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Why The “Science” Critics are Dangerous

admin May 12, 2015

It’s no secret that if you’re into “alternative” choices, there are people who don’t like it.

Just a few weeks ago, a group of doctors called for Dr. Oz to be fired from a staff position at a university because of his TV show — they didn’t like that he makes strong claims for supplements and alternative health products, and felt that this interfered with his ability to be employed as a serious doctor.

(While I’m not a fan of the show personally, nor of the types of claims he makes nor the products he endorses, I don’t see that this impacts his position on staff at a university, provided he isn’t handling that position in the same manner!)

It may or may not surprise you that as a popular blogger in the alternative world, I’ve faced the same types of criticism — obviously on a smaller scale.  There are entire groups dedicated to “stopping” me.  These groups leave comments on my Facebook page almost daily, telling me how “dangerous” I am and linking to some article that’s pro- vaccine, pro-GMO, etc.  They regularly — at least a couple times a month — write articles about me and all the “woo” I peddle.

I ignore them, generally, as do many of my colleagues.  (Food Babe is another huge target for these people.)  But it seems that despite ignoring them they’re only speaking out more and more.  They’re doing so more publicly.  They’re writing for major media and calling people out.

And you know what?  It’s not okay.  Which is why I’m taking a stand today.  I think these so-called “science” critics are dangerous people.  And it’s time everyone knew.

The Catalyst

As I said, I’ve been ignoring this for quite awhile.  We’re told that if you don’t give bullies attention, they’ll go away.  But anyone who’s ever faced one knows that isn’t really true.

Recently, an ordinary, run-of-the-mill troll left a comment on my page, saying “Please stop.  You’re doing real harm.”  This happens often.  This time, the link was to a “study” about how “dangerous” home birth is.

Well, given that I’m about to have my fourth home birth, the topic is a little personal to me at the moment.  It made me mad, but it also fully clarified for me exactly why I’m not dangerous, and they are.

Just to take this example — home birth — we have very, very poor statistics on it.  Many women who have home births would not consent to their data being used in a study.  Many are “underground” with unlicensed and unregulated midwives, or are unassisted.  The statistics we do have include “accidental” home births (like women who didn’t make it to the hospital, or women who didn’t know they were pregnant and got no prenatal care), which sharply increases the risk profile.  This data does not truly reflect planned home birth for low-risk women.  The few decently-performed studies we do have show the risk profile is not different between hospital and home, especially for low-risk multiparous women.

But that’s really beside the point right now.

The real point is, it’s my goal to provide people with another view point.  Alternative information.  The mainstream isn’t exactly kind to people who choose home birth (or to reject some/all vaccines, or eat only organic, or…).  It’s not exactly accurate or remotely unbiased.

There are people looking for that information.  People who want to know what “the other side” really thinks about these topics.  And they deserve a safe place to go to access that information.

Why They’re Dangerous

The reason why these “science” critics are dangerous is because they don’t think people have a right to access that alternative information.

They think that the mainstream view is clearly “right” and they’ll do anything to prove it.  They think people should not be allowed to choose alternative medicine at all.  In fact, we had a situation where some trolls sneaked into a private group that I admin, and called the police on a mother for “child abuse” because she didn’t call her doctor for minor rash on her child’s leg!  The police showed up at her home one morning, traumatizing her and her children over essentially nothing.  (And left as soon as they realized it was a bogus call.)  After the incident, I was told I could expect this sort of interference “often” from the trolls.

This isn’t innocent disagreement, people.

We’ve also had (multiple) situations where readers have been PM’d and harassed by trolls because of a comment they made on a public Facebook page.  In some cases, the trolls investigated the person and knew their full name (even if they didn’t use it on Facebook), where they lived, and more….

These are people who will go to any length to say that there is ONE correct view.  To stop people from having access to other information.  To even make it illegal to make those choices (see the recent vaccine bills introduced in CA and VT).  They are out to force their version of “right” on others.

