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Today we have a guest post from Jaclyn of Natural Mommain, all about natural living.  Welcome, Jaclyn!

The more I get into “natural” or “alternative” living, the more I seem to alienate myself from those around me.

It’s not something I intend or want to do; it just happens.  Let’s be honest.  No matter how sure you are about the decisions you make, it’s really hard to be questioned by friends and family.  I tend to want to share everything I learn, even if that sometimes means people will either a) get mad at me or b) look at me like I’m a lunatic.

“No, we didn’t go to the doctor when we all had bronchitis, we just drank some tea infused with garlic.”

“Yes, we’re going to have this baby at home.”

“No, I don’t plan on taking the baby to see a doctor after he/she is born”

And my personal favorite: “Yes, I make my own lotion/deodorant/laundry detergent/bread/insert any item most people buy at the store here.”

If you’ve ever uttered any of these phrases, you have probably been met with an incredulous response at least once. 

Then the explanations start: “Yes, I’ve done my research; yes I feel comfortable with our decision.”  If you’re lucky, the conversation will end there.  But, if you’re like me, you may often find yourself racking your brain for all of the information you’ve researched about the topic (I wish I could pull up charts and data in my brain with the click of a button!) so you can spew statistics like a human computer.  Also, if you’re like me, you will leave the conversation feeling dejected, frustrated and lonely.

By Faith, Noah Built the Ark

So, tired of finding myself in this predicament, I sometimes find myself withdrawing instead.  I have learned to be discreet about certain decisions that we make as a family about our nutrition and health.  It can be incredibly lonely to not join in on conversations because you lack common ground with your counterparts. 

Note from Kate: Definitely yes.  I remember going to a party for a friend a year ago and because I lacked common ground with just about everyone there, sitting silently unless asked a direct question and feeling very uncomfortable.  Although I still get together with that one friend, I don’t go to — and am not invited to — group gatherings anymore.  It’s for the best!

I was recently beginning to feel pretty low about my lack of friends who share both my faith and my commitment to natural living, when my midwife shared some wonderful words of wisdom with me: Hebrews 11:7- “ By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”  Just by being obedient to the Lord, Noah cast condemnation over the rest of the world.  But the condemnation didn’t come from Noah; it came from the Lord.

Don’t Throw Your Pearls to the Pigs

How many times have you shared an opinion about something, only to have the recipient of said opinion immediately feel like you are judging them?  Or worse- they judge you?

I have come to the conclusion that all I can do is try and live as closely to the way the Lord would have me live as I can, and not worry about what that means for those around me.  That doesn’t mean I tell people they shouldn’t feed certain things to their children, nor do I give much explanation when I don’t let my own children have something that others are.  Only if someone asks questions or seems genuinely interested in why I make decisions the way I do, do I really get into the reasoning behind them.

Another very wise woman shared the following verse with me: “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6).  I have often found myself being “torn to pieces” because I chose to open up about an alternative decision I’ve made.  Lately, I’ve been trying to let the Lord guide me in whether or not I should open up about something, and more often than not, the right decision seems to be to keep quiet!  Why put myself in the position to be torn to pieces?

Let Yourself Be A Tool

Noah was merely a tool, and his obedience saved his family.  I’d like to think that my obedience is also “saving” my family in a sense.  I feel wonderful when I’m able to give my children good, nourishing food.  It gives me great satisfaction to refuse unnecessary medical interventions for which the risks outweigh the rewards.  And nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing my children thrive due to those decisions.

I believe the good feeling I get when taking care of my family is the Lord’s response to my obedience.  It lets me know I’m doing the right thing!  And even though I face uncertainty from time to time as I face new decisions (Should I home school?  Should we sell our home to buy a place “out in the country”?), I know that through prayer and petition, the Lord will continue to guide my decisions. 

The information I’ve received to this point isn’t just happenstance.  The Lord has placed people in my life to share some wonderful knowledge, most of which I’ve used to change the way we do a lot of things in our family.  I just have to learn to trust in my God-given intuition as I continue to navigate these difficult decisions in taking care of my family.

So go ahead, build an ark!  Make the unpopular decisions because you know that’s what is right for YOUR family!  But, learn to be wise in sharing about those decisions, and be prepared to face adversity.  And know that you are not alone, and that your family will be blessed by the decisions you make!

Do you ever feel “lonely” in your alternative lifestyle?

 

 

Jaclyn is wife to David and mother to two of the wildest and craziest boys on the planet, Camden (4.5) and Maddox (almost 3).  She is expecting her third baby in March, for which she is planning her first home birth!  She loves Jesus and lavender, and enjoys making soap, sourdough bread and the occasional craft.  She can also be found teaching yoga (when she isn’t 9 months pregnant!) or trying to make various things grow in the dry Texas climate.  You can keep up with her blog at naturalmommainprogress.wordpress.com or check out her line of handmade personal care products for baby and the whole family at ragamuffinorganics.com.


