After becoming a parent, I desperately wanted to do better, live healthier, be more aware, for myself and my child. I found attachment parenting, and liberating philosophies such as yours, for which I am grateful. And I also began to become aware of the damaging and unhealthy products, chemicals, and toxins in our world and food and homes, which it seems from your writing that you are aware of as well. This knowledge has produced a lot of good and healthy changes in my family, and also has caused a lot of worry and regret for me. I wish I had known about much of it earlier, to have better protected my child, and I sometimes lose sleep worrying about all of it, with so much out of my control. How does a parent learn to cope with this?
Dear regretful parent,
Birth is like appearing on a train ride that is already moving full speed; a ride of life that is in constant change. In other words, the baby is born into an evolution, not into a stand still arrival. Every single child goes through being cared for one way and then another and into society that changes constantly. What is considered good today may be found unhealthy tomorrow. There are no exceptions. You will keep changing and learning and your child will ride the waves with the changes you and the world bring into his life.
When you lose sleep, notice the thought, “I shouldn’t have fed him french fries,” or,
“I shouldn’t have let him suckle on plastic toys.” These thoughts are your own torture chamber. Reality is peaceful: Your child started with some toxins and now his body is cleaning up; children’s bodies clean themselves very fast. I encourage you to keep learning about better foods that clean the body. Be proactive instead of regretful. Many children today have toxins from their mother’s body, accumulated through pregnancy and mother’s milk as well as environmental toxins. Bodies are magical. They can handle a lot. And, with real foods in their original form, much of it clears up.
When my children were young we still ate bread and cooked food, used organic processed foods and personal care products, in the belief that these were healthy. Now my kids are adults and a teen and they continue on with these habits, while I have since learned much more. They won’t stop eating bread and heating their food till its dead and toxic. They also won’t stop using shampoo, plastic water bottles and other toxic organic products that I didn’t know to avoid when they were young. However, I am also ready and willing to discover new possibilities that contradict what I know today. I never arrive to a final knowing. That is not possible.
Life and children go progressively more and more out of your control. Take care of your ability to let go by not believing your own thoughts. They are not always a good guide. Regretful thoughts only take you away from being happily with your child now.
Celebrate how lucky your child is to have a parent who is learning all the time. You and your child are on a path together. What you know now, will change too. Regretting the past is something you will eventually regret. Because, being in love with this moment is the greatest gift your can give your child and yourself.
Warmly, Naomi Aldort, www.AuthenticParent.com