High Mamma’s

It’s all over social media: The Stir, The Bump, Babycenter, even breastfeeding advocate sites like Breastfeeding Mama Talk. Mommy confessions pleading for no judgement and for understanding. Throngs of people behind them encouraging them and applauding them for being so brave to “come out.” Quoting psedo-science or poorly understood misconstrued facts. Giving examples of how modern they all are; and quickly shutting down anyone who is a buzzkill by disagreeing. How judgmental and “sancti-momious” art thou who doesn’t agree!

Whats the newest Mommy Confession that’s got everyone going? Using marijuana and other cannabis products while pregnant and/or breastfeeding.

With all the new information we have coming out about medical uses for cannabis, I decided to put on my tolerance hat and research the science myself with an open mind. I am of the mind that my opinion is allowed to change on something should there be sufficient proof that it should change.

After doing some internet research, and getting a very incomplete understanding of the newest research into cannabinoids as well as decades old studies, I decided the only way to get information that was not decades old or agenda driven would be to actually talk to an expert myself.

I emailed several scientists I found after reading a few research papers and finally one emailed me back. He was currently very busy organizing a convention; however he steered me towards one of his collaborators. Dr. Joseph Morgan was gracious enough to give me a phone interview and answer a few questions. Dr. Morgan has been an independent consultant for the pharmaceutical industry for twenty-five years. He has trained in cannabinoid medicine. I also emailed a woman named Rosie who works at a recreational marijuana dispensary in Colorado. She has also worked at a medical dispensary. Most of the technical information contained in this article (unless otherwise sited) is from these two sources.

First, I feel a few definitions are needed.

Cannabinoid: A unique chemical that interacts with the Endocannabinoid system found in animals. Can be found in the cannabis plant, as well as other places. There are anywhere from 70 to several hundred known Cannabinoids; including synthetic ones.

Endocannabinoid: A system in the body that interacts with other systems and has been discovered in the past 25 years. The receptors of this system vary widely in density and shape and that is largely dependent on genetics. The number of receptors found in each person also fluctuates as the body attempts to maintain balance. For example; if someone uses cannabis often they would have less receptors then a person who never uses.

Clean Cannabis: Medical grade marijuana that should be grown under specific conditions. Often grown hydroponically or using coconut bark ideally.

Recreational Cannabis: Marijuana, grown at home or from a dealer or dispensary. Growing conditions may or may not be known. May or may not have traces of pesticides, mold, fungus, bacteria. If grown in soil may contain unsafe levels of heavy metals; at least unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding women as well as fetus/baby.

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol. The cannabinoid found in marijuana that is responsible for much of the “high” feelings many people experience while using recreational marijuana. It causes the body to react and respond in a similar way to cannabinoids found in our bodies, however is NOT the same as the cannabinoids found in our bodies. THC bonds to the naturally occurring cannabinoid receptors (see term Endocannabinoid) in our body.

Synthetic THC: Created by people, this substance is purely THC.

CB1: A relevant cannabinoid receptor in our body; part of the endocannabinoid system. Is activated by THC and Synthetic THC. CB1 receptors decrease with persons who use cannabis heavily.

CBD: Another cannabinoid found in cannabis; a lot of research into this compound. This may be very helpful especially for future medical research. Does not have psychoactive properties of THC, and blocks the CB1 receptor in the endocannabinoid system.

So what does this mean for moms? Specifically breastfeeding moms?

For medical use, using should not be taken lightly. It may or may not be able to help with certain issues. Dr. Morgan specifically sited sufferers of Crohns Disease, saying that medicinal cannabis use may improve the health of the mother overall and reduce the need for more toxic medicines;  therefor would be beneficial to the baby in that way.

Essentially: the benefits in a circumstance like that would outweigh the costs. It is for a well-informed doctor to make this decision with the patient; not a decision someone should just decide on by themselves.

Dr. Morgan was very clear about possible harm from recreational use of cannabis not only to the mother but also being transferred to baby via breastmilk or umbilical cord. He spoke about toxins on the plant or in the plant that would cause harm to mother and child. Specifically we know the effects of pesticides, fungus, bacteria, and mite infestation. He especially warned against “neurotoxicity pesticide contamination issues.” One thing he spoke of that I did not already know was that the plant itself draws in heavy metals from the soil which then goes into the mother’s body and the baby’s. This includes mercury and lead as well as others.

Many of the compounds found in cannabis are fat soluble, which means they do end up in breastmilk, including whatever “tag-alongs” are in it. It should be noted that concentrates (such as oils and wax etc…) will also contain the pesticides of the plant it was derived from.

