Yesterday’s post received more first-time visitors than ever before in Mommpotamus Land. You know what? In one way I felt relieved and in another way sad. Relieved because I was thinking to myself “It’s okay, they’ll probably never come back.” Sad because I knew that if they didn’t it would be because I failed to connect with them and communicate something that is vitally important. Even worse, it might drive away some blogging friends that I have truly come to care about. Women who are passionate about breastfeeding, attachment parenting, and real food, but who likely do not believe exactly as I do.
What’s vitally important to me? It’s not issues or advocacy, I’ll tell you that. Of course, I like writing about issues. Somewhere around the seventh grade I learned that if you think differently than the mainstream, keep your mouth shut or be ridiculed. I have never thought like the mainstream and have therefore spent the last two decades keeping my thoughts to myself.
To my surprise, my most popular posts come from the secret thoughts I have kept private for so long. They are the ones I am both proudest of and most ashamed. Proud because they are the ones I “dig deep” for. They reflect the oh-so-fringe parts of who I am, and when people graciously embrace that part of me it floors me. It’s humbling and exhilarating. There’s nothing quite like having dark parts brought to the light and loved.
But there is shame, too, because as I have revealed more and more of myself here something has begun to bother me. The deeper I dig the more incomplete I find I am. Yesterday I agonized over the one element that seemed missing from my post: Love.
I couldn’t find the words to express one thing to the many types of visitors — those who are on the pill, those who support abortion rights, those who have been on the pill and felt guilty while reading my post, those who didn’t, and many others — and that one thing is love. It seems too sappy, or too simple, just to tell you that no matter who you are or what you believe I care about you. But it’s true.
It’s going to take a lot of work (more than I really want to think about), but when it’s all said and done I want the causes and the soapboxes to fade into the background. When people come here, I want them to feel loved, supported, and understood.
I don’t know if it is just that I’m not a naturally warm person or what, but it is painfully obvious that I’m better with issues and ideas than with love. I am an incomplete person. This blog has shown me that in very uncomfortable, public ways. But if you’ll come back I’d like to stick with it, because it is only when I’m trying to reach you that I am willing to do the work on myself that really needs to be done anyway.Read More »
For the most part we enjoy the same books, T.V. shows, etc. We both LOVE the Caribbean and go there as often as we can. We agree on how to parent our children. We share a common background of faith and pray together often(ish). There is this one thing about kids though: We have never agreed on birth control.
I was already insanely attracted to Daniel when it first came up that he didn’t believe in using any kind of birth control whatsoever.** Pretty sneaky of him, because if that had come up earlier I would have been OUT. OF. THERE.
I thought he was CRAZY. Twenty-one year old me wasn’t sure I ever wanted to become a mom. But six, eight, or ten kids? I told him no way.
But as I said before we are MFEO and stuff, so I began looking into other options. You know what surprised me? It didn’t take much digging for me to discover an ugly truth I’d never heard before.
[Before I go on, I want you to know that I feel a little bit like throwing up as I type this. This is probably similar to what policemen feel like when they have to knock on someone's front door and tell them that their husband and the father of their children has been in a serious car wreck. I don't like to drop life-changing information on unsuspecting people. But I would be seriously angry if the messenger decided just not to tell me. Because as much as I don't want to be told, I know I need to know. So I'm telling you what I would want to know]
Despite the fact that they are referred to as contraceptives (Latin for against conception, meaning that it prevents conception), birth control pills cause abortions.
My goal in saying this is not to stir up controversy about whether abortions are morally permissible. Others have made arguments on both sides that are much more persuasive than anything I have to say. Since it will be painfully obvious when I start using words like baby to describe a fertilized egg, I should go ahead and say that I believe life begins at conception. But even if you don’t believe that, read on. At issue here is whether or not people are being mislead regarding what the Pill actually does. Everyone has a right to informed consent, and that is not what is happening.
There are three mechanisms that give the Pill its high rate of effectiveness. First, it suppresses ovulation most of the time. When that fails, the second mechanism kicks in. The second mechanism involves thickening cervical mucus so that it is difficult for sperm to migrate to the fallopian tubes and join with an ovum.
