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Why can't I be just a mother??!! "AP vs.Mainstreem Parents" - Page 8

post #141 of 301
Originally posted by pugmadmama
The thing is, you can only breastfeed, babywear and cloth diaper for so long. Then you've got over a decade of active parenting left. I think it's really important to let people know that you can adopt an AP lifestyle at any time during a child's life.

I formula fed my son, didn't co-sleep, didn't baby wear and used cloth diapers because he was allergic to disposables. But, as strange as this may sound, I've been an AP parent from the very start. I've always strived to treat my son with dignity and respect. I've never hit him, I rarely yell at him and we are very closely bonded.

If I'd not been "let in" by some AP Mamas, inspite of my "lousy" credentials in the baby years, then I might not have become the mother I am. As my son comes up on the teenage years, I think AP actually becomes more important. And so, in my opinion, "excluding" (intentionally or unintentionally) people because of what they did or didn't do in the first five years of parenting seems a bit hasty when there is such a need to spread the message of AP with older children.
I think this is probably the most important point anyone has made in this thread and in past threads of a similar nature. It's rather simple to define "Attachment Parenting" when your child is still so dependent upon you for everything. As they grow, I feel the definition gets more and more vague. I believe the practices most people associate with AP are good and valuable and deserve consideration. However, those very tangible and visible things end very early on in our childrens' lives.

It's important to be mindful and careful and lay a sturdy foundation. But there's a lot more work when Mama starts moving from the center of baby's universe. It gets harder.

I may say things that either are or at least sound judgmental about the baby years stuff. However, I'm only really really angry at the parents of older children in my neighborhood who just aren't paying attention.

I know a very loving mother who couldn't breastfeed her sons. They are 10 and 16 and are just the most pleasant kids to be around. I know another mother who nursed all four of her children. Three of them are struggling to keep it together as adults. The fourth had a bunch of therapy and is getting better. That fourth one has a daughter who is taking great strides to break the cycle of abuse the breastfeeder kept going.

In general, this community would probably have been much more accepting of the latter because she did one thing "right".

We know what works for us as individuals. We can feel sad for someone that they won't know the joy we find in babywearing/co-sleeping/breastfeeding/diaper stalking. That doesn't mean we're better or happier. Share, put the information out there. But don't insist it work for everyone. I was doing this myself and have really cut myself off from some pretty neat women. That's the saddest thing of all.
post #142 of 301
Originally posted by melixxa
I know that I for one certainly can't call up my mom or even my sister and ask for sympathy or empathy because my baby kept us up all night and I'm dropping on my feet. "Why isn't he in his crib in his room??" they would ask.
This is *completely* OT, but I wanted to say that just because a baby is in his crib in his own room does NOT mean that he can/will not keep you up all night! I can attest to this fact from personal experience, LOL! So apparently what your mom and sister are really saying is "put him somewhere far away from you so you don't have to respond when he cries", which is worlds away from "put him in his own crib".

Why did I feel the need to say that? I don't know! I guess I have spent one too many nights rocking my crib-sleeping boy in my arms at 3:00 AM to not respond, lol!
post #143 of 301
Wow....I just wanted to second the notion of "being let in".

When I was pg with Lucy, I lurked on the AP forum on another site. I thought those folks were the biggest bunch of freaks. Same with LLL. After I had Lucy, those were the same people who gave me "permission" to follow my instincts and allow Lucy to sleep with us. When I thought I was strange because I didn't want to be away from her, they supported me and I didn't feel so alone. And they are the same people that support me when I get grief from my mom about the way I parent. Same with LLL. Now, I "get it", KWIM? And it just makes me want to shake my pg friends by the shoulders and show them the light. Sigh.
post #144 of 301
Ok I have been reading this whole thread and trying to stay out of the debate, but well here I am with my .02

Originally posted by Piglet68
Ignorance is, literally, "not knowing". Too many women are never taught the TRUTH or the FACTS about babies and they get their parenting practices from the local doctor or what "everyone else" is doing.

