Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe to our podcast:  iTunes  |  Stitcher 

On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with Carissa Hunter about advocacy for families with sickle cell anemia.

After her daughter was born with a blood disorder called sickle cell anemia, Carissa started on a quest for healthy living, and is now an intuitive womb worker— a holistic practitioner with many specialties in holistic healthcare. Specializing specifically in intuitive healing, ancestral lineage healing, energy, and sound healing, Carissa also is experienced in medical herbalism, and aromatherapy and she also practices as a stillbirth, birth, and bereavement doula. 

We will talk about Carissa’s personal experience growing up with the sickle cell trait (one copy of the gene), as well as being a parent to a child with sickle cell anemia (two copies of the gene). We also talk about Carissa’s experience with unlearning and relearning many things around sickle cell anemia and her advocacy work to raise awareness about this blood disorder.

Content warning: we mention issues with sickle anemia, traumatic birth experiences, high-risk pregnancy, and pregnancy termination due to genetic conditions.

Resources

Learn more about Carissa Hunter here (https://www.healingjourneyintuitive.com). Follow Carissa on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/healingjourneyintuitively). 

Learn more about the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tallahassee here (https://sicklecellfoundation.org/tag/tallahassee/). 

Learn more about the Sickle Cell Foundation and find a chapter near your here (https://www.sicklecelldisease.org/). 

Transcript

Rebecca Dekker:

Hi, everyone. On today’s podcast, we’re going to talk with Carissa Hunter about advocacy for families with sickle cell anemia.

Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. My name is Rebecca Dekker, and I’m a nurse with my PhD and the founder of Evidence Based Birth®. Join me each week as we work together to get evidence based information into the hands of families and professionals around the world. As a reminder, this information is not medical advice. See evbirth.com/disclaimer for more details.

Hi, everyone and welcome to today’s episode of the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast. For people who are listening, if there are any content or trigger warnings, we’ve posted them in the description or show notes below. And now I’d like to introduce our honored guest, Carissa Hunter. Pronouns: she, her, them, their. It all began in 2017 when Carissa started on a quest for healthy living following the birth of her daughter who lives with a blood disorder called sickle cell anemia.

Carissa is truly passionate about all things health and wellness and realized the restricted availability of natural, organic, and safe alternatives around her, her loved ones, and her community. Carissa had a desire to set up a natural concept that represents nature at its core. Having spent a few years caring for patients in a variety of medical facilities, such as neurology, orthopedics, and primary care, Carissa became unsettled and disconnected with the experiences she saw patients suffer with daily.

She could no longer be in addition to businesses that thrived on the dark side of people’s health. As an empathetic person, Carissa found herself stepping away from mainstream healthcare in 2017 and decided to go into a healing journey intuitively. Carissa is now an intuitive womb worker, which is a practitioner with many specialties in holistic healthcare. Throughout Carissa’s spiritual evolution, she has been able to spiritually understand and merge beliefs and views of many backgrounds.

This has naturally allowed her to dive deeper and blend the spiritual work of herself and others. Carissa holds many roles and many gifts within spiritual medicine and physical medicine, and only operates intuitively. Specializing specifically in intuitive healing, ancestral lineage healing, energy and sound healing, medical herbalism, aromatherapy, and as a stillbirth, birth, and bereavement doula. We are so thankful you’re here today. Welcome, Carissa, to the Evidence Based Birth® Podcast.

Carissa Hunter:

Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Rebecca Dekker:

We’re so happy that you are here to help share information about advocacy for families with sickle cell anemia, and we were wondering if you could tell us how you first got started in your advocacy work around sickle cell anemia.

Carissa Hunter:

Well, I have sickle cell trait. I grew up aware of this, had knowledge of this all throughout my childhood. My mother and my father both made sure that my siblings and I knew that we had sickle cell trait. It wasn’t until I had my daughter that I decided to unlearn and relearn many things around sickle cell anemia. My parents, they lacked a lot of information. Back when I was a younger child, they didn’t really get so much involved in the awareness of sickle cell, but I did appreciate at least knowing that I had the trait.

