Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sorry, I'm Not Mom Enough...

I have followed Birth WIthout Fear's blog for some time now and I was very sad to see that the amazing mom behind the blog, January, has been getting completely overwhelmed by the disrespect that some of her followers have been showing one another.  When I saw this status on her Facebook page, I was deeply saddened,

"Yes, another post on this. It's this or I delete everything. I'm done. I'm done trying to please everyone (I know...dumb of me to keep trying). I'm done being criticized no matter what I say, try to do, etc. I am who I am. I care (too much) and I am going to try to support as many women and families as I can. I still have my opinions and am passionate about things though and will use my resources ...to educate on said things. So, you can can take me or leave me. I don't care which. Don't tell me, don't announce you are leaving, don't bring your drama here. I am cracking. I can't take everyone else putting their issues on me or bring them to my pages/groups. Thank you to those who made me realize I'm not a politician and don't need to take a stance on everything. Thank you to those who have been supportive and had my back (even if we don't agree on some things)."
This post was written as my way of showing my support for her and for ALL mothers, whether we agree or not!

With the release of the Time magazine story on Attachment Parenting it has become even more clear to me that the media and our society have no real intentions of doing anything to lessen the "Mommy Wars". The article, whose supposed intention was to normalize AP and extended breastfeeding, only served to sensationalize it and further fan the flames of the battles between breastfeeders and bottle-feeders and AP parents and those with other parenting philosophies.

The battle lines aren't only drawn between parents of opposing viewpoints,but even occur within groups of like-minded parents. I consider myself an AP parent, but I can't do everything, all of the time, but recently I've come to realize that to some that's grounds to revoke my "AP Card". I breastfed, but not long enough, or for too long.. so I didn't do it right. Or, God forbid, I couldn't nurse and had to pump or supplement with formula! Or, gasp, I occasionally put my baby in a stroller! Maybe, I choose not to cosleep... suddenly I'm labeled a "sleep trainer".

I didn't sit down one day and say, "I want to be an Attachment Parent", I consider myself an AP parent because that is the parenting style that came most naturally to me and I identified with most. One of Dr.Sears' "Baby B's" is "Beware of Baby-Trainers". This means FOLLOW YOUR INSTINCTS, NOT FOLLOW THESE RULES! Saying that you MUST follow a specific set of guidelines or you aren't AP enough goes against everything that AP experts teach. AP parenting is about a group of principles (note: not a group of rules) that are encouraged to create a strong bond between parents and their children with the hopes of raising them to be more empathetic adults.

My point here is that no matter what parenting style you identify with, if your child is loved and healthy, you are doing your job. Yes, we may disagree on how to raise our children (even how to give birth to them), but we can do so respectfully. I will continue blogging about childbirth and parenting from my own point of view and providing information on those points of view, and you won't always agree with everything I say. As a matter of fact, you may think I'm flat-out wrong and I may feel the same way about your choices. All I ask is that as mothers we stop being so mean and disrespectful toward one another. Yes, there are bad parents out there, but because you don't parent exactly the way I do does that mean I think you're a bad parent? No!

So, here it goes, I am going to put my beliefs out there for all of you to see. If you have problem, tell me, but please do it with respect.

I am an AP parent, but...

~ I was only able to nurse for 2 months and have had to pump and provide my son with bottled breastmilk ever since.

~ I think breastmilk is absolutely VITAL through the first year, think it is very important through the second, but honestly don't know how I feel about nursing a 3+ year old.

~ My 14 month old still spends at least part of most nights in bed with my husband and I, but he starts off every night in his own bed.

~ I put my son in his wagon for walks to the park and trips to the zoo, but always have a my carrier packed and ready when he needs it.

I my son did not ween himself, we started introducing solids at 6 months. I believe that this is the earliest babies should be given solids.

I gave birth naturally, but I did so in a Hospital Alternative Birth Center with an OB.

I think homebirth is awesome, but I am still to scared to do it myself.

I believe that 99% of the time birth is completely safe and requires absolutely NO medical intervention, but I think most women just don't have enough education and support to believe they can do it on their own.

My son is circumcised. Do I regret my decision? Some days, but most days I feel like it was right choice.  Will I do it again? Probably, but believe me I went back and forth the first time and I'm sure I'll back and forth the next time.

My son is vaccinated, well mostly. We chose to delay some of his vaccines and chose to skip some all together.  I totally understand the good that vaccines have done, but I also understand how much harm they have done.  Therefore, we chose to look at them one at a time and assess each vaccine individually.

We use cloth diapers, just not 100% of the time.  My son sleeps in a disposable and wears disposables if we will be out of the house for a long time.

I'm a "Natural Mom" who loves to eat organic but...

~ I LOVE meat!

~ I eat fast food.

~ I wear makeup and shave my legs and armpits.

~ I drive an SUV.

I'm a stay-at-home mom and I believe children should be raised by a parent, not stuck in a daycare, but I understand that not everyone is able to make it on a single income.

Ok, that's all I can think of for now, but if you have a question about where I stand on anything, just ask, I will always be completely honest.  If you want to tell me why you disagree, go ahead. 

For those of you who have had a c-section or medicated birth, don't breastfeed, aren't AP parents, or have any other difference in opinion from myself, I hope you know that you are still always welcome. I will always try to help a mother in need.  But, please know that I will continue to promote Natural Childbirth and Attachment Parenting. So, if this offends you, then this probably isn't the page for you.


Sarahlou said...

I applaud you for being so honest. I do not agree with everything you said, but that's the whole point isn't it? I personally CHOOSE to work. We COULD make it on a single income but I choose to be a positive role model not only to my daughter, by putting myself through college and having a job, but also to 24 smiling faces every single day of work. Some children don't have a person that praises them and encourages them to be their best, that is why I choose to teach, that is why I choose to be away from my daughter 8 hours a day.

Carmen-Natural Mommy Talk said...

Thank you!

I think the best thing any mom can do for her children is to be EXACTLY what she wants, whether that's a SAHM or a career woman. I think it is the ultimate show of feminism that women can truly be anything they want to be now!

PeaceDocMarcy said...

I love to hear the CONFIDENCE in both you you moms!! Thank you, Carmen, for your great post. Check out mine yesterday (yes, a little slow on the uptake, but I was out of the country when it came out):"Time Magazine: Not Mother-Friendly or Child-Friendly."

Marcy Axness, PhD
author of "Parenting for Peace"

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