Thursday, November 15, 2007

Whole-grain Crunchy

My friend Kelly posted this questionnaire on her blog today. Fascinating! I will say this, though - this is really mostly aimed at us "women of child-bearing age." If you want to skip this very long entry, it's OK!

Being away from the whole baby thing right now, I forget sometimes just how "crunchy" I really am, lol! IMO, there are less opportunities to be obviously "crunchy" when your kids are older (as witnessed by the fact that 11 out of these 15 questions are related to pregnancy or very young children and babies). Here are the questions, and my answers:

Do you have homebirths?
15 points for “yes” (unassisted)
10 points for “yes” (with a midwife in attendance)
5 points for alternative birthing center
2 points for “thinking about/would like homebirth”
0 for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

I'll take a 10 on this one, I think. Like my friend, I would LOVE to have a homebirth, but high-risk pregnancies prevent me from even considering it. If I had uneventful, non-risky pregnancies, I would absolutely have a homebirth, and I'd be very tempted by an unassisted birth - I honestly don't need help to birth my babies, lol! I'd be the type of woman who would be perfectly happy to go about my normal business until the last hour or so, then head off to a cave all by myself (might want hubby there, I suppose ;-), and have the baby. I have used midwives for my last 3 births, with no pain meds, though they were at a hospital with an OB on call. I and my babies might unfortunately need the medical help, and I'm grateful it's available - but if I had my druthers, it would be just me and dh!

Will you circumcise future sons?
-5 points for “no”
-0 points for “yes”.

Absolutely not, never have, never will. I feel pretty strongly about it, actually, though I am not quite as militant about it as I used to be. These days I figure more that the decision should be totally up to the parents, and it's not for me to judge. But for my family - no way! We actually put very large signs in the hospital bassinets with all our boys stating our preferences. When J1 was a baby, we had one nurse try to come and whisk him out of the room, and she was half-way out the door with the baby before we stopped her to ask what she was doing. She made the comment it was "circ" time, and we said we did NOT want that done. She was shocked, and quickly left. We do exclusive room-ins with our babies after birth, but I'm still always terrified that someone's going to come take baby away and do the circ procedure without our permission! WIth my last baby I had nightmares for months about that! No one's going to cut off a part of my baby, thank you very much!

Do you use cloth diapers?
20 point if you do Elimination Communication (no diapers)
15 points if “yes” (wash and make your own)
10 points if “yes” (wash your own)
5 points if “yes” (diaper service)
2 points if “thinking about it”
0 points if “no” (wouldn’t consider it)

Hmm... I'll split the difference and give myself a 5 on this one. We used cloth with J1 for about a year - he got too big before he potty trained, there wasn't a cloth diaper on earth that could have kept him from leaking everywhere when he was going on 3 and the size of most 4 1/2 year olds! I used cloth with A2 for the first 7 months or so. Then I got pregnant with S3 and just couldn't keep up with the smell and the extra work of washing, and I never got back to it after that. If we are blessed with another baby, though, I definitely plan to go back to cloth. I'm one of those weird people who love cloth diapers - they're so soft, I love the process of washing them and folding them and, quite frankly, they look a lot more comfy to me than that elastic tape and plastic of the disposables! Not to mention - do I really want all those chemicals of uncertain origin right up next to my child's private parts???

Do you observe your fertility signals using Natural Family
Planning/Fertility Awareness and use that for birth control/trying to conceive?
10 points for “yes” (observe and use for birth control/ttc) or you use ecological
breastfeeding/lactational amnorrhea
5 points for “yes” (observe for trying to conceive)
2 points “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it)

Well, yeah - definitely a 10. I AM Catholic! :-) I'd like to think that even if we weren't, though, I'd have come around to using NFP. Such an elegant, simple way to track your fertility. We were in the middle of studying to become a teaching couple when dh got sick. Quite honestly, these days I have no idea why people with normal fertility and health use artificial birth control. I mean, back before I "reverted" to Catholicism in my late 20s, we did use ABC, so I understand how you just sort of use it and not think about it too much cuz that's just what people do. But if you do stop to think about it, especially if you're married (which obviously, I think you should be, lol!) - why would you do it? Why in the world would you take a pill that stops you from having normal periods (or prevents you from having periods for months on end - I'm sorry, that just *can't* be good for you!) and has all sorts of health risks attached it its use? Why would you want rubber between you and your loved one? Why sterilize/mutilate your own body for convenience sake?? NFP has no chemicals, no rubber, no artificial hormones, no risky surgeries - I use it because I'm a devout Catholic (and I won't even go into all the theological/moral reasons why contraception is evil), but I'm pretty sure I would have come around to this even if I wasn't.

Do you breastfeed exclusively for the first 6+ months?
10 points if “yes”
5 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of expressed breastmilk)
2 points for “no” (use occasional bottles of formula)
0 for “no” (don’t breastfeed by choice).

