Posts in Category: On Mama’s Mind

Mamatography 2014 – Week 3:A Funeral, A View

The dreaded week has come and gone. These are truly sad and sore times.

9. To See You Again. We went to the undertakers to view my moms body. My dad wanted to be sure it was her in the coffin. I wanted to have a chance to cry without a room full of people. We opted against embalming and two weeks had already passed, so we weren’t sure what to expect. She looked so thin, but healthy. Her hair was soft and brushed. She looked lovely. In life she often abstained and followed certain habits because she wanted to be a beautiful corpse. She sure got her wish.
10. Funeral day. Informal, no priest or stranger leading the ceremony, just me. Leading the family in words, in song, in placing lilies on the coffin. A lot of tears. And after, lunch with every person she knew in the country there.
11. Driving day, all the way to Wales at the foothills of Snowdonia. And a big thank you to everyone who has supported me over the last few weeks.
12. Bittersweet. Knowing she was meant to be on this holiday with us, was bittersweet. Knowing how much she would have loved the mountains, equally so.
13. Bed Hogs. A king size bed, and there’s still no room for me. Sigh.
14. Garden Decor. Some weird garden decor in the town of Machynlleth. Certainly a talking point!
15. Mountains, Gandalf! Mountains! I could take a picture of this mountain every single morning and it would never look the same two days in a row. If I lived there, I’d totally do that. With a timer to go off every day at the same time. It was an exquisite view.

photo 2Mamatography Week 3

mtbadge2
 This post is part of the Mamatography 2014 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day, a collage or a picture each week to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

Click Get the code here below to add the blog hop to your blog and join the fun. (Also sign up to be added to a comment group!)

Finding Your Place In The 'Circle Of Trauma' For Optimal Support Of Those Facing Illness And Death

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking over the last few weeks, specifically about what we went through with my mother’s sudden aggressive tumours and resulting death. While the dying and the weeks after were one thing, the weeks of palliative care leading up to it were another completely. A living death. A living limbo.

circle of trauma - who and how to support in times of griefWe – I – made the decision to keep my mother at home and out of a hospice as long as possible, so that during her ever more fleeting lucid moments she could have her children and family around her. With this decision came the responsibility of caring for her. While we had amazing NHS nurses come in daily to administer a cocktail of medications for the pain, we bore the brunt of the responsibility for making sure she had food when she could, something to drink when she could – or just wetting her lips – and then holding her hair, pressing her back, and cleaning out the sick buckets after every.single.sip she took was brought up again.

When we weren’t massaging her back (where the tumour was causing organs to become displaced), or holding her hair, or towards the end holding her up, we were sitting with her, making sure she didn’t choke on her vomit, stop breathing, or have any other needs that would not be met if we left her side. It was constant, and whoever was ‘on duty’ was constantly on the go.

During this time I remembered reading once, in an article I can’t even begin to think where to find, about the ‘circles of trauma’.

Circles of Trauma


circle of traumaThe idea of circles of trauma is simple (and I could be totally butchering the original idea here, but this is how I remember and essentially then adapted and applied it in our situation – where I must add that because our family is scattered over three continents, our circle differs slightly to most. Also, my maternal grandmother would have been in the circle with my dad, but she is on another continent, so while supporting her is as important, I have focused support on those in the room, so to speak):

  • There is a person at the centre of the trauma. In this case, my mom.
  • The next person, the person closest to the person at the centre is my dad. My dad’s biggest role, the one he fulfilled amazingly well, was being there to support my mom. You can add parents to this circle too.
  • Next closest person – people, in this case – were my sister, my brother and my self. I suspect normally you could add the brothers and sisters of the person at the centre in this circle.
  • And so the circles get bigger and bigger and bigger. My husband and the girls, then distant family, then friends and so it goes.

The Value of the Circle of Trauma

The way the circle should work to work well is that you ‘support in, offload out’. So, by identifying your place in the circle, you can figure out who you can rely on versus who you need to support. In my case, my dad and my mom needed my support (and to an extent my brother and sister – I put them towards the inner edges of our private circle, since I’m the oldest). If I needed to cry, vent, be angry or moan about anything, I did it outwards.  Talking to my dad about my grief, when his was going to be so much greater, seemed almost selfish. Speaking to my husband or friends didn’t feel like I was burdening them. Support inwards, offload outwards.

