November Inspirational Woman
I can peg the exact moment I fell in love with nature. I was in the single digits age-wise when my grandmother tore a piece from her aloe plant to soothe a cut I had gotten while playing. A plant could be used to heal my boo-boo… I was awestruck. She sent my mother home with a piece of the plant that day, and in the days that followed I found any excuse I could to apply it (while simultaneously not wanting to waste it).
Fast forward nearly two decades: A normal summer spent at my family’s lake house: hiking, swimming, card games—but one thing was different this summer: a smelly uncle. “You stink!” I remember my father saying to him as I sat on the front steps holding my baby cousin. He retorted that he would not be applying deodorant during summer vacation as it was unhealthy and the reason that the people of Germany had fewer incidences of cancer was because they did not use deodorant.
Huh?? I never did fact check my uncle, but that comment sparked the beginning of what has become endless research of personal care products, household products, and chemicals in general.
In my research I came across two studies that made my blood boil (as an aspiring doctor, I feel the need to add that this is figurative). The results of one study reported many toxic chemicals found in breast milk. Testing breast milk is a non-invasive way to study the chemical body burden of humans. Toxic chemicals often piggy-back on fats and proteins, so while it is difficult and unethical to run most tests on humans, scientists have used breast milk to get an idea of how the chemicals in our everyday lives are affecting us.
A mother’s most basic right, to feed and nurture her child with her own pure food, stolen due to the chemicals in her environment such as the preservatives in her face cream! (It’s important to mention here that even though toxic chemicals have been found in breast milk, the benefits of breastfeeding still greatly outweigh any risk. Artificial baby milk is tainted with toxicants as well, but I won’t go there now.) The second study tested the umbilical cord blood of newborns for toxicants, and many were found: Vulnerable new babies meeting the world for the first time outside the womb, already polluted by chemicals linked to cancer and developmental, brain, and nervous system disorders.
I should introduce myself. My name is Jacqueline Morgan Cerone Cardamone. I wear many hats, including caregiver, yoga teacher, CLEC, postpartum doula, aspiring Doctor of Naturopathy, and a founder of 21Bundles, Inc.
I have been caring for children since I was a child myself. You know how some people just cannot walk past a dog without petting it? I cannot walk past a baby without “oo”ing and “ah”ing (if petting wouldn’t alarm mothers, I would surely do just that). It was through work as a mother’s helper (age 10), babysitter, nanny, CLEC, and postpartum doula, that my respect for mothers deepened. I love dads too, but it’s the mamas with whom I work closely. I watch mothers do the toughest and most important job – raising children, and I have always had a desire to lend two helping hands. It is my love for babies, my urge to help mothers, and my knowledge of toxicants in our environment that led to the creation of 21Bundles, Inc.
Chemicals are highly under-regulated in the United States. New ones are put on store shelves each year, and they do not have to be proven safe before they are made available to the public. Adding to the problem are loopholes in the laws we do have, allowing companies to sell products that do not list all the ingredients on the packaging. My mission is the same now as it was at ten years of age: to help mothers and care for babies. 21Bundles.com provides pregnant mamas and new families with safe, clean, and natural products. (An added bonus to “cleaner” products is that they are healthier for Mother Nature. It is important to protect her in return for her gifts, like the aloe plant.)
The 21Bundles.com family knows how busy parents are, so I continue to do the research and we deliver bundles, full of baby-safe products, monthly. The bundles are tailored to the month of pregnancy mom is in, or the age of the new baby. We also believe that knowledge is power, and we are excited about educating our community in regards to chemicals in our everyday environment and providing information on healthier alternatives. We hope that one day harmful chemicals will be better regulated and that mamas won’t have to read the labels on their baby’s bubble bath. We are excited and grateful to be working with admirable organizations, like Women’s Voices for the Earth, to make important changes that will better all our lives.