A Consistently Holistic Mama? It’s a Process.

Written by NPN Guest on April 28th, 2011

Alternative Medicine, Holistic Health

Do I believe that the human body has the ability to heal itself naturally or by natural means? Absolutely. Do I practice what I preach? No…not all the time. Being a mom, though, it’s a discrepancy I can no longer afford to take lightly. Here’s why.

My husband once told me a story from his formative years that involved him locking himself in his mother’s bathroom because he didn’t want to go to school that day. To make a long story short, the truancy debacle ballooned into a drama involving the neighbors, the principal showed up (my husband grew up in a small coastal village in England where, I guess, educators made house calls), and his mother tried her darnedest to wield her maternal “say so” using histrionics that, I’m sure, we’re all too familiar with.

In the end, she surrendered. “No school, I promise.” She promised. “Let’s go get an ice cream instead.” Because she was mom, he believed her. Only she was bluffing. She screeched up to the school, dragged him inside and hightailed it out of there. Mama mia…big mistake. It confused – and enraged – him that his mother would advocate one thing, in this case an ice cream cone, and subsequently do another: in the case of his six-year old mindset, abandon him.

I shook my head and pursed my lips upon hearing this truancy tale as if to say, “oh honey, I so get it.”

Granted, truancy and wellness are at two opposite ends of the spectrum. Nevertheless, when it comes to my own relationship to health and wellness, I pull the same bluff…all the time.

And now for a “gravity check”

Take, for example, my first and only visit to a hydrotherapist. We’ll call her Dr. D, though she is not a doctor in the traditional sense. I’ll never forget it: me, fetal-like on the table; naked from the waist down: a metal rod shoved …well, let’s just say, the experience was typical of a colonic: vaguely humiliating, kinda’ painful, and (when it was all over) 100% exhilarating. Before I over-share any further details, let me just say that I emerged from Dr. D’s office in the East Village of Manhattan feeling reborn. And, of course, I paid a lot of lip service to her in the weeks to come.

Oh my God, Dr. D. is so amazing…

Oh my God, you have to have go see her…

Oh my God, I can’t wait to go back…

I meant every word of it, in theory. A “gravity method” colonic cleanses and detoxes the system alleviating ailments like gas, bloating, headaches, sluggishness, constipation, dull complexion, and weight issues. In combination with a juice fast or a raw food cleanse, the results can be physically revolutionary.

It’s true. I believe it, and I know it. No amount of Tums, Pepto, Tylenol or espresso could come close to the jolt your body receives after a good flush.

Yet, have I ever gone back? No. How sluggish do I feel? Very. And how did I “heal” my last headache? I should have dumped the caffeine; instead I popped a pill. Dare I admit to how much of a hypochondriac I am, forever lamenting about my insides. But when was the last time I did a holistic detox? Okay, in January. By the end of February I was back on my pot of coffee and full of bodily complaints.

Then last week. My allergies were out of control. Heck, everybody’s allergies were out of control. I even posted to a friend’s Facebook page, who was complaining about how out of control her allergies had become, “hey girl, screw the Claritin! Drink a concoction of raw ginger and lemon.”

Sounds like real sage advice, doesn’t it?


Two hours later – having not made my own concoction, by the way – I was swigging from a crusty bottle of children’s cold medicine desperately trying to clear my nasal passages so I could enjoy my second café con leche. That bottle of cold medicine had been sitting in the nook above my fridge since forever because I’m not comfortable dosing out OTC drugs every time my child has a sneeze or a sniffle. We’re an arnica clan, after all.

But me? Eh. One tissue too many and I’m wishing we had grape flavor instead of berry.

The writing is all over the blog: I’m a “do as I say” mom

I don’t take shortcuts in my parenting, or at least I try exceedingly hard not to. I put a lot of thought and care into mothering my son. For me, nursing was a mandate; co-sleeping, logic; consistent love and care, our doctrine.

I also put a lot of thought into natural plant-based medicine. I’m on the Board of Advisors for the Nutritional Research Project, for honeydew’s sake. The care is something I need to work on. When it comes to my own health and medicine practices, I am careless too often – talking the talk, but swigging from a different bottle when no one’s looking.

Except someone is looking.

I can’t help but reflect on my husband as a boy, stubbornly refusing his mother; I can only imagine how shrill and defiant he was, how much he tested his dear ol’ mum’s resolve. She, no doubt, defaulted to bluffery because it was convenient in the short term, a more comfortable way of placating the peanut gallery. But it formed an opinion in her son’s mind, so much so that some forty years later he still recalls how she didn’t practice what she preached. “Thou shall not lie” except to avoid a scene.

I am a mom setting about cultivating a set of values we can all live by. Wellness and natural healing is among them. As such, I can’t get away with this kind of fluffing around anymore. That means caring for my own temple with as much consistent love and care that I do his.

Consistency, man. It’s a pill. But mama’s gotta do it.

How about you? Does your lifestyle always line up with your values?

Photo credit: Flickr/Lars Plougmann


Díga(Mama), a.k.a. K. Emily Bond, has worked for lots of newspapers, magazines and online media gigs including O, The Oprah Magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, iVillage and more. She’s now a WAHM living la vida social y real from her family’s little corner in España.

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11 Responses to A Consistently Holistic Mama? It’s a Process.

  1. Janine  

    Added to StumbleUpon – thumbs up! I LOVE THIS. And really relate to it, both the topic at hand (natural healing) and the broader issue.

    P.S. That colonic sounds A-mazing.

  2. Tori

    “Nursing was a mandate; co-sleeping, logic; consistent love and care, our doctrine.” Love It!!! This speaks to the women I choose to have in my life, thank you.

  3. Kelly  

    Oh my goodness I am so with you…it is most definitely a process! Glad to know I’m not alone in this boat, but inspired to do better as well. 🙂 Thanks for this!

  4. Jess  

    I struggle with this, also. I rarely give pain medication, I favor dirt over bandaids, and use humidifiers and time to ease almost everything my children encounter. But for me, I sneak extra sweets, I “don’t have time” to make healing homemade stuff, and though I usually take a nap over an ibuprofen, I do still take pills every now and then. But let’s give ourselves grace – I grew up taking dimetapp and antibiotics (now I’m allergic to all penicilins). So it’s definitely a process!

    • Emily  

      Wow, Jess — I’m also allergic to penicillin and I also grew up in an anti-biotic happy home. A happy home, too. But you know what I mean…an Rx for everything.

  5. Kat

    Awesome article!

  6. Alicia C.  

    Were you peeking in my window last week when I snuck into the back of the “medicine” cabinet and grabbed one of the last, way-expired motrins for a headache that just wouldn’t go away?! It’s SO much easier to tell everyone else to skip the meds and go holistic, but when you have a family to care for, it’s easy to take the “easy” way out and go for a quick fix! I’m hoping this mentality is from growing up with the “a pill can fix anything” attitude and our children will be better at refusing this junk than we are!

  7. Mare P.  

    This article is so spot-on, I can’t even tell you. I feel this way so much (inconsistent, sometimes even hypocritical) that I even have a whole blog devoted to it. LOL. My problem is trusting and relying on my holistic knowledge vs. heeding the advice of our pediatrician simply because I want to be doing SOMEthing. Usually I fall for the latter, buying whatever crazy prescription they give me, and then doing my darndest to research holistic methods for taking my baby off of said prescription. Wonderful article!