin now, you’ll thank yourself each and every day.

You’re never too old to start wearing sunscreen. Take it from someone who is 41 and has no wrinkles. I wear sunscreen (both in my lotion–28 SPF–and in my foundation–15 SPF) and moisturize ever single day.

If you’re one of those people who insists they look so much better tan, yes. Yes, I’m sure you do. We all look better tan. But when you get tan you’re choosing wrinkles. It’s as simple as that. So if you’re OK with that then tan away.

You’ll never meet a 50 year old who wished she laid out a lot more as a teenager. But you’ll meet a ton of 50-year-olds who wished they took better care of their skin. I’m just telling you what you already know, right? So do it. Buy some skincare products with sunscreen. You can thank me in ten years.

Yeah, I know, you’re making faces just thinking about this, aren’t you? Before I start, let me just warn you that there will be a lot of talk about periods, cervixes and blood in this blog post so if you’re a man you probably do not want to continue reading. But if you’re a woman who hasn’t gone through menopause then periods are part of your life. We need to talk about menstrual cups which are another option at your disposal in your monthly arsenal. These are a lot more popular in Europe. Don’t know why. They’re better for the environment? Save space? Who knows. But most companies and websites that deal with this item are Eurpoean.

Let’s talk about what a menstrual cup even is. It’s a silicone cup with a little thing coming out of the bottom to grab onto. You put it way up inside next to your cervix where it catches all the blood and gook coming out until you dump it out and reinsert it. There are probably more than a dozen options out there but most of them look something like this:

Pros:

Economical. You’ll pay between $20-$40 for one but it will last you for years. Considering a box of tampons costs between $6-10, do the math.

Convenient. No more forgetting a tampon. The cup stays inside and just has to be emptied and reinserted. Your days of having to beg a stranger for a tampon are OVER. Although I do keep a tampon in my purse in case my first period of my cycle starts while I’m not at home.

Environmentally sound. Think of all the tampons and pads that are used around the world. No, don’t think about that. What a disgusting mess. But you can imagine the impact of throwing that much stuff away. Not to mention all the wrappers and applicators.

Capacity. A cup holds a lot more than a tampon. You spend a lot less time in the bathroom since cups have a higher capacity, especially during the lighter days of your period.

Healthy. Cups are made of medical grade silicone. Which means no risk of toxic shock. Silicone is also resistant to bacteria. Just ask all your friends with fake boobs!

Apocolyptically sound. When the world ends you won’t have to use rags during your period or barter for tampons. I know you were worried about that!

Cons:

Messy. Not as messy as you’d imagine but your fingers will come in contact with blood. That can be an issue in public bathrooms. But there’s toilet paper in there for a reason.

Initial Cost. Since everyone’s body is different it could take you a few tries to find the right cup for you. And it’s not like you can sell your used cups on ebay. But once you find the right cup it will be great!

Insertion. This is the tricky part. You have to fold it up to get it inside, make sure it pops open and forms a seal.

I’d heard of menstrual cups over the years but thought, “gross” and dismissed the idea because . . . what a yucky mess! But I talked to my friend Tamara a few months ago. Tamara is even more nutty about preparedness and general End-of-the-World stuff than I am. And the talk turned to having babies and periods, as conversasation naturally does when women are together for more than an hour. She reminded me how awful it’s going to be when society as we know it breaks down and the supply of tampons runs out; and that menstrual cups are really the way to go. [Lightbulb moment!]

So I hopped onto the interwebs to do a little research. One visit to Amazon persuaded me that there must be something good about these things because there are RAVES about menstrual cups. I started by checking out the Divacup, a name I’d actually heard of. These seemed pretty good but I ended up going with the Mooncup because it was pretty cheap (about $20) and had great reviews. So I ordered one and tried it out a couple of weeks later when Aunt Flo came to visit.

There is definitely a learning curve to menstrual cups. Oh my gosh, what a mess the first time! Just think about when you first got your period and you totally didn’t know how it all worked and what a disaster that was. It’s kind of like that during your first period with a cup. But a few comments on Amazon had warned about that and so I stuck with it. The next period went a lot better. Now I’ve used my cup for about six periods and I’m a total convert.

After I used my Mooncup for my first cycle I realized that I needed something a lot more heavy duty. Not only do I have super heavy periods (I go through a Super Plus tampon every hour and a half on days 2-3) but my cervix and surrounding areas are a little roomy thanks to all the children I pushed out. The Mooncup actually slid down each time I used it. Super!

