Singing through the electrons from The Compleat Mother Magazine 
January 21, 2002
//-- Featured Post -- //
"The Evolution of a Compleat Mother"
~ Yvonne Cryns
//-- Chapters from Breastfeeding Anyway and Birth Joy --//
~ Tongue Tie
~ Dehydrated Baby
~ Floppy Boy
~ Flat Nipples, Large,  Soft Breasts
~ Underwater Birth (removed)
//-- Reader Letters --//
//-- Humor -- //
~The Evolution of a Compleat  Mother~
Teen years:  oblivious  to  pregnancy concerns, childbirth, and all other
related issues.  Mostly concerned with having  a date for the  big dance and
wondering if that zit will be gone  by then.
Newly married:  Not thinking about  having kids yet -- having fun  with
husband, getting used to sleeping in the same  bed with someone  who steals
the blankets and hogs the bed.  Some friends have friends who gave birth in
a  teepee  in the desert.  I think  homebirth  is for nuts.  Are  they
Surprise!! I'm pregnant!!    Excited but have 24/7  morning sickness.  Go
to the clinic at the local hospital.   At one visit, receive educational
about what will happen  to me during  labor.  Nurse  states, ".And then
you'll  get your IV, your episiotomy.."   She made  it sound like this was a
gift.  I'm out of there.  I  know this is not what I want to have happen  to
my body.   My husband happened to run  into someone who had  a homebirth
with a midwife.  We're making a lot of phone calls to find out  about this.
We're parents!!  The  birth went  just fine.  I  always knew I could do it
without drugs, stirrups, stitches, etc.  Baby always with me, nursing
whenever.   I am told  if I want my son circumcised, I will have to make a
special  appointment.  My husband and I had never  thought  about
circumcision.  Grandmother's  undress baby and notice he is not
circumcised-they both  comment  on how neither Grandfather is!   I can't
imagine how anyone could allow a doctor to amputate  their baby  boy's
6 months  later . Grandparents want to know when I'm going to feed him real
food and how long am I going to breastfeed  anyway?
Baby 1 year old:  He's eating at  the table, some of what we eat.  Nurses
often, too.  No playpen-I had read babies  who spend time in playpens  were
at greater risk of spending time behind bars as  adults.
Baby 15 months old:  #2 is on the  way.  Pregnancy  going well, but terrible
morning sickness again.  We manage.
Baby#2 is welcomed by big brother who surrounds him  with little people
toys and tucks some under his T-shirt.  Nursing both boys.  Grandparent's
look the other way and roll their  eyes at each other.  Lots  of cloth
diapers.fortunately I finally  got a washing machine.
A few years later: Family and friends think we are  nuts.  Don't we know
about  over-population? Don't we  know how expensive it is to raise a
child?    We know we  love each other and love our children, and that seems
And so it goes . for a few more years, a few more  babies, till we have
seven children.  And somehow we have  managed to do this without  a large
salary, huge medical bills or a single can of  formula!
-Yvonne Cryns
email: [email protected]
Very interesting dolls...
Midwife Mary
The  Doula Doll
//-- Chapters from Breastfeeding Anyway and Birth Joy --//
~~Tongue Tie~~
by  Nicole Miller, Toronto, Ontario
I had  my first child in New Zealand.
My pregnancy was difficult  near the end, and preeclampsia forced an
induction by prostaglandins  at 39 weeks. My son was a healthy, seven pound
baby with a tongue  tie. (His septum holds his tongue down and he is unable
to project  his tongue out of his mouth.)
I had great difficulty and  pain during the first few days. My son was not
latching on properly,  and he was suckling towards the edge of my nipple
instead of taking  it into his throat. This caused bleeding, and chapped
nipples that hurt  so much that I cried when he sucked.
