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My hand in my child’s hand. Photo Credit: Paisley Anderson

In my quest to conceive a child — I found the underlying cause of my fertility challenges & many other health problems. From root canal treated teeth to titanium teeth implants, to Maryland Bridges (containing a mixture of metals including nickel) — dentistry was largely to blame. After dental revision, I went on to get pregnant, natural conception at age 43, when I was told by the fertility clinic at age 37 that I needed IVF to conceive.

I was genetically missing 4 teeth from my adult set (thanks to my mom missing some on the upper teeth and my dad different ones on the lower teeth.) I played violin and viola many hours a day all through high school and never had any shoulder pains. …


You are my family

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America — can we please step down a minute from being violent with each other? Please remember that we are family. Someday my cute little 5-year-old grand-nephew will grow up to be a black man in America. I want the America that he grows up in to be a safe and welcoming space for him, but right now it is not. And until we realize that we are all connected to each other, we won’t be able to stop this crazy imbalance of power.

I want to make sure that everyone knows that they are my family. If you are a black man living in the US today, I will be a witness to your life. You are important and powerful and make a huge difference in the world. I see the warm and caring presence you have with our children. Please continue to share your authentic voice, not the one that is broken down by fear and distrust that has been shown to you. You deserve to live a long and healthy life. I will look you in the eye when I see you and smile because I know you will warmly smile back. …


A blue piggy bank with someone holding a coin over it on one side and a doctor with blue outfit holding a stethoscope.
A blue piggy bank with someone holding a coin over it on one side and a doctor with blue outfit holding a stethoscope.

The choice between a paycheck and my health

I remember standing in the hall outside my classroom, having a very strong premonition that I would get some life-threatening illness and possibly not survive if I kept working in this place. It was the start of my decision to quit my job, despite not being able to find a job to replace it with. It was May of the school year and one of the students set fire to a bathroom on the same floor as my classroom. (It just happened to coincide with the start of a national test.)

The next day I was back in my classroom and feeling a headache and a general feeling of unease, but also feeling this teacherly obligation to go about my workday and teach the students that were assigned to me. I pushed down the feeling that my health might be at risk and I tried to go about my day teaching music as normal. I noticed some students coming into the classroom and having stomach aches or other vague symptoms that caused them to go home early or leave to go to the nurse. …


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Photo credit: Jessica Keener Photography

I was born in Seattle, Washington and spent most of the first 40 years of my life in the Northwest US. After traveling led me to meet my Swedish husband, Mattias on the swing dance floor, we decided we wanted to be together and have a child. We knew that it would be much more affordable for us to live in Sweden, but it was eye-opening the contrast when I actually crunched the numbers for this article. Read on to hear the story behind the numbers.

The comments I hear constantly when discussion of healthcare reform comes up are,

“But, those other countries pay such high taxes! I don’t want to pay for someone else’s problems.” What if you look at it in a different way and think about how much money you have left after paying healthcare expenses and taxes? …


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It was the night of the 3rd of November in 2010 when I passed through the vintage doors of the dance studio called Chicago. The jazz music beckoned to my heart, already happy with so much celebration. And now I was floating on the clouds. I passed my money over, changed into my dance shoes, and descended a few stairs onto the actual dance floor. Everywhere I looked people were dressed like they were from the 30’s and 40’s in vintage outfits, with pin curls and flowers dotting their hair. As a 5’ 10” tall woman, I was excited to see so many men that were taller than me. …


Raindrops falling on apartment window with blurry view of the city outside.
Raindrops falling on apartment window with blurry view of the city outside.

Several years ago, I went to a concert in the Seattle Symphony's Benaroya Concert Hall. It was a performance with a community orchestra, adult chorus, and children’s chorus. A neighbor of mine, singing in the adult chorus, invited me to the concert. And, being a violist and orchestra teacher for many years meant that I knew a few people performing in the orchestra as well. So, I had several people I wanted to say “hi” to afterward. But, there were so many performing that I couldn’t find any of the people I meant to talk to but the quest, kept me hanging around a little longer. …


How to SOUL Feed: Skin-to-Skin, Oxytocin, Unplug, Listen

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My husband, Mattias holding Emanuel skin-to-skin while he sleeps after a feed

When parents have shame and guilt around not being able to or not wanting to breastfeed or there are adopted parents and male parents that can’t breastfeed, we are driving a wedge between these parents and babies. Let’s lift the pressure to breastfeed exclusively, and support parents & caregivers to bond with children,

We might actually have an effect of more breastfeeding from a place of empowerment rather than a place of guilt. But, right now, many women are simply spending their time crying over not breastfeeding. Or they spend way too much time with the breast pump when they could be spending that time bonding with their child instead. I personally spent countless hours trying to increase my milk supply. Even after my son weaned, I was so convinced of the magic powers of breastmilk, that I went through a month of trying to revive my supply while producing no more than a drop of milk and basically making myself insane from the fluctuating hormones. Yet, time and again, when my husband spent the most skin to skin time with my son, my child always chose my husband over me in a crisis. When I was spending time cuddling and skin to skin, then he would prefer to go to me in a rough time. …


(Ditch The Formula Feeding Guilt & Bond With Your Baby)

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My husband, Mattias skin-to-skin with our son

“Breast Is Best!” The phrase kept haunting me.

I always assumed my child would be 100% breastfed. I read many books and devoured chapters of breastfeeding issues and how to overcome them. I knew it would be difficult, but I figured with the right support I would succeed. I struggled for 10 years with fertility delay and feeling like my body failed me before. Now that I had this miracle baby at age 43, it felt like another way my body was failing me when I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed. But, my child bonded with both my husband and me in a way that might never have happened if I exclusively breastfed. Over 2 years later, reflecting back on my experiences, I came to the realization that breast is best, but it’s not about the milk. It’s about bonding with your child through skin-to-skin time, community support, unplugging from technology, and listening to your child. …


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The Boat That Brings Your Dreams Into Reality

I had a wish to have a child. I was married and went through 4 years of infertility. The fertility clinic, the naturopath, the acupuncturist, the doctors, the tests, the miscarriage, the anguish, the tears. How many times did I ask myself when will I become a mother?

I was struggling in my marriage and super depressed about not conceiving. I found a spiritual coach who started to help me get in touch with my intuition again. …


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Please Momma, please

I seem like I need that gadget or phone,

but what I am really saying by being still and quiet

Is that I am not getting the right exercise for my body and brain.

As soon as you take that thing away,

I will melt down.

You have just given me a powerful drug that makes you think

I am happy and an unseen/unheard child.

It gives you a moment’s peace

so that you can distract yourself with your own screen.

But, what I need more than sirens and smartphones,

is fresh air

And legs that run.

Things to take apart and examine and climb. …

About

Leah Irby

Pregnancy After Loss Team Leader 💖Mind-Body Program+Doula Support 🎵Healing Songs ✨Free Course ➡️https://bit.ly/naturalanxietyrelief

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