This is the writings of:

Kate is wife to Ben and mommy to Bekah (6.5), Daniel (5), Jacob (3), and Nathan (1.5). She is passionate about God, health, and food. She has written 7 cookbooks and a popular book entitled A Practical Guide to Children's Health. She also recently released Healing With God's Earthly Gifts: Natural and Herbal Remedies, which teaches people to use natural remedies to keep their families healthy. When she's not blogging, she's in the kitchen, sewing, or homeschooling her children.

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30 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for your insightful post! I have been feeling this way for a long time and wasn’t really sure how to deal with it. The verses you referenced are going to be meditated on and bookmarked because they are so applicable to the lifestyle I have chosen and the response that I can and should give to others. Thank you again!

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  2. I feel for you. I was blessed with a pioneer “health nut” for a father-in-law. And a godly Christian “health nut” for an aunt. So even though many in my life didn’t have a clue why we chose to live as we did, I also had a strong, if somewhat small, support system. May the Lord bless you on your journey.

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  3. Wow, the verse from Hebrews really spoke to me! Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. I too have experienced the loneliness and sense of being judged or looked at with skepticism about these things, but Heb 11:7, read in this light, is so encouraging and validating! Thank you so much!

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  4. I myself have made the decision to start living a healthier and more natural lifestyle. I really don’t talk too much about it because I see the way the people I know talk about others that have already done so. It’s my decision and my husband supports me. Part of me wants to show people how beneficial it is but part of me feels that I don’t have to explain myself to others. I know I’m making the right decision. I guess the best thing I can do is just pray for the people who may think we’re crazy.

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  5. I have an honest to goodness question: My kids have a genetic life threatening disorder which was found on the newborn screen. They would be disabled/have brain damage if it wasn’t for the screen test. So how do you figure out where to draw the line on medical intervention? Do you still take advantage of the state testing? Just, we have lots of medical intervention in our lives since my daughter was born and I’d like to know what the alternative opinion/options really are. I think having your babies at home sounds preferable, but I also can’t imagine having not had the NBS and geneticists to help either.

    I was scared when I had my first baby, but it was miserable having her in the hospital. They took the second by c-section, but I was at least able to labor the way I wanted for a little while (not in bed flat on my back). That really opened my eyes. I would have my kids at home (now we know what we need to test for), but we were lucky for the NBS. :)

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    • Hi Miranda, There is no downside (in my opinion) to the quick newborn screening. Even though my boys were born at home, I had a visiting nurse come in and do the screen when they were 4 and 5 days old. It’s the one test that we did when they were babies because the potential benefits (knowing if there was a genetic disorder) outweighed the risks (annoying them with a heel poke). Most other things we skip. I had an audiologist tell me just recently, for example, that there is a high rate of false positives on the hearing screen — babies coming back as normal who really aren’t. I already skipped that with my third baby and am glad I did. Anyway, if you have babies at home, you either have a visiting nurse come in or you take them to the pediatrician when they are very young (4 – 5 days) to get the test done. :) ESPECIALLY since you have a family history! Everyone’s comfort level and need for specialized medical care is different.

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    • Miranda, I can sooooo relate! Though different issues, I wanted home births, but blood disorders & high risk issues prevented that for us. My last delivery caused a life threatening injury for me & I was on life support for 2weeks, in hospital for a month, then had in home health care for 3 months. I couldn’t hold my newborn son until he was 4month old, when he turned 7 months old I had another surgery that separated me from my family and from my strong desire to parent naturally.

      Now my son has been diagnosed with a rare cerebral issue that only affects .10 of a percent of the worldwide population & of that percentage only 1/8 are diagnosed as young as he is. We see therapists twice a week and he sees nearly 7 specialist a month, now they have programs that send therapists to my house for free, but now I am in “the system”. I cringe when they talk about my son going to their preschool, I want to homeschool BOTH of my kids-I just don’t know what he will be like at that stage, there isn’t enough information to estimate what his capabilities might be in a few years or perhaps limitations. I have another major operation coming soon from the injury as well and that is NOT a part of our natural plan, yet I can’t avoid it.

      I sometimes question, ok frequently question God as to why He would place this desire on my heart then allow so many obstacles in my path that make it near impossible to achieve. We just are taking it moment by moment and know we have to be flexible.

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  6. Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been in this place for years, and this is great advice.

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  7. I am very slowly starting an alternative lifestyle and in some areas of choosing to live that way I have backed down because of the views of others. Thanks for this guest post it is a post that I could greatly empathize with.

