The entry into motherhood is surprisingly abrupt. Yes, you've had a few months to get used to the idea of being a mother; you have the labour time to wish you'd never thought of being a mother, LOL, but then suddenly--there baby is! The time of birth for baby is also the time of birth of the mother.
Usually, women have pretty strong ideals about the kind of mother they will be. I wanted to be structured, full of activities every day. I knew I couldn't schedule feedings or actual sleep, but I wanted everything else scheduled/routine. Huey had his own ideas though. You know 'hard' babies exist, but until you have one, you really just don't know what it means. Huey needed to be held and moving all the time. He had reflux; I also had overactive letdown. Rough combination. I had always been the one who could calm any baby; suddenly I was the frazzled, sleep deprived, unshowered mother made fun of on TV and comics.
Being a teacher, I looked for answers at the library. I discovered Dr. Sears' "The Fussy Baby Book: Parenting the Fussy Baby and High Needs Child". Here was my child! You know how everyone asks "Is he a good baby?". Argh. So many times I wanted to say, "No, he's rotten, hateful and way too loud". But Dr. Sears understood.
This was also my introduction into 'Attachment Parenting". For the most part, to me, it was just respectful and intuitive parenting. But to have a label on it and a doctor's stamp of approval, made it 'real'.
I'm not a 'hardcore' AP parent. We don't co-sleep for several reasons--I'm a lousy sleeper, we have a double bed and Rob takes up most of it, we wanted a marital bed, not a family bed (but the kids are more than welcome in our bed when they need it--most days in the early months the baby would join me after Rob left in the morning). I did 'share sleep' with Huey alot, on a futon in his room, and even more with Megan. I didn't breastfeed as long as I had planned. I read about slings in the Dr Sears book when Huey was a few months old, but didn't think a one shoulder carrier could be comfy and we bought a 'Snugli' style carrier. Not to mention that the only ring slings I had seen were ugly, bulky, and on women with Birks and hairy legs and flowery dresses. We used it for the first 4-5 months, but not a whole lot due to the awkwardness, the heat, the belief that the carseat carrier was what you're supposed to use. Then winter came and we hibernated and he got too heavy to be hanging off my front. LOL. I used it for Lucy a couple times, but it was winter.
Then came Megan. I've written about how I found out about 'Hotslings' pouches from www.parentcenter.com --a very 'mainstream' parenting website/shop. I knew with another Nov baby that I'd need a way to walk Huey to school once the snow started. I wasn't putting an infant in a stroller in Dec outside, or a sled! So, I discovered the pouch, and that I could sew my own. We loved it (one shoulder and all, LOL), and moved on to other baby carriers.
Babywearing Megan has been wonderful, and I definately feel a much better bond with her (at least while carrying her) than I ever could pushing a baby away from me, hidden in a stroller. Megan was a needy baby, in similiar but different ways than Huey (Huey also had his sensory and temperment issues, whereas Megan is a more 'pleasant' baby). When I wear her, I can't imagine how unattached other moms must be when their baby goes from car to stroller to mall to car without ever coming out of the carseat--even getting fed by a bottle in the carseat. Yeah, the moms look zen, but their babies have flat heads ;)
Some people mix up 'crunchy' with AP. 'Crunchy' is the 'granola-head' factor. Organics, vegetarian, green power, etc. Many crunchy parents also follow AP because it's a good fit. And many AP parents become more crunchy as they are repsecting their child, they start to respect themselves and their world more. My move to part time cloth diapers was part crunchiness, part frugality, part fedupness with the whole diaper business. And I could sew them :) Now that's she's wearing CD mostly, she is actually not using the potty at all! So backwards of how it's 'supposed' to go.
One other big 'crunchy vs AP' issue is vaccinating. We started out blindly following the recommendations by the doctor. Why not? Doctors don't want to hurt children, and at least here in Canada, it's not a money issue like with the States. I knew there was an anti-vax crowd, but I didn't know them in real life. Then I joined "Slightly Crunchy Attachment Parenting" Yahoo group. Many are vehemently apposed to all vaxes, some selectively and delay vax. And I could see the point of both camps (sometimes I really hate having that ability). I don't want my kids to get some of the illnesses, and I know that some of the illnesses are rarely serious. And I know that vax aren't 100% effective. But what I didn't know was what is IN vaccines.
Ick. It really is icky. It's not just some 'medicine' to prevent illness. The stuff is grown using fetal cells from animals or aborted human babies (not all vaccines, but many). There are preservatives in it. And antibiotics! And we blindly inject these highly concentrated concoctions into our newborns/infants who are supposed to have to only process breastmilk for the first six months. Sure, I don't want my infant to get tetanus, but apparently tetanus vaccines are highly diluted and don't work well, and tetanus was extremely rare during WWII, so how common is it in my life? Same for other diseases. I've posted here and on my other blog about the Gardasil and Chicken pox vaccines. The same things can be written about most (if not all vaccines).
Somewhere I have a link to a great article about the tetanus vax if anyone wants it.
So, this past week, I filled out forms to have my kids listed as not fully vaccinated. Some of it arose because of switching family doctors, just plain laziness, and changes to the vax schedules, but I made the decision to not fulfill the requirements of the Public Health Department vaccination program for school admittance. We'll probably do some more vaccines, but many we won't and the forms don't specify; it's all or nothing in their eyes. So, I'm one step up on the crunchy scale now :)