At some stage last year I decided to stop adding sugar to my coffee and tea. There was no real reason why I did this besides feeling like I was covering the true flavours of these drinks. This decision went smoothly and I haven’t added sugar to my hot drinks since; I am now enjoying the subtleties in flavour. I must note that I noticed absolutely no changes in myself by removing this small amount of sugar.
Then earlier this year I was finding myself telling my daughter she couldn’t have something because it has lots of added sugar in it. Meanwhile, I was stuffing my face after dinner with whatever I felt like. I was feeling considerably hypocritical, although this didn’t stop me from doing it. A little later I read an article about how the obesity epidemic in America is caused not only by fat but could possibly be largely attributed to added sugar.
Being a sceptic, I took this article with a grain of sugar (dad joke win!). I did more research into it and found it was probably accurate. As the studies are done they are finding the negative effects of excessive sugar consumption to be valid; although it is still a ways from conclusive.
With this being the case I decided to stop being a hypocrite and started treating my diet like I treat my daughter’s. I didn’t start out slow; I jumped in.
It was difficult to take out added sugar at first but then fruit, carrot, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds came to my snacking rescue!
I now eat a decent amount of fruit daily, whereas before I barely touched it. I would eat an apple or banana here or there but never daily. Most of my fruit consumption came from fruit juice which is not much better than cordial. I also drink more water and I have only had a few soft drinks since I started.
Even though overall I believe I am still consuming the same quantity of food, I have actually lost weight. That was never the aim of this experiment. I haven’t noticed any other positives besides.
Recently my son, Archer, was born. He was born in the dining room of my house, in a pool specifically for that purpose. It is how low-risk babies should be born these days. It seems much nicer than being born in a slightly familiar building you had a tour of a month or so prior to the birth.
This is a subject I have changed my mind thoroughly on. I was very against birthing at home as there are a lot of risks involved, well that was my uneducated understanding at the time. I have since read a lot of information and spoken to midwives about it.
My agreement with being against home birth was mostly out of fear. This was before I knew how safe births can be, especially low-risk births like we were having. If anything does go wrong it is pretty rare for things to escalate quick enough to not be able to transfer to a hospital. Most of the time when a child or mother dies during a home birth in a country like Australia it is due to the negligence of the mother. Some mothers completely ignore the need to go to hospitals, against their midwife’s advice, as this is counter to their birth plans.
The birth of my son was an incredible experience that I am always going to cherish. Initially he would have been born in the hospital at the Birthing Centre as this is what we had decided on. However; I had agreed with my wife, Terri, that if the hospital began to offer home births I would go ahead with that instead. We weren’t far into the pregnancy before the hospital started to offer this.
I actually started to worry about the fact that we were now most likely going to have a home birth. This is when I started to research into home births much more. It wasn’t long before my worries started to reduce and eventually became a low hum in my thoughts. I still have reservations about their safety and whether you can get the support you need if it is required very rapidly. This is mostly avoided by the requirement of the hospital that the birth is low-risk. The chance of something going wrong, that one of the midwives at the labour couldn’t resolve is small. If it’s something very dramatic, they are very capable to manage it in the time prior to the move to a hospital.
My wife organised the whole thing herself, which is the usual way things work around my house. She’s great at organising and I’m pretty darn good at taking orders.
It was a couple of days before the birth when I decided to set up the birth pool and test everything out. The hose connected nicely to the laundry faucet and the water was ready. Thanks to the advice of the brother-in-law I made sure this was working.
We were prepared. We went into the city to do some shopping on the day my wife went into labour. I’m almost certain she was in labor while we were going through the shops.
By the time we arrived home you could tell she was well on her way. We had dinner at the in-laws all while she was having contractions (the in-laws were unaware of this).
When we went back home we got ready for bed. I took my daughter to bed and we fell asleep. I was awoken by the wife at around 1am (I’m glad I got that sleep).
The midwives had been contacted and were on their way. Our photographer arrived shortly afterwards and began taking photos. The midwives arrived not too long after. We had 2 midwives and a student midwife. Our house was packed.
At this stage the pool was filling with warm water and the wife was chopping up fruit for our guests. While maintaining contractions; she is a tough cookie.
Things progressed beautifully and it was so relaxing being at home. There was a lot of conversation going on and everything seemed too calm. My wife was in labour and we were having a pleasant chat. It was almost like a dinner party with a pool and a naked lady.
Terri started becoming more noticeably uncomfortable and it was looking like it was getting close. I was in the pool with her but decided to get out.
She started pushing and was obviously becoming more uncomfortable. It got to a stage where she couldn’t get comfortable no matter what position she was in.
All of a sudden she moved from leaning over the side of the pool into a squatting position. She put her hand down into the water and then her expression changed from pain to complete surprise.
All of a sudden there was a baby being lifted out of the water. It was the most incredibly amazing (more adjectives?) experience of my life. Terri was so excited she almost choked the baby because the cord was around his neck. The midwives quickly had that sorted.
We had a boy! Once we had Terri moved out of the water and sitting down there was a noise from the bedroom. My daughter had roused and we brought her out to meet her brother. It was perfect.
I was forced to go to church up until I was 13. When I reached that age I was allowed to make my own decision on whether I continued. Although being made to go for that long really sucked, it was considerate of my parents to give me the decision when I was older. I made the decision to stop going.
The reason I made this choice was solely out of boredom. My time at church was spent building paper planes and “helping” my dad with the sound system. It definitely wasn’t a bad experience, just an unnecessary one. There was so many fun things I could have been doing instead. I could have been playing sport, hanging out with friends, playing with matches, etc.
In the time I went to church I, in some way, had a belief in the God I was told existed. This loose belief continued for a while after I stopped attending church. The part that took me the longest to overcome was prayer. I prayed when I was feeling depressed, which was extremely selfish wishes and nothing more. That was without a doubt the hardest thing to get over; the talking to an imaginary friend in my head. My first world problems would start to get to me and I would ask the magical man in the sky to grant me my wishes of being the most awesome basketball player ever, but alas, this never came to pass. DAMN YOU, MAGIC SKY MAN! Why can’t I jump high?
I would never have classed myself as a believer even though I was told there was a God and accepted that based on the authority of my parents. I never experienced anything to make it seem real. Nothing I was told at church resonated with me, it all just seemed silly. I was only there because I had to be and I did like the tea and biscuits after.
Once I disassociated myself from the church I didn’t go looking to discover whether what I had been told was the truth. At this stage I had no interest or need to know the truth. I was too busy enjoying life and being a teenager.
I did started calling myself an atheist when I was in high school but only because I had no grasp of what it meant. At that stage, to me, it was only the rejection of my parents faith (that my dad no longer holds either).
When I started to understand what atheist meant and looked into the silliness of religion I became a full-blown atheist. I was adamant that there were definitely no gods, I read books and articles that backed up this idea. The stories that confirmed the existence of gods weren’t even close to evidence. They were completely nonsense. I don’t understand how someone who has read the Bible cover to cover can continue to believe it’s stories hold any value at all.
I continue to believe all of these things except I no longer call myself an atheist. I found that to be scientifically accurate you can not call yourself an atheist. You cannot prove that something doesn’t exist and in being an atheist you are claiming you believe something does not exist. This means you are making a positive claim that cannot be verified in any way and that is scientifically dishonest.
If I were required to label myself in terms of belief in gods I will label myself agnostic atheist; I hate these labels. This means I do not believe there are any gods but I am open to good testable evidence to change that position. Even though I believe it to be highly unlikely there would ever be good evidence to believe in any god, from Apollo to Zeus.