Naomi Aldort, Author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves Talks with Organizers!

We are grateful to Naomi Aldort author of Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves for taking a few minutes to speak with us about this event.  Ms. Aldort speaks internationally and her book has been translated into 13 languages.

LOB, HON:  Ms. Aldort, many are skeptical that listening to their baby could have a profound affect on society. What are your thoughts?

Ms. Aldort:  When babies’ primal needs are denied, even in part, they grow up into wounded people. We see the result of painful childhoods and baby care in many adults today. The symptoms of pain show in depression, aggression, crime, addictions, competitiveness, compulsions, dissatisfaction and the creation of wars within and without.
When babies are cared for as nature designed they grow up into deeply connected people and proceed to create a peaceful society, caring of its members in the same way they were cared for. The needs to breastfeed, be in arms, sleep by one’s mother etc., are no some strange mistakes of nature.

There is no mistake for us to fix creation. Creation is right and when we follow the baby’s cues, we raise content babies into children who have no reason to develop aggression or what we call “misbehavior.” How we care for the baby and child, is how that child will care for others.

The reason people are skeptical is because the human mind habitually convinces itself of its own beliefs; it fears change more than anything. The mind believe the lie that a child not controlled and tamed will turn into a wild savage. Reality is the opposite. When the baby is cared for in response to her cues with no denial or stress, continues to relate in this same kind and caring way.

A deeper response to this question can be found on the AuthenticParent.com site: http://authenticparent.com/articles10.html

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Respect, Trust, and Understanding from Day One

Respect, trust, and understanding from day one

Most people would agree that respect, trust, and understanding are all parts of a caring and loving relationship. These are some of the characteristics that would be used to describe a good relationship. Indeed a relationship lacking in these staples would be considered a bad relationship. Bad relationships can cause us to feel depressed and even lower our self-esteem. Most people want to put in as much effort as possible to make sure their partners feel safe with them and that they can trust them. All relationships need these components, especially the relationship between parent and child.

When a parent/child relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust, respect, and understanding, it will thrive. When the same kind of relationship is built without these components it will soon crumble. This makes sense to most people. Yet, many people who would agree with this idea, practice parenting styles that lack trust, respect, and understanding.

There is more to it though. It begins before any parenting techniques are even begun. It truly begins at the very moment of birth. Instead of welcoming a baby in a calm, positive, and respectful manner we forcefully pull it from its mother, violently ”dry” it and actually want to cause it to cry. The room is usually very bright with a lot of loud machines and strangers. We clamp the cord and deprive the baby of needed blood. We take them away from their mother and poke them with needles. Then we strap their arms down in a tightly bound blanket and place them in a plastic tub and tell their parents it is to dangerous for them to carry their own babies. The babies are also supposed to sleep in those tubs instead of next to their mothers in bed. And that is if they room in with their mother at all.

There is a saying ” if babies could talk…” What would they say? This idea is very flawed. You see, babies can and do talk. If people listen to them their language is simple and easy to understand. But you have to listen! If you are capable of understanding the most basic of human emotions you can understand a babies language. Screaming and or crying usually means one is upset and unhappy. Quiet calmness most often signals contentment. Smiling and laughing signifies happiness. A mother will quickly learn the special sound that her baby has when they are hungry, tired, or need to use the bathroom or be changed. Just as a mother jaguar knows her baby’s cries above all others, so can a human mother. When a baby is born and it is not crying, we mistakenly assume something is wrong. We shake, rub, or even slap it to make it cry. A baby can breath without crying! A baby who is blinking and alert but not crying is ok. In fact, they are probably doing better than the crying infant.

Perhaps this is where the problem truly lies. When new parents are shown and told that it is good that their child is crying we send a horrible message. Many people quickly jump from it is ok and even good that a baby is crying to it is good for the baby to cry. This is a completely untrue and very dangerous idea. It is that mentality that allows parents to think it is ok to ignore a child while it cries for help.

When a mother responds promptly with love and understanding when her baby calls to her the baby learns a very important message. The baby learns ”I am important. My mother cares for me and as long as I make my needs known, they will be met.” Consider the opposite of that because when you ignore your baby you are performing the opposite action and are indeed sending the opposite message. A message of unimportance and unworthiness. The baby learns that no matter how long it begs, its needs will not be met. Its mother will not help it. What a sad lesson to learn at such a young age. When we think in this way it is easy to believe the results of research that found these feelings and the subsequent effects on the brain are linked to adult depression.

