I don't know anything about babies!

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Posted 1/29/2013 by Simply_Lovely in NSBR Board


PeaNut 463,295
April 2010
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:50:44 AM
OK, so we are planning on trying to have a baby sometime soon, hopefully this year. Problem is - I don't know anything about babies. I am an only child. My nieces and nephews were all born after I moved to the USA so I never handled them as babies. I never babysat as a teen. You get the idea.
I've been reading another forum that is for parents in our community and I am getting more and more freaked out because I have no clue about 95% of things they discuss.

So how do I learn? Are there any books? I'll be getting "What to expect when you're expecting" but are there more books I could read? Any other resources? Obviously I'll be doing all kinds of research, but I want to know where to start and am wondering what the peas recommend. TIA!



PeaNut 93,552
June 2003
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:51:57 AM
It comes a lot more naturally than you would think.

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PeaNut 59,094
December 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:53:38 AM
Calm down!

Before DS was born, I never held a baby, never babysat, and was an older sister to a child I never had to care for as a baby.

You figure it out. You do! Do not drive yourself crazy over it. Really. You will be fine. If it makes you feel better, do some reading but don't buy into the hype that you need to buy all the crap they sell or you need to read and know everything.

Find a pediatrician you trust and trust your instinct.

ETA: I didn't do all kinds of research. I didn't read books. I was finishing law school when I was pregnant and I trusted myself and DH. I knew I believed in breastfeeding if possible, not overdoing it with antibiotics, I looked up a few local pediatricians and interviewed the one I liked best before signing on with him. We are with him 15 years later.

Trust yourself. And remember, morons have babies all the time and they thrive.

OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.


PeaNut 463,295
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:55:27 AM

It comes a lot more naturally than you would think.

Oh I surely hope so!!
My concern are things like - when to switch baby to solid food, for example. Or parenting styles, or even what you need in the baby's room, like bassinets, changing tables, this that and the other. I almost want an instruction manual LOL. Like "when the baby turns 6 months start on mashed veggies." lol



PeaNut 434,842
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:57:25 AM
Don't panic...the peas are here to help

But seriously, how exciting for you!! Good luck with TTC!

I guess I was in a different boat since I babysat a TON when I was in High School (I had a whole business going with each day scheduled out LOL). So I felt like I knew what I was getting into. I'm a big believer though in doing what feels natural and you being the one who knows what's best for your baby. There are tons of books out there, but it's all various people's opinions. Just pick the opinions that make the most sense to you and go with those.

And joking aside, if you do have a querstion and post it here, you'll be getting a ton of ideas, as you well know.

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PeaNut 59,094
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:57:50 AM
Your pediatrician will tell you all that you need to know about feeding and the like. You can read a bit about what your alternatives are. Don't be so hard core. You often make definite plans but the baby has needs and preferences that change those.

As for that forum, ditch it. It's stressing you out. You don't need stress when you're trying to conceive and carry a safe pregnancy.

And most of the stuff they sell is about them making a buck. Not what you need.

OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.


PeaNut 463,295
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:57:56 AM

Calm down!

HAHAHAHHA, I don't know the meaning of that phrase!
But thank you! I am just so freaked out about having to raise a whole human being, lol. The concept itself is mind-boggling to me.


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PeaNut 52,817
October 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 10:59:46 AM
I also knew virtually nothing about babies. I was the youngest in the family, never babysat babies, etc..

You figure it out and it's not as hard as you might think. I mean, parenting is challenging, but the baby stuff comes pretty naturally (said by someone who was never described as maternal before having a kid LOL).

I am a total Type A, study everything to death kind of person and I chose not to do that when I was pregnant or when DS was a baby. I knew reading too much would just make me worry. You know how when you're coming down with something and you Google your symptoms, you can become quickly convinced that you're dying of bubonic plague when it's really just a cold? That would be what would have happened with me and reading a ton of getting-ready-for-baby books. I took things as they came and researched things as they presented themselves. It helped me find my own groove as a parent and develop my instincts instead of relying on a book written by someone who'd never met my baby.

People have successfully raised babies for millennia and most of them never had access to a single book or website to tell them what to do. Don't underestimate yourself. It's not rocket science.

It's tiring, delightful, frustrating, joyous and completely worth it. You'll be just fine.

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PeaNut 59,094
December 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:01:45 AM

said by someone who was never described as maternal before having a kid LOL

OMG. This was me, too! And now, I'm described as someone who is so great with babies and children. Whoda thunk it?