AP parents, almost by definition, have to do research and make concious choices because, for most of us, that information is not readily available. Thus, whatever an AP parent does, is almost always done WITH KNOWLEDGE, and as a concious choice to do what is best for the baby. NOT what is most convenient for the parent. And that is why so many of us differ in our individual practices, and yet still come together under the auspices of AP.
This is where I disagree. Sure some of the parents you would label as “mainstream” may choose their ways of parenting out of ignorance, but I think that is a pretty sweeping generalization. I don’t think that parents who are not “AP” are parenting out of ignorance. I think they just have different values and needs than I do.

Let me see if I can clarify that.

Let’s use the example of a parent who decides to use CIO to get their baby to sleep through the night.

Perhaps that parent has a stronger need for uninterrupted sleep than I do and values that over the baby’s need to be close at night or wake up for night feedings. Maybe that parent values independence more than I do. Maybe they want they’re child to be able to sooth themselves to sleep rather than to be parented to sleep.

I may not believe my child needs to be independent at night, but that doesn’t mean another mother is ignorant for wanting that. And I bet you that mother could have read many “experts” that would back up her opinion, just as many of us have read plenty of “experts” who feel contrary.

Is she ignorantly making the choice to CIO? No. Do I agree with that choice? No because it doesn’t mesh with my values and goals for my family. Is she wrong and I am right, am I smart and she’s ignorant? IMHO no, we just hold different beliefs and values.

I think that is what upsets me on the boards sometimes. It is the attitude that we are right and “they” are wrong. I don’t think there is a right or wrong in parenting (of course that does not include blatant neglect or abuse). I think everyone has to do what’s right for his or her family and it is of no benefit to point our fingers at people who parent differently and disparage them.

I have friends who are very AP, more so than me, and friends who would fall under the category of “mainstream,” but all of those moms I see are making intelligent decisions for their family and raising their children with as much love as I raise mine.
post #145 of 301
I have friends who are very AP, more so than me, and friends who would fall under the category of “mainstream,” but all of those moms I see are making intelligent decisions for their family and raising their children with as much love as I raise mine.

I agree.....so would alot of people here. Is that being disputed?
post #146 of 301
Originally posted by rainsmom
I agree.....so would alot of people here. Is that being disputed?
I’m sorry, I should have been clearer. My point was that I have come to my conclusion that there is no right or wrong way to parent and that each family choose their path by what fits in with their values because I have friends who parent each so differently, but each with thought (not ignorance) and caring.
post #147 of 301
I would be willing to bet that most mamas who do CIO honestly do NOT know about studies that show the physiological effects (stress) of prolonged crying, or that babies cry for a legitimate reason and not to "manipulate". I cannot imagine a mother choosing CIO with full awareness of these facts. I think they hear the usual diatribe from society, read a few ferber-like books, and decide that whatever effect is has on baby is simply not significant enough to avoid doing it.

How many crib-sleeping mamas do you know who think that it is dangerous to sleep with your newborn (heck, it was all over the news a while back with that ridiculous "study" from the CRTC). How many think it is fostering dependence, that your child will "never want to leave", etc. It's one thing to try cosleeping, decide it doesnt' work, and crib-sleep. I honestly do not beleive that the majority of crib-using parents do that. They just think crib-sleeping is "it".

Sorry, but that's ignorant. The facts are out there. I don't see the majority of parents getting access to those facts unless they dig a little.
post #148 of 301
I'm struggling with this concept of others who choose cio and other non-ap practices such as spanking or crib sleeping or formula feeding as being people who are "making intelligent decisions for their family" and that if we call this either ignorant or wrong, we're being judgemental. In fact, I struggle with the whole judgemental issue.

Now I dont dispute that many of these people are "and raising their children with as much love as I raise mine." Indeed, I have a friend who spanks her children because she 'loves them' and she truly believes that she is doing a better job of raising and disciplining her children than I am doing with mine. You can love someone but still make some very bad choices.