Absolutely! None of my babies have taken solids much before 7-8 months, and all of them hated a bottle (two of them never touched one).

Do you co-sleep/family bed?
10 points for “yes” (all night every night)
5 points for “yes” (part/all of most nights)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”.

Yup, with all of them. I think co-sleeping and nursing is the ultimate lazy way to parent, lol!

Do you use a sling/soft carrier?
5 points for “yes”
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

Yes, I love my sling. I found it the other day when we were cleaning out our basement closet - I can't bear to give it away as we SO hope we have more babies someday. And now there are so many more kinds, I'd love to try them all! :-)

Do you believe in/practice child-led weaning
(even if that means breastfeeding for several years)?
15 points for “yes” (complete child-led weaning)
10 points for “yes” (up to 3 years)
5 points for “yes” (up to 2 years)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (you’ll wean the baby at 1 year or earlier).

Hmm...I'll give myself a 12 for this one as idea-wise, I'm a 15, but on average, real age-wise, I'm more like a 7. I've run the gamut, really. I had to start A2 on formula when he was 9 1/2 months old because my milk ran out from S3's pregnancy (absolutely devastated me). N4, on the other hand, nursed until he was 4. The other two were somewhere in the middle, and definitely child-led, though influenced by my pregnancies, I'm sure (J1 at about 2 1/2, S3 at 20 months). Other than A2, I can honestly say that all our weanings were child-led.

Do you tandem nurse/nurse during your pregnancy?
10 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy and tandem nurse)
5 points for “yes” (nurse during pgcy, but wean before birth)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no”(wouldn’t consider it).

Another hmm....I think I'll have to give myself an 8? I've nursed through all my pregnancies (well, not the first, lol!) and would have tandem nursed if my kids had wanted to. J1 did just a bit. He cut way back on his nursing the last few months of my pregnancy, and when I got home from the hospital after having A2, he asked to nurse, then was shocked, "there's milk in there now, mom!" And, while he nursed a few more times after that, he was never really that interested again. He tells me now that he sort of remembers it, and just figured he needed to save the milk for the baby. So sweet! A2 was just too young when my milk went away due to pregnancy, he hadn't gotten to that "nurse for comfort" stage, so once he started getting a bottle, he didn't want to nurse anymore with nothing there. I was really hoping he'd remember how and I could nurse him again after I had S3 (A2 was just 15 months when S3 was born), but he never did. For about a year, though, he would ask to "nurse", and he'd just crawl up into my lap, snuggle, and rest his cheek on my breast. Aww...S3 just totally self-weaned when he was 20 months old and I was about 6 months pregnant with N4, and he never looked back - I really thought they would be the ones who nursed together, and I was kind of looking forward to it. I would definitely still consider tandem nursing if the situation ever comes up.

Do you eat organic/whole/natural foods and limit your meat?
15 points for “yes” (grow own/buy organic, shop only at health food store,
grind own wheat, vegetarian, etc.)
10 points for “yes” (grow some of own food, buy organic,
use whole wheat flour, bake own bread, eat some meat occasionally)
5 points for “yes” (try to buy natural, whole grain foods, etc.)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it

Well.. probably just a 5 here. I'd prefer to buy organic, but our financial situation prevents us, for the most part. We do use mostly whole grains, and I plan to grind my own wheat as soon as soon as we can afford the grinder. We have no place on our property for a garden, unfortunately (HOA prevents vegetable gardens in front of the house, and with all the woods behind our house there is very little sunlight in our back yard), though I would LOVE to grow a lot of my own food. I did go through a vegetarian/vegan phase - quite honestly, I think it ruined my health! Now we definitely eat meat, though - we're confirmed carnivores and truly believe that it's actually good for you (check out Weston A Price - they are near to what my "nutritional philosophy" is...). We do try to get locally grown, grass-fed beef as often as we can, and if I had the financial resources I'd be pretty picky about organic/grass fed/free range, etc, meat products, definitely!

Do you use herbal/homeopathic remedies?
10 points if “yes” (very rarely see a regular doctor)
5 points if “yes” (but use a doctor occasionally)
2 points if “thinking about it” (see a doc for now)
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

I'll say 5, I think. We avoid the doctor as much as we can, but we do try to keep up a fairly regular schedule of well-child/preventative appointments with a regular doctor. I'm not too keen on herbal medicine - like Mel, I think herbs can be very powerful and I don't know enough about them to be able to use good judgment. I use a little bit of homeopathy, especially for my babies, but not so much, really. Mostly we just try to stay healthy and offer supportive care (steamy baths, chamomile tea, saline nose rinses, that sort of thing) when we're sick. I am very glad for modern medicine (saved my dh's life, after all!) but for the most part, for minor illness (and maybe some major ones), I think our beautifully created bodies can heal ourselves if we leave well enough alone.