OK. Newbie. This is how it works. If your post consists of 80% sanity, 10% stupidity and 10% all kinds of crazy, we immediately focus on the 20% b/c it discredits the 80%.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 289,166
December 2006
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:02:19 AM
My recommendation of a parent of a tween and teen: don't buy into all the hype that a young child needs so many things. Instead, invest that money for a car/college. I wish I had a "do over" in that department.


PeaNut 146,911
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:03:16 AM
Maybe you could volunteer in the nursery in a hospital or a shelter that provides care to children. When I was pregnant with my first we went to pre natal classes and kept in touch for a while afterwards with people that had their babies around the same time.

Kerri W
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PeaNut 7,171
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:04:42 AM
You will do just fine! You didn't know how to be a daughter or a wife and you've got that, right?!

I ended up using different OB doctors with each of my three pregnancies because of moves, high risk, etc. Each office had a packet of magazines, books, literature and samples they handed out at the first appointment. That's a great place to start because they will generally have something that corresponds to wherever you are in your pregnancy.

If you are concerned or just simply interested ask if any classes are offered in your area for various baby related topics when you are at the OB office. Babies are their business so they are a wealth of information.

As far as parenting styles...I think that evolves. You will decide what is important to you and what you want to pass on to your child as you go along. Be flexible. Every baby is different and just about the only guarantee you have is that where you think you are going to be and where you end up are usually completely different places.

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PeaNut 49,641
September 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:05:18 AM

Like "when the baby turns 6 months start on mashed veggies." lol
See? You already know more than you thought!

Jo Mama


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PeaNut 99,833
August 2003
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:09:44 AM
Congratulations on the plan going forward.

Don't drink.


I agree...don't buy into all the things companies tell you you have to have.

Lots a love, common sense, a place for baby to sleep, a few blankets, diapers and wash cloths or wipes, some onsies and you are good to go.

Like others have said, your Dr will tell you what you need to know.

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PeaNut 465,906
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:12:25 AM
Babyhood is the easy part. Wait until they are teens.

I was the person who was around babies a lot. We were married almost 7 years before we had kids and no one could believe we waited that long.

The OB office has tons of info, pamphlets, magazines, etc. The second you are officially pg, you will start getting magazine in the mail. Subscribe to Parenting magazine. You will have the opportunity to talk to other moms. The information pours in once you are gestating. I promise!

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PeaNut 450,860
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:17:57 AM

Lots a love, common sense, a place for baby to sleep, a few blankets, diapers and wash cloths or wipes, some onsies and you are good to go.

This is good advice. The baby really only needs a safe place to sleep, a car seat, extra clothes/onesies, diapers, wipes, bottles/formula (if you're not breastfeeding), plenty of blankets and lots of love at first.

Don't worry about all that other stuff people say you 'need'. You'll do fine! You're concerned and worried enough to ask questions, so I'll bet you already know a lot more than you think you do about babies.

Good luck to you when you decide the time is right to start trying


PeaNut 172,235
October 2004
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:21:02 AM
Well, I thought I knew a little about caring for a baby but in truth nothing really prepares you really for the reality of your own anyway BUT by the time you have the baby you will hopefully have made friends with other soon-to-be mums and some of them will have older children, you will have been reading magazines, given information, have classes etc so all the mysteries start to make a little more sense because they're relevant to you.

But don't try and learn it in advance - it just can't be done. Your instinct will guide you and you can ask the right people when you need to.

It's a learn as you go thing - all you'll do fine as most of us find out when it happens

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PeaNut 463,295
April 2010
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:23:15 AM
Thank you ladies, this is helping! A little, but definitely helping =) I guess I'll just split it down the middle for now. I'll read the "What to expect" book, and then ask questions as I go along.



PeaNut 228,402
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:31:05 AM
As you already have seen by these replies, you are not at all alone in feeling like you don't know what you're doing.

When I was in the hospital after giving birth to my first baby, the nurses and doctors were very good with giving basic instructions on breastfeeding, diapering, what's normal, etc.

I'll never forget though, when my DD's pediatrician came into my hospital room on going-home day and told me to call his office when I got home to make a 4-week checkup appointment. I was all I was SHOCKED that he trusted that I would keep my baby o.k. for the next 4 weeks!!!

I managed to help that baby and another to adulthood just fine, and you will too.

