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August 5, 2014

Am I To Blame For The Death of My Daughter?

When you've lost a child and science doesn't know exactly why, you begin to look at your health and your baby-factory-body and start asking some hard questions.

whos_to_blameSome studies say that the neuro tube defect called anencephaly that took my daughter Goldie from this earth might be caused by a lack of folic acid in the first trimester, and since I didn't really take many prenatals in the first trimester while carrying her, you can imagine the compounding guilt that piled on my heart like hot coals right after she died.  I pleaded with God, “Please, let me meet a mother whose baby died of anencephaly who took her prenatal vitamins! Please, Jesus!”  The thought that something as seemingly insignificant as my casualty in taking vitamins had played a part in her death threatened to drive me crazy for days on end.  But within 48 hours of that prayer, I found myself in conversation with a mother who gave birth to an anencephalic son who assured me she took her prenatal vitamins every day without fail.

Believe me, that conversation helped.  But at the end of the day, I actually hadn't done everything I knew to do during my pregnancy, believing that God would protect me as long as I believed, and thinking that giving birth to a baby with no skull happened to ‘other people.'

After Goldie passed and I began to write about my process of grieving, I received a flash flood containing thousands of emails from women who had also lost children—sharing pictures, telling stories, and revealing their deepest pain.  Mother after mother who miscarried.   Mother after mother who find themselves barren.  Mother after mother whose babies had accidents in the womb, or were diagnosed with fatal diseases and watched those same children die in their arms.

As the stories came and came, something inside felt a red flag…..There's something wrong with this picture.  This seems like these stories are becoming more and more common, and they didn't used to be.  

I'm a hippie at heart, as you know from my decision to forego medical ultrasounds and hop in a birthing tub during a home birth, so living an organic, natural lifestyle wasn't something far fetched to me.  Years before I wrote God Loves Ugly and while I struggled with an eating disorder, eating healthy wasn't for the purpose of actually being healthy.  It was tethered to a poisonous addiction to food and obsession with body image.  For several years while God was walking me into a land called freedom, I needed the pendulum to swing far in the other direction for a while, learning to eat anything and everything without shame or fear.  But after a few years of freedom where I might not have consumed an actual nutrient (unless you count french fries a vegetable), God began pulling my heart and behaviors towards a healthy balance of freedom and eating foods my body actually needed to thrive.

And once body weight wasn't a factor and health was the goal, the things I began to learn about our foods in American were both shocking and horrific.  The amount of foods in our grocery store with actual, healthy nutrients are becoming fewer and farther between, and will continue to be that way as long as the FDA is influenced by big business and lobbyists who pay to get their products on the shelves.  Most product ingredients in the center of any regular grocery store begin with sugar, corn syrup, and end with all sorts of words I'll never be able to pronounce.

Because I'm believing for God to knit life in my womb again soon and want to be as healthy as possible when He does—spirit, soul, AND body—there were a few things I needed to do in order to take responsibility for my part of the equation.  Many times in the past, I was so ready for God to do His part, but I didn't do much to make sure I had done mine.  And that just doesn't make much sense, does it?

 

FOOD:

Since Goldie died on March 5, just five months ago, my Studhubs and I have gone primarily Paleo.  When we got into CrossFit, it just seemed to be the natural second step, and because he's the cook in the family and was preparing the meals, I tagged along because I simply wanted to eat.

And I must say, I've never felt better in my life.

Eliminating refined sugar, flour, and most dairy (I say most because cheese will always be my love language!) has completely changed the way I feel.  It's altered my energy, my digestion, and my elimination.  My attempt to go the trendy vegetarian route in college proved a total disaster, and because I'm type O blood and need meats in my diet, the carnivore thing is something I'll always need.

But let's not just talk about the types of foods.  Let's talk about where the foods come from.

Like I said earlier, most foods in the middle of your grocery store are GMO (genetically modified), have little to no nutrients, and are loaded with sugars that spike your energy, and then you crash hard—then needing more of the same bad foods to keep you going.  And don't forget, they're filled with toxic chemicals and ingredients, some of which are banned in other countries.