When THAT fails and sperm reaches the ovum and all the magical right things happen, a woman becomes pregnant. Unfortunately, the birth control pill has one last hand to deal and like all gambles, the odds are with the house. The fine print that comes with birth control pills invariably goes something like this:
Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotrophins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the endometrium, which reduce the likelihood of implantation.
The Physicians Desk Reference, 1995, 1775
In plain English what this means is that the pill alters the uterus from an environment that is designed to nourish and protect new life into one that is essentially barren of the necessary nutrients to sustain a child. Typically, a uterus needs to be between 5 -13 mm thick to sustain a pregnancy. The average thickness in pill users is 1.1mm.¹
Now maybe you’re thinking “People get pregnant on the pill all the time and carry their babies to term, so I don’t think that third mechanism is real. If a woman gets pregnant on the pill she’ll stay pregnant.” It’s tempting to believe that, but consider this: The first two mechanisms are real and sometimes fail. The same is true of the third. In his book, “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?” Randy Alcorn says:
It is significant that the “morning after pill” is in fact nothing but a combination of several standard birth control pills taken in high dosages. When the announcement was made, the uninformed public probably assumed that the high dosage makes birth control pills do something they were otherwise incapable of doing. But the truth is that it simply increases the chances of doing what it already sometimes does – cause an abortion.
Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?, pp 65-66
We have assumed that the pill’s failure rate accurately depicts the number of times a woman conceives while on the pill. Unfortunately, because of the third mechanism there may be many more pregnancies that women are never aware occurred because they ended prematurely. Of course, no studies have been done to determine how often the first two mechanisms fail (who would fund them, the drug companies that have a vested interest in selling them?). Here’s a helpful analogy;
Imagine a farmer who has two places he might plant seed. One is rich, brown soil that has been tilled, fertilized and watered. The other is on hard, thin, dry and rocky soil. If the farmer wants as much seed as possible to take hold and grow, where will he plant the seed? The answer is obvious – on the fertile ground.
Now you could say to the farmer that his preference for the rich, tilled, moist soil is based on the “theoretical,” because he has probably never seen a scientific study that proves this soil is more hospitable than the thin, hard, dry soil. Likely, such a study has never been done. In other words, there is no absolute proof. The farmer might reply to your skeptical challenge based on his years of observation: “I know good soil when I see it – sure, I’ve seen some plants grow in the hard, thin soil too, but the chances of survival are much less than in the good soil.”
Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?, p. 51
Words evolve. Did you know that according to The Mad Logophile “apology once meant to defend against an accusation”? It’s from the Greek word apologia, meaning “defense.” If someone time traveled from ancient Greece to now, can you imagine their confusion when someone tried to apologize to them? What if you traveled to a future where people spoke English but the meanings had changed? Believe it or not, you already have.
Historically, when a sperm and egg joined to form a fertilized ovum with completely unique DNA, that was defined as conception. When a woman has conceived she is pregnant. Duh, right?
Not exactly. In 1976 the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists redefined conception to mean the point at which a fertilized ovum implants in the mother’s uterine lining. That’s six days after the egg and sperm have joined. For six days that the child has been growing, but according to this new definition any chemical which prevents a fertilized ovum from being able to attach to it’s mother for nourishment has “prevented conception/pregnancy.” What?
So if your doctor tells you that the pill prevents conception and is not abortifacient, he or she is correct according to the new definition, but probably not the definition you were thinking of when you asked. Ironically, according to a former drug rep for Whitehall-Robins, a sister company to Wyeth-Ayerst (one of the top producers of the pill), your doctor is probably unaware that he is being misleading.
In company meetings information on the Pill was covered in a totally different way than other products. Our training had always been open and relaxed, and we went through detailed instruction on how every product works; we were expected to explain how they worked to physicians. But the approach to the birth control pills was completely different – the approach was, “don’t worry about how they work, the point is they do; don’t ask questions, just give out the samples.”
Testimony of Karen Witt as documented in Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?, p. 54
Those that are not fully convinced by Karen’s testimony can do what Randy Alcorn did: Contact each pill maker directly and ask if the pill prevents implantation. Although reluctantly, each company confirmed in one way or another that the Pill is designed to prevent a six day old embryo from implanting in its mothers uterus. The trick, it seems, is to ask exactly the right questions. When Alcorn called Wyeth-Ayerst he was read to from a script and then offered information via mail.
