Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Knowing Better and Doing Better...Meghann's Story (With Quote By Victora F.)

"Once I gave birth I opened my heart, soul, and mind. Before giving birth I had my own ideas of what parenthood would be like. Thank goodness I birthed a strong soul who taught me differently." ~Victoria F.

This is a wonderful and inspirational story from a mom who started out a mainstream mom, and who has taken a complete roundabout to become a heart-following natural parent.


They always say hindsight is 20/20 or when you know better, you do better.  That is definitely true in my case.  
I had worked in a Chiropractors office for a few years and there were already a few things I KNEW I wanted for my children to be.  I wanted to go natural and drug free with my birth.  I wanted a doula to help me achieve that goal.  I didn’t want to vaccinate at all. I wanted my kids to be adjusted from day one.  I wanted to breastfeed and make my own baby food when the time came.  My in-laws took the initiative to talk to us about circumcision and told us to really do our research before deciding.  I was thankful they put themselves out there and talked to us.  Otherwise, we probably would’ve done it….since we didn’t ‘know better’.    But that was the extent of my natural parenting. 

My first son in hospital before he was whisked away.
I had my first son in 2005.   I did it drug-free, so I was fairly happy with my birth experience.  But it was in a hospital and I had a few unfortunate experiences during labour with hospital staff.    We took our son home whole, and then I had no clue what to do.  I breastfed, never enjoying it, but did it because I wasn’t going to give my baby less than what I knew was best.
But that’s where the best kind of stopped.  I started listening to other parents and what their expectations of babies should be.  Are you charting his poops and pees? How’s his weight gain? Is he gaining enough? Better feed him cereal, he seems underweight.  Make sure he eats a certain amount at every meal!  If your baby was fussy he was ‘bad’, if he never cried he was ‘good’.  Don’t hold him too much, then you’ll always need to hold him!  Don’t let that baby sleep in your bed, he needs to learn independence, he’ll become too attached, he’ll be sleeping with you when he’s *gasp* 5 years old!  How will you have a sex life?  Don’t give in to the night crying!...leave him there, he’ll work through it, he needs to self soothe!  Is your baby misbehaving??!...better give him a slap or two so he knows what’s not allowed! 
And so I listened.  
I moved my son at 8 weeks old into his crib.  I’d stand outside the door yearning to grab him when he cried and then the voices from others would ring in the back of my mind “DON’T”!   I’d smack his leg or bum when he misbehaved as early as 7 months.  I cry looking back now, how could I EVER do that?!  It’s a regret I have every day of my life. 

Despite that, he’s turning into a sweet boy, sensitive and nice, but still has anger issues.  I feel it stems back to me and those early, early times.   But we’re working on it in gentle ways. 

Since him, I had another boy, this time born in a birth center, in water, attended by a midwife.  It was so peaceful.   Breastfeeding was a breeze this time around, I actually enjoyed it!  I had learned so much from my midwives during prenatal visits.  Our visits were an HOUR long (compared to 10 minutes with my OBGYN first time around.)  These were the pregnancy and parenting answers I was looking for!  More natural, back to basics type answers.  I learned to relax more and to trust my instincts, and things have gone fairly well. Son number two is a relaxed, laid back kinda guy, loves his mama and is so sweet.

Son two was born in a birthing center.
My support team! Hubby, mother in law, sister in law.
My gorgeous boys .  : )
Baby three was a girl and I had her at home with midwives.  Our way of parenting her is so opposite to our first.  We welcome her in our bed whenever.  She slept with us for the first several months of her life, I couldn't bear to put her in another room.  I still bring her to bed and feed her through the night when she needs.  In fact it’s rare that we ever wake up with just the two of us in bed.  I complain we need a King size bed to fit the 5 of us in there, since the boys are more than welcome to come in whenever they feel the need, and they do nearly every night.   Our daughter has never cried longer than 2 minutes without one of us grabbing her.  You can’t spoil a baby, but you can make them feel like they’re not getting enough love.  We fed her solid foods when SHE was ready, and we did baby-led weaning…so much less stress than pureeing food and making sure she’s getting a certain amount.  She enjoyed everything she ate because it was her choice to eat it!  She will wean from breastfeeding when she’s ready, not on my timetable.  We cloth diaper with her, I don’t know why I didn't think I couldn’t do it with the others, it’s way easier than I thought and I’m secretly addicted to buying cloth!   We've had her spine adjusted since she was a day old.  She’s never had antibiotics or any neurotoxin in her body.  We baby wear her all the time.  She’s never had a drop of formula.  We extend rear-face her car seat now.  The boys were flipped around immediately when they turned 1 and were 20lbs…she’s 24lbs and 15 months, no way we’re flipping her car seat around to forward face yet.  We discipline completely different, much more calmly and gently.  We try to treat our kids how we’d like to be treated.

My daughter’s birth at home with my oldest son and hubby by my side
My amazing midwives and the other important people in my life who I needed there for the event.

With every child I learned something new.  Once I was pregnant with my third, I learned even more . My desire to know as much as I could, led me down all sorts of information pathways.  This has impelled me to make changes in other areas of our life.  We eat better, little or no processed foods, more whole foods, less sugar, no dyes.  We buy organic and pasture-fed when we can.  I've changed all our cleaning products to non-toxic or completely natural.  I've recently made the switch from shampoos and conditioners to baking soda and vinegar!  Hahaha.  I've dumped all my lotions, creams and makeup and opted for coconut oil and minerals.  We've cut out fluoride and bought bamboo toothbrushes.  We un-school and follow our kids desires in learning.  It couldn't be going better.   And I have Facebook largely to thank.  There is a whole community of people who are attached parents…I never had gentle parenting support in the circle of friends I was in.  I learn so much from all my natural living pages and all the attached parents striving to do the best for their kids! I learn every day.

So never stop learning, it can completely change who you are and the kind of parent you’ll become.
Our happy and complete little family.

My intentions of sharing her story are to give some hope to other people who may not be parenting with their heart.  I know all too well that putting our thoughts into actions sometimes only need something as simple as knowing you're not alone, that you're not crazy for wanting to pick up your crying child.  Sometimes all we need is to know that there are other people who were once where we are, and who are now doing thing differently...doing things better than they were before they knew better...and who are happier (and have happier children) than before.

I believe that we all have the capacity to treat our children as we would want to be treated ourselves, and to love and guide them with respect.  I believe that when we know more, we know better.  And when we know better, we do better.

Thank you Meghann for sharing your story.  xoxo

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