How I Got Here: One Mom's Journey to the Crunchy Life
Some days I have to look around and laugh at myself.
If I told 18-year-old me that 26-year-old me would be working as a birth doula, putting essential oils on my three-year-old’s owies, cloth diapering my home-birthed baby, getting on soap boxes about Big Pharma and the state of our food landscape in America, and tossing anything with harmful chemicals out of my house, I would probably be terrified of the person I was going to become.
I think before my own journey toward a more natural lifestyle, I saw “crunchy” parents as the weird ones. The ones who believed that science was fake and that the whole world was out to get them. I had no interest in ever becoming one of “them.”
But then I had a child. And it became important to me to research what was going into my body, and therefore his body. I started reading the actual studies about things, looking up ingredients, and learning about the way our bodies actually work.
It started with a Whole 30. Then I bought some high-quality essential oils. Then I started cloth diapering (just to save money in the beginning, to be honest). Then I started reading labels and switching out my personal care and cleaning products. Then I read some books, and dove into more science.
And then the strangest thing happened. I stopped seeing the world with the same paradigm I had before I started this journey. The “normal” I was so used to before started to make a lot less sense to me.
I learned that our bodies can heal themselves when they are properly supported. I learned that fevers (up to a certain point) are beneficial to the healing process. I learned that pharmaceutical drugs have a place, especially in emergent situations, but that they don’t heal the body in the long-term.
I learned that when given the opportunity to learn for ourselves, most of us are actually really good at taking charge of our own health.
I also learned that there isn’t a lot of money to be made from an independant, healthy population.
So if I get on a soap box, it’s not because I think that corporations are evil, or that people who use Windex are going to bring about the apocalypse. It’s simply because, at some point, I stopped letting people who have nothing to gain from my family being healthy tell me how to care for them. I started seeking out real information, and some of the information I discovered was life-changing.
Am I totally “crunchy?” Absolutely not. I have a life-long love affair with ice cream, I still use ibuprofen sometimes (because mom-ing with a headache is just the worst), and my favorite snack is breakfast cereal.
Do I judge anyone for their choices? Nope. My child eats pancakes for breakfast literally every day. And not even some healthy “mom hack pancakes” that are actually kale in disguise. No. He eats pancakes. With syrup. Every day.
Am I passionate about health anyway? YES! It doesn’t have to be black and white. It’s not either give my kids tylenol every time they have a slight fever and shove sugar down their throats as they sit in front of a screen all day or make roasted veggies for breakfast and weave organic cotton cloth to make their clothes for them as they frolic in the forest.
It’s a journey. It’s a process. And the end goal is not an idealized picture of a crunchy family living off the land (although that is honestly sounding more appealing as the years go by).
The end goal is informed, empowered families who make decisions based on the information they have in front of them and their own intuition.
The end goal is healthy, well-adjusted kids who can love people and think critically about the impact their choices have on themselves and the world.
If I can move in that direction while still tossing french fries at my toddler in the backseat of the car some days...sign me up.
Bethany is a wife to Matthew, Mom to Aiden and Elliot, and a Birth Doula. She currently lives in Rochester, MN, but grew up in the PNW and dreams of the day she can live near the ocean again.
Bethany is passionate about empowering women and mothers to take charge of their own bodies, births, and families. She also enjoys drinking copious amounts of coffee and usually has a stack of at least three different books she is reading at once.
Check out her website to read her latest birth-y blogs and connect with her about her in-person or virtual doula services.