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PeaNut 61,691
January 2003
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:36:37 AM
Don't worry too much. I had a sister who was 16 years younger than I was who I cared for all the time. I spent my teen years babysitting. I had young cousins I watched after when they were babies. I knew a lot about babies. And guess what? My DH, who had no exposure whatsoever to babies until we had one, was better with the baby than I was!!!! Most of it really does come naturally.


PeaNut 39,484
June 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:40:32 AM
There's lots of help out there that you have no idea even exists until you are pg or have a newborn. I was also an only and managed to keep two babies alive.

Anyway, what I remember is that our hospital had ties with a visiting community nurse (I don't remember the exact title) and they would either call you or come to your home a few days after birth to check on you. If you are planning to b/f, by all means get the phone number of the lactation consultant on staff at the hospital. Also, in addition to online boards, etc, there were also new baby classes at the hospital where you bring your baby and ask questions, as well as get all sorts of information (one of these classes went up until the baby was a year old!!). Also, PEPS classs, toddler coop (which started when they were babies and also was a parent education class. The list goes on, you just need to look.


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PeaNut 59,094
December 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:42:33 AM

I'll read the "What to expect" book, and then ask questions as I go along.

I think that's a fine plan. Reading the book will probably raise more questions than answer the ones you had. It will give you what to think about.

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PeaNut 34,268
March 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:45:15 AM
I'm an only child too and I didn't have babies until I was in my thirties ... I had no experience at all ... not even babysitting as a teen ... nothing!

It's really hard to do it wrong

I read a number of books and joined a few online communities ... look for those because they can be a wealth of information ... 2Peas can be OK but a lot of us are way past newborn age ...

My best advice would be to just relax and trust your instincts ... mothers just usually know what to do



PeaNut 288,074
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:45:56 AM

I don't know anything about babies

You know how to love, right? That is the most important thing - the rest will mostly come naturally. Once you get pregnant, read "What to expect" and it will help you a bit. No need to worry. Give the baby lots of love, listen to your instincts and do what the dr. tells you to do - you will do fine - you can call your siblings and friends if you have questions about the other stuff.

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PeaNut 168,696
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Posted: 1/29/2013 11:57:21 AM
Parenting is the best job you will ever have!

I would not focus on the 'stuff' but the emotional place you are in. It takes a lot of patience to be a parent, and yes, a lot of $$, ...but the other peas are right..the financial stresses come later when you are picking colleges.

so, my advice would be to start a savings account for this potential new family member!

We struggled financially when our daughter was born, and I hated going back to work when she was 8 months old, ..but we didn't really have a choice. Thank goodness for my mom, who took her one whole day a week!

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PeaNut 299,314
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Posted: 1/29/2013 12:22:18 PM
You'll do fine. If Giuliana of the tv show, Giuliana & Bill can do it, anyone can! Again, you will be just fine!

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PeaNut 188,761
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Posted: 1/29/2013 2:56:57 PM
Babycenter.com has a fun weekly email that gives you baby's growth during pg. and child development info beyond. I still enjoy reading weekly tips, and my baby is 8!
Also, join your local MOMS club. Our family has made lifelong friends that way, and it's been great to have friends/neighbors to hang out with, swap advice, field trips, play dates , etc.

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PeaNut 510,579
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:01:16 PM
You'll quickly become an expert on your own baby and nothing you read in a book will prepare you for that. And they're all different so take advice with a grain of salt and figure out what works for you.

"People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
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PeaNut 20,301
August 2001
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:07:02 PM
Start taking care of yourself now before you TTC, like take prenatal vitamins, eat very healthy, lots of green leafy veggies and fruits. And start drinking lots of water, you will need lots of water while pregnant.

Taking care of you is the first step toward taking care of a baby.

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PeaNut 475,563
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:08:00 PM
I felt the same way about all the "stuff". I really liked the book baby bargains and the book Baby 411. I think Baby Bargains is a good manual as far as what you need and which brand to get, what you can totally skip on, what you can get used. It really does a nice job of cutting the cost and stuff you need. Baby 411 is a good "owners manual" IMHO that doesn't dive too deeply into different parenting philosophies. Very much basic, everything from when the cord will fall off to breastfeeding to vaccines, etc.

It's good to prepare, but remember that you instinct will take you far. You will make mistakes and discover what works for you and the rest just won't matter.

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PeaNut 262,757
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:13:21 PM
Here's what I remember from the early years of parenting:
Just when I got really good at Newborns, I no longer had one.
When I was an expert at Babies, I suddenly had a Toddler.
Soon, all my Toddler expertise was obsolete.
And so it goes.

