Liz Talks, Episode 37: Q&A – sun protection from food; birthing locations & family opinions; sleepovers & more!

Liz talks her “Family Camp” plans and the sprinter van conversion process; plus answers questions about sun protection from food, birthing locations (and whose opinions matter), and why her 7 year old doesn’t do sleepovers. 

Liz Talks Episode 37

  • Updates [2:13]
  • Q&A: Food as sunscreen [15:26]
  • Q&A: Home birth vs. hospital for first [26:51]
  • Q&A: Magnesium lotion [41:25]
  • Weekly Overshare [42:18]

TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to Liz Talks. I’m Liz, and I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner and best-selling author; but here, I’m 0% professional and 100% mom, spouse, friend, and over-analyzer. We’re going to talk food, beauty, family, fitness, mental health, friendship, marriage, and everything in between in this season of Liz Talks, and I’m so glad you’re along for the ride.

Remember; this is a podcast about thoughts, feelings, and opinions. And I definitely do not give individual, personal, or medical advice. 

This is episode 37, topic: Q&A; family camp, back to school, food based sun protection, birthing locations, and sleepovers. 

In case you missed it, last weeks’ episode 36 was an interview with doula and birth plan advocate Elizabeth Joy Presta. She’s fantastic. She just has the best energy, so I hope you loved that one. 

Before I begin, I want to thank Arrowhead Mills because they sponsor this podcast! I made blueberry pancakes this morning with their simple pancake mix and it was so easy. The next time you go to the store, I’d love to have you support a company that supports my work and look for Arrowhead Mills products. You can also find them on Vitacost.com. 

I also want to remind you about an affiliate that I absolutely love, and that’s Vibrant Body Company. I’m getting so much feedback from folks who have heard me talk about it, and either gone on to do a bra fitting virtually with Heidi; you don’t have to take your clothes off, don’t worry. Or just ordered directly, and been so happy with the comfort, and the quality of their new bras, their underwear, and their tanks. 

So, please do not keep wearing a bra that is uncomfortable and restrictive and awful. Go to Www.RealFoodLiz.com/Vibrant, and use cod LIZ15, all caps, for 15% off their amazingly comfortable, no wire, certified clean bra. Yes, that is a thing. Their buttery soft shelfy tank, which I wear constantly, and their super comfortable underwear. 

www.RealFoodLiz.com/Vibrant. Even if you think you’re good with what you’ve got, I am sure what you’ve got is nowhere near as comfortable and functional as this. My Vibrant bra is more comfortable than most of my sports bras, so there you go. 

  • Updates [2:13]

Alright, some updates. This episode will air while I am gone at family camp! So hopefully nobody needs anything. Because I’m going off the grid for four days to go to this family camp that I’m so, so, so excited about. 

I used to go as a kid to this camp in Missouri near the Ozarks. And it was the same camp that my dad had gone to. And when I was a kid, not only did I go to this camp; this sleepaway camp for two weeks at a time, from the time I was in first or second grade. But we also would go as a family at the end of the summer to their family camp program. 

So it’s a lot; mostly the same stuff that they do with the kids at camp, but you’re actually doing it as a family. So I’ve started to feel lately that my 7-year-old is just so; she’s all about other people. Which makes me kind of sad. I’m definitely mourning it. But she doesn’t want to play with me. She doesn’t want to do stuff with me. She wants to go be with her friends. She wants to play across the street with our amazing neighbor kids. They’re awesome. I’m so grateful for them. They’re basically like a little camp on our street. 

But I thought what we really need to do is be able to get away, just extract ourselves from our lives, and go do these things. I can’t convince her to go horseback riding with me when the kids are across the street, and they might be able to play. But if we’re kind of extracting ourselves from our lives, and going to this camp, we’ll be doing horseback riding, crafts, swimming. They have an amazing water slide. They have this whole set up at their lake where you can learn to water ski without actually even needing a boat. 

So, it’s just going to be incredible. I’m so excited. And I’m so nostalgic for it. I keep watching the video on the website about the camp. And I just get all; I just get kind of welled up inside. Because I’m so excited to go back and just remember a simpler time in life. Go back to something that’s really familiar. I feel like sometimes traveling and doing trips with family; it’s like you’re venturing out into the unknown. And I feel like we’ve got the best of both worlds, here. It’s going to be really exciting. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be outdoorsy. But it’s also something that I at least remember. I at least know a little bit about. So it just feels good for my soul. And I’m so excited to take everybody there.