I also specifically asked Dr. Morgan the difference between cannabinoids found in cannabis and cannabinoids found in the body naturally. He explained that they are not at all the same. He explained the ones the body makes are used for on demand purposes, they remain in the body a few seconds at a time. Those found in cannabis can be active in your system for hours and can be detected in your system for weeks. He also said that on a chemical level they are structurally different. The similarity, he says, is that they both activate the receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

We all know that people react differently to cannabis use. I myself do not find it enjoyable and never “got into it” spare a few experiments in college. I asked Dr. Morgan how we can know if use will effect a mothers ability to care for her child coherently. He said that the receptors for everyone are genetically coded and vary in shape and density and number. At this time their is no way to accurately say how it will effect a mothers ability or not since everyone reacts so differently. Dr. Morgan specifically stated that minimum amounts should be used for medication.

Dr. Morgan did have some very interesting theory’s about cannabinoid deficiency’s in the mother being a possible explanation for why some infants are termed as “failure to thrive.” If you are not familiar with this term; here is a link. If this was the case a prescription of cannabis could possibly help he says. This would require further study of course; of which is currently difficult given the strict government regulations and restrictions on the topic.

I think out of everything I have learned during this project, that is the biggest flag for me. The uncertainty of it all. The bottom line is we do not have a lot of current studies on this subject. The answers are still unclear on exact effects of THC and other cannabis compounds on the developing fetus and nursing child, positive or negative. As I mentioned earlier; in a medical necessity situation the doctor must go over the benefits versus the costs with the patient.

Here is where it gets a bit tricky. As I mentioned earlier, I also interviewed Rosie who has worked at medical and recreation dispensary’s in Colorado. I do not know a lot about whats going on at a consumer level so her insight was very interesting.

In Colorado it is legal to sell cannabis products to pregnant and nursing mothers. Rosie said she has sold to pregnant moms and said, “I assume it will be used responsibly.”  She tells me that from what she knows both medical and recreational dispensary’s grow product in soil. She prefers the taste of cannabis grown hydroponically. I myself was quite alarmed at the information that medical dispensaries grow product in soil considering what I now know about heavy metals in the plant. She says the main differences between a medical dispensary and a recreational dispensary are the amounts being sold and the amount of taxes for each sale.

From what I have learned it seems more regulation is needed on a local level. More research is needed which means less regulation on a national level. More awareness is needed. More education on the subject.

Dr. Morgan hopes that in the future of this research we could see a higher quality of research and a better safer cleaner product being used. This means a lot of the government restrictions that has held up the last few decades are actually causing more harm than good at this point.

One thing is very clear it seems; no matter where this research takes us in the future, RIGHT NOW, unless medically nessisary, pregnant and nursing moms should not use cannabis products. The know effects of cannabis with “dubious purity” are known for sure and none of it is good.

Who knows; a few years down the road our understanding of this might become clearer. In the meantime, why take any unnecessary risk?

 

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Dr. Joseph Morgan is currently working on “legal and safer plant mimicking for FDA approval” in response to some of the issue mentioned above.

Rosie is newly engaged and living life! Congratulations Rosie!

A GIGANTIC THANK YOU to both Dr. Morgan and Rosie for helping with this post!!!! It is truly appreciated!

The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

One of the most distressing characteristics of education reformers is that they are hyper-focused on how students perform, but they ignore how students learn. Nowhere is this misplaced emphasis mor…

Source: The Disturbing Transformation of Kindergarten

Homeschooling Huzzah!

We are half-way through our first year homeschooling.

I have to say, I am really opening my mind to some cool new ideas; new to me anyway. At first, I started by trying to mimic the public schoolroom. Strict rigid schedule, desk, worksheets, etc…

That all really quickly fell apart, and my stress level skyrocketed.  Pushing her to keep up we both were miserable. Add in our regular play dates, holidays, birthdays, LIFE and my homeschool vision was just crumbling. I kept thinking, she has to keep up with the public school!

But then… does she? Really? Isn’t the point of me homeschooling because I want something different for her beyond the industrial machine of mass schooling?

I live in a “strict” state; who’s homeschooling regulations are comparatively stricter than other states. Homeschoolers in my state are more regulated and “watch-dogged” then say someone in a comparatively lax state. I have to declare my intent at the beginning of each year in the form of a notarized document, the district gives me a list of mandatory subjects I have to cover and at the end of the year we need to be evaluated by a professional; including examples of learning and progress. We also are required by our local district to give proof of medical services and provide a projected learning schedule and number of days we will do minimum. Being that my original intent was not unschooling, and I have never experienced homeschooling regulations in another state I had no problem doing all of this. However there are those who have objections to such things.

