Thoughts on Motherhood

Motherhood is hard and self-sacrificing. As I look back I remember the fatigue, the laughter and tears, the hard questions and my shortcomings. The years have passed by quickly.

Now I am a grandmother and I realize that God was refining me. I was blessed by the Lord’s guidance, the prayers that were answered. I am thankful for the great joy that my family gives me.

Two recently released books bring attention to the role of mothers. Erica Komisar has written Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters. The Wall Street Journal had an article about the author, who is a psychoanalyst, and reviewed her book. Ms. Komisar pursued research into the hormones released during birth and breastfeeding. She discussed the love hormone, oxytocin.

Oxytocin, Ms. Komisar explains, “is a buffer against stress.” Mothers produce it when they give birth, breastfeed or otherwise nurture their children. “The more oxytocin the mother produces, the more she produce in the baby” by communicating via eye contact, touch and gentle talk. 1 //

Oxytocin: Love Hormone

I am currently reading Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood by Julie Roys. The author looks at the confusion in our culture over sexuality, marriage and gender. Ms. Roys goes back to scripture for direction. One chapter in the book is titled Marginalizing Motherhood. She writes:

Many moms today need to hear that motherhood is worth sacrificing some of their best years. Unfortunately, that’s not what they are hearing—not from society and not from the church.2

Women are struggling with the demands of mothering. But it is a God given role. A few pages later Ms. Roys continues:

God values motherhood because he values children and is critically concerned with transferring the faith from one generation to another.3

Children need mothers, and mothers need God’s help. They need encouragement from friends and family. One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth.

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”                  Luke 2: 39-45

Mary & Elizabeth
The Visitation by Philippe De Champaigne

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home. Luke 2:56

If you are a young mom, be encouraged. God is faithful to answer prayers. If you are older, like me, you can encourage a young mom. As women of faith we can seek ways to come alongside women that have experienced miscarriage or infertility. There are joys and sorrows in motherhood; we can share them.

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: NEED Visit the Five Minute Friday Community here.

  1. Taranto, James, “The Politicization of Motherhood” The Wall Street Journal, October 28-29, 2017 A11
  2. Roys, Julie, Redeeming the Feminine Soul: God’s Surprising Vision for Womanhood, Nashville, Tennessee: Nelson Books, 2017 p. 148
  3. Ibid. p. 155

High School Homecoming: Guidance for Our Daughters

This coming weekend is homecoming for a couple of local high schools. My grandson will be in the marching band for the homecoming parade and football game. It’s an exciting weekend for him.

I am remembering the years that my daughters participated in homecoming at their high school:  decorations for the dance, the flag team, powder puff football and the homecoming dance.

It was also a stretching experience for me as mom. When I was in high school I did not attend school dances and had limited participation in school activities. My family attended a fundamental Christian church that believed dancing was a sin.

My husband and I chose to guide our girls in school activities. Homecoming can be a memorable time in high school, learning about relationships. Some things I did well,  and some things I could have done better. Always learning.

The most important piece was communication, and more communication. I wanted to know about the plans and the boy escorting for the dance. My daughters weren’t always pleased all the questions and advice. But when I was driving my younger daughter to events she was stuck in the car. She couldn’t get away and had to listen to me.

Years later she has thanked me for the conversations and advice.

As homecoming approached we had to find dresses. We had some boundaries for price and modesty. It took lots of shopping to find suitable dresses.

My daughters always went to the dance with a group of couples. They took pictures together, had a meal together and then went to the dance. The group setting took pressure off the couple—they were just learning about dating.

Underlying all the advice, I hope I the message of loving concern love was clear. My husband and I set boundaries because we did not want them to be hurt. We let them know when we expected them home.

The final instruction that we gave them: if at anytime they were in an uncomfortable situation, they could call us. We would come to pick them up with no questions asked.

After my girls finished high school and went on to college I continued to learn about issues in our culture and the confusing messages about sexuality. (A parent never stops learning!) One daughter went to Marquette University and was introduced to the theology of the body—taught by Pope John Paul II. We discussed the theology of the body at home and the sacred bond between a man and a woman in marriage.

These discussions helped steer my daughter to a healthy marriage.