And yet, they take no responsibility for the results of these actions.  If your child has a bad reaction to vaccines, they are not going to help you (and the doctors and vaccine manufacturers aren’t liable either).  They’re going to deny it was even related.  (Some are even paid to do this.)

If you or your child is harmed, mentally or physically, during a hospital birth, no one is going to take the case and sue the doctors.  They followed “protocol” and you’re left to pick up the pieces.

They want to force you into making specific choices…and then walk away and leave you in the cold if those choices turn out poorly.  They don’t care if your child dies from conventional cancer treatments, so long as you’re forced to choose those treatments for your child’s “safety.”  They don’t care about your bodily autonomy, your rights, or anything else.

They care about being right.  They care about forcing everyone to think like they do and choose like they do.  And if you don’t?  They’ll troll the internet, harassing you, calling CPS or the police on you anonymously to try to scare you into compliance.  They feel they’re heroes for this.

I do not.

Why MAM is Different

Unlike these dangerous, insidious trolls, I have no desire to tell you what to do or what choices to make.

My only goal is to provide you with an alternative view point.  To share alternative information with you.  This might be from personal experience (and I’ll tell you clearly that it is) or it might be from studies (and I link to those when I use them).  I’m perfectly, absolutely clear what I’m sharing with you is alternative and where it came from.

But after that?  It doesn’t matter to me what you choose.  You’re an adult.  I can’t know your circumstances.  I can’t and won’t force you to choose anything in particular.  I would never attack you for doing differently than I do.  I would never champion laws that forced you into particular choices.  I would never troll you and make anonymous phone calls to get you in trouble because you do differently than I do.

Never.

I don’t make your choices for you.  None of my colleagues are out to make your choices for you, either.

If you don’t like the information I share, ignore it.  Seek other information or other groups that better match what you believe or want.  No hard feelings!  I will not prevent you from accessing those other view points or groups.  I will not prevent you from asking me honest questions or engaging in rational discussions with me about it (I do delete trolls who try to engage me to “trick” me though).

Bottom line, I believe your choices rest with you.

I get blamed all the time for this — “What if someone takes your advice and something bad happens?  You should be held responsible.”  I believe that we’re all the ones ultimately responsible for our own choices.  I provide information; it’s up to you to read more, ask questions, and make a decision to use or ignore it.  (And how much “trouble” are you going to get in by trying out one of my remedies for diaper rash, anyway?)  You see, in a world where you have the freedom to seek information from many sources, you don’t have to blame anyone.

(And remember that these trolls refuse to take responsibility for poor outcomes, even when they force them on you.  I’m not forcing anything on anyone.)

Who do you think is more dangerous, honestly?  The one who freely provides you with information (that you may not use or agree with) and supports your right to choose…or the person who tells you there’s only one right answer and tries to censor anything they don’t want you to read?

I think it’s the latter.

Say No to Anti-Freedom Bullies

It’s time to stand up and say NO to these people.

They have the right to promote what they believe in.  They have the right to share the information that supports their beliefs and choices.  They do NOT have the right to harass people with an alternative view point or even try to shut them down.  They do NOT have the right to force others to make particular choices.

It’s never in anyone’s best interests for a few people to make decisions for all.  Never.

Stand up for what you believe in and choose.  Share information even when people don’t like it.  Don’t let them make you stop.  Use the hashtag #MAMempowered to show that you’re an educated and empowered alternative mama.  If there’s unfair legislation pending in your state, email and call your reps and let them know you don’t support it.

Call out trolls for what they are when you see them.  They don’t accept that term (I’ve been accused of trolling my own page before…) because they are narcissistic individuals who will do any mental gymnastics necessary to be right, even when everyone else can see how wrong they are.

Push for penalties for people who call the police and CPS maliciously (did you know that you can sue the person if you know who it is?  The law doesn’t protect them against suits if they’re calling with malicious intent).  Hold people accountable when they try to bully you.

To protect yourself, lock down your personal Facebook profile.  Don’t show your location or your workplace (which will show your location).  Be careful what you comment on and who you get involved with.  Because these people are everywhere, and you never know who is dangerous.