It’s so easy in our grief to place ourselves in the centre of the trauma – and in each individual case, we are the centre of our trauma and for that we need our own circles of support within a greater circle, but the fact remains that the true centre of the trauma is the person the bad thing is happening to. We can be the centre of our own trauma heart ache in our own time.Circle of Trauma

I’m sure we’ve all seen it happen. Person A has an incident. Person B is there for support. Person W somehow makes it all about them. Well, Person W doesn’t know their place in the circle of trauma, and is really just causing more stress and grief for Persons B, C and D.

It’s  a funny thing. I don’t remember where I read about the circles but it came to me, clear as day, while sitting talking to my dad one day. I needed to be the support for him, and find my support elsewhere in the circle.

While as a family we all support each other, some friends are closer than family. They moved into the inner circles. Colleagues might be devastated, but they are not as devastated as family, they move outwards.  You can’t be all things to all people. I found so much value and focus in finding my ‘place’ so I knew who needed me, and who I could prioritise further down the list.

The circles also give you a hint on who to look after. If the person closest to the centre is being the support system for everyone else, it’s safe to assume they are not meeting their own needs (in most cases) and will need additional support when the reality hits them.

As a wife and a mother, the circle can only be exclusive for a short time, then I needed to open up to and include and prioritise my own family again, but in the grief, in the trauma, and in the days that followed, I am so grateful for this idea of the circles that really helped me narrow down my centres of attention while dealing with terminal illness, palliative care, and death.

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

… And suffice it to say, it had not gone quite to plan. 20131225-014425.jpg

20 years worth of photographs. Baby clothes. Baby equipment. My childhood memorabilia. Ruined. Of course we are grateful our house wasn’t flooded, like our neighbour’s, and by lunchtime another was still scooping water out of her car. We are grateful for the losses we haven’t incurred but that doesn’t negate the sadness over what we have. Wading through freezing water trying to salvage what we could while still tending to my mother was a new kind of challenge. I’m glad today never has to be lived again.

After visiting the local food bank to donate some food – a new annual tradition for me and the girls- we spent a couple of hours chasing down enough morphine to keep my mom going through Christmas – or local supplier is out of stock,and few pharmacies carry large supplies, it seems.

I was determined to salvage some Christmas Spirit. Don’t think me strong or brave though. If it wasn’t for the children I’d have holed myself up in the room with a large supply of mulled wine and brandy, like an old man with a brown bag problem!

Instead we went to a Christingle service. We made a gingerbread house from scratch. We wrapped the last of the presents. The girls opened their stockings. We laid out food for reindeer. I prepared a meal for tomorrow. And I shared the mulled wine.

20131225-014439.jpg

20131225-014451.jpg

20131225-014539.jpg
Tomorrow will be Christmas. Apart from my mom and I not a creature is stirring. Santa has come and gone. We are waiting for nurses to arrive to increase her morphine as she is in to much pain to sleep. It’s 3.30am on the longest Christmas eve of my life.

A Thank You Note To The Mama Who "Makes Me Feel Bad"

Dear Mommy, Mummy, Mama

Yes, you, Pinterest mom with your amazing photos, your tidy house and your fabulous ideas. You who sees a craft in every story, a game in every chore and an opportunity for gratitude in every unpaid bill. You who goes to the gym, does dancercize and fits into your pre-babies jeans. You, who cooks from scratch, eats clean, and has a raw repertoire. Whose children eat cauliflower pizza base and beetroot coloured icing, and yes, you who works to support your family and still finds the time to remember your girlfriends’ fifth child’s third birthday. All of you, this is a note to say thank you!

Thank you for your wonderful ideas. Thank you for the inspiration you send my way. Thank you for being the foundation I can build ideas for my home and my family on. Thank you for turning this non-crafty mama into a story time machine. Thank you for sharing your inspirations and showing me what you are capable of and therefore what I may be capable of too!

Thank you for the smiles as your naughty elf  gets up to mischief or as your kindness elf opens up a channel for conversation. Thank you for the silly pictures of your super cute offspring doing daft things that remind me that my 4 year old needs a giggle after doing her writing ‘work’ and that my one year old isn’t likely to destroy my pots and pans if she uses them for stacking cups.

Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your struggles, your joys, your every day and your once in a blue moon. Thank you for making me feel bad challenging me to be less lazy, to pick a few things up and to try a new activity. To switch off the TV and hand over the glitter pots.

Thank you for making me feel bad by doing such amazing activities highlighting those areas that I need to be more proactive and making me feel bad for not creating certain rituals for opening my eyes to things I never even knew existed. Thank you for making me feel bad by working out five days a week helping me prioritise what’s important to me.

Thank you for helping me realise that you doing what you do to the very best of your abilities isn’t an indictment on me. It’s just you celebrating your strengths as I compare, identify and then celebrate mine! And also for showing me that you can’t make me feel anything, and I own my feelings and should take responsibility for them rather than blaming you for being great.

I hope to never steal your achievements from you by calling what you do for your self and your family “showing off”, or a competition. No, dear mama, I celebrate your victories, and hope you celebrate mine because heaven knows we have enough failures without having to break each other down.

You are perfect in your way, in your latest post, that Facebook update, the photo you tweeted, you have showcased the best of you. Thank you for sharing it with me and thank you for providing the inspiration and motivation to showcase the best of me too.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Hyperemesis Gravidarum – The Aftermath

When you’ve survived Hyperemesis Gravidarum, you hold your baby and thank God that you made it, and that your baby made it, and that you’re both  alive. You survived. Then you kind of forget about it, or try to, at least, while you get on with feeding your baby, changing her and learning to be a mother. You kind of assume that Hyperemesis Gravidarum is gone, and you hope that that’s the end of it.

I did, both times.

And for Ameli it was. She’s suffered no ill fate from this ghastly condition. I assumed the same would be true for her sister, born two and a half years later. But things were different. During my pregnancy with her I was already running on depleted supplies, and the sickness was worse, and when I started throwing up blood at 10 weeks, I went on medication because by 12 I couldn’t get out of bed without fainting. That’s not an ideal way to look after an almost two year old.

The medication I was on – Ondansetron, also known as Zofran – wasn’t specifically tested in pregnancy and my doctor wasn’t happy about giving it to me, but I showed him information about it being used for Hyperemesis Gravidarum in the US, and he agreed. He prescribed three tablets a day, but I took one in the morning so that I could eat something at least, which would carry me through the day. Anecdotal evidence mentioned incidence of deformities and I didn’t want to take any chances.

Aviya was born at home in water at 42+5, a perfect baby girl.

At 10 months and 8 days she rolled off a bed, but seemed okay. She was a bit cranky for a few days and cried whenever we tried to pick her up, but on investigation she seemed totally fine. (My mother is a remote areas nurse practitioner, and my brother is a medical student, so they should know.)  At 10 months and 10 days she took her first step on Christmas day, but even so… something wan’t right.

I finally took her to Perth’s Children’s Hospital where they said that she had broken something – her clavicle or scapula, I can never remember. We treated it, and went about our business. After all, we were in Perth for my mother, who was dying of cancer.  I never thought much of it again, only fearing for Aviya’s health whenever my mother commented on a blue ring around her mouth, saying that I had to get her heart checked out when I got back to England.

Months passed, we found ourselves back in England, trying to find a normal life again. Ameli started back at  nursery, Aviya was running around, engaging in the world, doing the things that one year’s olds do. Her first tooth appeared, and then her second tooth appeared and as happens with these things, so did her third and fourth. Our girl was doing great.  Until one day I had a piercing pain in my nipple as she tried to nurse!

Her tooth had chipped! No, not chipped broken! It looked like a vampire fang! I felt awful! How could I not have noticed a fall that did that to her tooth! We went to the dentist and had it filed down, a traumatic experience for her, for sure.  Not a week later, guess what? Her second tooth did the same. Broken! I was glad her arm had broken in Australia and not England. At least there’s no medical record of it here. I mean, a broken bone and two broken teeth? I know what I’d be thinking.

Well, we took her to the dentist again, and again with the third tooth and again for the fourth. And again, and again. It was only when we discovered two abscesses in her mouth that the dental staff started to take it very seriously. They were going to put her on a waiting list for our area’s special care unit, but an hour later I got a call to say they were going to  transfer her to a hospital in London to be seen sooner.

