Sunday, February 27, 2005

Brown rice, millet, quinoa - oh my!

Having a child can make you examine your own eating habits a bit more closely. It's true that Ava is only consuming breastmilk and baby food at present, but soon will come the day when she's eating table food alongside Jody and me and I want that food to be as healthy as possible. Also we just found out Jody's cholesterol is a little on the high side, so that's another motivating factor for me to attempt to cook a bit more healthfully.

I have to say that for the most part our eating habits aren't that bad. We rarely eat fast food (thanks in part to how turned off we were after watching "Super Size Me" - definitely worth watching if you haven't yet seen it) or when we do it's Taco Bell, and I try to make a lot of our meals from scratch though I do use box mixes or prepared foods as well.

I'm happy to say that since an organic co-op market opened up in our neck of the woods, I've been buying more of our food there (at least what I can afford). And I've discovered the wonders of bulk items like brown rice, millet and quinoa. I feel like a kid in a candy store filling up my bags full of these things. Hee hee. I used to be all about buying boxed instant brown rice, but now that I've made slow-cooked brown rice I'm never going back to instant! There's a huge difference in the taste and texture of it. Slow-cooked is so much tastier! :)

It's thanks to some of my friends that I've added words like millet, which is a grain, and quinoa (pronounced keen-wah, who knew?!), which is like a grain, to my vocabulary, and now I even know how to prepare them. (Woohoo!) Both are very healthy and I didn't even know they existed. I have a feeling there are a lot of healthy foods out there that I've been missing out on. ;)

So far I've made the millet in a stirfry, using it as a substitute for brown rice. It's really tasty. The texture is kind of crunchy, and I guess it feels almost like a nut. I made the quinoa with black beans which we used as a filler for burritos. It was pretty good, but I think I prefer the millet over the quinoa.

Anyway, I'm excited to have come across this grain and pseudo-grain. Now I need to go scour the 'net for some recipes to incorporate them into our diet in new ways. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Everyone likes to feel validated ;)

Since Attachment/Gentle Parenting isn't the philosophy that the majority of U.S. parents subscribe to, it's always nice to see a study (by Harvard, no less) that validates what we as APers are doing.

I'm lucky to live in an area where I've met families who have similar parenting philosophies to my own. But I know many others - who I've met on the 'net through message boards - who don't have that same kind of support network. I imagine that articles like the ones below are even more valuable to them because without support, you're more likely to doubt yourself (at least I think I would). So that's my motivation for sharing it, to let those APers know that they aren't alone. Even though the Dr. Phils of the world may not agree with co-sleeping and it seems like so many people advocate CIO, don't fret, Harvard researchers say it's OK (and even good) to let your baby sleep with you or comfort your crying little one.

(This article dates back to 1998, but it recently surfaced on a Yahoo Group I frequent. Being that it's 7 years old, it makes me wonder why this kind of information hasn't made it's way into mainstream society yet.)

Children Need Touching and Attention, Harvard Researchers Say

By Alvin Powell
Contributing Writer

America's "let them cry" attitude toward children may lead to more fears and tears among adults, according to two Harvard Medical School researchers.

Instead of letting infants cry, American parents should keep their babies close, console them when they cry, and bring them to bed with them, where they'll feel safe, according to Michael L. Commons and Patrice M. Miller, researchers at the Medical School's Department of Psychiatry.

To read the entire article, click here.

I also ran across the following article (from the United Kingdom) that says much of the same thing re: crying, though this one is more recent - from November 2004.

Science shows up Supernanny

A mental health expert warns that fashionable advice to ignore your child's tears may cause lifelong harm

Amelia Hill, education correspondent
Sunday November 7, 2004
The Observer

Nanny no longer knows best, the Contented Little Baby Book could undermine a child's development, and Dr Spock's advice that a child should be left to cry could cause psychological damage.

When it comes to the crowded and hotly debated world of how best to bring up baby, there is a new theory that uses brain scans to argue that controlled crying not only damages babies' brains but produces angry, anxious adults.

