I'm a natural parent, but...it took me awhile

Welcome to the "I'm a Natural Parent - BUT..." Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.


I knew I wanted to breastfeed. That was about the extent of my "natural parenting" when I first became a mom. I didn't even know what natural parenting was at the time. Breastfeeding was the gateway to more natural parenting for me, but it would take awhile before I really caught on.

When I was pregnant for the first time, I chose an obstetrician affiliated with a large, Boston teaching hospital. I thought: "We have some of the finest hospitals in the world! I would be a fool to birth my baby anywhere else!" At the "meet the doctors" event just prior to giving birth, *I* was the one who asked how quickly I could get an epidural once admitted. Needless to say, my first birth was highly medicalized. Fortunately, I was able to endure a few early weeks of wondering if I would really be able to breastfeed successfully. At eight weeks, I ignored my pediatrician's advice about "self-soothing babies" and brought my baby girl to sleep with me in my bed. Ahhhh.

A few months went by, I stumbled upon Dr. Sears and Attachment Parenting, and realized that it fit with my current parenting practices, like on-demand breastfeeding, co-sleeping, responsive parenting, and babywearing. Still, I was a long way from fully recognizing and appreciating what Natural Parenting meant. I fed my baby Gerber (not even organic! gasp!) and never thought twice about it. She was fully vaccinated and I never blinked an eye. She watched a lot of television while wearing her Pampers. She had lots of plastic, commercialized toys and apparel. Yep, I was a long way from truly appreciating Natural Parenting.

Not surprisingly, I returned to the same obstetrician for my second pregnancy and had another highly-medicalized birth. I continued all of my Attachment Parenting practices from the start with my baby boy and felt very strongly that he would not be circumcised. When he was four-months-old, I switched to all cloth diapers, and eventually started making my own baby food. Ok, I was getting there...

A few months later, when all of my two-year-old's friends were heading off to various preschools here in the city, (yes, preschool typically starts at age two here), I began researching homeschooling more seriously and became instantly hooked. Closer....

Then I had my third baby, my homebirth baby, and, finally, I understood the power and pleasure of living and parenting naturally. I began to fully question "expert" advice and generally accepted actions. I adopted "greener," more sustainable homemaking practices. I began making meals from scratch and buying local, organic food. I switched our doctors and focused more intently on natural family health and well-being. I started knitting.

I still have further to go, still much, much more to learn and do, along the Natural Parenting continuum. But I'm getting there. Gratefully, I'm getting there.

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I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that "natural parenting" means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: