When "Natural" Isn't Working: Hope For the Discouraged Crunchy Mother 2
| |

When “Natural” Isn’t Working: Hope For the Discouraged Crunchy Mother

When "Natural" Isn't Working: Hope for the Discouraged Crunchy Mama {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

When my son was 18 months old, I put him down for his afternoon nap. Nothing unusual, except he had a bad cold, and was feeling yucky. Thirty minutes later, I heard him wake up, uncomfortable.

When I walked into the room, I was shocked at what I saw.

He was coughing – not just coughing – gasping through every breath. His ribs and neck muscles were retracting. He was trying to talk, but had to gasp before every couple of words.

I’m a compulsive worrier, but this time, I knew there was something wrong. I called my mom, buckled him with shaky hands, and rushed to the doctor.

A few long hours later, we took a memorable ambulance ride to the downtown children’s hospital, where we stayed for two days, until his oxygen levels rose back to normal.

When "Natural" Isn't Working: Hope for the Discouraged Crunchy Mama {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Here’s where I get to my confession part.

Since that (terrifying) day four years ago, my son has been off and on a slew of various asthma medications. Inhaled cortisteroids, albuterhol…

And it gets worse.

Once or twice a year, we have to give my son oral steroids. Prednisone. Even the word makes my stomach lurch. I know it’s bad because even the mainstream medical professionals – the “un-crunchy” crowd – hate using this stuff.

Please do not remind me how horrible this medicine is.

I know.

I know it every time we have to give it. I know it every time we totter near giving it, when my husband and I get on our knees (literally – how many times have we been on our knees for this child?), and we beg God to open his airways, to keep his lungs healthy, to let us not have to give us this awful medicine.

Sometimes it works: the prayers, the oils, the diet changes, the supplements – maybe all working together. Sometimes we’re spared, and his breathing returns to normal.

But others…

I cannot tell you how deeply I feel like a failure using these medicines. Nothing feels worse to a crunchy mom than her efforts not working. Of course, I have a long, long list of remedies and helps and aids that I have eagerly tried. They often help, but none for us has been a once-and-for-all cure. We deal with life-threatening food allergies, and trust me – that is crazy difficult.

When "Natural" Isn't Working: Hope for the Discouraged Crunchy Mama {KeeperoftheHome.org}

But this? This is the worst. When you try so desperately to fix something…and you can’t. Maybe you don’t have a child with asthma and bear the frustration of that awful disease.

Perhaps you can relate to my frustration?

A pesky sinus infection, a surgery you just can’t put off, resistant ear infections in a little one … or maybe something worse. Maybe you deal with a chronic ailment that may (or may not) respond to all your crunchy methodology.

If you’ve been there, I feel for you. Here are some things I’ve learned as a crunchy-mama-in-the-journey.

  • Just because you need some “conventional” medication, doesn’t mean your efforts are all in vain. Sometimes I will be so sure that my latest concoction will just cure my son’s asthma for good, and it doesn’t. I’ll whine to my husband, Why don’t we just give up, and put him on five different medicines, and let him eat whatever junk food he wants? None of it does any good anyway! And my sweet husband will remind me (as he often does in my embarrassing struggles): Sweetie. It is working. It is helping. Sometimes it’s just a big battle to fight. But you’re doing a great job.
  • Just because something “natural” isn’t working, doesn’t mean there isn’t a natural cure. Just because you haven’t found the answer, doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer. It is okay to be in process of discovering what can heal the body. Let me repeat that:

When "Natural" Isn't Working: Hope for the Discouraged Crunchy Mama {KeeperoftheHome.org}

It is okay to be in the process of natural living.

There may be people who have “reached” the destination. But for many like me, we are still learning what does and does not work, doing our best as we go along. And that is okay.

  • You have to remain upbeat, and open to trying new things. I bet after writing this, I’ll receive a host of asthma tricks and techniques that I’ve never even tried! Instead of being defensive, or embarrassed, or afraid to try this or that, I’m learning to be grateful for yet another option to try!
  • Sometimes (and I’m wincing as I tell you this), you just take a deep breath, and do the horrible awful “conventional” thing, and thank the good Lord that you live in an age of modern medicine. Grace, mama. There is grace. I still believe that one day I’ll figure it out, and my son won’t need that steroid once a year. I truly do. But for now? When he needs it? When he’s struggling for breath, and coughs through every word? Friend, I will give this medicine, and I will thank God that I can.
  • And finally, I’ve been reminded that natural living is not my Savior. Jesus is. Because I’m a Christian, I take a weird sort of comfort in all my “failures.” Why? Because they remind me that this earth is not my home. That one day – daily dose of cod liver oil or not – I will die. And that’s okay – because I will be with Jesus forever. The struggles we have on earth can serve as a reminder that there is a better life coming.

So, what about you? Have you, too, felt the disappointment of a failed remedy, or a natural journey in-the-process? What helps you when you feel like a discouraged crunchy mother?

Similar Posts


  1. I am so heartened to read your post about your asthmatic child and your struggles to balance natural medicine and conventional. I developed severe asthma at 18 months old ( I am now 58) treatments were very limited, my parents knew nothing about natural medicine and the new drugs were welcomed with open arms as indeed they appeared miraculous. Much later in life I developed an interest in alternative approaches, some of which have helped me and some not. When I had my son (now 22)i was determined to avoid antibiotics , steroids, salbutamol etc, when he started to show the
    problems related to what I am tempted to call dodgy lungs. Again I was succesful inpart but still had to resort to some major courses of antibiotics during several bouts of pneumonia. But I persevered, gradually learning about his constitution and what he needed– or didn’t need to remain well the vast majority of the time. The point of this long rambling story is that I like you felt guilty about resorting to heavy duty drugs, but I like you, I realized that you can only do your best at the time and keep on experimenting and learning. After all the most important person is the child and his /her health and believe me there is nothing worsethan being made to suffer on the alter of a parents or indeed doctors rabid beliefs. I say this because I have been shocked at times by friends who have allowed their children to struggle for breath because they won’t let them be treated with conventional medicine. So don’t despair. I am sure that all your efforts will pay off in the general health and resilience of your child, which will become more obvious as they get older—and if they do need medication at times —well your efforts will go a long way to mitigating the negative effects.