Then the guilt sets in. The dentist said I should stop breastfeeding because that’s what’s causing the tooth decay (but not for the other teeth in her mouth?) Clearly, I’ll not be taking the advice to wean.

We brush her teeth, but probably not long enough.

Maybe I feed her the wrong things.

But no.

A bit of reading, and it turn out that – anecdotally of course – HG babies often have weaker enamel on their first four teeth due to malnutrition in the mother (or something like that).  She loses these teeth now, but her adult teeth should be fine. With removing them, however, there may be problems with her teeth descending as the ‘tunnel’ for them isn’t there. So she won’t lose her front teeth either. There’ll be nothing for the memory box.

But there’s maybe more.

While reading about all this, I found something else, slightly more alarming: again anecdotally, of course, but there are a number of babies who had  Ondansetron/Zofran who also developed heart problems – thinking about my mother’s comments about the blue ring.

Well. Nothing’s proven. But it’s a worry.

So my little girl has her first ever course of antibiotics for the abscesses. 

And we wait.

We wait for the GP appointment for the referral for the scan or whatever they do for her heart. Then we wait for the referral for her dental surgery. Then we wait and see what else life throws our way.

And whatever else Hyperemesis Gravidarum takes.

Did you have Hyperemesis Gravidarum? How has it affected your child or your life since having a child?

Mamatography Week 42: Food, Home And Muddy Puddles

Could it be another week all about food and home life? Oh, and muddy puddles too.

Day 292 – Cooking Class

I feel bad sometimes, because Ameli had so many classes and activities that we did together from when she was four weeks old. Is it because of all the rhyme time stuff we used to do left leg over right leg, crossing the midline and so on that Ameli was crawling by four months? Is that why she was walking at 8 and Aviya only at 10?  Was it the sing alongs and rhyme time that made Ameli speak in full sentences by 18 months, but Aviya only has some words?  I don’t know, but whatever it was, I had fun at this impromptu drop in cookery session, and Avi seemed to love it too.

Day 293 – Dinner

My hubby made us one of my favourite styles of dinner – a build your own sandwich with a variety of different fillings, toppings and options.  Isn’t he sweet!

Day 294 – Mushroom Foraging

A local friend of ours is a bit of a mushroom foraging fundi. We went together one day and she showed us some of the local varieties we can eat. Truth be told I’m not at all confident enough to go on my own, but I’d love to, for sure.

Day 295 – Bliss Balls For Beginners

Remember last week I told you about my new book?  Well, I finally finished it! I’m rubbish with self-promotion though, so feel free to share it for me. I’d be most grateful!

Day 296 – When It Rains, Jump In Puddles

We had such plans for today, but sickness, the weather, who knows what else meant and our plans didn’t go to plan. Instead we hid out at Mamaventurer Yasmin’s house, and then went to a local stretch of forest for a walk. The kids found a few puddles and that took care of a good hour at least!

Day 297 – Cupcakes

How come in the books things look so perfect, huh?  But when it comes down to it, with two children trying to lick the bowl and simultaneously needing the toilet or wanting to read a story, the picture on the right is a much closer version of my reality.

mtbadge2
 
 This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

The Danger And Ineffectiveness Of Antibacterial Laundry Detergents And A List of Eco-Friendly Non-Toxic Alternatives

There’s an advert on television in the UK at the moment for a laundry sanitiser that actually makes me angry every time I see it.

Did you know that germs lurk on your clothes? Your CLOTHES my friend! Like, RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR BODY! Or worse, RIGHT NEXT TO THE BODY OF THE CHILD YOU SAY YOU LOVE!!!! Oh me oh my. Please, use this chemically created product with a long list of ingredients that are unpronounceable and probably have effects on the environment and quite possibly on the skin too*. After all, you do love your family and want the best for them, don’t you?

*Read on.

Apologies for the sarcasm. It’s how I deal with things that make me angry enough to shout at no one in particular.

So if you’re a real believer in business, you’re thinking ‘they wouldn’t sell it if it was bad for you’. Yip. You’re right. Just like nicotine and saturated fats. Oh wait.

