The Compleat Mother Magazine

//--My mother-in-law--//

//-- Mother to Mother: Editorial by Catherine Young
from the Summer, 1987, 
issue! --//

//-- Chapters from Breastfeeding Anyway and Birth Joy --//

- Sean: My Midwife Baby 
- A Quiet Drive
- Pierced Nipple
- Breastfeeding a Bottlefed Early Baby

//-- Reader Letters --//

//-- Humor -- //


//--My mother-in-law--//

Betty, my mother-in-law, is a wonderful person. I love her. She is always there 
when we need her, rain or shine.

Like all of us, of course, she does have a quirk or two.

One day my wife, Betty’s daughter, and I attended a dinner at Betty’s church. 
Betty was talking to a couple we didn’t know when we strolled by them.

She pulled us over and introduced us to her friends.

“This is my son-in-law and his wife!”

-greg cryns


//-- Mother to Mother: Editorial by Catherine Young from the Summer, 1987, 
issue! --//

Standing in a twenty minute lineup for the express check-out, I had a quiet 
moment to wonder about life’s experiences and how they compare to 

Hitching a ride on the back of a freight train at midnight in college-days was 
exciting. Passing my son from my body into my husband’s hands at 2am ranked many 
levels of Passion higher than just exciting and I never once thought I would 

Necking in the back seat of somebody’s father’s car at the drive-in was warm, 
cuddly, vaguely erotic and made us all feel like we were very bad. Tandem 
nursing my toddler and newborn daughters was warm, cuddly, vaguely erotic and 
made us all feel very good.

Dipping into the Atlantic in August or the Pacific in June was exhilarating, 
refreshing and chilly. Three kids and mom in a tub was exhilarating, refreshing 
and warm; we all got clean and splashes mixed with giggles made me born again.

Landing a job and hanging on to it until payday was challenging, between long 
periods of boredom. The first month of parenting disappeared between long 
periods of exhaustion, and the first baby bonus cheque was a generous 
affirmation. I am a valuable mother-person. It also helped pay off the most 
pressing bills.

Once, weak with the bronchitis as a teenager, I wondered if I would ever be 
strong again. As a mother when my listless baby could barely suck, I wondered if 
I could go on if edication didn’t help his strep throat infection. It is a 
passage to lose a parent, and an impossible hardship to lose a child.

It was anti-gravity to be a young woman in love. To find a man who worships you; 
to be his goddess. It is something higher to be a baby’s parent, a true God. 
“Mommy, where do butterflies come from? Daddy what is the chiropractor’s middle 
name? How do the plants drink water if they have no mouth?” Only a real God 
could know so many things and the child has no doubt in your ability. And no 
baby of mine every told me I should shave my legs.

The lineup moved. My turn at the cash register.

”You have nine items. You can only have eight. You’ll have to go to the end of 
the other lines,” says someone with an impotent mind, grasping a false sense of 
power where possible. I unload my purchases, leave a bunch of over-ripe bananas 
in my cart and pay the bill. I could go back home to a far more interesting 
world where the natives are friendly, well-balanced and much more adoring than 
the man on the street.

-- Catherine Young, Summer 1987 Issue 
of The Compleat Mother Magazine


//-- Chapters from Breastfeeding Anyway and Birth Joy --//

Sean: My Midwife Baby 

My first two births were joyous and sacred events, and yet this time, for my 
third baby, I longed to do things a little differently. Birth had never been a 
problem, but what I really wanted was support during my pregnancy. I wanted 
someone to comfort me if I was concerned, and answer the many questions I had, 
even as a third time mother.

My midwives thought I had a great attitude. When I asked them how I could slow 
my labour a little, they suggested I deliver lying on my side this time. (My 
birthing history seemed to suggest a squat was too fast for me.)