In the most basic, primal way we are designed to listen attentively to our children. In the days of cavemen a crying baby would have signaled a predator to an easy meal and given away the location of the family. Because of this cave mothers were great at listening to all of their babies cues. Babies will make several smaller or quieter noises before they actually begin to cry. In truth a crying baby is one that is in its last desperate stage of trying to gain its mother’s attention. When a mother truly listens to her baby and understands their cues the baby has no need to actually cry.

There is even an easy to follow instructional video on “Baby Language” from Dunstan Baby. I think that this or other instruction should be given to all new parents as soon as their baby is born. Eventually it will just become accepted knowledge just as it used to be. How ever you learn your own babies language is up to you, but please learn it. Know that EVERY sound your baby makes means something and respond every time.

Respect your baby’s needs and feelings and do not write them off as meaningless noise. Help your baby to trust you by showing them that you will always be there when you are called. Understand that every sound has a meaning and a value and it needs to be responded to accordingly. I want to share a story about trust in children to help emphasize this point.

One day my father, my daughter, and I were at my parent’s pool. Another family came to the pool as well. They had a little girl with them that was close in age to my daughter. However her interactions with her family and my daughter’s interactions with us were very different. My daughter was relaxed in the water with my dad or I. She knew that if she became nervous and wanted to return to the step she would be. She knew that she could trust both of us to care for her and she knew that we would not let anything bad happen to her. My daughter has always been respected and responded to. I have always done everything I could to make her feel secure and foster a strong attachment. The other girl was a polar opposite. She was visibly terrified even in the arms of her mother and other family members. She did not trust that she was safe. Her wishes were not granted her fear was not acknowledged and several times she was told to “shut up” when she cried in terror. To see a child that age who had no security in her own family, especially her mother was heart breaking. It was as if she were invisible. No one cared about what she wanted or needed. She was a side note to their life. My father and I decided to take my daughter inside and avoid this scene, which seemed to be very upsetting and confusing to my daughter. Now I do not know how this child was raised. I can only imagine and assume. There may be other factors at play here. Still, in that moment she was not listened to. She was not respected or understood and she did not trust. My daughter has fallen in the water. She has slipped under when she didn’t want to. Accidents have happened that could have made her very afraid but every time something like that happened, someone she knew and trusted strengthened that trust by immediately stepping in to help her. My daughter knows that if anything does happen, she will be helped so she doesn’t worry.

Bottom line: Listen, respond, respect and understand your children so that they will grow to trust, listen, respond, respect, and understand you! It will also save you and your child from a list of problems!

By Maggie Sargent

Cry it Out is Child Abuse

I know that this topic has a tendency to get very heated. I tend to get enraged myself when talking about the “cry it out” philosophy. I know several people who still practice CIO today. In 2012. That is insane to me! Let me be up front. I am very passionate about this subject. I make no apologies for my “opinions.” I know that my “opinions” are backed up by science. Don’t you just hate that? I know it sucks. Trying to argue with someone who has every bit of scientific research on his or her side. It must be very frustrating trying to defend a position against science. I have an idea, try listening to and following the research. Stop holding onto out dated ideas just because you do not want to deal with the fact that you made the wrong decision. You chose to not put your child first. You chose to ignore your baby’s screams for help and sent them the message, “you are not important enough to respond to.” Deal with the mistake, forgive yourself and hope that your child will forgive you and move forward by not defending it any longer.

I read yet another article today about the effects of CIO.

Babies left to cry stay unhappy hours afterwards as stress hormone remains high

There are really countless studies documenting the negative effects of CIO. Yet people still do it and doctors still recommend it. It is mind boggling to me! The biggest argument is “it worked for me and my kids are fine.” Are they really fine? Have you done brain scans before and after? And even if they are “fine” don’t you think your children deserve more than to be just “fine?” I hate that argument so much. Think of all of the things that are justified in that manner.

