Founder's Note: Not many of us were born with a 'sustainable bamboo spoon' in our mouth or raised crunchy green. Many 'arrived' to Savvy after an a-ha moment that shook our beliefs about health. Meet Amanda. Amanda exudes joy but behind her constant twinkle is the story of a fighter. I am proud to share Amanda's story knowing many will identify with the hurdles she faces.
It Makes Me Physically Ill...
Stress doesn't just make me irritable or snappish with my husband and young children, ages 7, 6 and 1 – it makes me physically ill. I have ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disorder that causes severe pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, and fatigue. The more stressed I get about stuff like mounting deadlines for the public relations business I own or the writing contracts I’ve signed, or just navigating the complicated waters of parenthood while working from home, the more likely I am to have a flare-up.
One reason I’m so focused on managing my frustrations and doing my best to be the strongest and healthiest mom and wife I can be is that when I was 12 years old, my family suffered through a lengthy and protracted custody battle. It was so stressful that fortunately/unfortunately, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at this time, an illness my dad lives with as well. This began my journey as a patient, though my education didn’t begin until much later.
I found myself the mom of two beautiful little girls.
My pregnancies had been considered high-risk and both were born early – my doctors thought because of my autoimmune disease – but I considered myself lucky. In May 2012, I was pregnant again. Almost immediately I knew something was wrong with this pregnancy. I didn’t feel right; I had a pretty bad colitis flare, then developed an eye allergy, followed by an allergic reaction to Benadryl. Within a week, I started bleeding. Two ultrasounds showed heartbeats but they were inconsistent, and within a few days, a third ultrasound showed the pregnancy had been reabsorbed into my body. I was devastated, but had little time to think about it because I developed MRSA two days later.
Fast-forward to October 2012. I was newly pregnant, felt great and life was good. However, again at the seven-week mark, I went to the hospital for an ultrasound and immediately knew after looking at the faces of the technician and radiologist that there was a problem. They couldn’t find a fetus. My OB ran blood work and then immediately scheduled me for an emergency laparoscopic surgery. I woke up four hours later in recovery to learn that I had had an ectopic pregnancy. My fallopian tube had ruptured into my retro-peritoneal cavity – something none of her colleagues had ever seen. I lost my left tube, along with quite a bit of blood. After two days in the hospital, I was ready to head home to recover and grieve. With the help of some wonderful social workers at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, I knew how I wanted to do that.
Newton-Wellesley Hospital’s childbirth and pregnancy loss program, part of the HEAL (Helping Educate After Loss) program, provides resources to families dealing with the loss of a baby. They are there as a practical guide and emotional comfort in the days and months following a loss. Each spring, the HEAL Program holds a Babies Remembered Memorial Service at Newton-Wellesley Hospital dedicated to families grieving pregnancy and infant losses. I’m proud to be a member of the Planning Committee for this incredible event.
I’ve tried to continue my healthy ways and have done my best to help my children follow the same pattern.
My daughter, Claire, lives with the same anxiety and depression I do so about a year ago I made a conscious effort to watch out for processed foods, avoid dyes and try to limit the amount of toxic chemicals we touched and ingested in and around the home. That’s when I discovered PURE Haven Essentials and learned more than I ever imagined about what actually goes into products. I learned about green-washing. I discovered the harmful effects of anything with “fragrance” in the ingredient and ultimately decided to become an Independent Consultant to help educate others and share what I had learned.
I want to do more...
I want to do more because I don’t think it’s acceptable that Europe bans 1,371 toxic chemicals from their personal care products and the US bans only 11. It sickens me that the FDA does not regulate the personal care products industry and hopes that cosmetic companies will do their due diligence and issue safe products.
It’s not acceptable to me that personal and home care products (from shampoo to antibacterial wipes to makeup) contain carcinogenic ingredients, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors and allergens that could be downright hazardous to my health and to the health of my friends and loved ones.
It’s time to make a change, to be part of a movement to impact the world for the better.
Savvy is not affiliated with Pure Haven Essentials. This is part of Amanda's journey and we celebrate the beauty and courage in her journey.