So here’s the thing: This particular brand of unnamed Laundry Sanitiser (I’m just a mama. I don’t need no trouble. You can find out who they are on your own.) lists as its ingredients:

5% Non-Ionic Surfactants, Disinfectant, Parfum,Contains Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol and Hexyl Cinnamal ,Per 100g Liquid contains 2.40 g Dialkyl (C8-10) Dimethylammonium Chloride / Benzyl-C 12-18-Alkyldimethyl Chloride

I’m no scientist or chemist, so let’s break it down with a little help from our friend Doctor Google.

5% Non-Ionic Surfactants: To my untrained eye, at least, they don’t specify which chemical group of non-ionic surfactants are used, so here’s a general summary of the environmental effects of non-ionic surfactants from the European Textile Service Association Eco Forum Website: 

Formerly this group was widely used for cleaning and laundering. Now it has been replaced to a great extent due to the negative environmental effects.

During the biological degradation, alkyl phenol ethoxylates bare transformed to alkyl phenols, e.g. nonyl phenol ethoxylate (NPEO) degrades to nonyl phenol (NP), which is known to be toxic and have hormone like effects.

P.S. “The impacts of nonylphenol in the environment include feminization of aquatic organisms, decrease in male fertility and the survival of juveniles at concentrations as low as 8.2 microg/l. Due to the harmful effects of the degradation products of nonylphenol ethoxylates in the environment, the use and production of such compounds have been banned in EU countries and strictly monitored in many other countries such as Canada and Japan”.[1. Nonylphenol in the environment: a critical review on occurrence, fate, toxicity and treatment in wastewaters Environ Int. 2008 Oct;34(7):1033-49. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2008.01.004. Epub 2008 Feb 20.]

Great stuff.

Disinfectant: not sure what they’re using here. The fact that they don’t tell us what it is worries me. The main one used in the US has been Triclosan for many years, but many studies are showing areas of concern.

Parfum: This is a tricky one. There doesn’t seem to be a specific description of what this is. Parfum is, apparently, industry code for as many as 3,000 chemicals used to make products smell “nice”.[2. David Suzuki Foundation A very interesting blog post on the topic]

Butylphenyl Methylpropional:

The safety of Butylphenyl Methylpropional has been evaluated by the Research Institute for Fragrance Materials Expert Panel (REXPAN). Based on this evaluation, an International Fragrance Association (IFRA) Standard has been established. The IFRA Standard restricts the use of Butylphenyl Methylpropional in fragrances because of potential sensitization.[3. http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/butylphenyl-methylpropional  Cosmetics Info – The Science And Safety Behind Your Favourite Products]

What does sensitization mean?

Sensitization to chemicals can be defined as changes in the organism, usually the immunochemical system, by exposure to a chemical such that further chemical exposure leads to recognition by the organism. Such recognition will lead to a response that is marked by a greater reaction at lower doses than what would be observed in non-sensitized individuals. This is usually called hypersensitivity (Turner-Warwick, 1978).

Inhulation of the antigen/allergen in an individual previously sensitized leads to an allergic reaction, such as rhinitis or conjunctivitis. If the skin is sensitized, as in allergic contact dermatitis, then contact will cause an oedematous response and/or a rash. Pulmonary (airway) sensitization manifests itself through bronchial constriction or obstruction (Davies and Blainey, 1983; Hetzel and Clark, 1983; Ramsdale et al., 1985). Some chemicals can produce different types of “allergy’. There are various known and hypothesized mechanism for sensitization. There are also host susceptibility factors, including genetic predisposition, which will play a role in sensitization and in disease manifestation (Turner-Warwick, 1978; Gregg, 1983).[4. Key Concepts: Chemical Sensitization Michael D. Lebowitz]

Citronellol: naturally occuring scent ingredient derived from plants such as rose, used to mask other scents. Not considered to be toxic, bioaccumulative or toxic or harmful. Often used in beauty products. Interestingly, it still has a score of 5/10 on the EWG hazard chart.[5.  <a href=”http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/701389/CITRONELLOL/“>Citronellol</a> – Environmental Working Group]

Hexyl Cinnamal: naturally occurring and synthetic ingredient, it is associated with allergic reactions. While not believed to be toxic, bioaccululative or harmful, it is a possible human immune system toxicant or allergen and is banned or restricted in the EU.[6. <a href=”http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/702841/HEXYL_CINNAMAL/“>Hexyl Cinnamal</a> – Environmental Working Group]

