Pictured is Lisa Cauther’s son Michael. She attempted to feed him pureed raw spinach as a first solid food. Not a food she will feed her next baby. Before we continue along these lines, let me offer an introduction!
I experience Lisa as a passionate supporter of Nourishing Our Children. Besides me, she has commented on this blog more than any other community member and is often engaged on our Facebook page and Facebook group! We’ve been online acquaintances for sometime and I had the pleasure of meeting her and her family for dinner in her home in Portland last month. We attended a GMO protest march together as well, that we had captured. I will be moving to Portland this summer and am excited to have a new friend in her.
Her article moved me to tears. Lisa’s experience is the reason I founded and continue to lead our educational initiative. I forwarded it to Sally Fallon Morell who decided that she would publish it in the Weston A. Price Foundation’s Wise Traditions Journal. I am republishing the first part of her article and then asking you to keep reading on her own blog in order to support it!
What I wish I knew about nourishing babies. Guest Author Lisa Cauthers.
Before I became pregnant with my son, I tried to prep myself for the healthiest pregnancy possible. I worked out and got in shape. I followed a Candida diet for several months to get my yeast problem under control. I read pregnancy and birthing books. I weaned off of Prozac because I wanted a drug-free pregnancy. I finished school, quit my job, and only worked on things that were enjoyable to me, keeping my stress levels nice and low. Having a good pregnancy and a healthy baby were very important to me.
When I first got pregnant, I was eating probably the healthiest I had my whole life. And I don’t mean the American idea of healthy, but I was actually eating a lot of butter, whole fat plain yogurt, shrimp, greens, nuts, eggs, and modest amounts of whole grains and a reasonable amount of meat, which I always got from the health food store. I actually think this is why I got pregnant so easily–I was eating a lot of fertility foods, and I didn’t even know it.
The first several weeks of pregnancy went great. I thought I’d be one of the lucky ones who didn’t get morning sickness. But then it hit, and when it hit, it hit hard. The first thing I threw up was a spinach salad with goat cheese. Needless to say, I didn’t eat spinach or goat cheese again for a very long time. In fact, I didn’t eat hardly any vegetables for a long time. Or meat. Or eggs. Or anything else that was really good for growing a healthy baby.
I had thought it was going to be easy to eat well while pregnant because I had already been doing it. But my extreme morning sickness kept me from eating pretty much all real food. Instead, I went into survival mode. I ate pretzels and crackers because they were easier to keep down. I had no shame in eating chocolate cookies when I realized they tasted better coming back up than other foods did. Almost all my nutrition came from commercial nutritional smoothies, a highly-processed food fortified with synthetic vitamins. I hoped these smoothies would nourish my baby despite my now deplorable diet.
The day before my first appointment with the midwife, I went to the ER for dehydration because I couldn’t keep anything down that day. I was put on an anti-nausea medication that I had to take as a suppository because I couldn’t even keep a pill down (I am pretty sure I had hyperemesis gravidarum except I was able to avoid weight-loss through the drugs and the high-calorie nutritional shakes). When I went into my midwife appointment the next day, the nurse who was assisting told me to just stop taking my vitamins. I thought she was crazy, but she told me that babies are very good “parasites” and will get what they need. I don’t know why I actually listened to her because I knew the vitamins weren’t causing my nausea. But I did. Later on, someone else (probably a midwife) told me to take prenatal vitamins, so I bought some cheap ones at Walmart. The multivitamin I was originally taking was actually much higher quality, and here I was taking cheap prenatals. But it didn’t really matter, right? Because my baby was a parasite taking everything it needed from me. Right??
I wish someone had told me that the more nutrients I took in during pregnancy, the better formed my baby would be. I wish I had known that women need a very high amount of nutrition in order to give their baby the best possible health that would affect their whole life.
I wish I had known that eating plenty of protein at regular intervals throughout the day helps keep morning sickness at bay and is extremely important in avoiding preeclampsia, which I was thought to be at risk for. I wish I had known how important protein was to keeping blood volume where it needed to be and growing a baby.
I wish I had understood why I was getting heartburn so early on my pregnancy (the poor food choices and lack of healthy gut flora), and why it kept getting worse despite trying several medications (antacids only deepen the problem of acid reflux).
I wish I knew how beneficial raw milk was and had safe raw milk at my disposal. I wish I knew about pastured eggs. I wish I knew how to make my own nutritional smoothies that were made with real food.
I wish I knew that taking a magnesium supplement before and during pregnancy would have helped with liver function and reduced the chance of morning sickness. I wish I had known that a magnesium supplement would also have reduced my chances of having preeclampsia.
I wish I had known much earlier in my pregnancy that vitamin B6 helps prevent morning sickness. In fact, I wish I had known how important all the B vitamins were in pregnancy.
I wish I knew that the very foods I was consuming to help deal with morning sickness, not only perpetuated the problem, but deprived my baby of important nutrients.
I wish I had known the importance of certain fats and fat-soluble vitamins such as A, D and K2 for the development of the baby’s brain and facial structure during pregnancy. I wish I had known there was a way to prevent the need for future orthodontic treatments! (Because guess what, breastfeeding sure didn’t do the trick!)
I wish I didn’t ever read The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy which told me it was okay if I never exercised while I was pregnant. I wish I had understood just how important exercise during pregnancy really was.
I wish people didn’t tell me not to worry about my diet. I wish my doctors could have instead advised me on proper prenatal nutrition instead of waiting for my body to fall apart so they could come in and “rescue” me.