Updated: Sep 27, 2018
Parenthood is crazy. It is filled with trials and chaos, messes and tears. Busy schedules, unpredictable situations, and parents who are learning as they go along. Each new child comes with their own unique personality, challenges and ways of interacting. There are times when you feel like you could absolutely just lose your mind. But in all of that craziness is this unspeakable beauty. It is found in the sweet smiles from your child, your little baby holding of your finger, your tired partner rocking and singing your baby to sleep, or the feeling of pride that sweeps through you when your child masters a new skill. This life is full of crazy moments and beautiful moments, follow along as I reveal what attachment parenting means to me and my family...getting a glimpse into our Crazy Beautiful Life.
Our parenthood journey started in 2013. At that time I was a busy professional, working countless hours as the Director of two adolescent group homes and managing all of the craziness that goes along with that. I was passionate about my work and devoted much of my time, energy, and love to that position and those boys. I wanted to make a difference and I did all that I could to help them and their families make positive changes in their lives. Little did I know what major changes lay ahead in my own life!
A South Wind Blows
We found out we were pregnant in March, in April I quit my job, and in June we packed up and moved from our home in the inter-mountain west to the sweltering heat of the south. One of our first decisions as parents was that we wanted our baby to grown up near family, and with a setup ready and waiting for us, we flew south to Nashville.
What a crazy time of life that was! I went from working in a stressful and chaotic work environment, that was at times dangerous to my baby (I actually got kicked in the stomach at about 3 weeks pregnant...thank goodness babies are resilient!), to having the chaos of packing up our lives and moving across the country. I look fondly back at that time though, at the beauty that lived in that chaos:
The boys reaction when I told them I was pregnant, how excited they were for me. Some of them had already put the pieces together as I had terrible morning sickness and it was hard to explain away me having to leave mid-therapy session to get sick in the bathroom. The happy and funny moment when one of them poked my belly and said "I see you growing in there" when I first started to grow.
The peaceful visit my husband and I had to Yellowstone National Park the week before we moved. Just the two of us, driving around looking at the scenery and animals.
The goodbyes to good friends and the hello to our family who were excited to have us arrive. What a crazy beautiful time!
Attachment Parenting without even knowing it
It wasn't until my daughter was 2 that I realized I was an attachment parent. Up until that point I was just doing what I thought was best, what felt natural....with the added bonus of knowing all about attachment from my psychology training. But I didn't realize there was a name for what I was doing. Like most parents I based my parenting off of my past experiences. For me that meant childhood experiences, babysitting experience, psychological training, and therapy experience. It wasn't until I learned more about attachment parenting that I realized that from the time I was pregnant I had been practicing attachment parenting.
How can that be? Well, it started when I began preparing myself for my pregnancy and my birth. I remember getting a bunch of baby books; the What to Expect When You're Expecting, among others. The one that proved to be the most helpful though was The Birth Book by Dr. Sears. I knew I wanted an unmedicated, natural birth and this book helped me to prepare for what I wanted. I also took a breastfeeding class which proved to be one of the best decisions I could have made. By educating myself for the second and third trimesters, as well as for my birth and baby, I was doing the first of Attachment Parenting International's (API) 8 Principles of Parenting: Preparing for Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond. For me, I was just doing what I felt was best. It was only years later that I learned that there was a name for this thing that I was doing...it was called Attachment Parenting.
I think this is the case for many parents. I think there are a lot more Attachment Parents out there that don't even realize that is what they are doing. And maybe there is no need to put a label on it. We live in a society where things are always categorized, or put in a box, and maybe that doesn't need to be so. For me, learning about Attachment Parenting was more about the validation and reassurance in what I was doing as a parent. I don't need to classify myself but in a world full of judgments, where modern moms are known for being quick to judge with harsh criticisms, it is sometimes nice to know that there is sound reasoning behind what I am doing. My life is certainly not perfect and there is always room for improvement however I am going in the right direction. Or at least it feels that way to me, and it's nice to have the research there to back it up.
My life as a mother of two is crazy but it is also beautiful. It is filled with a lot of love from a mom and dad who are just doing their best to raise good, loving kids in a nurturing home environment; where they can feel safe, supported, and loved unconditionally!