October 2001 Newsletter
October 16, 2001
The Compleat Mother Newsletter
//-- Editor comment --//
“The Compleat Formula”
//-- Substance --//
First three chapters from Catherine’s book
Unique Spiritual Training: Motherhood
Torticollis: Torn Muscle
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//-- Editor Comment --//
My dear wife, Yvonne, received a call last night from a very nice
lady who asked a question she’d never heard before.
“Where can I get some information about that
”Compleat Mother Formula?” the lady asked.
Yvonne was taken aback for a moment and then she asked the lady
if she was meaning The Compleat Mother magazine instead.
“No,” said the lady, “I was told I could order The Compleat Mother
’formula” by calling this number. I am a nurse and one of my
patients gave me the number.”
Chuckling, Yvonne told the nurse that the only complete formula
she knew about was breast milk and that the Compleat Mother
magazine very strongly supports breastfeeding which in turn
makes for healthier babies.
The nurse caught on and started to laugh heartily. She and
Yvonne became fast phone friends. (And I’m sure Catherine
is smiling at this story, too)
This issue of the newsletter consists of the first three chapters
of Catherine Young’s book, Breastfeeding Anyway. You will
be receiving many more chapters from this book and Catherine’s
”Birth Joy” in the months to come.
One of the last conversations I am grateful to have experienced
with Catherine was about whether we should publish the contents
of both books on the website where everyone can read them.
She told me this: “Post them. They need it!”
Well, I have not
yet posted them to the site, but I will as soon
as time permits.
Unique Spiritual Training: Motherhood
by Karin Harris
I don’t need to go to a Shaolin Temple, like Kwai Chang Cain of the TV
show Kung Fu. My monk training happens here at home, with the three
children. Let me explain.
For starters, there is: Lesson A: How to Focus and Concentrate with Severe
Distractions. Trying to change a hungry baby’s diaper and sleeper while
he is screaming at the top of his lungs is a challenge, that I am just
starting to be able to do well. For some reason that loud piercing noise
makes it hard for me to fit the snaps into their proper slots. I suppose I
could nurse the baby with a wet, poopy diaper, but I want him to eat in
comfort. As quick as I can, I get his diaper changed. In the beginning the
faster I went the more mistakes I’d make and the longer the whole event
took. As of late I am concentrating on counting and breathing, counting
and breathing, as I quickly do up the snaps.
Now add to this high pitched piercing noise the fact that Mother Nature
has done something to my hormones to make this noise even more intense in
my body. I think it was Her idea of making sure that I would tend to the
baby’s needs, as soon as he opens his mouth. A problem occurs, however,
when the baby has colic. Somewhere there is an error in the program ,
because even when I am tending to the baby with hugs, kisses, and rocking,
he is still screaming. By the time the evening is over and the baby is
asleep, I no longer know my name. Of course, there is nothing a weekend in
Hawaii wouldn’t cure, or even an hour long hot bath with soothing music.
But there is no such luck because there are two other children now who
need to be helped to bed, there are lunches to make, dishes to do, and
diapers to wash. And then there is sleeping.
Now the sleeping thing is quite the adventure. At any point in my sleep
cycle, alpha, beta, rem, deep sleep, whatever, I can be woken. An I’m
not talking about being woken to the sound of soothing music. It’s
either going to be a crying hungry baby, a child who’s wet his/her bed,
or another child who has had a bad dream. On many nights it’s all three.
Anyway, it’s kind of like Kato in the Pink Panther movies, ready to
pounce on Detective Kluso, at any time. I remember long ago going to a
spiritual growth workshop where we were told that by getting a lack of
sleep it would help break down our defences, so we could then work on our
“issues.” Their definition of lack of sleep was four, full, straight
hours of uninterrupted sleep. Now what I wouldn’t do for those four
So now comes the training in B) Multi-tasking. Do I: 1) nurse the baby,
and then run down the hall to help the pre-schooler with his bathroom
duties, or do I: 2) carry the baby with me on my breast, down the hall and
try to juggle toilet paper and nursing, or do I 3) stop nursing, go down
the hall with milk from my breast spraying all over, wipe the bum, then
run back to the now screaming baby?
I now move on the C) Humility and Compassion Training. How is it that I do
one of the world’s hardest jobs, get paid the least, and get the least
amount of prestige? After being up all night, woken to loud, piercing
noises, having gotten children to their various schools in -24 degree
weather (which means concentrating and multitasking enough to co-ordinate
three sets of assorted winter wear), carrying a heavy baby with my post
partum back to the bus, a friend asks, “What could possibly be so
difficult about meditating for ten minutes a day?”
I’ve gotten to two minutes a day and figure this is a small miracle.
Then there are the condescending “innocent” comments about my
Motherhood career, or the unwanted, unsolicited advice. I finally figured
out that what I really want is compassion. Perhaps an encouraging word or
a pat on the back would help me with that extra bit of strength that I
need to go on with my day.
I decided that: A) I want to learn to be even more compassionate toward
others because it sure hurts when they aren’t compassionate towards me.
The next time a friend tells me her troubles I’m going to bite my tongue
before offering advice, and instead I will offer empathy; and B) The deep
compassion that I long for will mostly need to come from myself and from
God (or the Great Mother, as I call her).