Through one of my daughter’s friends I became aware of a group that is pushing back against the policies that are harmful to women, Women Speak for Themselves. In 2016 I attended a conference in Washington D.C. I am convinced that Christian women need to have a voice about sexuality. We have a positive message as we share God’s design for men and women.

You can check out the website for Women Speak for Themselves here.

Healthy Thoughts About Parenting

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: FUTURE

When I look back over my years of parenting, I realize that I have made mistakes. I would do some things differently. But I have also done some things right.

I prayed for my children consistently.

We made dietary changes. The combination of vaccines and courses of antibiotics led to health problems. I removed all refined sugar from our diet for a period of time.   And then I removed wheat.   We  learned  to  appreciate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains.

I found ways to include garlic in my cooking and made garlic tea for colds. Garlic has antibacterial qualities.

When I think about the future, I have concerns about children and the number of medications they receive. If you have read my blog, you probably know that I am concerned about the number of vaccines recommended for children. I support informed consent for parents. //

The Bible says that we are wonderfully made.

Psalm 139

God has given us a body with an amazing immune system. We can support it with a healthy diet, regular hours of sleep, exercise and sunshine.

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Listening to the Children

It’s Five Minute Friday! I am joining Kate Motaung’s community where we gather to write like crazy for five minutes on the one word prompt. Today’s word is: sing

Our granddaughter’s school held a Spring Sing in their new gymnasium. People filled the seats, the bleachers and the space along the walls.

The Children

The children (first, second & third grade) sang with enthusiasm with motions that they performed in unison. The theme of the program was songs from countries around the world. The opening song was We Are the World. Here is the chorus:

We are the world, we are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day
So let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day
Just you and me.

The children are the future. We are blessed to be the parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. We have a sacred trust to guide, nurture and advocate for them.

We are imperfect but we can seek God’s help. We have the avenue of prayer.

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5 Questions About Vaccines

Over the past week I have been watching a documentary series, The Truth About Vaccines. Because one of my children had varying vaccine reactions—first to the MMR and then to the hep B—I continue to follow this issue. I am concerned about the health of the next generation.

One of the key issues is the inclusion of mercury and aluminum in vaccines. Mercury is used as a preservative for multi-dose vials of vaccine. Mercury is in the flu vaccine. Aluminum is an adjuvant. It is added to a vaccine to increase the body’s reaction to the virus in the vaccine. Both mercury and aluminum are neurotoxins, meaning they can cause nerve damage.

By watching the series I have developed a list of questions to pursue when making decisions about getting a vaccine.The flu vaccine is being recommended for pregnant women. Does the benefit of the vaccine (might be effective in preventing the flu) outweigh the risk of harm to the developing baby?    At this  point  no    research has been done on the safety of this vaccine during pregnancy.

Why does a newborn infant need the hepatitis B vaccine—commonly given the first day of life? Hepatitis B is transmitted by sexual contact or by needle sharing.

Have any studies been done to look at the effect of giving multiple vaccines in one dose? (The MMR is three vaccines: measles, mumps and rubella.) We usually do not fight three diseases at one time. It has been documented that when a child did get both the  measles  and  mumps  naturally, in close proximity, the child developed inflammatory bowel disease.

What is the cumulative amount of aluminum and mercury that a child is having injected into their system when they receive all 69 doses of vaccine recommended by the CDC?

Have doctors and pediatricians been trained to recognize signs of vaccine injury? Some studies are also associating tics with vaccines. A medical journal describes the relationship  of  pots (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) with the HPV vaccine. Read the article here.

The National Institute of Health has a report on the increasing number of boys that have developed tics–with association to mercury in vaccines. Read the article here.

Please take the time to educate yourself about vaccines, and be prepared to ask questions!

I’d love to read your comments.

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Making the Transition to Motherhood

It’s Friday and I am joining the community hosted by Kate Motaung. For five minutes we write fast and free. The prompt is: EMBRACE
Five minutes ends at this mark: //

Last week I was at the zoo with my daughter and granddaughter. At the gorilla house we saw two mama gorillas with their infants—one 7 months old and one 3 weeks old.

7 month old gorilla in his mother’s arms. See his head?