For the entire article, click here.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Just doing my part

I've always felt lucky, blessed really, that I've been able to provide milk for my baby without any troubles. Unfortunately I know that for some women, that's not the case. I know at least three women who have had trouble either producing enough milk for their baby or not producing any at all.

I bought a breastpump when Ava was 6 months old so that I could express some milk to mix with her cereal. We didn't end up feeding her cereal for very long because it constipated her. So then I was left with a pump that I didn't figure I'd have a use for anymore.

During that time I learned about a woman in my area who was expecting baby #3 and, while she wanted him to have as much breastmilk as possible, she knew based on her experience with her other two children that she couldn't produce enough for him. Traditional formula wasn't an option either because her older son was allergic to it and there was a good chance this baby would be as well.

She tried contacting the Mothers' Milk Bank, and while her son qualified for milk with a doctor's prescription, the milk was just too expensive for her family to purchase.

When I heard that she needed breastmilk for her newborn I e-mailed her to offer up mine. Since I've been so fortunate to feed Ava, I wanted to extend the offer to help out her baby. I thought she might be leery, as I would be, since she only knew me from a message board, so I provided her with my medical history, blood work results, and other information that I figured I'd want to know if I were in her shoes. She happily accepted and I've been pumping for the lil guy daily ever since (with the exception of when I had vertigo for a week).

I am so happy that I'm able to help her and her baby out in some small way. Now that I have a breastpump, I plan to donate my milk to the Milk Bank if/when I have baby #2. God's blessed me with such a plentiful supply that I can't imagine not helping out someone else if I'm able.

I've since met the woman and her sweet baby boy in person. And she's since qualified for financial assistance through the Milk Bank so that she's able to get some milk for free there as well. :) I plan to continue to pump for them for a while, at least another month or two.

If you are interested in donating breastmilk or learning more about Mothers' Milk Banks in your area, please visit this web site.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

An apology (re: epidural post)

I've been thinking long and hard about my post re: the epidural shirts Target was selling and I want to make an apology. I also have other information I'd like to share and follow up on regarding epidurals and my original post, but I will do that at another time, in another post.

First of all, oy! What was I thinking making a post about epidurals (specifically sharing my excitement that a letter I wrote to Target made a difference) the very first post on my blog?! Could I have chosen a more heated topic??! I have to admit at the time I was just so elated that a bunch of women writing letters could bring about a positive change that I didn't even consider that some people might read what I had to say and take offense at it. (Again, for the record, my issue was with Target for selling a shirt that advertised drug use, not with women who get epidurals.) I wish I would've posted something more tame - like an introduction telling about me and my reasons for starting this blog - before I delved into such controversy, but I can't go back and change that now. Live and learn.

Back to my reason for this post. I realize that I made a generalization about women who receive epidurals and I don't believe that was fair of me at all. I can't speak for the reasons why women get epidurals. I should have made some clarifier, like "based on the people I've spoken with through my job and on various message boards, etc., I'm lead to believe that the majority of women don't think twice about having an epidural." But do I honestly know how thoroughly they've researched their options or taken into consideration the risks involved in receiving an epidural? No. (However, now I'm thinking about doing some polls to get a feel for their motivations, etc.) Anyway, my point is that it's unfair for me to speak for anyone other than myself, so I apologize for making generalizations and I apologize to anyone who I offended by making those generalizations. I'm truly sorry.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Happy (sort of) anniversary to us

Yesterday was the 7 year anniversary of the day Jody and I met in person. It's amazing to think that it's been so long since I got on a plane in MI and flew to OK to meet a guy I'd only known virtually for a year and a half.

The whole trip nearly was canceled about a week beforehand, but I decided (thanks largely to some prodding by my sister Carrie) that if I didn't go for it and do it then, there was a very good chance that I never would. And then I'd be left forever wondering what might have been.

Am I glad I did it? Yes.

Has the journey to get to where we are today been an easy one? No.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Would I do it again? Definitely.

I could search the earth and never find another Jody. I love him for his wonderful - often wacky - sense of humor, his quick wit (which I've grown to match), his idealism, his convictions (and by that, I don't mean crimes), his capacity to love, and for the amazing father he is.