Do you feel the “science” critics have gotten out of hand and are dangerous?

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38 Comments

  1. keep doing what you are doing. Amiyah point is the same as yours. It’s about choice. The bullies think they know everything and want to force it down our throats. We believe in choosing for ourselves, and allowing them that same consideration. The world WILL rise. I’ll see you when it does!

    Reply

  2. So what’s it like being a child abusing fraud?

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    • You really don’t have anything better than that? I’m a child abusing fraud? Okay then. I’ll let all my readers see exactly the kind of troll and bully I’m talking about.

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      • Kate–As admin of your site, you have access to the IP addresses of visitors and posters. You can have some success by reporting the offender’s IP address to his/her Internet provider, whose TOS don’t allow the type of comment by “Bob” above. Whether the provider will take action is another matter. But at least you can created a paper trail..

        Good luck.

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      • You’re a child abusing fraud, encouraging other people to abuse their children, deny them correct medical care, and generally exposing why it is moronic idiots like you shouldn’t be allowed to have kids.

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        • Quick quiz: if you’re not a child abusing fraud, why did you take a kid with a broken arm to a quack chiropractor rather than a real doctor?

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          • Ha ha ha ha…. That old story. Anyone who knows me or has read Erick’s post over at Grounded Parents knows that’s not what happened. But you ignorant trolls don’t care about the truth.

      • http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html

        What’s the harm in homeopathy?

        Homeopathy is a practice created by Samuel Hahnemann that believes that incredibly minute quantities of substances dissolved in water can have powerful effects. Read more about homeopathy

        Here are 437 people who were harmed by someone not thinking critically.

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        • Poor Bob. Ignoring all the people helped by homeopathy. Not that it’s my favorite modality or one I promote much, but to each his own.

          I’d like to know, though. If homeopathy is just “magic water,” why did all you trolls get so upset when I mentioned using homeopathic belladonna for teething? Is it dangerous…or useless? It can’t be both. So far, not a single one of you can answer that question. It seems to be both, depending on what point you want to get across at that moment. That’s not very good science…or logic.

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          • The number of people “helped by homeopathy” is a big fat zero.

          • I think a number of people I know would beg to differ on that….

          • You don’t think. And that’s the real problem.

          • I’ve seen you say that “such-and-such can’t be dangerous and useless at the same time, and no one can rebut me on that” a few times before, but I don’t think you’ve really thought it through.

            Of COURSE something can be both dangerous and useless at the same time – it all depends on quantity, use case and context. Taking 5 baby aspirins would be useless for an adult, but potentially dangerous for a 6-month-old baby. Honey is useless to cure a sinus infection, but it’s dangerous for a 3-month-old baby. Herbal remedies are the same: Belladonna diluted to homeopathic levels is useless because it contains so little, if any, of the actual plant; belladonna leaves and berries, ingested, can be very dangerous; belladonna tincture, properly prepared, can have many benefits.

            Heck, even water can be dangerous (it’s possible to drink too much water and die as a result); useless (running water on your stomach isn’t going to fix a diseased kidney); and beneficial (hydration is crucial to good health).

            Sidebar to Bob, the commenter above: Harping on the child abuser/fraud stuff isn’t helping change any minds – it’s only making Kate and her followers double-down on their positions. I think it’s a shame that her children aren’t going to school, aren’t vaccinated, and that their parents are Republicans who prefer creationism over evolution, but in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really abuse. And you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

          • Ok so Bob – you’re an ass. Just stirring up trouble. Go away.

            Sarah –
            I tend to agree with most of your statements, and while I generally have issues with a lot of information here, this specific post -I agree with 100%. I do have a hard time with Kate throwing mud at these trolls, but turning around to post with words that lead people to believe they are harming their children by NOT doing what she’s doing. I think both sides are very guilty of this. Kate does not attack, but does condemn. We are all human and have feelings tied to so many beliefs – none of which should be attacked, condemned, forced, or otherwise. To each his own. If I have issue with any post on here -I skip along. I can be a grown adult about it. BUT…I cannot stand hypocrisy and thus -felt I needed to comment here.

