Sunday, May 13, 2012
Happy Mother's Day!
I am in awe of the people who put it on the cover and *this* woman. I only wish I could be as brave, bold and as beautiful.
I was an attachment parent. It's not easy being one when 1. you live in the US and 2. you are a working mother. Most APers are stay-at-home mothers but fortunately for me, I knew at least one that worked at my company. I didn't really _know_ her personally but knowing there was one other around helped me know I wasn't alone.
I didn't really choose to be an APer. It all came 'naturally'. As a first-time mother, I had a child who would only stop crying if I held her. Tim was no help. I mean: he was but until we started daycare (six weeks), even him holding her wasn't sufficient in easing her crying. It was Dr. Sears' wonderful godsend of a book, The Baby Book, that saved me from crying my own eyes out, and wishing for my own mother to take me away from the hell of first-time motherhood because: all the classes that prepared me for pregnancy and birth did NOT prepare me from actually being home with a baby. Yes, I knew I'd be sleep-deprived but I didn't know that what total dependency actually meant.
And Dr. Sears told me that holding my baby all the time was OK. That sleeping with my baby was OK and that there was a name for it: attachment parenting. I already knew a little bit about it. I had the book before I had CJ and I purposely refused to buy a crib and baby furniture, except a rocker/glider, because I was going to co-sleep with my baby. We bought a thingamajig that allowed the play thing to be a nursery to be next to the bed but because CJ refused to sleep in it, she ended up sleeping next to me anyway.
Once I read up on AP, I decided to go full force and just carried her with me everywhere. I tried the sling but could never figure it out and would just freak out about how she looked like she would suffocate in it. By Mi-Mi, I was so over it and had the sling mastered and Mi-Mi was my sling baby and I toted her everywhere in it.
I breastfed CJ for well over two years. I was going to go until she was ready to wean herself off. If that meant three years, so be it. I was so fortunate to find, at random, a supportive ob/gyn and pediatrician. Ironically, the pediatrician's nurse would always tell me how CJ needed to thrive more and my pediatrician would come in and tell me how perfect CJ was, and how I was doing the right thing.
And at 2 1/2 years, I wasn't exclusively breastfeeding. The feedings are drastically reduced. It's almost like comfort feedings: once in the morning, after daycare (at home) and usually when she was upset (after falling down, etc.). But it was I that decided I wanted her to be weaned. I wanted my body back. I don't remember now why but 2.5 years is a long time.
With MiMi, it definitely wasn't quite that long. I don't even know if we reached two years; probably close, so between 18 months to under two years. But she definitely was a much different personality than CJ. I still practiced AP with her and more extreme as I took three months off with her. We took our mattresses off the bed and laid our big king on the floor, with CJ's double next to ours and we all co-slept together. Including our dogs at the time. It was wonderful. All my children managed to sleep in their own rooms in due time.
And I love how people reacted to my situation, for both children. They don't hold back.
To breastfeeding CJ at two years: 'Who's getting more out of it? You or her?'
To co-sleeping: 'Aren't you afraid of rolling onto your baby?'
'Is that something YOUR culture does?'
'How do you have sex?'
When I was researching AP, I read how, in our natural state, as in developing nations, women tend to have children every three to four years because we do breastfeed for three to four years, where we are not fertile. Then our children wean, we become fertile, become pregnant, and the cycle begins again.
It's not unusual in most every other country to practice AP (whether it's called that or not) except in our own very conservative country, where we demean people for doing it. Whatever. I found it naturally for me and it worked. And I love that look on that woman's face on the cover, like yeah, I dare you to confront me. Because I know she's had some bold comments made at her too.