Liberated and Free, Me


Liberated and Free, Me

First things first,

I am not sick. (THANK GOD.)

I am not having a mid-life crisis. nor am I having a mental breakdown, though I have been suffering.

Suffering mostly in silence off and on for almost 30 years.
AND I am finally ready to share my secret.

Deep breath Ricki…. Here goes…..

I have been struggling with hair loss for most of my adult life.

It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things. There have been a few times where I have even felt suicidal over it. Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth.

I know that by sharing my truth, I will be striking a chord with so so many women and men. I am not alone in this and my goal is to help others while at the same time unshackle myself from this quiet hell I have been living in.

Ever since I played Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray back in 1988 and they triple-processed and teased my then healthy virgin hair every 2 weeks during filming, my hair was never the same. (Yes, that was all my own hair in the film.) From Hairspray to Hairless. 😞

In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions. Working as talent on various shows and movies, whether DWTS or my talk show, also took its toll on my fine hair.

I got used to wearing extensions, really just over the last decade. All different kinds, tried them all, the ones that are glued on, the tape-ins, the clip ins, and then into a total hair system that I hated, and finally to a unique solution that really did work pretty well for me for the last 4 or 5 years. I tried wigs on a few occasions but never could get used to them. It all felt fake and I was super self-conscious and uncomfortable.

I’ve been to many doctors, gotten steroid shots in my head, taking all the supplements and then some. My hair would recover and then shed again. It was maddening.

So of late, after 2 months of bliss ‘working’ in London and after my last extreme diet where I lost 20 lbs in 6 weeks, my hair started shedding again, big time.

This time, I say no more. I have to be set free.

Free of the maintenance every 10-12 days, where my added hair would need to be tightened (sometimes painfully) and my gray hair would need to be colored. I felt like I was a slave to this maintenance schedule. I wouldn’t go out of town longer than 12 days, because of this. I even brought my hair fairy and dear friend, to London during my stint there to do what she needed to do to keep it on my head.

Well, it is a new year and new decade and a new me. With the love and support of some of my dearest friends, John Bonny, Mandy Ingber, Sarah Havana Prats, and my love, Jeff Scult, I buzzed my hair off and it feels so good!

Huge heartfelt thank you to my dear friend Amanda Demme for photographing and capturing this pivotal moment in my life. ❤️

I am liberated.
I am free.
I am releasing and letting go.
I am brave.
I am beautiful.
I am love.

For 2020 and beyond, I want to be real.

(I will on occasion choose to wear hair, but now it is for fun, not because I am hiding anything. I am so done with hiding.)

Happy New Year and decade to all! πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ❤️

-Ricki Lake

FB.com/MsRickiLake
@rickilake on Instagram

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Monsters

James Blunt performs "Monsters"

James Blunt writes that his new song, Monsters is, "a eulogy to my father - except he’s still alive and kicking. But he’s not been well - his kidneys are functioning at just 11%. And with that realization, I needed to tell him that, to me, he’s more than just a father. He’s my friend too, and that I love him." 

Monsters is a song that deeply captivates, and drenches the heart in tears of anyone who has had death pull them apart from a loved one. The only line we'd change as it is played out in real life is 'no need to forgive...' Rather, forgive now. Forgive often. Forgive over and over and over again. Break the chains. End the cycle. Let it go. Give it to God, and find real, raw, authentic, lasting healing. Don't allow generational pain continue, for the sake of your wellbeing, your children, and their children...



Monsters Lyrics:

Oh, before they turn off all the lights
I won't read you your wrongs or your rights
The time has gone
I'll tell you goodnight, close the door
Tell you I love you once more
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your son, you're not my father
We're just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So daddy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Oh, well I'll read a story to you
Only difference is this one is true
The time has gone
I folded your clothes on the chair
I hope you sleep well, don't be scared
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your son, you're not my father
We're just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So daddy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Sleep a lifetime.
Yes, and breathe a last word.
You can feel my hand on your arm.
I will be the last one
So I'll leave a light on
Let there be no darkness in your heart.
But I'm not your son, you're not my father
We're just two grown men saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So daddy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.


James Blunt sings to his father in "Monsters"

James Blunt and father during the filming of "Monsters" music video.

