mamagotcha: (bonk!)
[personal profile] mamagotcha
I'm reading a book by Gabor Maté called When the Body Says No, and thinking a lot about how our culture tolerates and treats allergies and other immune-related diseases, and how these things can be triggered/exacerbated by stress, and how, to a child, stress means "not being picked up/carried," "not being allowed to sleep naturally," "being bullied," "being lonely," "being belittled," "not having access to breastmilk, fresh food, sunshine, dirt," "overexposure to antibacterials/antibiotics"...

Obviously, not every child raised on formula comes down with asthma, or becomes obese, or develops diabetes as an adult... and the vast number of variables mean that we will never be able to even really come up with realistic exact numbers for parents to attempt to assess the risks for those things (not to mention the lack of funding for such research, and the lobbying power of the financial interests involved against such research/education). And there are a lot of ideas about innate resiliency and genetics as well.

There are clearly things that can be done (or avoided) to bring a better chance of lifelong health. But our modern patterns of the necessity of working parents, institutionalized daycare and public schools, and the industrialized allopathic medical model of treating symptoms instead of the entire organism, are all huge roadblocks to parents advocating for their children.

I've tried pretty hard to avoid those roadblocks for my own kids, and time will tell how that plays out. But I'm dealing with the fallout of all those stresses that were put on me as a child, and those I've allowed to become part of my life right now.

As Maté is careful to point out right in the beginning of the book, there is no blame to be made and no point in wallowing in victimhood. The goal is health within the parameters of your own body as it is right now.

The ear infection that started months ago is still with me. I've been trying to find a physician to work with who is knowledgable as well as supportive of both mind/body connections and HAES principals... so far, not much luck. (Link to an online conversation with a physician I had hoped would be a good fit for me... turned out he was just another lose-weight-quick quack.)

I'm hoping Maté's book will give me some other tools to use in trying to beat back the fibro, psoriasis, gluten intolerance, depression, brain fog, and fatigue, in addition to the chronic bacterial/fungal ear infection. My biggest stresses are isolation, being so far from my established support systems, being broke, feeling useless/worthless/helpless, no access to aquatherapy (deep hot water immediately erases joint pain for me) or Nia (the only exercise I really connect with). None of these are likely to change any time soon, which is pretty stressful in itself. I've altered my diet radically, practice meditation and yoga, walk (when it's not dangerously icy out), journal daily (the "three good things" technique)... but the dark days are increasing in number lately and — as I recently told Bill — I am quickly running out of cope.

My body is saying "no" loud and clear.

I don't know how much longer I can do this.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-07 10:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Can you talk about what "not being allowed to sleep naturally" means? This is something I've been thinking a lot about, with the strict guidelines about not putting anything in the crib with the baby, etc. Little Bear sleeps very well in the arms of a moving adult, and also sleeps quite well lying flat on her back on our bed or in a portable basket with a light blanket over her lower half -- we only do this when we're awake and in the room with her. But when we but her to bed in her bassinet (the only place she can safely be while we're both asleep), she rarely sleeps soundly and then only for an hour or two. This is normal, I understand, but I can't help wondering whether there's some correlation between increased restriction of safe sleeping environments for babies and increased autoimmune issues in children. Does Maté say anything about that?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I would like to encourage you to consider cosleeping... I did so and felt it was a fantastic way to stay very responsive to my children. The baby does not have to fully wake to screaming before getting help, and mom doesn't have to fully wake to just nurse a bit or give a reassuring touch. There's lots of info over here if you have questions:

I wound up doing a "sidecar" with Linc when he was tiny, because we were in a bed that was pretty high off the ground (compared to the much lower beds/futons I had with the first three). That's a crib with one side removed, snuggled right up next to Mom & Dad's bed (we used bungee cords). It gave me extra space to stash diapers/dry blankets, toys, etc., but kept my little guy within arm's reach.

There are also a number of studies appearing that show that being awoken from sleep instead of naturally coming awake as a child and teen are having bad effects... let's see if I can find the one I was looking at this morning. Here it is: (I totally believe it. All my teens had periods where they would naturally sleep for 12-16 hours at a time for weeks on end.) Here's another discussion about sleep deprivation effects in younger children: (and there's plenty more if you poke around).