However, at the end of the day, I personally feel that I need to make judgements, not of people, but of practices. My judgement is that someone who chooses to cio, or to spank, or to circumcise (sorry, I know that one is the most contentious, which is ironic imo) or to formula feed, is not making an 'intelligent' decision. They might not have searched to find the facts, or they might have found them but rejected them. But I cannot see how choosing to do any of these things is intelligent.

Like, its intelligent to refuse to feed your child the best possible nutrition. It's intelligent to leave him to cry because your need for sleep is greater than his physiological need for comfort. It's intelligent to mutilate his genitals. It's intelligent to hit him.

None of those, imo, are intelligent behaviours. And I dont see anythng morally wrong in being honest about something wrong, and calling it 'wrong'. That doesnt mean that we can't sympahtise with someones problems that lead them to make wrong choices, or support them in their quest for knowledge, or forgive them their mistakes. But I dont believe it is honest to fudge the issue and say it's judgemental to call a spade a spade, in the appropriate place of course. And to me, mdc should be that place.
post #149 of 301
Britishmum said:

That doesnt mean that we can't ....... forgive them their mistakes

Oh my : ! I was with you until then!
post #150 of 301
Originally posted by Britishmum
I'm struggling with this concept of others who choose cio and other non-ap practices such as spanking or crib sleeping or formula feeding as being people who are "making intelligent decisions for their family" and that if we call this either ignorant or wrong, we're being judgemental. In fact, I struggle with the whole judgemental issue.

Justifying being judgmental seems like the oddest thing to me but I’ll leave it at that.

All I feel like saying after reading some of the posts is that parenting choices are not made in a vacuum and the extent to which a person freely chooses a parenting practice varies greatly from family to family and situation to situation. It is important to remember that especially if you decide that it’s okay to judge. Does anyone really think the choices we make are as simple as “to breastfeed/not to breastfeed” or “to spank/not to spank”? If so, may I say that I think you live a very fortunate life and really shouldn’t judge because for most people the choices are not that simple.

To say that a person didn’t make intelligent choices implies that you know what their choice was about - that you know all of the factors that went into it (some of which, I think are highly abstract and hard for even the individual to identity – like whether or not you were inundated with “bottle images” growing up creating a subconscious attraction to bottle feeding)

I can tell you that my parenting choices usually involve much different issues than another person even if we end up choosing the same “practice”. I can only wonder what I would have “chosen” if any of my “AP” practices were challenging for our family. I know that many parents struggle and up hill battle for the choices they feel are best for their family but I think that those of us who came "naturally" and easily by our choices it’s very hard to judge others choices.

Maybe those of you who pumped in the ICU for a month, followed by painful nursing, mastitis, thrush, combined with a lack of support and a whole host of other things I’ve actually heard of people overcoming in order to continue to nurse can feel justified in judging others who don't make the same "choice". I certainly can not. And, I wager a guess that most women who have overcome challenges in breastfeeding wouldn’t call another women’s decision to give up "ignorant" or “unintelligent”.

Jeez, I mean sometimes it’s not even about what you choose. Sometimes it’s about what’s left when a family factors in all that they have.
post #151 of 301
Originally posted by IdentityCrisisMama
To say that a person didn’t make intelligent choices implies that you know what their choice was about - that you know all of the factors that went into it (some of which, I think are highly abstract and hard for even the individual to identity – like whether or not you were inundated with “bottle images” growing up creating a subconscious attraction to bottle feeding)
I completely agree with this. It's impossible and arrogant to assume we can know any one person's thinking or reasoning behind their decisions, or the lifetime of experiences unique to them that led to that decision. Nor do I believe in judging people for their choices.

I just want to clarify that my post above refers to a perceived majority of cases. I cannot draw any conclusions about an individual. I think the crib-sleeping rates and formula feeding rates in this country speak volumes - they tell me that most of these decisions were NOT made with the baby's best interests at heart, or with full knowledge of the potential harm/consequences. Exactly who those women are well....there's no way to no, and I can't see how any possible good could come of trying to finger them as individuals. Address the issue on a societal/mass educational level.

