I have worked so hard on my personal growth and dedication toward becoming a more peaceful and accepting individual. My journey has presented many speed bumps and detours along the way. I believe the most humbling gift the universe has given me was my daughter. I used to judge people for their actions, their words, for everything honestly.
After I had Trinity I became very passionate about health and HER health specifically. While pregnant I educated myself with books and with the real life experiences of other mothers so that I could gain as much knowledge as possible. I wanted to be prepared. I spoke with professionals prior to my daughter’s birth about infant health and mental well-being, childbirth options, and everything under the spectrum of motherhood. I made a commitment to myself, my husband and my unborn child, to give her the best possible start in life. And I did just that. I exclusively breastfed Trinity for the first 9 1/2 months of her life. After that point we introduced solid foods (skipped the jarred stuff all together). I wore Trinity in a baby carrier (a wrap or a sling) and never left her in an infant carrier (aka, infant car seat, or baby bucket). I have used cloth diapers to reduce her amount of chemical exposure (do you KNOW what’s in those disposable diapers and what they are doing to our ecosystem?!?!) ONE diaper takes 500 years to decompose and by the time your child is of potty-learning age they will have accumulated 1 TON of diapers in the landfill (yes, that is just ONE child). I allow my child to sleep in the same bed as me, next to me, warm, secure, and protected. I practice a style of parenting commonly referred to attachment parenting (google it, it’s a real thing). This method is preferred by many because of it’s proven psychological and physiological benefits. But most importantly, it’s what felt RIGHT to me, what felt NORMAL.
I have had a very hard time understanding the mother who leaves her defenseless, scared child alone in a cold wooden crib to cry all alone, or who by choice (or lack of proper education) substitutes the best nutrition (with LIVE immunities-yes breastmilk is a living thing, do some research!) possible with a formula for disaster. UNICEF estimates that 1.5 million babies die each year worldwide — because they are not breastfed. Breastfeeding significantly reduces diarrhea (a leading cause of infant death) and lowers the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfed babies are protected against bacterial meningitis, have lower rate of pneumonia, allergies, ear infections, asthma, gastrointestinal illness, inflammatory illness, juvenile diabetes, childhood lymphoma, and learning and behavioral difficulties. One study has shown that premature breastfed babies had higher IQs than artificially-fed babies. Breastfed babies also have lower rates of dental decay and obesity and are less likely to develop heart disease in adulthood. Need I say more? The WHO (World Health Organization) recommends that a mother breastfeed her child for a MINIMUM of TWO YEARS and for as long thereafter as mutually desired. There are benefits to what some call *extended nursing* (nursing past one year of age).
Now, being a natural childbirth and breastfeeding advocate I will admit to having judged people who never educated themselves about their options and what the best possible choices are regarding their child’s physical and mental health. It took me a long time to be able to see a woman bottle feed and not break down and cry. I took my passion and threw it into volunteer work for the local Health Department here and started educating pregnant women on the WIC program (most of whom were poorly educated, young and on or below the poverty level). I was able to run a breastfeeding support group/education class and really felt like I was giving back. I became a distributor for cloth diapers and baby carriers because I believe these things make a difference in a child’s life. What I finally learned with time to STOP doing was judging other mother’s and hurting for their children even though my heart still hurts for the ones who never had a fair chance b/c of the lack of concern or regard from the mother.
So tell me then, why is it that with all the research I have done and education I have received that *I* am now the one under the microscope? I am so confused about how any mother could look at me and see ANYthing I have done (in the aforementioned areas of child rearing/child bearing) as anything less than WONDERFUL, COMMENDABLE, and INSPIRING. It is my belief that many times people have a hard time accepting people who are different because 1.They are ignorant. 2.The are not open-minded. 3.They have guilt issues of their own that you somehow reinforce by doing right. & 4.Because a fear of admitting that what someone else has done differently from you may be a better/safer/healthier choice, you are somehow admitting that what you yourself have done is wrong or bad.
I honestly just want people to look at me and see me for who I am. Stop worrying about whether or not I am pregnant and planning a homebirth, or still nursing my almost 2yr old. Do some damn research before you decide you have a right to say anything, because if you aren’t educated about what you are saying, then you are essentially just a trouble maker with guilt issues or just plain ignorance. I do not hit my child, I do not use punitive discipline, I no not believe a woman needs drugs to have a baby (she needs support and proper education), I do not believe that infant formula is equivalent to breastmilk (it ISN’T-and if your pediatrician told you it was, you need a new doctor), I do believe in a healthy diet, toxin/chemical free home environments, love, respect and peace. So what if you don’t? What I believe has no effect on how I feel about people who don’t feel the same. It took me along time to accept that people are different and not let this affect me. But as for people who ridicule and judge without even taking the first look at the hard facts- I think you stink! That’s all…stepping off of my soapbox now…