At four days old we  went to the maternity annex birthing center, where my
son vomited  a huge amount of blood. Bronwyn, my midwife, knew immediately
that  the blood was not a terminal disease, but was indeed milk and blood
from my breasts. For the next two weeks she came to my house every  day, and
helped me position him far back on my breast, by basically  shoving my whole
nipple into his open mouth. My breasts healed  and felt fine. The support I
was given was invaluable and I was  never told to 'give up' or that I didn't
have the ability  to breastfeed my child.
It was a real shock to me to return  home to Canada and find the enormity of
pressure (from the large  multinational baby formula companies) to quit
breastfeeding within  a 'reasonable' amount of time, and follow on with
their inferior  product. The attitude seems to stem from the notion that our
breasts are  playthings for men. Even within my family I find pressure to
'hurry  up and wean that kid.' I find it sad.
Today I nurse my  14-month-old son, and wait the arrival of his brother or
sister  due in two weeks. Despite many dire warnings, I still have milk  for
him and he still loves nursing. It is an amazing comfort for  him and gives
us 15 minutes of quiet, together time at least twice  a day. What could be
more nurturing and relaxing?
~~Dehydrated Baby~~
by Susan Schubert, Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania
My  second child, Chase, was born in a birthing center, three years  after
his sister. I went home five hours later.
He was  a sleepy baby but I knew to wake him to feed, through my previous
experience  and from La Leche League meetings.
I knew something was  not right, because he wasn't wetting six diapers a day
like he  should, and there were uric acid crystals in his urine. My milk
wasn't coming in like it did with his sister Emma either. Soon,  my son's
skin began to look pinched and wrinkled. I realized  he was dehydrating, and
I had to do something.
I kept nursing,  pumped, and using an eyedropper, fed my colostrum when he
wouldn't  suck. I called the birth center and they advised me to keep
nursing and  give an ounce of water, which I did.
I needed to do this  for about four days until he seemed to wake up and
nurse for longer  periods without falling asleep at my breast.
He continued  to nurse for 1 1/2 years.
~~Floppy Boy~~
by  Catherine Young
When Zak was almost a year old, he  caught something gross, probably from a
hotel carpet. He had never  had a bottle, and had been a very healthy,
breastfed child up to  then. Suddenly, I had a kid who wanted only to sleep,
too tuckered out  even to nurse, who had few wet diapers.
The doctor said  give him water, and wait it out. I had not bottles or even
an eyedropper,  but I borrowed one, boiled it and dripped water into my
floppy boy. Within  minutes he seemed to be a little happier and soon could
nurse a  wee bit. Within the week he was up again, his old self. The doc
said he could have caught something much worse if he was hospitalized  for
simple dehydration.
~~Flat Nipples, Large,  Soft Breasts~~
Anonymous Mother, Ottawa, Ontario
Jessica had problems with sucking and latching, and  compounded with my
having flat nipples and very large, soft breasts,  I was not successful in
nursing her. I tried for eight days; I  went to hell and back.
Before  I was pregnant I went to my first La Leche League meeting, I was  so
determined to nurse.
When  Jeremy was born, I had the same awkward difficulties with positioning
and latching on. It was just impossible. I persevered. Lots of  blood, sweat
and tears, and no books were of much help. Thatwas the problem. I was trying
to follow the book, the correct way to latch  and position my baby and it
just wasn't going to work for me.  A wonderful League Leader told me to find
some way that worked  and I did.
I basically  needed three hands. I needed to hold my breast, the babies head
and hold the baby. I could not just hold him in the crook of my  arm and
have the other arm free; I needed to hold up my breast.
For positioning I used two pillows consistently for  the first eight months.
Without them was awful. Lying down worked  well. I used the football hold
for my right breast, and held my  breast always with my left hand. For the
left breast, I would slide  him over on the pillows, hold his head with my
right hand and my  breast with my left. His body was being held up by
Because my nipples weren't "perky",  I had to hold up my breast and kind of
turn my nipples upward,  and "sandwich" the nipple, and put as much of my
breast into  my mouth, as I could. It wasn't the "correct" way to nurse,
but sometimes you have to be unconventional.
