cultivated by community
If you had to describe a moment in which you acted purely out of instinct regarding your children, what would it be?
- The first night in the hospital after my first daughter was born. I had done zero reading or further research on how I was supposed to act when I had my baby girl, but somehow I knew that she just wasn’t supposed to be away from me. She was born at 6 pm and the nurses came in my post partum room every 2-4 hours around the clock to try to take her from me so I could get some rest. I absolutely refused. My parents, her paternal grandparents, friends, everyone told me to just take her to the nursery so I could get some rest… there was NO way.
- I guess I would say when I knew I had lost my baby earlier this year. It was the most overwhelming instinctual mothering experience I’ve ever had. I knew it was happening and I had known it was happening for weeks but never owned up to the feelings I was having. When I finally could trust those instincts enough to actually “look” into it and then talked my body through the miscarriage – it was truly a testament to the mind/body connection of myself as a mother.
- Definitely when I “allowed” him to sleep next to me when he was newborn. I hadn’t read anything positive about co-sleeping (but had read plenty of negative things) and my mom was warning me that I could smother him if I let him sleep with me. But there was nowhere else he would sleep other than on my or DH’s chest, so that’s what we did, and we finally got some sleep after several nights of futilely trying to make him sleep alone!
- I guess it would have to be our early stages of child-rearing. When she was an infant, I had done very little reading on AP, and was pretty much learning by instinct how to mother. I found myself very drawn to my DD — I nursed on demand, slept with or next to her, carried her all day long, told her each day what a blessing she was to me. When she was a few months old, I got on the internet and found that much of what I was doing could be called “AP” and started reading about the “practices” of the philosophy that was already embedded deep within my soul.
- Three profound things come immediately to mind…Once, when I was about 7 months pregnant with my second, my first daughter fell down the stairs, and I literally DOVE after her, right on my very pregnant belly. Thankfully we were all ok, but let me just say that that was absolutely, without a doubt, 100% maternal gut instinct at work. Thinking about having to think about it makes my heart ache. Another example was a dream that I had while pregnant with my first. I actually saw her face. Her big round wide set eyes, her mouth, everything. When she was born I knew that I had already “met” her. The other example is that I knew in my soul that my second child had Down Syndrome before she was born. Again, almost like I had already met her.
- *Knowing* that despite 3 u/s saying my daughter was freakishly small that she was fine, and refusing any other tests or suggestions that our IUGR baby be born in hospital. We had a *perfect* homebirth and she was 7lb 10oz.
- My daughter HAD to sleep on top of me for the first six months of her life. We *both* insisted on this. I didn’t even think of it at the time, but she had several apnea episodes where I immediately awoke, looked her in the eyes and reminded her to breathe (and she did). It’s scary to think what could have happened had she been sleeping away from me (even just next to me on the bed may have been too far away).
- Never leaving them. When it came time for me to go back to work after having my 1st…I just couldn’t— even though I would be taking her with me. Every cell in my being was telling me that she needed me, that we needed eachother and I should stay home and focus on her 100%. It was then that my child(ren) became the center of my world. I am not only glad I listened to that booming drum inside of me telling me to STAY HOME, but don’t really know how I couldn’t- it was so overpowering.
- On our vacation this summer we were road side camping. I was up with Lily nursing and the people in the site next to us told us there was a bear behind the tent. I don’t even remember getting the girls into the car I moved so fast!
- Not one moment but always: RUNNING to get her when she cried or cries, even now. Her cry, even those that are clearly not because of “danger” or “pain,” lights a fire under me.
If you were asked to write a national advice column for parents, what would be the subject of your first article?
- My first article would be about my experience as an attached working mom, how I found my work at home job, and how I manage to work at home and raise my kids. The importance of terrific caregivers if you HAVE to work and how mothers have worked in one capacity or another since the beginning of time.
- I think the subject would have to be on positive parenting.
- It would be about how punishment hurts children.
- I would want to write about positive parenting in my first article; being an attached, working mom in my second.