The mama gorillas were carrying their infants around as they swung from the ropes or as they sat. The 7 month old baby was allowed to be with one male gorilla but the other males were chased off. These female gorillas had embraced motherhood.

So I have been thinking about the human experience of transitioning to motherhood. In our fast paced culture we don’t give much support to the enormous changes that take place in a woman’s life when she makes the transition to motherhood. //

South Korea has begun establishing post partum care centers. An expectant mother can book a two-week stay at the center. Nurses will care for her infant and bring the babe to mom for feedings. Meals and special treatments like massage are provided for mom. You can read more about it here.

I am grateful that women from my church brought meals and even helped clean my house during the weeks after my twins were born. My mother and mother-in-law came for periods of time. New mothers need to be nurtured as they embrace motherhood.

How can we help the women in our circle of influence with the transition to motherhood?

  1. Bring a nutritious and hearty meal or bring a frozen meal that she can have on hand.
  2. Offer to help clean, do laundry
  3. Listen to her as she processes her experience of childbirth

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Moms for Vaccine Safety

At the beginning of the 19th century, in the city of Chicago, the health of young children  was in  perilous condition. The health of both women and children needed focused attention.

In 1916, for example, Chicago’s death rate for children under 2 years of age was 141.4 per 1,000 live births, as compared with 129.3 for Detroit, 88.3 for Philadelphia, 58.1 for New York and 49.4 for Boston.

“Enteritis under 2” remained as one of the top ten causes of death reported by the Illinois state Board of health each year from 1902 to 1913, and dramatic increases in childhood diarrheal diseases continued to be identified in the hot summer months.*

 Lack of proper sanitation and hygiene contributed to the illness. Malnutrition was another factor. The educated women in Chicago responded to this health crisis. Women from Hull House, the Chicago Women’s Club, women physicians and social workers became involved.

A broad coalition of public health practitioners, social welfare advocates, and women’s rights supporters argued that a sound and democratic future depended on mother’s ability to produce and maintain a robust citizenry.**

Since that time improved sanitation, indoor plumbing, purified water, pasteurization of milk and improved hygiene have made a difference. Public health classes on infant care and nutrition have benefited young mothers.

In addition, the discovery of antibiotics to treat infections has saved lives. These wonderful medicines were eventually overused. Doctors have learned that not every ear infection should be treated with antibiotics. When antibiotics are overprescribed they lose their effectiveness: bacteria become resistant and increasingly difficult to treat.

Is the same thing happening with the heavy use of vaccines?     Is  the  immune system—intricately designed by God—being impaired by too many vaccines?

VAXXED: A Powerful Message
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently 1 in 68 children has been diagnosed with the autism spectrum. Children have more allergies and are being diagnosed with immune system disorders. It is shocking that research data indicating a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism was destroyed. Click here for a news article.

The number of vaccines recommended for children by age six has dramatically increased. If you count up the doses of each type of vaccine, there are 39 to be administered by age six.  Click here for the recommended vaccine schedule.

Each vaccine injection contains adjuvants. These are additions like mercury and aluminum, which stimulates the immune system to respond. What is the cumulative effect of these additives? We are concerned about mercury in the environment—and yet it is injected into the bodies of young children? Click here for an interview with Robert Kennedy Jr. regarding his research into mercury in vaccines.

Vaccines should be evaluated by their benefits and risks. Why does an infant need to receive a vaccine (hepatitis B) for a sexually transmitted disease? Click here for a school nurse’s concern about the hepatitis B vaccine.

A group of researchers, doctors and parents are working together for the robust health of children in the United States.    A petition  for  vaccine  safety is available on-line.

Click here to join the voices of many others who have concerns about vaccine safety.

*Lynne Curry, Modern Mothers in the heartland: Gender, Health and Progress in Illinois, 1900 – 1930, Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1999. p. 19.

**Ibid. p.1

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Refined and Blessed by Marriage

Someone was ringing the doorbell persistently. My husband went to the door and I looked on, curious. A deliveryman handed a wrapped florist parcel to him. Who is sending flowers? I wondered.

The enclosed card was inscribed, Happy Anniversary.   It was from our   sister-in-law. And then I remembered. Our 40th anniversary was just days away.

