Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. It’s a 24/7 schedule, and it goes on full time for 18 years, and part time after that until the end of your life. There is really no way out. Even walking away is impossible, for most people keep thinking about the kiddies they no longer see. So if you’re contemplating it – be forewarned.

Parenthood is also the most wonderful and exhilarating experience you can have, provided you really accept and welcome it. I believe one has not fully grown up unless one has had children by choice. Children make you forget about yourself; no matter what, they need to be fed, clothed, housed, kept healthy, and taught the ways of the world, and you’re in charge. This is true when you’re sick, when you’re well, with money or without – there is no excuse. The wonderful thing is when you see good results in the kind of person your child becomes. No prize or money in the world can match that. So if you’re contemplating parenthood – be prepared.

One of the major issues in our times is how to take care of our children’s health. I cannot make pronouncements for others and what they should do, but I can tell you how I’ve faced this issue, what my decisions were, and how they came out.

As I was already deep into using food for healing when I had my children, some decisions were easy and self-evident. I ate well and hearty while I was pregnant, and took no pills or drugs, and no vitamin supplements. My point of view was that eating good quality natural food was good enough, and I didn’t want to mess with the system by ingesting man-made substances. That applied to any kind of drug. Later I noticed that many healthy young women who ate well still had trouble giving birth, and sometimes had to have cesareans. My speculation has been that taking supplements with all that calcium and iron made the babies’ heads bigger and harder, so they had trouble squeezing through the birth canal; then sometimes the C-section was the only solution.

Just around the time I was having children, the idea of natural childbirth came around. “Thank You, Dr Lamaze” was one of the early books about that system, and I took prenatal classes with Elizabeth Bing, the first in the city to teach it. “Childbirth without fear”, by Grantly Dick Read, was another. I found an obstetrician who used the Lamaze methods, and I had my babies without any drugs. I had been told that having a baby is like “sh*tt*ng a pumpkin”, so I was prepared. I had also been told to not think of contractions as “pains” but as contractions. They would end as soon as the baby came out. It was important to me to bring a child into the world with no drugs in its system. Later I found there was research that showed that children who were born while mothers were under anesthesia were more likely to get into drugs when they became teenagers.

I felt it was important to treat illnesses the natural way, not by suppressing the symptoms. So I used food, herbs, homeopathy, water therapy, and other modalities to deal with my children’s illnesses. This approach worked very well, and they never had to have any antibiotics, aspirin, or similar over-the-counter drugs. I also didn’t vaccinate them, as I knew that vaccines work by provoking the illness they’re supposed to protect against. I saw no point in making a healthy child sick on purpose.

Later I found out that acetaminophen (Tylenol is one of the brand names) was found to cause something called “acetaminophen-induced fulminant hepatic failure,” or sudden liver failure which can lead to death – and did for a considerable number of children. There was a lawsuit about this in the late 1990’s, reported on television by Lea Thompson but given very little media coverage elsewhere, about some 30 children who died from taking the drug, a lawsuit that Tylenol lost. (A Google search will give you plenty of information, as in the following

Aspirin given to children for fever was associated with Reye’s Syndrome, which caused irreversible brain damage. So for this and other reasons I stayed away from any and all over-the-counter drugs. Recent research vindicates my long-standing position: An article in the New York Times on August 16, 2007, on the front page no less, reports that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning parents not to give their children cold and cough medications before the age of two, unless a doctor prescribes them – because of the number of adverse reactions and deaths caused by those drugs. I also found later that there were numerous adverse reactions to vaccines, especially allergies and neurological problems from ADHD to autism.

We live in a drug culture. The entire social system promotes drugs, but in a schizoid fashion: medical drugs are pushed, but recreational drugs are forbidden. This is ridiculous, and obviously it doesn’t work. You either accept all drugs, or none. I chose the latter. Thinking long term, I felt that if children are born with drugs in their system, vaccinated repeatedly, and given drugs regularly by authority figures such as parents and doctors, then later on in their lives, the idea of taking drugs for pain, for study, for fun, seems perfectly natural. In fact, it would seem the only thing to do, considering their early conditioning. So if I wanted my kids to stay away from drugs, I had to “just say no” to ALL drugs, from day one, with personal example as well as their own experience.

That worked out just fine. I highly recommend the approach, and I feel that even more than healthy food, it helped my children (and now my grandchildren), be much healthier. It’s not easy, as you have to buck a very powerful system — but it certainly works. Considering that ALL drugs have adverse effects, they should be kept for use only in matters of life or death, when the benefit clearly exceeds the risk. For children, heeding the advice of the FDA (I never thought I’d say this), about avoiding OTC drugs, is an excellent idea.

And what do you do when the kids get sick? When in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult a health professional that you trust. For home care, use vegetable soup with or without chicken, umebosi plums on occasion, plenty of rest and sleep, homeopathy, lots of cuddling, keeping them away from milk products and sugar. An eating regime of abundant fresh vegetables, whole grains, fruits, some protein foods, and healthful fats, should all help keep the children well. Actually, it will also work for the adults!