  2. I am also thankful for those medicines even when I know their side effects are not great. Better alive than not breathing, right???

    My 3rd son had Reactive Airway Disease from 3 months old until 3 years old. He had the albueterol, steriods, neubilizer, etc… and Prednisone when that wouldn’t work. He had an attack EVERY time he got a cold or the flu. It went straight to his lungs every single time.

    I had read that a lot of kids outgrow it (by 5, I think I read?) and I prayed mine would. He did! At 4 years old now, he’ll get a cold and it’s just annoying, not life-threatening. It’s amazing!!!! haha.

    I don’t know where it came from. None of my other children (4 kids) had it. We maintained our same lifestyle on the farm. No changes really. He was just the one.

    I’ll be praying your son outgrows it too. Until then, you do whatever you can to keep him healthy and kickin’… even if it means using the modern knowledge he gave a doctor/scientist!

  3. Wow! Is this written tongue-in-cheek? I can’t tell.

    I truly hope so. I can’t believe anyone would feel like a failure for giving their child asthma medicine. Whenever my son has an asthma attack, I get down on my knees and thank God for the wonderful gift of mankind’s incredible ingenuity that makes it possible for us to create this modern medicine.

    This is where the natural living movement/community frustrates me. I am all about simple living and getting back to our roots, but it makes me angry that we take it to the point where we feel like a failure for using any conventional medicine — medicine that is saving our children’s lives! Sometimes there are no natural cures. In the past, asthma was a death sentence for many people. Now, it’s just an inconvenience for most.

    Sure, modern medicine can be abused, but I don’t see why natural living and life-saving conventional treatments need to be mutually exclusive. Do we also feel like a failure every time we turn on the lights after dark? Do we feel like a failure for cooking on an electric range? Do we feel like a failure for flying across the country? These are also very “unnatural” things for us to be doing.

    So don’t feel bad. You’re not medicating your son for a frivolous reason. You’re saving his life. Don’t ever apologize for that.

    1. I agree with your post, modern medicine is amazing. We can take a half dead person, pull him from a car wreck and save his life. Trust me, if I am in a car accident with limbs hanging off, dont’ take me to my homeopath!!! (although popping me some arnica would be fine, just stick it under my tongue to help my body not go into shock, lol). Take me to the best and closest ER or trauma center 🙂

      I am not going to go to the doctor for a sniffle or a fever. I am going to go to the doctor when something is wrong, looking for a diagnosis. Then, I am going to figure out what the best form of treatment is, even if it is partially conventional with some natural remedies.

      And I am definitely not going to just get antibiotics prescribed because I am sick. I have to be REALLY sick and it HAS to be a bacterial infection vs. a viral infection.


  4. You are not a failure – you are giving your child life-saving medicine. Over the winter I read in a newspaper the staggering number of deaths caused by uncontrolled/undermanaged asthma. My son has asthma and is currently on steroid inhalers because it has been exasperated by hayfever. I am not going to feel guilty for helping my child to not have to gasp for every breath..

    I do often wonder how much worse he would be if I stopped his “healthy diet” and “lifestyle” choices that we make. Everyone has to make their own decisions about what is right for their family – for me I would rather have a happy child able to run around and have fun – exercising than on unable to without gasping for air and living in fear of an asthma attack.

  5. Seriously, DON’T be so hard on yourself!!! I am pretty crunchy myself (no processed foods, no gluten, rarely any GMO grains, I make my own personal care products or use castile soap or miracle soap, same with cleaning supplies). But, I have HORRIBLE bursitis in my hips. The pain is so excruciating (oils don’t work, physical therapy doesn’t work, etc). I got injections about 6 years ago and they were marvelous (I wasn’t AS Crunchy back then but I did avoid medications at all costs). This time, the pain was worse and my desire to get cortisone (steroid) injection was even less than it was back then.

    But, I had to make a decision. It had come to the point where I was going to have to start taking pain killers to just get through my day. What is worse? Daily painkillers or a single injection? So, here in Panama (where I live) I went to a local clinic. She knows that I try to go the alternative route and it is amazing in this 3rd world country how willing she is to say “take colloidal silver if you don’t want antibiotics, but if it gets worse, come back”. So for $22 I got a cortisone/prednisone shot. And It was the best decision I ever made recently 🙂

    I have respect for modern medicine — use it when it is absolutely the last resort. But know that it is there, available to you if necessary.

    So that leads me to my recommendation to you and to all your readers. When something like cancer comes along and you choose chemo, or when you need life saving cortisteroids, as long as you feel comfortable with your decision, don’t fret. Just work out a plan to get the yuckies out of your body (that is a “technical term” — yuckies. haha…. just means the leftover drug residue that your body is unable to get rid of).

    Detox. Clay baths. Zeolite. Saunas (near or far infrared would be my top choices). Or, my detox foot pads 🙂 Because I don’t detox well at all (thanks to genetic methylation issues) I would be SO sick if it weren’t for my detox foot pads. Anyway, take a look at my website (click on my name). Send me your mailing address and I will send you a free sample. No strings. They work amazing on children – – even newborns. And I have lab results that show that they do pull things out of your body (toxins).

    But even if you don’t decide to try the detox foot pads, try other forms of detoxing.

    That is my recommendation for you.

    And the only thing I know to try for asthma and allergies is to heal the gut with SCD or GAPS or Paleo, which I think you probably are already doing?

    Good luck and God Bless.

