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Ep 165

Orthorexia and the path to leaving the crunchy lifestyle – A conversation with Laura


Laura: My family is so important to me. I thought I will just go ahead and book this appointment and that’s the only step I’m gonna take.

Carling: Welcome to the, I did Not Sign Up for this podcast, a weekly show dedicated to highlighting the incredible stories of everyday people. No topic is off limits. Join me as we explore the lives and experiences of guests through thought-provoking, unscripted conversations. And if you enjoy this show and would like to support this podcast, consider joining my Patreon.

You’ll gain instant access to over 70 exclusive bonus episodes, entries into giveaways, a discount on merch and more. Your support, allows me to continue bringing you these important stories. So head over to patreon.com/i did not sign up for this and become part of the community.

I’m your host Carlin, a Canadian queer identifying 30 something year old, providing a platform for the stories that need to be heard.

Hello, Laura.

Laura: Hi, how are you, Carling? good, how are you?

It’s great to see

Carling: Oh my gosh, it’s so nice to meet you. I’ve been so excited [00:01:00] all week.

I would love it if you could introduce yourself, tell me a little bit about who you are and where you’re from, and then I’m excited to get into your story.

Laura: So my name is Laura. I am a mom and that’s it right now. But I do have a master’s degree. I used to be a real person and my whole identity for the last half a decade, at seven years at this point has been being a mom. And while in that space, Unfortunately fell into some like anxious and depressive patterns that led me down a darker path.

I thought that I was totally alone, but I started talking about it on social media and found that there are so many people like me. And now I just talk on social media about the experiences that I went through and see if anyone else had the same experiences. They’re usually a dime a dozen. Everyone has experienced things like

Carling: I think that’s what’s so neat about social media and doing [00:02:00] this podcast is, you know, every, almost everyone I talk to is like, I don’t know if I should share my story. Like, Is it really relatable? And I’m I’m like, you have no idea so many people here. And even if they can’t relate to the whole story, there are pieces of every story where people are like, wow, I thought I was the only one.

Laura: It’s a scary place to be, to think that you are going through this totally isolating experience. And I used to be too paranoid to be on social media, so I’m so happy that it was January last year. I finally took that step and got on social media and it’s changed my life to know that I’m not

Carling: Wow, that’s amazing. So where does your story begin

Laura: I cite the beginning as I remember being seven weeks pregnant for the very first time ever. And at that exact moment, I think it was like one day after I met my new ob gyn, we moved 10 hours away. So I had just connected with this OB gyn just had my first appointment, [00:03:00] and then I had to start over completely.

I also didn’t have any family in the area. I was now 10 hours away from my friends I had always struggled with anxiety, but while I was pregnant, it went through the roof. There are so many things that are out of control in your body when you’re pregnant, and that did not sit well with me. So when I started with a new ob, g y n, she had tried to find some kind of anxiety relieving measures that would work for me.

I wasn’t on anti-anxiety meds at that time, and so they’re usually hesitant to start you on it when you’re pregnant. the first thing that she suggested was yoga, which I love. I don’t wanna disparage yoga at all. I haven’t done it in a hot minute, but I just happened to go to the wrong yoga studio and I didn’t know that at the time.

It. Like a full three years later before I realized that. So things happened very slowly. I fell into this yoga studio as if it was my church. I’m not religious, but [00:04:00] it became something that I did, that I went to every day when I was pregnant. When I gave birth. For years I went here. All of my friends were now in the yoga studio.

They were like a one-stop shop. So I would meet with the lactation consultant, the midwife, the chiropractor, the naturopath, everyone in that studio. I would buy my essential oils there. Everything.

Carling: that sounds so appealing because your whole community becomes this one place. What a beautiful concept.

Laura: that’s the scary part because that is exactly what I needed. That’s the only thing that was missing in my life to ground me at that point. And Everyone’s how did you not realize that you were like slowly becoming enmeshed in this cultish situation? And how did you not realize?

Because I was desperate for community and this was the only option. They seemed really great You know, Nobody flies their red flags right away. So these people were my family before I realized kind what was

Carling: Wow. [00:05:00] Can you maybe talk a little bit about what was happening that you didn’t realize? I know like hindsight’s 2020.

Laura: so the first thing was that, you know, you sit in that first yoga class and you all go around the room and tell your story, and I was the only new person, so everyone was very friendly and asked me ton of questions, and I had mentioned that my OB had told me that I. Gaining weight at a faster rate than I should be.

that, that might have been a marker for gestational diabetes. And they were horrified. How could she say that to you? How could, at 14 weeks, how could she think that you’re headed down this gestational diabetes route? And everyone was unanimously like, what is going on? And so I thought, okay, I’ve never been pregnant before.