As I read this today in an article on NaturalOn.com today, I stopped in my tracks:

“Fruits that are non-organic are contaminated with some very dangerous pesticides such as atrazine, thiodicarb, and organophosphates, as well as high nitrogen fertilizers.

Atrazine is banned in European countries but still used here. This is a weed killer that causes severe problems in humans, especially in our reproductive capabilities.”

Our cows are filled with antibiotics, and our chickens are pumped full of  growth hormones (causing all sorts of problems in our children)—all because we want things to be cheaper, bigger, and more convenient.  Our vegetables and fruits are sprayed with poisons banned in other countries, and someone told me the other day that the FDA just approved RoundUp to be used on potatoes in America—which just happens to be another poison that will now be on every french fry and potato chip in America.

When I was a kid just 30 years ago, cancer was a rarity.  And now, if you don't know someone dying of cancer, you're a rarity.  I know several friends my age who are dying of fatal diseases.  So what happened over the last 30 years as cancer, deformities, diseases, and medical problems are at an all-time high, even when medicine has advanced so far?  The US alone spent 3.8 trillion dollars last year in healthcare, but we're discovering more and more problems in our children, our young people, and those who seem to be healthy.

What's the missing link here?

Within our home, we try to avoid GMO foods, white flour, refined sugars, soda, artificial sweeteners, hormone/antibiotic filled meats, and anything that's not organic—especially fruits and veggies.  Do I have a piece of cake at a party from time to time?  Absolutely—and I can tell the difference immediately as the sugar hits my blood, feeling physically terrible.  I'll never use what I know as an absolute, but I definitely want to use it to aid in my life experience, and the life of my family.

This article on 16 Cancer Causing Foods You Probably Eat Every Day is full of invaluable information and will open your eyes to the dangers within many of our foods—dangers that are completely avoidable.

 

TOPICAL SUBSTANCES:

For years, I used antiperspirant deodorant.  And then I realized my body was actually created to sweat, and as I sweated, my body eliminated toxins it needed to purge. Then I learned that there was aluminum in antiperspirant, and realized my armpits were directly by my milk ducts—the milk ducts supplying the sold food for my infant son.

There's been some debate whether or not antiperspirant is linked to breast cancer in women, but here is an excerpt from WebMD claiming that some studies have found a connection:

“A few studies in recent years have theorized that aluminum-based antiperspirants may increase the risk for breast cancer. 

According to the authors of these studies, most breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast — the area closest to the armpit, which is where antiperspirants are applied. The studies suggest that chemicals in antiperspirants, including aluminum, are absorbed into the skin, particularly when the skin is nicked during shaving. These studies claim that those chemicals may then interact with DNA and lead to cancerous changes in cells, or interfere with the action of the female hormone estrogen, which is known to influence the growth of breast cancer cells.”

 

I'm not here to debate whether or not antiperspirant is linked to breast cancer.  But at the end of the day, I simply don't want aluminum going into my body—especially when I'm trying to make a baby.

And almost everything that touches my skin and goes directly into my blood stream is now natural or organic.  I've switched to Caudalie Natural Skin Care, make sure my shampoo is sulfate and paraben free, my deodorant is all natural (which means I have to reapply during the day, but hey, it's worth it).  My soaps are goat soaps and all natural, my lotions are made from things God put on this earth, and I learned from a professional makeup artist that many of the ingredients in our American makeups are banned in other countries.  To find out the toxicity of your makeup, pull out your cosmetic bag, and head over to this helpful website.

 

This blog is getting far too long, and I haven't even written about essential oils and electronics yet, which means, this hippie will have to save that info for another day.

 

So I'll leave you with this.  Am I to blame for the death of my daughter?  That is a question I will never ask myself—because that question will only lead to more pain.  And believe me, I've been through enough pain for a lifetime in the past 5 months.  Instead of dwelling on the past and asking questions that I'll never know the answer to that will most definitely drive me crazy, I have a choice every day to make better choices with what I know, doing as much as I can to make sure my body is as healthy as possible for the children I will carry in the years to come.