There are different sizes of cups (each manufacturer makes one size if you’ve given birth vaginally, one if you haven’t) and different capacities. Some brands are firmer silicone (they’re better to stay in place) and some are softer (better if youv’e got an oddly-shaped cervical area). Some are shorter and some are longer. Did you know that some women have a high cervix and some have a low cervix? And to make it even more confusing your cervix keeps moving throughout your cycle? Your menstrual cup choices are pretty wide. The only way to know which cup works for you is to try them. Which can get a little spendy. But the right cup makes all the difference!

There is an incredibly helpful blog here that shows all the menstrual cup measurements, rates their softness, their capacity, etc. The comments are all very educational so make sure to read those if you’re interested in trying out a menstrual cup. The one with the widest diameter and the most capacity was the Yuuki. So I ordered one from the only website in the world that seems to carry them (some place in the Czech Republic, I think). I had it within two weeks and it has worked great for me.

Here are the FAQ’s I get asked most often when I mention menstrual cups:

Q: Aren’t they messy?

A: At the beginning, yes. You definitely need to get the hang of it. But once you know what you’re doing it’s not so bad. Yes, you are essentially putting something up inside and your fingers will come in contact with blood. This really is only an issue if you use public bathrooms without sinks nearby. Must cups hold way more liquid than a tampon so the need to change them is a lot less. If I’m going out to dinner and a movie and I know I’ll have to empty my cup I try to find a family or handicap bathroom where a sink is nearby. If not just use toilet paper as much as possible until you can make it to the sink.

When you’re removing your cup just use your vaginal wall muscles to push the cup down to the opening. Then use toilet paper to grab it, break the seal and dump it out.

Q: Do they leak?

A: They will if they get too full. I usually wear a pad during my heavy days just in case. But then, my periods are always crazy heavy. I can go about three hours between empty times for my cup. About 1.5 hours for a tampon. And my tampons ALWAYS leaked, as opposed to every once in a while with my cup. The best part of a cup is when your period isn’t very heavy or you have those weird days at the end of your period where your body can’t decide if it’s finished or not. You can leave your cup in all day and there is no health risk. You can’t get toxic shock from menstrual cups. Just empty it once in the morning and once in the evening and never think about it again. So awesome! If your period is never very heavy I can’t imagine how dreamy it would be to use a cup!

Q: Are they uncomfortable?

A: Nope. The first day I wore one I could feel something there. No pain, just a sense that there was something inside me. But after the first day it disappeared and has never happened since.

Q. How do you put it in exactly?

A: It has to be folded to get inside. Lucky for you there are all sorts of different folding videos on YouTube. MenstrualCupInfo has posted a whole bunch of helpful videos about insertion and removal. (I prefer the punch down fold myself.) Just fold, insert, make sure it pops open, twist it back and forth to make sure it has a decent seal and you’re done. It’s usually easier to put it in when it’s wet. You might want to try doing it in the shower. I get  a better seal when I insert it standing up.

To remove it, squeeze your muscles til the cup is down close to your vaginal opening, grab the base (I use toilet paper) and pinch the sides together. It will come right out and you just dump the blood in the toilet. I like to rinse mine too but that’s not always a possibility. So I just reinsert if I can’t rinse it.

I hope this has given you something to think about. If you’ve tried menstrual cups I’d love to hear your opinion!

Some of you may be disappointed that I’m not going to keep going with my story I started yesterday (you might want to scroll down and read it first). Partly because there’s not much more to tell (in a nutshell I was really sad. And then I got pregnant a few months later and had a healthy and wonderful baby girl.  And then a couple of years after that I got pregnant again and had an even worse experience which you can read about here. Pregnancy is the craziest roller coaster there is). Partly because I merely wanted give some background on why I believe what I do when it comes to abortion. It’s weird to me that abortion has turned into such a polarizing political issue. I wish we could just clear away all the politics and discuss the topic without it turning into The Hatfields and The McCoys.

Let me say that I am neither a Republic nor a Democrat. There are things I like about both parties and things that make me roll my eyes. I guess I would say that I’m more a Libertarian than anything; live and let live, as I’ve said before. Mostly I just hate politics and Washington D.C. in general and really believe that 98% of national politicians are weasels.

I am mostly against government-sanctioned death in all forms. I hate war and will always be against sending our sons off to fight unless ChinaRussiaCrazyArabs are crossing the Canadian border to invade us. Not that I hate soldiers. I love soldiers! Which is why I want to keep them alive. Especially now that I have teenage boys. I think there should be a law that any politician who suggests a war should have to stay in the to-be-invaded country the entire time the war is on. Maybe then those power-hungry war mongers would think twice. I also oppose killing old people whom we are tired of caring for. And babies whom we don’t want to start caring for.

I don’t really mind killing killers, though. They had their chance. Either kill them or try to rehabilitate them. Don’t waste my money keeping them locked up, bored and angry. Or at least have them pay their grave debt to society by allowing drug and makeup companies to do their testing on them.

