Stolen Courage

I can’t count the number of times I had other women try {and sometimes succeed} to steal my courage in my pregnancy, and in my earliest days of motherhood.

Women would so freely share their opinions about the “crazy” people they know who had natural births
and even BREASTFED until their children were able to *GASP* ask to do so.

Women who told me natural birth was stupid.
Women who told me I would be begging for an epidural.
Women who told me I would never make it with cloth diapers.
Women who told me I should be grateful that “God provided formula” because breastfeeding “sucks.”

Almost everywhere I turned, someone was saying, “you can’t,” or “you won’t,” or “just wait and see.”
It feels similar to people who are bitter about marriage & tell newly engaged couples or newlyweds to ‘just wait’ because the first year, or second year, or third year, was the worst ever. Or to wait 10 years & see if your spouse is still your favourite person.
We tell newly pregnant moms that birth is the most awful, most painful thing ever and that they’ll never sleep again. We bombard them with hopeless messages & create fear in them that renders them immobile.

Why, oh why, do we feel the need to take away other people’s courage?
Why must we destroy people’s desire to do good things? Why is that so pervasive especially when those good things are different than your own choices?

As many of you readers might know, we chose not to vaccinate our daughter.
The plethora of things I’ve been told about parents who don’t vaccinate is enough to make any parent want to cry.
The things that have been said directly to me about my choice not to vaccinate is certainly enough to make me want to cry, if I hadn’t made a well-informed decision.

I’ve come up with so many things to say in response to people’s hate toward my desire to do things in a way that might be different from the way they did things.

But never did I shake my head in disapproval at my friends who gave up on breastfeeding, never did I tell them how ridiculous or awful I find it to plan a c-section. And I never volunteer the things I learned about vaccines unless a mother asks.

I do not look at these women & say,
“I find you foolish for choosing ignorance.”

I often don’t even think that, even when I’m being insulted for my parenting choices.
Is it just okay that this is the way things work because I’m the minority population of parent here?

My child “shouldn’t be allowed to play with other children since she’s not vaccinated.”
How much longer are you going to breastfeed?!?!?!” {I got this starting at 6 months.}
“You realize that you don’t have to be some sort of superhero, right? You don’t have to prove anything. You can get an epidural.”

I’m incredibly grateful that I’m not so easily pushed around. I believe in the choices we’ve made. And I believe in them for a myriad of reasons, the most of which is a worldview based on valuing God & His divine design. I’m thankful that I was given new courage by a group of moms who loved me & supported me, who answered my questions & empathized over facing the same hatred.

I’m also grateful that I still have the opportunity to engage in relationship with some of the women who said some of the most hurtful things to me. Because I hope to see people open their minds, or at least, I hope to show a kindness that was not shown to me.

Semi-off-topic, but all of this reminds me of a scene from Easy Rider,”… don’t ever tell anybody that they’re not free, ’cause then they’re gonna get real busy killin’ and maimin’ to prove to you that they are.” 

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Have you had any experiences like this where people have tried to steal your courage?
How did you respond? How did that effect your interactions with people about similar topics in the future?

Our ppp.

No, not pee pee pee.
{Though Amelie did do that on the potty several times already today.}

And, no, not OPP.

It’s our Proud Parenting Practices.
Parenting practices we’re proud of, that is.

I wanted to share some of these things that may be foreign concepts to some of you.
And may help you understand why so many people think we’re super “weird.”
Each link is to a page that I think gives great info if you’re interested in researching any of these things, or just learning a little more, having your FAQ answered, etc.

Also, after I wrote all about our PPP, I realized it’s WAY too long for one post. So it will be a new tag, and it’ll be a little series of posts.

EC – Elimination Communication
That means that our 3 month old has been going pee & poop on the potty several times a day for the last 2.5 months.
It doesn’t mean she always goes on the potty. Sometimes we’re in the car & when she tells me she needs to potty, she has to go in her diaper.
Sometimes, we’re out & about, and I’m talking to people & I don’t notice that she’s tried to tell me she needs to potty.
Sometimes, she’s having a funky afternoon & she just stays quiet.
But, most of the time, she uses her potty.
It’s been one of THE MOST rewarding things for me as a parent so far.
Knowing that there’s not too much we REALLY communicate about yet, it’s been fantastic to have her pee on cue.
I sing a little song… “You can go potty if you’d like, you can go potty right now…” and BOOM! POW! ZAP! ZAM! She pees, in the potty, almost every single time.

