Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I heard it on NPR

NPR was full of stories on babies and children today.

First on the docket?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children do not drink sugary sodas or sports drinks. The reason? There are too few studies to analyze the long term effects of excessive caffeine and sugar on a child's developing body. Having a husband who consumed an untold number of pepsi, mountain dew and gatorade drinks between the ages 6 and 26 I can tell you the long term effects are not good. This intake has resulted in insomnia and digestive issues to name a few.  I would not be surprised if he experienced a 'loss of height' due to inadequate sleep as a child.

I'm seeing a trend.

Maybe the solution is to allow our children self wean. Allow, if not encourage them to nurse to 2 years, 3 years or beyond. Perhaps if we keep them from drinking sugary fruit juices at young age we can prevent the switch to sports drinks and soda when they are older. Maybe we set a good example by drinking water first, juice second and sodas third, if ever.  Make water treat, make milk a treat. Don't use food or juice or soda as a reward system and don't use it as a coping mechanism. Use it as it was intended: to nourish the body and nourish the mind.

Next up?
Women in their thirty's and forty's freezing their eggs. This is not the first time I've encountered this news. There was also a three page article in one of my fashion magazines this month.

Now, I have 2 friends that I will mention here: The first survived cancer in her twenty's. She has frozen eggs waiting for the day she meets her life partner and needs to conceive a child via surrogacy. The other has several reproductive issues and just tried a round of IVF that was unsuccessful. Both are 'prime candidates' for this procedure. And I'm not judging IVF, even if I know that many women could take charge of their fertility naturally by following age-old practices of cycle charting and herb lore to increase fertility without resorting to expensive, invasive procedures that have not been studied in their long-term effects on the children they create.

However, the idea of freezing your eggs so that you can get pregnant in your forty's (or later) because you, for whatever reason, did not conceive during your prime childbearing years frankly scares me. As W gets older and begins searching for his own life partner I will have several questions. What is she like?  Does she love life? Does she have a good sense of humor? Does she feel the same way about having children? Do they share the same faith? Do they have similar morals?  To those I will add: What are your parents like? Does she have siblings? Would you follow the same healthy and active lifestyle? How does she feel about raising children (ie, what are her thoughts on parenting, breastfeeding, etc.)  Yes, some of these questions may seem invasive, I'm not planning on quizzing any girl W brings home. I just want to know that they would be a good match.  I think any parent would want the same for their child.  And any parent who blesses a union without thinking about what is best for their child is, in my opinion, being reckless.

Of course, now I have more to think about.  How was she conceived? If she is one of the thousands of children conceived via IVF or with frozen eggs or sperm how will it affect her? What does that mean for her long term health and what does it mean for the health of my grandchildren? It a complex time that we are living in. Even more everyday I can see the complicated lives we lead. Perhaps this is why I feel a strong desire to get back to my roots, to get back to a simpler and more basic way of life.

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