  6. I understand how you feel in regards to needing conventional medicines for treatment of a condition that natural living alone won’t cure/control. Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with severe developmental disabilities along with epilepsy when she was 9 mo old. We searched for any possible natural intervention/therapy for many years never giving up hope, but yet never achieving enough control to take her off the conventional medications. Those early years were toughest on me because not only was I a new parent, but also a young Christian and very new to natural living practices. Everyone knew “something” that would cure our daughter if only we had enough faith, courage, or fortitude to stick to the incredibly stringent regimes of diets. I have to say that it was very trying to our marriage and my faith. I am amazed that our family made it through that time intact as so many families end in divorce over the amount of stress that a child like our daughter brings.
    She is now 24 and still on 3 medications daily. However, she is much healthier and in my heart I am sure higher functioning as a result of all those natural therapies that we tried and the ones we chose to keep in our lifestyle choices. Even though none ever provided the cure/healing that we prayed for constantly, I am positive that they all provided some measure of good to our lives. We are told in the New Testament that the apostle Paul prayed many times for a specific thorn in the flesh to be removed from his life and that it never was taken from him. Yet look at all that he accomplished in his life. My daughter will never do extraordinary things like the apostle Paul, but I know in my heart that I am a better Christian, parent, and friend because of the challenges she has brought to my life.
    You may end up experiencing with your son challenges that will stretch your family to grow just like we did in ours. Nothing this side of heaven is perfect and all of us have imperfections- some are just more obvious than others=) I have comfort in knowing that as long as I am praying about our choices for her as we walk through this life that all will be well in the long run. Sorry for a long comment, but I knew from reading your post, that you needed encouragement to keep up the Good Fight. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you for this important post full of compassion. I offer you a hug and a smile, because years ago I came to accept that I will not be purely crunchy in every way, not for a while, anyway (c:

    I have asthma, and the number of times I use an inhaler has dropped like a stone as I improve my diet and my life. But sometimes I get into something (or something gets into my lungs) that precipitates an attack.

    These days, when something “big” comes up (I live in the land of Lyme Disease and all its coinfections, for example), I will get help from my medical practitioners if they are able to help. Sometimes doxycycline is the way to go. And even that does not always seem to work for a large number of people. Sometimes a steroid is recommended. I have to think long and hard, and sometimes can postpone the prescription stuff while I use healthier anti-inflammatory practices. Most of the time I can stave off the prescriptions. Not always. Sometimes I go with the prescriptions and regret it, as they can have side effects as bad as the initial problem.

    I have had both kinds of experiences. Sometimes the folk medicine doesn’t work. Sometimes the medical-industrial medicine doesn’t work.

    It’s worse for me when it’s a loved one suffering.

    So thanks again for the post. It is a good reminder.

  8. I agree with Rebecca. It is crazy to feel bad for giving a child oral steroids for a lung infection. There is a point where medical issues are so severe there really isn’t a choice. I think it’s important to keep in mind that being conservative in medical care most of the time balances those those times when it is unavoidable. Just like eating well most of the time, helps to balance the occasional indulgence. My son was an asthmatic and has mostly outgrown it, but he still carries an inhaler in his pocket every. single. day. Kids die from Asthma because they don’t know or recognize the symptoms or have the medicines with them to easily manage symptoms. It’s smart to have a strong preventative plan to keep triggers at bay, a symptomatic treatment plan and an emergency treatment plan. It’s really no different than a child with diabetes, would you deny them insulin? I think as mothers our role is to treat the whole child, good diet, heathy schedule, minimize known triggers and education and tools to address symptoms as they arise.

  9. Chinese Herbs are magnificent with asthma and other respiratory issues. You may need to stay on medications for a while, or keep an inhaler around if the asthma is severe, but I find that the medications create a different set of issues than the asthma, itself (though, less severe). I have practiced Chinese medicine since 2006, and one of my favorite things about helping others with their health (or their children’s health) is alleviating the frustration of working so, so hard live naturally. I have seen numerous people who are working diligently to address all kinds of health conditions, and I want to add here that Chinese herbs do things that no other medicine, herbal or otherwise, can do. I am continuously amazed at how much ease can be had with the right formulation. I encourage anyone with asthma to find a Chinese herb practitioner in your area. The frustration is not a prerequisite to living a natural life you can feel good about!

  10. Love your blog! It’s nice to know when others are on the same path and facing similar struggles.
    I wanted to share with you the name of an alternative doctor (says he’s a chiro, but he’s MUCH more) in Denver. He has dealt with life threatening allergies with much success. He is a Christian man and will tell you whether or not he thinks he can help your situation. It would be worth just giving him a call to ask questions. (his lovely wife is his secretary and is very knowledgeable as well.) Dr Perry Ruby 303 452-4690 I used to travel 4 hours to see him. Of late, I have had no reason to travel the now 9 hrs it would take to see him, but I would travel farther than that if need be. He’s great with MANY health issues!
    Thanks for the time you put into this blog! I pray you find the answers you need for your little one.

  11. Thank you for this post. I’ve suffered asthma attacks since I was 8 and still have occasional flare ups today. Ironically, one of the few times I really need corticosteroid inhalers for chronic asthma attacks anymore is during pregnancy. Yup. The one time when you really need to keep any possible contaminants OUT of your body. Sigh. I remember questioning my Dr. about this and she looked me in the eye and said, “You absolutely have to breathe. The consequences of you not getting enough oxygen to the baby are far greater than the tiny risk of any possible side effect. You have to breathe.” I needed to hear that. My first was born completely healthy, with no ill effects whatsoever. I’m more confident now with my second pregnancy. But I know all about the prednisone and the staying up all night coughing and praying the meds kick in….by way of encouragement: my asthma improved dramatically after puberty and (when I’m not pregnant) it rarely bothers me (as long as I avoid mold, my main trigger). It’s quite possible your little one will improve and have less need for meds as time goes by. In the meantime, NO GUILT! You are doing everything right. When my dad had attacks as a kid, his parents would wait until all else failed and then rush him to the ER for a shot of epinephrine (adrenaline) and hope that it would dilate his airways enough to allow oxygen to pass. I’m grateful for the advances we’ve made in medicine since, because it’s likely I would not be here today without them.