I'm so happy that our paths crossed on the Internet so many years ago. I can't imagine living my life with anyone else.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Toes to the Nose!

I have to admit that I'm quite preoccupied with baby poop lately. I assure you it's not some weird new fetish of mine, but is it too much to ask to want to see a diaper full of it at least every other day?

Since Ava is no longer breastfeeding exclusively, gone are the days of regularly occurring, non-offensive, runny, mustard poops. Even though that meant changing 3 to 4 poopy diapers a day, I have to say oh, how I miss it!

Now I hastily check each diaper hoping to get a smelly surprise. Who knew that becoming a member of the "mommy club" meant so closely monitoring the contents of your baby's diapers?!

When she goes through a whole day or two (or going on three today!) without any grunts and nary a bowel movement save the ocassional toots, I start to get concerned.

When my husband goes upstairs to change her diaper, I yell up, "Any poop yet?" To which he usually replies, "No poop," secretly relieved to have dodged that bullet. (It's both amusing and disturbing how often and in what detail we can talk about baby poop around here.)

In the meantime, I prepare to perform my pooping exercises on her that go something like this. I lay her flat on the floor and pump her legs from a straight out position to putting her "toes to the nose!" as I like to exclaim, making the exercise into a game. I also massage her lower abdomen in a circular motion with my thumbs, thinking that maybe it will get her intestines moving.

Actually I can't take credit for the logistics of the "toes to the nose" exercise. After Ava was born and had gone several days in the hospital without pooping, a nurse who prided herself on her ability to get any baby to poop (all the other nurses raved about her) came in and performed the ritual, while using a rectal thermometer to stimulate her uh, rectally. She was successful (Ava pooped a lot!) and was able to maintain her flawless pooping record.

I can't say I'm ready to inflict the probe upon her yet. I just wish she would poop already so I could get out my Sharpie and mark a big "P" on the calendar and start counting the hours until her next big movement.

World On Fire

I've been a fan of Sarah McLachlan for a long time, at least since "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" came out in 1993. I saw her in concert three times, twice at Lilith Fair. Her music has always seemed so powerful to me, so full of passion. She really seems to sing from the heart.

After recently discovering what she did with her "World On Fire" video, I have even more respect and admiration for her.

View the video here

Even if you aren't a Sarah fan, this video deserves a look just for the message that it has.

I admire her for doing something different and donating nearly $150,000 (the typical cost of making a video) to charities around the world. Imagine if every artist did that with just one video, what a difference it could make.

Anyway, Sarah is an inspiration to me. She seems like such a grounded person who isn't wrapped up in all the money and fame that can accompany stardom. She uses her status to help bring about change and make the world a better place and I think that's awesome.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

It's about time (for an intro)

I've been posting for a few days now and I realize that I should probably take a few moments to post an intro of sorts. I think my profile tells quite a bit about the kind of person I am, but for those who are interested, here's some more background info on me.

I was born in May 1975 (yes, that makes me a bull-headed Taurus. bet ya'd never guess that about me, hehe) in Michigan. I grew up in a (white bread) suburb of Detroit with my mom, dad and younger brother and sister. Like most families, we were a bit dysfunctional, yet I never doubted that I was loved.

I attended Catholic elementary schools during the week and my family went to Mass on the weekends. When I switched to public schools in sixth grade, I continued to go to catechism classes and was confirmed in eighth grade.

My dad was a teacher (now retired) and coach (and often did other odd jobs) and worked long hours to provide for our family. My mom stayed at home with us kids until I was about 12, at which time she returned to the workforce as a teacher as well.

I excelled in most subjects in school and was a member of the Honor Society in high school. I also participated in flag corps, drill team, Girl Scouts (through my senior year in high school!) and a few Catholic youth groups. I had a close-knit circle of friends, but I was pretty much a nerd.

After my high school graduation, I went away to college for the first two years. I had a really rough time being away from home (more importantly, away from my boyfriend at the time), and eventually moved back in with my parents and attended a local university. I graduated with my bachelor's degree in English in 1998.

