Monday, August 24, 2009

This Thinking Mama

Our family November'08

I've asked mothers who I feel embody natural parenting practices to guest blog for our Thinking Mama Monday posts. Of course they have graciously accepted. I decided it was only fair before asking them to share their very personal stories, that I ask the same of myself. And since I have not spoken much of what attracted me to Attachment/Natural Parenting, I thought now was a good time to do so.

It started for me over 10 years ago, in high school.

I was researching cultures around the world and found that Asia, South America, Africa and Australia had one thing in common: A majority of the people in these places did not use diapers until American diaper companies introduced them in the 1980's. They instead listened to their infant's cues when he needed to eliminate---just like when a baby cries because he is hungry, tired, hot or cold. This one practice, (called Elimination Communication or EC) opened my eyes to a whole other way of parenting I didn't know existed,

Attachment Parenting- also known as AP.

It did then, and still does make so much sense to listen to our children. I became addicted to researching parenting philosophies. While I view myself as relaxed in some AP practices and more "to the letter" in others, I do it because it helps me feel fulfilled as a mother. I strongly believe that everyone should get all the information they can and make the decisions that work best for them in their families. Period. Every situation is different, and judgement should never be made of other's choices.

My faith in AP was strengthened when I became a mother...3 times over.

In August '07 my husband Roger and I enjoyed a beautiful birth at home with our son Morris. His arrival was one of the pinnacle events for me as a woman. I was born a mother that day.

Last summer we learned we were expecting twins. I had an extremely healthy, uncomplicated, pregnancy. Every test was perfectly textbook, but due to Arizona laws (which I deem unconstitutional) regarding homebirth of twins, my real plan was to birth out of state--(In a hotel with an out of state midwife trained in twin birth). In the meantime I met with a doctor and (unofficially) consulted with a homebirth midwife (who knew nothing of my plan) concerning diet, etc. Despite having the best of both worlds, our boys Sheldon and Thomas were suddenly born premature and lived only a short while before graduating this life. Tests reveal no medical reason or explanation for the early labor and as a spiritual person, I know they were meant for a different mission than this life had to offer. Yet even with this knowledge, I was born a baby-lost mother on that day last October.

The message I want and need other women to know regarding my situation is that were it not for my beautiful, empowering, life changing homebirth with Morris, I wouldn't have had the strength to be emotionally present at the exquisitely heartbreaking birth of my twins. I experienced both the joy and sadness that birthing two angels brings a mother. Being emotionally present has made all the difference in my grieving process. The bond I have with Morris has helped me continue to heal and I know that is strengthened by breastfeeding, co-sleeping and other AP practices.

Unfortunately, most hospitals are not equipped to support mothers spiritually and emotionally after these kinds of experiences as my AP community did. For these, and many other reasons, I strongly believe in the midwifery model for uncomplicated pregnancies and plan to birth at home when given the opportunity.

I started this blog in the hopes of passing on a gift I was given: The knowledge of choices in birth and parenting.

We have the freedom to choose for ourselves what is best for our families in where we birth and how we parent. Exercise those freedoms and learn all you can.


Beth said...

I love your views on parenting! They are very inspiring- make so much sense. I have always co-slept with my babies and despite what some sources/people may say, knew it was best for my babies and me. Now that they are all sleeping soundly in their own beds, I cherish the time I had to snuggle with them and feel their little warm breath on me. Nothing can replace that.

Emily Ruth said...

Thank you for the kind words Beth. I can see the deep bond you have with your little ones as well(although they are growing so big, so fast---we can't really say "little ones" anymore, can we?)
Blessings to you and your family~

Jessica said...

Beautiful. I also love/agree with your parenting views and have learned so much from you already! I look forward to making many more positive changes in my daughter's life, and honestly with all the knowledge I have now, I can't wait to start fresh with my future children.

Thank you!

Emily Ruth said...

Thank you Jessica. You are a beautiful mother and I look forward to hearing your experiences as well!