Once again, my first indication of birth was my water breaking. It was a warm 
Sunday afternoon, and I was just preparing a picnic to go to the beach, when my 
water broke. This time I was afraid I didn’t have much time. Phil and I had 
decided on a hospital birth, assisted by only a midwife (no doctors or nurses 
unless absolutely necessary). I was tense in the car because we got into a 
traffic jam. When we reached the hospital I felt calm. Our midwife met us at the 
hospital and helped my children get ready for my third birth. I especially 
wanted my daughter to have the opportunity to see a positive birth experience. 
Though my son was quite young, he insisted on attending also. (Perhaps one day 
he will be a great support to his partner in labour….)

As hoped, the birth went smoothly again, and I was perfectly lucid. I was on my 
side during birth, and this did help slow things down. The midwife used a hot 
oil massage on my perineum to help avoid tears. She applied the oil at just the 
right moment and it felt soothing.

Sean slipped out quickly and easily, quick as lightning. I needed no stitches 
and had no tears. Sean lay on my stomach for 15 minutes while the umbilical cord 
continued to pulse, then Phil cut it. Within 20 minutes, baby Sean was nursing, 
and continued for an entire hour.

After, the midwife ran a warm bath, and baby and I went in. She helped to clean 
me up and while baby Sean ontinued to nurse, she washed him too. Then we all 
dried off, got dressed, and walked off to our car to go home. In total, I was in 
the hospital three hours. No drugs, no stitches, no interventions.

So much of life can be imperfect; I am honoured I had the experiences of three 
sacred births.

Karin Harris, 648 Linnet Cres. S.E., Calgary, Alberta, T2J 2J4


A Quiet Drive

The sun was just rising and ice crystals sparkled on branches as Peter drove Sue 
to The Grace Salvation Army Hospital in Halifax. It occurred to her there are 
few occasions for parents of several children to have a quiet drive and 
uninterrupted conversation.

Her fifth birth was the easiest. Peter and Sue Comstock walked the halls while 
contractions came and went. “It was a combination of being relaxed and having 
had four babies before, that made it an easy time. It was knowing that ‘hot and 
heavy’ is a good labour sign, and not something to panic about. Labour is like 
nursing; experience tells us the present situation may be the baby is 
breastfeeding intensely, but this won’t persist forever, and fighting it doesn’t 
help,” said Sue.

Their fifth baby nursed well, just born. “She seemed content 
and secure,” said her mother. Her birthing had been blissful, and they called 
her Blisse.


Pierced Nipple

by Melanie Fike, Lytton, British Columbia

When I was young and foolish, I pierced my nipple. When my milk first came in, 
and for six months after, I leaked profusely from the piercing holes that never 
did close up.The holes are on either side of my nipple, so the milk would leak 
out of the holes before it got to the nipple ducts. During this extremely leaky 
time I carried a cloth with me wherever I went. I don’t wear a bra, so 
breastpads are not my thing.

I got a breast infection when Sequoia was 18 months old. I’ve had them over and 
over again, always in the breast that’s pierced. Usually I just get a plugged 
duct, or sometimes two ducts plugged at the same time. Hot water packs, and 
taking it easy mentally and physically, does the trick within two days or so. 
Twice I had a bad infection, with redness, swelling and tenderness. Both times I 
took usnea tincture, a dropper full, four times a day and in two days it was 
gone. Usnea is a moss that hangs down off pine trees,


Breastfeeding a Bottlefed Early Baby
by Karin Harris, Calgary, Alberta
I never liked the word ‘premature’, so I use Early. Much to my shock, my first 
born child came 5 1/2 weeks early. I was ambulated, in labour, to the teaching 
hospital where my child was born and ended up staying the next eight days in and 
out of an incubator.

I was told I couldn’t nurse her, since she needed most of her energy for 
breathing. Luckily, I was coached on how to express my breastmilk, so at least 
my daughter received top-quality milk by bottle.

When my daughter was at home, something began to happen. I no longer had enough 
milk for her. She was needed more than I could express. I was exhausted with 
pumping, preparing my milk for storage, and them warming it for the baby. How 
much easier it would be, just to nurse! I tried again, but by now we were 
entering her third week of life. Every attempt I made to put her to the breast, 
she would clamp her little mouth shut and twist her head from right to left. I 
was amazed at how someone so young, could have such strong willpower.