Is God responsible for knitting more children together in my womb?  Absolutely.  And as a good steward of my temple and my body, I want to do everything within my power to get ready for the miracle of growing life once again.

 

xx,

CHRISTA BLACK_OFFICIAL

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Responses to “Am I To Blame For The Death of My Daughter?”

  1. I’ve often wondered the same thing about myself – if I was responsible for the miscarriage of my daughter because of my habits. Unfortunately, I allow my depression and anxiety to overshadow any good sense and will power I have in the eating department, and often eat things I know are probably killing me. However, that’s only part of the problem.

    Every time my husband and I have tried to go organic, it doesn’t stick, as we don’t bring in very much income. Going to places like Whole Foods and Earth Fare leave us with absolutely nothing to save because they are so expensive.

    For people (men and women alike) in my situation, what options do we have?

    • Christa Black

      Hey Liz! Making the shift to organic REAL foods as opposed to processed empty calories is always hard at first, but I find it’s much easier the more I’m educated. It’s easier to pick up the organic apples for a bit more when you know what the chemicals on the cheaper ones are doing to your body. That being said….and your mention of a budget….

      I find, it’s been much CHEAPER in the long run because our family makes healthier choices. We rarely go to the doctor, buy prescription drugs, and not only that, but because our bodies are actually getting nutrients, we eat WAY less.

      When I first started the paleo diet, I was extremely concerned that I was going to be staring all the time eating primarily fruits and veggies and clean meats. Wouldn’t I be starving without all the breads, pastas, and sweets? But my initial reaction after a week or so was, “Wow. I’m not hungry at ALL when I eat what I’m supposed to eat.”

      There are always ways to shift to a healthy lifestyle without it breaking the bank. Maybe, cut out all movies (or something comparable) for a month and put that money into clean eating—just seeing how you feel. I’ll try and do a meal planning week where I give recipes, and then you can calculate the ingredients and see if it’s within your budget!

      If you can’t go all natural, then just start small. Begin buying your produce in the organic section, as opposed to everything. Make tiny changes when you can and just see how you feel! And educate yourself as much as possible in the process….it will keep you making good choices!

      I hope that helps. And girl, don’t you dare ‘go there’ in your mind asking those questions. The week I asked that question, it tortured my core. I heard Father saying, “Christa, I’m not asking that question, so why are you?” He didn’t go in the past to bring shame, but He sure was going to give me ways to get healthy in the future.

      Huge hugs!

      xoxo, Christa

      • SO SO thankful for your reply! There’s so much information out there now that it’s easy to get overwhelmed… something I do quite well on my own lol. We’re moving in a couple weeks, so I’ve been thinking about starting over a lot lately anyway. This entry of yours came at the perfect time. (I actually just posted a blog entry myself about food being a chain.)

        My husband cooks as well, so if you have recipes, I’m sure they’d help more than just us.

        It is HARD to let those questions go sometimes, especially when all you see around you are mothers with children. Like, what did they do to deserve a child but not me? What did I do wrong? It’s usually then I realize it has nothing to do with what I did, and everyone’s story is different. God’s timing is perfect!

        Thank you for sharing your life and your grief with so many. I know from personal experience it’s not easy, but there’s strength in numbers 🙂

        -Liz

  2. I’m so glad you aren’t torturing yourself with that question. I know I’ve asked myself that too- wondering what I could have done differently. But in the end, we did the best we could with what we knew, right?

    And eating healthy, whole foods is the FIRST thing a naturopath will address when you go in for any kind of fertility issue- but it’s the last thing an ob will address. After my second miscarriage (which was due to a massive hemorrhage between the placenta and uterus), I decided to have some minimal testing done. I have had a healthy full term baby, she is now 3 1/2. So, what’s with me not being able to maintain a pregnancy now??