The fun thing is; when we went to family camp as kids, we stayed in the regular just basic screened in cabins with ceiling fans, and bathrooms. Which was nice. But really basic bunk beds, that type of thing. But since I’ve been there; it’s been 30-something years. They’ve added all of these air conditioned rooms. So we actually, since we’re bringing the 2-year-old; we’re all going. I thought it would be better if we did an air conditioned room this time. And maybe once the little one is a little bit older, and knows to complain when she’s getting overheated at night, that we’ll try a cabin and we’ll do the full experience. I definitely want to do that. 

But, for now, we’re going to go. We’re going to take advantage of some air conditioned rooms. And we’re going to bring the whole family there. They’ve even got childcare for the little one. So myself, my husband, and my 7-year-old can go out and do stuff, the three of us, and have some good times there.

So I can’t wait for that. If anybody out there has done something like that, and had a good experience, let me know. (Don’t tell me about the bad experiences). Because I don’t need to know that right now. We’re committed. We paid for it and we’re leaving in a week. A week from when I’ve recorded this podcast, not a week from when this podcast airs. If you’re listening to this, I am there now, probably roasting in 95 degree heat. But also having the time of my life.

And another good thing about it, is I’d like to send the 7-year-old there next year, when she’s 8 and going into third grade. Oh my gosh; that’s crazy. Having a third grader. But I would love to send her there then, for sleepaway camp without us for a couple of weeks. And I think it will help. She seems to be the type of kid that needs to know what she’s anticipating; have a lot of information and know what to expect. So making it familiar to her in that way I think is going to be really great. So I cannot wait for this. 

And wish me luck, if you’re listening to this podcast while I’m there! It should be really, really fun. My husband is sort of on-board. He’ll have a blast, though. I remember when my dad used to go horseback riding; he hated it. Hated horseback riding. But he did it for us. So I know my husband can do the same.

Alright; another fun little thing that happened recently. And I got the funniest feedback about this through Instagram. We, the last three years, I think, have had a company called Goats on the Go, bring goats out to our house, fence them in with portable electric fencing, and then just let them loose on our entire lot. And our neighbors lot. To eat up all the poison ivy, just to eat down all the foliage that explodes in the spring and the summer. And it’s really a pesticide free, or herbicide free way to take care of our lot. Clear it out. Do the restructuring of what’s going on back there. Making sure the native plants stay established. And it’s so, so fun.

And what’s really fun about it is; well, number one, I’ll admit. I didn’t ask for permission from the HOA, I just did it. And now a bunch of other folks out where we live in our neighborhood are also having the goats come to their lots. I live on a lake, so a lot of the lots are really rocky. They’re kind of very steep, or just kind of interesting lots. There aren’t a whole lot of just grassy front yards. So it’s really fun to see these goats out here at all these different lots clearing out the weeds, the poison ivy, and all of that stuff without noxious herbicides and more environmental detrimental methods. So that’s been really fun. 

The company, I don’t know if it’s national. But it’s called Goats on the Go. And I highly recommend, if you have a situation like mine where you need to clear out some of your lot but you just don’ feel like you can do it yourself, or you’d like to do it a little bit more naturally; Google something like rent goats in your area and see if anybody can come out and do this. It’s quite affordable. Just a couple hundred bucks. And it’s been amazing. Not only is it fun for everybody that comes and looks at the goats, but it’s also a really nice way to get that taken care of without a whole lot of effort on my part.

And finally, my next update is; I’m guessing a lot of folks have gone back to school. Our school actually doesn’t start until after Labor Day; which is a good and a bad thing. It’s kind of tough when everybody else goes back to school in the middle of August, and then we’ve got a couple of weeks where nothing is going on and no kids are available to play. But I do really like that we get a full three months of summer.

For folks who aren’t familiar; I live in the Midwest. I live in Kansas. So I think we’ve got a pretty standard school year. It’s not like Arizona or some of those places that do more of a year-round type of format, with a couple of months, or a couple of weeks off in the summer and then back to school and back into the air conditioning. 

Usually, it’s June, July, and like 10 or 11 days of August and the kids are back to school. But our school does things a little bit differently. So we won’t even be going back until after that first week in September, after Labor Day. And it’s just so strange the way time has accelerated. 

My daughter just keeps getting older. And my littlest one just keeps getting older, too! And it just blows my mind how fast it goes. And I’m sure there are many of you who have older kids who are just nodding with me right now. Like; where did the time go? But once again. Gosh, it’s so strange that we’re already almost through the summer. It’s just not ok. Especially once you finish two, three, four; for us it was 6 weeks of day camp here in our community. Once that’s done, all of a sudden you look around and you’re like; oh. Summer is almost over! 