2.40 g Dialkyl (C8-10) Dimethylammonium Chloride:

Didecyldimethylammonium chloride is an antiseptic/disinfectant, which is used in many biocidal applications. They cause disruption of intermolecular interactions and dissociation of lipid bilayers. They are Broad spectrum Bactericidal and Fungicidal. They can be used as Disinfectant Cleaner for Linen recommended for use in hospitals, hotels and industries . It is also used in Gynaecology, Surgery, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics, OT, for the sterilization of surgical instruments, endoscopes and surface disinfection. [7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didecyldimethylammonium_chloride>Dimethylommonium Chloride – Wikipedia]


Benzyl-C 12-18-Alkyldimethyl Chloride:

ADBAC is highly toxic to fish , very highly toxic to aquatic invertebrates , moderately toxic to birds and slightly toxic to mammals. Concentrated solutions (10% or more) are toxic to humans, causing corrosivity/irritation to the skin and mucosa under prolonged contact times, and death if taken internally in sufficient volumes

Several studies claim to have identified allergic reactions to benzalkonium chloride, although a clear distinction has not been drawn between irritation and a genuine allergic response involving immune system. Studies have been based on individuals rather than statistically significant groups. It is still widely used in eyewashesnasal sprays, hand and face washes, mouthwashesspermicidal creams, and in various other cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants.[8. <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benzalkonium_chloride“> Benzalkonium_chloride </a> Wikipedia lists a host of reference articles related to the above. ]

Unless we’re talking about a child with a terrible immune related disease, where there may be justification for over-sanitising, you do not need to fill the waterways and environment with toxins. And even if you do, do some research before hand to be sure that the ingredients in this product aren’t going to make matters worse.

But let’s say none of the ingredients in this product put you off, because, let’s say that they’re all in ‘suspected safe’ quantities and concentrations. Let’s say you really like the idea of a product that can help kill germs and protect against flu or feaces on your child’s clothing.

HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT REALLY?

One study concluded that washing at 60°C (140°F) for 10 minutes is sufficient to decontaminate hospital uniforms and reduce the bacterial load and that items left in the pockets are decontaminated to the same extent and that uniforms become recontaminated with low numbers of principally gram-negative bacteria after laundry but that these are effectively removed by ironing. (MRSA is only removed with added antibacterial liquid though).[9. Effectiveness of Low-Temperature Domestic Laundry on the Decontamination of Healthcare Workers’ Uniforms, N. Lakdawala, MSc; J. Pham, MRes; M. Shah, MSc; J. Holton, PhD, FRCPath Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, Vol. 32, No. 11 (November 2011), pp. 1103-1108]

Another study came out with some really interesting information, I’m paraphrasing, but you can read it all for yourself [10. Beyond Semmelweis: Moving Infection Control into the Community J. Todd Weber, MD; and James M. Hughes, MD]

Two groups of families with at least 1 pre-school aged child were given identical cleaning materials, one with antibacterial properties, and one without. They were followed for 48 weeks and checked for a variety of conditions. No significant differences between the 2 groups were found in reports of symptoms, which included rhinorrhea (26.8%), cough (23.2%), fever (11%), sore throat (10.2%), vomiting (2.6%), and diarrhea (2.5%). Fewer than 1% of the households reported any skin symptoms. Within most subgroups, such as young children, children attending day care, and persons working outside the home, no differences were found between the 2 groups. Interestingly, persons with chronic disease or poor health in the antibacterial product group were more likely to have fever, rhinorrhea, and cough. 

I’m sorry… can I just repeat that last sentence again?

Persons with chronic disease or poor health given antibacterial cleaners were more likely to have fever, rhinorrhea and cough.

Maybe their lowered immunity wasn’t able to protect them against all the chemicals and toxins in the products?

Still not convinced?

