You made me feel __________!

Lately it seems that I am in charge of multiple people’s lives. I must be because I seem to have the power to change their feelings and emotions. I dictate their happiness. This is of course a ridiculous idea. I cannot cause, force, mandate, or otherwise control other people’s feelings. The same is true in reverse. I am responsible for feeling happy, sad, angry, or guilty. What I may feel guilty about may be silly to someone else and likewise what another feels guilty about could be no big deal to me. It is all internal. It is a choice. now before I get to deep into this I want to put a side note on my above statement. I do not believe that people with true depression or other mental illness can simply “feel happy” and they will be happy. There are always exceptions but for the purpose of this post, the focus is on guilt and I do believe that you can control that within your self.

Many of my fellow bloggers, writers, or just outspoken advocates for natural parenting, pregnancy, and birth etc. have been faced with someone saying “you are judging me” or “you made me feel bad about my choices.” That is not what we are here to do. I have said (and I know others have as well) countless times that mothers from past generations are exempt from feeling bad about what they did in the past. The reason for this is that it is most likely that they made the decisions they did with the best knowledge available at the time. They may have even been following the advice of a doctor. On top of that, there were simply not as many options or support. I have to say also that even today there is obviously exceptions for medical reasons. To me that goes without saying but recently I had to explain that to someone.

So, if you circumcised, formula fed, had an elective c-section, chose to be induced, or practiced “detachment parenting” principles let it go and move on. When I post or discuss a scientific study on any of these topics or I encourage and educate new parents not to practice these principles, I am not saying you are a bad parent. I am not saying that you are an awful person and that your children should hate you. I am saying that there is now scientific evidence showing that these past practices should not be continued. I am saying that today there are many more options and therefore fewer excuses or barriers. I am saying that the ideas of the past have been proven to be damaging and dangerous and now that we know that we should do better in this and future generations. Now there is tons of research showing that circumcision should never be preformed on infants. Every workplace must allow pumping breaks for working mothers. Mothers can pump, use milk donation, and even a wet nurse instead of formula. Every study conducted shows that early inductions and elective c-sections are damaging and dangerous. They simply should not be done except in medical emergencies. There is much evidence showing that parents should never let their babies cry alone and that practicing Attachment Parenting principles where possible is truly best. These are not opinions, they are facts.

I am not telling you to feel guilty. I am not judging you. I am asking you to do one thing. Now that you have been made aware that those past practices are very damaging and that science backs up that idea, do not continue to encourage them. Do not say “I’m fine” or “my kids turned out fine” or any other justification for continuing out dated parenting styles or practices. If you feel guilty about your choices, deal with that internally. No one can MAKE you feel guilty and no one else can lift that guilt off of you. You have to do it. Maybe, one of the best ways to make amends would be to help new parents not make the same mistakes. Help promote science based parenting principles.

“I did my best with what I knew then. Now that I know better, I do better.” Maya Angelou

I am not perfect. I am not super mom. I have made and I am sure I will continue to make mistakes. I have done things that I will never do again and I have done things with my oldest child that I have not done with my second child. I am sure that if I have a third there are more things that I will do differently. You learn as you go. I want to share a bit of my story so that people can understand where I am coming from. Here are a few things that I have done, how I changed them, or I what I would change.

1. I allowed Pitocin to be used to speed up labor with my first child. I regretted this so I stayed at home most of my labor with my second and achieved a fully natural birth.

2. I encouraged my daughter to wean at 15mo. because I was about to deliver my son and I was told that I had to wean her 3 months before the birth to avoid any problems. I will nurse my son until he self weans regardless of his age or if I have another baby.

3. When my daughter was 18mo I tried a “gentler” controlled crying program to get her to sleep alone in her room all night. I didn’t do very well with it because if she cried I picked her up but I still made her sleep away from me and go to bed alone as long as she wasn’t crying. I now room and bed share with both of my children. My son is always in my bed and my daughter moves back and forth between her bed in my room and my bed.

4. I had always planned to circumcise my son. I just thought it was supposed to be done and i was actually irritated when I first heard of people trying to outlaw it. Thankfully I found all of the information I needed to make the decision before my son was born and he remained whole.

As parents we all make mistakes. We simply have to do better next time. So stop feeling guilty and especially stop blaming that guilt on others. It is no one elses fault or responsibility. Let it go and move on. Make amends by not continuing to promote these outdated ideas. Encourage new mothers to follow science and trust their maternal instincts. That is all you can do now.

Story collection

Hello fellow hippies and hippie lovers. I am putting together a collection of stories from different periods in the parenting journey. If you have a story about your journey of trying to conceive, pregnancy, childbirth, and early child care that you wouldn’t mind sharing I would love to read it and possibly include it in the collection. Thank you in advance for all submissions!

All submissions can be sent to mylittlehippiemamma@yahoo.com

Time for a change!

