How safe are these things? How safe are these things around our children? What about babies and our pets?
Parents make a lot of sacrifices for their children. They change their lifestyle, child-proof their homes and try to do what is best for their children. And sometimes parenting advice from experts conflict with other experts and even with common sense. It’s not easy being a parent. Mistakes happen. Hopeful the mistakes are minor and no lasting damage is done.
But I’m a preemie parent and a Pagan. Before I brought my daughter home a lot of things had to change in my life. I had to give up my cat; allergies run in the family as does asthma. And that still hurts even six years later and I am still petless. The smokers in my life had to smoke outside and strip off whatever they were wearing to come inside. I even gave away my cacti; my only houseplants, due to fungi and mold issues that I have. I stopped painting my nails. I stopped using air fresheners. I switched to unscented dryer sheets. I stopped doing and using anything that effected the air quality in my home.
Looking back, I remember reading an article about the dangers of scented candles and oils back when I was on several mommy forums while pregnant It scared me. Candles were bad, candles were good; nobody agreed which was which. I didn’t use air fresher sprays, kept all airborne sprays to a minimum, banned perfume and cologne and cleaned a lot with Lysol. Everything that goes into the air could effect her ability to breath. I was determined to give my daughter the best chance of being healthy by keeping a healthy home.
I changed the way I practice, drastically. I used joss sticks in my daily practice. So much so that it required daily dusting to remove the buildup of incense dust. Back then, that was a small price to pay for those moments I stood before my altar lighting the incense and saying my prayers.
For me it was a no brainer to stop using incense for my daughters well-being. I didn’t switch to candles or oils in my practice because it felt too risky. Watching her struggling to breath in the NICU during her three-month stay, it didn’t make sense to continue that aspect of my practice. Even today, despite her being a healthy and active six-year-old I haven’t returned to using incense unless it was an outside ritual and away from my daughter.
This experience makes me wonder what other Pagan parents are doing. Do they cut back when their babies are born? Move their practice outdoors? Or eliminate the use of these items for a while?