So, I hope everybody is having a good experience going back to school. Everybody is adjusting well. You can pray for me, because the last 10 to 15 days of August are going to be extremely interesting. And, if you’re not following me on Instagram yet, you totally should. Because right after family camp, our plan is to skate right through town, pick up our sprinter van conversion. Which I talked about in a very early episode of the podcast. That we were converting a sprinter van into a camper type thing.

I don’t know all the terms that I’m supposed to know. My friend, Laura Brunner, from the Modern Mamas podcast, traveled and lived in her van for quite some time. With kids, too. Kids and dogs. And I’m going to have to get her on the line and hear all of her recommendations about how to do that. So I don’t know all the terms. I know there’s a lot of #VanLife terminology that I need to learn.

Apparently, we need to name the van? Which we’ve kind of contemplated a couple of ideas. One of my nearest and dearest friends and I were talking about how we needed to name it the Doghouse, and let men that are in the doghouse with their wives rent it for the evening {laughs} when they’re asked to give a little bit of space. We figured maybe that would be a good idea? I don’t know. You all will have to help me name it. Come over to Instagram and see. 

But I’ll be sharing about that. Hopefully we actually get it. We’re in the very end stages of the conversion and it keeps getting pushed back and pushed back. For many reasons. That I totally; it’s frustrating, but I totally understand. Because I have had so many projects that I think I set a really generous deadline for, that I give myself plenty of time for any unforeseen circumstances. And it never fails; something happens that I have to push it back, push it back, push it back, most of the time entirely out of our control. 

Maybe that’s a small business thing; I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that just some of us who run our own things; which would include the person that’s doing the conversion on our sprinter van; he’s a small business owner. He does everything himself. I think there’s just a point at which we can’t do things at the pace or with the same resource structure that super large businesses do. And of course, the world; and me included! I’m used to Amazon prime culture. I’m used to knowing when I’m going to get something, expecting it, and getting it when I expect to get it. And that’s hard. That’s really hard.

So I’m trying to get used to giving other folks grace about this; because I certainly need to ask for grace from all of you. I am confident it’s going to be done right. And I hope when this happens with me, you all will give me grace knowing that whatever it is I’m asking for grace for is going to be done right, as well. But I think it’s going to be really great. 

And what we did was we actually handed a; I didn’t want to think about it too much. I didn’t want to agonize over the floor plan. So basically, I bought a floor plan from Sarah and Alex James. Their Instagram is @CustomCraftedVans, I’m pretty sure. So I basically just bought a layout from them, handed it over to the person that’s doing our conversion, and said; can you just do this? He said, yep. I can do that. Modified a few things a little bit. Made some substitutions that he thought would be better for us, around materials and what refrigerator, what toilet we were getting. And he was on his way.

So it should be really cool. And I’m hoping by now; or at least by the end of family camp, we will have our van. And we are planning on taking it; I know this sounds crazy. But we’re planning on taking the sprinter van straight from family camp, Kansas City area, in the middle of August straight to Phoenix, Arizona. 

And I know that sounds like a strange time of year to do that, but we’ve got friends there who we usually visit over spring break. For many reasons, we didn’t do that this year. Super busy; also the fact that traveling to Arizona during spring break is expensive enough as it is, and also the fact that the Kansas City Royals do spring training in that area right around that time. So flights from Kansas City, in particular, are really expensive. Not to mention lodging, and all of that.

So we didn’t go during spring break this year. And we could make it happen in August. So basically, we’re going to swim a lot in the morning. Stay in the house during the afternoons. Hang out with our cherished friends for a few days. And then I’m going to have a couple of really exciting meetings in the Phoenix area. One on a really exciting, super top secret project that I’m going to be kicking off here really, really soon. It’s going to be so amazing. I’m so excited about it, but I’m trying to keep the lid on it because I don’t; like I said before. I don’t want to set any deadlines or make any promises until I really know what it’s going to entail.

And also, hopefully another meeting and potential podcast with a skincare formulator that I have been using for more than a decade. I absolutely love their work. And I’m hoping to be able to sit down, have a meeting with them, and also maybe even have a little podcast. 

Ok. Those were a lot of updates. Hope you’re still with me. 

  • Q&A: Food as sunscreen [15:26]

Let’s move on to our Q&A for today. Question one for me is; “I would love to hear any research or thoughts behind food or diet serving as a sort of sunscreen or protection against the damage of UVA rays.”

This was a great question. And I think a lot of us in the holistic heath community have probably heard that coconut oil, and astaxanthin, which I’ll talk about in a minute, can be protective. And this is true to a point.