Altered to being between a daughter and her mom: 

Oh, before they turn off all the lights
I won't read you your wrongs or your rights
The time has gone
I'll tell you goodnight, close the door
Tell you I love you once more
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your daughter, you're not my mom
We're just two grown women saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So mommy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Oh, well I'll read a story to you
Only difference is this one is true
The time has gone
I folded your clothes on the chair
I hope you sleep well, don't be scared
The time has gone
So here it is
I'm not your daughter, you're not my mom
We're just two grown women saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So mommy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

Sleep a lifetime.
Yes, and breathe a last word.
You can feel my hand on your arm.
I will be the last one
So I'll leave a light on
Let there be no darkness in your heart.
But I'm not your daughter, you're not my mom
We're just two grown women saying goodbye
No need to forgive, no need to forget
I know your mistakes and you know mine
And while you're sleeping, I'll try to make you proud
So mommy, won't you just close your eyes?
Don't be afraid, it's my turn
To chase the monsters away.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

U.S. Flags with Intact Info Needed for GIAW, Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival


1500 hand-held U.S. flags are needed to pass out during Genital Integrity Awareness Week in Washington D.C. this year. Each flag has 2 patriotic-themed intact information sticker stapled to it (one per side) for awareness raising during this week. This year we will have "Defend HIS Freedom" on one side and "Watch American Circumcision on Netflix" on the other side of each individual flag.

Flags are *very* popular in Washington D.C. during the Cherry Blossom Festival, National Kite Festival, at the U.S. Capitol lawn, and at the White House where we march to on Saturday. We could pass out far more than 200 flags per day, but this is our goal to raise funding for, along with an extra 100 for the GIAW March (1500 total).

Frequently, chaperoned groups who will not allow students to take other intact materials from GIAW leaders will allow them to accept and take home flags (getting intact info into their hands)! It is very important to have enough of these U.S. flags (with stickers attached to each one) for every day during GIAW, and for use during the march.

At Amazon, flags are approximately $29 per set of 100. If you are able to sponsor one full day ($58), or one 1/2 day ($28) worth of flags OR any number of flags, small or large, we THANK YOU for your involvement and support of these pivotal GIAW items! To chip in here: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=CA3SNG55J4MDU&source=url

Or via mail to:

GIAW / Saving Our Sons
P.O. Box 1302
Virginia Beach, VA 23451

Sponsors will be listed here and at the permanent GIAW site by first name / last initial only, for privacy, or with your business name and link if you'd like to include this. If you would like to cover one specific day, the march, or stickers, please mention this in a note.

GIAW FLAG SPONSORS

MONDAY (GIAW Kick-off, 200 flags):
 πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

TUESDAY (200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ 

WEDNESDAY (first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month, 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

THURSDAY (200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

FRIDAY (and the Silent Survivors Stand, 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

SATURDAY (and the March to the White House 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

WHITE HOUSE (+100 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

SUNDAY (and the GA Clothesline, 200 flags):
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

FLAG STICKER SPONSORS
(3,000 vinyl, waterproof stickers for all flags needed)
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ
πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

THANK YOU!!
Intact Info Flags for tourists headed to the U.S. Capitol


Virtually ALL passerbys request a flag or two to take home with them -- until we run out of supplies.

GIAW Intact Info Flags

Kids love to hand out flags during GIAW too!

Group of students takes home flags, bracelets, and cards from the U.S. Capitol during Genital Integrity Awareness Week 2019.

Many tourists stop to talk at the U.S. Capitol and take home a flag and information.

U.S. Flags with intact information attached are the perfect item to take home from a visit to the Capitol during Genital Integrity Awareness Week!

During GIAW at the Capitol we repeatedly hear, "I didn't know that..." while sharing information respectfully and providing materials for tourists to take home with them.

Even if someone is too timid to come up and chat, they can grab a flag with intact info to take along and read on their bus...
GIAW Leaders handing out flags at White House

Watch American Circumcision on Netflix stickers

Defend HIS Freedom stickers

Men at GIAW march to the White House: Shane, Brian, Glen, Andrew

Holistic Medicine: What Is It and Does It Work?

If you're seeking a more natural lifestyle and want to eliminate unnecessary medications or medical treatments, trying holistic medicine might be worthwhile. The holistic approach may seem intimidating to anyone unaware of what it means, but for those looking to achieve a new level of optimal health, this can be a great solution. 

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What is the Holistic Approach?