- Well, how about a nice catchy title like: SPOIL THOSE CHILDEN!!! This would catch the attention of the mainstream, I would think. It would be almost the reverse of the advice that has been dished out by the “experts” and instead would focus on following instinct rather than trying so hard to ignore it for fear of “spoiling.” My series of articles would be a logical progression of instinct leading to attachment leading to positive parenting resulting in secure child.
- Letting your child act freely emotionally. I have a real problem with this. This is a topic I am too willing to study right now. My parents never let me feel what I felt, always telling me what I’m supposed to be feeling and getting punished for their own assumptions. I get out of control and my brain is like mud where it just isn’t comprehending the emotional sense my child is feeling. Sad, isn’t? But, because I AM aware of this, I don’t let it get too far.
- Trusting your instincts, not advice columnists.
- Empowering mothers to listen to their instincts above all else.
- Respecting THE CHILD’S needs. I read an article recently where the mom that was writing in for advice was told, in making life decisions for herself and her child, she was to THINK OF HER CAREER FIRST!! She would always have her child, but if she left the workplace she might never get back that lost time with work…missing important promotions, being out of the loop, etc. It was all about MOM and HER needs. Blech. I would write about the child’s needs…following your child’s lead, the need for attached parents, basically AP with your child from day one.
- It would be called “The REAL problem with kids today” and rather than go on and on about how they have no respect, and live lazy lives, it would be about how they need love, attachment and a parent who is there at all times.
- Children are Human, Too
If you were to guess how much time you spend each week with your spouse discussing the raising of the family, how much would it be?
- 10 hours a week, easy.
- Oh, man, I would have to say at least 15 hours. DH & I are home together all day so we are frequently discussing our son or what we think or something I’ve read or the upcoming homebirth or something of the sort.
- I’m not sure I could quantify this – easily 15 hours or more. Many conversations about other topics, such as politics, in a roundabout way are also about the raising of our family.
- At least 10 hours or so a week, easily. We talk every day about the subject, and when we are not actually “talking” we are reading about it (I have started sending DH favorite articles & links for him to read; then we discuss them together).
- Oh, lots. Probably 15 at least. Probably more, but I don’t want it to seem like that’s ALL we talk about. (we talk lots about sex too, lol)
- Ha! Maybe two seconds. Remember, DH is only home on the weekends, and that’s not a lot of time. ALLLLLLLL the raising is up to me, and I don’t like that. It sort of feels like a single parent, “Oh Daddy will be visiting on the weekends.” It’s getting old. But I CAN’T complain. It’s tricky what is going on with his business, and we can’t afford to move right now.
- 10 hours at least! I’d say it’s closer to 16 hours. Two hours a day and longer on weekends.
- Probably 1/3 of the time that we are together!
- An hour or two most weeks.
- Whew! I would guess it would be about 75% of the time we sepend together!!! We are ALWAYS talking about our son and daughter (and now the new baby).
- About 25 hours….we talk about it constantly.
- Half an hour. More, much more, on the weeks when I freaking lose it and we scheme and scam about how I could possibly stop working.
If you had to describe in complete, ruthless honesty what first went through your mind the first time you saw your newborn baby, what would you say?
- Oh My Goodness, her head is HUUUUGE!
- He’s so LITTLE. They had told me for MONTHS how huge he was going to be, scared me shitless when I got to the hospital..he was so TINY.
- I thought, I’m glad I didn’t die before getting to see him. 🙁 (I had a traumatic c/s experience and truly believed I was dying during it.)
- Relief that she was “okay” and joy that she was a girl (I had no real gender preference, but some small part of me wanted and felt that this baby was a girl).
- My first: Oh my GOD look at all that HAIR – she’s a furball!!!!! Immediately followed by sheer awe and overwhelming love. Lots of tears. My second: Oh my GOD she really does have Down Syndrome. I don’t WANT her. I didn’t ask for this. I can’t DO this. Immediately followed by sheer terror and extreme guilt. Lots of tears. (For those who don’t know my story, please know that after the shock wore off I was able to bond with her and love her with all my heart and soul.)
- A Complete and utter meltdown, he was sooooo beautiful. I wept, as my arms were strapped down beside me, a curtain blocking the rest of the room, and my guts hanging out as an “intern” put them back in. I felt helpless and scared out of my mind that I couldn’t hold my baby, and some stranger took him away. Thank God DH followed our son the whole way until he came to me.