We have been blessed and refined by many years of marriage. The day after the flowers arrived, my husband and I attended a world-view conference led by Dr. Frank Turek. During the course of his presentation he spoke about the benefits of marriage between one man and one woman—and the reason why the government has had an interest in marriage historically. Here are the benefits I jotted down;

  1. Creates children
  2. Children are raised by a mom and a dad
  3. Civilizes men
  4. Protects women
  5. Perpetuates and stabilizes society

Dr. Turek covers this topic in his book, Correct, Not Politically Correct. He also has a website: cross-examined.org

When God set down the pattern for marriage it was for our good, as a couple, and for society as a whole.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

Marriage

Jesus affirmed this view of marriage: Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” Matthew 19: 4-5

In our marriage, my husband and I have grown in our faith and helped each other with new skills. We have had good times and hard times. We have sometimes communicated well and at other times not very well. We have learned forgiveness and self-sacrifice. We have raised children and now have three married adult children and seven grandchildren.

How can we pass on a healthy view of marriage to children and grandchildren?

1.  When the Bible is a part of our daily life it becomes a guidebook for healthy living. Regular Bible reading and prayer at home is a good thing.

2.  We need to discuss sexuality with the children God has placed in our influence. God’s design for sex is healthy and fulfilling; it requires boundaries. Surveys have shown that teens wish that their parents would discuss this topic with them.

3.  We can give our testimony as a couple, explaining how God has worked in our life.

4.  We can pray for the young people in our circle of influence and look for opportunities to offer words of guidance and encouragement. This morning my husband and I prayed for our grandchildren.

Can you think of additional ways to promote healthy marriages?

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Speaking Up About Vaccine Safety

The CDC is asking for comments on Vaccine Information for the MMR and MMRV. I responded with my observations.  This vaccine impacted the health of my twins when they were toddlers. It is my hope that our health system will listen to the concerns that parents and teachers have raised over the expanding number of vaccines that children are receiving.

As a child I received the DTP and polio vaccines.   My children have      received more.  The MMR was released in the 1970s. The current recommended vaccine schedule is extensive including combination vaccines and single vaccines. You can view the schedule here.

In 1986 a law was passed giving vaccine producers immunity. Pharmaceuticals could not be sued for injury caused by vaccines. Their products would automatically be sold if placed on the CDC list of recommended vaccines. The floodgates were opened.

The hepatitis B vaccine, chicken pox vaccine, rotavirus vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine, hepatitis A vaccine and yearly flu vaccines were added to the schedule for children in the first five years of life.  And  additional    vaccines are recommended for school age children.

So many vaccines. A Dutch study suggests that the vaccines may have a negative impact on health. The study involved 635 children. According to a comparison between vaccinated and non-vaccinated children,  the    vaccinated had a much higher rate of ear infection.  That caught my    attention because I remember being bewildered by the repetitive ear infections that my children had in the first five years. My siblings and I did not experience this when we were children. You can read the study and view graphs showing the difference here.

The hepatitis B vaccine was introduced during Bill Clinton’s presidency. Hepatitis B is acquired through body fluids (sexual activity) and through contact with infected blood. Why was it scheduled for infants? Did we have any research to assure safety?

As the infants who received the hepatitis B vaccine reached school age, school nurses observed changes in children’s health status. A letter was sent to a subcommittee of the House of Representatives for a hearing on the safety of the hepatitis B vaccine.

This is a school nursing perspective for the congressional hearings to be held on May 18, 1999 regarding the safety of the hepatitis B vaccine that is being mandated for newborns and now older children in America.  We ask you to please consider the following information and submit it into the congressional testimony.  As nurses we continually see more and more damaged children entering our schools, and we are very concerned that a major portion of that damage may be due to the hepatitis  B  vaccine’s     assault on the newborn neurological and immune system. To read more click here.

Another puzzling phenomena is the rise in peanut allergies among       children. More and more children are being diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy.

Maria Rinaldi,  an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota,        conducted a study that was reported by Reuters.

Rinaldi said her team, who published their findings in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, used a strict definition of allergy, and only included children who had laboratory-confirmed peanut allergy, narrowing the group down to 171 kids.

