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Motherhood Evolved

Posted on July 26, 2012 at 1:49 PM
"This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe's Blog Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Timbra Wiist landslidephotography {at} hotmail {dot} com. Today's post is about how becoming a mother evolves our motherhood. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed in the comments section at www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com The Carnival runs July 16th through the 31st!"   

What I imagined motherhood was going to be: A pipe dream.  A nightmare of watching other happy families while I tried to put a smile on my face.  I had been told that I was probably not going to be able to have children when I was twenty years old.  My husband and I were open to adopting, however we hoped and prayed for one child of our own.    

 Then I got pregnant!  I was going to be the perfect mother – loving, encouraging, building his/her self-esteem, never going to raise my voice, not going to spank. We were going to be so happy!!   I planned to breastfeed our child until his/her first birthday (we did not find out the gender).  I created a well-appointed nursery with refurbished second-hand furniture in which our baby would sleep and play.  I believed in spanking when it was appropriate.  As a working mom, I was willing to use shortcuts in the kitchen to get food on the table, so our pantry was well stocked with canned beans and goodies from Trader Joe’s to make quick suppers.   

 Eight years later, we could not be further from this picture if we had tried on purpose.  We now have four children and I joyfully left my career to take be a work at home mom. 

My mantra is this: 
  •  Be Blissful 
  •  Listen 
  •  Say Yes   


 I raise my voice although with the help of Lotus Wei products, I am doing it less and less. I really, really make an effort to take a deep breath before I say something.  I do not believe in spanking these beautiful gifts that I have been given.  Instead, we have appropriate consequences that honor their personhood.  

Here are some other things that have changed: 
  • Co-sleeping 
  • Duration of breastfeeding
  • Food habits   


CO-SLEEPING 
 When our daughter was born in the hospital, they wanted us to put her in the bassinet to sleep next to the bed.  I jut could not bring myself to put her away from me – I just wanted to look at her and hold her and look at her some more.  As it turns out, it was easiest for me to breastfeed in a semi-reclining position, so we just fell asleep nestled together.   

 This continued when we got home.  My husband and I made up the downstairs guest bedroom to be our “nest” while we bonded as a family.  It was close to a bathroom and our kitchen, and I did not have to bother with climbing the stairs for about a week.  I look back at those times fondly.   

 Our nursery was upstairs, and once I felt comfortable enough to climb up the stairs, baby stayed with me.  I thought her nursery was too far away and she liked sleeping on her tummy.  We listened to our pediatrician’s admonitions “back to sleep”.  The minute we put her on her back, she woke up.  We decided we preferred to sleep, so our choice was to hold her on our chests when she slept so she was not technically sleeping on her tummy and we all got more rest.   

 I started reading the co-sleeping articles given to us by our Bradley™ teacher and looked for more info on my own so we could make an informed choice, and also to learn about safe co-sleeping practices.  My feelings about having children in our bed were shaped by a co-sleeping article that made this observation: many adults dislike sleeping alone, so what makes us think that our children would enjoy it or that they should be forced to separate from their sleep companions?   

 Our sleeping arrangements grew to a family bed – she only slept in the nursery occasionally for naps, and by the time she was eighteen months old, she could climb out.  The crib became more of a hazard than a helper and it became more of an accessory than a functional piece of furniture.  We liked the family bed so much that each baby has slept with us until they are about a year old, and beyond that we call them “flexible arrangements”.  Our children start the night in their own beds, or asleep together on the couch – where everyone wakes up is a different story.   

BREASTFEEDING 
 Neither my daughter nor I were ready to end the nursing relationship when we reached the twelve-month mark.  So we blew past that milestone and we explored and enjoyed extended breastfeeding.  She nursed until she was twenty-two months old.  It was a mutual, gentle process.   

 Now I am exploring new territory.  I have a son who is about to turn three in four days who is still nursing along with his baby sister who is almost ten months old.  I was thinking about starting to do a more forceful weaning with him – after all, he is going to be three, right??   

 Wrong.  He has pinkeye right now.  It reinforces even more why we are still nursing.  He can get the benefit of power-packed milk to help him through this little bump and hopefully speed the healing process.  So for now, I will continue to be a tandem nurser, and we will wait it out and work it out together.  

NUTRITION 
 “I am never going to feed our kiddos hot dogs.” 
 “Our children are not going to drink sports drinks.”   

 I wonder if every “crunchy” mama says that to herself.  This is the first year our children have ever eaten a hot dog.  One child at 7 years, one at 4 years, and the youngest hot dog eater is 2 years old.  Will it really make a difference?  I do not know.  It is a every once in a while meal.  They think it’s a treat – I still call it junk food!   

 We have used sports drinks when the kiddos get dehydrated.  A natural alternative that we are now using is coconut milk and/or trace minerals depending on the kiddo.  Which brings me to the next point: there are easy choices - there are natural choices...and sometimes they converge.   

 Our two oldest children have had since birth or have developed food allergies, which have brought us back to the point where our children, for the most part, eat primarily fruits and vegetables along with free range meats.  No more shortcuts or canned foods.  No more foods that have chemicals or ingredients that we cannot pronounce.  If it is not a whole food or a grain product with whole ingredients, they are not eating it.  Unless it’s a hot dog.   

 Is it a commitment?  Yes.  Is it worth it?  We decided it was a yes.  There are so many children’s diseases on the rise in our country: autism, diabetes, ADD, ADHD, cancer, leukemia…the list goes on.  Our choice was to do our part to reduce the pesticides, other chemicals and plastics in their bodies.  We will take the extra time and money to invest in their health by buying organic foods and preparing those for snacks instead of the commercial foods sold as “snacks”.  

EVOLVED
 These choices work for our family:  what I have learned as a mom for the last few years is that I can only make choices for my family.  We all have different realities to deal with and different parenting dynamics.  The beautiful thing about children is that they are resilient despite our learning curve.  As long as a family is not making choices that are abusive, I believe that we as a mom-tribe need to hold each other up.  We need to honor that each family is doing the best they can with the information they have, even if those choices are vastly different from ours.  We need to resist the forces that tear us apart if our choices are not the same, because at the end of the day, we only have to answer for our children.  We can pray for those we can't see and peacefully set an example for other parents; they may, or may not, take it to heart.  They may just say we are loonies, and that is okay, too!

 Here are a couple of illustrations to close with: 



    

For more information from EWG and to sign up for updates, go to http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/   

Has your motherhood in action changed from what you envisioned before you became a mother?  How?

Disclaimer:  
Bradley Method® natural childbirth classes offered in Arizona: Chandler, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Gilbert, Mesa, Scottsdale, PaysonThe material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.  
This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®. 

Categories: Breastfeeding, Co Sleeping, Family Bed, Nutrition, Parenting

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