It is time for a major change in this country. It is time to start a national campaign to educate people on a list of topics relating to childbirth, breastfeeding, circumcision, and infant care. It is no longer ok to just say ” not my kid, not my problem” or ” it’s none of my business.” This change needs to start in many places but especially in medical school. Doctors need to be taught about natural childbirth first and the medical side of birth last. Our entire maternal care system needs to change to the midwifery model of care. Only in an emergency or other medically necessary situation should things like c-sections even be allowed. We need to actually educate moms on why these things are just not ok. If women were told by a doctor about the real risks and shown that it is the worse option they would look else where. If women going in for an induction were sat down and told ” according to the manufacturer, pitocin is not indicated for use as a labor inducer. It caries many risks including but not limited to uterine rupture, fetal distress or death, and could possibly lead to a c-section. Here are the risks of c-sections…” Mothers want to do what is best for their babies but when they are lied to they cannot make the right decisions. This problem extends past the actual birth. Once the baby is born we still immediately clamp the cord, take the baby away from it’s mother, ” dry” it vigorously to make it cry cause how else will we know it is breathing, then keep it from it’s mother to squeeze ointment in it’s eyes stick it with needless and make sure we do the most important thing, find out its weight. Just the thought of this makes me so sad. Once the baby is finally given back to Mom a pacifier is stuck in its mouth instead of a breast. When a baby with drugs in its system, still recovering from this traumatic experience fails to nurse at the ” right” time the mother is told she must give up on breastfeeding and give formula or she is putting her child at risk. If the mother insists that no formula be given even if her baby won’t nurse for a few days she risks being turned into cps. This is beyond backwards. Yet the ridiculousness is not over if the baby is a boy. The first thing the new parents are asked is ” circumcision?” No information is usually given at all and if it is it is usually that it has no risks, may have benefits and its up to the parents. Lies again! Imagine if it went like this instead. ” do you plan to circumcise? You do. Ok here is your information packet. (packet contains real facts about complications including death and notes that it is a cosmetic surgery that damages and removes healthy erogenous tissue and will cause problems such as erectile dysfunction later in life.) Once you’re finished reading your packet let a nurse know so that she can get the video for you. You have to watch a video of a circumcision first. And you should also know that this procedure will cause a lot of pain and may effect nursing, may make your baby more fussy, and may cause behavior problems. And before I forget, no medical organization in the world recommends this. Now if you’re ready I will go set up a small table that looks like a nice gingerbread man which I will tie your son to so that he can’t move while I torture him as he screams in pain with no protection from his mother who is supposed to love him and never let anyone hurt him. I guess that can start after this!” What mother would still have that done!? Even better though, circumcision should be illegal for both sexes! Whether you have a boy or a girl you take your baby home and are told ”it’s ok to give formula. Is just as good as breastmilk.” ” don’t hold your baby so much. If you pick it up every time it cries it will control you and manipulate you on purpose.” ” if your child sleeps with you they will be emotionally and behaviorally stunted, they will have an inappropriate relationship with it’s mother, the father will have to move out, sex is no longer possible ever, and they will sleep with you until they go off to college. oh also you have to get that baby on a schedule that works best for you. If needed let her cry” Really!? This is absurd! All scientific research proves the above is damaging and the opposite is true.

Drugs used in labor do get to baby, they do cause problems in labor, and tell women the damaging message of you can’t do this. Babies need to be given straight to Mom after it is born, and the cord should be left intact until the placenta delivers on its own. Breast is best! No exceptions no substitutions. If there is a true medical problem preventing nursing a donor or wet nurse should be used. Circumcision should never be preformed and should be illegal! Gentle parenting should be the norm and the only style taught in parenting classes. I’m not saying this because I think that everyone should make the same choices I did. In fact I didn’t do all of that with my first. I am saying this because it is what is best for women and for our children. Know better, do better is something that I live by and so should everyone else because if we cannot learn from our mistakes and do better than the previous generation what is the point?

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mammas out there! There are a lot of mothering related things flying around my head today. I am so thankful for both of my beautiful and wonderful children, Mary and Will. I could not have asked for two better children at all. Mary will be two in a couple weeks and I cannot believe how fast it has gone by! She has grown from a baby into a little girl. I still remember when I knew that my birthing time had really started with her. It feels like just yesterday. She was perfect from the moment she was conceived in September, at my in laws house lol, and that has never changed. My husband and I had been trying for 4 months to get pregnant. We had just received orders to Spain and we had stopped at my in laws to drop off  some things that were going to be storing for us while we were overseas. We were there for a couple weeks. I slept all most the entire way to Spain from Colorado. I continued to feel exhausted for weeks after that. I insisted that it was just jet lag because while I knew my period was late, I had taken several tests and gotten all BFNs. I hadn’t charted that month since we were traveling and so I just assumed that I had simply ovulated late due to the stress of moving and traveling. My husband insisted I was pregnant so I agreed to take one more test and then leave it at that whatever the result. of course it was a BFP! And so began my journey to motherhood! Just 8 short months after Mary was born my husband and I conceived again. We had originally planned on waiting much longer than that but we had an opportunity to ensure that my husband would be there for the entire pregnancy and birth which was a guarantee we may rarely if ever have. We jumped at the opportunity. It took us one try to get pregnant with my son! I knew I was pregnant about a week later because I could smell everything! This was a symptom I did not have at all with my daughter but I just knew. I also knew that it was a boy the same way I just knew that my first was a girl. About a week after I found out that I was pregnant we moved again. This time to Florida. We would be there just long enough to birth my son. You can find the story of my son’s birth in a previous post.

As I sit down and write this mother’s day post I cannot help but continue to stare at my most current chart. My husband and I are trying to avoid right now and do not want to consider another little one until he returns from deployment late next year. That said, we may have had a BC mishap right at the time I ovulated. This would certainly not be the best time to get pregnant. My husband won’t be here when I deliver and I hate that thought. I do not feel pregnant at all and I do not believe that I am but it is hard not to think about it. I suppose we will see. 1 more week to wait.

So today everything is Mothery! In good ways and maybe not so good ways but I would not trade my life for anything in the world and come what may motherhood is always something that will be the greatest joy in my life. I thank my children for making me a mother and my husband for supporting me through being a mother and the generations of women before me who, through their own motherhood, made it possible for me to take this journey.