It's good that our deepest instincts take over when we have a baby growing inside us and we want to do everything we can to protect our child. Therefore, the desire to get pregnant or pregancy itself were what motivated the authors to research and write this book. Especially during pregnancy, the decisions that we make regarding food, the materials that enter our house -- be them furniture, chemicals found in cleaning supplies and even make-up and toiletries -- can have effects on our future offspring that we may not know about.
The Complete Organic Pregnancy is a very comprehensive book which is useful not only to pregnant women, but anyone who's interested in living a healthier, less toxic, artificial, and more organic life. I would heartily recommend this book.
Just a couple of nuggets. Did you know that:
- "The environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found the air quality in our homes to be two to five times more toxic than the air outside." (p. 30)?
- "A water bottle in a landfill or lying around as litter will take over 1,000 years to biodegrade. " (p. 107)?
Below you can read the three questions that I asked the authors and their responses. I think the wording on the first question was not precise. "Attack" was too strong a word, I probably should have used something like "displease." I still think that the disclaimer is a bit unusual, I don't remember having seen another one like it anywhere else. But perhaps in a world of ever growing litigations, it's going to become a standard practice.
Q: I found the "disclaimer" on the copyright page very interesting. Who decided to include it (authors, editors, publisher?) and why? Do you anticipate that the book is going to be "attacked" by health care professionals and/or other people?
A: We think you’re referring to this:
Any product mentioned here by name is something we genuinely love and use. We haven’t been swayed by freebies, been paid off by CSA farmers, or taken promotional fees from the migratory birds who would prefer you buy shade-grown coffee.We wrote the first paragraph sort of jokingly but also to let people know that we didn’t blindly include products just because they were organic, or because someone sent us something to test. We want our readers to know that this book is very much a labor of love, a journey we both took (are taking!) and so we take what we suggest very seriously.
This book is designed to provide information only. It is not intended to be complete or exhaustive, nor is it a substitute for the advice of your physician or other health care professional. You should be under the care of a physician or other health care professional during your entire pregnancy, and should consult that person with respect to all concerns you may have. All efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this book as of the date published. The author and the publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein.
The second paragraph is what you’re really asking about and for that we don’t have a personal answer. It comes from the publisher and is, we gather, a pretty standard legal disclaimer, especially for a health/pregnancy text. We don’t expect to be attacked, no. And we highly doubt HarperCollins expects to be attacked.
Q: My favorite parts of the book are the "diaries" or personal essays. They certainly take the edge off the content that may feel "intimidating" to people who are not familiar with an organic lifestyle. Why did you decide to include them and how did you select the writers? Five "diaries" from the authors were included (only one by Deirdre Dolan). I'm sure you could have shared more of your personal experiences, why didn't you?
A: We included them for the very reason you liked them – to take the edge off. There is a lot of how-to information in the book, and some of it is scary. We both found the diaries to be welcome antidotes to the regular text. We also know – as pregnant women/moms – that it is comforting/interesting/helpful to read first person accounts, to hear from other parents who have gone through what you’re going through. We wanted to include as many voices as possible. Writing a book with a co-author means a division of labor. Deirdre actually curated most of the diaries, and Lexy has always felt very comfortable writing first person essays; it is an easy medium for her to write quickly in. So she wound up writing more about her story as she went. Lexy was also pregnant while the book was being written, so it all felt very topical to write about, while Deirdre became pregnant when we were editing.
Q: This book is so comprehensive that I'm finding it hard to think of questions about it! Is there anything that looking back now that the book is being released you would like to add or maybe change? Anything new that you have learned since it was submitted to the publisher? Or maybe further things that you have since experienced in your lives that you might have shared? –
A: New stuff pops up daily! For example, while taping a segment for the Today Show (we’re going on 9/28 and are very excited about it!), in which we went through each room of a pregnant mom’s house to tell her where she could try to make things more organic, she asked us about her kitchen sponges. We hadn’t considered sponges in terms of their toxicity levels, and are researching now. Since the book was submitted to the publisher, so many things have happened. One organic baby formula we mentioned has been discontinued/folded into another company, a new study showed that organic milk has higher nutrients than non-organic milk, several American nail polish manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to remove a hormone disrupter from their polishes, fish is getting closer to being able to be certified organic in Britain, the fight against genetically modified foods continues stateside, organic crib mattresses are growing in popularity, so much so that orders are backed up. It took us both several months to get ours delivered. We could go on and on. The world of organics is so hot and fast paced right now that not a day goes by where we don’t learn something new we would have happily included in the book. We’re also learning more as we grow. Deirdre is due on Thanksgiving and has a different perspective than she did when she wasn’t this pregnant. And Lexy has a different view of things now that she is breastfeeding, and her 8 month old daughter is teething, putting everything and anything in her mouth, and eating solids. We’re keeping copious notes and hope we’ll be able to update this book in a new edition when the time comes, and to write the next book in an organic series. Meanwhile, check us out on Yahoo! Health, where we blog about organic pregnancy here.
Edited to add: I just noticed that one of the authors, Lexy Zissu, commented on Kateri's post, so I decided to add one remaining question I had so she can respond in the comments if she likes!
Q: I know that their personal "diaries" in the book begin to answer this question, but I was wondering whether Dolan and Zissu were already invested in an organic lifestyle before thinking of getting pregnant. How did the findings of this book change your lives? Have you tried to implement every single suggestion? [that sounds like a daunting task! :)]
I'm sure reading their blogs about the subject will bring lots of answers too (link above), but I thought I'd ask!
P.S. Another cool thing about this "assignment" was having in my hands a book that had not yet been released (last week it wasn't available yet at Amazon, although it is this week).