But; there are also other compounds in food that might increase your resistance to burning and damage. So I’ll give a little rundown of what we do know. And this was all with the help of my researcher, Amanda Torres. She pulled a ton of papers and some information for me, and I kind of pulled from them the basics. And after I get through all of this, if you’re still interested in hearing more, I can definitely do a more in-depth podcast on it. Just let me know, either my sending me a message on Instagram or filling out the form at www.RealFoodLiz.com/AskLiz

Ok. So, from what I gathered, this has been studied. And it is a thing. But how it unfolds in real life is going to be highly individual. Real life is not a lab. And exposures, skin types, durations, sensitivity, cloud cover. There are tons of things that cannot be controlled for in a lab. So unless you really know yourself and your skin, this is not something I would rely on solely for sun protection. But it is really interesting, nonetheless. 

So, research appears to still be early; it’s ongoing. But some studies do suggest that certain compounds in foods and beverages might help boost the skin’s defenses against UV rays. So in particular, this would be, first of all, carotenoids. Lycopene from red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables. And interestingly, another point for dietary fat; olive oil seems to increase the bioavailability of lycopene. 

So lutein and zeaxanthin also seem to have similar affects. And most people have heard of those. I think those are probably fairly well known in the mainstream; in particular, lycopene. 

Now, astaxanthin is another one that I mentioned a moment ago. It’s the red pigment in salmon, lobster, and shrimp. And reviews of scientific papers have found that taking 3 to 6 mg of astaxanthin supplements per day for 4 to 16 weeks; {laughs} that’s a big window; did help protect skin against UV damage. 

And here’s something that’s kind of interesting about this. And when I talk about green tea in a minute, it’s going to be a different situation. But it’s actually; number one, taking an actual supplement versus what I’m going to talk about with green tea where separating what was considered to be the active compound from the overall food actually ended up canceling the effect. 

But taking 3 to 6 mg of astaxanthin, in a supplement, separate from the actual food it comes in, actually does seem to have benefits when you’re talking about protecting from UV damage. And the thing that I found that was interesting is that it’s actually pretty easy to do. The astaxanthin supplement from Vital Choice, for example, contains 4 mg per soft gel. So it’s not like you’re going to have to be taking quadrillions of soft gels to have any kind of impact. It’s really one, maybe two soft gels that would have the intended effect.

And again; that time window, 4 to 16 weeks, is kind of broad. But for a long time I actually did keep astaxanthin supplements on hand for this very reason. I still probably have quite a few of them. Does anyone else end up having a supplement refrigerator? Like a secondary refrigerator that ends up completely filled up with tinctures and supplements? Because I’m guilty of that. 

But it’s not something I’ve tried for quite some time. And my location; my exposures. I live at a lake now. All of that has changed pretty dramatically. So I don’t know that I could apply any of my previous experiences to my current lifestyle. But still; very interesting. 

Studies also looked at the effect of astaxanthin on superficial signs of aging; like sunspots and wrinkles. And the effects were positive, too. So I don’t know what the potential detriment to long-term use of something like astaxanthin would be; in general, those kind of really specific isolated type supplements, my instinct tends to be short term only. Not something you would do every day forever. That seems to be kind of a recipe for throwing something else off. 

I have no science to support this with reference to astaxanthin, although it could certainly happen with nutrients like vitamin A or vitamin D when they’re taken exclusively outside of that matrix of other nutrients that they generally come with in food. Or, for example, away from the other nutrients just in daily life that they would be interacting with in the body. 

I don’t know what the status of that on astaxanthin is, but I think its probably worth thinking about. And probably, if you’re doing the astaxanthin thing, just maybe doing that in the lead-in to summer. Maybe for a couple of months; something like that. That’s probably how I would handle it. And then tapering off again.

There’s also vitamin C and vitamin E; both antioxidants. Although I will say, I think it can be difficult to source really good vitamin E supplements. And that’s something I need to do more research on. 

Some studies also seem to indicate that supplementing with Omega-3s might help protect the skin from sun damage. But here’s what I’ll say about that; I can’t help but wonder whether some of these nutritional measures, when they’re studied, if they’re actually looking at a scenario where it’s not the compounds themselves that are magical. But the fact that eating them maybe corrects an imbalance. Eating them or taking them corrects an imbalance caused by our modern lives. 

So, maybe we’re supposed to be eating lots of potent antioxidants, and thereby getting protection from UV damage just by virtue of a more ideal diet. Maybe that’s something that just kind of happened by virtue of living your life; the daily course of your life at some point in history. 

But in modern life, it’s just tough to do that. We don’t get as many nutrients from food as maybe our bodies really need. So maybe it’s bringing us back to baseline that’s really doing the job. Maybe we’re supposed to have a certain level of resistance from sun damage that we just don’t have because of modern lives. And now we’re looking at all these substances that are not miracle substances. But maybe just bringing us back to some kind of baseline that we needed to be at in the first place.