  12. Wow! What a great post. It was just what I needed. I am born again too & I’ve been wondering “why” and getting discouraged when my natural remedies don’t “work”. Mary’s reply was the absolute BEST! Right on, Mary!

  13. We also battle with asthma, but thankfully, at age 10, my son can keep his mostly under control using a Breathe essential oil and only turning to the rescue inhaler in emergency situations. It is slowly getting better with age. We get nasty looks from doctors though when they ask if he has had flu shots, and I say no. So far we have fared much better using my version of “thieves” oil as a way of fighting off colds before they become a problem.

    My most recent battle was an odd skin reaction I was having. It looked like bug bites all over my legs. It turned out to be “an allergic reaction to a bug” but wasn’t a bug bite. But they wanted to treat it like scabies, so they had me rub a pesticide cream all over my body. Twice. I’m as organic as they come, and I beat myself up over this, especially when that cream destroyed my skin, which made me even more anti-pesticides than I was before. I am still healing from that, and it was 8 months ago that I did that “treatment.” Turns out, after some of my own research, it was an allergic reaction to dust mites. Dust mites are bad in our area this year, and a radio announcement turned me on to that little nugget of information.

    Unfortunately, doctors don’t always have the answers. And it is really, REALLY hard to know when to trust them and when to trust your gut (especially when doctors have failed you multiple times, and in big ways). I am thankful that we have the things that we do have, but we need to pray for wisdom, keep on keeping on, keep learning, keep researching. Thank you for this article. It is a good reminder to give ourselves grace when we feel like crunchy failures.

  14. This made me cry… in a good way. A cry of relief. I’ve been so overwhelmed lately and the Lord has been graciously (sometimes firmly, sometimes gently) weeding things out of my life to simplify it. Natural living had become an idol to me a few years ago. Now I can occasionally feed my kids French fries and not feel like the World’s Worst Mom. We’ve dealt with food allergies for the last few years, but this new chapter involves every member of my family (three kids under five, including a 7 month old baby) and a house full of mold. In our hurry to vacate that house, we’ve not exactly been eating the cleanest diet. But it’s all about seasons and battles, right? Thank you for the encouraging word today.

  15. Modern medicine can be a God send when it’s needed. That being said, the cost is ridiculous and I refuse to run to the doctor for every little thing.
    Was wondering if anyone here has tried Mullein yet. It is considered a weed, but I am in the process of making my own tincture as I have the stuff growing in my back yard. I have been making tea fron the leaves for my adopted son. He is actually thirty and a lifetime asthmatic. He has been drinking three pints a day and has only been having about one or two light episodes a week. Mullein is a plant that lubricates everything in the body including lungs and chest and is huge for most respiratory ailments. My neighbors 4 yr old daughter had a dry barking cough for months. The doctor kept telling her to just keep giving her over the counter childrens allergy medicine and an expectorant. She had been doing this for 4 months staight over the winter and people in public would give her dirty looks and even comment and ask her if she had taken the child to the doctor.
    When I told her what I had been reading about mullein, she went to a local health food store and bought tincture. She puut 10 drops in the childs juice twice a day. The second day the cough sounded much more loose abd the third day she was coughing stuff up and finally getting rid of it. This little girl no longer has a cough. Thank you Lord!
    Use whatever you need to to keep your babies breathing though. Your experience would scare the daylights out of any mother.
    God bless and keep you.

  16. Thank you thank you thank you! Faced with having to go on much more intense medication for my Crohn’s Disease, I wholeheartedly launched myself into GAPS. I did everything right and thought it would just take some time. But months went by and I was getting sicker and sicker. Eventually I had to go on a high dose of Prednisone plus a couple of other not-so-great drugs (plus a diet recommended by my doctor that was basically the opposite of GAPS!). Even though I knew it was the right thing to do, it was such a disappointment. This reminds me to be glad there ARE those other options available! So glad to see so many other comments and that you are encouraging so many others, too!

  17. Amen and Amen! I completely agree with what you’re saying. Keep on sister and no guilt, just grace for us in Christ.

  18. Thank you for posting this! It comes at a time of great need! (Isn’t it funny how God does that?)

    I worked so hard to eat organically and exercise before and through my pregnancy and recently had a homebirth with no medications (this is my first child, btw) so that I could give my baby the best possible start in life, but last night…. Last night was 3 hours of her and I crying and screaming in frustration and pain until I gave up, pumped, and fed my newborn with a spoon just so that she’d have something to eat. I can honestly say I’ve never felt like a bigger failure in my life.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. I will continue to try to feed my child, but I will also be thankful that I still can give my child the best nutrients I can if I need to, even if it’s not directly from me.

  19. Thank you for writing this. My oldest have severe allergies and asthma, and I struggle with this a LOT. Thanks for sharing, so I know I’m not alone!!!