Here’s an excerpt from the CDC Website – That’s the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

“An essential part of preventing the spread of infection in the community and at home is proper hygiene. This includes hand-washing and cleaning shared items and surfaces. Antibacterial-containing products have not been proven to prevent the spread of infection better than products that do not contain antibacterial chemicals. Although a link between antibacterial chemicals used in personal cleaning products and bacterial resistance has been shown in vitro studies (in a controlled environment), no human health consequence has been demonstrated. More studies examining resistance issues related to these products are needed.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee voted unanimously on October 20, 2005 that there was a lack of evidence supporting the benefit of consumer products including handwashes, bodywashes, etc., containing antibacterial additives over similar products not containing antibacterial additives.”

Which leads nicely to another concern that has been raised with excessive use of antibacterial cleaners: the creation of superbugs.

The UK Cleaning Products Industry Association unsurprisingly says no, antibacterial products aren’t to blame – antibiotics are.

“No.  Although this possibility is often discussed, the scientific evidence does not suggest this is actually happening, despite many decades of use, nor that’s it’s likely to happen.”[11. Do anti-bacterial and disinfectant products promote the spread of superbugs?  ukcpi.org]

A variety of different studies have been done on the link between antibacterial cleaners and the creation of super bugs, most of them by Dr. Stuart Levy, a microbiologist at Tufts University, but in reality it is inconclusive. What we do know for sure though, is that antibacterial cleaners clean the good bacteria along with the bad, causing weakness in the immune system.  More research is required to find out for sure – but you can imagine no one’s rushing to fund that research.

Another thing we know for sure is that these products are showing up in waterways, in food and in the umbilical cords of newborn babies, absorbed through the mother.  And then we wonder why asthma and allergies among other things are on the rise?

So to sum up:

1) Antibacterial products have not been shown to have any positive effect on consumer health

2) Antibacterial products contain a host of chemicals, many of which have detrimental side effects to health, and more specifically, can cause extra illness in people with an already low immune system.

3) The antibacterial products you wash down the drain end up in the waterways, in our food, and in our environment, killing good bacteria along with the bad, and potentially causing a rise in bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Those you rub on your skin pass through into your unborn baby – you know, the one you’re staying away from cheese, coffee and sushi for.

SO, WHAT CAN WE DO?

Considering that there’s no difference in the health benefit of using antibacterial products over just washing with water and non-antibacterial soap, you may as well use something that’s not detrimental to you or the environment – like tea tree oil. EEK! You say. THAT HIPPY STUFF DOESN’T WORK?!

Well, actually:

“Tea tree oil in a topical formulation might eliminate organisms from carriage sites such as the hairline, axilla, nares, groin and perineum, and incorporation of tea tree oil in hand-washing formulations may reduce the transmission of many multi-resistant organisms associated with nosocomial infections.”[12.<http://jac.oxfordjournals.org/content/45/5/639.full> Time–kill studies of tea tree oils on clinical isolates</a> ukcpi.org ]

You can find similar information for Lavender too.

If you’d like to swap to more natural, chemical free cleaners, see these posts below for wonderful products you can use at home:

Of course, many of these recipes still include chemicals, but these are no where near as toxic to us, our children or our environment as the anti-bacterial options we’re being led to believe we really need, for the sole purpose of someone else’s financial gain.

——————————————————————————————————-

Letter To A Four Year Old ~ All The Things I Didn't Know

Right now, four years ago, I was in the throes of labour. I had been since 4am the day before, but had managed a little sleep, and was ready to do this. I thought at the time, that I was having a baby, and then life would go back to normal. I was so happy, but I really didn’t know what it meant.

The moment our eyes locked, I fell in love with you. I changed forever. That may sound clichéd, but it’s true. Not much about my life, those two seconds apart, has ever really been the same since.

I knew the practicalities: babies grow into toddlers, who grow into children, but I had no real idea of how mothers grew from mothers of babies, to mothers of toddler to mothers of children. I didn’t see that coming.

I didn’t know that those first weeks and months would be all consuming. I didn’t know that I would learn a mountain of new skills, and master them too. I didn’t have the faintest inkling that I would become passionate about birth, or breastfeeding, or baby wearing, or any of the things you led me to, by refusing a pushchair, and flaring up when we used normal baby bath products, or having a bad reaction to Calpol.

I had seen babies smile before, but what I had not seen was how their mothers melted on the inside. I had not known how the curling of lips could wipe away days and nights of tiredness, and the complete upside down-ness of those early months. If someone had told me, I would not have believed it, and if I had believed it, I would not have grasped it. How could I conceive of something I’d never even imagined?