Once my daughter was born in 2017, it was like a wake up for me. I was like, “I need to take a hold of being a voice, a bigger voice,” because it’s such a silent struggle. It’s almost like a silent disorder out there. So many are uneducated or embarrassed to talk about it, or they just simply do not understand the severity of it in the community. Having my daughter really, really reversed that. It really, really changed and shifted that.

I decided to, hey, let me step in and be that person to bring this conversation out more amongst my relatives, family, friends, and the community.

Rebecca Dekker:

And for our listeners who aren’t familiar with it, can you tell us a little bit like what does it mean to have the trait versus to have the disease?

Carissa Hunter:

Right. What the sickle cell trait is, is the trait means that an individual is born with just the gene mutation from only one parent. For example, I received the trait gene from my father, and that means that I don’t carry the actual disease. Now, when a child is born with the actual sickle cell disease, it means that both parents carry the trait. In order for the disease to form in the body, two traits have to merge and it creates the sickle cell disease. And that is passed on to your children once you have children.

Rebecca Dekker:

And how did you find out that your daughter had sickle cell anemia?

Carissa Hunter:

We found out during newborn screening, the newborn testing they do after birth, the simple blood tests where doctors check for the rare genetic or hormone-related conditions. We found out that she had sickle cell anemia when she was born, which our case was pretty bizarre a little bit because we do have an older child who doesn’t carry neither the trait or the disease. We actually opt out of the perinatal testing where they could do amniocentesis, which I’m sure some may be familiar with, where they take a sample of the amniotic fluid.

This is where they could check for fetal infections or abnormalities in pregnancy or during pregnancy before the child is born. We chose not to do that. We wished we would have, but for some like us, it could have helped us mentally prepare, but we would have found out at birth, which is newborn screenings are done and automatically tested if they choose to do that.

Rebecca Dekker:

Do you find that a lot of… Just kind of speaking about the amniocentesis a little bit, is that often encouraged in people who are known to have the trait, or is it pretty much offered to people who know they have the trait, or is it not always offered?

Carissa Hunter:

I’m so glad you asked that because that was something that I noted to even speak up about. With the amniocentesis, we weren’t asked. We were not asked at all. I had a previous experience with a traumatic birth before my daughter, where it caused me to experience high-risk pregnancies. I did do an amniocentesis with my son. With that experience, I didn’t have a good experience, so I opt out of it with my daughter. The doctors, the providers, they didn’t push it. They didn’t know that I have the trait.

I wish they would have at least given me the option to do it again and said, “Hey,” looking at my medical history, “We know that you did it. You have the trait, and this is your history.” It didn’t feel like we were encouraged to do it again. It’s a case by case. Our experience pushed us to not want to do it, and we didn’t have much of a support, an emotional support with healthcare. I guess that ties into having a better support system, emotional support, in the healthcare.

Rebecca Dekker:

Maybe if you’d had a better trusting relationship with your provider, you could have had a deeper conversation about that topic.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, yes, exactly. Exactly.

Rebecca Dekker:

When you’re talking with other families who are offered genetic testing during pregnancy or amniocentesis, are they encouraged to terminate the pregnancy if the results are positive? I mean, what is typical with that?

Carissa Hunter:

Usually what I have found and listened to with other parents is that it’s all more so of a preparation. I guess it’s you will say an emotional, a mental preparation before birth. It’s really not much you can do. They start to get the ball rolling on what to expect once your child’s born, and we know that this blood disorder is there and present. Set you up with community resources, with specialists, hematologists, which are the blood disorder doctors, and so on. Some feel like, “Well, if I get the test done before, what can we do, or we can wait until newborn screening.”

It’s all a matter of whatever an individual or a family is comfortable with. I found that some people would prefer to know beforehand and get themselves ready and prepped and others feel like, well, we’ll find out if there may be a possibility at birth.

Rebecca Dekker:

Can you tell our audience what does it kind of mean? What is the significance of a child with sickle cell anemia? What happens next?

Carissa Hunter:

When my daughter was officially diagnosed, because she had a newborn screening and she… Later on down the line, we had to do additional screenings to confirm the type of sickle cell she had because there are different types. She has the most severe type, according to statistics, and that’s HBSS. Basically immediately when a child is diagnosed with sickle cell, doctors would prescribe they call penicillin. Penicillin is from what they have out there is said to be a preventative from infections because of the blood.

