I Am Not My Uterus, II; or, Make Up Your Own Mind Because The Liberal Approach Is Also Bonkers

First, a small clarification: I am using the terms “conservative” and “liberal” in the quantitative sense; i.e. a conservative or liberal amount of something. My last post was about a “do as little as possible” approach to preconception health, while this one is about the “try to do everything” approach.

So, what are we supposed to do? Cut out everything that is not healthy, including everything from processed foods to artificial hormones (The Pill, forever) and, not least, we should eliminate all unnecessary electronic devices from our homes for fear of “electrosmog” (electromagnetic pollution). I’m getting this from the folks at Foresight, a British organization devoted to preconception health. Much of the information on the sight is actually pretty great. My nutritionist recommended that I check it out, and I have found much of it very helpful. Besides its unfortunate name, which I still think rightly belongs to some group protesting circumcision, what I find most objectionable about this group is, again, all in the language. Why, I keep asking myself, does it seem necessary to couch some good advice (fear of electricity notwithstanding) in all of this fear?

Foresight defines their approach to preconception care as a comprehensive plan aimed at “improving natural health in both parents [in order to] enhance fertility and successful pregnancy.” So far, pretty good. We’ve got both parents involved, here. And since my husband’s gender actually produces sperm daily, while my eggs were made in utero, I think we ought to be concerned about the male side of this conception process. I take issue with what comes next.

“The preconceptual approach of Foresight can help with overcoming some of the issues in connection with conception, pregnancy & birth:

  • Infertility
  • Low Sperm Count
  • Secondary Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Birth Defects
  • Low Birth Weight
  • Premature Birth
  • Post Partum Depression
  • Breast Feeding”
Why should I have to worry about all these things immediately? I can’t help but feel that their message is that if I don’t follow their program, then I haven’t done enough to prevent the grave misfortunes on that list.
And then there’s this lovely sidebar: “Vaccines – The Truth! Vital information regarding the adverse effects of vaccinations” which is not separated by more than a small space from the statement “Treating Autism: Because Autism Is Treatable.” I’m all about knowing what’s in a vaccine and the potential risks behind a vaccine, so I do like that “Vaccines – The Truth!” is actually a list of research about vaccines and links to that research. (Although some of it could be more accurately characterized as “research.”) But no causal relationship has been established between vaccines (MMR specifically). Not receiving vaccines is dangerous. In fact, it’s a lot more dangerous than the small risk associated with vaccines. And kids are now getting the measles again. I’d also like to remind everyone that the man who first “studied” the “link” has now admitted to fraud.

What’s my point? Why am I listening to anyone discussing preconception care if they’re all nutcases? Because they’re not all nutcases. What I’m trying to do here is find someplace in between these two infuriating points of view.

I’ve got to take what I want from both sides. I want vaccines for my kids, because I don’t want them to get the measles. I’m trying to cut out processed foods, because the additives scare me and real food tastes better. I always have eaten whole grains (thanks, Mom and Dad!). I don’t take The Pill anymore because it gives me migraines. I avoid plastics I’m not sure about because I’ve read the science, and it’s good science–bisphenol A causes serious damage. I am keeping my electronic appliances because, well, they’re useful, and I don’t believe in electrosmog. When it came time to buy new mascara, I bought some that looks great and is made without parabens and other scary chemicals. I clean my bathtub with baking soda and vinegar because it looks whiter and scrubs easier and doesn’t burn my lungs. It really is not about fear. I refuse to add fear to my life. It’s about doing what feels good and healthy for my family.

Maybe I will have trouble conceiving and we will get our hair tested for heavy metals, throw out the XBox and wear those pollution masks to filter out most of the air and any passing cigarette smoke we might encounter. I’m not counting on it. The women on both sides of my family have a serious history of fertility. Mom has seven brothers and seven sisters, for crying out loud, with no sets of twins thrown in there. That’s fifteen babies. Yeah. Take a minute for the courageous lade who was my Grandma Celia.

But a lot of things can and do go wrong in pregnancy, and we don’t always know why. We do know that I have a history of anxiety and depression. So I want to do what I can to decrease the odds that something will go wrong, especially psychologically, when we finally decide to try for a baby. It’s also about increasing the odds that things will go as smoothly as possible, in body and in mind, in a way that actually enhances our daily lives. Who doesn’t love the smell of bread baking? I have the luxury of time to bake bread from whole grain flour that is actually soft and yummy. Who doesn’t want a happy digestive system? My husband’s acid reflux has improved so much since we started paying close attention to what we eat. Anyone who has ever had a migraine will understand why it was easy to throw out my birth control (and switching methods! Sorry for TMI but I don’t advocate just throwing caution to the wind!) We’re taking our friends’ advice and ignoring people or instructions that seem crazy. Apparently, this is only the beginning of all that. Bring it on. There’s plenty of common sense in our house. Oh, and thanks for being my rock when I do completely lose it, Nathan. It’s a very good thing that you don’t mind having good sense for the both of us sometimes. I love you.

2 Comments

  1. Calley said:

    When reading these things ask yourself how many people do not plan their children? How many of those children are born healthy? When none of the mothers took these pre-conception things into consideration? What I am saying is some of this is people who pray on new mothers. These mothers are anxious and worried and want the best for their children. They want to do everything right. Nothing wrong with that. Many of these things are just money makers for people. Women have been having babies since forever!! Without these people telling us what to eat, when to sleep, what you can and cannot do before you are pregnant. Once you are preggers you eat right, get proper rest, and do not put anything in your body that will harm the baby such as alcohol , and tobacco you will be fine. I had three unplanned babies and all my girls are normal and healthy! If something does happen such as a miscarriage most often it is result of something wrong with the fetus. It is not under most circumstances anything the mother did. Often low birthweight is a result of tobacco or drug use while preggers but sometimes people just have small babies. Birth defects again chemical use is most often the suspect. There are however genetics that can play a part with certain diseases. IDK I am not a doctor I just don’t want see you over stress these things. Next year when you are holding a healthy bundle of joy in your arms you will know what I mean!

    December 11, 2011
    Reply
    • Anne-Marie said:

      But the whole point is that it’s something to do with myself instead of getting stressed out. I’m not putting anything off in order to get everything just right. I haven’t spent ridiculous money. But the whole point of this blog is to share what happens in the head of this woman, who is not unlike other women, as she waits to start trying to conceive (thus placing me in this bizarre “preconception” thing that is, I grant you, often just to scam you out of money). If I hadn’t had to think about this medication stuff, maybe we would have just thrown out the birth control and wait for a baby to happen. I don’t think that everyone should plan everything! But I’m stuck here. So I plan.

      December 11, 2011
      Reply

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