Attached Motherhood

I am part of a Facebook group called Naturally Parenting Twins.  This group was a nice discovery for me because it is hard to find people who believe that it is possible to have a natural twin birth and breastfeed two babies simultaneously. To have women who share those feelings as well as know the unique challenges of raising twins is a real gift....usually.

The problem is that in every kind of mothers' group there always seems to be a person (or two) who believes her way of parenting is the right way.  Sadly, in my experience, these women almost always fall under the Dr. Sears Attachment Parenting purview.  You know the kind:  the militant co-sleepers, the woman who believes that if you had a c-section you are just a victim of the medical establishment, the mother who insists on carrying a baby nonstop instead of using a stroller (aka "a pod of isolation"). You get the idea.  These are the women I try to avoid.


I believe that unless a woman has a serious mental or physical handicap, most mothers are "attached" and love their children deeply.  I also generally don't have a problem with the Dr. Sears methodology as I would probably fall into this category.  It is just the women who take it too far.  We all love our children but just because I don't have a family bed does not mean that my children are less attached to me than yours are to you.  (It might mean that I get better quality sleep though.)  I think very often in this quest for "attachment" we can give up some of ourselves.  I want my daughters to see that it is okay to ask for personal space. That always tending to their needs above my own doesn't set a good example for the type of women I want them to be.


This became truly apparent to me today with this Facebook group.  A newly pregnant mom asked if it is possible to breastfeed twins.  All of the women said yes and most noted that support is really necessary but there was this one woman (and it always seems to be this woman) who couldn't help but say:


I nursed my twins till they were two and a half. They've never had a drop of formula or a bottle....


Comments like these make me crazy.  This implicit message here is that giving your child a bottle or formula means that you are not as attached.  I was devoted to breastfeeding and it worked really well for me but that isn't always the case.  And, even though I successfully breastfed, I believe giving my Turtles the occasional bottle of pumped milk so I could do something for myself made me a better mother.  


Come on! 

Comments

  1. I hear ya, there is always ONE or TWO in every group.

    I had a few ladies in my twin group that "judged me" even felt sorry for me becuase I was not able to breastfeed my twins or I guess I should say, when it didn't happen easily, I moved on to formula.

    They were also "concerned about attachment" becuase my kids used the Podee self feeding system when they were 9 weeks old until they went off bottles.

    They disapproved of me becuase they spent a lot of time in their jumpers, swings and bumboos.

    The lectured me about the importance of having a family bed. I have never co-slept with my children and never plan too. They go to bed with smiles on their little faces and are WELL rested.

    I told them they were " judgemental, radical parents" who couldn't respect the fact that not everyone "parents" the same way. I stopped getting invited to the play groups. We don't hang out anymore. LMAO!

    I can just imagine what they'd say if they knew that I let my kids use thier little imaginations for "self directed play" for a large part of the day rather than interacting with them every second.

    For the record, my kids are attached to me...VERY attached. So much so that I knock them over with my butt as they follow me around and I stop suddenly...LOL!

    Happy Weekend

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  2. I love this post!
    I consider myself an "Attachment Parent" because I agree with most of it, but I think a real attachment parent would say "Really, you do?". My kids are on a schedual, the girls have never slept in our bed, they drank bottles and some formula and I never bothered to try and wear both at the same time (but I did wear one at a time for 9 months). However, I think my kids are just as healthy and attached as anyone else. As mothers, we do our best, that's all we can do. Sometimes it means using a bottle or letting babies sleep in cribs.

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  3. You're right: most moms are "attachment" moms. We don't really have much of a say in the matter, do we? Our kids start off physically attached, and stay emotionally attached for the rest of their lives. And we all love it most of the time and want to scream more than we care to admit and we all crave the next (seemingly easier or better) stage and miss the one that just fell by the wayside.

    Kids: can't live without em, can't bend em like pretzels to do our will.

    Those one or two moms? Annoying, aren't they?

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  4. I think when people discover something "new" they are the strongest advocates of this "new" idea. So parents just discovering AP parenting are going to be very passionate about their parenting. It validates their decisions and justifies their decisions.
    True AP parenting, in my experience, is doing what works for you and your family irregardless of what others do (for us that happened to be co-sleeping with our babies, extended breastfeeding, cloth diapering, etc etc). It takes time to realize that your version of parenting, while perfect for YOU, doesn't mean it's perfect for everyone.
    Those one or two out of a group will learn ... usually when more than one kid is added to the mix :)

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  5. I look back on the breastfeeding of my twins and it was, hands down, the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. However, the people around me made it possible. If I wasn't constantly supported by my husband, my mom and my dad, it would not have happened. But those same people also were the ones to help me realize when it was time to supplement with formula when I really was running up against supply issues. They were also the ones to make me feel OK about weaning at 13 months. I just stopped reading blogs or talking to people who would deride that as "early weaning." I was proud of what I did and was thankfully surrounded by people who made me feel great about what I did accomplish, not worry about what I didn't do perfectly. But it took me a while to get there, and realize who I wanted around me and who was going to be too judgmental. Moms are so hard on each other. If you're trying you're best, which you're probably doing anyway, you're probably doing right by your kids.

    (also, how in the HELL you wear two kids at once was always beyond me)

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  6. Hey I stumbled over this post recently and I wanna be the devils advocate here. I know very well what you mean about the militant AP moms. But the comment you mention, was not responding to a formula feeding question, so I don't read it as judgmental. In response to a curious pregnant mom with twins, giving the real example of yourself breastfeeding for years without a drop of formula, could actually be inspiring to the pregnant mom. I did it, you could do it, too! It is similar to saying, if someone asked, if twins could be birthed vaginally at all, "I birthed my twins at home with no drugs", it implies, "you can do it". She is not really judging the mother who asks the question. Of course, that mom you talk about, probably IS one of those militant moms, I don't know, I am just responding to that line out of context.

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