We have done so many fun things so far this year. I am currently considering not only doing homeschooling next year for first grade, but also going to a more year-round approach. The curriculum I wrote ends on May 31st 2016, however I am really considering writing up a lite work summer curriculum.

The further I get into this homeschool web the more I learn, saying nothing of what my Kindergarten girl and two toddlers are learning. I originally began feeling forced into this, as she misses the cut-off for entry based on age. I huffed and growled and decided that fine my smart and very ready Kindergartner can just be homeschooled this year and if I do a crappy job then no harm no foul she will be ahead for next year.

It is so much more now. It has become in such a short amount of time our way of life and as I envision our future I see nothing but possibilities. I am amazed how easily it has fit our lifestyle and our dreams of the future. Especially since I have begun to change MY attitude of what “school” means. Learning is so much more then just “schooling.” That is such an obvious thing to say. I grew up “in the system.” A daycare baby before my third month of life and put into Kindergarten at age four and that’s how it was. I saw the flaws even as a child and especially as a teenager but that’s the way it’s done right?

It doesn’t have to be. I love that we get to sleep in. I love that we don’t have to miss family time together. I love seeing her learning and being a part of that. I love how easy it is some days. (Yes, it’s REALLY hard some days too!!!) I love that we can do this anywhere and are not “stuck” here. I love everything new that I am learning and the relationship I am continuing to build with my babies. I love how happy she is to do her lessons (most days!)

I am in no way implying I can teach a classroom of kids, or even that public schools are bad places. Heck no. I am saying that this works for our family and I am genuinely excited for the possibilities and growth we are going through.

I can’t wait to see where this takes us!

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Working on her Flamingo habitat.

Stories About Circumcision: One Midwife’s Perspective

This is great:

Wake Up, Mama!

circ photo

Circumcision can be a touchy subject. Parents are in the unenviable position of having to make this important and permanent decision for their sons with a lot of conflicting information. Those who choose to fully investigate the issue find an overwhelming spectrum of opinions amidst the facts, and most will encounter heated debate in the media, their social circles, or even within their own families. They hear from staunch defenders on medical, cultural, or religious grounds. They hear from others who consider the procedure unnecessary but relatively benign.  They hear from those who see it as a human rights violation, ethically no different from female circumcision common to other cultures.

As you may have guessed, I am among those who hopes cultural change will make circumcision a distant memory. In the future, I suspect we will all be scratching our heads in disbelief that this is what we used to…

View original post 2,384 more words

Talkin’ ’bout Breastfeeding Mama Talk

You all know I am a big breastfeeding advocate; fairly active on FB sites as well as the real world. I am asking my friends and followers who “like” Breastfeeding Mama Talk to “unlike” the page.

Here is why: The other day they posted an article I disagreed with. As you do on FB, I commented such. Then went to bed and didn’t think about it anymore.

Not only was my comment deleted but the I am no longer able to comment or “like” any of the posts they post (but I can still see them.) This means the mod has restricted me. I was wondering why my seemingly unpopular opinion was in such minority. Now I know; pretty sure they are deleting comments that disagree. Not cool in my opinion, especially for a site that claims to promote discussion. It seems they only want one side of the story.

One comment in disagreement with what they posted and suddenly I am all but banned outright. Not the kind of page I want to support. I obviously cant tell you what to do. But I thought I would share this anyway just to have the information out there.

For full clarity; I posted what some would call a “judgey” post. However, I have seen MUCH worse online and on this page in the comments. I do not have a copy of what I said exactly; I didn’t think it was going to be delete worthy so I didn’t think to save it. The gist was to stop enabling moms who get high while pregnant and breastfeeding. (Actually, I am thinking about blogging this topic.) To stop telling the mom who cant get through the day without getting high (Quoting here) that its OK. To stop thinking this is a “cake or death” situation that only has two options (get high/abuse/use a substance of some kind or die/suffer) I also quoted a scientific article that Breastfeeding Mama Talk themselves kept posting in the comments as if to justify this enabling; copy/pasting direct quotes from the article which clearly states the opposite of what the original article says.

The mods also deleted all my reply comments about how the cannabinoids found in breastmilk are in the same family however have key chemical differences then the cannabinoids found in pot. There are over 70 different types of cannabinoids and yes breastmilk (as well as other systems in our body) produce various types of cannabinoids and we thus have receptors for them this does NOT mean that getting high from THC is healthy or good for a developing baby. But that information and more is for the blog I really should write on this subject.

Anyway; it is here for you to decide for yourselves. Do you think it is right that Breastfeeding Mama Talk is apparently deleting comments that disagree with them? If so; let them know; spread the word and “unlike.”