The holistic approach toward medicine focuses on the entire body and seeks to treat health issues through integrative health and alternative medicine. This is a more natural way to address health issues than traditional medicine; however, it should not eliminate traditional medicine. 
For those seeking alternative medicine and integrated health in Medina, OH, the Balance of Life Clinic can provide plenty of information regarding the meaning of natural medicine. The Balance of Life Clinic strives to help its patients reach a new level of optimal health through individualized treatments that co-exist with their existing health care and treatment plans. If you're hopping onto the holistic health train for the first time, seeking out professional help and advice may be the best option for you.

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What Types of Treatments are Considered Holistic Medicine? 

CBD oil is an increasingly popular form of natural medicine and is being used as a supplement to ease issues such as chronic pain, anxiety, sore muscles, and more. CBD is derived from the cannabis plant but does not contain THC, so using CBD products will not result in a "high" feeling. There are plenty of benefits of CBD oil, and it is a key component in the natural health lifestyle. In fact, many people are now using CBD oil for anemia, as the substance can reduce symptoms with its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. 
If you're interested in incorporating CBD products into your natural health routine, be sure to shop through Sera Labs. Sera relief CBD oil is an effective natural product that will help treat many of your specific health problems. Sera Labs produces some of the highest grade CBD oil and will be an effective investment for your holistic journey.
CBD comes in a wide variety of products, ranging from oil-based supplements to gummy candies. It's important to understand your individual needs when choosing which CBD products will work best for you. Sera Labs is a great site to research CBD and determine which products will suit your needs. 

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Does Holistic Medicine Work? 

Since the meaning of natural medicine can be confusing, society has often ridiculed the natural approach toward medicine. However, as a result of extensive studies done on alternative medicine, the holistic approach is becoming more accepted among traditional medicine. Research has indicated that alternative therapies can play an important role in treating and preventing illness. 
One of the main philosophies behind this approach is maintaining overall health through self-awareness and natural therapies. By keeping your physical health and focusing on your mind and wellness, you are abiding by a natural lifestyle and will likely reach a new level of optimal health. Taking nutritional supplements and using natural products can also prove to be beneficial for this type of lifestyle. 

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Is Holistic Medicine the Right Option? 

Many patients of holistic medicine see the results they want and will continue to incorporate this natural way of medicine into their treatment plans for their specific health problems. While the holistic approach does work for some, it's important to understand that homeopathic remedies are not permanent cures to any health problems. If you do try the natural approach, it's important to first consult your primary physician about incorporating homeopathic remedies into your treatment plans. By monitoring your individual needs, and maintaining a sense of self-awareness regarding your health, including a holistic approach to your life could really increase your overall health and happiness.

CoSleeping and Breastfeeding Go Hand in Hand

Breastfeeding / CoSleeping photo shared from Raising Her Barefoot
Dream feeding (night nursing) makes life easier for mom and happier/healthier for baby.



Cosleeping has made breastfeeding at night SO much easier. When Indie is hungry we both half wake up together, she latches on to feed, and we both fall back to sleep.

No need to get up and walk down the hall.

No need to turn the lights on.

We both stay warm snuggled up in bed together, she has a feed, and we drift back to sleep.

Cosleeping babies consume on average twice as much breastmilk as babies who sleep in a cot at night. Night time breastmilk contains twice as much beneficial growth hormone and significantly more melatonin (a hormone that contributes to normal circadian rhythms).

Breastfeeding and cosleeping go hand in hand. It’s the most natural feeling I’ve ever felt.

-Millie, Raising Her Barefoot
FB.com/RaisingHerBarefoot


Related Reading:

Breastfeeding Made Simple (book)
best book to read before your breastfeeding days begin

Baby Sleep Resource Page

Sweet Sleep (book)

Sleeping With Your Baby: A Parent's Guide to CoSleeping

Safe CoSleeping (Page)

CoSleeping (Group)

Breastfeeding (Group)

CoSleeping and Biological Imperatives: Why Babies Do Not, and Should Not, Sleep Alone

Turn Your Crib into a Cosleeper

International CoSleeping Symbol








I’ve Been Diagnosed With Ovarian Cancer — What Now?