  20. Thank you for your post. I don’t know what it is, but simply feeling like you’re not all alone is medicine in itself. It’s good to hear other mom’s have similar internal conflicts.
    I lost my mom to cancer and went through the conventional medicine path; surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and a host of drugs. This experience left me with a distaste for modern medicine, I felt like the “treatments” were as bad as the disease. This experience led me to choose a home birth for my first baby. Unfortunately my natural route didn’t work out as planned. (I hate it when that happens.) My baby ended up in the NICU for 10 days with seizures from a traumatic birth. I watched as all of my hard work of the medicine & intervention-free route went down the drain. They pumped my baby full of every drug they had in the back room. He was kept alive on an iv of sugar water, I was unable to breastfeed. I wanted to lay down and give up. I know how you feel. Through all of this bad, they were able to get the seizures to stop. I was slowly able to start breastfeeding. We were released and able to wean him off all medication within 6 months. At the time, I felt it was my ultimate failure. But… He is 2.5 today and a perfect, crazy, precious toddler. Knock on wood, he hasn’t had another seizure or another drop of any medication. He hasn’t been sick and is vaccine-free. I’ve learned a humbling lesson through all of my experiences with modern medicine. I’ve concluded there is a time and a place and it is a true blessing that we have some of these life-saving options available when we need them. Lastly, I had horrible asthma as a child and I grew out of all of the treatments. I haven’t even used an inhaler in years. Stay your course. Be proud that you’re a warrior mama for your baby.

  21. “And finally, I’ve been reminded that natural living is not my Savior. Jesus is.” This. I’m sort of crunchy. And every once in a while I totally freak out about all the ways I’m failing to be crunchy (resorting to an all or nothing approach). And then I remember crunchiness is not, per se, what I’m called to. Crunchiness can add to my ability to glorify God. But if I’m anxious or self-righteous about it, it can also take away.

  22. Thank you for writing this. I totally get this. When you are a “crunchy” mama and really believe it in your soul, you don’t just cringe at the chemicals but at the future/unknown ramifications of said chemicals. I too, am a Christian crunchy mama. And I feel the often confusing pull of living like I believe God intended and still utilizing modern techniques that God allowed, all while realizing that food OR medicine is not my savior, but that God is ultimately in control. It’s a delicate balance! I am grateful for modern medicine when we REALLY need it, which for us is when we have tried and traditional options have not worked. But the cool part then is when you don’t use it very often, you get to see how fast and effectively the medicine works (because you aren’t overusing it!). Remember, that guilt not from God…peace is. You are doing a great job…and think of all those healthy things that you can do to help your child recover from the side effects of medicine. Many moms don’t know how to help their kids heal after taking medicine!!!

  23. Great article. Very real. I am a crunchy mom and I have not had to go where you are going but I feel for you. I especially loved your concluding statement, that natural living is not our Savior. It is easy to go there (and also easy to go the other way for some folks that medicine is our savior.) We must trust the Lord and that is sometimes very hard.

  24. Great to read this and be reminded of why us crunchy mommas do what we do….and take some of the pressure off the outcome! Thanks so much for sharing!

  25. Wow! I feel so encouraged that I’m not alone…
    My son got pneumonia (in left lung) a couple of months ago and was hospitalized for a couple of days…on antibiotics, etc. The doctors said he also has asthma….I was shocked. Since leaving the hospital, we gave him the puffer that they prescribed only once. We’ve had his 6 week chest xray follow-up and will be getting the results soon. We believe he is healed. He’s been running, playing with no noticeable difficulties in his breathing, etc and we are so grateful to the Lord.
    I felt horrible when this all occurred…the enemy likes for me to think it’s all my fault or that I contributed to his illness. The Word says that we shall all have trials and tribulations…. but it’s how we deal with it that matters to God. I fully trust in Him and lay my son down at the foot of the cross and believe that the Lord will take care of Him and give me the discernment that I need as a mom in all areas of motherhood. Blessings on you and your family. 🙂

  26. I so feel for you! My family has been reasonable lucky to not have to deal with health problems aside from some seasonal allergies but I can give sympathy for what you are going through. Hang in there! It took so many generations of unhealthy habits to get us all where we are today and so it’s going to take at least as many generations to reverse it! What I am saying is, is that we can’t live in guilt for what we cannot control. A good reminder to be thankful medical care when we need it and to be prone to natural ways and plant medicine, but also prone to balance. God bless !

  27. Thanks for your honesty in sharing this story that will touch so many hearts. I loved the last line that natural medicine is not the Savior, Jesus is. So true, but so easy to lose sight of at times. I struggled with lung issues from age 2 until age 30: constant pneumonia and bronchitis and asthma. I took my share of prednisone, steroid inhalers and way too many antibiotics. God used those things to keep me alive until it was His time to reveal that the issue was actually a birth defect and required surgery. The guilt my mom felt for not ‘finding’ this sooner was tremendous. She tried everything, she prayed, she took me to every type of doctor, tried every diet and remedy. Even with all her efforts, there was no diagnosis and no treatment that truly worked. God did heal my lungs through the surgery (no more medicines or inhalers), but He taught me a much greater lesson. I was never in control of my health. He’s always been in control. He knit me together in my mother’s womb knowing I had a birth defect. He gave me every breath for those 28 years of lung issues and He still gives me every breath now. God also used this experience to show the doctors and nurses that modern medicine was not the Savior. God’s ways were higher than mine, my mom’s or the doctors’. May God continue to give you the strength to keep trusting Him and to keep sharing your story to encourage so many others.

  28. I have migraines and, believe me, I have tried every crunchy thing there is to prevent and combat them. I still need to take two medications daily and two when I get a migraine. I won’t stop living crunchy in the hopes of finding my answer, but I’ll take my prescriptions in the meantime.

  29. Thanks for this! I am also one who feels like I have failed when I can’t solve something naturally for my kids, especially my son’s cough variant asthma that took years just to diagnose. I still won’t use conventional treatments when it’s not life-threatening, because I fear causing more harm than good, but it’s so frustrating to spend so many hours researching and try so many different things (including GAPS for a year!) and still not get results. Of course, I have to remind myself that he would probably be so much worse off if I didn’t do everything that I have already done! And also remember that the allergies, eczema and asthma do have a hereditary component in our case (husband has all of these much worse than my son). Anyway thank you!