And with Omegas, I can’t help but wonder if it’s not really ideal to focus on adding more Omega-3, but rather lessening our exposure to polyunsaturated fats in general. Most definitely Omega-6. To bring our inflammatory processes back under control. 

This is something I talked about in brief in my book, Eat the Yolks. And then I think a lot of people are talking about now; I think the prometabolic community seems to be addressing this. This is something that Ray Peat has been talking about forever. And all the folks that sort of discovered Ray Peat long before myself or anybody else. This idea that we just need to minimize polyunsaturated fats. Period. So, maybe less Omega-6; not just more Omega-3, would make our skin more resistant to damage. 

So it’s like you’ve got a half a cup of something bad, and to dilute that bad thing you pour in something good. Maybe if we had less bad in the first place, we wouldn’t need to dilute it so much. So for that matter, maybe the thing we consider good is only good in that context, where it opposes or dilutes the bad. 

I will look into this more. I’ve totally lost my train of thought at this point. But again; if you’re interested in hearing more about this in particular, or about sun food protection, that type of thing, you can go to www.RealFoodLiz.comAskLiz. I’m happy to put my researcher on it and ask some more in-depth questions about it if people are really going to feel like it’s applicable to their daily lives. 

So I said I would talk about green tea. And let me do that quickly. There are some polyphenols; they’re found in green tea, dark chocolate, potentially coffee. Although decaf doesn’t have the same associations, which is interesting.

These compounds might also help, but what some of the literature actually says about it is; {laughs} the participants drank, this is going to be a quote, “A liter of green tea containing 1402 mg of green tea catechins daily for 12 weeks and found it had skin protective benefits after 6 weeks. Participants who drank the tea could be exposed to UV light longer before experiencing skin reddening. After 12 weeks, the benefits were even greater and included better skin elasticity and structure, reduced water loss from the skin, increased blood flow in the skin, and higher serum flavonoid concentration. However, a separate study in which participants took capsules of 1080 mg of green tea catechins per day for 12 weeks found no benefit.” So end of quote.

What’s notable here is 1) separating what is thought to be the active compounds from the traditional preparation. So taking a capsule versus drinking the tea. It didn’t have the same effect. This could be for a lot of reasons, whether it’s the added hydration from the liter of liquid or something else. 

Second of all; a liter of green tea every day for 12 weeks is a lot. It’s just a lot. And I don’t know if it’s realistic or not. I’d say for me, probably not. But worth it? Maybe for some people. I do know that drinking really concentrated home brewed green tea can be really helpful for acne and for; I think it’s effect on sebum production. So for some people; especially people that are kind of trying to do more than one thing with their resources. Maybe that would be helpful or interesting. Maybe you just make some cold iced green tea overnight or something like that and drink your liter of it every day. 

But a full liter of green tea every day for 12 weeks; I doubt I could manage that. And I think that’s probably one of the issues with a lot of these. You actually need probably more than would be realistic, just in the natural course of things. You’d have to probably really plan and be really vigilant about it. 

And that just brings me back to the fact that it’s just a bummer that our food is so nutrient poor. Even the really good stuff. Grown in soils that are a little more depleted. It’s just a bummer that we have to experience this sort of decline in our food quality and our desire to make; grow, harvest, and even flat out make really good, nutrient dense foods. I think that’s a real indictment of our modern lives. It’s hard to even find time or the willingness to do that stuff. And I think it probably affects us in a lot of ways, besides just potential vulnerability to the sun. 

  • Q&A: Home birth vs. hospital for first [26:51]

Alright, question two. “Hey Liz! I’ve been relistening to your podcast episodes, specifically about the birth of your second. I’m trying to decide what I want to do for my birth. I met a wonderful midwife, but she only does home birth, which is what I thought I wanted. But after talking to my friends and family, 99% of them hate the idea and don’t support it. It’s a very heavy feeling. I’m such a people pleaser, but at the same time I know I need to do what’s right with my gut. Would you recommend hospital or birth center for the first birth, then see if you’d want to home birth for your future children? How did you break the news to your family about home birth? I just want a low intervention birth, but in case of emergency, I’m fine with whatever it takes. Do you suggest parallel care? Midwife isn’t covered by insurance, but OB/GYN is. I’m sorry for all the questions, I just love your content and I think you have great perspectives.”

I feel like I have a lot to say about this. And I’m probably going to jump around a little bit. If folks have not listened to my earlier episodes from Liz Talks about the birth of my second. The home birth of my second. I would really encourage you to go listen to that. And also, listen to the episode I just did with Elizabeth Joy Presta, the doula. I also have an episode coming up with Lindsey Meehleis, who is a midwife in California. She’s amazing. And I connected with her on Instagram.