It is immediately prescribed to children until the age of five, with additional medications out there that some patients or clients are on, according to how their body responds. Pain medication, folic acid, and many other medications that they’re coming out and treatments and support. With my daughter, as of now, we opt out of medications with her by default. We chose to go a more holistic and natural way of her body to heal. We introduced her more to plant-based living. She was exclusively breastfed.

We do believe in balancing medicine, so we maintain her blood to be checked regularly to make sure that her internal work is doing okay. We don’t know how the blood looks from the eye, so we make sure that she does continue seeing her hematologist and her PCP. But we also make sure we do what we’re supposed to do at home as preventatives and just healthier maintenance at home. And for our child, my daughter, it’s been liberating. It’s been powerful to watch and see her. She’s now three.

And I am proud to say she has not been facing any issues that were expected from her doctors. By the age of maybe six months, they were expecting her to already have suffered what they call “pain crisis,” and that’s when the body is not receiving enough oxygen. When that happens, it will trigger a domino effect of maybe issues in the joints. That could be almost like a needle-like pain feeling in the body or your hands. There’s also neurological issues. It could affect the heart.

So many different things that could happen depending on the individual, they expected my daughter to already see these things and she hasn’t. She hasn’t faced that or blood transfusions, which are expected to happen with most living with sickle cell.

Rebecca Dekker:

For people who don’t really understand, like why sickle cell could lead to so many bodily changes, could you just kind of give a basic description of what happens in the blood and how that can lead to domino effects?

Carissa Hunter:

Sickle cell is where it creates the red blood cells to become sickle-shaped. Normally our cells are round-shaped, right? With them being sickle-shaped and because it causes them to let oxygen in the body, they can’t move around in our blood, and it causes them to stop up. Imagine a crescent-shaped cell trying to move around in your veins and something gets stopped up. This could cause so many different things like heart issues. It can cause some to deal with aneurysms.

Because you also have to think about if blood isn’t flowing in the heart or the brain, it can create almost near-death experiences. I hope that gives a more visual to some that may not understand the terminology. I try to break it down and create a little visual for some to see how that could look in the body.

Rebecca Dekker:

And as a nurse who used to work in med surge, I know years ago when I used to work in the hospital, we would admit people who are having like a sickle cell pain crisis, which was extremely painful. It was sad even then to come to the realization that this disease is not really been studied that well.

Carissa Hunter:

Exactly.

Rebecca Dekker:

It’s often neglected and people can have very painful lives with this disease. Can you talk a little bit about the disparity and why this disease hasn’t been studied or as many treatments have been developed for it?

Carissa Hunter:

I would honestly say… Oh, that’s a good question.

Rebecca Dekker:

I mean, we can get straight to the point. I was thinking about racism.

Carissa Hunter:

I was going to say.

Rebecca Dekker:

I mean we can get straight to the point. (laughs). You can be honest. 

Carissa Hunter:

(laughs) Yeah, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. We’re not heard. I’m going to say we because that’s exactly how I felt.

Rebecca Dekker:

This disease primarily affects African-Americans.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes. Yeah, I would agree. It doesn’t only affect it, but it does primarily… You know. You’re right. As a sickle cell trait carrier, I grew up being told we don’t even have issues. I carry the trait and I dealt with very similar issues far as physically, just as much as a person with sickle cell disease. And that is even something that… There are some that I know out there trying to speak up about that, because you hear a lot of people say, “Trait carriers don’t have any issues. There are no problems.” I’ll tell you from my experience, we do. We do.

Rebecca Dekker:

It’s just probably hasn’t been studied.

Carissa Hunter:

It hasn’t been study. Exactly. I’m a firm believer. Even throughout my childhood, I would say and my mom admits, she said, “Carissa, I didn’t know. I believed what the doctors just pushed over. When you had pain in your legs, they just misdiagnosed you.” We can’t over-exert ourselves with exercising, or we have to make sure that our environment stimuli is leveled out with temperature because temperature can affect how our bodies regulate. And sometimes that can trigger a pain crisis. Or so you know. It’s very…It happens.