    Turns out, I have a fairly common genetic mutation (MTHFR) that causes recurrent miscarriages, clotting issues and neural tube defects. Basically my body isn’t able to break folic acid down to a usable form very efficiently, causing a slew of problems. I was not aware that somewhere 50% of the population has some form of the mutation. 50%!!! Agh! While I’m grateful for a reason, it’s still scary. But, when we do decide to try again, I have tools to help protect the pregnancy.

    Tackling the nutrition part can be overwhelming but I have the mindset that we either pay now (being proactive) or we pay later with health issues.

    Thank you for writing!! God bless you today!

    • Christa Black

      Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry about your losses. ): My heart breaks…and I so get it. I’m so thankful that you have tools to help your body move forward…..and I’ll be praying for you as you do! Another book you might look at is Who Switched Off My Brain by Dr. Caroline Leave, and Blessing Your Spirit by Arthur Burke. Start declaring blessing over your body and your womb each night…..calling each cell into alignment with the kingdom of heaven available to us as believers! We did it every night of my pregnancies and need to start up again even before we get pregnant!

      xoxo

      • Thank you! I love Arthur Burk’s stuff…he has also done a ton of forerunning in the generational “issues” department. Thank you for reminding me, because I need to get back on praying about that. I think I stopped about that issue for a bit- without realizing it. Thank you!

  3. Chelsea Fenton

    I would LOVE if you would show us what is in your makeup bag! I have been switching all my beauty and body products over to natural and organic stuff like you, but I have been having so much trouble doing so in the makeup department.

  4. I have made drastic changes to my diet over the last month. Eliminating processed junk , etc. I love your raw honesty and passion. I try to read/watch stuff about the food we eat but I just become so overwhelmed (personal issue

    • Christa Black

      A good tip I like to use when starting to move into future/fictional ‘freak outs’….is to take a deep breath, and be present in the NOW. You can’t control tomorrow, in fact, none of us are even promised tomorrow! But you CAN make small choices RIGHT NOW that can affect your future. Be present in the NOW. Any time fear starts to move in, or speculations, wrangle those thoughts to the ground. I always say this, but the only thing we get to be overwhelmed with in this earth is the goodness of God. (: Take a moment to be thankful for all you have, asking God for guidance with the little things, step by step.

      In the words of Bob Wylie on What About Bob…..Baby Steps. (:

      XOXOXOOX

  5. Julie Jones Fowler

    To start-i’m a huge fan! In short…I recommend The China Study-most comprehensive nutritional study in history. So compelling-animal products are much more the problem than chemicals (according to the researcher). 90% of the population can not afford organic anything. So, surely Jesus has another plan…i do wholeheartedly agree that organic would be best-but, the majority of the world is not so privileged. After breast cancer at a young age and totally conquered it (after my mom died from it an early age), I did my research. What mattered most was Jesus telling me 4 months before diagnosis to start taking communion every day, and a dream from the Lord about ginger/turmeric/curcummin. Curcummin, in my opinion, is the most important supplement I will ever take-but must have black pepper added to it. Dr’s Best is an excellent brand and has the black pepper. Low vitamin D is one of the biggest culprits with breast cancer-simple blood test reveals. Mine was low. For other diseases, birth defects, etc…while we do our best to do what you said and do our part…the enemy is the thief. You’re going to be just fine and so is your next baby, Christa!!! Blessings from Texas!

    • Christa Black

      Let me commend you…..YOU SO GOT IT RIGHT! Everything in the health department is ‘suggestions’ until you go to the source. When you hear from Jesus on a matter….my my, no blog will ever compete with that! And I love how you listened and found solutions!! THAT IS IT!!!!!! You must teach more people to do what you did—-because it works better than anything!!!!

      I absolutely believe God can protect those who can’t afford solutions. He can do anything! My point in the blog wasn’t to shame people for not being able to afford organic, but to encourage them to do SOMETHING. In a black and white society, we think if we can’t go completely organic, it’s not good enough. But even starting small…doing something…educating yourself to make better choices, especially when the FDA doesn’t really have our health in mind—that’s what we MUST encourage people to do. I have to many emails from women who are barren, and i KNOW that the rate is going up. There are things that we can do, even little things, to make sure we’re moving towards health, even if those little changes have nothing to do with us getting pregnant!

