Since I have just completed the reading of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth , I was prepared to compose a book review about it. I reconsidered this idea because I assume I have a broad readership and the topic would be of interest to only a select few – particularly those with childbirth on their minds. Instead, I would like to share my personal ponderings on a series of topical threads that have recently interwoven themselves together into a single theme: a return to what has been forgotten.
Not only have I been immersed in reading up on childbirth, I have also been reviewing the proper usage and properties of essential oils and learning about alternatives to vaccinations. All of these topics have elements of controversy in them because they go against modern norms, yet the more I dive into them the more I am struck by the historicity of these topics as well. It makes me wonder if we have truly gained more than we have lost by letting go of what helped our forefathers survive and flourish in exchange for faster, cheaper, and less involved methods of healthcare.
Childbirth was once the natural beginning of the life cycle; a process that centered around the mother and her body as it completed the final step on the journey to new life. Allowing the mother to fulfill the labor and delivery process in the ways she was most comfortable provided an opportunity for her to experience and reveal the greatness of her innate strength – something of which women are so often deprived as they are indoctrinated with the assumption that childbirth is a medical issue that must be treated in a formulaic way, not a gateway to new life that is gradual and transformational; that pain should be avoided at all costs rather than embraced in order to embolden us to accept discomfort with dignity and determination.
Essential oils have inspired me to explore natural remedies for household ailments and household care. The more I study, research and learn the more I discover that the use of essential oils is an ancient art and practice that met with great results. A blend of essential oils was even used to heal patients struck with the bubonic plague! Essential oils were used by soldiers in WWI to treat gangrene and other diseases common on the battlefield. Recognizing the beauty of wholistic methods of healthcare leads one on a path to pursue even more possibilities for living a flourishing life. Much of what is our norm today contains fillers, additives and preservatives, whether it is our medications, our vaccinations, or our food. As a society, we have been conditioned to accept these things because we are told that they are safe, necessary and cost-effective. To question is to go against the status quo and who really wants to be different?
And yet the alternative to the status quo is a return to the foundational benefits of a simple life. Boosting the immune system with plenty of time outdoors, ample rest, avoiding sugar consumption (did you know that sugar inhibits cells from being able to repair themselves?) and eating natural food (not refined and processed); using nature’s remedies that strengthen the body from head to toe with lasting results rather than treating symptoms as fast possible; and taking time to continue researching ways to improve the way you care for your body. The human body is the most remarkable and miraculous of all living organisms. The intricacies of its cellular structures! The length and breadth of the nervous system! The complexity of DNA! The capabilities of the human mind! Isn’t it worth the time and effort necessary to help it attain its full potential?
This may sound like an extremely simplistic outlook, but in comparison to human history we have only been outsourcing our physical maintenance for a short amount of time. Think about it: for millennia, humans have grown their own food, made their own clothes, built their own homes, and been their own physicians. And now, as a whole, we count on other countries to make our clothes, pay other people to build our homes, trust the government to feed us and believe that doctors are the only ones who can keep us healthy. I don’t know about you, but I kind of like the idea of discovering that I am able to take care of myself and my family. It’s going to be a long process, but here’s to starting now!