I Am An Attachment Parent And I Bottlefeed

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If you want to apply labels to me based on what I do every day, you might want to call me an attachment parenting, unschooling/relaxed homeschooling mom of 5 kids who, no matter how splattered I am in baby drool, will insist of wearing a full face of makeup to leave the house.

Despite the above, I am also an unapologetic breastfeeding failure.  I also failed algebra in high school – twice – and I feel as bad about the latter as I do the former.  Despite them both being part of a balanced diet, they just don’t agree with me.

What makes my breastfeeding failure so complete is the fact that of my five children, I successfully breastfed one of them.  The problem is that this one moment of glory was not with Baby 5, which would have been redeeming in the eyes of my AP sisters, but rather was with Baby 3. We functioned in happy nursing bliss for almost 2 years before it was time to call time on the milk bar.

 

Image courtesy of I-am-pregnant.co And somehow, despite this success, I couldn’t do the same for my last two babies.

Epic. Fail.

To understand how disturbing this turn of events was at the time, one must understand my journey.  If there is a breastfeeding problem, I have probably experienced it, and probably more than once. More

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Are You Mom Enough? The Importance of Unschooling

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Did you happen to catch that Time Magazine cover from the other week – you know, the one with the willowy blonde with her four-year old attached to her breast?

Yep, this one.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I could care less how long this woman nurses her child.  It’s the title that got my attention.

“Are you mom enough?”

For what? Breastfeeding?  Feeding an infant/toddler lasts for a couple of years at best and while breastfeeding advocates list a whole raft of benefits, the truth is (and any parent who has gotten out of the early years will confirm this) feeding a baby, while important, is not going to impact the entire rest of their life.

Where your child is educated does. Get a good school where your child is happy and life is golden.  Get a not-so-good school (or, God forbid, a really crap one) and you may as well write your kid off.  Teach ’em how to flip burgers ’cause that’s where they’ll end up whether they were breastfed or not.

Okay, maybe there is a small chance of getting past and moving on from a bad educational experience, but you get my point.  Education matters.   More

Game Change

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Everything is different.

I read once that death changes everything. While this is true, it is also true that life changes everything, too. Ask anyone who has ever been a parent and they will tell you that the person they were before they became a parent is not the person they are after. image

Life is a game changer.

Our latest game changer arrived early in the morning of March 1. One minute he was inside of me and the next (through no effort on my part, I assure you) he was in my arms. It happened so fast that Lee and I just laughed. It was painless and effortless and not what experience has taught me to expect and
it made me so happy to hold his tiny little body….

We just laughed, from relief, joy, amazement, and a thousand other emotions that only those first moments with your child can inspire. After all of the worry and stress and drama of the last 9 months, Jago had *arrived*, safe and healthy.

Those first few minutes were magic.

It is also true that each child that comes into a family has no less an impact than the first.  There are differences, of course. I now know what to expect in a way that no book can ever explain. I know I will be tired from too little sleep and too many responsibilities. I know my body will feel like it’s been hit by a truck and that I would gladly forgo just about anything for a hot bath and 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I know time is on my side and that in time we will all find a new normal and that life will once again have a pattern.

For now, however, we all live in a haze ~ trying to figure out who we are in relation to each other now that the dynamic has changed. Jonah is facing the biggest change of all of us ~ despite the fact that he is one, he is no longer the baby of the family. Nyree is now a middle child, sanwhiched between two older and two little brothers. Ian grapples with the craziness of being the oldest of five when he spent 9 happy years as an only child, and Will simply wants some peace and quiet.

And me? I am trying to figure out how this new family works. Its wonderful and messy and painful and confusing.

Its life.

I am trying to hold on to those first few moments with Jago. I am trying to remember that magic is real and it is present each time a new life enters the world. It is why so many of us are willing to accept the pain and confusion of a new child. Despite the hardship, the magic of new life is a joy.

I am trying to remember, despite the difficulties, that our purpose in life is to experience joy.

Breathe. Laugh. Keep calm. Carry on.

Words to live by.

Week 36

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Week 36

First things first – the amniocentesis results are in and the Little Dude is perfectly normal.

That’s right. Normal.

After all that worry and anxiety, it turns out that Lee was right all along – we had a risk factor of 1:5 and we were one of the 4 rather than the 1.  I received this news with mixed feelings.  On the one hand, I am overjoyed that our son (and yes, it is 100% certain he is another son) is starting off his life with his story as yet unwritten.  He will be born without labels and, as far as we know, without obvious medical concerns related to his specific genetic makeup. More

Week 32 + 3: Amniocentisis

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Last Thursday I had an amniocentisis.  Everything went well and we should know the results in a few days.  At last, after all these many months of worry, we will know if our son has a chromosome abnormality like Down Syndrome.

While most women have amniocentisis at a much earlier point in their pregnancy, typically between 15-18 weeks if they meet the criteria (either age or a red flag from one of the other prenatal blood/ultrasound tests).  Lee and I chose to wait until 32 weeks.  Knowing earlier would not change our decision to keep, love and raise our son.   Waiting, however, ensures that if the amnio causes any complications, I will still give birth to a live baby and not risk miscarriage which can occur when the test is performed earlier.

Lee has been ambivalent about having amnio.  As a matter of fact, he’s pretty much opposed to pre-natal tests in general.  We have what we  have and no test is going to change the outcome.  He’s resented the weeks and months of worry over something that cannot be changed.  If we were younger and had plans to grow our family, I am certain he would insist that we decline any tests in future pregnancies.  No one tells you before the tests that you’ll worry yourself sick for the remaining months and that it may all be for naught.  I declined the tests with Jonah and although I was mildly worried at odd moments, it wasn’t something that became a preoccupation.  I didn’t dwell on the possibilities, trawl the internet for answers , or shed a single tear. More

Week 29: A Guide to Surviving Difficult People

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Ah, Christmas.

It’s a time to celebrate family and togetherness and the hope and promise of things to come.

At least, it is supposed to be.

For the 10th year in a row, I have spent this holiday with my husband’s family.  This is due to a number of factors, not the least of which is the idea of travelling with my brood at Christmas is a logistical nightmare (presents there and back, small children, car seats, and really, what does one do with the dogs for two weeks?).

Given that Lee’s family all live within 20 minutes of each other, everyone spends at least part of Christmas day at my in-laws.  This includes a full evening buffet and loads of really bad English television.

Every year it is the same.

Except this year.  More

Week 28: Growth Scans & Birth Plans

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For most of the last two months, I had almost forgotten about Down Syndrome.  Our last scan at 21 weeks was very encouraging – no additional soft markers, so I decided to just let go of all the worry that was eating me up inside.

After all, there is no point in worrying over what cannot be changed.

On Wednesday we were back at the maternity hospital for a regularly scheduled 28 week growth scan.  It took all of five minutes and I was pleased to see the baby’s heart beating strongly.  This was a huge relief as I’ve started doing my “kick counts” and had not felt much movement for the previous 15 hours, but everything looked good.

After the scan, I saw the  consultant and she didn’t mention anything to me in relation to the scan.  I told her about the reduced fetal movements and so she sent me to the MAU (maternal assessment unit) where midwives will do a 30 minute trace of the baby’s heart beat.  Again, Baby seems quite happy.

So I left the hospital in good spirits – really, it’s a good day when you get to “see” and hear your baby.

Here’s the thing with obstetric medical care in England – you carry your entire file with you. All women are issued a booklet of “Pregnancy Notes” for which you are responsible and must bring to every appointment – anyone who has any dealings with you can read an comment in the Notes. They also attach all the print-outs of all of your tests.

So when I got home I had my own little read of the scan results. More

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