Not knowing WHAT to do in a baby situation is EXACTLY how you become an expert. Trial and error, narrowing down all the options until you discover what works for YOUR baby.

(PS, my kids survived my learn as you go style of parenting and turned out fine. They are great human beings and I love being around them.)

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PeaNut 15,223
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:36:33 PM
Work on paying off any debt you have and save, save, save.
If there is some big trip, experience you and DH want to do, do it now!!!
Yes, you can do it after you have a baby, but between money and missing baby you won't enjoy it near as much.

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PeaNut 249,087
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:42:19 PM
It comes a lot naturally than you'd think.

Before my oldest, the youngest kid I ever babysat was 5. I knew a few teenage Moms in high school but I wasn't close enough to any of them to ever interact with their babies. Then I lived on campus - no babies. No extended family members locally were having babies. Ex had more experience with babies than I did since his older sisters both had babies when he was 17.

All I needed was someone to show me how to care for the cord while it was healing and the rest was instinct. Not to say that my first diaper or two weren't exactly on very well but I managed.

Bad Wolf

PeaNut 191,892
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:46:23 PM
Let me tell you, I am the oldest of four and two of those children came when I was 9 and 13. When I had our son I thought I was an expert on babies. I told my husband 'no worries - I got this under control.' We brought the boy home from the hospital and the first thing I did was put his diaper on backwards. You will do fine, as my husbands grandmother said its all on the job training.

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PeaNut 210,654
June 2005
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:48:20 PM
Your state's Department of Public Health will have a section on their website dedicated to helping people who are thinking about having a baby. Also there are many groups that offer baby care classes.

Not to mention the fact that you are worried about it is a plus in your favor of being a good mom.


I just don't see why people think I'm too patronizing (that means I treat them as if they were stupid.)

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PeaNut 40,275
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Posted: 1/29/2013 3:52:29 PM
If you'll be breastfeeding, there's a book called "so that's what they're for" that I found really helpful.

As for first foods, it was different for all of mine. Pediatrician was no help-he couldn't believe I was planning to nurse past 3 months. My oldest first had solids at 4 mos (on the ped's recommendation) and promptly got a case of eczema that she scratched like crazy and got infected. We quit solids on the advice of my LLL leader and restarted at 6 months (oldest dd also has food allergies). DD2 started around 6 mos as well and ds was my picky eater-he didn't start solids until around 9 mos.

One of our most used items was a little baby seat that would bounce gently when the baby moved. The baby lays in it partly reclined, so even a newborn can use it.

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PeaNut 166,112
September 2004
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Posted: 1/29/2013 4:13:09 PM
I was similar to you. I was the youngest didn't grow up around younger kids didn't babysit much. I had a baby four years ago and she's still alive. what to expect is great and a lot of it does come naturally. Whether you think it will or not it will come to you. Everyone is always worried about being a first time parent. I'm pregnant again and due soon and I'm still a little freaked about remembering everything.



PeaNut 211,645
June 2005
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Posted: 1/29/2013 4:13:19 PM
What you need to know is this:

  • When you are expecting you will have phases of abject terror at what you are doing but then you will find phases of great peace
  • Having a baby hurts but you will forget as soon as you hold that little one
  • Having a baby to care for will change all your lives for ever
  • Babies are small but nowhere near as fragile as you might expect (usually) so don't hold it like a porcelain doll.
  • Accept, nay ask for, help in the first few months so you have energy for your child - it is tiring looking after a baby but you will not realise quite how tired you got until you have had many sleepless nights
  • Do not go buy a cream shag pile carpet ... until the baby is at least 25 years of age - mashed veggies and cream shag pile are not a good combination and once baby progresses to modelling clay that can only get worse!
  • Having a baby means you should be prepared for the highest euphoria and lowest downs but no matter what the frustrations you will love them with such a fierceness that no one in their right mind will hurt your little one.
  • Babies' needs are simple - to be clean, fed and rested ... you have everything you need to facilitate this ... and to be safe and the safest place your baby can be is with you.
  • The only toy a young baby needs is you ... all those toys and clothes you receive as gifts are a bonus

Being parents is the hardest journey and the most joyful. wishing you all the best as you start on this path


There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. Edith Wharton


PeaNut 31,845
March 2002
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Posted: 1/29/2013 7:35:49 PM
I was never good with kids. Follow your instincts. But do *not* read what to expect, thats a piece of garbage.... Ina May Gaskin, Henci Goer are much better authors.

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