Monday, June 17, 2013

Come to the Dark Side, We Have Breast Milk AND Cookies

So excited about this guest post from Karen Orchard.  In addition to being a great writer, she is a home-birthing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering PHARMACIST!  She also does some cool things with yarn (links can be found at the bottom of her cleverly written post).

Honestly, I was never much of a Star Wars fan.  Star Trek was where it's at for me.  The entire pursuing knowledge for the sake of discovery is more my style.  Ideas and learning motivate me.

I want to share with you how someone as unlikely as myself would turn into a home-birthing, extended breast feeding, and cloth diapering mama.

Berry Patch Mama - The Pharmacist 
Actually, I think me becoming a pharmacist is stranger than me becoming everything else I am.  Yes, you read that right, I am a pharmacist.  Honestly, I know perhaps one other pharmacist who gave birth without an epidural and insisted on taking breaks at work for an entire year to pump.  I am a strange bird in my habitat.  Most other pharmacists I know gave up on pumping after a week.  Not me!  I viewed it as my right, my baby's right.  Don't mess with Mama Bear!  I didn't back down, even when ten years ago my district manager wouldn't arrange a private place for me to pump.  My solution?  I sat in the corner out of view of customers, facing the wall.  It was a terrifying thought at first, but it became a routine and my coworkers got used to it.  Luckily they were all female.

Honestly, I'd never really wanted children.  I'd never thought much about it, which might have been a good thing.  My head wasn't filled with all sorts of cliched and romantic notions or dramatic portrayals from movies and TV.  Our families shape many of our ideas about things, especially child rearing.  Perhaps it was something of a blessing I was an only child for 7 years.  I had not a single cousin until I was 6!  I was never around other babies or children.  I hadn't all that much to 'go off of'.  As far as medications,  I came from a family where aspirin was the strongest analgesic in the house.  You didn't go to the doctor unless it was serious.  My father routinely believed he could think himself out of a cold.  The man never missed a day of work.  I didn't know any pharmacists and my parents weren't in the medical professions.

My mother was a woman ahead of her time.  She claims it was all the Phil Donahue she watched.  She was determined to have a natural birth and breastfeed in the early 70s, when people weren't doing any of those things, including having children.  You know, the whole Population Bomb thing and all had just come out.  Mom remembers there were no maternity clothes to be found in the department stores.  Modern women were liberated, you didn't need to breastfeed.  Be a modern woman, use formula! Working 9 to 5 and all that.

So, why the heck would I even become a pharmacist?  Poor guidance counseling for one.  I didn't know any pharmacists and my parents weren't in the medical professions.  It was ultimately my love of science and my practicality of wanting a steady, secure pay check.  Originally, I intended to go into pharmaceutical research and development, but I sure am glad I don't work for a pharmaceutical company now.  Maybe that's what makes me different.  I entered into pharmacy under the naive notion that science and concrete facts were what lies behind the pharmaceutical industry.  I think we all know what drives the pharmaceutical industry and health care these days, but 25 years ago in high school I wasn't so enlightened.  As you can imagine I am a tiny bit disillusioned now by it.

When I became pregnant 11 years ago I embarked on my usual strategy to deal with everything.  Research!  I love investigation, research,the thrill of the hunt.  I visited message boards (we were pre-blog and Facebook back in those days).  I found one for Attachment Parenting.  A term I had never, ever heard in my life.  I found it very fascinating and very reasonable.  It made sense!  That's what I like.  You see, I question everything.  I'll never accept anything without knowing the "why".  Then I found the Mother of all Attachment Parenting communities, (pun intended).  I was hooked!  I studied.  I read books.  Not cream puff books, like "What to Expect When You're Expecting".  I read Sheila Kitzinger, Laura Shanley, and Ina May Gaskin.  Unassisted Childbirth really made an impression on me.  I never did have an unassisted birth, but the book is just amazing!

The world would be a much better place if truth and fact were the highest of our pursuits. If exploring strange new worlds and boldly going where no one has gone befo-.... oh I did mention I am a little bit of a Star Trek TNG fan. That's the sort of scientific pursuits and world I'd have liked to live in. I thought someday I'd be Dr. Beverly Crusher. However, this isn't the 23rd century. Really, we aren't that far removed from bleeding people, drilling holes in people's skulls, and the invention of antiseptic. 200 years ago doctors warned not to bathe too often, or else you may let the 'bad airs' in through your pores! Ridiculous, isn't it? Yet today, we aren't that much more sophisticated. There is a plethora of standard protocols in hospitals based on little to no scientific evidence or good reason. Most hospital procedures are based on mitigating liability, not science or medicine. True story. In light of that, I think you, as a lay person, should keep in mind that the medical profession doesn't have the best track record on sound, reasonable advice based on scientific fact. If it doesn't make sense to you, ask "why?". If you don't get a answer that makes sense, do some investigative work and find out the truth. Above all things, I think the truth about things is the most important thing for me. I won't hide behind ideology, or political correctness, or popular opinion, or "because that's the way we've always done it. That's why I believe in natural birthing and all the other things I believe in. Because they are reasonable, rational, and logical. Live long and prosper and have a great birth! Oh hey, PS, I just discovered a woman pharmacist I work with is due this weekend and it's her second birth at the local Midwife Birthing Center! When she told me I believe I did a fist pump and exclaimed "Oh yeah!" Karen Orchard  
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