- My son: BREATHE BABY! Please don’t ever stop breathing! My daughter: OMG!!! LOOK AT MY BEAUTIFUL BABY!!!!
- First baby – he’s so ugly! (well…he was! totally bruised and scratched, enormous caput and covered in blood!) Second baby – She’s so so so perfect (her birth was SO much easier) Third baby – She’s here!!
- I was just so relieved that he was here and that labor was over.
- What a moment to think about- the best, bliss! I think I was overwhelmed that she was a girl, I was sooooo excited to have a girl…and I think I had no thoughts– it was just love, complete and total, utter love. I kept telling everyone that I couldn’t see her for days- every time I looked at her my eyes would well up with tears blurring her– total love!
- Thank god it is over! 🙁 The birth was very tramatic, I felt completly at the mercy of the hosptal staff and knew when I saw her that they would finally leave me be.
- “Now what?” No, seriously, the first thing I did was laugh out loud because she actually *was* a girl. (Sheeple here had an ultrasound at 20 weeks for basically no reason whatsoever.)
If you had to list three ideal qualities for fatherhood, what would they be?
- Voluntary Sincere Involvement. Pure excitement for fatherhood, being the horsey for horsey rides, strong shoulders for long shoulder rides, gentle hands with a hairbrush. Desire to be the breadwinner, the one who is financially responsible for our family.
- A willingness to be there and not have the limelight (from either mom or baby). A willingness to forge through his own childhood issues and invest in knowledge for raising his child the best way he can. Patience.
- Self-sacrifice. Patience. Genuine enjoyment in spending time with children.
- A willingness to be involved in all aspects of childcare (from poopy diapers to just snuggling the baby). Patience. 3. Respect and support for the mother/baby nursing relationship.
- Selflessness. Patience. Emotional, mental, and financial stability.
- Patience. Empathy. Humor.
- A man who thinks father is a verb. A man who has his shit together enough to parent positively. A man who wants to be a provider but not at the expense of being a dad.
- Selflessness. Compassion. A sense of humor.
- Patience. Ability to love and be truely selfless. Be a wonderful provider.
- Unconditional love. Desire to be with family 99% of the time. Ability to cry in love, sadness, joy and pain.
- Patience, a sense of humor, and patience.
If you were to describe what you think the special constitutional rights of kids should be, what would you say?
- Children should have the right not to be hit, the right to sovereignty over their own bodies (barring a few medical emergencies as exceptions), the right to learn in a setting and manner that respects their individuality, and the right to be spoken to with respect.
- That every child has the right to be treated with respect; the right to be protected from verbal or physical abuse; the right to a warm, loving home environment; the right to quality educational settings (whether home- or school-based) that respect the unique, individual attributes of the child; and freedom from prejudices/harassment/discrimination based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, etc.
- Without having enough time right now to go in too much depth, would it be fair to simply say that they have a right for people to remember that they DO have rights, and to honor them???
- The right to have a childhood unclouded by adult bias of the world – I guess the right to their innocence. The same rights and freedoms guaranteed adults with regard to their bodies. I think spanking is assault and should be treated as such. The right to persue an education in whatever way works for them.
- The right to be loved and respected and to have their needs put first.
- The right to be treated like an individual human being, just as adults are…such as…the right to be completely free from abuse, to be free from the murder of abortion, and the right to have a loving person raise them FT…whether that be parents, a relative, or allomother.
- Right to TRUE love. Right to breastmilk. Right to have a family member with them at all time. Right to a whole body. Right to acceptance.
- I can’t think of any special rights in addition to the ones that already exist for PEOPLE. Just having them seen as PEOPLE would make all the difference.
If you were to say in a word what the “family glue” in your household is, what would it be?
- Without question, a mutual and equal respect for ALL family members.
- Unconditional love. No question.
- Love, love love…equal to commitment.
- Unconditional-Love. (I had to hypenate it to make it one word. :-p)
- Giggles. Laughing together does wonders for DH & I, and for DH & our daughter, and of course that’s what she and I spend half our time doing.