Here's What Being An Organic Parent Means To Me

Maria Rodale has raised three daughters—each one a little differently.

April 14, 2015

I’ve always said I’m a freak of nature. I’ve got three daughters whose birth years are 1982, 1997, and 2006. You do the math.

When you get pregnant, no matter how unorganic your life might have been beforehand (mine was pretty darned organic, but still), suddenly you care a little bit more. Suddenly you are making life-changing decisions for the benefit of your child, a little bit out of fear and a lot out of love. When my first was born, there were few choices.


Disposable diapers versus cloth? I chose disposable. Make your own organic baby food or buy the other stuff? I did both. Breast milk or formula? I breast-fed as long as I could because pumps back then sucked—no, I mean they were terrible!

With my second daughter, there were more options. Recycled diapers? Yes. Soy formula? Yes, but I probably shouldn’t have. Organic baby food and snacks? Yes!

My last daughter was born in the golden age of organic babyhood. Organic formula! (That was incredibly useful after the first eight or nine months, when I went back to work.) Organic baby food in glass or plastic? Glass! Organic brown rice cereal (which probably had too much arsenic).

Here’s the point: Don’t freak out trying to be perfect about everything or protect your kids from every little toxin. (By the way, all my kids are fully vaccinated.) Worry about the big things, and know: The most important organic thing of all is unconditional love. It makes up for all the other mistakes every parent since the beginning of time has made and will make in the future. It’s the kind of love that is forgiving—of your kids and yourself—that will grow the healthiest humans.