In the meantime, I was introduced to the Internet where I met my husband (and soulmate) Jody in 1996. He lived in Oklahoma at the time, so our relationship was initially a friendship for the first year and a half. We decided to meet in person in February 1998 when we were both single, so I flew to Oklahoma to spend a few days with him. I wish I could say it was love at first sight, but it honestly wasn't for either of us. However, over the next few days we really did fall in love and my stay was extended for a few more days since neither of us felt ready to say good-bye just yet.

A couple months later, Jody came to Michigan to visit me and we decided that after my college graduation in June, I would move to Oklahoma with him.

Moving 1,000 miles away from home was certainly the craziest thing I'd ever done. We had some ups and downs, but our relationship continued to grow and we got engaged in May 2000.

We moved to Colorado (where we currently reside) in October 2000, and were married in April 2001.

I worked for the local paper as the newsroom office manager for about 3 1/2 years, up until the birth of our daughter. I'm now a stay-at-home mom.

Jody's been working in the computer industry for most of his life. His most recent position is doing technical support for a 3-D design software company.

Jody and I decided that we would start trying to conceive in September 2002. Due to some fertility issues, it took us until Sept. 2003 to actually conceive. We were both elated when it finally happened for us. We had a scare at 11 weeks and thought that we might lose the baby, but she was a fighter and held on.

Ava was born on June 22, 2004, at 38 weeks after I developed HELLP Syndrome and had to be induced. Due to my life threatening complications, her birth didn't go at all as I had thought/hoped it would, but she was born in perfect health and that was truly the most important part.

She's now nearly 8 months old, growing like a weed (and is a big girl at about 25 lbs.) and continues to amaze me and Jody with each passing day. She's got such a great disposition and so much personality. Not a day goes by in our house that we aren't all sitting around in fits of laughter. Ava brings so much joy to our lives.

The parenting style we subscribe to is Attachment (or Gentle) Parenting. It's not that we looked it up in a book and said "this is what we'll do." It's just that the things that AP espouses have come naturally. My basic philosophy is if it feels right, then it must be.

Various other things about me:
- I no longer practice Catholicism (and haven't really since high school). I believe in God, but the rest is sketchy for me. I'm still trying to find a religion that rings true with me.
- As far as my political stance, I'm a right-leaning liberal.
- I'm left-handed.
- I have two dogs (my first babies), Ellie and Maggie.
- I call myself "crunchy" in my Blog title and, while that adjective is widely-known where I live, I realize that it necessarily isn't elsewhere. Being crunchy is like being a neo-hippie (but without all the dreadlocks and smoking pot crap). It's someone with a non-conformist state of mind who cares about the world. Being crunchy refers to granola, i.e. being earthy, etc. So yeah, I think of myself as crunchy. And the domestic goddess is just a fun way to say "I'm a stay-at-home mom."
- I love to read, but don't often have time for it. The last book I read was "Our Babies, Ourselves" by Meredith Small. It was an excellent book and I highly recommend it. I'll probably write more about it at another time.
- The last good movie I saw (on DVD of course because we just don't get out to the movies anymore) was "Napoleon Dynamite." I thought the preview looked ridiculously stupid, yet I found the movie very amusing (even if it was plotless) and highly quotable.
- Some other things I enjoy are cooking, photography (namely taking pictures of Ava or scenic pictures), and hiking in the mountains.
- I also enjoy writing although I haven't been doing much of it lately. I feel like this blog will inspire me to continue to write on a regular basis and prevent my brain from going to mush. I realize that I have some strong opinions on certain subjects and while I want to feel free to express them, I hope that nobody will get the impression that I think I am better than them because of my opinions and/or choices in life. That is not my intention. I share my opinions in the hopes of giving people something to think about. One of my mottos lately has been "Question Authority." Not because I think I'm a badass and I don't agree with rules, but because I think it's healthy to think about why things are the way they are or why we are being told to do things a certain way. IMO, complacency is a dangerous thing.

