Living a natural and simple life has been part of me since I was a child. I grew up in a home where sodas were considered a rare treat and building forts and riding bikes was a daily standard. The salty ocean water could cure anything, and sunshine and fresh air in the winter was all you needed to warm your soul. The medicine cabinet had mostly bandaids for tree climbing injuries, and it took quite an illness to get anything stronger than hot tea with honey and lemons.
We didn’t do it because it was a thing my parents read about in a magazine. It was just life. My Nana, the daughter of a nurse who traveled across the ocean from Ireland to her new home in Philadelphia at the age of 17, passed down a distaste for conventional medicine. My mom, plagued with horrible car sickness, was given a clove to bite on during car rides, and pain medicine after wisdom teeth removal was traded in for ice packs. I am not sure how far back it goes, but I get it honest.
Becoming a wife and mother to three beautiful children has been quite a wonderful and refining journey. Parenting has pushed me and challenged me in ways I never though possible. It has lead me to ask big questions about life, about love and has greatly challenged what I believe about health and healing.
We were cruising along pretty smoothly until the second trimester ultrasound for my second little girl. She had some fluid on her kidney, but thankfully the odds were in our favor that she would grow out of this even before birth. Unfortunately, after her birth she had a scan at the hospital and we found out this was not her case. We learned quickly that my daughters duplicated ureter was not attached properly and wasn’t draining. She would need surgery at 7 months old. She was promptly put on prophylactic antibiotics, as this condition is associated with kidney reflux and can lead to many urinary tract infections.
Imagine someone like me, giving antibiotics to my new baby. Every. Single. Day. It was a little more than I could wrap my head around. But I also understood, if she had been born somewhere or sometime when these medicines were not available, she likely would not have made it past infancy. And this began a subtle shift. I didn’t like it, but what choice did I have but to be thankful?
In the meantime, she started spitting up all the time. She was happy, but I smelled like sour milk, and I just couldn’t take it. I had to do something about it. Her kidney situation was out of my control, but this? This, I could do something about. After a lot of research, I came to the conclusion I was going to change my diet since I was breastfeeding. I gathered my findings and headed to her doctor for counsel and directions.
The doctor was not so impressed. She all but insisted on antacids before changing my diet. Why would I go through the hassle, when I could just give her some drops? And, according to her, it likely wouldn’t work anyway. Nope. No more medicine for my sweet baby, not unless it was my last choice. I was off to find someone who would give my idea a chance and who could help me along the way.
I left this practice and found an amazing integrated pediatrician who coached me on my diet. As soon as I had dairy and gluten removed completely, she stopped spitting up. It was amazing, and so reassuring. I didn’t need to give my daughter more medication, I was able to help her acid reflux problems with a simple (admittedly very hard) adjustment to my diet!
We started implementing other natural practices and our whole little family benefited greatly. I even learned that dairy was a large part of stomach issues I have had my entire life.
This was the beginning. The beginning of a shift toward making conscious choices for a more “natural” way… and a shift toward a healthy respect for conventional medications.