Hate attachment parenting? Maybe it’s because you would suck at it

Incoming!! We are lucky Bodhi usually stays in one place when he sleeps–show me a rule and I’ll show you its exception.

Advocates of attachment parenting quip that it’s a lazy way to parent. I am known to be one of those cheeky bastards.

No bottles to wash. Roll over and nurse while sleeping. No crying babies. No expensive strollers and cribs. Watch me nurse while jogging, createns. Wheee!

I believe some people’s resistance to attachment parenting (AP) comes because it truly isn’t easy. People hear about it and feel overwhelmed and under prepared. This resistance comes from a deep place that knows AP is our default setting for parenting, but we don’t think we can cope (or we actually don’t have the social and emotional skills to do it) so our heels get dug in, backs up.

Read blogs about crying-it-out and other controversial parenting techniques. Parents are fierce. But, mothers getting their backs up might be a good idea. We all know how much we can handle.

Yes, AP is natural and how evolution tells us to parent. But, consider if  people getting defensive about their parenting style is also a natural, evolved thing.

Without judgement, perhaps a person in resistance to wearing or nursing her baby isn’t emotionally able to have person touching her all day, perhaps she has issues with her breasts and body. Perhaps if she tries this, she will be a danger to her baby or herself.

OK the obvious needs to be said: attachment parenting can bond you to your baby, nurture you both with happy hormones and bring great love into your life. This is no joke.

I believe AP may have brought me back from the edge after a terrible labour and delivery. The tangible hormonal rush when nursing and wearing Bodhi has saved my sanity and formed a natural sleep-inducer day after day when postpardum panic attacks loomed.

I am an avid AP parent, and I treasure the experiences AP has given my family. I also believe that AP can push parents to the edge. I don’t know if I would be closer to my edge or further away using another style of parenting, but I can tell you some days I would give my eye teeth to find out.

This isn’t the case with everyone. Many, many mothers and fathers are hard core attachment parents and breeze through. So I’ve been told anyway.

Actually now that I think about it the majority of AP mothers I’ve met are practical, compassionate and honest about how much harder parenting is than they could have guessed. They have hated co-sleeping with their child and also swooned about their toddler learning to spoon. They have resented breastfeeding and also glowed nursing their baby in public.

AP often leaves out a very important evolutionary piece: support. From an evolutionary standpoint we should have a number of sisters and aunties around us, many of whom could take over breastfeeding for a couple days while we go rejuvenate ourselves with a fishing trip or a jaunt to the market a days walk away.

We always say the goal of a birth is a healthy mother, healthy baby. I wish every family had the support and emotional / physical ability to do attachment parenting, but the fact is parents go over the edge everyday.

Who has the needed ‘tribal’ kind of support these days? Not me. But if you don’t want to have a crib to stick your baby in while you go cry into a pillow in the next room, you damn well better find someone to hand her off to.

I don’t have a hell of a lot of support so my bottom line goal is to get through each day without harming myself or my baby.If that means making up a story in my head about why I sat my baby in front of the TV for an hour and we get through, so be it. Writing that bottom line goal down, it seems sad. We have fantastic days and I have other goals, but that is our bottom line: be safe.

I try to be as honest as I can with myself (and with you too–however embarrassing it is at times). I wouldn’t trade my style of parenting in for the world, unless our little world was in danger. When that happens, I try my best to give my baby away asap to someone I can trust. I hope all mothers have at least one person they can call upon in any moment to do that.

Lets all go easy on each other and ourselves. We are really all making the best choices we can in this moment.


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