“My parents beat the shit out of me all of the time and I’m fine”

“I’m circumcised and I’m fine!” (both men and women)

“I’ve done drugs and I’m fine”

etc etc etc. Come on people! When new research comes out on a subject it should be reviewed and thought about. When A LOT of research is done and they all find the same thing to be true it is time to acknowledge its truth. From there new recommendations and policies need to be put in place. Just because something is not illegal doesn’t make it safe or good in any way. Look at cigarettes. They are perfectly legal and perfectly deadly.

It is unnatural for mothers to learn to ignore their children. I cannot even imagine hearing my child cry and not immediately going to them and trying to fix the problem. From an evolutionary standpoint if early humans parented the way some people parent today our species would have died out long ago. A crying baby signaled predators to the location of an easy meal. This crazy idea that children should be on a strict schedule from the second they are born even it means letting them cry is a new idea. Most parents in past generations would have thought you were crazy if you had said, “just let them cry! They are fine!” Why have mother’s today decided that ignoring your natural instincts is the way to go. Is the need to be modern and hip so ingrained that we actually choose to harm our children to keep up with the Jones’?

I believe that there are many factors of today’s society that contribute to this dangerous parenting style. For one, mothers have no support. Women are constantly told that they cannot do things still or that they should listen to the “experts” (usually male) in order to make any decision. It starts in pregnancy. Women are told for nine months (and one could argue, their entire lives) that they are incapable of delivering their baby without assistance. They are told that their bodies are broken and frail and that they just need to sit back and let other more “knowledgeable” people handle the birth of THEIR baby. They are lied to and coerced. This does not end with the birth of their baby. Every where a new mother turns she is met with someone who “knows better” because they’ve “been there.” Mothers are told to ignore their instincts and follow someone else’s ideas.

Not only does everyone around them know better than they do when it comes to THEIR baby, but working mothers are told the most important thing is getting back to work fast. Not the needs of their child, not their own wants or needs, not what would be best for their relationship. Getting back to work. The United States is awful in its world standings on maternity leave. Most other countries give mothers weeks of paid maternity leave and even more unpaid leave without fear of job loss. Some countries give mothers an entire year off to bond with their babies. Those countries see the importance of the bond between mother and baby. In the U.S. a mother is rushed back to work after only 6 weeks to bond with her new baby. Then she is expected to deal with a newborn who is not ready to do without its mother yet and is therefore very clingy trying to stay close to the mother that it misses during the day. That same baby is in no way equipped to sleep through the night and needs to nurse often throughout the day and night. So now you have a baby who is trying to adjust to not having its mother most of the day and a woman who is working all day who then has to come home and continue to “work” as a mother. She doesn’t get much sleep especially if she is having to get up several times a night and walk into another bedroom to get to her crying baby and nurse it then get it settled back to sleep in its crib. Ideally all working mothers would be able to practice Attachment Parenting including breastfeeding and co-sleeping and make their lives and their babies’ lives so much easier but alas, that is the type of thing that is thought to be an extreme idea that will cause problems later on in life and will cause the mother to be more drained than ever. Let’s see real quickly:

Option 1: Give up breastfeeding and crib train your baby… Baby cries in the middle of the night. Mom wakes up, goes to get baby, prepares bottle, finally gives the hungry baby the bottle then soothes the baby back to sleep which usually takes at least a few minutes then go back to bed and try to sleep until the process begins again.

Option 2: Breastfeed and co-sleep… Let me start by saying while I do bed-share with my children I understand that it is not for everyone. In this scenario I use the term co-sleeping to mean sleeping in the same room as your baby. Whether they are in your bed, a sidecar attached to your bed, a bassinet, or a crib as long as they are in your room. Baby wakes to eat, mom either simply offers the breast if baby hasn’t found it if bed-sharing or quickly picks baby up at the first peep even before the baby begins to actually cry and then offers the breast. Baby nurses and quickly goes back to sleep in the comfort of knowing that its mother is near and responds promptly when she is needed. Baby either goes right back to sleep where it is or is gently placed in its bed. Repeat when needed.