Anyway, that's my life and a bit about what makes me tick (probably more than you ever cared to know), in a (large) nutshell.
Thanks for reading. :)

Breastfeeding in front of the president

I came across this photo on Yahoo News yesterday.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez talks with people who were affected by flooding...

Wow! :) How refreshing it is to see a woman able to openly feed her baby in public - while speaking to the president of her country no less! And nobody seems to be offended by it in the least (although that one guy might be checking out her boob, hehe). But the president seems absolutely at ease with it, even touching her on the arm and *gasp* making eye contact with her.

I'd love to see the United States embrace breastfeeding as such a natural part of life instead of limiting places women can nurse and having people take offense at a mom simply trying to feed her baby. It seems like here in the U.S. we are so quick to sexualize breasts, rather than view them as a source of food for babies (which is really their only practical purpose).

I feel fortunate to live in an area that's more accepting of public bfing than other places in this country, but we still have a loooooooooooong way to go before you'd see something happen like in the picture.

A small request (to anonymous posters)

To all of the anonymous posters out there,
Would you please sign your posts with a name (I don't care if it's your actual name or a made up one) so that if I or someone else wants to respond to you, we can address you by name rather than "to the person who said that they don't like to eat peanut butter on toast" or whatever. ;)
Thank you. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Baby Love

A friend of mine recently posted a link to this article from the Metro West Daily News on one of my message boards. I thought it was so cute and sweet and perfectly appropos for how I feel, I had to share it here. :)

Berry: Baby love is all a nursing mother needs
By Julie Berry / Local Columnist
Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"What to Expect When You're Expecting" chastely explains, "If you're breastfeeding, this may unconsciously be satisfying your need for intimacy."

Unconsciously, my eye. I don't need sex. Not lately. I get all the sensual pleasure I need from my baby.

I realize I may be bursting your illusions, gentlemen, but your charms cannot compete with 15 pounds of downy-soft cuddly gummy smiley stinky sweetness.

You can make your come-hither looks all day, and if I'm not tired, and you haven't been annoying me all day, I may come hither. Or not. But a face-squishing dimply baby smile will summon me without fail.

My baby has only two waking modes: pure angelic adoration of Mama, and ravenous, shirt-tearing lust for Mama.

Given the choice of who I want to make out with, hands down, you lose.

You're stubbly. Baby is smooth. You're tough as gristle. Baby is soft as pudding. You get food between your teeth. Baby has no teeth. You stink. Baby stinks, too, but even then, it's kind of nice. When you stink, you just stink.

And let me talk a little bit about baby stink.

Of all the soft sweet parts on a baby, the softest and sweetest is the neck, which has an odor all its own. When I start smooching chubby cheeks and snorting big tokes of baby scent, I always end up in the neck. I'm not the only thing that ends up there. Sweat, spit-up milk, lint, shampoo, and slobber all follow gravity down into those little crevices.

The resulting odor is a heady bouquet of cottage cheese, bile, dirty socks, and Johnson & Johnson's. I could eat it right up. Sometimes, in a frenzy of animal passion, I try to. (I suspect this is the true origin of the vampire myth. Women with bloodshot eyes, unkempt hair, sucking necks and saying "I vant to eat you up!" -- they were postpartum mothers.)

My husband finds this appetite of mine a little startling. "Ooh, you're so stinky, I love it, you're so yummy!" I say. He pretends perplexity. (Or is it jealousy? Alas, probably not.)

Are we not mammals? Don't you observe how your dogs and cats inhale, with deep interest and pleasure, every organic fluid they can find? From any orifice they can reach? Haven't you ever smelled a pair of your stinky socks that fascinated you because they were so stinky, and you took another whiff, just because?

We are mammals, and never more so than when we're lactating. (Duh, look at the word.) Somewhere inside us are sensors, dulled by the grinding of evolution's wheel, that know the pups in our litter, our mates, and our enemies by their scent, and can decipher the aromatic language of bodily secretions.

As a mom of four, my sniffer is highly trained. I can tell which kid is which, or when a kid is coming down with a cold. I can even smell a fib.

