Stress, Nature, and What 13 Countries are saying about U.S. politics; a link

You can learn a lot by listening to other people. Hard lessons learned, ideals to follow and ideals to disavow, and who likes who and who doesn’t; the following link is to a long article but one that is well worth reading, if only to find out which country is the lone wolf:

Stress can be stressful, [1], a walk in a natural setting [2] or even looking at images of nature has been found to help reduce stress levels — more than taking a walk in a busy urban setting,[3] suggesting that while exercise has health benefits, exposure to nature also has health benefits.

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I do care about preventing nuclear war and racism and about not inciting bullying or nuclear war or racism — I care a lot about that.

I didn’t find the older post about nature walks but thank goodness there’s a search engine and the internet.

An excerpt from the link I did find amongst my old posts, paraphrased for brevity:

People more vulnerable to the negative health effects of stress include: older adults, mothers and especially working mothers, less educated individuals, divorced or widowed individuals, people with financial concerns or lack of health insurance, isolated or lonely people, people who are targets of racial or sexual discrimination, and people who live in cities. [1, “Stress,” University of Maryland Medical Center]

Also from that link, having a history of childhood trauma can leave the adult with more risk to feeling stress.

Taking a closer look at nature may help relieve stress.
Taking a closer look at nature may help relieve stress.

You can learn a lot by listening to other people — not always easy to do or pleasant to listen to, but useful if only to learn what not to do or who to avoid listening to or associating with in the future — if possible.

Hazing sets the bad example for our children that bullying is acceptable if everyone or a majority of those in power don’t like the person or the group of people and it’s a bad example for our country’s reputation as a democracy who values individuals as a mixture of both positive and negative traits. Strengths and weaknesses is what adds variety to life and variety to life’s lessons.

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Dewdrops in spring greenery, (Sedum, Autumn Joy).

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Babies have dignity too; Magical Child Matures, a book review

Babies should have the right to human dignity too. The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage was based on a human right to dignity. The decision has brought up the question of whether polyamory, marriage between more than two people, should be the next human rights question to discuss. [2] Before broaching that topic I would suggest that the infant’s and birth mother’s right to a good delivery and breast feeding experience need to be clarified legally. The legalization of same sex marriage may lead to an increase in the number of infants born to surrogate mothers or other contracted parenting arrangements which may not allow for a normal amount of time for breast feeding. Ideally an infant would nurse for at least 3 to 9 months and in nature primate species tend to nurse their infants for two to three years. Research into artificial womb incubators also exists which might greatly impact the infant’s right to a dignified (ie close to natural) prenatal and birth experience.

I found the book Magical Child (1977) by Joseph Chilton Pearce to be very helpful during my first pregnancy. It is the precursor to the book Magical Child Matures, (E. P. Dutton, Inc., 1985, New York), which I had mentioned in a previous post and again in my last post where I mentioned that it is now selling used for one penny. I posed the question of whether it is worth a penny and answered that, yes, to me it is worth it specifically because of the third chapter which is titled “Bonding and Attachment.”

The author has written twelve books in all and has focused on child development and the importance of the child-parent bond and breast feeding relationship and also on topics of spirituality and the heart-mind connection or  the “compassionate mind.” [1]

In the third chapter of the book Magical Child Matures labor is described from the infant’s perspective. The stress of delivery causes an increase in an infant’s stress chemicals and establishing a breast feeding relationship as soon as possible after delivery helps bring the levels back down to normal levels.

The chapter titled Bonding and Attachment (1985, page 24-40) first describes an ideal delivery experience for the infant and then describes how disturbing delivery could be in an over-crowded and rushed hospital in the 1970s. The baby and mothers from the over-crowded setting are described as black people receiving care at an inner-city hospital and my impression is that he included the information because he’s not racist, because he felt that #Blacklivesmatter and that all mothers and infants deserve a low stress delivery with a positive bonding experience. Bringing up traumatic history reminds us to investigate routine practices and evaluate them for fairness, effectiveness, and safety risks. He includes in the chapter that the old practice of holding a baby upside down and smacking it on the bottom to stimulate their first breath may also have caused some infants to have internal bleeding in the upper spinal column and die prematurely from silent crib death (found in 80% of autopsies of infants who had died of silent crib death in one study) (Magical Child Matures1985, page 35).

He also described a practice that may have been commonly used to save time after delivery in some busy hospitals. The medical professional would just yank the laboring mother’s placenta out by the umbilical cord instead of allowing her body to progress through the final stage of labor at her own pace.

