Welcome to the first post in my series "Making Babies" where I'll be discussing fertility, pregnancy, acupuncture & motherhood. This post here is all about how I think non-judgement is super important when discussing these topics, and the genius concept that we don't need to decide what is best for other people or judge them for not making the same decisions as we do.
Here’s the thing: opinion is not fact.
In fact, facts are not “FACTS”. I mean, OK sometimes they are — like historical dates - but most medical facts are first interpreted and then opinions are formed based on that interpretation. You can find ‘facts’ to support a lot of differing opinions - various studies can come up with various results. This is precisely why you can have two people with exact opposing arguments, both backed up by 'facts'.
I'm going to get meta with you: think about the nature of knowledge. Most things are only true with very specific parameters.
Current pop-medical knowledge, for example, changes as times change and different "facts" come to light.
Did you know women used to be given hormonal shots after giving birth so their milk wouldn't "let down" and this was completely normal, routine and not questioned? Yeah, that was because it was based on someone's opinion about the going medical knowledge, which was considered fact at that time. "Facts" later came out suggesting this...is maybe not...the best standard of practice.
I could go on about facts being quite malleable, but that is not the point of this post.
The point of this post is that everyone has their own opinion, hopefully based on some form of fact or knowledge that they have acquired, and everyone is doing their best to navigate through the endless variations of facts and others' opinions to come up with their own decisions about their life. Decision making is often heavily influenced by instinct or by what feels right for a particular person at a particular time. All of this is OK.
We don't need to decide what is best for other people or judge them for not making the same decisions as we do.
Choosing whether to have children, how to approach fertility, which pregnancy choices to make, the birthing plan to follow, how to raise children, whether to focus on a career, how to balance individual self and family self, and so on, are all topics people, particularly women, must make decisions on.
It is imperative to let each person make their own decisions, based on their own experiences, knowledge and natural proclivity.
I, personally, have never been so aware of judgement between women until becoming pregnant and delving into the world of choices to make as a mother.
This must stop. We are raising the next generation of humans, let's help them understand the inherent ignorance in judging others with opinions that don't exactly match up to ours.
You don't need to force your opinion on others, regardless of how many online articles you've read or how many mommy Facebook groups you've joined. Of course, by all means, inform each other, support each other, and try to open peoples' eyes. But please, never judge or try to force your opinion on another woman, or parent.
You don't walk in her shoes & haven't had her experiences. Usually, we are all just trying our best. Think about it - maybe your facts & opinions are wrong.
All this being said - over the next few months, I'm going to be posting some things I've learned & choices I have made as I've gone down this path towards motherhood. I don't expect you to do the same as I do. I just want to give some information about the options out there.
Please only take what serves you.
Want more info on practicing non-judgement? Try here.
Next in the Making Babies series I'll be talking about breastfeeding choices...
"Yeah, but there's no scientific evidence supporting Acupuncture."
Oh man, for me there is no statement more irksome than this one. It's just so damn false!
If you hear someone say this, please understand you are speaking with a pseudoscientist (yes, I think I just coined a term). They may seem knowledgeable about science, but they are actually completely ignorant and just repeating opinions they have seen or heard without looking at things fairly.
To illustrate why this is so frustrating, I'm going to share a little story with you:
Foolishly, a few months ago I engaged in an online conversation with a self-proclaimed skeptic.
This person not only lumps in Acupuncture with all new-age or alternative medicine (another pet peeve of mine), but also was professing repeatedly on facebook about how Acupuncture is just quackery. Snake oil. Bullshit.
I was able to ignore this for probably 9 posts telling myself to just "let it go", "be wiser", "don't engage" but the last post got my goat.
Finally, I directly asked him why he felt it so important to continually post critical opinions about styles of medicine he doesn't understand. Did he have a bad personal experience? What was the purpose or driving force behind all this?
