18 May, 2011

attachment to the way other people do it

i have had a really difficult time with motherhood. not with the actual mothering part, but with accepting that all people are different and have different stories, and that no matter what, if a baby is loved, in the end he will be ok. i have had a hard time letting go of my need for others to parent their babies the way i parent you. because hey, i parent you the way i do because i believe that it's the right way to parent. many people say there is no right way, but i think there is. and i think that if everyone was honest, they think their way is right, too. otherwise, why would they parent that way? and maybe some good-hearted open and accepting people will say that there is a right way for each family. or for each child. or for each mother. yes, that's true, but there are just some big things that i believe are right.

1. i believe that we should all try to breastfeed our babies. that we should all become educated and take responsibility for learning how to do it. we live in a culture and time when breastfeeding is not the norm. many of us have never seen it done. but we need to prepare. to learn. to seek support. because it is best for our babies. and it's good for us. and for the earth. we need to give it our best shot. yes, there are people who have been abused and cannot even imagine putting a baby to their breast. there are people who have traumatic birth experiences and this affects their breastfeeding relationship. there are a whole slew of booby traps that can get in the way. but i believe it is our responsibility to try our best to figure it out. we all do the best we can with the knowledge that we have, i know this. and babies who are not breastfed will be just fine. they will be ok. they will thrive ( at least in this country). as long as a baby loved and fed with love, that baby will grow up and know how to show love. but i still believe that we should try our best. how can anyone feel guilt or make anyone feel guilt for giving it their best? i cannot understand a mother who simply refuses to try. and i guess it's not my job to understand. it's not my job to even accept it. it's her journey and she has her reasons. what business is it of mine?

2. i believe that hospital circumcision is wrong. this is just my belief. and i will do my best to urge people to choose to leave their sons intact. i believe it hurts and that it's a shitty way to introduce baby to the world. the mainstream world does not put the information out there about the risks of circumcision. they don't tell us that it is not necessary. they don't show the videos of the babies having it done to them. i encourage friends to at least wait a week or maybe even six months until bonding and breastfeeding are established until they have it done if they choose to have it done for whatever reason. at least then baby has learned to trust his mom. but when it's done in the hospital it is painful and done within a day of being on the planet. that sucks. i don't believe that anyone should feel guilty for their decision to do it. however, if you do it to your son after knowing 100% how the procedure is done and that it is not necessary, i just can't understand it. it makes my heart and my belly hurt. and again, i guess it's not my job to understand it. it's none of my business i guess, what someone else does to their sons genitals. and i can still love you if you do it. but in the end, i do think this is something that in the future people will look back and be very shocked to know that we as a culture did this to our babies for so long. and i know way too many moms who did have it done, and feel sad about it afterwards, so i will never shut up about why it isn't necessary.

3. i believe it's wrong to have a baby and to leave it in a container all day long. i don't think strollers or swings or cribs or or infant car seats used outside of the car are the devil. these things all serve a purpose and can be super helpful if your baby likes them. i just think it's wrong to stick your baby in a container and to ignore it all the time, no matter what. of course some women suffer from post-partum depression or are single moms or are sick and have no help from family and need to use these things. but i think it's wrong to leave a poor baby strapped into some container and to essentially ignore it for hours on end. babies are born with a need to be held and to bond with the people who love them. so when you can, i think you should hold your baby. not carry it or push it around in some apparatus all the time.

4. i think it is wrong and harmful to let your baby cry alone in order to teach him how to sleep. i can't imagine if i were crying and the person i loved just closed the door, left the room and said, "figure it out". there may come a time when the baby is older that you decide to let your baby cry for a few minutes until he falls asleep. ok, you know your baby and if he is ready. you may get to the point where youjust cannot function anymore, but i really believe there are other options. they just take longer than the three days or so that you would have to endure your baby's screams. 'the no cry sleep solution' is full of ideas. or you can just keep the baby in bed. or you can let dad hold the baby until he falls asleep and let dad put him down. there are so many different things you can try. and if you do let your baby cio in the end because you truly believe in your heart that it's best for your baby and it's what he or she needs, i can even understand that. your baby will still love you in the morning. but i just wish that sleep were not such a hot topic in our culture and that i would not have to hear about the poor little things crying alone.