A Brief Catch-You-Up

Hello Hello Again Internet-land!

Here I am again. With a 6 month old asleep on my chest, a 2 year old napping in bed and a 4 year old having quiet play-time.

Yes, we did it again. Little Gooey joined Mogwai and Pumpkinhead in our wonderful family of five humans and two felines. She came comparably quickly a few days before Christmas. Hubby then promptly got himself neutered. Except; the way they do it to humans so really not a “neuter.” I will perhaps write a blog about her birth story later.

I am back where I belong zookeeping again as well. I found a wonderful facility that has been so flexible to allow me to continue to spend the majority of my time with the kids; but still let me work enough to be sane and have some of my pre-baby identity back. I am very pleased with my current work situation.

We started our homeschooling journey a few months back. Well, I started it as I am doing all of the preparatory work. We have been introducing the concept of schooling at home to Pumpkinhead and she seems fine so far. We don’t officially start until September 1st. I will try to blog about it. We have a lot of reasons for homeschooling, none of which I am going to go into with this entry.

Hubby is enjoying his creative freedom at work and getting to do what he loves; cook for people and make them happy.

We celebrated five years of marriage this year. Hooray! Went to the spa together, got a fancy-schmancy upscale hotel room. Ended up with Gooey staying with us that night as she wouldn’t eat for Gramma and wouldn’t sleep. Such is having kids! We still had an amazing time and I can not even begin to imagine how I got so lucky as to have the life I have now.

We also a while back moved into a better and bigger apartment with an amazing back yard.

I also turned 30 this year… mixed feeling on that of course. On one hand, looking back at my accomplishments and what I have lived through I feel pretty proud. On the other hand I feel like I have so much more to do! For now, happy in my space.

January 2015

January 2015

My Sleep Deprivation

First the good news. Hubby got a promotion! While it is not the giant raise we were hoping for, it is certainly better than what we have been barely making ends meet with the past year. It will still take at least this month to get our finances figured out but we are back on the right track anyway!

Also, CHRISTMAS SOON. We have the tree up right now. No lights yet but we have it decorated besides. That makes me feel pretty good. The house smells amazing; that nice woody pine smell. I managed to get the kids some really nice gifts, not a lot but what I did get is pretty nice. They will both be happy. (Pictures after the Holiday)

On to baby issues. Mogwai is getting so big, his first teeth, sitting up on his own. He is even starting to want to explore (read: move!) and is so squirmy. He is also having a bit of a sleep problem. We try to be fair here as far as letting people rest. So hubby and I have been taking turns. With Pumpkinhead, Hubby worked until 2-3 am sometimes so bedtime was all on me no matter what. Consequently I was the only one who could get her down to bed. I love that his new job he is home in time to help me put her to bed and to help with him all night.

We have been putting him in his swing to sleep. By we, I mean Hubby. As Mogwai wont let me put him down in the swing. For one, if he sleeps near me he wakes constantly wanting to nurse and wont sleep unless I am holding him all night. Which is wonderful, but not very restful. For two, I can get him to fall asleep no problem, but when it comes time to put him down (crib or swing) he wakes every time. Every. Single. Time. You can see the dilemma. On nights like last night when Hubby had to be up at 5 am to open the restaurant I stayed up and took charge of Mogwai. Needless to say, it did not go well. We ended up both finally  asleep on the couch, Mogwai nestled in my arms, me partially asleep partially awake him out like a light. He even slept thru Hubby leaving for work. That is, until Pumkinhead woke up at 7 am and came downstairs. Also needless to say, everyone is pretty cranky this morning. Except Pumpkinhead. She slept like a hibernating chipmunk all night. So she is pretty happy. That’s a relief anyway.

I have no idea what we are going to do about this sleep situation. I also have to work tonight so I wont be sleeping tonight either, or tomorrow night. Again; work. Whats the saying about being able to sleep when you dead? That makes me wonder; if dying is sleeping then where do you wake up when you are rested?

I love watching his personality develop. He is so determined and stubborn. He loves to snuggle, and he is kind of lazy. I miss my little newborn too though. It goes so fast. I feel like this whole summer just flew by. This past year has just been such a blur. I almost don’t feel like I even have the same life. Mostly because I don’t. So much change in such a short time. I have been working on trying to slow down. Trying to live in the moment. Trying not to freak out about the future. Trying to enjoy the now. You get the idea.

As always, it’s one day at a time.

PS… we still don’t have a mattress; and the air mattress has sprung a hole. One day we can have a big people bed again! Lets hope for it before Christmas!

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