Never discussing uncomfortable history may be more comfortable for us but it doesn’t promote learning from our mistakes or lead to our making changes in routine practices. Holding a baby upside down and smacking it always seemed like a horrible practice to me so finding information that suggests it might indeed have caused traumatic injury was disturbing and revealing. We do many things each day because that is just the way things have always been done but if we never stop to evaluate procedures for their effectiveness or safety then we may be causing harm on a routine basis without realizing it.

Having a baby, for me, was painful and amazing and euphoric and joyful and beautiful, and kind of sweaty and gross, and just as wonderful as the author describes for the well bonded, good delivery experience.

So is the book Magical Child Matures worth a penny (plus shipping and handling)? Yes I think so. The author discusses development of consciousness during the different stages of the lifespan along with his interpretation of how thinking might occur in a triune brain but that speculative discussion of consciousness could be skimmed and the reader may find the developmental information helpful on its own. The author also describes some personal experiences with psychic phenomenon and meditative practices. So that might be a reason for some potential readers to avoid the book or it might be a reason to seek out the book because they are topics that are infrequently discussed.

I’m expecting my first grandchild this month so I made a copy of the chapter on bonding and attachment for the expectant parents just in case they also would find it helpful. However the discussion of bonding and attachment may also be helpful for any age person to read because early childhood experiences might impact our behavior throughout life – a well bonded infant may grow up to be a more trusting adult while a stressed out infant may have more delayed development during early infancy and grow up to be more focused on collecting things and being dominating within relationships rather than being trusting.

The newborn’s first lesson in life is trust. The fetus had warmth and a constant swishing heartbeat and soothing amniotic fluid and suddenly they are forced out into a cold bright noisy world. Newborns certainly don’t deserve to be held upside down and smacked as their first experience in life whatever their skin color may be. And mothers deserve time to labor at their own pace, rather than have the process rushed for the convenience of the medical professional. Hormonal changes occur for the infant and mother during different phases of labor and delivery, rushing the process may interfere with the infant’s health and development and with the development of the mother’s mammary glands and ability to make an adequate supply of breast milk.

Growing a baby isn’t rocket science – it’s much more complicated than that – but worth it. Thanks for sharing your experience in Magical Child Matures, Joseph Chilton Pearce.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a lactation educator and Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

 

Edgar Allen Poe and Carbon monoxide poisoning

A medical protocol for recognizing and treating carbon monoxide poisoning dips into literature for an extended list of symptoms that may be associated with the condition. The article, “Background on Sources, Symptoms, Biomarkers and Treatment of Chronic Carbon Monoxide Poisoning,” [1] is by Albert Donnay, MHS, Environmental Health Engineering, who is providing the information included in the protocol for  the purpose of helping medical professionals in diagnosing and treating chronic carbon monoxide poisoning as defined by specific symptoms and lab tests. The protocol is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for seeing a medical professional.

That being said, the biggest news for me wasn’t that Edgar Allen Poe may have had chronic carbon monoxide poisoning possibly due to the coal gas that was used  at the time for indoor lighting or that he may have described the many symptoms of the condition in his macabre story, The Fall of The House of Usher, (1839). The big news for me was that stress – yes stress itself  can be a cause of chronic carbon monoxide poisoning. 

–> Time for a few stress reducing deep breaths. Carbon monoxide causes blood vessels to constrict and it can take the place of oxygen on the transport molecule of hemoglobin. So every breath you take is less efficient when carbon monoxide is present in excessive amounts. Smoking is a well known contributor of carbon monoxide to the blood stream. Stress  adds carbon monoxide indirectly as a breakdown product of increased metabolism while smoking is a direct source of the chemical.

Stress causes an increase in an enzyme that causes more breakdown of hemoglobin to occur. Hemoglobin is the protein that transports oxygen within the red blood cells. The destruction of hemoglobin leaves molecules of carbon monoxide as a side product. So the stress is a double whammy of sorts on our ability to carry oxygen.  The stress directly leads to less hemoglobin because more is broken down than usual; and the destruction causes an increase in carbon monoxide which binds onto the area of the remaining molecules of hemoglobin that would normally be carrying oxygen. So there is less total hemoglobin present and more of the remaining hemoglobin is transporting carbon monoxide instead of oxygen.

Chest pain or a rapid heartbeat and difficulty breathing or a feeling of only being able to take shallow breaths can be symptoms of chronic carbon monoxide poisoning, but they can also be symptoms of many other diagnoses, so see a medical professional for individualized diagnosis and treatment. See the protocol for more information about chronic carbon monoxide poisoning and for other symptoms and for the more extensive list of possible symptoms quoted from the fictional work by Edgar Allen Poe.  [1, protocol]  And see a medical professional for diagnosis and treatment as needed.

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Fresh air, exercise,
Stress reducers for players
And for spectators.
  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.