Now in case you still don’t believe how easy it is, let me tell you a story. When my daughter was born we had her in a bassinet right next to our bed and she occasionally, though rarely, slept in our bed. At 6 months I thought I was “supposed” to move her into a crib in her own room so we did. I would never let my baby cry it out so every time she woke I got up, walked into her room, nursed, rocked, danced, walked and did anything else that would let her get back to sleep. Then as I would set her down, she would frequently wake up again and I would start all over. When she finally did go down I stumbled back to my bed for the short amount of time between then and her next feeding. I was exhausted!! When my son was born I already planned to bed-share. Let me tell you, what a difference! I have never gotten so much sleep with a baby. We both sleep so well and he has from a much earlier age. When he is hungry he nurses and I often don’t even wake up then he slips right back into a deep sleep. If I did wake up, I fall back asleep quickly and peacefully. He is now 8mo old and I have no intention of moving him out anytime soon. I should add that my daughter was moved back into my room and sometimes my bed as well. And you know what. All 4 of us sleep better than ever! I could not be less drained!

Back to my point. When a mother becomes so exhausted that she can barely function at all and has little to no support you can see where she might want to try anything to get some sleep. Combine that with people telling her to let the baby cry it out and to think of herself first the baby will be fine and you get a recipe for abuse. Yes, I think that letting your baby cry alone is child abuse. Even Ferber the so called “father” of the cry it out movement said that knowing what he knows now he would not use that method on his own children. Think about that. The man who first championed the idea would not use it on his own children. That says something!

Now if we offered support to those women and helped them create a strong attachment and not get to burned out maybe they would not feel so desperate. Maybe if a woman felt empowered throughout her pregnancy and birthed in a strong not fearful way. Perhaps if she was given a year off to bond with her baby without fear of setting back her career or being fired, she wouldn’t be so overwhelmed and she would be able to put her baby first. The truth is that is what is most important. If you are not prepared to put a child before everything else, do not have one. Babies are time consuming. Babies need a lot. These are not secrets. The secret is that you will be all alone. No one will help you. That has to change!

Soon there will come a time when things like CIO and spanking will be legally considered child abuse. Until then the more women who can learn other ways the better. I cannot wait until these ideas are things of the past and people who practice them are thought of as low class child abusers just as people who beat children are today because to me, they are the same thing.

By Maggie Sargent

Why We Say No Spank You

“Non-violence means dialogue, using our language, the human language. Dialogue means compromise; respecting each other’s rights; in the spirit of reconciliation there is a real solution to conflict and disagreement. There is no hundred percent winner, no hundred percent loser—not that way but half-and-half. That is the practical way, the only way.” -Dalai Lama XIV

My opinions on spanking were established early in life.
I can remember the last time my father spanked me…
We were at Disney World, “The Happiest Place on Earth” on “vacation”.  My siblings and I lived with my father for most of our youth, and my grandmother lived with us and cared for us as well. This particular instance my father was travelling and interviewing for work. The details are a bit vague but I will tell you that the travelling progressed until we had driven a U-Haul into Utah and enrolled in school from a motel room. (by Christmas we had a beautiful home and my father’s career was flourishing) But… at this juncture of our journey we were still convinced we were on “vacation”… and what child would know any differently when we were at Disney?
I speculate that the driving and travels created tension between my sister and I. I even went as far as to call her a “Dumbo” after she got off her elephant ride. When Mickey Mouse called our hotel room to invite us to breakfast SHE got to talk to him, and I was SO JEALOUS.  If you can get a vibe of my state of mind, I was the slightly neglected, very sensitve middle child who had been cooped up in a car and possibly exposed to adult stress…
I don’t even really remember what I did or said to my sister… but boy did I “learn my lesson”…
The spanking took place in the hotel room, I can remember doing the cover my butt with my hands and when that becomes too painful squrim technique, and the Squirm landed me with a black eye.
My shiner sure put a damper of the family vacation, we had some videos from the trip, but  no photos. My dad realized that SPANKING IS VIOLENCE but any kid being hit could tell you that. I was spanked most likley due to his stress and inabiltiy to cope with my specific needs properly.

Years later, we moved into my mothers home and embarked on years of various types of abuse. The first 24 hours my sister endured (she hadn’t lived with our mom from the age of 6 months until age 7) she was hit twice, for the cantelope in the trash can and jelly sandels on the couch.
My sister was spoiled by my grandmother at my father’s house, and was never reqired to eat anything that wasnt cheesy or sugary. There was an immediate role reversal when we arrived at moms, and now I was favored and she was abused daily. We were physically, mentally, emotionally, religously abused and my sister was also force fed and tortured with food.

