Tributes to Catherine Young

If you would like to send your tribute to Catherine Young, please send it vie email . Thank you!

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Catherine Young - was an amazing lady. She had a passion for her life, her children and a natural lifestyle, including natural child birth, anti - immunization and breastfeeding( which is near and dear to my heart), amongst other things. She has really blessed my life with her humour, her wonderfully written stories, and her point of view. Although one might not always agree with some of the articles that were  published there was caused to examine yourself , your point of view, and to test it out., always leaving room for growth as a person.


I was given my first issue of Compleat Mother by my midwife three years ago.

It was a welcome support and source of information and positive literature that I needed living in rural Renfrew County. We had a homebirth, nursed for two years and practised natural parenting methods as much as possible to the criticism of many. Reading Catharine's words of wisdom kept me going through times of doubt. She was definitely a great asset to Mothers and Children
everywhere. I lend my copies of the Mother all the time and will continue my subscription. 

Blessed Be.
Lana Keon, Mountain, Ontario

I was so very sorry to hear of Catherine's death.  My heart goes out to her family and friends.

May her vision and dedication live on.

Sue Lawrence
A subscriber

Catherine Young has had the most wonderful, powerful and empowering impact on the breastfeeding and parenting of our three children.
I  found an issue of the Compleat Mother at our local women's shelter where I volunteered back in 1994.  I was pregnant with our first at the time.  Being a pediatric nurse for 3 years, I was already a pro- breastfeeder; but you never really know what you're in for until you've got that babe in your arms.  I kept the magazine, became completely intrigued by the other issues commonly addressed in each issue and immediately became a subscriber...
Four months after her birth too many bad things happened all at once.  Still having too much blind faith in the medical system, I actually introduced cheerios and rice pablum to my exclusively breastfed baby!  HORRORS! She got constipated, miserable, cut 2 teeth, breastfeeding started to become what my husband referred to as "the screaming feedings", and so I also introduced the "soother".
Months of horror and screaming feedings passed and I started going crazy with all my dead end searches for help.  I paid for lactation consultants, who said my breasts were too big.  So then I rented expensive pumps to  try and reduce the flow.  I consulted my G.P. and even La Leche League leaders who both said ,"It's always the babies of mom's who want to breastfeed, that decide to wean early." I even spoke to a nutritionist who told me to stop being so hard on myself and just buy formula.  Her  weight dropped a bit and even my doctor suggested supplementing.  My head pounds just recalling those months.
The happy ending to this too typical a story is that I kept reading my Mother...I felt in my heart that my baby was not ready to wean, I just needed the right help, the right listener.  Well, I phoned C.Y. one Friday afternoon.  I was nervous because she seemed like a giant to me - I was almost relieved to get an answering machine.  I left my pathetic call for help and assumed this incredible person would probably be too busy for little me.  THE Catherine Young returned MY call on a FRIDAY evening.  She asked me some questions, she was calm and sure, and she said she could tell I was determined and that I would work through this. She told me to flush my soothers down the toilet!  "All 5 of them?", was my response.  I explained we ONLY used them for napping, bedtime, and miserable moments.  Catherine explained to me that babes can have a finite (fixed) amount of sucking time inherently.  If some of that time is wasted on sucking a soother, they can be just too tired to want to suckle a breast for nourishment.  The obvious is that it's also easier to suck soothers and more work to suck breasts.
When I got off the phone, my husband said, "Well?".  I told him "no soothers" and his response was  something like "yeah, right... I guess you're going to be up all night".  I was up all night, BUT IT WORKED!!  By Sunday night she fell asleep on my breast like she did months before it all started, and I cried of course.
2 more children later, and everything was done so differently.  2 homebirths :)  challenging, but beautiful,  exclusively breastfed for 1 year with full time breastfeeding for 3 years :)  no unnecessary vaccinations, of course they were all cloth diapered and family bedded.  All because of a little, most incredible magazine and a very committed, most wonderful giant of a women.  Me and my family will forever be grateful .  Thank You Catherine Young.   Rose Sedore.  Clayton. Ontario.                 
Rose Sedore   

My first experience with "The Mother" was shortly after my second hospital birth in and the birth of my breast feeding experience.I was bound and determined to nurse my second child due to the health problems in my first child as a result of artificial feeding.The Mother got me through the rocky road of a nipple confused baby.