And btw, I use the word "ignorant" in it's literal meaning. It is not an insult. I myself am ignorant in many areas. I get the feeling some people here are taking it as some sort of insult directed at "other mothers". I just want to clarify that that is not what I'm doing.
post #152 of 301
1) Lacking education or knowledge.
2) Showing or arising from a lack of education or knowledge: an ignorant mistake.
3) Unaware or uninformed.

And I have to say... doing what's right for ME leads me to make decisions that aren't always best for my husband or my children. Maybe formula feeding is right for me because I want to be able to leave at the drop of a hat and I'm creeped out by nuturing my babies with my breasts. Well, that decision is right for me but it's not right for the baby. That's just a hypothetical scenario.

Maybe what AP is all about it making the best decisions for US. Sometimes I have to go with what's best for them though and just sacrifice a bit. That's part of motherhood!
post #153 of 301
Piglet, I know how you were using the word ignorant. I just couldn’t help but go, “woah”, when I read you said, “I think that most of them are just IGNORANT” referring to mainstream parents.

I’m not sure if I’m one of those lucky few that doesn’t have a tremendously negative view of “mainstream” or not but I don’t get the feeling that they are predominantly ignorant about the basic health/emotional needs of infants.

Besides, I would say that lack of knowledge about breastfeeding being the healthiest choice for an infant is not the biggest problem with the FF rates in the US. I’m nearly certain that the vast majority of “mainstream” parents have been given that information at least once. But, I guess that is very OT. I would say that, like with choices, there is much more that goes into it than that.

Like I said, I don’t think the decisions people make are as simple as some of you seem suggest. That’s all I was trying to say.

Also, when you are talking about individual decisions, it gets confusing to me. I have made several choices that did not “have my baby’s best interest at heart”. I have also made some choices being fully aware that “I didn’t have full knowledge of the potential harm/consequences” but I am overall a “very good AP” mom. LOL.

I think we all know that individual choices also need to be looked in the context of the whole parenting package. While, I totally disagree that the “only thing that matters is the child reaching successful adulthood” attitude (for many, many reasons) :

I do believe that the individual choices are not in the least bit helpful when looking at how positively a person parents. (Someone gave a great example earlier)

Sometimes I think this thread is mostly people arguing but they really agree and other times I get the feeling there are some fundamental differences between how some of us think about “other” parents.

I would have to totally agree that it is maybe a regional thing. I guess I can’t relate well to how devastating “mainstream” ideas are because I don’t know any “mainstream” parents who aren’t doing wonderful things for their kids. Apparently, I am not “mainstream” (according to DH and some other family and friends) but I feel very mainstream. I guess I’m just surrounded by a bunch of you “AP” freaks and totally cool “mainstream” mamas.

Fast forward to the political and sociological issues and I’m right on with you radical mamas. I guess that I don’t really separate “us” when I think of the politics. Somehow I feel like almost all of us are mainstream in the way that we are affected by the parenting politics in our communities.

But, I’m stopping now because I don’t even make sense to myself…
post #154 of 301
Lab, if you see what I said in the whole context:

"That doesnt mean that we can't sympahtise with someones problems that lead them to make wrong choices, or support them in their quest for knowledge, or forgive them their mistakes."

I'll try to qualify what I meant. I realise that it sounds odd, especially taken out of context of what I was trying to say (obviously not well!) I"ll try to be clearer by using an example.

I have a friend who circumcise all her sons. (In fact, I have several friends who do this). I think that they are terribly, terribly wrong to do so. It upsets me greatly. One of them is expecting another baby and I pray that it wont be another boy because of this very issue, although I know she wants a boy. However, I am friends with her because of many other things that are bigger than this issue. Applying this to what I said:

I sympathise with the pressures that make her believe that she needs to do this to her sons.
I support her in her quest for knowledge
And yes, I forgive her her mistake.