Any serious diagnosis is challenging to handle. From the emotional fallout to physical symptoms, it can be hard to adjust to living with it. And, if it's a terminal illness, it can get harder. There are several stages of ovarian cancer—and not all of them are terminal. However, it can still be tough to cope with a diagnosis. 

The first thing to do is give yourself some time to process your diagnosis. You can't control every aspect, so don't try to fix how you feel. If you need to do so, get some emotional support. It can be in the form of live chat therapy. Or, try confiding in family members. After this, you may want to consider insurance, viatical settlements, and treatment options. There are other things that can make the process more comfortable too. Here is what you should consider doing after your diagnosis. 

Ask about clinical trials. 

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A clinical trial is not the right option for everyone. However, if you want to participate in one—ask sooner rather than later. It isn't a sure-shot way to change how long a person lives. However, new treatments have benefits, even if they need some additional testing. While they do have risks, so do medications and surgeries. 

The best way to see if this is right for you is to ask your doctor. While there are trials for every stage, they may not be worth it for some cases. Some clinical trials are free, but others need you to cover patient costs. An insurance company can tell you if you're covered by insurance for the trial. If not, a financial planner can help assess how affordable it will be for you. And, remember that you can leave a trial midway if it isn't for you.

Consider the financial costs.

Treatment for an illness can be a financial burden. Ask a financial planner to help you navigate the costs as early as possible. You may be eligible for a premium finance loan or a life settlement. 

If health insurance doesn't give you full coverage, consider a viatical settlement. A viatical settlement provider can buy your life insurance policy. The cash value of this policy can help with medical expenses. And, the death benefit can help your family as well. 

It's essential to get a reasonable cash payment for your life insurance policy. Ask a viatical settlement broker to help you find the best cash payment. Before you sign a written agreement, check the cash value of your plan with a third party. 

Don't ignore your body.

Ovarian cancer can leave you feeling excessively fatigued. Don't let this stop you from staying active and healthy. Exercise won't cure ovarian cancer, but it can reduce the risk of fatality. And, a small amount of daily activity can help ease some of the symptoms. Try to walk short distances, or do some yoga. Physiotherapy can help as well. And, remember not to ignore your diet either. Limit fatty foods and meat, and consume more fresh, wholesome food. Staying healthy is a crucial way to fight the disease. 

Update your underwear.

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Ovarian cancer can lead to discomfort. You may feel abdominal pain, have kidney issues, and experience unexpected weight loss. So, remember to update your wardrobe after your diagnosis. Not only will an update perk you up, but comfier clothes will also help during your illness. 

A breathable bra or sports bra will also help. You may begin to experience frequent urination. So, you may need to start wearing incontinence underwear. Even if you don't need special underwear—ditch the thongs, bikini underwear, and pretty panties. Invest in some comfortable women's underwear instead. It doesn't have to be uninteresting. Comfortable underwear can be stylish too. Pick no-panty line options in pretty patterns or boy shorts for comfort and style.

5 Reasons Why Organic Products Are Important for a Spa

Many people focus on their internal health through diet and exercise, striving to fuel and treat their bodies with beneficial products. What many people don't think about is the health of their skin and how beneficial their skincare products are. Skin is a living, breathing organ that absorbs approximately 60 percent of topical products into your bloodstream. Depending on how many products you use on a daily basis, that's a lot of absorption of unnecessary chemicals. It's time to focus on what products you use on your skin and discover the positive benefits of using organic skincare products. 

1. Organic products are made of natural ingredients. 

Organic skincare products are made of natural ingredients, most of which you are likely to recognize. Only certified organic products are made from plants and naturally occurring ingredients, and they must meet the same growing requirements as organic food. Pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and other chemicals never come into contact with organic ingredients. Organic skincare products are always derived from natural, non-harmful ingredients.

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2. Organic products work better. 

The plants and naturally occurring ingredients found in organic products have a higher level of important antioxidant vitamins than non-organic plants. The lack of herbicides and pesticides used when growing organic plants means they are pure and free of chemical contamination that can affect their naturally occurring ingredients. Approximately 95 percent of an organic product's ingredients are active, compared to only 5 to 10 percent active ingredients found in non-organic products. 
Once you experience the invigoration and rejuvenation of organic skincare products, you'll quickly make the switch from non-organic to organic products. The perfect way to start your organic skincare journey is to experience restorative treatments from Endota spa. Inspired by natural surroundings, the colors of nature, and endless sunlight their organic treatments engage the senses. Every Endota spa treatment menu offers customizable spa packages that incorporate body treatments and beauty treatments using their certified-organic Endota Organics™ range of products. Treatment rooms such as a sauna or steam room vary by spa location. Learn more about the organic treatments offered at each location and shop their Endota Organics™ range of products by visiting endotaspa.com.au. 