These people have multiple kids. They know what’s going on. There’s a doula in this room. My yoga teacher, she’s had six kids at this point. They know what they’re talking about. And so they’re pushing me to go to this midwife who they [00:06:00] know and trust. I trust these people. This was after like

several yoga sessions.

I wasn’t like first day I trust them. So I think I was 14, 15, 16 weeks, somewhere around there when I switched from, An OB to a midwife at a birthing center, and she was a C N M, which in the United States is like the highest midwife accreditation but I didn’t know her backstory.

And so when I tell you this next part it’s not shocking that this happened to me. I had just moved to the area. I didn’t know anything that she was up to, but I had mostly a wild pregnancy. And what that means is that it’s basically hands off. The midwife will tell you like, you can test for group B strep if you want to.

Here are the reasons you wouldn’t test for it. For instance, if you go into labor, they would require antibiotics. I don’t think you should have antibiotics. That’s not good for the baby. So I would recommend skipping this one.

I was a first time mom, so I listened to all of these little things.

And basically where that netted me [00:07:00] was in a non progressing labor where my water had broken 18 hours prior. The midwife ghosted me said, because your water has been broken for so long, you need to go to the hospital. I’m releasing your care.

Carling: no.

Laura: yeah, so this was something she’d done before and she eventually got sued for it, but in hindsight, she probably knew from feeling my uterus that my baby was breached and that she would not be able to deliver him at home or in the birthing center.

So when I eventually did go to the hospital after another day that’s where I found myself again without a community. All of my friends were really upset that I had gone to the hospital because that’s not what, you’re I mean, I wanna say it this way because they are very transphobic and homophobic, and this is the way that they worded it for me.

A woman’s body should know what it’s doing, and you should be able to trust your mama’s intuition.

Carling: [00:08:00] But like what about the, like thousands birthers women who died during birth Because back in the day before there was medical intervention.

Laura: that’s such an interesting thing. It’s such like an interesting thought experiment to try to bring up with somebody who I would consider a crunchy cult member because they just totally gloss over that. And , most of the problems are attributed to western medicine nowadays, and that’s what I totally believed.

And now that I’m like seeing it from the outside perspective, I’m like, how did I fall for this? How did I believe it? Because I was in the hospital and they had successfully delivered a healthy baby, but I’m doing all of these things to purposefully put myself in jeopardy. Like back in the Victorian ages, I signed a waiver saying I, I declined a C-section.

And they were saying, your baby is breach . Once his body is delivered, you have six minutes to get the head out [00:09:00] before there’s brain damage. This is not a situation that we can gamble with. And I just put my foot down and said, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna do your

C-section. It’s unbelievable. My story ended in such a happy way with me surviving and my baby surviving, but I didn’t need to get that lucky.

So many other people have not gotten that lucky, and I should have seen that as a red flag then and left the community. But what it actually did was push me deeper into it, because now I had seen that the doctors pushed you towards certain interventions and certain situations that were not in your womanly, divine femininity interests.

I just leaned harder

into this c.

Carling: And was your partner on board with what the doctors were saying or were they trying to trust your process?

Laura: He was fully brainwashed in this birthing situation as well. We had watched the business of being born,


which I don’t know if

Yeah, that’s,

Carling: it’s very interesting.

Laura: Yeah, I can’t believe that it’s [00:10:00] still allowed to be a video watched online. But we had also taken a natural birthing class with my naturopath, and so she sat there showing us pictures of botched circumcisions and what happens when an epidural goes wrong, and the mom ends up paraplegic and we are just like, we cannot go to the hospital.

We cannot trust these people. So when I was at home delivering by myself, this was an interesting situation, sorry to backtrack, but I had a doula and she was saying, you need to go to the hospital. The midwife has released you. You have nobody, you need to go to the hospital.

And I was like,

I’m not gonna do that. So she called another midwife who she had worked with previously, and that midwife came to my house. And so I have this strange woman who I’ve never met, this woman’s like, I need to check you because you’re not progressing. So she checked me and I was 10 centimeters dilated, but she said, I don’t know what I’m feeling.

It could be the baby’s eyeball or it could be his

scrotum [00:11:00]

Carling: Oh my God.

Laura: I just got so lucky that I had all of those people intervening. So we got to the hospital and I was 10 centimeters dilated and I was screaming, I was in so much pain and the doctors are standing over me saying, you, we need to get you in for a C-section.

We need to put an epidural in right now. And my partner, because I can’t speak, my partner’s like, no, we are not doing an epidural. We are not doing a C-section. And I’m like yes. Good. They asked him to leave the room because they thought that it was like a domestic violence


Carling: like what a dick move

for him to take.