      The China Study is a great book! In my humble, and sometimes uneducated opinion, I’m not sure that 90 percent of the population can’t afford organic. I think that a huge majority of the population doesn’t want to shift a lifestyle of convenience. I know a lot of middle class families who say they can’t afford organic, but they’re not willing to give up drinking soda, or bags of chips, or bags of cookies, or movies. It isn’t always that someone can’t afford something, it’s that they don’t want to afford making changes when it involves giving something ELSE up. But our health MUST be a priority in a world where health in America is on the decline! It takes more effort to prepare meals, to go to the grocery store instead of running through the dollar menu at McDonalds, or going to Costco and a large of processed something-or-other in bulk, and most feel overwhelmed when thinking about it.

      AND I SO GET IT. I do. It feels overwhelming when you’re thinking about turning an entire eating culture that you’re used to upside-down.

      The crazy thing in our family has been, when we actually started cooking, even with better ingredients, we spent almost the same amount than when we kept running through cheap drive through windows and eating out. And even CRAZIER….we ate WAY less. So much less, in fact, I was wondering if I was eating a lot. When my body got the nutrients it needed, I was hungry for about 1/3 of the food I used to crave when eating a lot of empty calories!

      Ok, I’ll stop rambling. HUGS from another fellow Texas. (:

      xoxo

      • Julie Jones Fowler

        Really excellent points, and I so agree! And on the shame thing-never, never thought you were trying to shame anyone. I’ve read your book and follow your blog… you are clearly the Queen of the “no shame” zone! And you’re right – i was probably off on the 90%:) When you speak, people listen so I appreciate so much what you are encouraging people to do! And when you were jammin’ with the JoBros we were there with our only, Hannah (San Antonio)! I guess a hippie can also be a rock star, because you are! Rock on, girl!

  6. Bah! Christa!!! Stop reading my mind and writing it! 6 months since Leilah died of anencephaly. I’m currently cleansing and detoxing as I prep for baby #3. I’m scared. I was just reading yesterday about corn tortillas/corn mold and the link to anen. And coffee and anen… and radiation and anen…

    The more I learn about GMOs, the water we drink, the perfume we wear, the nutrient defient food that’s grown in deficient soil -it can make me a bit neurontic. As a former binger and purger myself it’s a precarious journey. Trusting God that as America wakes up there is a sense of HOPE and not despair. That we repent to our love of the idol of convenience. That we are faithful to treat our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit.

    I’ve been listening to this summit, great info and links. http://thedetoxsummit.com

    You’re amazing Christa. I hope at some point in my life I can bear hug you.

  7. TheCollegeCosmopolitan

    Thanks so much for this insight, Christa! I never knew that about deodorant. Is natural deodorant easy to find? What brand do you use? (ps, I met you at Worship U in Redding and was so blessed by your teachings! You gave my roommate and I a ride up the hill a few times 🙂

  8. Savannah Zara

    So incredibly sorry for your loss. I think you’ve tapped into something huge here. I think people get defeated with trying to make lifestyle changes because it’s hard to know where to start. It’s overwhelming. Small changes are where it’s at. Change food, then look at ingredients we are putting on our bodies. Continually keep educating ourselves on the dangers of chemicals. I recently did a community TED talk about chemicals in our Vaginas. People have no idea what they are putting into their bodies! Really. No idea. So , I commend you for your strength. I honor you as a mother and on your sacred journey of conceiving and birthing. Many blessings.

  9. Hi Christa! I too am on a journey of emliminating foods that are unhealthy for myself and my family. There is one issue that I can’t seem to find peace on…and that’s whether to immunise my son or not. I have come to places of peace on the issue but then I’ll read another article about it that seems to throw me into a spin. I know I need to keep giving it to The Lord to find my rest but I was just curious about what your thoughts are on this topic since you have a son around the same age as mine.

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