This question could be asked of so many things, but here today I’m talking about those tiny yucky (or are they) things that take over our bodies… parasites, germs, microbes, viruses… the hidden enemies.
We learned as children to ‘WASH YOUR HANDS’ before dinner, and to shower and bathe ourselves to be ‘clean’ and avoid sickness, but then we grew up and hand sanitizer started coming on the scene. I remember once as a kid we went to an amusement park where instead of sinks there was a hand sanitizer station outside the bathroom. I watched as several people lined up, got their little squirt of sanitizer and then moved on to join the fun and enjoy their own trip. I personally was totally disgusted by this sight. When you kill the germs on your hands but don’t wash them off, you can actually cause them to mutate and even if they did die, you are still walking around spreading your germs around to everything you touch. Did some pee splatter and get on your hand, did some of that poop manage to get through the toilet paper (a small amount you can’t even see, but you can smell it if you tried)? Yeah, you go and eat those nachos right after using the bathroom… its gross I tell you!
Then one day I saw this video on YouTube. https://youtu.be/5DTrENdWvvM
This was so interesting that I went out and started reading and watching all I could about it in my spare time. I even found a group that specializes in the microbiome for birth. I watched the MicroBirth video, and went out and bought a copy of it. Truly incredible information in it. But the biggest take away was that germs are not bad. Yes some germs can overproduce and cause illness, but some actually teach our immune systems how to fight off illness as infants. The microbiome that we receive in birth from our mother will serve us for the rest of our lives. As we encounter new germs we are not familiar with they will pair with our immune systems and if we are healthy they will be sure that this new germ doesn’t cause us harm.
This got me questioning other bad guys. Viruses. Viruses will damage us, cause us sickness and even in some cases death. That is why they created vaccines. No this is not a discussion on vaccines, but it is a discussion about fear. We create new preventions because we don’t want to be sick, we put our bodies through certain things in order to prevent illness. Some people choose to vaccinate, others choose not to, but in one sense we are all the same, none of us want to get sick. The market for ‘cures’ has always been huge, no one wants illness. So we started a war on viruses and germs, and anything that causes sickness.
But are Viruses and sickness as bad as we make them out to be? There are some claims that “fever-inducing infectious childhood diseases [can] reduce[ing] subsequent cancer risks” (https://childrenshealthdefense.org/news/natural-measles-immunity-better-protection-and-more-long-term-benefits-than-vaccines/). So if diseases might possible have a protective effect on us, why are we so scared? There are so many reasons, which I don’t have time to get into, but I do want to say one more thing.
I’ve been reading Anatomy and Physiology for Midwives by Jane Coad and found some very interesting things. First I need to tell you about a conversation I was having with a fellow student. She told me that her mom periodically purges her body of parasites, a practice that is often recommended in other countries, and is routine prenatal care in some countries as well. I wondered out loud, to her disgust, if parasites had any purpose that was beneficial to our bodies. Then at least a month later I read about a parasite that enters certain snails and make their shell harder, thereby protecting them. WOW! What else do parasites do? Honestly I don’t know. I actually doubt seriously that there is much research on the benefits of parasites.
Here is the second thing I found in Jane Coad’s book, Sickle cell anemia, which I have learned affects certain groups of people more strongly than others is something to be weary of while treating pregnant women in the prenatal period, because thin blood could equate higher risk of hemorrhage, and no one wants that. BUT Sickle cell anemia is actually beneficial to people who live in malaria zones in the world. This disease that can cause lead to hemorrhage actually has a benefit. I want to be clear I’m not advocating for sickness, and I’m not saying it is safe to have sickle cell anemia and have a home birth, each particular case, each situation that we come across in life needs to be looked at as a stand alone case, and dealt with according to what would best work for that particular person or family… BUT why are we so scared of disease? Why are we worried about death? When everything, in the right time, the right place and the right situation CAN be beneficial… maybe it isn’t, but maybe, just maybe whatever you are facing today that seems overwhelming and about to sink your ship, maybe it is going to be the thing that brings you new joy, new revelation, and new hope for tomorrow.
Have a Cherished Birth!