            I do, however, take offense to your comment about being Republicans who believe in creationism as if that’s a bad thing. You are chastising Bob, albeit in a diplomatic way, about his offensive words and comments, but yet -you make a comment about someone’s political and religious beliefs? Nasty words are not necessary. Isn’t that what you were trying to get across? Attacking political or religious beliefs will ALWAYS be considered a hot topic. Please don’t throw that in the mix.

            We all need to agree to disagree rather than finding fault with others. That’s crappy. I AM a republican that believes in Creationism but you would have never known that if you hadn’t brought it up. My beliefs are just that – MINE. I don’t have to share or comment or condemn or shove them down someone’s throat. I also don’t sling mud at others. We should all adopt that philosophy.

            Kate -while I disagree with a lot of things you post (from a medical standpoint) – you are not abusing your children. You have every right to seek these alternative choices and to voice them on here. Just don’t list them as gospel and then complain that others are doing the same with differing opinions. I respect your right to all of these things and I am sorry you have to deal with crappy people like Bob.

      • From one Mom and Grandmom to another mom could you please explain how your right not to vaccinate your own children supersedes the rights of the youngest, oldest, and most vulnerable of our population? I ask you to watch this to the painful end and explain how you can justify this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYCkr3YxjIY&feature=share

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    • Haha, way to go ‘Bob’! You contributed to the validity of the article beautifully!

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    • You are a sad soul. Go spread your ugly somewhere else.

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    • Bob is a 300-pound lonely man who eats at McDonald’s everyday and takes 15 pills a day (and who is going to die of cancer within the next 10 years), and who seriously sees himself as someone “healthy”. Bob suffers from denial and self-hatred, because he could never admit that his own life choices have made him sick and depressive. Being so lonely and bitter, he has nothing else to do than trolling pages of people who chose to be healthy by embracing a natural, alternative, organic lifestyle, because deep down, he is jealous that they have something that he can never have, and he wishes that everyone was as miserable as he is.

      OR he is paid by pharmaceutical companies to troll pages like this.

      Either way, we should feel sorry for him.

      Reply

  3. “Who do you think is more dangerous, honestly? The one who freely provides you with information (that you may not use or agree with) and supports your right to choose…or the person who tells you there’s only one right answer and tries to censor anything they don’t want you to read?”

    Interesting from someone who deletes even polite comments she disagrees with…

    Reply

    • I don’t have a responsibility to allow anyone to comment here or to provide all the information. I don’t stop others from going to other sources to get that information, though. I don’t follow them around the internet and troll them, attack them, and try to get sites I don’t like shut down. People are absolutely free to go anywhere they want.

      That’s very different than guaranteeing the mainstream people a voice on MY platform. Which I do not. There are endless places for that kind of thing; this site is not one of them. Do the mainstream sites provide a balanced view point and give equal voice and weight to alternative views? No? Stop complaining.

      Also, I delete comments from trolls who belong to known hate groups automatically, or who have been banned previously. If you’re there to make trouble or have been banned, you should not be back. If I’ve banned you 10 times and you come back and leave a “polite” comment the 11th time, you will still get banned because you are a proven harassment.

      Reply

      • So that’s how you justify deleting a comment about someone’s dying father? Because it proved your OPINION wrong about sunblock and they MUST be a troll?

        Tsk tsk. I noticed my other comment about my dad didn’t make it on here. What are you afraid of?

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  4. The Skeptics have turned science into their own cult. If you don’t agree with or even dare to question industry or mainstream thinking you are (insert insult here). The internet has created a perfect arena for narcissistic people to circle-jerk over how intellectual they are – by bullying others with their ‘truth’. I confronted one of the newest wannabe celebrity scientists (I think you’ve met Sci Babe, Kate?) with scientific information that refutes the axiom “the dose makes the poison’. She blocked me. They don’t care about facts or new information, they care about continuing the narrative and whatever is in their own self-serving best interest. I agree with you completely when you say that we are all ultimately responsible for our own choices. You can’t help people think for themselves by telling them what to think. Being a blind follower is what’s dangerous. Not having or expressing an opinion or preference.