Anyhoo, this was supposed to be about abortion. I would like to take special offense at all the women who assert than men have no say in abortion matters. Last time I checked, a man was kind of a necessity for pregnancy. And as a partner shouldn’t he get say? How totally rude to say that men shouldn’t have an opinion. Of course they should! Half of that fetus is theirs, after all.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a woman I spoke to at the abortion clinic who was on her tenth abortion. I don’t know who paid for them or what her background was. I’m assuming she wasn’t raped ten times. But this was the thing that I kept thinking after I left the clinic (besides how unjust the world is. I wanted a baby, and here were all these women who couldn’t wait to get rid of theirs! Not fair not fair not fair!!!) I am absolutely not a judgemental person. You can ask Mister; he says that’s my most positive quality. I just go with the flow and take it all in stride (unless you’re a killer. I am very judgmental of killers.) So I am in no way suggesting that that woman at the clinic was a bad or evil person. (Irresponsible, though? Obviously.)

It does not seem right to treat abortion like it’s a form of birth control.  There are emotional consequences to having an abortion and it’s wrong to not inform all women that there are. Abortion should not be treated like it’s no big deal, emotionally. It is a big deal!

I do believe that a fetus is a baby once there is a heartbeat. People have all sorts of opinions on when life starts but to me it’s when the heart gets going. Ask any woman who’s had a miscarriage and she’ll tell you it’s a baby.

HOWEVER

Women have the very unusual job of being the custodians of life. We can decide what to eat or drink while we are pregnant and that is our right. And as custodians we can decide that we don’t want to take on the job of parent. It’s sad to me that a woman wouldn’t want to have a baby, but not everyone is in the right place physically, emotionally or mentally to raise a human.  God gave us stewardship when he designed the whole pregnancy plan. I don’t think the government has the right to tell you that you have to stay pregnant when you don’t want to.

I also don’t want women to have to endanger themselves by having to go to seedy backwater abortion clinics. You know women will have abortions. It has been thus since probably the beginning of time. If abortions become illegal women who don’t want to have babies won’t suddenly become dewy-eyed mothers in blissful supportive relationships. In other words, abortions are going to happen. Whether you think they are murder or not. And women have the right to decide. I know from my experience that pregnancy termination my be the right decision when there are severe health risks. We cannot say that all abortion is wrong any more than we can say that all abortion is right.

HOWEVER

I don’t think it’s right to expect the government to pay for abortions. Birth control, yes. Abortions, no. Not when there are so many people who are morally against it. As I said yesterday, I am incredibly fertile. I’ve gotten pregnant nine times. Not once have I gotten pregnant accidentally. I managed to make it happen when I wanted to. I know, I know– your cousin was using two forms of birth control and still got pregnant. Let’s encourage people to be responsible. Birth control really works a lot of the time!

I am a mother and it breaks my heart to hear of children born into abusive or neglectful homes. I don’t want babies to be born into horrible circumstances.

HOWEVER

I do believe that babies are a blessing. And babies can be powerful changers for good. And that the chance to obtain a body is something that every spirit child of God deserves. I believe that more girls/women need to give their babies up for adoption. Now that the stigma of teen pregnancy is pretty much gone, let’s see more girls being courageous and giving themselves and their babies a better shot at life by allowing a mature and loving set of parents raise their child. And hopefully we’ll see fewer grandparents who feel like it’s a just punishiment to make their pregnant daughters keep their babies.

So am I pro-life or pro-choice? Both, I guess. I wish there were some way to address this problem holistically and try to find what’s best for a woman who is stuck with an unwanted pregnancy instead of feeling like only one opinion is right.

I am not trying to convince anyone of my beliefs not do I want any of you readers to rant at me. I just get really angry when I hear abortion discussed so one-dimenionally and just wanted to air my opinion.

 

 

 

I’ve been reading a lot lately in the blog world about people having Anorexia/Bulimia/Some-strange-condition-where-they-seems-themselves-as-fat-and-hideous. It takes a lot of courage to talk about hating your body and how much you hate that you hate it. It’s made me think about my relationship with my body. I pretty much have the opposite of Anorexia. I’m not sure what it’s called but I always think I look fantastic. I check myself out each morning and say, “self, you are looking fine!” So I’m always caught off guard when I see a picture of myself or–even worse–my reflection in a store window. “Huh??? What the heck? There’s no way I look like that!”   What is it called when you think you look terrific even though there is evidence to the contrary? Like how Anorexics see nothing but fatness when they look in the mirror, but the opposite.

Those blobs of fat oozing out of the top of my jeans? Meh. It’s just how I’m sitting; it can’t possibly be because there is actual fat spilling out my clothes. No, not possible at all.

