//-- Mother to Mother by Jody McLaughlin --//

//-- Greg’s Notes --//

//-- The Freedom to fail and thoughts on death…. --//

//-- Relactating a Teenager (reprint Fall ’94) --//

//-- Birthing Our Baby Alone (reprint Winter ’91) --//

//-- Interesting Websites --//


//-- Mother to Mother by Jody McLaughlin --//

Mother to Mother
Jody McLaughlin, Christmas Day, 2002

Dearest Catherine,

        I was visiting my youngest daughter in Montana when I got the call a 
year ago last September 11. You died at the same time the Twin Towers were 
coming down. Never to let up, you made sure to tell your children, Rebecca, 
Amanda, and Zak; "Instead of flowers, Boycott Nestle." This they included in 
your memorial service and passed on your request to friends, known and unknown.

        The Friends of Breastfeeding Society is your single-handed effort to use 
over a million pieces of breastfeeding art and posters to promote breastfeeding 
in the marketplace dominated by the Artificial Baby Milk
suppliers in every 
corner of the world. Always true, through and through, Catherine. You never 
wavered. Not once.

        Rebecca promised her next year to Compleat Mother. That year of 
excellent shoe-filling work was up in September. She is taking time off now.

        I heard that the farm will be sold. I wish I had access to the 
information and ideas you gathered together all these years; the artwork, 
photographs and resources. You kept them 'filed' in a wicker laundry basket 
stashed in a corner of the summer kitchen.

        You asked me several times over the thirteen years of collaboration, to 
write something for each issue. I'd think about it but did not write. Catherine, 
you're a tough act to follow. And I had a hard time imagining being as candid, 
sharp-witted or as bold as you-seemingly,
without effort. (Stretch Marks... 
which you insisted as 'fiction' scared the daylights out of me as I laughed my 
way through your and Suzanne's adventures.)

        You were so good at telling people's stories and when you didn't have 
one, you'd make one up.

        This is a story you would have loved. During a telephone exchange on the 
virtues of breastfeeding a recent subscriber told me this new story.

                She was laying down nursing their
        two year-old son. His 
dad walked in,
        looking for something, grousing around
out-of-sorts like usual. Sensing his
        distress, their son turned to his 
dad and
        offered him the other side. "What did
        your husband do?" 
I asked.
        "He accepted his sons offer."

                "How did that make you feel?"

        "Like I could do anything, heal everyone."

                "Has this continued?"

        "Oh, yes. My husband, who used to act
        like he was in competition 
with our
        children, is now kinder, more creative,
        resourceful and 
more intuitive. He is a
        wonderful husband and father."

        This issue of Compleat Mother is seriously late for the first time in 18 
years. At 8:00 tomorrow morning, I take the lay-out pages to my friend Bob, who 
prints Mother here in the US. He will be the first to appreciate, criticize and 
offer suggestions for this first issue  repared without you or Rebecca.

        I will borrow a paragraph from your last letter to us-    What lifts my 
spirits most is when subscribers send me cartoons, sketches, and photographs 
through the mail and stories, news items, poetry and prose by email. It makes me 
know this work is not in vain, and that we are winning a wonderful battle 
against ignorance, greed and evil.

                        My Best to You,


//-- Greg’s Notes --//

I am suffering from a male-only condition known as prostatitis so I don’t have 
the energy to say much right now.
Jody called me on the phone recently and I 
explained about the condition, describing the symptoms (lots of pain and where 
it was located) and Jody said to me, “Tell Yvonne it’s feels just like the 
transition stage in birth!”
I’ll have to take Jody’s word for that!

As always, PEACE ON EARTH. (are you beginning to understand that I am a PACIFIST 
and that just maybe I don't think that a so-called war to grab oil reserves in a 
far off land is best for all of us? I've met some people who think the coming 
war is like the Super Bowl. Except that in this case it's like a pro football 
team playing Our Lady Of the Sorrows grade school. Nothing but a massacre would 
describe it. Food for thought: not a single congressman's son or daughter died 
in the Viet Nam war; we send our economically and politically disadvantaged to 
fight in our wars. Are President Bush's daughters going into the fray?)