Catherine inspired my pursuit of a home birth and peaked my interest in Vaccine research and circumsision.

To describe the impact of my parental and spirtual growth through the Mother let me describe each childs experiences.Sybilla[age 11] medicated hospital birth , never nursed ,fully vacced at age 5 , slept in crib from birth.Basil [age 6 yrs 7 mnths] unmedicated hospital birth, exclusively breast fed to age 10mnths , weaned at age 5yrs 2 mnths,clothed diapered , family bedded with just mom, partially vacced, Zoe Rue [age 3yrs 8mnths] homebirthed, tandemnursed for 2yrs , still nurseing, no vaccines and always family bedded with Dad and Mom!

Big differences .I thank Catherine everyday for the impact on my girls lives.I can say that my greatest honors were being published in the Complete Mother.Thank you Catherine!You will never be forgotten!!!!

My own mother lost her breast last September, so this takes on double meaning for me. From one person who was directly effected by breast cancer to the family , friends and followers of Catherine my deepest sympathy and prayers go out to you.

Carey Bryson
Anderson , In . USA

I cried when I read the email. I never knew Catherine personally, but certainly felt that I did. It must have been her gift in her amazing writing ability. I love the Compleat Mother and I loved her book Stretch Marks. I offer my condolences to family and friends. She will be sorely missed. However, she has definitely left a remarkable impression upon the world with her campaign for breastfeeding. I have and will continue to boycott Nestle!
ReNae Trebelhorn
Faribault, MN

I just heard tonight about Catherine passing away.  I cannot begin to tell you how devastated I feel. 
Reading all of the letters from others whose lives have been touched by this amazing woman makes me realize that I am not alone.  Once again the compleat mother comes through in that regard... From the very beginning that is what her message has always been about for me... that feeling of community love and support.
As others have said, her magazine changed my life, her personal contact with me uplifted and empowered me, her words in her books are something I carry with me in my heart.  I always give something of her to expectant and new moms I meet... be it a copy of the CM or posters or a book. 
I cannot believe she is gone.  I didn't think it was possible to lose her.
My condolences and love go out to you, her friends and also to her children and other family...
Heather Fairley
Saskatoon, SK

Dear Family of Catherine, I send my deepest sympathy on your loss. She was an amazing woman and her magazine helped so many moms breastfed their babies, including my four who without her help would not of been breastfed. They are all healthy and strong thanks to her.She was like a MOTHER to us all and with tears in my eyes as I write this she will be sadly missed by me so much. She taught me so much about breastfeeding and about life that she will
live forever in our hearts.

Thank you so much Catherine, you were an inspiration to us all.

Love, Patricia Cavalieri

Dear friends,
A friend whom most of us never got the chance to meet has just left us to be with her Lord. It is sad but let us rejoice  the fact that she is safely with her Creator. Our time will surely come. Although not knowing the person personally, her articles shared has helped me understood a lot about being a woman, a mother and a wife. Most importantly being the person that I am. I am a proud mother to a four months old daughter and she is my darling. Thanks to her article on breast feeding, I understand more about doing what is right for my little angel.
Where ever you are Christina Anna Young, May the Lord keep you in peace and harmony.

My brief "contact" with Catherine was difficult and confrontational. I do respect her cause to promote breastfeeding but am reminded that we must be gentle with others, even if we are very passionate about our cause. It must be a tremendous loss for her children that she has gone.

Reinekke Lengelle
Former Editor of Alberta's "Birth Issues" magazine

I would just like to take a moment to thank Catherine even though I was never graced with meeting her personally. I have always found strength in what she had to say. Thank you Catherine for inspiring me to be a better mother, and a positive influence on the world. I have always felt that all of your words were like a breath of fresh air. Thank you Catherine for all the people's lives that you've impacted. Thank you for giving me strength and enlightenment. I have always admired you as a mother, woman, and a writer. You have touched my soul deeply.
Thank you for your open heart
Thank you for your beautiful soul
Thank you for your constant strength
Thank you

I was so sad to receive notice of Catherine's death. I knew her only through her unabashed Complete Mother publications and as a Mother Tea customer but I feel her loss as deeply as the loss of all the people who died and ascended along with her last Tuesday morning. May she go on in peace. I'm offering the poem included here, Ipalnemoani, as something that has given me solace in all this turmoil. My love to all of you who are missing her so much.     