I supplemented my milk with formula. One evening I had no breastmilk for the 
feeding, so I gave her a full bottle of straight formula. As soon as she was 
finished drinking she hurled the entire contents across the room. One swift 
projectile vomit and it was all out. That was the deciding moment. I vowed I 
would do everything I possibly could to convince my daughter to nurse.

I took a slow, painful route, but my daughter adjusted. I fed her expressed 
breastmilk first, then I put her up against my breast when she wasn’t so hungry. 
Some say let the baby try nursing first, when most alert, but that didn’t work 
because she had grown to desire the bottle. So I let her fill her tummy, and 
when she was content, and perhaps just wanted to do a little suckling, then I’d 
put her to the breast. The first few times she just rested against my nipple 
with no sucking. Then I would begin the process of expressing again for the next 
feeding (it was like feeding triplets). Every night I cried and cried, because 
life was hard.

I persevered, and my daughter began to take a few sucks. And a few more sucks; 
and then she’d nurse for two minutes. It went on like this for a week, until I 
felt ready to skip a feeding of expressed breastmilk, and let her breastfeed 
first. All of this might seem like overkill, but it was very important that my 
early baby continue to gain weight and get fluids. I think the whole process of 
weaning her off the bottle only lasted about three weeks, but it seemed like an 
eternity to me. Somewhere around four or five weeks, she began to nurse like a 
longtime trooper, often for an hour at a time. I was filled with joy.

Throughout the entire conversion process I weighed my daughter from time to 
time. In the first two months, she gained 10 ounces a week. By the time she was 
two months old she was near the 50th percentile for full term babies. Now, seven 
years later, I am a third time mother and I never weight my third baby. But it 
was so important to me back then because Jule was early and I was switching 
feeding modes on her.

We continued to nurse for just under a year. We had many beautiful evenings 
where we stayed in bed for an hour of nursing. I was so afraid about her 
eyesight, he health and her learning ability. At the age of four, her 
kindergarten teacher found her to have grade two reading ability and advanced 
logic. She was accepted into a school for gifted children but we ended up 
sending her to a French school so she could learn Canada’s two languages. 
Recently she attended the birth of my third child. I am glad God put Jule in our 
family. Perhaps this story can be my gift to another mother.


//-- Reader Letters --//

The magazines arrived today…can’t wait to share the “Mother” with my mainstream 
-Joanna Giannini, Omaha, Nebraska

Start up my subscription again. I have missed all the great stories and positive 
-Val Mount, Panama City Beach, Florida

I just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after a pregnancy from HELL. He is 
worth every minute of it.
-Cathryn Lee, Trumbull, Connecticut

I am the retired LaLaeche leader grandmother. My daughter had a beautiful baby 
girl in April. Renew my subscription that I let lapse a couple of years ago.

-Betty Harris, Clayton, North Carolina

My life has been absolutely nuts for the last few months: two new needy foster 
children, -a broken computer, the earthquake, and my mother died.
-Pamela A 
Golliet, Federal Way, Washington

I have no friends here yet that are like-minded moms, so I could use The Mother 
right now. The hospital staff gave me dirty looks when they saw my son was 
intact and I told them he wasn’t vaccinated either.
-Cassie McDaniel, Largo, 

My sister who is 14, was at my homebirth, and I bet she’ll have one too. What a 
privilege to be influencing future moms/women/leaders. Enclosed is enough for 
someone who can’t afford a subscription.
-Kathlyn McHugh, Ashcroft, British 

Thank you so much for being there during my pregnant, baby, breastfeeding, and 
(home and water) birthing days. And my death-of-marriage, and 
transitioning-to-single parent days.
-Deborah Worch, Chicago, Illinois

I am an aspiring midwife at the age of 44 who devoured “Mothers’ Favorites” in a 
few days. “The Mother” is a torchbearer and now many lights are flickering in 
the darkness of our uninformed world. Some may only be candles; others matches 
to light someone else’s torch; some may be growing to be the Olympic torch at 
the end of the run. The work will carry on in our hearts and lives.
-Brenda Schenatzki, Tonasket, Washington