  30. My heart goes out to you! I cannot even imagine what that is like. Our son is fairly healthy, but I have had lung issues on and off for my entire life. They are my point of weakness. Bronchitis is normal, have dealt with bouts of pneumonia, and probably have asthma although I’ve never been formally diagnosed (I just figured the wheezing was a good tell-tale sign when I tried to run). I too, do not like pharmaceuticals and try to avoid them when I can. During my last bout and when I was extremely discouraged and trying to get over some very nasty side-effects of what I had taken, I was directed to http://www.doctoryourself.com. I took the advice regarding large amounts of Vitamin C. For the first time in years I can walk up stairs and hills and not huff and puff. I can draw deep breaths and not feel any pressure or hear any rumbling. And I am in my 40’s! Please don’t ever feel discourage about giving your son pharmaceuticals. Sometimes we do what we need to do when we need to do it. I have also learned recently that our incredibly created bodies renew themselves completely within a 7-year cycle. So … your son is constantly being renewed! Don’t lose hope. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like some more info and resource sites. God bless!

  31. Oh, do I get this. I am so grateful for this. My youngest has severe eczema – scratch until she bleeds, infected, keeps her (and me) up all night, life controlling eczema. She is almost 2 and it has been like having an infant the whole time. Natural has not worked and I have tried it all and then some. There are food allergies involved as well. And steroids of course. I will pray for you all!

  32. I thought I was crunchy before my first was born but because of her birth (traumatic!), I became more so. And on this journey to all things natural/organic/holistic, I broke the bank. Crunchy living became my modern idol. I pulled in the spending reigns, figured out a budget, lived on a 50/50 organic/conventional diet, prayed and gave all of it to God…now (after a few years..doesn’t happen overnight!) things are more balanced.
    God takes care of the birds, He will take care of us! My prayers are with you and your family and ALL the commenters here that God gives us all insight to our unique family issues 🙂

  33. Thank you for sharing this! I get comments and raised eyebrows all the time about our natural choices as a family. They think we hate doctors and hospitals and have no respect or appreciation for modern medicine at all! I think it’s important to remind the critics that while natural remedies are my preference and I really, really, don’t like conventional drugs….that doesn’t mean they don’t have a place. Sometimes, you just need them. I appreciate your honesty!! I just started my blogging journey and am hoping to talk a lot about natural living, following Jesus, and above all else, want to be as transparent as possible. Thanks for setting such a great example! I will be sharing this post. 🙂

  34. Please don’t feel badly about your choices! Not everything can be healed with an essential oil or a spoonful of coconut oil! While I use these things when called for I also used the meds my daughter needed for her heart problem. There are many different reasons for our choices and you made yours with your son as top priority and that’s of the utmost importance. You did great!!!

  35. What a beautiful, grace-filled reminder. I especially loved the ending. I, too, struggle in this area at times (I’m sure we all do!). In the end, I remember the same things you do about the hope we have in God. We do live in a fallen world, but we have a much better hope for the future. I wrote about my struggle here, if you are interested. http://myoverflowingcup.com/health-vs-finances/ Thank you for this wonderful reminder that this is not our home, and one day all things will be restored to the way God intended them to be.

  36. Thank u I love this encouragement this is me and our 4th has asthma and it us just hard I am so thankful for this drugs that have saved his life but I hate giving them to him as well I gave learned that it is better for my son to keep h on the daily inhaled steroid, in return he needs oral steroids less often thank you for sharing

  37. Thank you so much for this!!! We began our natural living journey when our 2nd born was struggling with eczema. He only has a mild case on his feet and I wanted to avoid the steroid cycle I had been on my entire life which doesn’t even work most of the time. So we stepped out on an unfamiliar limb and sought the help of a naturopath. Fast forward 3 years and baby #3 has severe eczema all over his body. Every time I have to apply steroid ointment to him I cringe, but I know that it will bring at least temporary relief as I research other alternatives to help him. I know that if we weren’t on this journey we would have to use more of the medicines we don’t want to use, but because we are doing so many other natural things we only have to use them sporadically. Our 2nd born also has asthma, so I also know exactly how you feel when your baby can’t breathe and you have to give him the meds you despise. Your last paragraph is a wonderful reminder that the most important thing I can do for my children is introduce them to Jesus. Teach them to love Him, trust Him, and one day accept Him as their Savior. Because no matter how naturally we live, one day we will naturally die. And I can’t think of anything better than leaving this earth to go home to a loving Savior! Thank you for this reminder and for the encouragement! Blessings to you and your family!

  38. My Husband has schizophrenia, and I felt the same way when I had to have him committed for a month… We’re about to start the GAPS diet, it apparently helps with asthma as well as all kind of other things. Maybe it could help you?
    Take care!