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3. Organic is better for your skin. 

Synthetic and chemical ingredients in non-organic products are fast-acting and known for instant, visible results. While you may find instant gratification with the smoothing of wrinkles, diminished blemishes, and reduced sunspots, these synthetic ingredients do more harm than good. Over time, synthetic chemicals damage and weaken your skin by reducing oxygen flow and cause premature aging and further risk of developing sunspots. Cheap filler ingredients can even cause irritation, increased skin sensitivity, and clogged pores. 
Natural organic ingredients are full of actual nutritional benefits. Common natural organic ingredients like coconut oil, honey, aloe vera, and shea butter soothe, nourish, and moisturize your skin. Organic products may not have instant results, but they are gentle and work harmoniously with your skin so that it can balance and heal itself. 

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4. Organic products are better for the environment. 

Organic farming methods result in lower pollution levels from chemical sprays, produces less carbon dioxide, and less toxic waste. Sustainable farming practices produce significantly less waste and toxins that are put back into the environment, which is far better for wildlife. 
Another reason that organic products are better for the environment is that they are cruelty-free. Natural organic ingredients are known to be safe and harmless, meaning organic products will never best tested on animals. Using cruelty-free organic skincare products supports the movement toward banning animal testing in the beauty industry. 

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5. Organic products are better for your health. 

Ingredients like phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate and parabens are all known carcinogens that damage your immune, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Using a range of non-organic products daily that contain these harmful ingredients exposes your body to higher toxic concentrations that can build up and cause health problems. 
Organic products are non-allergenic due to their lack of harsh chemicals that cause allergic reactions, inflammation, or skin irritations. 
Organic skincare products are effective, good for your health, your skin, and the environment. There is no better time than now to discover the benefits of switching to organic skincare products. 

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4 Reasons to Invest In Your Health by Quitting Smoking


Smoking is a serious health condition. It can cause widespread physiological conditions and lead to other serious and permanent conditions. Ultimately, quitting smoking is the single best thing that you can do for your health. Here are four health benefits that you should consider when you’re thinking about quitting smoking.

1. Improved Heart Health

Smoking puts a significant strain on your heart, and individuals who smoke are much more likely to develop cardiovascular problems than those who don’t. The chemicals contained in smoke can damage both your heart and your individual blood vessels. Smoking can lead to coronary heart disease, hypertension, peripheral artery disease, aortic aneurysm, and stroke. Quitting will dramatically reduce the risk that you may develop one of these life threatening health conditions and will invariably improve your overall cardiovascular health.

2. Freedom From Chemical Addiction

Needing to smoke frequently can greatly interfere with your lifestyle and force you to make a lot of unreasonable accommodations to support your addiction. Nicotine starts dissipating from your bloodstream relatively soon after smoking, so many smokers tend to spend more time experiencing withdrawal than experiencing the chemical effect of nicotine that’s enjoyable. Because the addictive pull of nicotine is so powerful, using a substitute such as Nicorette gum can be a very effective tool to quit smoking.

3. Enhanced Energy Levels

Typically, smokers have lower energy levels than non-smokers. They tend to be less physically active, and they tire more quickly when they’re engaged in a physical activity or trying to exercise. In part, this is due to the way that smoke affects the distribution of oxygen throughout the bloodstream. Additionally, smoking can negatively affect individuals’ mood and cause them to feel less energetic and motivated. Many people who successfully quit smoking report enhanced mood and energy levels that enable them to get through a workday with less fatigue, become more physically active, and develop enhanced endurance.

4. Better Oral Health

Smoking can lead to chronic oral health conditions such as cancer in the tongue and gums. In addition to this very serious and potentially critical health condition, it can also lead to less serious but still extremely troubling problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, gum recession, excessive plaque and tartar buildup, and chronic dry mouth. Moreover, smoking can cause unwanted visible changes to your oral health that include heavy staining on your teeth. This will occur mostly around the top of your teeth and around the gum line in the form of dark-colored splotches, but as you get older and your teeth become more porous, the entire surface of your teeth will become noticeably more yellow.

