When I was pregnant with our first born, I was super excited about the tenants of attachment parenting.
I loved how normal and instinctive everything was. It just made sense to me. There’s really nothing complicated about it, just going back to our roots and doing things naturally, the way our maternal instincts crave.
But as most of you moms know, sometimes our rosy ideals don’t match reality.
In case you’re unfamiliar with attachment parenting, let me give you the extremely quick run through of what A.P. parents strive to do in the early years of a child’s life.
Belief in the Value of a Baby’s Cry: Instead of dismissing a baby’s cry as inconvenient or annoying, give the child the benefit of the doubt that they are trying to communicate a need in the only way they know how.
Breastfeeding: Kind of a given. Breastfeeding is the ideal and strongly encouraged, even into the toddler years.
Babywearing: Instead of placing a child in some sort of contraption where they are separated from natural interaction, baby’s are held close to their caregivers, often in slings or wraps.
Bedding Close to Baby: Being close to the baby at night aids in being attentive to the baby’s needs as well as giving easy access for breastfeeding.
Beware of Baby Trainers: Be cautious about forcing babies to sleep longer than they’re developmentally ready for.
Balance and Boundaries: Know your own limits as a parent and say no when necessary. I apparently didn’t get this memo.
See! Nothing too crazy!
When Loopy was born, I was so starry-eyed about the kind of mom I would be. Well, reality came fast and it left me reeling. My sweet son was anything but sweet that first year of life. As his pediatrician put it, he was in the 99.99 percentile for fussiness. I quickly sunk into a life-threatening depression as my mothering aspirations disintegrated.
But that’s a whole other story (which you should probably read). As far as attachment parenting, I was still doing my darnedest to keep up.
Belief in the baby’s cry? Check!
I was convinced he was trying to tell me he was dying or just reminding me what a terrible mom I was.
Of course I’m doing the only thing that makes him stop crying!
My arms would have detached from my body if I didn’t have a carrier. The kid will not let me put him down!
Bedding close to baby?
I tried, oh how I tried. But Loopy made sleeping so scarce. He was a loud sleeper. He was a wiggly sleeper. He could nurse in his sleep for hours on end. Oh, and he never actually slept.
I’m a crazy light sleeper. I struggle to fall asleep and I struggle to stay asleep. I’m one of those gals that sleeps with five pillows and can still think of a spot that could use just one more.
I was so nervous about keeping the co-sleeping situation safe. We didn’t sleep with blankets, I was constantly smoothing out wrinkles in our fitted sheets. Not the ideal setting for peaceful slumber.
After a couple days, I resigned myself to move Loopy out of our bed and into a pack-n-play at the foot of our bed.
I was a paranoid mother too. Every little sound from Loopy made my heart stop and I’d sit bolt upright, listening for his breathing. I was convinced he was about to die at any moment. (Another sign of the raging PPD.)
Eventually, I gave up.
We moved Loopy into his own room. Don’t worry, he woke up nearly every hour for months and months and months, just to let me know he was alright.
It was really hard on me. I knew that a baby’s breathing is aided in regulating by hearing their parents’ breath. I felt like I had failed Loopy and didn’t care about him any more. Writing this now, four years later, I feel ridiculous. But at the time, I was convinced.
I wanted to write this to give a virtual hug to any mom who is struggling to do it all. Do your best. And know that you won’t be able to live up to your own ideals. Remember that while you’re a huge part of your child’s life, you’re not the end all be all.
Pray. A LOT. God is the one that determines each breath we take. God is the one that made us and sustains us. And He is good.
I learned a TON from my first year post-partum. But again, that’s another story.
This post is part of a HUGE series filled with tons of other bloggers tips and tricks to live a green, natural lifestyle. You’ve gotta check it out, especially since you can win some sweet products!
Want to learn the green life along with us? Subscribe to get an email with each new post.