My jeans size is in the double digits? Only because they’re skinny jeans. The sizing is way off.

The reason my shirts are size large is on account of my nice chest. That’s the only reason.

According to society I should hate my body. It’s downright embarrassing to like your body if you are larger than a size 6; anyone larger than that should be ashamed. We full-figured gals are hideous monsters blah, blah, blah.

It’s not just about my weight either. I wear red lipstick and imagine how full and pouty and beautiful my lips are. Which made it all the more surprising when my son took a picture of me yesterday and my lips looked entirely average.  And in that same photograph my eyes look dull and brown when they are not dull and brown at all. They are golden with flecks of green! It’s true! They are!

I’m pretty sure I can blame my disorder on my husband, who has showered me with compliments even when I’ve been post-partum with a belly like deflated bread dough. If you’ve been told you are gorgeous and sexy every day for twenty years, you start to believe it. I can also blame my mother. She has this same disorder but I think it’s even worse. Once I was sitting around reading a People magazine with my mom and a few other family members. I came across a picture of Harrison Ford emerging from the ocean. This was about fifteen years ago and he looked mighty fine for somebody his age. I held the picture up and announced what a fox Harrison still was. “Oh, I look just as good as he does,” my mother informed us. She was dead serious and didn’t notice us all rocking with silent laughter. She was quite the hottie back in the 1950′s and in her mind she still was/is. All I can say is good for her. And good for me because she has passed it on.

Does that mean I wouldn’t love to lose twenty pounds? Of course I would! I’m not mental! I would love to catch my reflection out of the corner of my eye and have it actually look like what I imagine it to look like. Which on a good day is Audrey Hepburn* and on a bad day is more like Joan from Mad Men.

Next time you see a ginormous lady in Walmart wearing high heels and miniskirt, cut her some slack. Sister is suffering from the same disease as me.  We can’t help it if we think we’re gorgeous.

 

*Intellectually I am fully aware that I haven’t looked like Audrey Hepburn since I was 11. Not exaggerating. I went from a from a girl’s size 12 to a Juniors size 7 in one year. I have been and will forever remain hourglassy. But the mind plays tricks. And if I see Audrey in the mirror what am I supposed to do?

When I had my first baby and started nursing, the most surprising thing (besides feeling like my nipples were about to be sucked right off my body) was how thirsty I was all the time. My mouth felt I’d been eating ashes. I started drinking gallons of milk, water, juice, pop–anything I could get my hands on.

India and I had a hard time getting used to each other. She was a pretty good baby but she had her issues. One of the most annoying things she did was to wake up bright-eyed every single night around 10 pm and stay awake for hours. Not crying necessarily; just being a baby.  Mister had a weird job that required him to be out the door at 4 am, so he had to sleep and was no help. After feeding and playing with her in the middle of the night for a couple of weeks I had reached my breaking point. I was so exhausted.  I had no idea what to do and this was before the internet when you could ask people on message boards all across the world for help. So I did the only thing I could think of. I fasted. I fasted and prayed that God would either make that baby sleep or tell me how to fix the problem.

But when you are nursing round the clock you can’t just give up food and drink. So I thought of the most important and beloved thing I was consuming and figured I would give that up as my fast.  With me being in such a constant state of bone-aching exhaustion the only thing that was helping me get through the day was my Big Gulp of Mountain Dew.  And of course I always  got the biggest one because I was so dang thirsty.

Duh.

It turns out God didn’t need to answer my prayer. I answered it myself. Only a brain-dead new mother would not figure out that drinking massive amounts of caffeine would be the reason her breast-fed daughter was not sleeping at night.  Although I should have given up the Dew altogether, I couldn’t. So I stopped drinking so much and only drank it before 2 pm. And voilà! India started going to bed at a decent time and only woke up in the middle of the night to eat and would go right back to sleep.

This little story was just to point out the relationship I have always had with Mt. Dew. Some might call it a full-blown addiction but I prefer the term “love affair”. However, it occurred to me that as of Thursday it has been two whole months since I have had my favorite drink on the entire planet Earth. I’m pretty sure it’s my longest Dew-less streak ever.

I have given up sugar pretty much completely since December 31st. (Valentine’s Day and the following week were a complete debacle, but I’m back on track.) That includes Mt. Dew. Even at my weakest point this year, though, I have refused to give in to Satan’s Sweat.  As much as I love it, it’s my gateway drug. Once I start drinking the Dew, my healthy eating and drinking habits rapidly disintegrate.

So three cheers for me!  I feel like I’m strong enough to do anything now!

(And in case you’re curious, no, I do not have more energy. I have less. It stinks.)