One thing we were probably better at sniffing out eons ago was when our mate was in heat. Thus primeval man was probably a lot less frustrated than modern man. He knew when to try. (Primeval woman got to be a good, fast runner.) When primeval woman had a new baby, primeval man hooked up with his buddies for a six-month hunting trip-roaming the wilderness, complaining about their wives, and killing wooly mammoths by whacking them in the shins with clubs.

This, you'll note, is a male tradition that has adapted to survive through the millennia. But I'll save that thought for another day.

The point is that baby love trumps grown-up love every time. Now, I realize that by putting this down in black and white, I may be skating that fine line in your minds between "this lady loves her baby" and "this lady is a sicko pervert."

I call as my witness any woman who's had a baby and snuzzled it. This probably explains why, unlike many people, I've never adopted the habit of calling my husband "babe" or "baby." It's wishful thinking. I know better.

So with Diana Ross & the Supremes, I sing, "Baby love, my baby love, I need ya, oh, how I need ya . . ." For about the first 18 months. And then it's, "Baby, baby, baby, where did our love go?"

At which point the adult males of the species begin to look a little more interesting. When comparing the charms of the grown-up man and the 18-month old one, usually the grown-up is slightly better behaved. But that may just be evolution, trying to trick me into making another baby.

I smell a rat.

Copyright 2005, Julianna Berry. Used by permission of author.
Julie Berry

Don't get me wrong, I love my husband dearly, but I have to agree with the author that a sweet baby has an allure about him/her that simply can't be rivaled.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to snorts some tokes of baby neck goodness. ;)

Happy belated Valentine's Day, everyone. :)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

And ya wonder why I'm a cynic

Recently I've been reflecting on what a cynic I've become. I feel like money is the motivating force behind so many things these days and it sickens and frightens the hell out of me. It's actually one of the reasons why I haven't been comfortable enough with vaccinations to allow my daughter to receive any as of yet. I'm skeptical that there's a need for the vaccinations for the majority of the population since research shows that the disease rates were declining on their own before any of the vaccinations were introduced. So why do I think they were introduced and why do they "require" that all children get vaccinated? Because (in my opinion) it's all about making money!

So then today I read this article (below) that helps confirm my theory that money is such a driving force. It states that Merck & Co. (a pharmaceutical company that manufactures vaccinations) were aware that infants were receiving an elevated dose of mercury in vaccinations (up to 87 times higher than guidelines for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from fish), yet the shots were distributed anyway.


"A memo from Merck & Co. shows that, nearly a decade before the first public disclosure, senior executives were concerned that infants were getting an elevated dose of mercury in vaccinations containing a widely used sterilizing agent."
The complete article is here:
1991 Memo Warned of Mercury in Shots


Is the health of our children not important? Mercury (thimerosal) is a POISON. From the California Poison Control System's Web site (the comments in parentheses are mine):
"What are sources of organic mercury?

Organic mercury compounds are found in a variety of products. They are used medically as fungicides and antibacterials. The most common organic mercury compounds in the home may well be mercurochrome (merbromin) and merthiolate (thimerosal), two common antiseptics. Fortunately, small ingestions by children rarely cause major problems. (What about when you inject large doses into their muscles??!)

Organic mercury compounds (of which thimerosal is one) are very damaging. They are toxic by ingestion, inhalation, and skin and eye contact. (Again, what about muscle injections? If I don't want to eat it, I wouldn't think it would be good to be injected into the muscle and bloodstream, but that's just me.) These mercury compounds can attack all body systems. They can cause nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, weight loss, abdominal pain, diarrhea, kidney failure, skin burns and irritation, respiratory distress, swollen gums and mouth sores, drooling, numbness and tingling in the lips, mouth, tongue, hands and feet, tremors and incoordination, vision and hearing loss, memory loss, personality changes and headache. Allergic reactions can also occur.

Methyl-mercury, usually from contaminated food, is very dangerous to pregnant women. Methyl-mercury causes profound mental retardation, cerebral palsy, seizures, spasticity, tremors, and incoordination, along with eye and hearing damage in the unborn baby as a result of the mother's exposure. Organic mercury passes into the breast milk as well."