Under the Sea Birthday Party (3)

You were always in a hurry. Always trying to get to the next thing. At four months, you were crawling around with the seven and eight month olds in our baby group. At 8 months you were running rings around them. You were always in a hurry. You were speaking in full sentences by 20 months. Always on the go, always chattering, always showing me the world through eyes I never anticipated would captivate me. I see the same world you see, but you show me colours, and stories, and imaginations I would never have seen.

You have taught me the limits of my patience. You have shown me how I can go on, even when I thought I had nothing left in me. You’ve shown me that I do know how to play, that I can actually draw, and that anything can be fixed with a kiss and a cuddle.

You’ve taken me to the limits of the worst of me, then stretched out your arms to bring me back to a place of love. Our place, as mother and daughter. You’ve shown me the best of me. The things I now treasure most about me.

If four years ago you’d told me that all of these things were going to happen, that I was going to change fundamentally and wholly, and that my life was going to become wrapped up in you, I would not have believed it. I would have denied it. Oh, how I laugh at my own foolishness now.

I thought I knew what it was going to be. I had drawn the boundaries, made the plans, laid down the laws.

Then you came.

And you changed everything.

And I will never be able to thank you enough.

I love you baby girl, to the end of all things.

For all time.

Happy fourth birthday.

Mama.

 

Week 37: Getting Autumnal

Day 254 – Winter Cometh

The weather has very quickly turned Autumnal, and after yesterday’s swimming in Eastrop Park in the near-rain, the girls needed an at home day cuddled under blankets. How many days till summer?

Day 255 – Stickygram

I’ve just discovered Stickygram. It’s awesome! Instagram images turned into magnets. They’re gorgeous!

Day 256 – Roald Dahl Day

It’s Roald Dahl Day on the 13th of September, so we made BFG ears, watched the movie and started reading the book. In fact we did loads of Roald Dahl Day activities.

Day 257 – Sisters

These are the moments that fill my heart with so much love and joy. For these moments, I could keep having children over and over and over again.

Day 258 – Blessingway

A beautiful friend had an early Blessingway since they are moving house when she’s 30-something weeks pregnant. Here we are with our red thread, getting her belly painted.

259 – Play Space

It’s crazy, we’ve lived where we do for over two years, and just recently I found this corner, hidden away. A perfect playspace for running around. Love it.

Day 260 – Blackberries

Picking blackberries is just such a lovely way to spend a day. I picked so many with the girls and our friends, I came home and made blackberry pies, raw blackberry crumble, and the best blackberry jam I’ve ever tasted, if I may say so myself. They were fabulous.

mtbadge2This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!





 

Mamatography Week 33: Fun, Home And Away

Continuing on with the catching up of August’s Mamatography, herewith week 33, a week full of fun, home and away.

Day 226 – The Lorax

Dr.Seuss week goes on, and today it’s the Lorax. I’m going to have to buy the books, because Ameli is loving it so much!

Day 227 – Winkworth Arboretum

About half an hour’s drive from us is Winkworth Arboretum, a National Trust property. I took the girls for a day’s walkabout and play. It was quite the workout for us all!

Day 338 – Full House

I love having a house full of children. It makes me want to have more. Oh, if they could find a cure for Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Or if I could forget what pregnancy was like.

Day 229 – Holiday

Well, not quite a holiday, but a night in the Premier Inn. I love seeing my girls rough and tumble with their daddy.

Day 230 – Lollibop 

Lollibop festival, for better or worse, was a fun day out!

Day 231 – Woodland Camping

I took the girls camping for a few days, just us and the woods – and our friends. It was bliss. It was perfect. It was Eco Camp UK.

Day 232 –  Bodian Castle, East Sussex 

Day two of camping, we went to Bodian Castle and had a wonderful day out. It’s such a lovely castle and the children loved it!

 Thanks for joining us for our week in pictures!

mtbadge2This post is part of the Mamatography 2013 Project with Diary of a First Child and Momma Jorje.

We are taking (at least) a photo a day to keep a record of our year. Join us at any point during the year and start sharing your own daily photos!

 

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On Pinterest