Laura: right? so they asked him and my doula and the midwife was there, the new midwife who I’d never met, and her birthing apprentice. And so they made all of them leave the room. And they were like, listen, we have to talk to you. Like, Are you in danger? And this was like in the middle of contractions and I’m like, see, these people are trying to push their agenda on me and isolate [00:12:00] me.

It was just wild. Like I wish that you knew me personally to know like how unlike me that was and how unlike my partner that was for us to be in that situation. Like it, it feels like I’m telling you like

a dream that I had in retrospect.

Carling: Yeah, so you have the baby,

Laura: Yeah. Yep.

Carling: you’re lucky, the baby

Laura: Yep. I get more and more into this community. I’m like in the hospital laying in bed and. The owner of the yoga studio calls me and she wants to walk me through. I know, I know. It all sounds so silly. Now she wants to walk me through my next steps. And so she’s saying they’re going to try to circumcise the baby.

They’re going to try to give him vaccines. You need to decline these. You need to advocate for yourself and advocate for your baby and make sure that you guys stay healthy. This is gonna escalate so quickly. I’ve seen people try and take babies away from moms who [00:13:00] had failed home births.

I’ve never heard of that happening, ever, I was so scared. And so the hospital wanted me to stay an extra day. Which is just protocol stay two nights. And after one night we essentially packed our bags and left. They had to send a hospital employee to our house the next day to check on me.

It was such a cascade of silly things that happened, but all that it did was just push me towards these people harder. So I took their recommendations for a pediatrician who did not offer vaccines in his office, who did not prescribe antibiotics like under any circumstances. five years later, I think I’m fully out of this community at this point.

I don’t take my kids to this pediatrician anymore. And I read in the news that he has been arrested for um, for stealing opioid prescriptions from his patients

Carling: Wow.

Laura: big pharma. Got him,

Carling: And it’s so reasonable. Like I can see [00:14:00] how you would’ve been so validated by this community that took you in because everything that they said would happen was happening through that lens. Like it’s so understandable

Laura: Yeah,

Carling: heartbreaking at the same time.

Laura: It had been suggested to me by that new midwife that I might have postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression, I should have heard that and gone in a different direction. But what I did do was go to the naturopath that I knew, and the chiropractor who has a functional is, I think his functional nutrition doctor is what her other title is, and asked for them to test me for vitamin deficiencies.

I went for muscle testing, which is where muscle tester who was a naturopath, holds the bottle of vitamins that you bring in and taps your knee several times. And it intuitively tells her how many pills of that [00:15:00] bottle you need to take. To get yourself back up and ready. So she prescribed a list of like 40 pills to

take a day based on intuition, and she told me to just blindly double my prenatal vitamins that I was on postnatally.

And I did it. I just, I listened. So I spent years treating what was clearly like a brain imbalance, a chemical imbalance, treating it with vitamins and supplements, and overtreating it to the point where I was having all of these negative symptoms. Like I would stand up and I would totally black out.

Once in the shower my partner had to come. I didn’t pass out, but I just slumped to the floor and he heard it and he had to come pick me up, and

it was all so


Carling: so did the community continue to embrace you through that first year of your child’s life?

Laura: Yeah, definitely. But what I’m seeing now is that it was always me and the C-section mom who [00:16:00] were pushed together and now looking at it, we were not embraced fully into the full community and we like tried so hard and we were like invited to all the birthday parties and everything, but we were just like a step below

them kind of. Um,

Carling: birth.


Laura: yeah. Yeah, cuz I did have an epidural placed in case well, so I ended up delivering on my back vaginally in the OR with a surgeon standing there ready to cut me open in case anything went wrong because they’re going to default to saving lives. so I had an epidural placed in case. That needed to be turned on.

even without having had that medication, I was like totally ostracized. They were like, I can’t believe that you had your body, violated like that. And I had, I think some kind of birth PTs d so I believed it. But anyway, back to your question, for the first year, my son had all of these, very serious issues, is what I would consider.

But at [00:17:00] the time I just glossed over it all. I don’t know if this is gonna be tmi, but he would poop green

foam, which is not, not something a


should do.

Carling: yeah.

like I’m no doctor, but that doesn’t sound

Laura: Yeah. And the lactation consultants and the midwife and his pediatrician would just like, it’s fine. It’s something wrong with your breast milk, you need to correct the four hi the four milk Hein milk imbalance.

You need to take


Carling: like was it the 400 pills a day you were taking?

Laura: It could have been, or it could have been the fact that I was also ingesting

my placenta, which has been known to cause infections in

Yeah. I Did that

Carling: I find that, I find that

fascinating. Did you dehydrated? Did you

Laura: the first time. I was very grossed out by the whole thing. I was um, a vegan at the time and I thought, I won’t be able to do this. But they’re pushing me to do it, so I will dehydrate them into pills. I didn’t do it. My doula. so I had 200 pills, which was supposed to be a three month supply, [00:18:00] and I just sat on it and didn’t do anything.