I'm only in the first third of the book, and he hasn't mentioned sleep hygiene in infants. Here's a link to something similar on his website, though:

Kiss that baby for me! I've cast on Bootie One!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 06:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Our bassinet is designed for just that sidecar arrangement -- though the bassinet mattress is a few inches lower than the bed so she can't roll out of it, which also means I have to sit up to bring her into our bed to nurse. For a few nights Kyle and I switched sides, on the theory that Little Bear wasn't sleeping soundly because she could smell my milk... but it didn't make any difference. As for a reassuring touch, that makes sense to me, but it only seems to wake her up more. We'll just keep trying putting her to bed in the bassinet every night until it takes.

I haven't had occasion to think much about sleep-deprivation in older kids [yet], but that research seems like a no-brainer to me. I know what I feel like when I don't get enough sleep night after night! It's another good reason for homeschooling. The trick would be to actually get kids to go to sleep at a reasonable bedtime... but again, I know how hard that is, especially once they're old enough for the Internet to be a distraction. I'm going to have to discipline myself before I can reasonable ask my daughter to limit her time online.

I'm going to have a really hard time enforcing the "no reading under the covers with a flashlight until all hours" rule -- how can school be more important than whatever book is keeping the kid up at night?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 07:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not at the really tricky ages yet, but my 5&3 year olds have really reasonable sleep schedules that allow them to wake up without our interference. Actually, my 1 year old is doing alright, as well. We try to keep them on a pretty consistent schedule (with a bed time, but not a 'stop reading' time). We have mentioned to our five year old on a few tired mornings that she can put her book down earlier.
I don't know how old Little Bear is (Ursula?), but so far it has seemed to work out eventually, putting down on a schedule and being as patient as possible to let the rest of the night naturally develop. We might have particularly good night sleepers, though (to make up for being non-existent nappers).
Sorry to ramble at you, and to take up K's journal. It is the the Little Bear that catches my eye.
-- Megan Ursula

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 08:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
:) Yes! We started calling her Little Bear in utero because we would have loved to name her for my late grandmother, Ursula, but unfortunately Disney has made it a not-so-great name for little girls. As it turned out, though, we still made Ursula her middle name; her first name is Rose.

She's only two weeks old, so we certainly don't expect any kind of schedule yet, or any civilized sleep habits.. but it certainly will be nice when my husband and I can sleep at the same time again.

Already we're better off than some friends of ours whose daughter would only sleep *on them* for her first sixteen months -- if they put her down she'd wake up. They finally called in professional help for a strategy and she's learning to sleep in her crib now.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 05:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had my babies in a co-sleeper when they were really young, so, right next to my bed, but not actually in my bed*.

I found that they slept better on their sides than their backs (and positioning such that they'd roll onto their back if they rolled was pretty easy). I also used a blanket with some weight over their lower halves, and i think this helped. I would tuck the blanket into the bottom of the mattress, so until the baby could really move around it couldn't be pulled up over the head. None of my kids allowed swaddling, but i think the blanket was a bit of a stand-in for that for a while.

I honestly don't know how safe these practices were. I know that there is some indication that 'back is best' is not necessarily scientifically born out (because of confounding factors and conclusions based on correlation not causation). I feel pretty secure with our blanket use after observing how it worked. But for all i know we've just been (even more than previously thought) astronomically lucky so far. I just thought i'd throw it out there in case it gives you ideas...

* Okay okay, sometimes in my bed. Especially for that last snooze before getting out of bed, even now. But preferably not in my bed for the deep sleeping, snuggled under comforter part of the night.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 06:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you for the ideas. It's a bit of a catch-22 situation, since Little Bear doesn't like having her arms and legs bound up in a swaddle, but the flailing of said limbs seems to be one thing that makes it hard for her to get to sleep on her own. Things will be better, I keep telling myself, when she figures out that those are hers to control! :)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-03-08 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am really sorry you are feeling this way. *hugs*

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