5. i think it is wrong to hurt your child in any way. i cannot accept someone hitting their child. telling them to shut up. calling them names. i can accept that it happens and that people do it because they are doing their best at this time. but i cannot accept it in my life. so if someone treats their child in this way, i cannot be their friend. especially if they do it in front of my kid. it's not that i am trying to shelter him from the world, but i don't want you to know that i would choose people who do that kind of thing to their kid to be a part of our lives.

most of this post is therapy for me. i have to realize that all of these babies, as long as they are shown love, will be ok. and that i am not right. i am right for me and for you at this time. there is no right. there just is what we do. and what we learn. and how we change. but in the end, can i accept it? i have had a really hard time holding on to friendships in which someone makes choices different from mine. i guess i feel like i am in a constant state of defending my non-conventional choices and that instead of kindly explaining to them my reasons like i do, i really just want to tell them all of the things i just wrote about. maybe after this post i will have even less friends. but it's something i am learning to be ok with.

there are a lot of things i do that are not mainstream. i don't vaccinate. i use cloth diapers. i spend more money on feeding you and us whole and real foods than i can probably afford. i have used a stroller maybe five times with you. i never owned an infant car seat for you. you are intact. you sleep with us in our bed. i plan to nurse you until you are no longer interested in nursing (or until i can distract you enough that you are no longer interested). i take you to a chiropractor and a naturopath when you are sick instead of to the pediatrician. i let your fevers run their course. you don't drink cows milk. i will never take you to the animal circus. i plan to home educate you. but i don't always take the alternative route. i turned your car seat around at 14 months even though i knew i wanted to leave you rear facing for as long as possible. i give you ice cream. i have tons of toys for you to play with -- the plastic light up kind and everything. ok, so i guess i am pretty unconventional since that's all i can thnk of, but i don't think everyone should do all of these things. i don't think people who do them are bad. well, most of the time. but those things i wrote about above i have a really hard time with. if someone does one of those things, unless it's the last one, of course i can be their friend, if they still want me to be. if you do a couple or a few of them, i can still be your friend. if you do all of them, other than abuse your child, i can be your friend. but i still don't understand it. and i can't just let it go. i always think about it. i am not sure why. maybe it's because i think you think i am wrong if you don't do it the way i do -- a throw-back to the way i was always made to feel wrong when i was a kid. maybe it's my controlling personality. maybe it's because i tend to personify babies way too much and i feel like i can see from their eyes. maybe because if a person is making decisions that i would never accept in myself, i just can't understand it. i am trying really hard to understand why this lesson is so hard for me to learn. why am i so attached to the way other people are mothering their babies and children? i know that everyone has a story. everyone has a path. everyone has their lessons. i also believe that all little souls choose their parents, so they know what they are getting into. i am the same way about women and the way they choose to birth their babies. i just want everyone to have their best birth. deep down i can feel it. but i know thta what's best for me is not best for everyone. i don't think everyone whould have their babies at home. but i am so attached to women having their babies vaginally, naturally, without being induced, even though i delivered cooper with an epidural and you via cesarean. what is it? what is going on in my head that keeps me so attached to these things. i need a nice long talk with flossie, my teacher. i need to get back into my yoga practice. i need to sit. to meditate. i need to figure this out. i am losing friends and making people hate me. and i hate to be hated. and i guess i am reaaly lucky to have all this time on my hands to focus on things that don't affect my own life. i am lucky everyone i love and care for is healthy. that i can afford to live in a nice house in a nice place and stay home and have food on the table. someday, i will be too busy to notice or to care what others are doing. i guess i just hope that in the end the world is a better place for you and your kids. and i guess i believe the world will only get better if the babies and kids are shown better. i don't know. i am sure some people will read this and think i am self-righteous. that i have issues. that i am an asshole. i'm not even sure if i should publish this post. but i guess in the end, voicing our thoughts ans differences can be painful, but it can also lead to understanding. so here's hoping to a positive reaction...at least in the long run.

1 comment:

  1. I am just like you! Maybe it is our controlling nature or perhaps we are just as sensitive as our babies and we can't just brush of getting judged so often for our "un-conventional" parenting. You are a great advocate of peaceful parenting! You have helped me have the confidence as a mom to do what my gut was telling me so many times! Offending people means you have brought much awareness of a peaceful parenting approach to the world (of FB-lol) and to people who never thought of it "that way" or thought to look into certain things. I would never have started co-sleeping if you didn't bring how natural it is to my attention!!