It was clearly a form letter designed for those expressing concerns about abortion, and contained the precise contents that Adrianne [the customer service rep he had spoken with] had quoted to me. Also enclosed was a colorful booklet entitled Birth Control With The Pill. In the section, “How the Pill Works,” it states, “The pill mainly prevents pregnancy in two ways.” It then speaks of only the first two mechanisms and makes no reference whatsoever to the third, the prevention of implantation.
The detailed, fine print “professional labeling” was also enclosed, and as reflected in the PDR [Physician's Desk Reference], it states “alterations include changes in . . . the endometrium (which reduces the likelihood of implantation).
It struck me that virtually everyone receiving this information would read the large print, attractive, colorful, easy-to-understand booklet (which makes no mention of the abortive mechanism), and almost no one would read the extremely small print, black and white, technically worded and completely unattractive sheet – the one that acknowledges in the fine print that the Pill sometimes prevents implantation.
There is a mountain of evidence indicating that the Pill is both a contraceptive and a contra-implantive.*** I believe that the public is being intentionally kept in the dark about the third mechanism and that people who believe life begins at fertilization have unknowingly participated in chemical abortions. It is wrong of drug companies to obscure facts about their products in a way that causes individuals to unknowingly violate their own conscience.
I wish I was wrong about this, I REALLY, REALLY do. Other than barrier methods and Natural Family Planning, there are no options that do not have an abortifacient component. Norplant, Depo-Provera, RU 486 and the Mini-Pill are all confirmed abortifacients. There is some debate as to whether the IUD is an abortifacient, but so far the evidence indicates that it is.
For this reason, along with the fact that I don’t like putting chemicals in my body, Daniel and I have practiced Natural Family Planning throughout our marriage. Honestly, it has been inconvenient and frustrating at times and I wish there was an easier way. Daniel and I have never fully agreed on what that way could or should be, so we’re sticking with this for now.
So, if you haven’t run across this research before I’d like to know: Are you convinced? If so, does it change anything for you?
¹ Postfertilization effects of oral contraceptives and their relation to informed consent by Drs. Walter Larimore and Joseph Stanford
*Made for each other
** Both of our views have changed. I used to be fully supportive of all kinds of birth control and he was completely against them. Thorough debate and the experience of actually having children has caused us to reexamine our convictions. There’s too much to say on the subject for this little footnote, so I’ll just say that Daddypotamus is much more comfortable with taking an active role in stewarding our fertility through natural family planning and I have baby fever
***Most of the data cited in Randy Alcorn’s book comes from doctors, scientists, researchers and the pill manufacturers themselves –not prolife advocates with an agenda to push.Read More »
I’m not sure how I managed to grow up in the South without discovering chicken salad. I guess it’s because even before I went “healthy” I wasn’t a big fan of over-processed mayo. It tasted fake to me.Read More »
That sometimes feels embarrassed by my inability to do it all/be it all: attentive wife, engaged mother, excellent cook and housekeeper, friend and more.
Since becoming a parent I have made lists, charts, and even spreadsheets. Why? To comb through each aspect of my day and find a way to get some time back, of course! Unfortunately, it often requires so much focus and discipline to get that extra time that I can barely relax when I get there. Sound familiar?
I’ll admit, in the last six weeks Gigi has freed up her schedule to help me get things done and life has gotten a lot easier as we prepare for this baby to arrive. I know this isn’t an option for most of you and it got me thinking about what life would be like without her.
Um . . . HARD!!! But not impossible ; – )
For me, planning and simple routines have made all the difference. Every Sunday I spend about an hour planning the next weeks meals. It doesn’t have to take this long, but I think the hunt for new, savory recipes is worth it ; – ) Since most of the recipes I use are online I just create a spreadsheet with links, like this:
|Baked Oatmeal||Leftover Baked Oatmeal||Bacon & Eggs*|
|Deviled Eggs||Leftover spaghetti w/ clams||Leftover roast chicken|
|Raw veggies w/ homemade ranch||Salad||Baked sweet potatoes|
|Spaghetti w/ clams and saffron||Roast Chicken||Lamb Korma (double recipe)|
|Summer Salad w/ Peach Walnut Dressing||Basmati Rice|
There are a couple of important features to this meal plan:
To many of you this may seem very OCD (“may”?), but this method makes my life MUCH easier throughout the week. I am able to easily meet the nutritional needs of my family without spending all day in the kitchen or losing my mind.