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  8. I really understand where you are coming from. “Don’t throw your pearls before swine” has been swimming around in my brain for at least 25 years. I had my first baby in the hospital (1980), because I didn’t know any better, but the next four were born at home. The last one (1995) was a c-sec, because I had a strong feeling that something was wrong. And it was, but because of the surgery, she was fine. In my family, girls dressed like girls, everyone dressed modestly, we followed our church’s dietary guidelines, babies nursed (almost) until they were ready to stop (10 years total for six children, and the first and last only nursed for six months because of my health problems). We got hassled everywhere – at church, by family, in public. I learned to listen to the Spirit, and to sidestep questions, or not give one single piece of information more than was absolutely necessary.
    I would encourage you to do the newborn screenings (you can just go to a lab to have them done), and that if you are not going to do well-baby visits, to learn how to do them yourself, so that you can watch that the baby is growing and developing properly. My midwife did those for us for the first several months, and it was conforting to know that everything was fine. I understand what a hassle doctor visits can be, especially if the doctor does not share your beliefs.
    I think you wrote a great post. I know that you and your family will receive wonderful blessings as you continue to strive to follow the Spirit and do what is right for your family.

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  9. I was just sitting here wishing I never had the desire to homeschool, eat whole foods, use non traditional health practices, & DIY soaps, remedies, household cleaning supplies, that I could go back in ignorance, because it was easier. Kinda like the Isrealites wanting to go back to Egypt, where it was slavery, but easier than being free…

    I read your post and so identified with the entire post, I would only change a few details and add one or two things and this could be my exact feelings. Thank you for being so candid and real. That isolation you wrote of is what I am feeling, I know that this is the path I have been lead on and to go back to what was will not bring me peace, I am ruined for less, I cannot settle for then old ways any more.

    The first few steps I took without fear, I used natural remedies and chiropractic care for natural means to fertility issues, nursed my children, wore my babies in a sling, wrap, and tied them on, co-slept, swaddled, cloth dipe & wiped them, used homeopathic remedies for nearly all childhood issues, & taught my kids to use sign before they were six old. Now I have branched out into using DIY household cleaners, body products, all bread products I make, yogurt I make…The more I make, the more excited I get, & the less I finding myself sharing with others. Because I have shared your story, I find myself being torn down or worse discouraged from my ambitions from those who see this as a waste of energy.

    I was beginning to wish I could be different & go back to what I was especially now that I am seeing that homeschooling will not be supported outside of my immediate family, I am feeling so pressured to be, “normal”, at the same time I know this is right for my family and I will not be satisfied being less than what God has called me to be.

    So thank you for sharing, this was so timely & just what I needed!

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  10. So encouraging!!!

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  11. So timely, so encouraging. Blessings to you and all of us “weirdos” who are doing the best we can for our families!!!

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  12. Thank you! I’ve been pondering this for some time about many different issues beyond just the health aspect.

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  13. I understand just what you mean, and I love the bible verse about pigs trampling pearls. Happens all the time and I generally feel very frustrated when people don’t listen. I feel very ignored and really dispose that feeling. I now will keep things to myself unless I felt driven by the Lord to share. We are doing the best we can for our kids, I guess you have to let other people raise theirs! Thanks for an insightful post!

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  14. Miranda, In our state midwives always do the newborn screening as part of their service, it’s definitely a good idea.

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  15. I hear ya. It’s hard when we make decisions that go against the flow! I sometimes explain to people that it’s actually healthy to question why things are ‘popular’, ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream’ or in Christian circles ‘worldly’ and to choose to live differently. I think people actually find our boldness is choosing to be different quite confronting and that can cause all sorts of knee-jerk responses.

    I also think the bible is non-specific about things like whether we should use disposable or cloth nappies, wear our babies in slings or put them in prams etc..for a reason. God has made us all differently and his will be outworked in all of us differently. The heart of parenting and wisdom of the bible doesn’t change from person to person – but the outworking does. For us, it may be natural parenting but for another it may be the mother working fulltime as a doctor. I try to explain to people that God has convicted me that this is right for me, it’s not for everyone but it is for ME.

    Thanks for a great post! I felt very encouraged reading it!

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  16. I love this! Thank you for sharing!

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  17. Wow, you nailed it. Thank you so much for this great article! I am barely dipping my toe in the “alternative” water and I can totally relate to what you are saying and I have taken a similar approach as far as telling others about what I do. That is why I am so drawn to all the awesome alterna-mom bloggers out here, I don’t know many people in “real” life, so I just communicate online. Thing is, I live in LA and I know they’re around here (i.e. Cheeseslave and Holistic Squid), and I’m a WAPF member, so I need to reach out to my local chapter and make some friends. Maybe that could be a follow up post – suggestions on how to develop local communities of like-minded people? :-)

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  18. This is exactly what I needed to read today. I put my foot in my mouth 4 times this weekend alone by saying things out loud that I should have kept to myself. Rather than retreating, I’m going to have to practice some prudence!!