Eventually, my sister told the DARE officer at her school “My mom hurts me.” and showed him a scar on her knee. My dad drove from out of state to pick up the following day, and we were escorted by police to collect our things in black trashbags while she screamed and tried to get the officer to take his shoes off in her home. I have seen her once since then, 12 years ago, but I talk to her on the phone sometimes and try to help her through.

After landing back at my fathers, we rebelled against the regime we had lived under for so long. As young teens we did what anybody would do, we went PUNK… then GOTH.
My dad was ill-prepared to deal with his punked-out teens, and worked constantly, and much like the prior years we were left to fend for ourselves.
Angsty, fighting for identity and detoxing from abuse our interpersonal relationships suffered.

We were never taught accountability, as we recall we have been violent to each other well into our teen years.

Before we ever lived with my mother my bother was 8 and I was 7 he choked me after I beat him in a video game. I was further repromanded for winning, since it wasn’t a proper girl thing to do by my granny… same ages my sister threw a dumbell on my leg, I can still recall that pain. As teens my bother used his “hammer fists” against our thighs, I threw a phone at my sisters head, she ripped a necklace off my neck cutting me. I would pin her to the floor and watch her struggle. She fought like a “wild banchee”. I would say “cunt punt” and kick her accordingly. I slapped her for turining off my computer mid-email. I spit and kicked my brother in the face. All three of us also were prone to self mutliation. My sister used to pick this same scab over and over when she would get into  trouble and has a scar on her arm still. Later she also was found stashing hair she pulled out on the side of the bed, and got beat for that too The  three of us also  did  “ice burns” which was ice and salt burning your skin, for fun though. Then into our teen years my sister and I did cutting with razors and fingernails and things of the sort, another way of trying to express anger,pain, whatever we were feeling. My brother by then was praticing more of a mental downward spiral type burning and cutting phase, which is still doing to this day among other self destructing behaviors that keep him from maintaining healthy relationships with hiself and others.

Whatever lesson about our personal interactions I was being taught at Disney World didn’t translate.

My father was hit by his grandmother, and resents it. My mother was severley abused and required to clean and cook and raise her siblings . She was hit with extension cords, vaccum hoses, and endured some form of kneeling on wet rice and corn on tile or in the tub puishment.

Dad was spanked, and he spanked, Mom was abused, so she did too. We were taught to hurt eachother as a means of dealing with human fault and error also.

We have experienced a wide range of dicipline (or lack thereof) and abuse. From casual spankings to full blown tell my DARE officer abuse. In retrospect, my father’s spankings were no better than my mother’s high-heel beatings. I remember my parent’s rage more than the pain.
My dad is the one who agknowledges the violence of spanking when my mother still sees no fault.

That’s the problem with spanking, its a act of violence and inherently anger-filled. I don’t beleive spanking can be emotionless. Who can hit their child without emotion? I can’t think of hitting or a child without feeling an emotion…
Don’t tell children you hit them out of love either, thats hypocrisy!

My brother is a schizophrenic now, studies have shown violence and trauma are triggers.
My sister has fibromyalgia, which is a widespread pain condition often found in women who were abused.
Abuse even found its way into my love life.

But now we draw the line. No hitting, ever. We practice attachment parenting. We practice non-violence.

We love the peaceful parenting facebook page for support and ideas for raising a child non violently.
http://www.facebook.com/peacefulparenting?ref=ts

There are also plenty of studies to back up  non violent parenting as a better, healthier choice for everyone involved.
http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112434507/domestic-violence-triggers-brain-changes-in-children/

http://www.drmomma.org/2010/09/why-spanking-is-never-okay.html
Drmomma really has the best article on spanking and we encourage every parent to read it, even if your currently spanking to get a further knowledge on the subject. Blindly spanking your children without knowing the reprucissions is dangerous and  not fair to them.  Praciticng passed on traditions from prior generations without using todays knowledge is  dangerous. Examples being cirucumsion, smoking and drinking during pregnancy(but 1 in 5 white women smoke while pregnant still), arranged marragies, lead paint, gender roles..you get it. We could have easily continued the cycle of abuse, but we came out on the other side as happy and strong women, sisters, mothers, and friends. We also maintain healthy relationships with our children, father, and eachother.