  39. Ironically, I’m sitting here reading this as I wait for the walk-in clinic to open up so I can go in and let them listen to me wheezing and coughing so I can get a prescription for prednisone. For the second time in a month. 🙁 I’m one of those “once or twice a year” people. As is my daughter… as is my mother, and my grandmother. Asthma is a nasty thing to deal with. I’ve been switching over to a more “crunchy” lifestyle for a couple years – I never really think of myself as a “crunchy mama”, but I cloth diapered, exclusively breastfed, still cosleep, have eradicated 99% of the toxic cleaners/soaps/shampoos, etc (just found a non-toxic deodorant that actually works this past week – yay!). But I’m not totally there when it comes to food yet, though I make 95% of what we eat from scratch and we’re starting to buy more and more organic – growing a garden and preserving our own food. Reading over that, I guess I probably would be consider pretty “crunchy” – despite still drinking Dr. Pepper now and then. In any case, I totally get where you are coming from when it comes to these medications. I think you have it right when you say you have to get to a point of just being thankful that they exist for when we need them. Along with the fun asthma thing, I was diagnosed with Lupus a little over a year ago. I struggled with whether or not to treat it with medication. If you’ve ever heard anything about meds for Lupus, the options are an anti-malarial drug that could potentially cause blindness (though it’s unlikely), low doses of prednisone on an ongoing basis (we’re talking months to years), or chemotherapy drugs. Of course, all of those are horrifying to anyone trying to avoid things like this. For quite some time, I went to a naturopathic doctor and I learned a lot from him – I improved my diet and started taking supplements. But the pain and fatigue just didn’t improve. Eventually, I made peace with the decision to get on the anti-malarial drug because it’s the safest option there is. Besides – before this medication (and probably the others) were discovered, 50% of people who were diagnosed with Lupus died within 5 years of the diagnosis. Now, most Lupus patients are expected to live a normal or near normal life span WITH TREATMENT. I had to come to terms with that.. “with treatment”. I had to just accept that it is what it is. It’s not how I wish it was, but I can either focus on the fact that I have to take the meds, or I can focus on the fact that I’m so thankful they exist and that I was born and diagnosed when treatment options are available. I feel the same way about the asthma and the treatment of that as well. I know it’s hard – I cringe every time I have to give my 9 year old the battery of medication that goes along with her bad asthma episodes (which thankfully are only a few times a year). But she’s okay. And I’m okay – and you guys will be okay. And the truth is.. all the other things you are doing and all the other things I am doing DO make a difference and are even MORE important because of this health issue that you have to deal with. And you may find a way to deal with this without meds at some point. Or he may even grow out of it. My daughter had her tonsils out and her asthma drastically improved – we used to go through this every other month and she’d be in the ER two or three times a year. We’ve come to realize her asthma is triggered from viruses and grass pollen. Finding out the triggers can help. But it’s all a process and it takes time. Try not to compare yourself to other moms who seem to have it all figured out and who have healed their child by doing this or that. Their child is not your child. Everyone’s body is different and some people luck out and get it figured out and dealt with and other people have to keep trying and keep searching for answers. But thank goodness the meds are there. And with that being said, I’m off to the doctor so I can keep this from turning into full blown bronchitis and then pneumonia. (FWIW – my grandmother is in her 80’s and has dealt with this issue her entire life and she’s in fantastic health and STILL has to do the steroids once or twice a year.) <3

  40. Ladies, my heart hurts for you as I see the same refrain repeated over and over in the comments. We have created a culture that feels so at odds with modern medicine and yet how many of us would not be here today without it? I love being able to use an oil or herb for something instead of a chemical but I fully believe God allowed us to have modern medicine for a REASON. Please don’t let negativity pull you down into thinking that you are a horrible person for doing what you felt was best for your family. And don’t let anyone ELSE badger you into thinking that either! They have their own families and you have yours. God will guide and direct you. Sometimes you gotta take that baby into the ER for a breathing treatment, or have a surgery, or take a pill.

  41. I love that last point. That Jesus is bigger than all of this. Sometimes I have to tell myself to think of all the crunchy-ness of my life as a hobby, just to put it in the proper perspective. Modern medicine has some great parts, too but it’s not my hobby of choice. You’re doing great mama!

  42. I struggle with this as well! My daughter has a brain tumor & by Gods grace it has remained stable & she has not had to endure radiation or chemo. But she is missing most of her right temporal lobe. And she has seizures. And is on 3 epilepsy meds. It was her diagnosis that started me on the crunchy journey & so many times I feel like I am failing her bc of all the meds & my inability to make all our food from scratch & keep all the sugar out & etc etc etc. but I remind myself that I can not heal her. Only Jesus can. Glad to know I am not the only one who struggles with this too.

  43. ((HUGS)) I know exactly what you are saying. My daughter had a virus attack her brain at 10 months old. This led to catastrophic epilepsy that left her seizing over 100 times a day. Everything failed- mainstream, alternative, holistic, everything. We have just been home a few weeks from a 2 stage brain surgery that removed about 1/2 of her brain to stop the seizures. She is on medications that I don’t even want to describe. We have learned that God is faithful every step of the way, He truly does give the grace and the strength as you need it. He enabled us to make decisions that had previously seemed unfathomable to us. I think what it all comes down to is trusting God in the middle of it, being thankful for the options that are available to our kiddos that need it, and keeping a whole huge dose of perspective as far as how God wants us spending our time in caring for our families and ministering to those He puts in our lives. I will admit that in the past with my first 2 amazingly healthy children that just defied the odds in how off the charts healthy they were I sometimes longed for times past when things seemed simpler, less health decisions had to be made, etc. It really struck me though how scripture warns us in Ecclesiastes 7:10 about idealizing “the old days.” Now I have perspective, I realize that if my daughter had been born even 5 or 10 years earlier, treatment options may have looked very different for her. I try to just be very thankful for how God has directed and carried us. I have seen people be incredibly open to hearing the Gospel and our testimony because of what we have been through that would have never listened when I was the “crunchy” mom who had everything going well. Yes, I have struggled with seeing my child suffer *immensely*, but scripture reveals that we serve a God who’s heart is moved by suffering, and affliction, and innocent, helpless children. If God can minister to me minute by minute then I can trust him to do the same for my child. That is a message that people desperately need to hear. I just trust God has a plan for it that I will never completely understand this side of heaven. Great post!

  44. I just met an awesome chiropractor who might be able to help you. His stories are on his website. One of the 3 videos discusses his daughter’s issue with asthma. She no longer suffers from it. I am attaching his link. I hope that you are able to find answers here.

  45. Thank you so much for this! I struggle constantly with the natural vs conventional medical decisions for my family. I felt so guilty when my two year old was prescribed antibiotics a few months ago after I had used every natural option knew. It was humbling to admit I couldn’t fix it on my own and a reminder of what you said: Natural living isn’t my Savior. Jesus is. Amen!

    I have since found peace with the personal decision that I will continue to use and learn about all the natural treatments I can so that if we need medical interventions they will (hopefully) work that much better because we haven’t been exposed to it as much.