I am STILL working on a series that I hope will make life easier for you in the kitchen, but in the meantime I recommend that you visit Kat’s post, Get a Chef, A Maid or a Nanny by Creating Effective Routines for some inspiration.
But before you leave, please share your wisdom with the rest of us! How do you make things run smoothly when it comes to housekeeping, caring for children and meal prep?Read More »
When Daniel and I were kids (by that I mean married without children), the plumbing at our house blew up.
Okay, it didn’t blow up. But it stopped working. And going 24 hours WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO FLUSH A TOILET is bad for newlywed morale.
Long story short, solving the problem using an external cleanout would be a few hundreds bucks. Doable. Installing the external cleanout on our older home would be about a thousand. Not doable.
Another night without functional toilets was not going to happen, so I went to my boss and asked for to take some vacation time to go home and help my husband do the installation.
Boss: “I would never let my wife dig a sewage line.“
Me: “I would kill my husband if he paid someone else a thousand bucks to dig a simple hole.“
Back then, I thought there were two kinds of women. There were beautiful, petite women like this man’s wife. Women that needed to be taken care of. You might even call them “fragile” women. And then there were women like me – exactly like men, only with different “equipment.”
I was an idiot. First of all, how that mother of four managed to maintain her sweet disposition, stay fit, make time for her husband and manage one toddler, two grade schoolers and one pre-teen I’ll never know. She made it look so effortless I really thought it was. That takes strength.
On the other hand, I had not yet faced my real limitations as a person. Being a career bad@$$ is not so hard when you push all week and then crash in your bed for 15 hours on the weekend. Being a parent that never gets enough sleep, works longer hours and is constantly faced with new challenges is DUH, much harder!
To be honest, it really surprised me that motherhood is more difficult than having a career. What has surprised me more, though, is that while I do often feel strong and beautiful, sometimes I feel the urge to surrender.
Until about six months ago I don’t know if I’ve ever really acted on that urge. Late one night, following a traumatic day that had Daniel and I up arguing into the wee hours, I began having scary contractions. I was only a couple of months pregnant and they were so strong I couldn’t walk.
After we called our midwife and got instructions, my husband picked me up and carried my to a warm epsom salt bath. I was still angry, but I surrendered to him. Not walking and complete relaxation was the best chance our baby had to survive. The contractions came and went for well over an hour, leaving me scared and exhausted. Walking at all brought them right back.
For the next 24 hours Daniel carried me everywhere. To the restroom. To the bath. To the bed. I wonder how many of you will understand when I say that although I was scared for my baby’s life, I was deeply affected by my husband’s tenderness, attentiveness and concern. Although he had tried before, I had never let myself receive it because it conflicted with my perception of the type of person I am.
That day set something in motion. My weakness had made me vulnerable enough to accept his help, and he touched my heart.
I have learned about a bazillion things from watching my daughter interact with her daddy. When she says, “Daddy, I need some holding,” I see the expression on his face. That request is one of his favorites. A delight. A privilege.
From time to time, we should all have the privilege of doing this for another person. And we should give others the privilege of doing it for us.
Being carried doesn’t mean we’re not strong, or brave, or capable.
It means we’re loved.
Read More »
Growing basil in Texas is a beautiful experience. While most of our gardening efforts have been destroyed by birds and pests, the basil continues to produce . . . and then produce some more. Our only problem with basil around here is what to do with it all!Read More »
I can’t knit little hats. Or sew my own ring sling. I wish I could, but . . .
YOU KNOW WHAT??? I can makes lists of great stuff other people make!
With your help, of course. Would you please tell me what YOU found essential in the early days of mothering? Even though this is my second baby I am still mystified by some of this stuff. Case in point: I didn’t have a good rocking chair with Katie, so I held her and nursed/paced the floor while she fell asleep. Until she was sixteen months old. This time around I’ve decided to save myself the chiropractic bills and just buy a rocking chair. But which one? I need your help! Here’s what I have so far. Let me know what you’d add/change/omit!
