This post was actually inspired by a certain attitude I see floating around a lot: one of planned ignorance. A lot of people don’t want to know because they don’t want to do things differently. They prefer to stick with whatever they’re doing, whether it’s working for them or not. Some don’t even know how to evaluate whether or not “it’s working” in regards to various choices!
Let me tell you a story.
It was 2006, the year Ben and I got married. We both had all kinds of minor health problems. We were overweight, we frequently felt sick and tired. He constantly had stomachaches and was sick most days. And…we joked about it. It never occurred to us that there was anything we could do about it; it just was the way it was.
A typical dinner in those days was Hamburger Helper with a side of Jiffy muffins. Maybe we’d follow that up with some Jell-o…regular, or, at times, sugar-free (i.e. loaded with aspartame). We bought ice cream a lot. Frozen pizza was common. “Cooking” from scratch was using frozen veggies, canned broth, and white pasta. We didn’t drink milk, but if we did, it was skim milk from the store: pasteurized and homogenized. We did not know there was another way.
In fact…we actually talked about how our future children had “no chance” to avoid the problems we had! We just assumed that we had been dealt an unlucky hand and that our children would probably have the same issues. It seemed relative to us: we were functional, after all. We just didn’t feel the greatest. We didn’t even know it was possible to be different.
Our attempts at getting healthy were short-lived and always failed. We exercised; but plans were abandoned within weeks. We tried to “eat healthy” (by SAD standards) but kept gaining weight. We gave up. I mean…we weren’t really that bad! Maybe it was just normal.
Once our daughter was born this changed.
In some ways, she saved us. When I saw some of these issues appearing in her, I did not think it was “just the way it was.” I did not like it at all. I did not want her to suffer the way we had. It did not seem right that someone who was born so perfect should have to go through this. It led us to discover food allergies…and ultimately, gut damage.
We began to work on our diet. We discovered WAP. Then we learned about GAPS. We began to eliminate the rest of the processed foods from our diet, and cook from scratch for real. We ate lots more fat — initally coconut oil, then later butter and lard and beef tallow too.
I don’t really need to tell you how the story ends, do I?
My son didn’t suffer the same problems my daughter did at all. He never had the chronic diaper rash or eczema. He never had constant diarrhea. He never woke at night, screaming for hours. He wasn’t speech delayed. He doesn’t have food allergies. He doesn’t have gut damage. He didn’t start solids until after I’d done GAPS, and he started with eggs and meat.
I no longer believe that any of us are “just destined to feel sick.” I don’t think my children are destined to follow in our footsteps. I know they can be born healthy, and I know they can completely skip the issues that plagued us. All because we have made changes to our family’s health.
I could feel guilty, for what I “did” to my daughter. Having her before I knew any better. But why? I didn’t know what I didn’t know. All I can do is make changes for the future.
We’ve told our parents, too, about the changes we’ve made and the benefits we’ve seen. It’s not a guilt-trip for them: “If only you’d known, I wouldn’t be this way!” No. They didn’t know, and that is not their fault. If they had known, I’m sure they would have done differently. And to some extent, they are doing differently now. Either for themselves, or embracing that we are doing what we believe to best. They understand that our different choices in no way reflect on how they parented us. We simply have different information, and so we are doing things differently.
People today often fall into one of these categories:
- They don’t believe there is anything “really” wrong, or that there is anything they can do (just like we used to)
- They don’t want to know if there is anything wrong, because they’re afraid of what they might learn
- They don’t want to do differently, because somehow that is disrespectful to their past: the children who might have suffered less, or the parents who raised them
I understand it. But I don’t agree with any of it.
Please: learn all you can, and do better when you can! God calls us to always do better, to not keep making the same mistakes again!
Every time I hear a parent say, “Oh, my new baby has reflux and eczema, just like my first baby!” I cringe internally. I suffered through that with my babies, too. I know in the vast majority of cases, it doesn’t have to be that way. It makes me so very sad! I know they are doing what they believe to be best — typically, treating the symptoms — but I hurt for them. I’ve been there. I know it can be better.
I feel like we’ve been completely saved from a terrible fate, because we wondered why things were the way they were, and we started looking for another way. A better way. We don’t feel guilty because of what used to be true. I do feel amazingly lucky when I realize what could have happened, if we hadn’t learned any better. I do believe at least my daughter would technically be on the autism spectrum, especially if she’d been vaccinated. Perhaps my son would have too, if we hadn’t learned better before he was born. I can’t ever know that. But I’m so very glad I never will.
Do not feel guilty for what you don’t know, or what you didn’t know. Just take the information you learn and do what you can with what you have. Ask questions, be open to new ideas and new ways. Do not worry about the past. Today is a new day…a day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad, whatever your circumstances!
Do you feel guilty ever for what you didn’t know?