The discussion is silent, or those that have to seek out help because they are in pain, unfortunately, you’ll face healthcare professionals, and I’ve heard from relatives that are dealing with it, they get ignored or they feel like they aren’t being honest. So they dismiss them. That makes a big toll or creates an emotional toll. So then we get into mental health, depression, and all of that because we aren’t… Many of them aren’t advocating for themselves or don’t know how to advocate for themselves.

As a parent with a child, I started early and I said, “You know what? I’m not going to allow my child to grow with this because I’ve seen it.” Those that lack of education or awareness around it, let me advocate for her. That’s why I chose to step away from mainstream healthcare and I said, “I’ve got to go full throttle with this.” I had to, and I just went with that pool. When you have your own child in it, it gives you that push. It was worth it. It’s been worth it. Certainly been worth it.

Rebecca Dekker:

That’s so amazing to hear, because I know sometimes when parents have a child that’s diagnosed with a lifelong chronic illness, sometimes you can see almost like a helpless-hopeless reaction. And then you can see a reaction like yours like, “All right. Well, what can I do?” It sounds like you took that path.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, absolutely. Also the beauty of it, I pulled from it and I have noticed in her three little years is that it’s also created a space for my parents to unlearn and relearn a lot. And it goes back to what I said earlier. My mother is involved and she admits, “I did not know. I didn’t know.” It was different back then. You think what, ’60s, ’70s. They listened to the doctor, what the doctor says. I’m not saying don’t listen to the doctor, but a lot of people feel that they can’t know just as much.

They can’t study themselves or learn or get involved with their own health or their children’s health. And that’s so important. We have to advocate for ourselves in our children.

Rebecca Dekker:

What are some key points you would want to share with anybody listening who is a parent to a child with sickle cell anemia? Is there any empowering information you can share with them?

Carissa Hunter:

Definitely. Definitely. I would say taking care of you while honoring your own needs is also taking care of others. Making sure that you take time for yourself. I know it’s so easy to say that, and a lot of reasons to avoid self-care. I don’t have enough time. There’s too much going on. I feel guilty for taking time for myself.

But evaluating your self-care routine gives you the strength and the power to push forward, to be there for taking care of others, whether that’s your child or any relative or any loved one that you have with a chronic illness like sickle cell. True self-care is really a tool to shift your role of taking care of others.

Rebecca Dekker:

Could you give us some examples of how you prioritize self-care?

Carissa Hunter:

Sure. My self-care includes much grounding. I will say that. I will say grounding as in getting outside. I would advocate and speak up on mental health support, and that means I go to therapy. I will advocate for that much. Talking to someone where you can release, you can just feel safe, to just not feel like a parent some days, because we’re going to have those days, and not feel bad or judged for it. I love to make sure that I take a moment to honor my body by making sure I’m nourishing myself. Taking a moment to look at and evaluate, am I resting enough?

When my body speaks to me, listen to my body. It says stop. I don’t have to do all of these things in one day. If it can wait, wait and rest. I’ve gotten better. I’m making sure that I am sleeping. I’m nourishing myself, that goes nutrition, eating. My grooming, get myself pumped up, dressed, and a new hairstyle or whatever that may look like. There’s no self-care formula that’s default for everyone. It looks different for every person. So whatever gets you back to reset, if that makes sense, to get you moving.

Rebecca Dekker:

So taking care of yourself, and then that gives you more energy to take care of your child.

Carissa Hunter:

Right. Exactly.

Rebecca Dekker:

What are some of the things you do with your daughter that you feel have been especially helpful? I know you mentioned exclusive breastfeeding.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes. Yes. Well, my daughter is unschooler. I’m a present parent. I unschool my children. A three-year-old, I involve her with everything that I do. She’s such a bright little girl. You would probably look at her and say, “She’s three? Are you sure?” She’s so intelligent. I mean, the things that I do with her is just talk to her like she’s a person. I found myself in the beginning of my parenting where I sort of underestimated my children’s intelligence, but they proved me wrong.

And just bringing awareness in conversation, I teach my children to ask questions, because asking questions bring more of a dialogue in conversations. And it’s okay to ask questions. Her lifestyle, I center it around mind, body, and soul. I make sure her environment is supported, safe, emotionally, mentally, because those are key points to any health issue for anyone. Your mind, body, and soul, you want to make sure those are aligned and those are in order. What do you want to feed those different things?