//-- The Freedom to fail and thoughts on death…. --//

The Freedom to fail and thoughts on death…. 

Journal entry 13 – Saturday December 21, 2002 

Here we are at eight weeks post partum. Ben has been a joy and we are 
anticipating happy Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. With the success of 
our beautiful unassisted birth, I have been thinking much of past failures. 
We have had many failures in our married life. We have had blunders of 
misjudgment, looking beyond the mark, and attempting to run faster than we had 
strength. A few specific problems that come to mind are overwhelming debt, a 
seven year old that had not been taught to read, who was being persecuted by 
peers for her deficiencies, and of course, our botched unassisted birth in 1996.

We have had some people criticize and judge us for these failures and it has 
been difficult to bear the load of shame and guilt, especially regarding those 
that pertain to our children. 

I would like to comment on failure…. 

It was Christmas time eight years ago when I traveled home with Jeff to spend 
the holidays with my family. I had just given Paul my ultimatum that if he 
wanted to have any more children with me we would be birthing at home and alone. 
When I walked into my parent’s home the tension around me was like a physical 
force. One of my brother’s had told my family that I had drawn a line in the 
sand about birth with my husband and they had taken it as evidence that I was 
going crazy again. Having suffered from post partum psychosis after my first 
baby, I didn’t have too much credibility as a sane person and my family saw my 
obsession with unschooling, not vaccinating, and unassisted birth as evidence 
that I was going crazy again.
I remember talking with my siblings one afternoon about these topics. We were 
sitting in my parent’s living room. Most of us were married with young children 
and babies. As we talked, the conversation became heated as I attempted to 
articulate what was in my heart to them. I had not yet coined the term Family 
Sovereignty,  and I was passionately 
trying to convey the jumble of ideas and words that were rolling around in my 
head and on my tongue about family freedom. My brother, who was in Law school at 
the time, was expressing his dismay at the idea of homeschool and the concept of 
un-schooling in particular and said something along the lines of, “well, who is 
going to hold these parents accountable if they fail? I mean, what if their 
children grow up as illiterate, non-contributing members of society?” As I tried 
to defend my supposedly indefensible position and my own words were twisted and 
used against me during our debate, I just gave up in frustration with the words, 
“We parents are fed up with being bullied into practices and procedures that we 
know are harmful to our children and we are just not going to take it anymore.” 

I felt a condescending tolerance from my siblings as we finished up the debate. 
Our parents had raised us to speak our minds and share opinions and insights in 
a thoughtful and articulate way. Always respecting the views of other’s even if 
they seemed wacky. But at the end of this conversation, I felt like I had poorly 
communicated what was then rising up in my soul like a tidal wave of feeling. I 
felt as if my family was laughing at me for my heartfelt beliefs. But it went 
beyond laughter a few days later when my parents told me they thought I should 
get my tubes tied and not have any more children. My mother said she believed 
that I had been brainwashed by Laura Shanley and they were very concerned that I 
was going to ruin my marriage. 

No one seemed concerned about my marriage being ruined if I had another hospital 
birth. No one seemed to understand that the fully documented incompetence of the 
public schools could potentially ruin my children academically. No one seemed to 
care that my children could be permanently damaged by being vaccinated. 

This heated family debate was a turning point for me. I looked inward and spent 
the next few years reading, teaching childbirth, and formulating in my own mind 
the “debate”. To me, the heart of these issues was my brother’s question. “Who 
is going to hold these parent’s accountable if they fail, and if society has a 
bunch of illiterate, sickly, unproductive, do-nothings to deal with who is going 
to “FORCE” these non-conformist parents to conform to societal standards of 
parenting in regards to birth, education and health care?” Who indeed? I have to 
laugh thinking of the medical profession, the education establishment, and the 
governmental powers that be judging me when they are accountable to NO ONE and 
who research has shown are controlled and manipulated by the most powerful 
global companies on the earth. Companies that live and prosper off the 
illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, and ill health of families the world over. I 
have a vested interest in the health and intelligence of my children for they 
will be raising my grandchildren. I have yet to meet the parent in my home 
birthing, home schooling world who has the attitude, “I want to raise a bunch of 
sickly idiots who have no ability to care for themselves and have nothing to 
contribute to society.” It just has not happened. However, based upon my 
interactions with various institutions, I am not so certain that other’s 
interest in my family goes much beyond the dollars attached to my womb, my 
children, and my family being involved in their money making scheme’s. 

The only way to break up the monopolies in health care and education is for 
enlightened parents to simply reject what they have to offer us and forge a 
different path. 

I am nursing my sweet boy as I type this and as I look into his crystal clear 
blue eyes, see his smiling face and think of the daily work of nourishing, 
cleansing, and balancing my body with nutrition, exercise, and vast amounts of 
spiritual food in order to nourish him, I feel somewhat angry at those 
professionals who would accuse me of being a neglectful parent because I reject 
the overpriced birth services and educational theories and practices they would 
force/entice/coerce me to use. 
Failure? I am less afraid of failure than I am of being deprived of my right to 


We cannot have it any other way. The law of opposites is not a theory, it is not 
wishful thinking, it is THE LAW that governs the universe. 

I believe we are here on the earth to learn to know good from evil. The main way 
we learn to know the difference is by our experiences in life. If we are forced 
to only live the kind of life that the corporate powers that be dictate is 
acceptable to them and the rest of society, they we are living a lie, and are 
being compelled to live the materialistic chemical lifestyle that makes lots of 
money for those in power, but leaves the family deprived of ultimate health, 
intelligence, and freedom, not to mention, financial stability. 

Death…ultimately in life, especially the sovereign life that we have chosen to 
live, the greatest fear for parents is the fear of death. 

I had a year of death in 2001. 

Early that year a dear LDS friend died of a bacterial infection after a 
miscarriage. She was the mother of five home schooled children, was a LLL 
leader, and hombirther. I can’t tell you how rare it is for me to become friends 
in my community with a Mormon mother who is into this lifestyle. We met at our 
Friday homeschool support group. Our friendship was immediate and I felt such a 
kinship with Michelle. When she died, I was left spinning emotionally. I could 
not understand why Heavenly Father would allow this sweet and perfect mother to 
die so needlessly when she had so many young children to nurture. 
I just saw her children last Friday at our Christmas party. Her husband has 
continued to homeschool and work from home – fortunately he had a computer job 
that enabled him to stay home – and while the whole family still looks a little 
sad, they are going on with life.
The summer after Michelle died three older ladies who were suffering with cancer 
died. I was close to one of these church friends and while the deaths were not 
unanticipated, they were losses just the same. 

At the end of the summer I received word that my brother Dave had died. I was so 
dumbfounded and shocked that he was gone that I went into an emotional tail spin 
that only really stopped the month I conceived Ben last January. 

Because of these five deaths last year I was forced to spend many hours trying 
to settle things in my own mind about life and death and the purpose of our time 
here on earth. I don’t have all the answers regarding death, but I do know that 
a fear of death is the one great impediment to parents claiming their 
sovereignty in regards to home birth. 

The question we all have to ask as we prepare to birth alone at home is this, 
“Should we have the “failure” experience of our child dying, or even dying 
ourselves as mothers, does this mean that we have to throw all of these ideals 
out like the proverbial baby with the bathwater? Or in the name of “sovereignty” 
do we muster our faith and take the leap that lands us safely into the world of 

We must have the right to fail. Fail at birth, fail at breastfeeding, fail at 
educating, fail at anything and everything we try….for if we don’t we are 
nothing more than slaves. Those are the thought in my head this beautiful 
December day. 

Love, Jenny 
Email: [email protected]

Please visit Jenny’s website and consider buying what she has to offer.