  46. I take the natural approach to health as well. I have learned that those who do take the natural approach to life have a “leagalistic” tendency – myself included. That said, I believe that God uses illnesses that needs more assistance than our natural remedies can deliver to teach us to trust him in ALL THINGS…even the use of conventional medicine. God has blessed the minds of some to derive treatments and cures for illnesses that used to kill many. Like you, sometimes I have to take a deep breath, use the conventional approach, and thank God for giving someone the knowledge and wisdom to invent that treatment. It all about residing in God’s grace. Thank you for sharing your journey!

  47. I understand your struggle, I’m trying to make the transition over to more nature living and am still very new. This last week we had 4 trips to the doctors to try to figure out what was going on with my 4 year old. He was gasping for air and his tummy was retracting, he had a fever and they couldn’t figure it out. They tried an x ray and there was nothing and asthma medicine finally helped. They finally decided it was Whooping Cough and medicated him accordingly he was almost totally back to normal and we get a call that he did not have whooping cough. We don’t know what happened but it is very scary to have a child not able to breathe, and I never want to experience it again, and who knows maybe I will since we didn’t get any answers this week.

  48. My son has asthma, although not nearly as bad as your son’s. But we spent a memorable 4 days in a hospital in Kampala, Uganda when he got pneumonia as quick as lightning and his blood ox level was 81%. I like using the most natural things I can, eating from the local farms, and all that. But God put me here, in this time and in this country, on purpose. And if that means it’s so my son can grow up and be a Christ follower and not die, like many children in other times and places have and do, then I’m okay with the meds. Living in the South, I’m also okay with air conditioning! It’s easy to get legalistic about “natural” and all that, but as you say, it’s Jesus first. We shouldn’t have ANY idols, including a lifestyle. He’s got you, and got your son. 🙂

  49. I am in my mid-fifties. What I hear in your heart is both disappointment that your choices didn’t lead to the outcomes you had anticipated and at the same time a frustration at the lack of understanding of the how and why of things. I just picked up a booked recently called ” We Make the Road by Walking”. The title is the definition of life in all its nuances. We make good sound choices and sometimes the road goes where we did not choose but God is still on that road and guiding us even if our options are NOT what we want.
    Our philosophies of health are not perfect. Not a single person has the same gene pool, the same bodies, the same DNA. Each body is born with weaknesses and strengths. We try so hard to make the right choices-in food, in medicine, in healing, in physicians, and in medical care. No matter how many studies, how many people testify to their results-no one can predict what each person’s body will respond or not respond to at a particular time. For myself, all the natural remedies, healing oils, and 30 years of eating healthy organic wholesome food none would have prevented an aortic aneurysm. I was born with a defect and one day my aortic ballooned and almost burst. I thank my God everyday for amazing surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesologists, nurses, pharmacists, and especially the CT tech who found my aneurysm. ( I was adamantly opposed to careless x-ray and tests). Machines kept my alive while the doctors fixed my aorta. Drugs kept my heart beating slow while it healed, pain medications allowed me to rest and heal, antibiotics kept me from infections that could have destroyed my new aorta. Sweet nurses bathed me when I couldn’t even lift my arms from pain.
    So now I try to encompass all of God’s provision in my eating and medical care. I still make all my choices -organic food, exercise, vitamins, and many herbal alternatives. I also will be on a drug for the rest of my life to protect my new heart valve and aorta and I am grateful for that medicine.

  50. I don’t have children BUT ………. I completely understand this mother’s situation because it ALL applies to me PERSONALLY!! She has NO reason to feel like a failure! I was born with an impaired immune system and as a result I live an anything BUT ‘normal’ life. Even the clothes I wear MUST be made a certain way of certain materials and I cannot wear colors. I have been cleaning up my life now for over five years and if I hadn’t I WOULDN’T be alive. Living a natural or organic existence isn’t easy in a highly toxic environment and it is possible. I asked God to take control and lead me in ALL things and I have found that I am MORE healthy than many who have never even considered the drastic changes I’ve made.

  51. I can relate to this so well. I’m a very “crunchy” lady, yet I take Zoloft for my OCD and anxiety issues. I tried all the “natural” remedies, but none of them quite did the trick. The GAPS diet is out of the question for me as I simply don’t have the resources to follow it. My OCD was so bad that I could literally think about nothing other than my obsession and compulsive behaviors, and I had regular panic attacks because the stress of it was so overwhelming. I had always told myself that pharmaceutical drugs would be my absolute last resort. And, well, I took the dreaded pharmaceuticals and don’t regret it for an instant. They’ve made a vast improvement in my mental health and life overall, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can allow myself this “cheat” in my crunchiness.

  52. THANK YOU for this! Just this week I have had to make the awful decision to give two of my daughters steroids for a severe reaction to poison ivy, and amixicillin to my little one miserable with a double ear infection.words cannot express how much this post means to me.if only I’d seen it sooner – it would have spared me some angst!!!

  53. Wow, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your deepest and most sincere thoughts and feelings. God bless.

  54. Thank you so much for this post. I have been in process of learning to live naturally since my now 5 year old was born. Then a few months ago I found out that my (then 4 year old) son had a rare form of kidney cancer. The tumor had crawled out of his kidney, up his vena cava and to his heart. I simply did not feel I had time to research and implement the many natural cancer cures as this tumor was already invading the heart of my always before perfectly healthy child. And I understand there are many natural remedies because the crunchy world can sometimes be rather judgmental when you choose conventional medicine and I have been told of many “tried and true” natural cures for cancer that I should have tried before resorting to radiating my child and filling him full of toxic chemotherapy poison. But I chose conventional medicine and though we are still in treatment he is currently cancer free as far as we can tell. I know we will have to live with the side effects of these treatments for the rest of his life, but I am thankful to God for every day we get to worry about those side effects, because it means my baby is still here. I am still learning of natural ways to supplement his therapy, but Thank you for easing some of that lingering guilt that I have about choosing this course.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *