What does the word “natural” mean to you?
I grew up eating Doritos and fast food. Blasting the air conditioner and spending Saturdays at the mall.
When I began practicing yoga it was a revelation to me. I wanted to feel that good—as good as I did during yoga class—all the time. And that meant changing my diet (goodbye chips, hello pineapple bowls and tofu stir-fry); my lifestyle (hiking in, days at the mall out) and in any way I could trading the artificial for the natural.
Fast forward a few years and I was trying, desperately, to get pregnant. For years I resisted medical interventions like IVF because getting pregnant “naturally” seemed the only way to go, the only way that fit my sense of self.
(See this Salon essay by Jenny Rough for more on that topic.)
Thank goodness I had a change of heart; and thank goodness for the state of Massachusetts covering fertility treatments, or else Lucien (an IVF baby) wouldn’t be here.
But I have to admit I still struggle with the concept of being “natural.” My C-section. Was that natural or unnatural? On a (ahem) lighter note: How about the gray roots my hairdresser applies henna to every six weeks. (And should I stick to henna or bring out the more chemical products that might work more effectively?)
(See this Yoga Journal essay on embracing the gray by Cyndi Lee.)
I don’t have any answers. For now I’m dying my roots and, of course, I continue to be unspeakably grateful for the miracle of IVF. I’m also opening the windows in the summer, trying to hike more than I shop, make it on my mat every day I can, and hoping to keep Lucien a natural boy in the midst of a very modern world.