Rejuvanate me for another two years of Mother. My daughter, Autumn, is 
exclusively breastfed, happy and strong. Send a two year subscription to my 
friend, too. She is due in October with her first.
-Annie Thorstenson, Hot 
Springs, South Dakota

I am a stay-at-home mother of a three year old and I’m five months pregnant with 
my second child. Breastfeeding has been the core of my relationship with my son 
and changed my world view radically. I received the first “Mother” from a fellow 
La Leche League Member. Thank you for your presence.
-Leanne Ottenberger, 
Vancouver, British Columbia

How refreshing to find a publication that does not promote bottle feeding, 
artificial baby milk, and articles on “how to leave your child with complete 
strangers while pursuing your career as soon as possible.”
-Lori Parker-Gurule, 
Denver, Colorado

Interesting, pleasurable reading. Send a bulk subscription.
-Barb Strange, 
Edmonton, Alberta

Maddie, who turns five in June, informed me she is well-behaved and weaned. That 
just leaves Sammy, two, on the breast. I cry for the awful, interceptive births 
and their long painful recoveries that so many women experience. I am determined 
to let everyone I know hear the truth about pitocin and formula. Let’s make this 
the last generation given this crap.
-Leslie Cree, Glenside, Pennsylvania

Finally, some truthful reading. Any back issues?
-Janet Geschiere, Brights 
Grove, Ontario

I loved reading the back issues you sent. I appreciate like-minded people like 
yourselves. I will send you some funny breastfeeding stories.
-Julie Ketler, 
Lakeville, Massachusetts

I can leave “Compleat Mother” laying around at work in hopes of others picking 
it up and getting a “shock.”
-Dawn Hartfelder, Bound Brook, New Jersey

May God Bless you and strengthen you as you proclaim truth about these important 
Sarah Louise Rose, Modesto, California

Victoria is cloth diapered, unvaccinated (until I can decide), exclusively 
breastfed, and has yet to use her crib other than a brief fine minute visit 
every few days to see her mobile. Oh, motherhood is pure bliss! I am grinning 
from ear to ear in happiness. The only positive messages I got throughout y 
whole pregnancy was from “The Mother.” But why must the issues be so short? I 
read it the minute it arrives and finish it before I even get up!
Luciani, Oakville, Ontario


//-- Humor -- //

A daughter broke-up with her boyfriend. She asked her Mother's advice about 
returning the gifts he'd given her. Without a pause, her Mother replied, "Send 
back the stuffed animals and letters, but keep the jewelry for sentimental 


Most Mothers are always amazed when their sons/daughters marry a person with 
much lower mental capacity, ambition and moral standards, yet still manage to 
have utterly brilliant children.


Things Mom would never say:

"How on earth can you see the TV sitting so far back?"

"Yeah, I used to skip school a lot, too"

"Just leave all the lights makes the house look more cheery"

"Let me smell that shirt -- Yeah, it's good for another week"

"Well,if Timmy's mom says it's OK,that's good enough for me."

"The curfew is just a general time to shoot for.It's not like I'm running a 
prison around here."

"I don't have a tissue with me...just use your sleeve"

"Don't bother wearing a jacket - the wind-chill is bound to improve"


The Images of Mother:

4 Year of Age: My Mommy can do anything!
8 Year of Age: My Mom knows a lot! A 
whole lot!
12 Year of Age: My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
Year of Age: Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either. 
16 Year of Age: Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned.
18 Year of Age: That old 
woman? She's way out of date!
25 Year of Age: Well, she might know a little bit 
about it.
35 Year of Age: Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion.
45 Year of 
Age: Wonder what Mom would have thought about it?
65 Year of Age: Wish I could 
talk it over with Mom.


The child was a typical four-year-old girl -- cute, inquisitive, bright as a new 
penny. hen she expressed difficulty in grasping the concept of marriage, her 
father decided to pull out his wedding photo album, thinking visual images would 
help. One page after another, he pointed out the bride arriving at the church, 
the entrance, the wedding ceremony, the recessional, the reception, etc.

    "Now do you understand?" he asked.

    "I think so," she said, "is that when mommy came to work for us?"


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