Samantha Sering

I was on my way home from a labor and birth of a first time family. They asked us to come be with them late on Monday night.  This family worked so well together, husband and wife loving and supporting each other.  I tuned into NPR when I found out that, unbeknownst to me, the sky truly was falling for some families.  Thousands of people mothers, fathers, partners, and children had been killed.  With tears streaming down my face I listened to a mother and wife tell how her husband was at the Pentagon that day and was one of the hundreds of people that never made it home that night. Terrorists had attacked the Pentagon and other locations.  She was as close to the building as they would allow her to be and was planning to stay there until they brought her husband out (dead or alive) so she knew what to tell her children.  Our world has truly suffered a blow. 

I thought how odd it was that as this family labored away in “birth time” yet all of this destruction had gone on.  Life continues, birth continues. 

After I had spent some well-deserved time with my own family I checked my email.  I found to my deep sadness that Catherine young had lost her battle with breast cancer on Tuesday morning.  My only hope being that she and her family also had no idea this was going on while they let go of each other.  Our mothering and midwifery communities have truly suffered a blow.  I can’t begin to describe how Catherine’s work (The Complete Mother) affected my motherhood, those late nights with just her and my sweet young nursling with The Complete mother I never felt like the only one.  

My heart mourns both of these losses at the same time that I celebrate for a new sweet babe. 

Missing the Mother’s mother already. 
Brandi Wood

Central Indiana

I can't think of a better place for her after all she's done for us than Heaven.  The one person to stand by my side when I was nursing my daughter. She reminded me of an Asian God who held in her hand the flame of truth and trampled underfoot the troll of lies and greed, as her otherhand gracefully showed reassurance to all.

The ultimate truth is often so hard to see without the guidance of one so wise.  I hope she scattered seeds of truth and reassurance as far as she wanted in her short but powerful life.  I envied her strength and dedication to what she knew was right.  I hope she and her loved ones find peace in knowing how much she helped others like myself in these oh so important years of child-rearing. 

Her honesty and down to earth, loving personality came out in every sentence she wrote, and will be kept alive in print forever.
You don't have to print this but It's funny that the night of Sept 10th I thought to myself what we really need to do is blow up the Formula companies.  As I had just got done watching a documentary on a tribe in Malasyia where these primitive people living in their traditional ways with hardly any contact with the outside world.  One of the members was holding about a one year old baby who was sucking on a bottle!  I was so upset and outraged.  I though you know we need to get our priorities straight here. then the next morning I wake up to the bombing of the Twin Towers.

I would love to write or find BF info and facts for The Mother or edit for you or anything to help.  I live in Minnesota.  Please let me know what I can do.

Sarah Kercheval

How can I possibly articulate what a profound affect Catherine has had on my life and the life of my children.  Discovering her magazine, reading her wisdom, laughing and crying through her books.  Her writing allowed me to be different and follow my instincts.  She taught me the difference between a need and a want when it comes to children.  Parents think that their kids need Little Tykes and Osh Kosh when all they want is mummy and warm milk our time and attention.  Because of Catherine and her magazine, it opened my eyes to the truth and I walked away from my career and became a full time mother.  I now have three little boys and homeschool.

At different times I got to chat with Catherine when I would renew my subscription.  She was always so bubbly and fun to talk to.  She sent me posters and I made sure to take them to our hospital.  I would put my bulk subscription to good use and slip it into my doctors office and our hospital.  From her tireless dedication to a cause it has inspired me and others to help and try to spread the message.

I felt lucky to be on her email list that would be active in letter writing when companies would promote bottle feeding over breast feeding.  I sent her a copy of a letter just a few weeks ago that I sent and she took the time to reply.

I have dreaded this day.  I had a feeling it was coming and have kept her in my prayers.   When I saw her name on my email my heart sank.  It seems so unfair.  Now one of the saddest days ever has truly taken on new meaning.  The loss of Catherine is profound and deep.  May God bless her soul and give peace and comfort to her family.  She will be sorely missed and her shoes hard to fill.  She was someone I looked up to even though I never met her in person.  This world needs
more Catherine's!!

Wendy Pottle

I was not sure how to add my thoughts to the tributes page.  I did want to share with Catherine's children how much inspiration I received from her over the years.  I was at the potluck luncheon at her home in Ontario that formed the Friends of Breastfeeding, sixteen or seventeen years ago.  I felt such a connection with her, and that warmth is still present when I think of her. 