They found that fewer children had been diagnosed with peanut allergy in 1999 compared to later years.

For instance, just 10 children in the county were diagnosed in 1999, and 30 were diagnosed in 2007.

There is some evidence that peanut oil has been used in the production of vaccines. Dr. Palevski, a pediatrician, comments on this:

There is adequate scientific evidence that peanut oil has been used in vaccines since the 1960’s. If current vaccine package inserts do not contain the specific evidence that peanut oil, or peanut meal,  is contained within the   final vaccine product, it does not mean that peanut antigen is not in the    final vaccine product. Vaccine manufacturers use different growth media on which to manufacture the vaccines. They do not report, and I believe are not required to report, the exact ingredients in all of the growth media. Therefore, we may not know whether peanut antigen is used in the vaccine manufacturing process just by reading through the package inserts. Our lack of knowledge about it does not mean it isn’t knowledge waiting to be discovered. And, it may, or may not, have anything to do with an attempt to purposely hide the information that peanut antigen is present in vaccines.

Vaccination is an accepted part of our culture. It is mainstream, but it has expanded so much that we need to question the number of vaccines that children are getting. The medical field needs to listen to parents–and we need to continue to speak up.

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Medications: Why I am a Minimalist

If you watch very much TV you will notice that a great proportion of    advertisements are for medications. A medical problem is presented with the solution—a pill. Then a long list of side effects and risks are    recited.

Every medication and medical intervention has side effects and risks. So, should medication be the first resort to an illness? My experiences as a teen, a mom and a nurse have led me to believe otherwise.

When I was sixteen or seventeen my periods were very irregular. My mother was worried and took me to a gynecologist who prescribed     hormonal pills— better known as birth control pills. I began bleeding so heavily that I stopped using the pills and never touched them again. Today we know that hormonal contraception, pills or injections can cause abnormal bleeding, blood clots and increases the risk of breast cancer.

When my first three children were babies antibiotics were prescribed quickly and frequently. We went through a spiral of declining health. With my fourth child we tried supportive care—rest, fluids, chicken soup—along with a wait and see approach. This fourth child hardly ever needed an antibiotic. Eventually the medical field acknowledged that    antibiotics were being used too frequently.

I graduated from the University of Michigan Nursing program, well versed in the science of medicine. I appreciate the marvels of modern medicine. When our son was being treated for leukemia we pursued the latest research and treatment. Modern medicine has great interventions when we need them. The question is when do we need intervention?

When I worked in hospital labor/delivery units I saw many interventions taking place. Some necessary, some not, some causing complications. I don’t think we even know the long term effects of the increasing use of pitocin, a synthetic hormone used to induce or stimulate labor.

When I began attending homebirths it became clear to me. Many of the interventions in childbirth are unnecessary.  Women are equipped to give birth. My oldest daughter has given birth five times without medication or intervention.

At the same time I will admit that intervention is sometimes necessary. After beginning labor at home, my second daughter went to the hospital and needed intervention to assist the delivery of a healthy baby. But first she learned ways to support a natural birth and asked questions of her health provider.

When do we need intervention? It is a question that we should be asking when 22 vaccines are recommended for children within the first 15 months of life. What is the risk of getting the disease? Could this vaccine be deferred? How serious is the disease? What are the side effects and risks posed by the vaccine? Is there a family history of vaccine reactions or allergies?

Like antibiotics, I believe the day is coming when the medical field will acknowledge that we are giving too many vaccines.   But before that   happens parents and voters will have to respond to the huge push by lawmakers (funded by pharmaceutical companies)  to make all these    vaccines mandatory. California is making news that is unsettling. Read about the doctor who is under review for giving a vaccine exemption. Click here.

With time I have learned to trust the body and do the practical things. It is important to evaluate diet and make healthy changes. Sometimes we need to slow the pace of life and rest.

I have also learned that God has given us some tools for health in nature. I keep garlic in my kitchen. I grow herbs in my garden. I have learned about the benefits of elderberries and the cheerful calendula flower.

Our diet has improved over the years, and I am a minimalist when it comes to medication.

calendula-flowers

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