Isn't this woman gorgeous? Photo courtesy of Martin Schoeller/New York Times
This picture inspired me to write this post. I think it's stunning (mom looks like a model!) and the controversy it created is a complete exageration. But I wanted to share my perspective on this crunchy/attachment parenting thing.
Let me start off by saying I was born and raised in Holland. The epidural wasn't even introduced in this country until 2007. The way we birthed here changed forever because of it. Not in a good or a bad way, it just changed. So the whole natural vs medicated thing is an issue here too. I grew up with the idea that women have babies at home alone with their husbands or with a midwife and that women breastfeed. So you can basically call me crunchy. Plus, my parents are Caribbean and Caribbean people tend to be naturally crunchy without printing t-shirts and handing out flyers.
Please don't get me wrong. I do plan on babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, making my own babyfood, (unassisted) homebirthing and all that jazz. And I basically agree with everything except for co sleeping and hovering over your kids all the time.
But lately the natural community is getting on my nerves. I have to deal with moms who figured out how to google and are therefor experts (a certain teen mom on youtube with 3 kids by 2 guys is a pro at this). It seems like some of these moms discovered that birth and childrearing is done completely different in other parts of the world. But instead of just taking this information in and moving on. They took the natural thing and ran with it. I personally feel like the "hype" around breastfeeding, childwearing, natural birth and baby food is getting annoying.
I really, REALLY dislike the way how some moms walk around boasting about breastfeeding like they invented it. There isn't a Mongolian/African/Caribbean woman who would go around and talk and preach about it the entire day. She wouldn't host sit ins, she wouldn't post snarky things about it or post pictures of it on Facebook. She would just do it, because it's not interesting. If we want breastfeeding to be as normal as bottlefeeding (which I feel it already is. If you have a problem with people who have a problem with it, you're the one with the problem), we need to stop talking about it like it's special. Because it's not.
I feel the exact same way about baby wearing, baby food and co-sleeping. I grew up with the idea that there was no baby food. You ate what everybody ate without seasoning. Did I die? No. Babywearing, you either do it or you don't. Let's not make a big deal about that either. Your baby will be fine either way. You clothdiaper? Big whoop. There's no need to try to convince everyone to do the same everytime you open your mouth. You co-sleep? Great. Going off on anti co-sleeping campaigns is cool and all but please don't ridicule moms who are sincerely worried. Sure, you can pull the primitive tribe card, but either pull it every time or don't pull it at all. Because there are tribes who throw their kids of buildings and offer them to the gods. Not buying a stroller? Good for you. But you do realize that people in primitive countries who are babywearing now would probably consider a stroller too if they could afford one. Gave birth in the backyard? Awesome. Now leave the mom who had a C-section alone and take your stories elsewhere.
My point is, when things like this get to the point where moms who don't opt for these things are being looked down on, things are getting out of hand. No mom should ever make another mom feel like shit. It's like a ginger kid who makes fun of another ginger kid for being ginger. The pushyness of some of these mothers is so annoying I don't know where to begin. Sure, you can say "you should do whatever you want" But don't think moms don't notice your cocky undertone.
Here's what I feel. Wanna give your child formula food? Go ahead. Wanna buy a stroller? Please do. Feel more comfortable birthing in a hospital and getting an epidural? You should do it. Don't wanna stick your boob in your 2 year old's mouth anymore? Whatever, it's about the milk, not the boob. Pump if you still want to give your kid the benefit of momma's milk (because let's face it, there's no need to give a bigger child the boob anymore if it's only about the milk, which it almost never is) or don't do anything.
Do whatever you feel is best. Is the kid fed, dressed, safe and loved? Then you're doing a good job.
Screw what anyone else thinks, tell the crazy crunch mom from next door to go hug to a tree and move on.