Anna Fahey

Anna Fahey is a senior communications strategist at Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based research and communications center working on sustainable solutions for the Pacific NW.

Fish for Thought

Editor’s Note: Anna wrote this post (and several others) before leaving on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl in December. To eat fish, or not? If you’re pregnant, nursing, or even thinking about becoming pregnant, it’s a Catch-22. Seafood is the best possible source of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acid DHA, which is critical for a baby’s brain and eye development, both in utero and in the “fourth trimester,” while the baby is nursing and the brain is still developing. But there’s a catch: seafood contains contaminants that can be harmful to babies—particularly methylmercury, which can …

Sustainababy

Mom-powered politics

Editor’s note: Anna wrote this post (and a few more) before she left on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl — Audrey — in December. All moms have a stake in public policies that affect the health and safety of their families. But as I’ve found throughout this series, pop-culture resources for pregnancy and motherhood only occasionally point out the risks of toxics and almost never make the connection between pollution and political action. It’s a missed opportunity. Moms have the potential for massive political clout, but so far that potential is largely untapped. Concerned mothers …

Chemical Soup for the Soul

Editor’s Note: Anna finished this post (and a few more) before she went on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy girl, Audrey, on December 13. My husband Gus and I have been lucky. I’m 36—and therefore considered an “elderly primigravida” on my charts at my doctor’s office (that’s “pregnant old-timer and first-timer” in layman’s terms). I’ve had a healthy pregnancy—so far—and we avoided the nightmarish saga of infertility that many acquaintances have suffered. But our story, as typical as it sounds, could be becoming a thing of the past—unless we demand better protections from toxic chemicals for our …

Sustainababy

Let it snow … baby clothes

Editor’s Note: Anna finished this post (and a few more) before she went on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy girl, Audrey, on December 13. One year ago, just before Christmas, it snowed in Seattle. Not our usual short-lived dusting, but a real dump that lasted a few solid days and, because we’re not prepared for such events, veritably shut down the city (at least for cars). For Seattle, it was real snow. Some say it was enough snow to shift the outcome of the mayoral race in 2009. And as former Sightliner Elisa Murray noted, it was …

The Great Diaper Debate

Editor’s Note: Anna finished this post (and a few more) before she went on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy girl, Audrey, on December 13. Cloth or disposable? Clark wrote about this way back in 2005. I guess it’s a question that Sightliners, rightfully, agonize over as they’re gearing up for a diapering blitz of their own. Our baby will probably be changed between 3000 and 7000 times in the first two years. For now, still a few months away from my due date, I still get kind of flustered when people ask me my diapering plan; I …

Sugar and Spice and…Lead and Mercury

Sandra Steingraber is my hero. Her book, Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood, chronicles her own pregnancy from both a scientific and personal perspective. It’s beautifully and lovingly written—yet for a pregnant woman it’s also a tough read. Trained as a biologist, Steingraber meticulously documents the toxic hazards we live with every day, and that threaten each crucial stage of fetal development. It’s not a pretty picture. One point stands out: it’s the fetus, not an adult human, who really lives at the top of the food chain. Rethink all the textbook food chain charts you’ve seen in your …

Sustainababy

A womb of one’s own

Photo: Mahalie via Flickr So, why is my response ire and not panic? I guess I’m over the panic. During my pregnancy, I’ve been reading a lot about the toxics in my body and their potential effects on the fetus (and I’ll be writing a lot more about this stuff in this blog series). I realize it’s too late for panic. Contrary to popular belief, my womb is not entirely my own. I’m with the woman from this Seattle Post Globe story, Kim Radtke, who’s just plain angry. Like me, she made all the right personal decisions about her health …

BPA Babies and Cash Registers

We’ve known for a long time that bisphenol-A (BPA) is bad for us. Study after study shows the ill-effects of this widely-used industrial chemical on our bodies–and in particular, on developing babies’ bodies. The list is pretty sobering: BPA’s been linked to breast cancer in women, brain damage in children, obesity, heart disease, diabetes… Two new studies add to the litany: One study suggests that BPA, may cause sexual dysfunction in men. Another study, reported in Science News, links BPA exposures in early pregnancy to more aggressive behavior in 2-year old girls and more anxious and withdrawn 2-year old boys. …

Sustainababy

Growing up green: Breathing for two

Babies don’t like air pollution and neither should you!Early in my pregnancy I developed a bloodhound’s sense of smell: even the faintest of odors overwhelmed me. It’s a common phenomenon during the first trimester of pregnancy, yet my new nasal superpower took me by surprise—and forced me into an unwelcome awareness of the pollution that surrounds all of us. Car and truck exhaust, to my unusually acute nose, was pure poison. It made me recoil, hold my breath, gag, choke. My new super-nose could detect the smell all over the place—waiting at the bus stop in my quiet Seattle neighborhood, …