CD – Cloth Diapering
When Amelie does go in her diaper, she goes in cloth.
Which means I’m reducing her ecological footprint before she’s able to make any decisions. I’m teaching her from the beginning that trashing our planet is something we go out of our way not to do. It means in addition to my normal laundry, I do 2 extra loads/week.
It means we don’t have to have a line item in our budget for diapers, because we spent about $250 & that should last until she’s potty trained, and still be useable for any little siblings that might come our way.
And least important of all, it means that she has a sweet little fluffy butt & I can pick cute diapers, too.

EBF – Exclusively Breastfed
Little Amelie isn’t too little because she gets a good fill of that Mama Milk. She eats when she’s hungry {and she doesn’t, when she’s not}. And she only eats milk from her Mama. This means that the first 2 weeks she was here, it was a little challenging as we both figured out breastfeeding for the first time. It means I had to work at it a little bit to make sure I was properly taking care of my baby.
It also means that I don’t need anything special when I leave the house – I don’t have to worry about bottles {and all that extra dish-washing}, I don’t have to carry containers, mix formula, or make her wait when she’s really, really hungry after a really long nap.
It means that she gets all sorts of extra immunities to bacterium that people we encounter are carrying. It means that if she starts to come down with something, my body is making all that she needs to heal. It means I’m challenged to be even more conscious of what I eat, too. Because she’s eating it 4-6 hours later. She’ll nurse until she doesn’t want to nurse anymore. Obviously, as she starts to eat solid foods, the frequency of that will change, but she’ll be breastfed as long as possible. After all, breastmilk is the ultimate super food, the healthiest thing for her, and most traditional cultures BF until child is 4. {The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years of age!}

Baby Led Solids/Baby Led Weaning
This means that instead of jumping into giving her handfuls of nutrition empty rice cereal, sitting with a spoon after either buying lots of expensive {& chemically loaded} baby food OR spending lots of time pureeing food to make our own baby food. {Can you say MESS?!} …
When Amelie is ready {Amelie, not a doctor’s chart of expectations that aren’t based on my child, at all} she will let me know. We’re pretty in tune, me & this baby I know so well {because she’s attached at the breast and the hip!}. She’ll show an interest in food.
So, when she shows an interest in food, and when she can sit up on her own, when her auto gag reflex goes away, she’ll be given food like we eat. I’ll give her food to gnaw on. And at first, that’s all she’ll do. She’ll gnaw on them, suck on them, explore the foods & flavors. As time goes on, she’ll start to get more of her nutritional intake from REAL, WHOLE foods, just like the ones we eat. And then she’s feeding herself, she’s not being force fed by anyone. And there’s none of the half-eaten packages of gooey baby food left over.
Not to mention, yet another way our budget is so wonderfully kept from having to pour money into unnecessary things.

BW – Baby Wearing
In the last section, I mentioned being ‘attached at the hip.’ In addition to breastfeeding & elimination communicating, Amelie & I build a strong bond because she stays with me. She learned to hold her head up & support her body much faster because being wrapped to Mommy is like constant ‘tummy time.’ She learns about the world faster because she sees everything from Mommy’s perspective & height instead of looking up at only the sky from inside the box of her stroller or car seat. {Not that we NEVER use a stroller, we do, but that’s not her primary residence.} She naps on me, she ‘helps’ me do dishes while watching everything & learning so much on my back, over my shoulder, etc.

Which brings me to another natural transition:
Co-sleeping/Bed-sharing
Oh, the bonding & snuggling that happens here is just fantastic. It’s also fantastic because I don’t get up in the middle of the night. I just latch her on & fall right back to sleep… It’s gotten to the point now where I don’t even fully wake up, we both just barely stir &  go right back to sleep. It’s wonderful.
Like SO MANY of these “crunchy” things, I thought they were crazy when I first encountered them… But now, I just couldn’t imagine any other way. It’s so simple, so reasonable.
A common question/fear is that you’ll roll over & crush the baby. I admit, I was nervous that I’d roll over on the baby when she first slept with us, and I didn’t do a great job of sleeping the first night. {Though it was easier to make sure she was still breathing when she was right next to me rather than down the hall or in another room.} Anyway, it has turned out to be yet another way in which I adore God’s design… The Maternal instinct. I’m incredibly aware of her. And similarly to not rolling off of the bed, rolling over/onto/crushing John, I don’t roll onto/over/crush Amelie.
Another common misconception is that it ruins your “time for intimacy.” After several attempts to explain that it doesn’t, I’m just going to let it be that simple instead of delving into intense awkwardness.

There’s more to come in different posts, at a later date. Enjoy these little fun facts about our parenting for now.