Do you homeschool?
10 points if “yes” (currently homeschool)
5 points for “yes” (will homeschool)
2 points for “thinking about it”
0 points for “no” (wouldn’t consider it).

A full 10 points here! :-)

What's your take on childhood vaccinations?
15 points for no vaccines
10 for delayed, selective vaccination
5 points for selective, on schedule vaccination
2 points for thinking about not vaccinating
0 points for vaxing on schedule.

Hmm...I'll give myself a 2, though I might be edging up on a 5. I pretty much give the older 'standard' vaccines on-schedule (MMR, Hib, tetanus, etc), though if we have another baby I will consider selectively vaccinating based upon which vaccines come from aborted babies - I was unaware of that issue when my kids were babies. For now, I don't get any of the vaccines that aren't required by law, and we always seem to be late on the schedule after that first year. I rather think that a good many vaccines are not so good for us, though some are certainly important.

Would you/have you ever breastfeed/fed someone else's baby
or have someone else bf your child?
10 points if yes (have or someone has bf your baby)
5 points if yes (would)
2 points if maybe 0 if no (wouldn't consider it).

LOL! Definitely a 5. Only with someone I know well and gives their approval, too, of course. I never actually have, mostly because the opportunity never presented itself when I was nursing and was friends with someone who wouldn't mind, either. "Wet-nurses" have a long, long history, I just don't think it's that big a deal. Trust me, if I had been nursing when I watched my friend Kelly's little one and she was so sad, I would definitely have offered!!

Do you use cloth/re-usable products for mom?
10 points if yes (make own)
5 points if yes (buy own)
2 points if thinking about it
0 points if no.

A 2 here. I have looked at purchasing some, and I've seen some good, simple patterns on-line and thought of making some - just haven't taken that step yet, though.

Whew! Here's the scoring:

120 – 140 Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama
90 – 119 Mmm! Love that whole-grain crunch!
60 – 89 Pretty Crispy
20 – 59 Sprinkled with Granola
5 – 19 Instant Oatmeal
0 - 4 Jell-O

My total score is 97. Definitely "whole-grain crunchy", lol! Like Kelly and her friend Mel, I have mellowed a bit since my oldest was young. I used to be quite judgmental, thinking my way was the only right way. I've come to believe that families need to make decisions for themselves. As long as those decisions are educated decisions and you are not unduly influenced by people around you - in other words, if you *honestly* decide what you believe is right for *your* family - then I'm ok with that. I think that God gives us the children that we are supposed to have, and He gives us the Grace to know what is best for our family if we listen to His voice. I no longer define myself by my "crunchiness", I define myself by my faith. But - I'm still pretty slightly crunchy, too! :-)


Rational Jenn said...

Would you believe I'm "Pretty Crispy?" I figured I wouldn't score nearly that high.

I'm with you--everybody has got to weigh the factors for themselves. I greatly respect someone who has thought things over, even if they make a different decision than I did. There are lots and lots of ways to raise a happy, healthy child.

Maggie said...

Hey, I appreciate the fact that when you discussed ABC and NFP that you mentioned people with Normal health and Fertility. As much as i'd love to be one with my Catholic faith on this issue, I have been diagnosed with PCOS. The ABC helps regulate me, reduces the level of Testosterone in my body, etc. I have mentally struggled with this whole thing, but I do want to be around for the two children I was able to have and not be the bearded lady.

MamaJen said...

Maggie - yes, I very carefully put in the "normal health and fertility" bit! :-) I have too many friends with serious health issues to dismiss that aspect out of hand. I was more thinking about perfectly healthy, normal, married people - artifical birth control just doesn't make sense to me in those cases. But I know there can be a host of other issues for people, and it can get very complicated!

I've also been diagnosed with PCOS, and I REALLY sympathize with your struggles. I have other health issues that prevent me from using any kind of artificial birth control - I don't know what I would do if that were an option for me. I do believe that if you're taking some form of hormone, or have some sort of surgery, for serious reasons related to your health rather than a primary goal of contraception, our Catholic faith teaches that is permissible. KWIM?

I had to LOL at you not being "the bearded lady" - yeah, I definitely sympathize! PCOS is the pits!

Sarah said...

I got a 130... higher than last time I took it!
Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy Granola Earth Mama

Ha ha.

However, something is wrong with the scoring because there are a possible 180 points, not 140. There should probably be another category to account for it.

Kelly said...

Hey - I didn't know you used to be vegetarian/vegan! Me too - I was veg for about 7 years and mostly vegan for the last 2 of the 7. I agree that it was terrible for my health. We still don't consume tons of meat, but I would never be vegetarian again.

How funny that we scored so similarly! Great minds think alike. Or is that Great Mamas think alike? LOL! ;)