My two children had a wonderful time that afternoon playing with her children, I think we were the last to leave and find our way back to the city.   Thanks for the memories, the love, and the mission!

Lucretia Bush

To Amanda, Rebecca and Zachary,

I know how much pain the three of you are in today and I want to tell you what I know about the death of one's mother, from my own experience.  It just hurts like hell for months and the tears come at very unpredictable times and over things that you wouldn't guess. The pain, fear and loneliness you feel today will get better in time.  Your Mom is close by right now and, if you listen, pay attention and ask her she will come to you in dreams, strange signs and through others still in the body.  This will not frighten you, it will give you comfort and make you less afraid of dying yourself.  The rawness of the pain will lessen in a few months and then you will think you see her across the street and realize that it's some other woman about the same age and
same "style" of dress as your Mom and you will wonder if that woman's family really knows how precious she is.  You'll wish you could go to the family and tell them "Hold on tight to your Mom, sniff in her essence, saturate yourself with her smell, listen to her recite recipes to you and give you advice---you will hurt like hell when she's gone and you don't have it anymore."  You will find that the three of you become closer and stronger as a unit of siblings and your Mom would want that.

You will be the ones that your friends turn to when their parents die and you will have a deep compassion for those who grieve.  When you have your own children, you will tell them what Catherine's favourite flower was, your favourite dish she cooked, and the crazy times you had with her.  She would want that.

Your Mom was not meant to be just your Mother.  She became the mother of thousands of new mothers who she encouraged to breastfeed and to nurture their babies.  This probably cost you three a lot in terms of hot meals, stories and attention.  I want you to know that all of those women are available to give back to you now and your Mom would want that.  She gave us so much.  She truly understood the maxim "Mother the mother and she will mother the baby."  Even though it cost a lot in terms of her own family, her life in service to other families was time well spent.
She was very powerful with her pen and, as we know, it was mightier than a sword.  The power she had was to make others more powerful around her.  She was a great storyteller and fearless in her authenticity.  I think, more than anything else, that was what I was awed by.  In each issue of the magazine, we got a true recounting of the intimate life of Catherine and her gang. Personally, I am so much more secretive and committed to my own "looking good" and Catherine set an example of openness and refreshing humanity.  She never seemed to have it "together", never pretended to, and produced amazing results anyway.

I began attending births in 1981.  In May of l985 a baby died at a
homebirth that my midwifery partner and I attended here in Vancouver. Your mom was approached to help us raise the $50,000 that we would need to defend ourselves against the physicians, state and public opinion. Catherine supported us all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada where we were acquitted in l991.  I will never forget that.  She understood bullying and oppression and had no patience with it.  She spoke up and went to bat for the underdog, the voiceless, and the downtrodden.  I feel like her magazine was started in l985, right at the time I needed her support so badly, because someone up above wanted me to have a
guardian angel, Her wingspan as an angel was coast to coast.

Those of us who love her and got to know her through her writing will miss her funny, caustic "take" on events. In one line of an editorial she would be railing on like a sailor on the dockside and in the next she would be waxing poetic about God.  She loved a good joke, pretty poetry, animals, raspberry leaves, men who danced, brave women, dripping breasts and country life.  Most of all she loved you three beautiful babies of hers madly.  You completed her life and she was so incredibly proud of all of you.  I remember when Amanda produced "Birth Joy and Raspberry Leaves" ---what a proud producer of the producer she was.

Thank you, Amanda, for all the work you put into that.  Thank you,
Rebecca, for taking on the magazine and thank you, Zachary, for being her email wizard.  Thank you a million times for being great kids for her.  You'll understand someday that giving birth to you was her best accomplishment and what fueled everything else.

My deepest sympathy to your grandparents and your Dad-thank you to them for the gift of Catherine.

She would often talk to me, even before the cancer,  about knowing that she was "on the right road home".  I found that such a beautiful turn of phrase and I know she has reached home.  We are poorer for her death. There will never be another quite like her.  I am so glad I knew her and I miss her terribly.  My heart is with you today and if you need a Mom to talk to, I'll do my best to stand in for her.  I love you.

Gloria Lemay, Vancouver, BC
Sept 13, 2001

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