Recommended Related Reading

"A Mother's Journey"

A Mother's Journey, A new E-book written by Jenny Marie Hatch, chronicles her 
experience with Post Partum Psychosis. After using the Psychiatric profession 
for fourteen months because of a court order, Jenny just knew their had to be a 
better way of coping, with fewer side effects from the medication, and so she 
spent the past twelve years researching psychosis and how to prevent it in 
herself Post Partum. "I have come up with a system of healing that has enabled 
me to have three additional children with no recurrence of the emotional 
distress. I believe anyone who desires to leave the medications and move into 
the natural realm will find this book an aid in their healing journey,"

In this book she focuses on the spiritual, physical, and emotional aids 
available to families that want to have nothing to do with hospitalizations and 
the tortured world of the psychiatric profession. She also details her 
progression from mainstream medicine to Unassisted Childbirth and how this aided 
in her healing. Buy this book from her web site  


//-- Relactating a Teenager (reprint Fall ’94) --//

Relactating A Teenager 
By Angela Mason 

Joleen, being sixteen, was treated horribly in the hospital when she gave birth. 

I met her at Christmas; her six-week-old-son, Dustin, looked tiny and newborn 
compared to my breastfed bruider, Adam, at eight months. 

Joleen’s mother encouraged her to give formula and pablum and not to nurse so 
her breasts wouldn’t sag and she wouldn’t be tied down. 

Having worked with teenagers in the past, I know if you tell them what to do, 
they do the opposite. So I complimented her on how calm and contented her baby 
seemed and proceeded to breastfeed my Adam in front of her. While she was within 
earshot, I raved about the wonders of breastmilk and how easy it all is… 

The next week, Joleen wanted to know if it was too late to nurse after all. I 
told her it would take dedication but if she was serious, it was more than 
probably she would succeed. 

Armed with books, feeding tube and breast pump, I went out to do battle with a 
baby who, at seven weeks, had never sucked a human nipple. 

We settled in on the couch and Joleen got ready. I reminded her Dustin was not 
going to be happy about the change but if she persisted, it would work. The 
little angel took one look and latched on perfectly, as if he’d done nothing 
else his whole life. Not only was the latch good, but Joleen, even after taking 
dry-up pills, still had milk. I was dumbfounded and amazed. 

Joleen supplemented Dustin for two weeks, then produced enough milk on her own. 
She went to La Leche League meetings and her confidence soared. 

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Joleen’s mother was so disgusted she called 
Family and Children’s services who sent a social worker out to check on them - 
three times. Dustin started to lose weight and required supplementary feeding 
but Joleen continues to nurse and be strong. Imagine a sixteen-year old mother 
telling the doctor she wanted a second opinion. The power of breastfeeding and 
the instincts of babies never ceases to amaze me. 

Angela Mason 
Cambridge, Ontario 


//-- Birthing Our Baby Alone (reprint Winter ‘91 --//

Birthing Our Baby Alone 

Bay #4 arrived at home with my husband and two and a half year old present. The 
midwives were sitting out a snow storm. 

Noticeable labor began at 2pm – water broke at 3:10. Husband arrived. Mariah 
born at 3:23 – children off the school bus at 3:30. Midwives arrived later to 
clean up. It was really something to have complete responsibility and control at 
the birthing. Mariah started up on her own, alert and quiet when born. 

Each labor gets faster and faster. I would love to have more children but, now 
when I look at four month old Mariah, almost three Melissa, five year old 
Michelle, almost eight year old Matthew, I can’t see it happening. We chose to 
have four children and people still call me “crazy.” I would welcome an 
“accident,” but it’s too soon to even consider another baby. 