But when my anxiety and depression got so bad, like to the point that I was having like suicidal ideations I got so desperate that I did take it. And it was to the point where I was so bad that my partner was like reminding me like, did you take your placenta pills today? So I was taking them probably from when my baby was like two months to, I think maybe like a year.

I like stretched it out and would like, open up the capsules and do half of it in a new capsule, like just to try to

Carling: Yeah.

Laura: it out. The second time I gave birth though, I had them cut off a two inch chunk of my placenta before dehydrating it and blend it into a


Carling: Wow.

Laura: to drink while it was still warm. Yeah.

Carling: that was encouraged, that was something that they talked about

I actually don’t know. Is there science behind it? Or has it been kind of defunct

Laura: Yeah. So there was like some wishy-washy, you could apply some [00:19:00] kind of science to it, which is so interesting that this community like totally rejects science until there’s like a scientific study that works in their favor and then they’re like, ugh. But actually last year, I think it was, they came out with this new bigger study that is like more valid at, with more participants, and it said that ingesting your placenta the hormones in it decreases your milk supply.

Which explains so much in retrospect. that’s another thing I should have just been supplementing with formula instead of pushing myself. And I didn’t wanna use bottles or pacifiers. So I was solely in charge of my child,

Carling: exhausting.

Laura: keeping my child alive. It was rough, but I thought that formula would undoubtedly lead to my baby getting cancer essentially.

Carling: That’s intense. And what happens if you could, because some bodies don’t produce milk or enough milk, so what’s their a milk bank?

Laura: Yeah, [00:20:00] so I was in three or two or three groups on Facebook. And so people would like, beg, please, here’s a picture of my baby. Here is my baby’s story. I need milk. And I, I didn’t have enough milk to give my baby. And I’m still, I’m nursing my baby on one side and then I’m manually pumping on the other because it’s better to not have electricity near

your baby. know?

it’s all so stupid. Yeah.

But I would collect like a hundred ounces and then I would donate it to a baby. And now I’m wondering I wish I could check in with them. Did it also make your baby sick? It made my baby sick. But one time I got a text that was like a teacher at the yoga studio had to be rushed in for emergency surgery.

Can you be a wet nurse for her baby For

the day?

Carling: for the di

Laura: I was like, no. Like I guess they were just going

down, you know, the

Carling: breastfeeding? That

Laura: call list. Yeah, exactly.

Carling: like I don’t think there’s anything wrong. Like I’ve seen, what’s that famous picture? Is it Selma? Hayek? Was breastfeeding a starving child? To the [00:21:00] exclusion of any other option, like formula feels

Laura: for sure. It’s, I will not be having a third baby. I got my partner fixed, but if I did, I would only do formula and I know that would

explode people’s minds to hear, but just the amount of stress that it caused in my life I think I wouldn’t be able to

risk it again.

Carling: How was the birth with the second child different? It wa you were still part of this crunchy community.

Laura: So this time I was determined, I know what went wrong in the first one. I’m not going to allow them to take advantage of me again, , I’m going to listen to that little voice inside me saying I can do this. I went with that new midwife who had rescued me that first time.

But I had insisted on certain measures that even she felt uncomfortable with. for instance, I didn’t do [00:22:00] the gestational diabetes test. I just simply monitored my blood sugar on my own and then like self-reported those results. And I think that’s an okay thing to do. Like you’re still monitoring.

But I was like afraid because the Glu Cola drink is like produced with GMOs. And so this baby was a totally organic vegan pregnancy and I at this point had developed orthorexia so bad that I would not have taken a single bite of anything that was like not

perfect. Which is funny now because she just yesterday had a Dunking Donuts

Carling: It was probably delicious. Yeah.

Laura: With red 40 sprinkles on it.

Carling: And is orthorexia

like a fear of

a lot of foods?

Laura: it’s essentially an eating disorder. Like I don’t think it’s fully recognized in society as an eating disorder because you have essentially taken the healthiest of the healthy options and made [00:23:00] that your personality, your everything has to be perfect. So when someone looks at you from the outside, you are eating so great.

I would be eating these like beautiful Instagram worthy salads that I would make, but what I was doing was like obsessing over. Whole ingredients and where they came from, I was part of a farm csa they ended up being anti maskers and

anti-vaxxers and yeah. So just, I was like so enmeshed in this community in so many ways and it just added up.

I would never have skipped my cod liver oil because heaven forbid, my brain not get those nutrients for that day. So back to my birth it went perfectly. It was beautiful. It was home birth and I hypnotized myself for the birth.