So anything you can take in around birth I think would be a really good thing. But here’s what I’ll say. And I might get myself in trouble for this. And I can’t remember if I’ve said it previously, so I’ll apologize. But when we were contemplating home birth, I only told the people that I knew would be supportive. Now, I did tell my OB. So in mentioning parallel care, I’ll kind of define that. 

What I did; if you haven’t listened to the previous podcasts. I used my insurance for my OB. The long story short about my OB is that she was the doctor that just happened to be on-call when I had my emergency C-section with my first; when I was transferred from the birth center to the hospital to have a C-section. And she was amazing, phenomenal, wonderful, all of the things. And when I found out years later that she had gone independent and started her own practice, I was like; oh great, now I can have another baby. Because it’s going to be with her. I trust her. I love her. And she does all of her own births, so I knew I wouldn’t end up with somebody that I wasn’t familiar with at my birth.

So, totally planned to give birth with her in the hospital. And then of course, COVID hit. And I started getting a little bit less confident. And I started feeling like; maybe I was yearning for a home birth in a way that I didn’t realize. I had looked into with my first, but it just didn’t turn out well. Rather than doing a home birth where we lived, which was way out in the country. I wasn’t super confident not being close enough to emergency resources. And also, the idea of having to transfer to the hospital from our country home, and drive over a mile and a half of super bumpy, gravel road, just did not sound good. 

So I didn’t end up doing that; I ended up going with a birth center that ended up not being great for me. And I ended up being transferred out of there. I feel like the universe knew that wasn’t the place my baby needed to be born. 

So, there’s that with my first experience. And when I started contemplating this home birth situation during COVID, I maintained my care with my OB. But I ended up hiring midwives. It was so crazy because I actually ended up getting a check out of nowhere for the basically exact amount that the midwives were going to cost. So I was like; ok. This is my sign. 

So I hired these midwives and I pursued parallel care. Now, I was 100% honest with both my doctor and my midwives about this parallel care situation. My doctor; I didn’t just ghost her and have a home birth. I told her exactly what I was planning on doing and exactly what the situation was. She said, of course, because she’s a doctor. And she has professional organizations, and standards in a certain type of education. 

She said; she couldn’t recommend it. But she was my doctor, and as long as I was coming to her, she would provide me the best care that she possibly could. And that’s what she did. I even saw her on the day that I went into labor. I went home, and she said; alright, call me if you choose to go to the hospital. I said ok; and then I didn’t go to the hospital. I stayed home with the midwives and had a home birth.

So, I think it’s very important to be direct, honest, and up front with your care team. However; I did not tell anyone that I did not know would be 100% supportive in my personal circle. Because I personally am aware of the risks, of both hospital and home birth. I am aware of all of the things that people are saying, and will say. Most of us who are seeking information and looking for both sides and really evaluating all of the steps that we’re taking in life; sometimes to an extreme degree, we know what people are going to say. It’s not going to be anything new. 

So, we didn’t tell a lot of the people. Even my closest family. Until after the fact. It’s like; hey, the baby is here! And she was born at home. Because truly, this is all about where you feel most safe. 

Now, if you feel safest at home, with a full hospital set up, obviously those two things don’t coexist. So you have to decide what’s most important to you. You have to figure out how close you are to emergency services if that’s a concern for you. And you have to find a midwife who can support you through all of that. A doula that can kind of be the connector.

One of the things that my amazing doula, Maggie. One of the things she was really helpful about was to talk me through things based on what she had seen. She didn’t try to steer my decisions, but she could very honestly speak from experience with the different midwives that she had worked with, both at home and in the hospital. The different types of births that she had seen. Things like that. So really talking things through with her helped my thought process. 

Now, I am very much an overthinker, as many of us are. And I can get into that mode very quickly. But looking back on my birth, my biggest issue was that I had no idea what to expect. I had never had a vaginal birth before. Unmedicated vaginal birth. And there were parts of it that were scary. And I don’t know if I would have been as scared in the hospital or not. Maybe so. Maybe being scared had to do with not necessarily having a midwife team that matched my personality; my midwives are great, competent people. 

But I hired them more based on bullet points on a resume than the real emotional connection I had to them. So it’s not saying anything negative about them. They are very matter of fact. They are very; they have experience in the hospital. They came from a hospital career and decided to move into home birth. But what I needed; I’m kind of more needy. I kind of needed a soul match to walk me through it. Walk me through the situation. 

And obviously a doula can provide that. But a midwife is the one who is there to be part of the delivery of the baby. Who has the kit to address any of the emergencies that can be addressed at home. Whether that’s hemorrhaging, that type of thing. They are qualified to do things that a doula is not necessarily qualified to do. So what I really need a soul match in my midwife to walk me through that. And that’s not what I had. 