Before I discovered our successful way to  nurse, My nipples had become a
mess. They were festering wounds;  they would get a "bead" of skin, and it
would fall off in chunks.  I tried air, sun, breastmilk, antibiotic cream
because there was  pus, and the thing that finally worked was a combination
of improving  the latch and warm sea salt water.
I have huge areola, the brown part around the  nipple. I couldn't possibly
put all that in my babe's  mouth. My League Leader pointed out that all
women are built differently  and that guide wouldn't be appropriate for me
to try to follow.
I am grateful to La Leche League and I am  so proud of myself for
persevering, with basically no support from  family, friends who didn't
nurse and even from friends who did  nurse but had no difficulties.
Jeremy  nursed for almost two years, without problems after the first six
weeks. I look forward to having another child; I know I can overcome
anything now.
Not nursing  my first born did something to my self esteem; I found the
courage  to fight, and that was half the battle.
//-- Reader Letters --//
I was a teenager  in 1985 I first picked up a copy of "The Compleat
Mother" at  Queen Street Natural Foods in the Beach in Toronto. This
magazine  influenced  my whole life and educated me about homebirth and
breastfeeding  at a very  impressionable age. I often wonder if I ever
would  have gone in the  directions I have and learned what I know without
"The  Mother."
     Therefore, when I got pregnant in 1998 one  of the first people I
called was  Catherine to subscribe to  "The Mother."  I told her I had
waited a long time  to be a  pregnant mom receiving my own personal copy
of "The Mother".  It was a  big deal for me and I remember everything
about that  phone call very  vividly.  I especially remember how warm,
supportive  and thrilled Catherine  was for me. After all her contact with
mothers & babies she had obviously  never lost her sense of awe at  the
prospect of a new life entering the world.  She had such  great compassion
& respect for pregnant woman and the art  of  motherhood.
You will be missed Catherine.  I wish you light & peace on  your journey.
Yours was a life well lived in  the service of  humankind.
Nancy Gauthier
You don't have  to print this, but I needed to write it and I hope you
can  print  it.
I just got off the phone with a friend who told me her brother  (also a
friend of mine) & his wife decided to circumcise  their 6 day old  son.
The father of the baby was not circumcised  as an infant (his parents  are
Italian, and as we all know circumcision  is not routine in Europe  and
the UK) but he was circumcised  at age 19 after a preventable  problem
with his foreskin. I  remember him recounting the pain & agony he  went
through  after this procedure.
Therefore, I couldn't believe he would  do this  to his new born son.
His thinking apparently was that  he wanted  to save his son the pain he
went through!
Save him! This child  could  have grown up a healthy intact male without any
I wept when  my friend told me. How can people continue to do  this without
any  medical
or religious requirement?  How can  people be so unthinking, unfeeling &
cruel to their baby  sons. To top it off his wife decided the same  day
the child  was mutilated that: "breastfeeding is not for her."  So  this
innocent  little one didn't even have the breast to comfort him.
Please send  your love and prayers to beautiful little baby "Jack", it
like  he is really going to need them.  As I write this my husband  is
bathing  my three-year-old uncircumcised, still  breastfeeding,
unvaccinated  son.  This situation helps to re-affirm my  commitment to
stop  this torture of innocent male children. I can't help but wonder  if
Jack's parents saw the contraption they would tie their son  to and  then
handed him over anyway. I feel sick.
"When will  they ever learn. When  will they ever learn".
Nancy  Gauthier
Dear Greg,
Just  a quick note in response to the article about the two  women
contracting  the "flesh-eating disease" after their births.  At the  time
I  was pregnant I was going back and forth between the option of  a
homebirth  and a hospital birth, and regardless of amount of reading  of
factual  information I did on either subject, the deciding factor in  my
decision  for a homebirth was that during my pregnancy a mother died 2  or
3  days after the birth of her baby by contracting the disease after  a
seemingly normal birth in a local hospital.