Carling: Did it, work

Laura: you know,

I actually like it. And I think that even as an exc crunchy, I would recommend it to people because there’s no harm really in having that as a tool. It just taught me to shut out what was happening in the room. [00:24:00] And there’s a lot happening in the room when you’re giving birth.

There’s people checking you, , you’re like in the middle of a contraction and they’re feeling your stomach and your cervix and everything, and you have to shut it all out to keep going. So I think that worked perfectly. She was born in a birthing pool in my bedroom and it was beautiful.

Yeah, this perfect little unvaccinated baby that, pure

blood baby

Carling: And I imagine that was also so validating, right? Because you listened to your

Laura: Yeah.

Carling: did everything like quote unquote, right. and you ended up with this

perfect experience.

Laura: I considered it a healing birth. Like I went through this whole traumatic P T S D situation with my first birth, and then this one went perfectly and I actually did get one ultrasound to make sure that she wasn’t breach. I cried over that

ultrasound and just the waves

affecting my baby.

But when she came out perfect and there was nothing wrong with her, I did feel like I can do it. I did [00:25:00] this. Everyone else should be able to too.

Carling: So what, what was the turning point

of realization?

Laura: Yeah. So this


Such bizarre timing because, She was born two months before Covid hit and she got her first vaccine one month before Covid at all. And I remember we had heard like rumblings, like there was, this virus circulating in China, but I didn’t at the time think anything of it. I wasn’t like, it’s gonna come here.

We have to get her vaccinated. It was this wild situation where everyone always asks like, what did your partner think? Did he ever stop you? Did he ever reign you in? This was the only time he reigned me into the point where I was like, I need to listen. I need to listen to him. I’m not gonna override him right now.

I’m gonna go in this direction. Like he is, I don’t wanna say like my better half, like we are total equals. I am so appreciative for him. He is so supportive and docile and sweet and so for him to be like, We are getting the kids vaccinated. [00:26:00] Now, I have given you four years to, test this out with our firstborn, and I don’t feel comfortable with it anymore.

And we’re getting him, we’re getting him and the new baby vaccinated. And I don’t know if like he felt this surge to do it because we had this tiny little six pound baby in the house that we needed to protect, but the timing was perfect. So when Covid hit, they were already on their second month of

Carling: Wow. when he said that was it obvious that you were gonna go along with it, I feel like there’d be this internal struggle. And did you tell the crunchy community?

Laura: So I didn’t tell anyone because I honestly did not think that I was going to go through with it. we had a debate about it . He still has this friend that doesn’t vaccinate their family and their family is totally healthy. And so at the time I was like using that like against him.

Look, their kids are older and look how perfect they are. Don’t, you wanna be like your friend, don’t you wanna be great like them? eventually, I saw how important it was to him and my partner is so important to me. [00:27:00] My family is so important to me. I thought I will just go ahead and book this appointment and that’s the only step I’m gonna take.

And then it ended up being okay, I have to drive them there. But when I get there, when I get to the doctor’s office, like surely we’re gonna have a talk about it and gonna come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t vaccinate. And I just went along with every step doing what I needed to do.

But in the back of my mind, I did think. I’m gonna enter the appointment with two healthy kids, and I’m gonna leave the appointment with something catastrophic happening to my kids, and it’s going to be my fault. And am I going to end up blaming my partner? Is this going to be like the severing of our relationship?

what if something happens to the kids? What if they die or something? And this goes back to him.

This is his fault and nothing happened. They were, they’re perfect.

Carling: was that the start of the end of that, being part of that community?

Laura: It was, but I didn’t know that. I had absolutely no idea. So my daughter is three. So sh I mean, this was a [00:28:00] full three years ago now, and if you had like shown me a picture of myself now I would’ve been like, no way. That’s not me. four days ago I just got Botox for the first time. I would’ve been like, no, no way.

But if you had told me that this would be my family situation, I would be like, you’re absolutely lying. I, and I also don’t want that future. But like it, it happened very slowly and I didn’t realize what was happening first Covid hit and I had these secretly vaccinated tiny children, and we were still going to like our friend groups and hiking groups, and even more so because now we weren’t allowed to be like out in public, right?

We were on lockdown. But then my friends started coming up with these wild stories, and I think that I had just enough separation by having that like little scientific boost of. Of having done the vaccines and having my kids not have had anything catastrophic happening, so that when they started telling me like, [00:29:00] COVID is all affront, they just wanna get us in our houses so that we can’t see that aliens have landed, we won’t be able to find.

Yeah, there were way more wild stories. Like

Pizzagate was around this time the Wayfair children

in the

expensive cabinets.

Carling: in the containers, in the cavity,


Laura: So I had all of these things swirling around and I don’t think I was back on Facebook at this point. I think I was still totally isolated. But my friend was sending me these memes one of them pointed was talking about q and I had no idea what Q was.

