Before I was a mom, I thought I knew what being a mom meant. More specifically, I thought I knew what moms did. I thought all moms were pretty much the same: they snuggled their babies, they kissed owwies, they agonized over how choices they made today, would effect the adults their children would grow up to be.
I had absolutely no idea that there were many different kinds of moms; so many that their are now labels associated with the parenting choices they make (or don’t make.) It wasn’t until I had my baby, that I realized… I was a crunchy mom.
That word- crunchy: used to invoke images in my head of women in tie die maxi dresses, with dreadlocks, who sang folk songs and smelled of patchouli. Nothing bad about it, just not how I ever saw myself. Yet before I knew it, the crunchiness was creeping in…
It all started way before Tiny was even thought of. I always assumed that I would have my baby in a hospital with an epidural. Pain and me- we don’t get along, and so the idea of pushing a bowling ball sized person out of my body was way less than appealing. It was actually downright terrifying. I remember getting a little weepy once getting my blood drawn and my mom saying, “How are you ever going to have children?” I am a card carrying wimp.
So it seemed pretty certain that when it came time to have Tiny I was going to take the easy way out. The path of least resistance if you will. I wanted drugs. Case closed. I even went so far as to tell Mr. Wright that if for some reason I decided to go crazy and change my mind- he was to step in and assure that I got the juice.
Then, one night, we decided to quell our baby fever and watch a documentary. It was called “The Business of Being Born.” It laid out a lot of useful information including some staggering statistics about the birth process in this country. By the end of the film I had made up my mind. I wanted to have a natural birth.
I began researching local birthing options and found the most amazing place nearby called The Midwife Group. I made an appointment to visit and fell in love with everything about the place. After giving birth to Tiny there (and I know that I am skipping forward a LOT!) I thought that my crunchiness had dissipated. I was soooo wrong.
The more I researched things the more I realized just how crunchy I was. I met other moms who were like me, with many of the same ideals I had. With each new discovery and conviction I would add another title to my ever expanding list of accomplishments or idiocies, depending on how you looked at it.
I went from being a natural mom to a natural, exclusively breast feeding, co-sleeping, non-vaxing, attachment parenting Mom. I found that each time I was faced with a choice of what to do for my child I would tack on another title.
When Tiny is sick, I don’t run to the Dr. for an Rx like I would have in the old days. I know that my breast milk has natural defenses that no drug could possibly provide. Add homeopathic nerd to the list.
This week Tiny tried cucumber for the first time. We have decided not to feed her pureed foods and instead focus on teaching her to eat real table food. Add baby-led weaning to their list of charges.
Today, I learned how to make a cloth diaper, so I can transition my daughter out of the plastic disposables. cloth diapering too!
It’s funny because in my own little group of Mommies this stuff is totally normal. It is only when talking with my “main stream” friends and family that I feel like one of those “witches” balancing her stockinged feet on a barrel while the rest of the town spits at her and tells her what a terrible mother she is.
Ok, so it’s not that bad. But hearing things like, “Her first food should be oatmeal,” or “You are putting her at risk by not vaccinating her,” are certainly not statements that empower me as a mother. After all, it’s not like I made these decisions willy-nilly. I have done hours and hours of research and talked to experts, and others who have been in my shoes and these are the conclusions I have come to. I don’t push my beliefs on others, and I would like to think they could afford me the same respect.
And to be fair most do. Sure I get the occasional belligerent comment from a “friend” about how I am hurting my child by making the choices I do. I just smile and nod. I know, when I go to sleep at night that the choices I make regarding Tiny are the ones I truly think are in her best interest. I am glad I have access to the wealth of knowledge that I do, and I am proud to call myself a crunchy mama, or more specifically:
a natural, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, homeopathic, non-vaxing, baby-led weaning, soon to be cloth diapering mama.