It may  not have been the  most "educated" catalyst for my decision, but
it  was the right decision for  me.  Besides, it confirmed all I had  read
about homebirths actually being a  safer birth for mother  and child.
Have a great day,
Heather Ling
<Editor's note: You can find the article mentioned here:  >
Dear Compleat Mother
 Just  a quickie (i have to grab these moments when i  can!) to say that  i
have just (7 weeks ago) given amazing birth to my second  daughter,  Indigo
Persephone Jackson.  She was born at home on the livfing  room  floor in
just over 3 hours, and it was a deeply moving and  transformational
experience.  It was also very healing for both  myself and my partner, as my
first birth was like a rape:  induced,  given a drip, contractions for 36
hours  before epidural, stirrups  etc.  My beautiful firstborn, Ruby, was
taken to  special care  for 24 hours to be given extra oxygen (I believe her
breathing was  laboured due to the pethidine i was given when left alone -
my  husband was sent  home as it was 'after visiting hours' - for one  whole
night in the post natal  ward with no support - the antenatal  ward was
closed due to understaffing),
I  worked very closely with my doula, Pat during the  pregnancy and  she was
with me during the early stages of labour to the end.   The  midwife only
came 15 mins before Indigo was born!!
I read your magazine avidly and also a few of  your  books which detailed
positive home birth stories......i read  so many birth  stories!  But i am
saying a BIG THANK YOU as i  just know that your stuff  inspired me so much
and touched that  inner part of me that went on to birth my  child with
confidence  and power.   This birth has truly changed me, and my  life!
Your  work is so important, and i feel sure that it  will go on and on  in
dear Catherine's absence.
Sophie  Bashford Jackson
Ps.  i need to renew my subscription i know!   i  will get round to it soon!
I am interested in finding out more information about home  births.  If I am
pregnant, this will be my fifth child.  I will  be 40 in May of  this year.
Any thing you could contribute would  be very helpful.
 Thank you, Patty Pugh
"Doctors Re-examine Circumcision" is an excellent resource covering
circumcision and  Genital Integrity. Because it is written by physicians,
it is ideal to give to  other physicians, nurses, midwives, parents,
family, friends, students,  libraries, attorneys, the media, etc.  They make
excellent baby shower gifts.  Even if you own the original  "Say No", you'll
want to add this latest edition to  your personal  library because of the
updated material.
Link for this book:
//-- HUMOR --//
Top l0 reasons to have a homebirth
~by  Gloria Lemay
To test the theory that "Not even the most  doting mother can  stand the
voice of her two year old at 8 centimeters  dilation".
To enjoy  the sounds of an electric air compressor  inflating the fishy pool
at 3  a.m.
To make all your girlfriends  jealous when you tell them you made  love to
your hubby as soon  as the
midwives left.
To avoid having to  jam those puffy  feet into a pair of street shoes in
order to go to the  hospital.
Because  you are a selfish, fanatical woman who only wants to  have a big
orgasm and you don't really give a damn about your  baby!
Because  you want to see if it's true what your homebirth friend  told you
that it would feel like your butt is splitting in two when that  little
forehead passes over the anus. (You've always been the  curious type).
You  want to see if those smart aleck midwives  will really be able to keep
your white  eiderdown stain-free.
To  prove to your mother-in-law that you are more  stubborn and determined
than she has ever been, and she better not mess with you  anymore.
Because  you take a perverse delight in other people running  around with
flashlights at 2 a.m. looking for addresses, while you stay cozy  and  warm
waiting for them.
To throw a monkey wrench into the  billing dept of the HMOs so they  have to
come up with new billing  codes for something they thought went out of
style with the horse  and buggy.
Please pass this newsletter on to your friends!
Maybe they would like to subscribe to our print edtion
which is published four times a year for $12 (cheap!):
Thank you for allowing us into your email box!



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