Science and pshycology are on our side. Whats on pro spanking/ physical discilpines side?

“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.” Dalai Lama XIV

By Discerning Mommas

The Politics of Parenting: Time to Wake Up

First, I understand if upon reading this you get defensive if this is a new idea, or contradicts what you have believed most of your life. As mothers we never want to feel like we have done something to harm our children. Our job is to protect them and to teach them what we know and it is difficult when our actions an ideas are challenged.

Our country is not okay. We are sick, getting sicker and cannot ignore the elephant in the room any longer. Our children are plagued with ADHD, Autism, Asthma, allergies, early onset diabetes, obesity, cancer; the list goes on. Pediatrics just reported that from 2002-2005, there was a 103% increase in diabetes medication for children, a 47% increase in asthma medication, a 41% increase in ADHD medication and a 15% increase in high cholesterol medicine. In the next 20 years the cancer rate is going to go up to 75%. We live under the illusion that we have the best health care system in the world.Then why do we rank #37 in healthcare in the world? The U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in the modern world.

 We have fallen victim to mass media and corporations selling us convenience. Corporations aren’t people who care about our families. We are just consumers to them. These corporations are blatantly disregarding the public and planets health. We are ruining the planet, we are stripping it of its resources, while polluting it, and filling the land and oceans with toxic trash. They mass produce animals and their products for consumption with no regard or respect to life. They mass produce toxic oil and spew benzene gas out of refineries and the exhaust from our cars, into the atmosphere and our babies lungs. Benzine is known to cause cancer among other various ailments. We genetically modify crops, and chop down forests. 700 new chemicals a year are being introduced into our products and not being tested by the TSCA whatsoever. There are  no credible product safety measures in place that have not money but the publics and earths best interest at heart. The current state of the world is not healthy and we need to take the power back into the hands of the people.

“A corporation has been endowed with personhood by the Supreme Court. It is not a person but it is run by persons. If the ethical standards of those at the top fail to maintain a certain level of social responsibility, the result is the insidious onset of corporate psychopathic behavior”

I feel like corporations have dehumanized the population of the planet. We as a whole don’t treat ourselves or the planet with any regard to anything but comfort and instant gratification. This behavior appears to spill over into our parenting.The medical- birth industry is the start. Practices such as circumcision, crying it out, and spanking are other obvious examples. Then we disregarded what we put into the child’s body with sub par nutritionally deficient food. We have a government that allows corporations such as Monsanto to continue to exist. They subsidize crops like corn, wheat and soy and then the meat/dairy industry to keep it cheap, and us unhealthy. Continue with the shooting live viruses grown on aborted fetal cells into our children in hopes they gain immunity and don’t gain a mental disorder.Then we put them in little boxes of what boy and girl humans have to be: Pink and Blue, Pink and Blue. We are living in such an unnatural environmental for humans to thrive. We have suffered from extreme value inversions and forgotten what life is about. We have let corporations and the federal reserve system steal from us humanity and force us into a system of slavery called the dollar.

The state of the world doesn’t depress me or intimidate me.There is so much beauty and goodness in the world to marvel at. I know humanity and families can wake up and change everything. I believe mothers love their children so much that when they realize the faults of what we are taught conventionally, that they will do better. I fed my son Soy GMO formula from the day he was born, I didn’t know anything wrong with it. When I found out, I cried and cried, but then I learned from it. Now with my daughter, I have been breastfeeding for 6 months. You learn better, you do better. We as mothers cannot ignore the facts. The way we have been doing things for the last 100 years is not working. We have to look at the implications for humanity if we do not take action through our parenting choices. My top eight things to educate yourself on is something I believe if everyone practiced, we would see such an amazing impact in our childrens lives.

I suggest watching a documentary called “Ethos” it’s award winning and very revealing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGlu4Xlrkvc

It is on netflix also.

Food Inc. really opened my eyes about the state of our food system.

http://vimeo.com/35413948

http://articles.cnn.com/2006-05-08/health/mothers.index_1_mortality-rate-death-rate-world-s-mothers?_s=PM:HEALTH

http://ecochildsplay.com/2009/02/27/700-new-chemicals-introduced-each-year-not-tested-for-toxicity/

By Discerning Mommas