    Reply

    • Yes, you’re very right.

      Sci Babe referred to me in a recent Gawker article as “one of my favorite quacks.” (It may not have been ‘quack,’ I try not to read her work too closely. Or at all. But that was the sentiment.)

      And yes, I’ve noticed this as well. When friends and colleagues have gone onto these pages that claim an interest in science and have asked tough questions or shared new studies with them, they get blocked. They claim we only want an echo chamber; yet they behave this way! They don’t tolerate other views, new studies, or trolling behavior. Yet they perpetuate it.

      It’s all very hypocritical.

      Reply

    • “The internet has created a perfect arena for narcissistic people to circle-jerk over how intellectual they are…”

      This is a great analogy. I see that in action all the time!

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  5. Thank you for keeping it SO REAL. It really means a lot….Words are actions and as such they are manipulative! You’ve called them out,,,,and now We’re all calling them out…We’re not waiting for “Game Day 2020” KWIMean!

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  6. agreed, M.Rossi

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  7. I don’t often actually comment on blog posts, but I wanted to take a minute to encourage you and thank you. I am one of those folks who is looking for an alternative source of info. Sometimes I follow the alternative path, and in some things I choose the more mainstream way. But what’s important to me is to find sources of information on both so I can make a true choice. So thank you. Thank you for being one of those voices and for standing up for our right to at least learn about this path, even if it’s not taken. Thank you also for being an example to those of us often too afraid to speak up. I am so worried for the world when hate has replaced respectful dialogue. When one spews hate, one is always in the wrong, regardless of if the words spoken are the truth, and far too much of the world toaday chooses hatefulness in the name of “truth”.

    Reply

    • You know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proven to work?

      MEDICINE.

      You know what they call people who follow unproven, usually harmful “alternative medicine”?

      An ambulance.

      Reply

      • Bob, Bob, Bob……while that was pretty funny – you need to educate yourself and be able to see the gray area. Nothing in life is purely black or white. There are a lot of quacks in medicine and a lot of politics in drug companies -just as there are a lot of mistakes in alternative medicine, and idiots who don’t educate themselves before taking on alternative choices. I wholeheartedly believe our government is out to control the overall health of our country, and I have experience in the medical field. You can believe it or not, but let me ask you this……What do you get out of harassing people on this blog? I am sure it’s not the only venue you stalk. Nobody wants to entertain your stupidity. There is and can be many forms of a happy medium within both worlds of medicine and alternative choices. Educate yourself, friend.

        Reply

        • Well put. And fit what it’s worth Kate, I appreciate what you do & the info you provide, & find it brave that you continue in the face of constant criticism. I Kate getting into arguments with trolls occasionally. I’d be too consumed by a constant assault to do what you do. Keep on keeping on!

          Reply

  8. “Stand up for what you believe in and choose. Share information even when people don’t like it. Don’t let them make you stop.”

    Wait…isn’t that exactly what those you are criticizing are doing?

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    • …no.

      If I went to your pages and attacked you, and you banned me and stood up for your beliefs in your own space, then that’s what you’d be doing. But I don’t. You come to my page, my space and attack me and try to stop me. You have every right to promote what you believe in and choose in your own space. You have no right to do so in mine, and to try to drown out my voice with your own. At all.

