...then I found out that these candles I was burning in my home may have been contributing to my son’s poor health.
Wait. Full STOP. What was that?
Yep, these home ‘staples’ could be contributing to (or even causing) health issues. I had to know more...
When we got married, we, like most couples, discussed our plans for a family. We talked about how many kids we wanted and how many years between them. We decided we wanted 3 kids with 3-4 years between each child.
When we had been married for about 4 years, and without really trying, we got pregnant. To say we were excited and nervous would be an understatement.
I remember lying on the table for our first ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat, and thinking "this is real. This is happening!"
My pregnancy was uncomplicated. No morning sickness, my only "craving" was fried chicken salad, and the baby was healthy at every appointment, although measuring ahead of schedule. When baby day came our son was born via a scheduled C-section perfectly healthy and 9.5 lbs.
He was the best baby. Rarely cried. Slept for 4 hours at a time from the beginning. And loved to snuggle.
Given how easily we conceived our son, when we decided we were ready for another, we expected it to be just as easy.
Boy were we wrong.
Since our son's birth, we've only ever had 1 other pregnancy and it only lasted a week. We followed doctors orders, we underwent tests, and we tried and tried. We lived the roller coaster of emotions and we grieved, oh how did we grieve. But we were never able to grow our family naturally.
Why do I share all of this with you? Why bare myself and expose a very painful experience?
Because people need to know what infertility looks like. That there is such a thing as unexplained secondary infertility. And it is it's own kind of torture.
Knowing that your body has produced a baby before, but now for some reason can't, or won't.
And when you are going through that, the last thing you need is friends & family asking "when are you having another baby"? Or "it's time to give _____ a brother or sister!" It's like a knife in an open wound. You are already raw, broken, and devastated. You already feel like a failure. The last thing you need is added pressure.
So friends, can I ask a favor? Please, please STOP asking these questions unless you have allllll the inside knowledge. And if they brush you off, take that as a hint and don't ask again.
Also, don't give advice about how to get pregnant. They know how. It's not a secret. Just because you know a gal who knows a gal that got drunk and knocked up does not mean that works for everyone. And a getaway to a resort does not magically make a baby. The ideal positions are known and I guarantee you they've been scouring all the books & websites & support groups.
I do want to offer some hope, though. It's not all doom & gloom. My husband and I are proof that in time, some people find acceptance. We have grieved the loss of the family we dreamed of and we are now thankful for our small family. Our son gets 100% of our attention. He doesn't have to share us with siblings. And we can afford things that larger families cannot. Vacations, Birthday and Christmas presents, and almost all the books he wants.
So please, next time you want to ask your friend/sister/random lady at the store, when she's going to grow her family, just don't. You have no idea what she has been through.
“What is that fragrance you’re wearing?”
“This lotion smells so good! What fragrance is it?”
The oxford dictionary gives the following definition for fragrance.
a pleasant, sweet smell.
The FDA defines fragrance as:
a combination of chemicals that gives each perfume or cologne (including those used in other products) its distinct scent
However, do you really know what “fragrance is”? My guess is no. And I can guarantee you don’t know what is in fragrance. At least, not the ‘fragrance’ listed in ingredients on products. Why? Because manufacturers don’t have to tell you.
The TSCA of 1976 (The Toxic Substances Control Act) grandfathered in approx. 65-100k chemicals currently on the market today (i.e. they haven’t had any safety testing & we know little about them).
Of the chemicals tested, toxic labeling is required only if 50% or more of the animals tested with the chemical die. Under the TSCA, manufacturers are protected by trade secret laws that allow them to keep their ingredient list a secret.
Those “trade secrets” are the multitude (hundreds, if not thousands) of chemicals used to achieve a specific flavor/scent.
---If Company A had a top selling product, and Company B got the formula, Company B could produce the same product. This divides the market and reduces profit. To keep the competition from being able to duplicate their product, Company A simply sums up all the compounds that make up that smell under “fragrance” on the ingredients. ----
The real kicker is when we realize that this cover up is being used on products we use on a daily basis.
Drugs, cosmetics, foods, food additives, pesticides, and nuclear materials are exempt from TSCA. Learn More about the TSCA
This means that by the time you’re having breakfast, you have likely applied hundreds (if not thousands) of chemicals to your body. And our skin is porous, meaning it absorbs what is applied to it.
If you want to get an idea of what could be lurking under that “fragrance” label, go check out the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). They have recently produced a list that includes over 3,000 materials (chemicals) that are reported as being used in fragrance compounds. Some of these have evidence linking them to health effects including cancer, reproductive toxicity, allergies and sensitivities.
I don’t know about you but I prefer to NOT expose myself or my family to any unnecessary risks. Especially those known to cause cancer.
Side note, to date, the EU (European Union) has banned 1,300 chemicals in cosmetics; the FDA in America has banned only eleven.
Just because it is on the shelf does not mean it is safe! Become aware. Read labels.
And get “fragrance” out of your home.
I'm not what most people would call "crunchy". We don't eat granola, I buy processed food, and we don't have a chicken coop in the backyard.
In fact, I've always trusted doctors. I have been a "trust the experts" type of person since I can remember. I mean, they went to school for how many years? Surely they MUST know what they're talking about, right?
Well, I still believe they do, but I also believe there can be information they don't have. Answers they haven't found yet. That there just might be a better way.
My thought process began to change when our son began showing symptoms of environmental allergies at two and a half years old. First the pediatrician said it was too early for allergies, that those don't develop until years later. Then the same doctor, in the same appointment, prescribed antihistamines for him.
We gave the antihistamines, as directed, and they helped some. But the change of season always brought on worsening symptoms.
Fast forward five years. He was still symptomatic, even on the meds, now year round. We then went to a specialist who did blood & skin tests to isolate the cause. Both came back negative and we were told the test may not be accurate until late teens early twenties.
Buuut here are three antihistamines for him to take. Come see us when he gets sick (which was at least twice a year) and we'll give him antibiotics and breathing treatments.
This cycle went on for three years. Seasons change, symptoms flare up despite all the meds, we make a trip to the specialist, get antibiotics, miss a couple days of school. Rinse and repeat.
The final straw was when the specialist looked at me during one of our sick visits and said "There isn't anything else we can do for him. Hopefully he will outgrow this".
Instead of simply accepting this news, I went on a search. Looking for something, anything, that would help and give my boy relief.
(Sidenote, my husband suffers the exact same symptoms at the exact same time and has for years. His tests came back positive for just about everything that grows in our state. So deductive reasoning concludes that our son is reacting to the same things his dad does. This information leads to the realization that he will never outgrow this and the cycle will continue the rest of his life. Or until he moves. This mama's heart was not okay with that! I was not okay with him being sick all the time and I was not okay with the long term effects of all those meds on his body.)
Today, both of them are off all meds and no longer see the specialist. There are still a few, very minor, symptoms when the seasons change, but those are easily managed without medication and we haven't had a sick visit in over two years.
We found a better way. We broke the cycle and now focus on prevention instead of treatment. We still respect doctors, and seek them when necessary, certain conditions and situations require them. I believe they are a piece of the puzzle, but they are not always the only answer.