UPDATE: I no longer recommend lambskin rugs. Find out why here.
I don’t think Katie has ever napped anywhere but at home and in the car. It’s not too difficult to arrange my schedule around one child’s nap. But two? With different schedules???
For the first year I’d basically be stuck at home from about 10am-4pm everyday. No thank you.
My solution? Get Babypotamus to associate sleep with something comforting and portable.
A lambskin woolie is like a lovie only better. By nursing/sleeping on it with Babypotamus it will have my scent.
Lambskins were originally used to reduce discomfort for long-term hospital patients. I think its cushioning prevented bedsores.
Plus, “Wool is nature’s insulation keeping baby warm and cozy in cold weather. In hot weather wool absorbs moisture which is then released into the air, leaving baby drier and more comfortable.” – Bebeco
Mommy’s scent + Snuggly Factor + Climate Control= Babypotamus Takes Naps Away From House (I hope)
Just FYI, the Bowron I linked to earlier is probably the favorite brand in the U.S.. I’ve done a little research, though, and the Kaiser Mimosa Lambskin looks like a good one, too. It is processed without any chemicals at all. Has anyone tried either of these? I’d love your feedback!
Pass the prefolds, please! If there’s anything I’ve learned in my cloth diapering days it’s that what worked for Grandma will work for me (with a few modifications, of course). Fancy microfleece /multi-layer/ all-in-one varieties need not apply.
Natural fabrics beat synthetic ones when it comes to breathability and freshness (synthetic fabrics hold stink . . . blech!)
Back when our parents were slapping prefolds on our parents bottoms everything was cotton. Now there’s hemp. Cha-ching! Katie has some hemp liners for her nighttime panties . . . super absorbent and non-stinky! Love them ; – )
I’ll leave the diaper pins to nostalgia, though. Snappi’s are wonderful.
I’m also looking forward to giving wool covers a try. The lanolin from the wool makes them naturally water resistant. Plus, they’re breathable, naturally antimicrobial, and cute!
If Babypotamus doesn’t do well with wool I’ll go back to Thirsties. They’re synthetic and not extremely eco-friendly, but they really work!
I am “The Princess and the Pea” of rocking chairs. My first chair, a Craigslist regret, was generously picked up and delivered to my house by Gigi. When she tried it she loved it! When I sat down in it all I noticed was the rough bumping motion it made mid-glide while going “CLICK!”
Every time I tried to settle Katie to sleep in that blasted thing it went like this: “HUMP . . . CLICK . . . . You’re never going to get this baby to sleep . . . BUMP . . . CLICK . . . I’ll help you count the seconds as they stretch into eternity . . . HUMP CLICK . . . I can make this noise forever lady and this baby can stay awake just as long.”
So, with that said, I want a GOOD one this time. Unfortunately, the big comfy gliders are expensive, and I’m afraid to invest too much in a rocking chair that Babypotamus may not like. Suggestions for finding one that is affordable? Any “must have” features? I know ya’ll are going to help me figure this out!
Then, while watching another mom discreetly cover her nursling with the tail of a ring sling I had a revelation:
I’ve got to get one of those!
Oh, to be able to nurse discreetly while chasing my toddler around in public. Sounds a lot more fun than suffering through the hungry cries of a precious baby that has to be put on hold too often.
With all the brands and variations available, though, I’m not sure what to look for. Should I get one with a padded shoulder? Who has the best prices? Better yet, who is finished with theirs and wants to sell it to me???
One essential didn’t make the list because I already have it. How anyone swaddles a baby without a Miracle Blanket mystifies me. I am a swaddling moron. Oh well, as long as it gets done and baby is happy I’m okay with that.
Unfortunately, the one I have is pink. If Babypotamus turns out to be a boy I’ll have to get another one or be forced to write another post about why that won’t actually affect his sexuality, either. Just kidding, even I think dressing little boys in pink is weird. SEE?? I do have limits!
Another item we have is the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. We didn’t use it much with Katie, but I think we will more this time since we want to keep Katie in bed with us while setting aside a safe place for baby.
A couple of things that did not make the list are a double stroller and baby swing. Do I need these? If so, what should I buy?
That’s my list so far. What would you add/change/omit???Read More »