I really needed lots and lots and lots of information about what to expect, what’s normal; etc. For example, I said in a previous podcast; why didn’t anybody tell me that it was going to feel like this baby was coming out of my butt? Sorry, maybe that’s vulgar, but holy cow! I thought something bad was happening. And all the birthing classes I took, my first birth, with the birth center stuff. I took their three day birthing class. All the books that I’ve read. Everything that I saw; not one single thing told me that I would feel like the baby was coming out of my butt. 

And now that’s what I tell everybody. It’s going to feel like the baby is coming out of your butt, but it’s not. Those things are the things that would have been useful to me. I love the book; what is it? It’s not Spiritual Midwifery; it’s a book, something about preparing for childbirth emotionally. Loved that book. No mention of the baby coming out your butt. 

So those types of things; really knowing what it might feel like. What might frighten me that didn’t need to be frightening. Things like that. I needed more of that information, and I didn’t have that. And I don’t know if I would have had that in the hospital either. But there is this default setting that I think some of us have. Where it’s like; I’m good if everything is going according to plan. Obviously, you don’t know, when you’re having a baby. But I’m good until something goes crazy and then you feel a little bit more comfortable with the fact that somebody can rush in with all of the medical interventions that you might need quickly. And that doesn’t happen when you’re at home.

So for me personally; I think if I had another home birth, it would be ok. Because now I’ve been through it. I know what’s normal, what’s ok, and what’s not for my body. But I can understand how there might be a feeling of security in having medical equipment nearby that perhaps a midwife would not have on them. 

Now, a distinction that was interesting to me that my OB made for me, when I was asking her about different options. At the time, she had privileges at a birth center. And I remember saying; I don’t think I want to be in a hospital, but what’s the difference between a birth center and a home birth? And you know what she said? She said, not much. She said; it’s the same hospital ride. And the midwives have most of the same equipment. Not the same hospital ride; the same ambulance ride. So if you need a transfer from home, or a transfer from the birth center, if you need to be in a hospital, there’s not a whole lot of a difference in how you get there. And the resources that are at hand. 

And maybe that’s not true everywhere in the United States, but it’s what was true here in my scenario. In my situation. So in that moment, I was like; ok, well. Then I will plan to be at home. I knew the distance to the hospital was about the same, and all of that. So that was kind of what made the decision being between home and hospital, and not home, birth center, or hospital. 

I do think; at least in my head, I feel like those people around me that would be less supportive of a home birth might have been more supportive of a birth center just assuming that the fact it’s not home makes it safer. I don’t know. But that’s also part of the reason I didn’t tell anybody around me really what I was planning. Because I really didn’t want to be responsible for their feelings.

And that’s another thing I need to come around to, here, in the answer to my question. You’re not responsible for other people’s feelings. I get being a people pleaser; and I am too. I don’t know if people pleaser would be exactly the right phrase to describe me, but I place a really high value on having people’s support. And on doing the things that would inspire people to be supportive of me. To have their backing. And obviously, this was one of those really tough things. Especially since I have close family, and friends in the medical field. In particular, the mom and baby medical field. So that was tough.

But at the same time, I’m the one having the baby. And I don’t know if this is your first baby or not, but there are many, many times in the course of parenting that you have to just say; I’m the mom. This is about me. This is about where I feel safest. And that’s tough to do. But it doesn’t get any easier unless you practice.

So, to the degree that this is a situation where you can maybe practice self-advocating and kind of tuning out the people who do not have the right to an opinion, I say go for it. Do that. Tune it out. Listen to the opinions of people whose opinions actually carry weight. Listen to an OB. Listen to a midwife. Listen to a doula. Gather information from qualified individuals who understand you or who at the very least know you and your medical history. 

Obviously, there are risks to home birth, just as there are risks to hospital birth. And another thing I’d like to say is; even though the risks to home birth with a healthy mom who has received all necessary care are low; it doesn’t matter what the risk profile is if the thing that never happens to hardly anybody ends up happening to you. So have compassion for that. 

Ok what else did I want to say about that? I guess I really just wanted to impress upon the asker that I think it would have been a better experience for me if I had experienced birth before in an environment where I was really reassured and coddled and cared for, getting the information that I needed to walk through that experience. So I guess I tend to think it’s more about the providers, and knowing what to expect; bare bones knowing that your providers are well respected, are capable, are competent. And wherever you choose to be, what an emergency scenario might look like. And also being willing to flex. 