There are several appreciable advantages to quitting smoking that will have a positive and long lasting impact on your physical well-being. You’ll feel better day-to-day, look healthier, and have better energy and focus. Most importantly, you’ll have a greatly reduced chance of developing a critical health condition that can have a permanent effect on your health or even put your life at risk. All things considered, quitting will help you to live a healthier, happier, and longer life.

5 Reasons Why You May Want to Donate Your Eggs

There are many reasons women choose to donate their eggs. You don't have to understand every step of the process to realize that participating in successful donor egg programs is the greatest gift any future parents could hope for. Here are some reasons you may want to consider becoming an egg donor. 

1. You can help create life. 

You can help create life as an egg donor. Anyone who has experienced the joys of being part of a family knows how special the bond of family is. Being an egg donor puts you in a unique position to help a couple experience the joy of parenthood. Think of it this way, every month you have an unused egg that could help a couple achieve their dream of creating a family. Egg donation is a truly selfless deed. 
Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles (PFCLA) in Southern California has more than a decade's experience helping patients from across the United States and abroad realize the dream of parenthood. Their doctors thoroughly evaluate patients before recommending egg donation and offer extensive resources to help patients select the right egg donor applicants for themselves. A leader in the fields of in-vitro fertilization and social infertility, PFLCA is the premier fertility center for egg donation in Los Angeles


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2. It's an opportunity to learn about yourself. 

Egg donors are a part of modern medicine and you have the opportunity to learn more about yourself than you could have ever thought possible. You will undergo simple physical and genetic tests that will teach you about human reproduction and your body. You'll gain new insight about yourself during the egg donation process. It will teach you that there are many ways to live a full life and that you are able to give love with any guarantee of being loved back. Learning about giving the gift of selfless love through egg donation will help you connect to others in a way you never thought possible. 


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3. Egg donation makes a lasting impact. 

Future parents put a great deal of thought and consideration into choosing an egg donor. Couples have often struggled with conceiving for years. It's a huge sign of trust and confidence when a couple welcomes an egg donor into an important and lasting life decision. Egg donors have the ability to fill a need that they may not have known they had. Your ability to empathize with a couple and take the empowering step to donate your eggs will make a lasting impact on all lives involved. 


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4. You can be an advocate. 

You may not know anyone who has struggled with fertility prior to becoming an egg donor. Participating in an egg donation program will educate you about the challenges that couples go through. Couples often feel alone in this journey but your gift of egg donation shows couples that they aren't alone after all. You'll likely do research about the egg donation process, reproductive health, and how IVF treatments work. Egg donors can use their first-hand experience and newfound knowledge to advocate for families who are unable to start a family traditionally. 
With the arrival of COVID-19 and the resulting social distancing measures people have adopted, maintaining mental health has taken a new turn. WithTherapy is a team of psychologists, therapists, and healthcare professionals who help patients find a licensed therapist available for free online or phone therapy. Therapist insights from WithTherapy help patients examine and review the latest in mental health and well-being, from coping with pregnancy anxiety and reasons for online counseling to myths about OCD and "the new normal" post-pandemic. 


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5. You will be a piece of an amazing puzzle. 

You will become a piece of an amazing puzzle through egg donation. The fertility journey comes with many pieces, much like a puzzle, all of which contribute to the overall picture. You as an egg donor will feel wanted and essential. Without your selfless contribution, a couple won't be able to realize the dream of having a family. 
No matter your personal reasons for becoming an egg donor, your selfless gift will bring endless joy to deserving parents. 


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Pacific Fertility Center Los Angeles' main office is located at 10921 Wilshire Blvd Ste 700, Los Angeles, CA 90024, and available by phone at (310) 209-7700.

Best Gifts for Single Mothers


Single mums are the unsung superheroes. They do a round-the-clock job of single-handedly nurturing homes, raising kids, managing finances and everything else in their personal and professional lives. Thinking of picking out an appropriate gift for someone that awesome? You need to look beyond the mundane here. That said, here are great gift ideas for these wonder women.

Offer responsible child-care -
Irrespective of her current stage of life, a single mother would always consider stress-free childcare as a sensible gift. Let her enjoy a guilt-free break and recharge by offering to babysit a night or more.