If I didnt forgive, I wouldnt be able to be friends with her. OF course, the fact it's a mistake is my opinion, not hers. Is it my place to forgive her for what she did to her babies? Maybe not. It's up to her sons in the future to do that. Maybe 'overlook' would be a better word than 'forgive'. But personally, for me, there has to be an element of forgiveness, or I couldnt continue being friends with someone who did this to their child. I had to find it in my heart to forgive her.

However I look at it, I cannot see that I am being judgemental to see that mutilating her beautiful baby boys was morally wrong. Or that spanking them is morally wrong. In order to be her friend, I have to find it in my heart to forgive her these things. I can't just ignore them, so I choose to forgive them.

Which leads me on to Identitycrisismama, who thnks that by asking the basic question, Is it judgemental to see a behaviour that is morally wrong and judge it to be it as morally wrong as being "Justifying being judgmental" As I said, I struggle with the idea of it being judgemental simply to have strong moral values about behaviours. IMO that is not judgemental.

If you separate the behaviour from the person, you can judge the behaviour. Can't you? So, why is it judgemental to judge a behaviour to be wrong? How otherwise to we make moral judgements, how would our judicial system work, for example, if we didnt have to ultimately separate good from evil, right from wrong?

As I said, I struggle with this idea of it being judgemental to call a behaviour wrong. I can understand why people do things, but I cannot call somethng an intelligent behavoiur if it is a behavoiur born from either ignorance of selfishness and is unintelligent in its very nature.

I'm sure I've not made myslef any clearer, so
post #155 of 301
I get what your saying Britishmom.......if you were judgemental, you wouldnt be her friend....
post #156 of 301
Britishmum, I do think that you are justifying being judgmental by saying that you don’t personally see anything wrong with it because to be judgmental is to simply have a moral opinion. To use the word the way you explained makes me judgmental also. It’s just that I have rarely used the word being used that way outside of MDC where the “tone” of the word judgmental seems to be debated frequently.

All I can say is that I have a different way of using the word. I have always thought of the work judgmental to have a more negative tone as if a person can not separate their judgment to see a larger picture or maybe like a person can’t separate their moral feelings from excessive anger, when the person exaggerates the impact of the immoral act or when the person can’t think clearly about the other issues surrounding the person who acted immorally.

I am not, not, not saying that this is how you are, Britishmum (or anyone else here)! I’m just saying that I feel like there is some agreed upon thing (everywhere except MDC) where the word judgmental is a negative thing. But, obviously, I could be wrong.

How does one reconcile having strong moral or political feelings about things and not be judgmental in the negative sense? I don’t know. I can say that I don’t think I’ve ever had a big problem doing so and partially because of the two main points I was trying to make in my posts. 1st “choices” are a tricky thing. We can never really know all the factors that go into a person choices. And, 2nd individual choices even if separated from influences and circumstances are just small factors that make up a person’s parenting.

I would like to ask about when a person feels like they need to justify some parenting choice. If they successfully justify a bad parenting choice (to the person making the moral judgment), do you think that that makes the choice a better choice?
post #157 of 301
"to be judgmental is to simply have a moral opinion",

That's not what I"m saying. I'm saying that it is possible to judge a behaviour to be wrong without being judgemental about the person.

I think that the word 'judgemental' is indeed seen as a bad thing, which it should be. However, someoen is often seen as being judgemental when in fact all they are doing is being clear about a behaviour being right or wrong. That imo is not judgemental. It is having clear moral beliefs.

I think that the edges are often blurred, especially at places like mdc where we are all generally anxious to be the most PC that we can be (I use the term PC because I can't think of a better term, I mean it as a positive trait). We want to be free of -isms, we want to change the world and its thinking. Therefore we cannot bear to be known or thought of as judgemental. We must dot every I and cross every T in our endeavours to be broad-minded. That sometimes leads to us fearing being judgemental, when maybe we should come out and speak more clearly. After all, it is the wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens that is often compromised or even damaged by the practices that as AP parents we mostly reject.