So, obviously I had the flex of all flexes, that I had to completely abandon my birth plan with my first and go to the hospital for an emergency C-section for a surprise breech presentation. So that was sort of out of my hands. But think about what might happen, you know, if towards the end of your pregnancy you realize that you felt safer in a hospital and being willing to go in that direction and not just force yourself to do something you thought you wanted beforehand but you’ve changed your mind. 

So, the other thing I would say about parallel care is that as long as it makes you feel like you have more options, and that makes you feel better, versus overwhelmed with trying to choose. So other than that, if you can afford it; for me, it really actually did help me feel a little bit more secure in the situation. 

And, you know what, it was also a little bit of that people pleaser in me where I can say; I had an OB all the way until the day I gave birth. She just wasn’t the one that was there when I delivered the baby. And by the way; mamas, you deliver your baby. Your midwife, your doctor, they don’t do it. You do it. It’s all you. So I hope that helps.

  • Q&A: Magnesium lotion [41:25]

OK, question number three. This is really simple. But I had this come in after my last episode about travel hacks and what I like to do when I travel. And one of those was to use a magnesium lotion before bed. The question was, “What magnesium lotion or cream do you use before bed?” And my answer is right now I use the one from Earthly. I don’t know much about Earthly, but I do really like their magnesium lotion. And they have one without lavender; I hate lavender. Some of you know our history with lavender. But they have one without so I’ve been using that and I really like it. 

I’ve used magnesium sprays in the past, and they just kind of leave your skin feeling a little funky. So we’ve been doing the Earthly. And I use it. I use a little bit on both of my kids. And we’ve really liked it. 

  • Weekly Overshare [42:18]

Ok, just about done with this episode but first I want to do a little bit of an overshare. And this isn’t exactly an overshare, but it’s close. It’s just something that I wanted to talk about. And it’s; why we don’t do sleepovers. So this is surprisingly something that I actually have talked to a lot of people about. And they sort of secretly feel the same way that I do. They don’t want to do sleepovers. 

Backing up. Why we don’t do sleepovers. Why I don’t allow my 7-year-old to have sleepovers or go to sleepovers. And I find that a lot of parents actually feel the same way, but they don’t realize that there are other people that think the same things about sleepovers and make the same decisions. Or they feel pressure and so they let their kids go to sleepovers and they regret it. 

I’m not saying that sleepovers are bad. That’s not why we don’t allow our 7-year-old to have or go to sleepovers. But I personally had some strange experiences at sleepovers as a kid. And it’s just not something I’m super comfortable with.

Now, we have some great friends, who have wonderful children, and they are awesome. And I actually don’t really have a problem with doing sleepovers with them. What makes me nervous is, if in the future, somebody comes into our lives who I’m not so sure about. I’m not so sure about letting my kiddo go to their house for a sleepover. And it’s a lot easier to just make the rule now and say; nope, we don’t do sleepovers. I’m sorry. Just blanket statement, then to have to say; yeah, you can go to this one but not that one. 

Because then that raises questions. Kids can’t keep their mouth shut, so they go to the playground and they say; my mom said I can’t hang out with you but I can hang out with them. All of those things are worries I have around sleepovers. 

There are risks any time you let your child sleepover at somebody else’s house. Whether it’s a close relative or a friend for a birthday party. There are older kids there that might be perfectly fine, perfectly good, moral, ethical, older kids. But that introduce your kids to topics that are just not appropriate for them yet. I think I’m pretty sure I did that when I was a kid. I’m pretty sure I talked about things around younger kids that I should not have talked about around them. And I feel bad about that.

So there are many reasons that we don’t do sleepovers. But the number one reason is; I don’t want to have to navigate myself being inconsistent. I don’t want to have to say yes to this person, but no to that person. And have that become a problem. So, there are not a lot of things that I’ve drawn a hard line about in childhood; I don’t like being the mean mom. But I am willing to die on this hill. So we just don’t do sleepovers. 

We do allow my older daughter to spend the night at my mom’s house; at Nana’s house. But that’s only because she literally is a 5 minute golf cart ride away. So she’s super close. They’ve been very, very close since she was born.  There’s nobody else in the household, besides my mom and my dad. And she’s just a few minutes away, not even by car. So I’m comfortable with that. But every place else is just a no. 

So maybe if you’ve been kind of on the fence about doing sleepovers, you’re around that age. Maybe that helps. That I’m a mean mom too.

OK. That’s it for episode 37. A big thank you to Arrowhead Mills for making this episode possible. Remember, you can ask me anything by sending me a direct message @RealFoodLIz on Instagram. But the best way to ask is to go to www.RealFoodLiz.com/AskLiz. That way, they don’t get lost in my inbox. 

I appreciate you! I’ll see you next week. 

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