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  9. I think the issue here is that, often, there *is* actually ONE correct answer. In matters of objective reality, unlike in many other things, there are actually black and white answers. Such as “what is a carbohydrate.” There is only one answer to that question. Or “how does the rabies virus propagate through the body”. “What is a trans fat”. Or whatever. Plenty of things have one CORRECT answer, and there isn’t any harm in pointing out when someone is going on about the INCORRECT answer. The issue with most of the “alternative” stuff you guys are into is that you’re just providing “alternatives” to the correct answer – IE, wrong answers. It boils down to expertise. You wouldn’t decide one day that you want to apply “alternatives” to established physical laws when it came to building a suspension bridge, for example. Any such bridge would just collapse. For some reason though, when it comes to matters of biology, everyone is keen to do the equivalent of putting on a hard hat and telling the engineers that they’re wrong, based on the alternative physical laws they derived by sitting around speculating . I can’t really tell why, but I also can’t help but notice that people who couldn’t possibly tell me what a carbohydrate is are the ones who shout the loudest when it comes to matters of food science, or biology. They also nearly always have books or affiliate links to push. I can only conclude that this is a sort of religious belief, or just cynicism on the part of book sellers and affiliate marketers. But, at the end of the day, the ACTUAL answers are the answers derived from testing/evidence/experiment/review. So when people are out pushing the WRONG answers, well, they need to be corrected, if only to protect people from misinformation. Don’t see what’s wrong with that.

    Reply

    • I just can’t. I honestly just can’t.

      I don’t have time to explain to you how biology is NOT the same as the laws of physics. Please pick up a textbook to learn that. Then go search the pubmed database for any of the things that I have promoted to read the studies for yourself — there’s actually plenty of evidence that supports what I promote.

      If you are unable or unwilling to look at another perspective and at information that doesn’t exactly align with your way of thinking, well, I can’t help you. I’m sorry, but I can’t.

      I found your comments so…interesting…that I shared them on my Facebook page. You might check out some of those responses to get a better feel for why we find people like you frustrating, and dangerous. Although I’m doubting you’ll understand…sadly. I wish that were not the case, I’d love to co-exist peacefully even though you clearly make different choices, but it seems you’re just here to defend the anger I face as justified. Which it’s not.

      If you can learn to understand our perspective and be open to new information and evidence, we’d love to have you. If you’re really just here to say we “deserve” the wrath, then please just go.

      Reply

    • Hey, I don’t agree with Kate about certain vaccines and I still find your right answer/wrong answer… I’ll put it politely, ok? Ill-reasoned. As Kate said, biology is not the same as physics. If it were, all pregnancies would be the same. To start with. At least for the same person.

      Reply

  10. Indeed, the science “critics” or more like gatekeepers are getting more and more vicious towards people who choose alternative health. Kate, I don’t agree with everything you say, but you do have a right to your own choices.

    I see in the future that medical fascism will become the norm as attempts are made to restrict access to alternative health. It seems that kids health will be the main target first rather than adult’s medical choices.

    Reply

  11. As a medical doctor, I’d like to add a few comments on home birth.

    There are some newer studies, and the home birth group data is from Registered Nurse Midwives, who are Masters prepared RNs with specialised education in labour, delivery, and neonate care.
    They are another alternative, especially for the first- time delivery.

    Traditional obstetrics (and I am NOT an ob/ gyn), supports home, or birthing Center births if not potential complications are expected. Minimal intervention is needed with a healthy mother and an uncomplicated labor and delivery.

    The caveat is that life- threatening events can and do occur, and it’s often the neonate at risk.

    This is why a birthing Center, with emergency provision is still considered a safer alternative than unassisted or lay- midwife assisted home birth.

    Whilst many complications can be anticipated beforehand, not all potential complications can be diagnosed ahead of labour. Once an emergency occurs, time to access emergency medical care may be the difference between a live baby and a still birth.

    Mostly, always remember that we all want the same thing: a healthy baby.
    Of course, a memorable and beautiful labor and delivery are what all moms want, but the safety of he child should always be priority.

    For you, who is having her fifth child and fourth home birth, it still would be advisable to have emergency provision, and you very- well may, but by fifth pregnancy, you know what to expect.

    For a first- time mother, I’d recommend a birthing Center, certified RN midwives, and emergency medical care accessible should things go bad. And, sometime things do go bad.

    We all want a live, healthy baby.

    Best wishes with your upcoming birth.

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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