So I watched this YouTube video, which was basically like an intro. Everything you need to know. About the movement that is QAN on. I watched it walking away thinking one, could that be real? That’s really scary if that, if any of this is real, this is terrifying. But two, there’s no way this could be real.

And my friend thinks that it is. So that was a little like seed that [00:30:00] had been plated in my head, this like red flag to watch out for. . So I just started naturally pulling away from her. But fast forward to October of 2020, we went to the playground. We hadn’t been seeing each other very regularly, but she was still sending me these like hollow earth memes or gifts and just conspiracy theories.

And so we’re at the playground and it’s so busy. I’m feeling like a little bit frantic because my four-year-old is just running around wild and I have this little baby who I think wanted to crawl at the time or something. Just everything was chaos. There are so many kids and she is it feels like maybe she was having some kind of psychotic episode now in retrospect, but she was like very loudly ranting about how pharmaceuticals have gotten into the water supply and they’ve made all of the fish and the frogs become more feminized.

This is leading to like mass chaos. And essentially this has happened with [00:31:00] vaccines and it’s created a group that will. it’ll change the future of humans forever. Just everything that she was saying was

Carling: Wow.

Laura: eugenics. Like it was just like straight out of a Nazi playbook. But then she like went further and was like, I would never get my kids vaccinated.

And when she was saying this, I was like, did she hear from someone that I got my kids vaccinated? Because just the way she was phrasing it, she was saying when you are trans, when you are gay, that is a form of autism and it’s because of the vaccine. And then she said, when you’ve made the decision to become a trans man, like when you’ve been that misguided, that you think that you’re a trans man you’ve given up your right to have children.

The end like. Divine femininity reigns, and now you are a lesser human. And I was like, totally baffled, to the point that I was like [00:32:00] speechless we didn’t stay for that much longer. Oh, she also said that she could see why people had voted for Trump and that she was anticipating voting for him again in the new election.

Everything was just a blur. I couldn’t tell you what happened, but I know that basically we made excuses and left like almost immediately. And that was the last time that I ever had any interaction with her because I’m not

okay with any part of that. I’m not okay with any part of that being said.

At all or being thought by anyone that’s around me, but to say those things like in front of my kids, in front of any kids,

in front of a bunch of kids, and think like in your head that’s okay. That’s an okay thing to say.

It’s not Okay.

Carling: , I find that so interesting and all over the news right now is about, banning drag performers and not letting them read to kids and all this stuff. And I think that’s not who’s dangerous.

It’s this, belief and all these things being talked about, like what your friend was saying. That’s what’s [00:33:00] dangerous,

Laura: Do you remember, I don’t know if it’s still going on the litter boxes in like

middle schools. They were thinking


Carling: kids to

Laura: ugh.

Carling: as cats.

Laura: What a silly thing to say that this is something you believe, but also if that is the situation, like who cares?

Carling: I’m interested, so you said three years ago, if you had told the Laura from three years ago, this is what you, your life would be, you wouldn’t have believed it three years ago. What was the future that Laura expected, anticipated?

What was your vision for your family?

Laura: We had chickens. We lived on five acres, and I was trying to grow my own food. I had a solar dehydrator. I really thought that we were going to be self-sufficient full on homesteaders. We would quit our job. I didn’t have a job, but my partner would quit his job and everything would just be like

off grid. Everything was like oatmeal colored in our life. It’s like the vision that I pictured and I still think like chickens are dreamy[00:34:00] I would love to have that, but it’s hard. I was living in a rural community that was 98% white My next door neighbor put up a White Lives Matter sign.

We also had all of these signs in the community that were like having to pray so that they could stop abortion. I can’t remember like what it was. But I had been so deeply entrenched in my depression and anxiety that when my first born was 16 months old, I had an abortion.

And so all of these things were just like really deeply affecting me on a personal level and not having friends that I could connect with because I didn’t know, who was transphobic or racist. It didn’t feel like it was like the place for me to raise my kids. I didn’t feel safe sending them to school, there,

Carling: Was the plan to send them to school, not

Laura: Y it was, it still was the plan. And then when Covid hit the second year of Covid, my oldest needed to start kindergarten and the [00:35:00] school was not masking. And I knew that the community had a I think it was a 27% vaccination rate for

Covid. And so I was just like, I’m going to keep them home. So we’re still homeschooling, but he is going to start


grade in the fall.

Carling: fun.

Laura: I’m really excited for that.

Carling: Yeah.

Laura: Yeah. But it was just, it was really sad because like we had this house that like, felt like it was like part of us, part of our identity, but we couldn’t live in this community anymore. And three years later now, I live in a totally different state.