I knew he wasn't a scientist, or doctor. I knew he had studied arts. I knew he subscribed to websites dedicated to criticizing or searching for fault with therapies and medical practices that are not commonly seen in pop medicine (did I just coin another term?).
So I asked, what gives?
"Well, there is just no evidence supporting acupuncture."
"Mmm, but there is, actually, a lot of evidence supporting acupuncture's efficacy for numerous symptoms and ailments."
I then bombarded the feed with links to study after study. Directed him to the NIH website (National Institute of Health), the WHO website (World Health Organization), sent him to Pubmed where he could search for basically "any medical issue + acupuncture" and see several studies on the topic. Literally, access to tens of thousands of research papers published in medical and scientific journals studying various aspects of Acupuncture and it's use in Medicine.
I explained that Acupuncture is a new modality in North America and that our western standardized method of research isn't historically a Chinese way of thinking. That they handed down and built upon, for thousands of years, a vast body of medical knowledge. That they did this without doing research the way we do -- and that a lot of modern studies are now being done on Acupuncture.
Often studies are done in Asia, so are not readily translate-able and therefore accessible to us English speakers. But there are many, many, MANY English studies now completed with scientific evidence to support Acupuncture.
He responded with a disbelief in the foreign concept of Qi flow and that because the exact mechanism isn't observable, that it is all quackery.
I tried to explain how medicine in general isn't really that easy to pin down. I suggested to understand the body of medicine as it exists now, an ever evolving entity -- he should take a look at the TED talk The Laws of Medicine. How medicine, any kind of it, is not an exact science. How we should be open minded to all types of potential cures and therapies because our current pop medicine can be non-effective, expensive and unnecessarily invasive.
Then. After all that. He said, and I'm not even joking:
"There is just no scientific evidence supporting Acupuncture."
Facepalm. I gave up.
Sometimes people are just totally stuck in their way of thinking without being open-minded to changing their opinion based on new information. I'm sure everyone does this with certain things.
Please be weary of people who think they know everything.
"True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing & in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all."
“How long has it been, it seemed like only 5 minutes?”
“I feel like I’m floating.”
“Did you tip the table?”
“I almost fell asleep, but not quite asleep really.”
These are some of the comments I get from patients at the end of their acupuncture treatments. What is going on is actually an acupuncture induced meditative state — a slowing down of the ever thinking mind, a deep relaxing space between awake and asleep where the most effective healing takes place.
They say the rest during meditation is deeper than the deepest sleep.
During meditation the mind becomes free from agitation, it is calm and serene. You surrender to the constant circus of thoughts and just become an observer for a brief moment. You enter that feeling of comfort and detached thinking. That lull, similar to those moments before falling asleep.
The benefits of meditation are manifold, it helps with stress reduction, improved focus, better memory, pain reduction, increased creativity, improvement in communication, and does really fantastic things to the brain and nervous system.
To see more information about the benefits of meditation, please type ‘benefits of meditation’ into google. The scientific results are astounding.
People often find meditating to be really difficult, which is one reason why acupuncture is so valuable. Not only are the acupuncture points selected to work on meridians in the body to achieve particular medical goals, but also you are in a situation where you basically have to succumb to the relaxation because that is all you can do.
Acupuncture is one of the simplest ways to induce a meditative state. Experience for yourself the deep restorative rest and multifaceted benefits that acupuncture induced meditation can bring.
Starting now, anyone who says there is no scientific evidence supporting Acupuncture knows nothing about Science or Evidence. There, I said it.
Here is a short list of some things to check out to get a better understanding of what all this needle poking is all about.
Some great FB pages to check out:
Acupuncture in Medicine
Trust us, we're acupuncturists
And a few articles:
1) Intro to Acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine http://www.acupuncturetoday.com/abc/
2) 5 most common (desirable) side effects of Acupuncture
3) What is Acupuncture All About???
4) The Taoist Philosophical roots of Acupuncture http://www.acupuncture.com/education/tcmbasics/yinyang.htm