These children cannot speak for themselves. That's why thousands of American little boys are circumcised every day (dont know the figure, I'm sure someone could supply it ) I for one do not fear being labelled as 'judgemental' if I call circumcision what it is. Now, dont get me wrong, I dont do so to friends or where it is inappropriate or ineffective to speak out - heck, I"m British, and politeness and tact are my middle names by default LOL).

But yes, when I was at a hospital tour and the nurse spoke about the 'room where we do the circumcisions" I spoke out, loud and clear. Was I judgemental of those parents who wanted to know where the room was where the operation would be performed on their sons? I don't know. Was I judgemental of the nurse who advised them that if the father was circumcised, the son should be because of locker room teasing? Was it wrong for me to make those parents feel judged for what they were doing? Or was it right for me to speak out for what is right and for their unprotected children?

Where do we draw lines? What is speaking out for right, and what is judgemental? In this instance, I was not judging the parents or the nurse, but the practice. And if being seen as judgemental is a price I had to pay for speaking out against wrong, then so be it. (Incidentally, I am not a brave person and to speak out took courage for me, so please dont get the idea that I am one of those 'blunt' people who just says what she thinks)

That's where I think the word 'judgemental' is thrown around too easily and we can fear it and so avoid doing what is right.

Clear as mud?!!
post #158 of 301
In praise of being judgmental...

I've been popping in and out of this thread and I had some general responses to a few things, starting with the idea of being judgmental.

First of all, of course we're judgmental. Being judgmental is good. Being judgmental means that we are using one of the greatest capacities of the human mind, the capacity that is distinct from those held by most (or maybe even every) other animal: the capacity to reason and choose from among competing possibilities.

Folks, this is no big surprise or insight, but making a choice necessarily means making many non-choices: for every door you walk through, you choose not to walk through several others. The "judgment" involved means that you're choosing the option that you believe, based on your data, to be the very wisest, very best choice. Of course it is -- or you would choose something else!

Personally, I'm a very judgmental person; I can't help it. I think chocolate is better than vanilla, that Mother Teresa is better than Charles Manson, that AP is better than CIO, and breastfeeding beats the diapers off of formula darn near every single time. I made these choices because of my judgment.

Other people will have different data and will make different choices, and I'm free to think they're reasonable (if different) or just plain dumb, or somewhere in between. Hey, for the parent who formula-feeds because she has some condition or issue that makes it effectively impossible, unhealthy, or unwise to breastfeed, that makes sense! For the parent who formula-feeds because they think breastfeeding is somehow icky, well, I think that's ridiculous and I disagree with that opinion.

Okay. What's the matter with that? I'm not trying to sound antagonistic here, but really -- why is it right to refrain from judging people's decisions? To me, speaking for myself, this is about as impossible as suspending my ability to think -- I just can't help BUT make a judgment about darn near everything. And really, though many people's different decisions may be worthy of respect and certainly are worthy of being given the benefit of the doubt, the bottom line is that you can't agree with or respect *every single* point of view. The best we can do is make our decisions for what we hope and pray are the right reasons.

As far as CIO versus AP, initially, I was going to CIO and not co-sleep, maybe breastfeed for a few months, and spank. Hey, that's what my mom did, and since I didn't know the right way to do anything, I initially followed the closest example I had. After reading Dr. Sears, though, I started to read more about cosleeping (which I'd never even heard of!) and it just simply sounded right to me. We still do it! Breastfeeding also became "permitted" when I found out that no, other people *don't* always stop at 3-4 months, and the same with babywearing. Mostly, this was a matter of widening my own data pool and finding out different possibilities. However, I'd say that my initial standpoint was a reasonable one *given the data that I had.* I suspect many CIO parents do the same thing: they do what they believe to be the right thing to do. FWIW, I disagree -- but then again, I'm judgmental.
post #159 of 301
Well said!
post #160 of 301
Charles Baudelaire ~
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