I live on 7,000

square feet of land and that’s it. I can see like 10 neighbors houses. Just from this window before I, I didn’t have any neighbors. It was also like unsafe to send my kids outside to play because of the type of people that we lived around. It was a big hunting community, and so I would send them outside and all day long it would just be constant gunshots.

Carling: Wow.

Was the [00:36:00] decision to move mutual between your partner and you,

Laura: I feel like my partner had always given off vibes that like he wanted to be near his family, but he would’ve never pushed me, ever. And then making it through C O V I D. essentially a trad wife. That’s the life that I was living. And if you knew now, like if I cook now, it’s only a microwaveable Costco meal.

Like it’s totally, yeah. And my partner does bedtime with the kids. Like, No I’m out of the trad wife life. But at this time, like it was just me. My kids had never had a babysitter. We had no one nearby. I had just separated from this community, was slowly getting rid of all my friends. And so the prospect of living near grandma and having a babysitter it was like kind of like a fantasy that I had and actually listing my house, I didn’t think I would be able to go through with it.

But I did. And now two months post [00:37:00] move, I’m like, why

didn’t I do this sooner?

Carling: Yeah. Did anybody from the community try to bring you back in? Did they notice that you were leav?

Laura: Yeah, so I had this one friend who was like, really cool. I liked her, but we were part of the same hiking group and when I confided in her that I was vaccinating the kids, she shared it with the other members of the hiking group and they decided that it would be best if after the kids had gotten their vaccination, we stayed away from the group for a three week shedding period

Carling: the vaccine would leave the child and go to the next child.

Laura: Yes. And I think that this is like something that, that is possible with the chickenpox vaccine

I can’t remember like where there’s a warning, but they would like constantly cite that being like, see you have to stay away for three weeks after you get the chicken box vaccine.

And therefore all of the other vaccines they shed as well. And then the most recent polio case in New York was with somebody who was unvaccinated and I think it [00:38:00] was a foreign vaccine that like did have live components and did shed. So I’m sure that has just furthered their agenda, but largely vaccines do not shed.

And so they were keeping my kids isolated. My kids only had a week every month where we could socialize before the next vaccines. And so this friend was like trying to invite us over for like separate outdoor play dates and keeping us like further away from her kids, like in her yard. But so we could still hang out and.

I felt like it was like a pity situation. That was my last friend and we just separated and the last like cutting of all ties for me was changing my phone number. Nobody was really contacting me, but I just wanted to close that chapter in my life

Carling: And so your decision to join social media, was it specifically to find community or was it, I guess my question should be what was your, what was the [00:39:00] inspiration behind starting to go back to social media?

Laura: I was finally in therapy and my therapist was suggesting that I go on antidepressants and anti-anxiety meds and I. I was still so enmeshed in this like big pharma conspiracy and I would never wanna poison my body like that. But so then she suggested like, you need community, you need to talk to anyone.

you’re in this quarantine bubble with your husband and two kids. And that’s not healthy to just have those people. You have to have like other interests. And I had nothing. I was coming out of my only hobbies, being, cleaning the house, taking care of the chickens, taking care of my kids.

Carling: Yeah.

Laura: it.

That was my whole life. So I joined social media and I just wanted to be like a different person than I was. Like I didn’t want people to know that I had been an anti-vax. I didn’t want people to know that I had ever wondered [00:40:00] whether Q was like a thing that could be real. And so I just was on there, like in the parenting space.

And one day I think I’d been on social media for three months. I had a few connections they didn’t really like materialize into friendships, but one day I felt like emboldened. I think it had been like the night before my partner was like, you have this really unique story of having been an anti-vaxxer and I think that you should share it.

I think you’d be surprised at how people would feel about it. And so I did, I made a video about it and , instantly, I think it was like almost viral, just like just below the threshold. So many people were like, me too. I was also like this. I didn’t think it was something we could talk about. I was like totally mortified.

And I’ve made so many amazing friends through that. But it’s also helped me realize that this is a process. Like when I have those moments where I think I just gave my kids Crayola crayons to use in the shower and I know that there’s [00:41:00] yellow six in them and red 40, and what am I doing?

And when I was taking that first antidepressant pill, I was like, can I do this? Can I actually do this? And to have those people who had been there, who had done it, and they’d come out better on the other side, it was really helpful for me. And so , I keep going. this is truly like a situation where like, I did not sign up for this because I don’t know what I’m doing and I just keep.

Telling my story and then connecting with more people and it like propels me forward

Carling: That’s amazing.

Laura: into my healing

Carling: Yeah.

That’s amazing. And has your partner also, you guys had watched that movie, the Business of Being Born, and you were both All in? Are you both All out now,

Laura: I notice some orthorexic tendencies in him still. And I think he would probably like also agree. It goes back to the collagen powder, the supplements, like making sure like everything is like organically sourced and everything. But for the most part, like we are in agreement [00:42:00] that using tide on our clothes is not going to destroy our gut microbiomes.

