Tuesday, November 09, 2010

When is stressing about toxins more toxic than the toxins you're trying to avoid?

There is a new book out called Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives by Annie Murphy Paul. Now I haven't actually gotten my hands on the book itself yet, but just reading this review, titled "Panic Womb" by Judith Woods was enough to get me thinking...

According to Woods' review, the book is all about "how babies are susceptible to stress and household chemicals, pollution that their mother breathes and the range of emotions she feels".  Now this is of course not news to me, since the whole point of me starting this blog was to share information about how eliminating toxins during the pre-conception period can help you get pregnant easier, faster and have a healthier pregnancy and child. But the interesting point that this raises for me is... if the toxins are bad, and the stress is bad, then what happens when we are stressing about toxins?

Having been mindful of my emotional environment as well as my ecological environment while pregnant, I've been trying to minimize stress through yoga and meditation, and generally just not giving a sh*t about stuff wherever possible. But sometimes I do find myself losing sleep over thoughts such as: "should I be wearing gloves while doing my taxes because there's BPA in most of my receipts?" or "how long should I let the new car seat off-gas before it's going to be safe enough?" and "I know oily fish like sardines and salmon are good for the baby's brain, but the cans are probably lined with BPA, so should I eat them or not?!".

At what point does all this stressing (especially when it's unproductive stressing) cause more harm to the fetus that the BPA, VOCs etc that I'm trying to avoid?

I'm also curious to find out more about the idea that "moderate stress accelerates the development of the baby's nervous system; women who report modest anxiety and daily stress have children with better motor and mental development scores at the age of two" (from Woods' review).

I guess I better buy the book, or maybe I shouldn't, if it's just going to give me more things to stress about... what do you think?