Encourage a bit of pampering -
Take her out for a spa day or some quality time with friends, away from her daily schedule. Or just arrange for a lone-time breather. You can also merge this with your offer of free babysitting for a deeper impact.

Present her strength through books and media -
There are various books, shows, songs and other media available to make a single mum’s struggles more bearable. Pick out one for the single mother in your life and let her know of your solidarity. You can also get her a journal to purge memories and vent out without fears of judgement.

Help out with household chores -
Grocery shopping, planning and preparing meals, laundry, housecleaning – a single mother spends her energy on so many fronts daily! Gift her subscription vouchers for groceries, meal preparation services etc. Else, go for outsourcing her household chores like yard-work, housecleaning, laundry services etc., if you’re sure that she’d welcome your contribution.

Adore her with floral sentiments -
No matter the occasion, you can never go wrong with flowers. A nicely put-together gift hamper combining flowers, wine, chocolates and card can fill any single mum’s heart with appreciation and joy. For the professional touch of experts in the industry, check out the exquisite hampers at Pearsons Gifting.

Help her with finances -
Managing finances can be tricky for many single mothers. Help her plan it better with sound financial roadmaps if you’re capable or seek out professional counsel with her. You can also introduce her to work-from-home job opportunities, if she’s looking for a better balance through her professional life or an additional side-income.

Send Practical Gifts -
Thinking of sending tangible and useful gifts while you’re away? Choose practical gifts like – a fitness tracker gift cards for her favourite online or retail store or restaurants subscription vouchers for craft supplies ticket to her favourite artists’ shows

Make it personal -
Make her something special – a portrait, a poster or home dΓ©cor item with a meaningful thought, pair of socks or even a DIY closet organiser. Or, help her kids create or shop for a gift with a video message for her, teach them a household chore etc.

Gift companionship -
This is perhaps the best gift ever – your time. Be with her to listen, to hug and hold, to cherish or create memories, to show her the silver linings in life.

Whichever you choose, remember it’s the thought that counts more. Don’t sweat over it, be genuine, and you’ll manage to successfully convey your heartfelt sentiments.

Childbirth - what are the signs of labor?


Childbirth is not necessarily a divisive topic, but it’s certainly a topic that garners much debate over the methods and choices that suit expectant mothers and their babies. Take the stories of women who choose to forgo pain relief for as close to a natural birth as possible, without actually going into the woods and squatting over a makeshift cushion of particularly springy looking leaves. Then there are homebirths, water births, and so many opinions and advice and ‘friend-of-a-friend’ tales from those who've been there, done that.

Whatever you choose, you need to prepare. Learning to spot the signs of labor can give you the time you need to scramble your chosen plans into action. Of course, the health of the mother and baby is paramount. If you’ve been researching, you’ll probably already have asked yourself things like how can you reduce the likelihood of birth trauma? And related topics such as what is cerebral palsy and what is Erb’s palsy? For now, let’s look at the signs of labor.

Labor - phase one (the latent phase)

This is the start of labor, where the cervix begins to soften to allow the baby to pass through into the birthing canal. The muscles will begin to contract for typically periods of tens of seconds before relaxing again. These contractions (known as Braxton Hicks contractions) are your body’s way of pushing the baby out of the uterus, while the following relaxation of the muscle opens the cervix a little further each time. You can expect these contractions to last for up to 60 seconds. When they come roughly every five minutes, your baby is on its way.

A “show” and waters breaking

There is a plug of mucus that seals the cervix during pregnancy. During labor, this plug comes away. You may notice that there is a pinkish color due to losing a small amount of blood at this stage - this is normal for most women. Next, your waters will break. The baby is contained safely inside a sack of amniotic fluid. When the baby is ready to make an appearance, this sack breaks, releasing the fluid (be aware that amniotic fluid is similar in appearance to urine). For most women, labor will follow within less than 24 hours of this happening.


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5 Tips on How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs



In the first five years of the Affordable Care Act, some 20 million previously uninsured Americans were able to find and obtain health insurance.

Since 2017, however, the number of Americans who do not have health insurance has begun to creep back up. If you are among those who struggle to afford medical care and prescription medications, you need to know how to save money on prescription drugs.

To that end, the following list of tips has been compiled to assist.