So hell yeah I'm going to be up in arms when someone wants to inject something into my baby that contains a poison. It's true that thimerosal (mercury) has been removed from vaccinations (though it still exists in trace amounts) in the past few years, but what about before that? And if they allowed high doses of mercury in the shots for 10+ years, who's to say they didn't allow (and don't still allow) other toxins? Most people would be surprised to learn what goes into making a vaccine (I know I was floored), but I'll save that for another day.

You can call me a cynic and I'll readily admit to being one, but it's things like that article that give me more than enough justification for it.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Ahhh, Whole Foods

Why is it that every time I go to Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) that I'm overcome by the warm fuzzies? As a rule, I don't get excited about going grocery shopping - at least not the usual trip to the neighborhood Safeway store. But the prospect of going to Whole Foods always excites me.
My household income is nowhere near enough for me to do all of my shopping there (though I sure wish I could), but if I just want to pick up a few things - namely organic foods not available at my neighborhood co-op to puree for Ava - then that's the place for me. The thing is, I could wander that store for hours and my senses would never tire. It's just such an appealing place.
I don't know if this is something new they are offering, but today I noticed free sample tables located throughout the store. Had Jody not been sitting in the car with a sleeping Ava, I could've traversed the entire store tasting healthy bits of this and that. Because I was under a time crunch I only managed to try some grapes, two kinds of cheeses and a piece of bread. (Not bad for only spending 5 minutes in the store.) I'm going to have to go back there when I've got some more time to roam freely. ;)
If only the Safeways and Albertsons of the world could be as sense-awakening as Whole Foods I might not dread grocery shopping so much.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Small victories over corporate giant

You may or may not have heard that Target was selling a maternity t-shirt with the slogan "An epidural is in my near future." It was being marketed like a Chinese fortune cookie saying and came in a little Chinese food takeout box. I was appalled when I found out about it (on Feb. 9) and immediately wrote a letter to Target expressing my outrage over the irresponsibility of promoting such a shirt.
Here's a copy of my letter:

To whom it may concern:

I was appalled to discover that Target is selling maternity shirts with the message "An epidural is in my near future."

What kind of message does this send?? It perpetuates the myth that childbirth is this awful experience that should be feared and is only manageable by being drugged. It certainly doesn't empower women to learn about natural birthing options.

For a company that believes in community involvement, I think it's irresponsible to sell a shirt with a message that does not promote self- education. There are many risks involved with getting an epidural (for both the mother and the baby) and many women (if properly educated) could give birth naturally, med-free the way we were intended.

I hope that you will consider removing this shirt from your inventory and instead consider selling shirts to women with a positive, empowering message.

Thank you for your time.


Amy (last name deleted)

Today I got a response back from them...

Dear Amy (last name deleted),

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings about the epidural maternity t-shirt sold on

This t-shirt is no longer available on our Web site at This product was sold briefly on in our Red Hot Shop. All products on the Red Hot Shop are only available for a limited time or while quantities last.

We apologize for any offense or disappointment this t-shirt may have caused and will make your comments available to our Web site buyers and executives.

Thanks for shopping with us. I hope you'll visit us again soon at Target.


Target Guest Relations

A friend also received an e-mail back but her's said the shirts have been removed from the stores as well as the Target Web site. Yay!!

I was so glad to hear that they've gotten rid of the shirts and so quickly too. It's frustrating to me that the epidural rate is so high in this country (80% last I heard) and most women think nothing of having one. They don't weigh the risks or seek out alternative means to deal with the pain/discomfort. I'm certainly not saying that epidurals don't have their place or that nobody should have one, but I think one should educate one's self before taking on the risks that are involved in receiving one and not get it just because that's what "everybody" does.

Anyway, kudos to Target for listening to the women who voiced their opinion. And kudos to all of the women who took a stand on this. It might seem like small potatoes to some, but if women can unite on an issue such as this and make a difference, they can use their power to bring about change elsewhere too.