My son was six last year when we found two ticks on his head when we were still living rurally and he had to have antibiotics, I picked up the antibiotics prescription and my partner was like, hold on, should we, and I was like, yes, I’m not risking Lyme disease. And then he was like, okay, let’s, it’s been a journey for him too.

He wasn’t as invested in like the, the friend groups and researching online. It’s like a big thing that I would do. I would consider that I was researching by looking at other biased

blogs and whatever, but he would like default to trust me because we are partners and I’m.

Generally considered a good mom, I would say. So he knew that I wasn’t gonna do anything to harm my kids, which is like so funny in retrospect now because I would absolutely [00:43:00] consider that medical neglect, like not getting your kids


Carling: We had a really big story in the news in Canada where I live of this family that their son died. I feel like it was from. What can strep turn into? It can turn into bad he died because they were trying to use o only naturopathic remedies like garlic and oil of oregano and all of these things. And they’ve appealed every secondary murder conviction that they’ve gotten.

And yeah, there’s, you know, your intentions are good, but at some point, it’s scary, like that you can be so entrenched in that belief aren’t willing to another alternative that could be lifesaving.

Laura: So I see this a lot. I have asthma in adhd and I’m like constantly seeing. These stories on TikTok of parents trying to treat their kids, with essential oils, [00:44:00] which is like the biggest no-no for asthma. And I remember being a kid being like 10 and being so severely asthmatic, like thinking that I would die and I had my, my parents gave me all of the prescription meds that they could get and it was still bad.

And to just think that these kids, like they, the people who are advocating for them don’t have their best interest in mind, but they think that they do and they have all the love behind it. The detoxing for autism it just breaks me, like what they must go through. I’m constantly like taking all of these tests online because I do think that I am, on the spectrum and I’m constantly like being told that I’m not, and To know how I would feel with somebody pushing the detox on me now, because that’s happened, because I have detox before, like having that happen to a kid, having enemas administered to a kid how could any rational and loving parent do this unless

it is a [00:45:00] cult? Unless you are indoctrinated.

Carling: Yeah, that’s really scary. I just saw the other day, I ended up deep in the rabbit hole of the potato juice. Did you see that? There’s a creator who allegedly cured her daughter’s strep throat with nothing but potato juice. And like all these experts are saying like, please take down this video.

This is so harmful. There is no scientific evidence to this. And there’s probably a community of people that will say just trying to, I don’t know, cancel her , because she’s got something that big pharma can’t

Laura: Mm-hmm. Because there’s no money

in big potato. You know, it’s, It’s so wild because most of our medications are derived from natural ingredients like aspirin, is like a natural thing. And they’re like so up in arms, like big pharma hates nature, but they’re using the good

Carling: Yeah, I know. And wasn’t penicillin derived from like a plant? yeah. yeah. . I find it so [00:46:00] interesting and I can also see how easy it is to just get into that community because all we want at the end of the day is like connection and community and to belong. that’s our human nature and how risky it is.

That even the most, well-educated, like you weren’t just some daft, person willing to go anywhere. You got embraced by these people and it felt good and it could have turned out so differently.

Laura: Yeah,

Carling: Yeah. I’m super thankful that you’re sharing your story online. I think it’s so interesting and, I think there’s such a fine balance. You gotta do what’s right, but like also follow real science.

Laura: Yeah. It’s hard to know.

Carling: I did say the other day to my partner, I was like, this like parenting thing is weird because nobody knows what we’re doing. I don’t know, like I just stepped into this stepparent role. I have not a clue. And yet we are charged with making these tiny humans into [00:47:00] members of society.

Laura: Yeah. Don’t screw them up at all.


Carling: yeah. It’s wild out there. I don’t know. Thank you so much for taking time outta your Sunday to chat. it was so nice to meet you and I’m so thankful to have your story to, to put on this platform.

Laura: It was such an honor meeting you. I, I was like so excited to see your name

and podcast


Carling: Yay. Thank you.

Laura: Yeah.

Carling: That’s great. and if you ever wanna come back,

Laura: Awesome. Oh, I’d love to. Yeah. Thanks so much.

I hope you have a great day.

Carling: you.

Laura: thank you. Bye-Bye.

Carling: Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. I hope you found our conversation informative and entertaining. If you enjoyed this episode, please don’t forget to follow me on social media. Share this podcast with your friends and leave a review@ratethispodcast.com slash I did not sign up for this.

Your support means the world to me. If you want more interviews, exclusive content and add free episodes, join the patreon@patreon.com slash I did not [00:48:00] sign up.

I hope you all have a fantastic week ahead and we’ll talk soon