Because ultimately what we are doing in our mind, body, soul, and spirit, those things are going to affect our physical. I’m a firm believer that that has played a significant part in my daughter’s health and why she has been doing so well with living with a blood disorder like sickle cell.

Rebecca Dekker:

And that’s partly because mental stress can trigger a sickle cell crisis. Correct?

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, ma’am. Yes, ma’am.

Rebecca Dekker:

You’re trying to create a safe, emotionally supportive environment for her to thrive.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

Moving on from breastfeeding, as you began to introduce foods, what kind of nutrition did you use to support her health?

Carissa Hunter:

Well, by default, we just… I like to say we intuitively eat and that’s more so what we feel our body needs. We’d bounce from plant-based or vegan. She’s not a meat-eater, so we tried to avoid from mucus-forming foods in her body. She doesn’t consume any dairy, and she didn’t. Once she weaned off of breastfeeding and we made it to the two-year mark, which was pretty amazing, we went towards more of a plant-based oat milk, things like that. And again, to my children, to her, medicine is herbal medicine.

When they hear mommy say medicine, we make sure we implement herbal supplements. We believe our food is our medicine, and being conscious eaters really helps support the strength of our bodies, especially with sickle cell, making sure that your immunity is strong, the immune system is supported as well with the foods that we eat. So being pretty conscious with that.

Rebecca Dekker:

People with sickle cell are at higher risk for infections, which is why you mentioned earlier that they often start them on penicillin. You’ve been trying to work to support her immune system in other ways.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, ma’am.

Rebecca Dekker:

What about advocacy? What have you done? Can you give any examples of how parents can advocate for a child with sickle cell?

Carissa Hunter:

I would say start picking up some different books, research, connect with other families in the community. I know that I started simply as going on Facebook and finding the closest support group. And I found so many other families that I was just like wowed by. They have a child with the same type of sickle cell, or they’re struggling with this. It’s a community out there. Usually every state is different, but there’s sickle cell foundations that most states have where they also are organizations that connect the sickle cell disease families to one another.

I would say push yourself to get involved in that, because you also will learn more about what’s going on, what things that you have access to out there to help educate yourself. The more you learn, the better you can be a support for your children. It’s a big difference. Because when you walk into these offices, these doctor’s offices, there are appointments and so many tests are being done, and you’re having a blood test here and another test here, and many people just go with it. I, for one, I like to know what’s going on.

I’m that parent. What is this test with? And then having my experience in healthcare and working in labs, I like to know. What we’re doing here? It makes a big of a difference. And then at the same time, you’re teaching your children. Them seeing their parents speak up for them, it also is teaching them that, “You know what? I can speak up for myself,” because they’re recording that. So when they get older, they’re creating a voice. You’re helping them build their voice for themselves because we won’t always be around.

Rebecca Dekker:

It sounds like educating yourself and then getting support.

Carissa Hunter:

Absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

The first steps to advocacy. Because if you don’t know what you don’t know, you can’t speak up about things.

Carissa Hunter:

Exactly. That’s right.

Rebecca Dekker:

I love your reminder to model speaking up and using your voice and advocating so that your children learn how to do that for themselves, because they’ll obviously need that skill as they get older.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, absolutely.

Rebecca Dekker:

What are some key points you’d like to share with people listening who are healthcare professionals who may care for babies or children with sickle cell anemia in the future?

Carissa Hunter:

Sure. I would say truly listen to them and advocate for your clients or your patients, regardless of what their beliefs are. Whether they’re opposed to support or not, listen to them. Encouraging them, again, to connect with their community and offer genetic testing. I think I did not hear that as often. Because in my particular state, I know some may provide the options, some didn’t, but I didn’t hear genetic testing often. I would encourage healthcare professionals to offer these genetic testings, whether they decline it or not.

Educating them rather than just handing them a pamphlet and just sending them on the way because that tends to be what happens because it’s not a conversation happening. And when it’s happening, it’s a little brushed over the surface conversation because I from experience, some professionals won’t do a genetic testing during pregnancy, unless specifically asked. During pregnancy, you have a certain type of test panel that are done, but genetic testing are usually not ordered unless you ask.