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  19. The hardest people to deal with is family. They know more of our business (unfortunately for us) and feel a lot easier giving their very mainstream opinions. They don’t want to listen to our research and position. They will not take the time to listen to know that we know what we are doing. We are not pushing our views on our sisters and BILs so why do they care? I can’t figure that one out.

    Thank you for this article. It is very needed right now. Sometimes, late at night, my husband and I question ourselves and our decisions. Is it worth the trouble we seem to face? We know it is. But, you have those days. Thank you for all the encouragement.

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  20. Yes, I do often feel lonely in my natural/alternative life! None of my friends have any understanding of living this way, and everyone is always incredulous (and possibly aghast) at the things I make for my family (instead of purchasing). I also have a great habit of alienating people around me with my “fanatic” and “activist” beliefs. But I don’t know how to be any different, even if my beliefs and lifestyle cause me to be isolated and lonely. :-(

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  21. Thank you for writing this! It’s always helpful to hear that I’m not alone. I’m trying to make positive changes for my family and find it increasingly hard to relate to most other mommies. As one of the commenters above said, there are days when I wish I could go back to ignorance! But I know all of this is worth it when I look at my perfect baby boy!! And on a side note, I’m also in Texas, near Greenville, if you’re ever in the area and looking for a like mind :-)

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  22. I guess I’m “swine” because I took my kids to the pediatrician, had all their immunizations, didn’t make my own bread and never have had kefir in my life. Just as you don’t want to be judged for your lifestyle, don’t judge others. God doesn’t necessarily call everyone to nurse their children until they are five years old and make their own yogurt. He calls us to be faithful to Him, which includes loving your neighbor AS YOURSELF. I have no problem with trying to live as healthy as possible. I am 61 years old and still trying to make changes in that direction. I may never arrive to the place you are now, but that does not make me any less His child, loved with the greatest love there could ever be! I praise God that he doesn’t expect us to be carbon copies of each other, but can allow us to value our differences, and celebrate them. I really appreciate Tara’s reply. Don’t worship the way you live, but the One who has given you that life.

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    • Barbara, I see how you could take that away from this article. But I don’t think that’s what the writer was trying to say. I don’t think she meant to make a judgement about those choosing to live a more mainstream life; rather, I think she was trying to suggest ways for the alternative folk to combat the alienation and loneliness often experienced when choosing a more natural (and thus different) lifestyle. ;-)

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    • Barbara,
      That is precisely what makes those who are different feel lonely and isolated. The reality is that anyone who shares a belief they hold dear (health, parenting, religious) with someone who doesn’t desire it is likely to be “torn up” and the “pearls” trampled on.
      I have been laughed at, mocked, harshly judged and ridiculed for some of my life choices. Not because I spoke of them but because they were “found out” to be different and made others uncomfortable. Her point was that we should keep quiet unless we feel led by The Lord to speak (about any area of life) so as not to cast pearls where they will not be cared for.

      We all do the best we can with the knowledge we have. “Know better do better” is the motto of many alternative families because there is so much junk to purge and skills to learn. It would certainly be nice to have friends who supported my choices instead of friends who preferred my silence.

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    • Barbara, I’m sorry to have caused offense and certainly was not calling those that live a more mainstream life “swine”, but rather drawing from scripture to support and encourage other mommas who might be feeling lonely on their journey of an alternative lifestyle. “Swine” does not reference those different than myself, rather those who would treat me poorly or tear me apart for my choices, and while “swine” is a strong word, it is not my own, but straight from scripture. We are all at different points in our journey my hope is that we can all encourage one another wherever we may be. Blessings to you!

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  23. I had a homebirth with my son a little over 2 years ago. I stayed home with him and focused solely on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being as a family. I went back to work about two weeks ago and it seems like when I talk to people about things that seem so natural and right to me, they treat me like a freak! They act like it is the most foreign and weird concept they’ve ever heard. For instance, I was talking to some coworkers about how we don’t have television at our house. They all gasped and put their hands over their mouths. It made me realize that there are MANY people out there that are so far removed from a healthy lifestyle. They don’t know how to make healthier choices. Maybe it’s my calling to inform others and provide support in choosing an alternative way of living. I want everyone to live life to their full potential.

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  24. [...] recently re-read the first post I wrote for Modern Alternative Mama, more than a year-and-a-half ago, about how lonely the [...]

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  25. Thank you for this post. A great reminder of how important it is to find your tribe! Like-minded moms and families are out there and I can already tell that we are growing in numbers.

    Reply

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