1. Talk to Your Doctor 

Your first opportunity to save on medication starts long before you are standing at the pharmacy check-out counter. When you visit your primary care physician, tell your doctor about your situation. They may very well have samples from the pharmaceutical companies they can give you. Or they might be able to prescribe a different dosage. For example, if you take 50 mg of a particular medication, they might prescribe the 100 mg version — which costs the same as the lower dose — and tell you to break each tablet in half.

2. Shop Around 

Would it surprise you to learn that prescription costs aren't standard? Just as with groceries or clothing prices, some places charge more than others. Spend an hour or so calling local pharmacies and asking their price for the meds you take. You might be able to lower the amount you pay for prescriptions each month simply by going to a different drugstore or big-box store.

3. Don't Forget About Supermarkets 

The majority of supermarkets and warehouse clubs (think Costco or Sam's Club) have in-house pharmacies. Often, their prices are competitive, simply because few people stop in to get a script filled without also picking up a gallon of milk, a rotisserie chicken, or a frozen pizza for that night's dinner. If you can avoid making impulse purchases, you can save a lot of money by using these pharmacies.

4. Look Into Patient Assistance 

All of the major pharmaceutical companies have patient assistance programs. Contact them — often there are simple forms you can fill out on the drug maker's websites — to see if you qualify. Sometimes they can provide you with free medication; other times, patients get a significant discount that allows them to afford their medications.

5. Head to the Internet 

Ever heard of GoodRx? This website offers coupons that can drastically slash the price of drugs. Comparison shop on their site, then print out a coupon to show at the pharmacy counter. Or download the app to streamline the process. Take a few minutes to search the internet; there are other similar sites as well. Depending on the medication you take, buying online might also be an option. Be sure you're dealing with a reputable online pharmacy if you choose to go this route, however.

Know How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs 

When you know how to save money on prescription drugs, you will feel empowered and less anxious about going to the pharmacy. While it is not ideal to be without health insurance, it doesn't have to mean the end of your medication. Do you have any tips for saving money on health care costs? Share them in the comments!

How to Plan Your First Successful Family Road Trip


Young kids and road trips don’t go together. They have too much to bring with them and are far too dependent on their routines. Short day trips are great, but long, multi-day road trips will only try them and you. That is why you should wait until they are pre-teens or older because, at this age, they are ready for adventure and can (hopefully) sit still for longer than a few minutes at a time.

If this is your first big family road trip there are a lot of things that you can easily forget, which is why you should go through this checklist to ensure you plan and pack everything you need:

Decide on Your Type of Road Trip

There are three main options when it comes to a road trip with three or more people.

  • Book hotel rooms for the night 
  • Bring camping gear 
  • Book an RV rental


Hotel rooms are going to be the most expensive option, especially if you have two or more kids with you. They cannot be admitted into your own room with a cot, meaning you’ll need to book two or more rooms to accommodate everyone.

Camping gear can be a good way around this, but it does mean that instead of a cross-country trip, you are going to need to find just a few base camp locations and then go for day trips from there.

For ultimate travel freedom, you are going to want to choose an RV rental, which allows you to bring your home away from home with you wherever you go. You also can save on food costs, as they typically include a cooking range.

Invest in Travel Insurance

Many people don’t think about their insurance when they leave on a trip, but if you leave home, you run the risk of leaving the hospitals covered under your health insurance plan. Expanding your health insurance is also quite a headache, but thankfully the best way to cover for all emergencies is to simply invest in additional travel insurance for each member of your family. Do be honest if you intend to go adventuring, like white water rafting, so that if someone is injured they are still covered.

Have Everyone Choose One or Two Musts

Drivers will choose the scope of the road trip. It could be just across your state, or you could take a trip across the whole country if you feel up for driving that long and have that much time off.

Once the scope or scale of your road trip is decided, get everyone going on the trip to provide you with one or two things they really want to see on the trip. This way you can easily ensure everyone’s wishes are catered to and you can have a fun family trip together.

Pack Lean

You are going to need to help everyone pack as lean as possible. Remember, just because you are on the road doesn’t mean you cannot stop in to use a laundromat. Focus on bringing items that go well together, can easily be maintained (no delicate or dry-clean only items) and items they need to enjoy their activities (like a swimsuit or sneakers).

With these four musts, your family road trip will be more comfortable and structured, meaning everyone will enjoy it.


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