The time goes so quickly. Where has eight years gone? From the first hospital 
birth induced fetal distress, C section to birthing our baby alone, I’ve learned 
so much and it does help when defending my parenting choices; homebirth, 
breastfeeding, cloth diapers, “weaning” baby, immunization, circumcision, birth 
control, family bed, “spoiling” baby. No comments bother me now, maybe I have 
more confidence in my choices and I know they feel good in my heart so to hell 
with everyone else. 
I love and truly enjoy my children. I’m able to take all four anywhere- anytime 
and have people notice and comment on their presence. People say they are “my 
lovely children.” These are the same who were appalled at my “style” of 

Life goes on at our house. It’s rained all day. 

By Darlene Theirault 
Cobourg, Ontario 


"But the nurses saved my LIFE!"

If you sat around a kiddie playground and got all the moms talking about their 
births, I'll bet the majority would have a tale to tell of how their baby 
"almost didn't make it" and "thank goodness the doctors were able to save my 
baby". Heck, I even hear these stories from homebirth moms! Part of it is the 
culture of fear and crisis- and the desire/fire/excitement from a generation fed 
on adrenalinized TV.

I love to get moms talking about these "my baby almost died' stories to try to 
find the truth and put the facts in perspective. My favorite story was told by 
my daughter's freind who was far too frightened to have her baby at home (but 
called me for advice frequently- advice she never followed). She was induced, 
got an epidural which 'went up' and paralyzed her diaphragm. She couldn't 
breathe and had to be ventilated for several hours. Her baby was born ok- except 
for the forceps bruise and cut over his ear- and she recovered her ability to 
breathe shortly after he was born.

"Here is what she said to me- and I quote 'It was so good that I had my baby in 
the hospital. If that would have happened to me at home- then I would have died! 
The nurse running the breathing machine saved my life!'

"And there is really nothing you can say to counter this fact. She is convinced 
she would have died if she'd been at home- she doesn't want to hear the piece of 
the puzzle that she would NEVER had had an epidural at home, and she never would 
have been induced in the first place! 

"But you can't argue with her logic or with her experience. She had a major 
life-threatening event during her birth. The hospital saved her life!"

Gail Hart, Midwife, Oregon 


//-- Interesting Websites --//


Mission Statement - "Healthy Families Make A Healthy World!"

Web site address – 

Conference info - Sponsor and Organizer of The 2nd International Husband/Wife 
Homebirth Conference - Theme - "When Faith Endures" - Keynote Speaker - Laura 
Kaplan Shanley - This Unassisted Childbirth conference was held in Boulder 
Colorado in July of 2001 and is available exclusively from the Natural Family 
Website.  Cost - $39.95  For Compleat Mother readers - mention this ad through 
email when purchasing the conference e-video and receive a $5.00 rebate upon 
purchase through pay pal. 
Offer good until 6-03-03.


Smart babies prefer cloth diapers! 
Looking for one-stop cloth diapering supplies?
Diapers, covers, diaper pins, 
Snappis & lots more!


Please visit this fine website!

Nurture by Nature 

This is a family business serving all of your alternative baby and parenting 
needs. We are a natural living, homeschooling family living on Long Island.

Organic cloth diapers, herbs, wooden toys for children and much more!


Please visit this fine website!

Earth Mama Angel Baby 
Earth Mama Angel Baby is pleased to offer a unique collection of natural 
products. We use only the highest quality certified organic or organically grown 
herbs and all-natural ingredients, and our products are free from artificial 
preservatives, fragrances or dyes. Also take advantage of our free, customized, 
interactive birth plan that will help you prepare for the arrival of your angel 


"I'm Made of Mama's Milk" - The Breastfeeding Book for Children.

available at  

<note from Greg Cryns: this is one really great book!>


If you or someone you know is looking for a midwife, doula, childbirth educator, 
or lactation consultant just visit Birth Partners, searchable by zip code! 


Please pass this  newsletter on to your friends!
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Birth, Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother

Go HERE for more information on the waterbirth video! 







Click here to read: The Farmer and the Obstetrician

Click here for the Home Sweet Homebirth (Video)

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Birth, Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother

Go HERE for more information on the waterbirth video! 

Click here for the Home Sweet Homebirth (Video)

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