D) Self Discipline: Take a difficult life, and add to it an intense
craving for sugar, chocolate, and coffee. Also add to this equation the
consequences of these indulgences to be a decrease in an already low
energy and an increase in an already feeling of being overwhelmed. Make
the cravings come at the exact moment that the student is working on all
of the above: concentration and focus, multitasking, and humility and
E) Inner Strength: Now for the Super Intense two week Spiritual Course on
inner strength. Take the above difficult life where I am just barely
hanging on with my fingertips and give three children a violent flu for
ten days. Multiply the loud piercing noises, quadruple the amount of
laundry, and add a whole lot of projectile body fluids. Finally, add a lot
of fear, especially for the child who has had twelve months of undiagnosed
The Super Intense Training almost broke me. I remember lying on my bed
wishing I knew the mahasamadhi technique (a yogi’s final exit) for
leaving my body for good, because I couldn’t bear the other option in my
mind at the time, which was to put the three little darlings up for
adoption. But somewhere in there a bit switched (from 0 to 1) and a deep
inner strength took over. I decided I was going to cope.
I am ending my writing about my Spiritual Training, for now, because I
have to go. The little one needs to nurse.
Beautiful Stories, page 1
Torticollis: Torn Muscle
by Linsey Warner, Barrie, Ontario
My older sister was pregnant too, due three months before me. She planned
a homebirth: I thought she was crazy.
I am a large woman, and didn’t hear my sweet baby’s heartbeat until I
was 25 weeks pregnant, and never felt her kick until 30 weeks. My sister
gave birth to a beautiful girl at home. Our mother was lucky enough to
My due date came and went. The obstetrician concluded I should be induced,
and added, “If it doesn’t work you’ll have to have a C-section. As
heavy as you are, it will take a long time to recover.” I got my clothes
on and got out of there.
I was in hospital in labour for 18 hours, and
pushed for three. The doctor finally showed up for the last 45 minutes and
suggested the vacuum extractor. “Like hell,” I thought and pushed with
all my energy, love and might. Five pushes later, Emily Rebecca was born,
her face mashed and purple. She wasn’t breathing. The doctor cut her
cord, rushed her to an isolet and revived her, in the longest 15 seconds
of my life. She had come out transverse, or head and shoulder first,
causing Torticollis, a torn muscle in her neck.
After nine months of chiropractic, and massage therapy, Emily is strong,
health, and a totally breastfed little girl.
The rest of my children will be born at home.
by Rev. Vivian Dietemann, St. Louis, Missouri
Knowing how to breastfeed should be as common as knowing how to brush your
My mother told me the family doctor said I had inverted nipples, and would
never be able to breastfeed. (This same man told her she had thin, watery,
blue milk that didn’t have enough fat in it, so she weaned me at six
In the military hospital, I was not allowed to “have” my baby for
several hours after he was born. On the second day, when I returned from
lunch, my baby was missing from his bed. He had been taken to be
circumcised. The baby that was returned to me was not the same;
biologically he was, but psychologically and spiritually, he was no longer
quiet, and cried a lot. I swore I would never let anyone do that to a
child of mine again.
My son couldn’t latch on to my breast because he couldn’t get a hold
of the nipple. He cried and cried and I put him on formula.
When I found out I was pregnant again, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. I
attended La Leche League meetings, read books, and purchased nipple
shields. What I didn’t know was that if I wore them constantly, then
stopped, that I would get a breast infection. So then I wore the shield
without missing a day, and slowly weaned my breast from their use a week
or so before my due date.
I was celibate since 4 1/2 months pregnant. Had I known love-making would
help my labour along, I might have considered calling a male friend to
help things along. I made a fuss about not having an IV or fetal monitor
during labour. They let me nurse my son in the delivery room for 15
minutes, and again in the recovery room for about 20 minutes before he was
taken to the nursery. We didn’t have any trouble latching on and I made
sure he was not circumcised.
I closely monitored how many wet diapers he had, knowing that at the first
sign of problems my mother would suggest he wasn’t getting enough. I did
have four breast infections during the first year, but we worked through
them using a small hot water bottle on my breast.
At about 10 months he can down with a virus, and by the end of the week
was so listless he refused to nurse. I expressed my milk for a day, to
keep up a milk supply. He started again, went back to exclusively
breastfeeding, and refused solids for three weeks. By the time he was a
year old, he was eating table food again.
People always tried to feed him candy, cookies and Kool-Aid. I purchased a
T-shirt that said, “Don’t Feed Me Junk!” That seemed to get the
He did bite me, at least twice. The second time I recall saying,
“Phooey, you hurt Mommy.” Somehow, after this whenever he wanted to
nurse he would say “Phurt. Mommy, Phurt.” We continued to be a happy
nursing couple until three days before his fourth birthday. We knew how.
If you like what you see here, on the website and in the print edition,
please help us keep the Compleat Mother in business. The loss of Catherine
Young is difficult to overcome but we strongly feel that Catherine will
guide us through the difficult times ahead for her publication. We have
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for more information on the waterbirth video!
Click here to read:
The Farmer and the Obstetrician
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