And if an individual isn’t given that option or unaware of it, they’re not going to ask. They might get met with a surprise at birth as we did. I would say definitely listen to them and truly listen to them. Advocate for them. Be their voice, because some are afraid to speak up about some things. Just give them the option. Give them more options.

Rebecca Dekker:

Yeah, it sounds like options are important. Going back to education a bit, are there any online resources? Where are some of the really great places to get information as a parent these days or a professional if you’re looking to learn more about sickle cell?

Carissa Hunter:

I would say check your city. What you can do is type in “sickle cell foundations near me”, and most cities will have a foundation that are connected with many sickle cell programs that inform and educate the community, and they’re pretty much like a vehicle for communication between the healthcare and social service professionals. They’re like a clearing house that enhances a lot of sickle cell programs in most cities in the US. I will say that. So definitely I would say start there. If you’re on social media, start researching and looking at groups.

I know that I’m a part of large groups on Facebook that are sickle cell awareness, and there are like thousands of us. It’s like a big family and so many parents come in there with questions. Some have older children, younger children, and we all just share our experiences because I do believe that experience is the best teacher. We learn from each other, bounce off different things, direct each other to resources that are close by wherever we’re located at. I would say start there.

Rebecca Dekker:

Can you tell us about your website healingjourneyintuitive.com? What are some of the projects and services you offer there?

Carissa Hunter:

Well, I’m home based out of Tallahassee, Florida and currently I offer my specialties online and that’s from herbal and aromatic support. Anything underneath the complimentary alternative medicine, so herbal medicine, you have energy work, sound healing. Also, I began offering more support in unschooling and conscious parenting, and that is 90% of what my everything centers around. I center around everything I do with family. I truly believe family is everything, and that could be blood and not blood. One of my biggest projects…

I don’t know if I will say project, but I recently was gifted the key to the city as the outreach director of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tallahassee, Florida recently. I am so excited to be a part of the foundation here. We are basically providing more access to so many individuals here in the city. I’m hoping to shift a lot of things once I step into this role more and bridging conventional and alternative medicines where we offer more of a holistic approach.

Because yes, I’m thankful that there’s so many different programs, but I think what we’re missing is someone to speak up more in the alternative and natural medicines, where we look at more of the mental health and the LGBTQ+ community, those that are dealing with sickle cell and they’re silent because a lot of people are embarrassed to really talk about sickle cell. It’s like they don’t want anyone to know. And also, I’m hoping to see more of alternative options being offered in blending the medicines rather than seeing it being an opposing energy.

Because I do believe that we can blend these options and just provide these different therapies more to individuals with sickle cell, because it truly I believe can make a huge impact on their health overall. I’m excited to be a part of the foundation in my city. That’s one of my biggest things that I have going on.

Rebecca Dekker:

Congratulations on that award, the keys to the city of Tallahassee. That’s pretty exciting.

Carissa Hunter:

Yeah, it was an emotional, but the most liberating thing. It made me sit back and think like, “Man, this journey was all worth it.” And not only am I doing it for my daughter, but I’m doing exactly what I said for the community to be a voice for others.

Rebecca Dekker:

So it sounds like you’ve been working in your community to destigmatize sickle cell trait and disease so that people can talk about it. Maybe one of the reasons it’s been stigmatized is it feels like there’s no good treatment.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes.

Rebecca Dekker:

I know they can do the blood transplants or whatever. It’s very difficult and invasive. Other than that, there’s no “cure.” But it sounds like you’re trying to show people that there are other ways that can be blended with Western medicine to give your child the best of both worlds, holistic care and modern medicine all in one.

Carissa Hunter:

Exactly. Yes. Yes.

Rebecca Dekker:

I was wondering if you just want to spend a few minutes talking about the importance of providing homeschooling or unschooling for your children. I know that more and more Black families in America are choosing to homeschool or unschool and rejecting the traditional or the dominant educational system. Can you talk a little bit about how that’s important for your children, especially as your daughter with sickle cell gets older and will be starting actual school?

Carissa Hunter:

Yeah. We started by default. To be honest with you, I wanted to homeschool my children before I became a parent. It was something I always did, and I wanted to do it in a way that fit my family. That’s something that I learned along the way. I didn’t know that there were so many methods to homeschooling. It was really just like a trial and error thing. Unschooling really for us is we blur the line between living and learning. And that means that we just allow our children to learn through their interests and learn at their pace.

We don’t pressure them. Because at the age that I have, my children are at the play-based, hands-on learning, so it’s like no pressure. A lot of children when they’re pressured into doing things or learning things, they don’t retain the information and they sort of rebel. That cause a barrier between like receiving things. Children, I believe, truly should learn at their pace and not categorizing their intelligence based off of numbers and grading systems or these different pressured ways that society has so many years put on us.

And for us, it’s worked out that way. I do encourage other parents to find what works for you. There’s no default way. There are so many different methods to homeschooling. I will always say, believe in your capabilities. You are the parent. I think for me as an example, when I first started, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I just jumped in and I said, “You know what? We’re going to do this. We’ll figure it out.” And eventually we found our flow and we engineered our specific dynamic around our family’s needs.

I will always encourage, again, connecting with other homeschoolers. For many years, I’ve done that and it’s been pretty awesome to learn from experienced homeschoolers that have done it in many other states. Traveling for us is a plus. We do that safely. With everything going on, I would encourage to do it safely. We allow our children to learn everywhere. That’s how our homeschooling dynamic looks.

Rebecca Dekker:

It’s very empowering to hear you share that because it seems like it would be a really amazing solution for parents with children who have chronic health conditions especially. But of course, anybody may be interested in homeschooling, but it seems like that is especially helpful for your child. Thank you for sharing about that.

Carissa Hunter:

Yes, thank you.

Rebecca Dekker:

I was wondering before we go, Carissa, how can people follow you online, on social media?

Carissa Hunter:

Sure. You can follow me. I’m on IG, Instagram. You can follow @healingjourneyintuitively on the Instagram, as well as on Facebook. My website is healingjourneyintuitive.com. You can find me there. And from there, you can also find what I’m doing here in Tallahassee, Florida with the Sickle Cell Foundation there. I’ll be leading the Health Fair events on the weekends every Friday or Saturday. You can see me getting more involved there. Find me doing that.

Rebecca Dekker:

Well, thank you, Carissa, for taking the time to come on the podcast and for all you do and advocating for families with sickle cell anemia.

Carissa Hunter:

Thank you so much.

Rebecca Dekker:

Today’s podcast episode was brought to you by the online workshops for birth professionals taught by Evidence Based Birth® instructors. We have an amazing group of EBB instructors from around the world who can provide you with live interactive continuing education workshops that are fully online. We designed Savvy Birth Pro Workshops to help birth professionals who are feeling stressed by the limitations of the healthcare system.

Our instructors also teach the popular Comfort Measures Birth Professionals and Labor and Delivery Nurses Workshop. If you are a nurse or birth professional who wants instruction in massage, upright birthing positions, acupressure for pain relief, and more, you will love the Comfort Measures Workshop. Visit ebbirth.com/events to find a list of upcoming online workshops.

 

Listening to this podcast is an Australian College of Midwives CPD Recognised Activity.

Stay empowered, read more :

EBB 44 – Doula support for adolescent parents

EBB 44 – Doula support for adolescent parents

Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to our podcast:  iTunes  |  Stitcher Amber Ginn is a birth and postpartum doula in Puerto Rico. She had her first child at 15, and is dedicated to providing essential support to pregnant adolescents. Amber’s first birth was a traumatic...

EBB 95 – The State of Birth Work in NYC with Denise Bolds

EBB 95 – The State of Birth Work in NYC with Denise Bolds

Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to our podcast:  iTunes  |  Stitcher In this episode, I am joined by Denise Bolds, a New York City-based medical social worker and DONA International certified birth doula. She specializes in high-risk VBACs and first time pregnancies,...

EBB 43 – Interview April Oglesby

EBB 43 – Interview April Oglesby

Don't miss an episode! Subscribe to our podcast:  iTunes  |  Stitcher April Oglesby is a nurse and monitrice in Amarilo, Texas. She has been a nurse for 13 years, specializing in all types of care for mothers and babies. Recently, she left hospital work to start her...

20% OFF Pro membership Sale -Sign Up Now!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This