Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Motherhood and parenting

I've always liked babies and children. Ok. Maybe not all, especially those bratty ones but generally, I love kids. Especially babies who would coo and smile and laugh at all the simplest things, and kids who would make you their personal toys (yes, I've been subjected to such, and it was my neice, at that, while she'd tell me "Tita, go and sit there. The ship will sail soon!" and what did I do? Follow her, of course. I mean, I wouldn't want the ship to leave without me, right?). And before I was married, I keep on telling my mother to go and get pregnant so that I'd have a cute little brother or sister to play with, since my own sister, even if she is five years younger than me, is already too old to play with. My mom would always tell me I should be the one since she's already too old to be caring for babies. And I'd always answer back that it won't be soon enough for me.

Until I got pregnant. It was unexpected actually, since we were still planning our wedding at that time, and with it came all the initial problems that came with unexpected pregnancy, i.e. how will I tell my parents, what would my family (meaning my whole extended family) think, how about J's family, etc, etc. Of course, I haven't really fully grasped the whole concept of having a child at that time. Just that, instead of having J by myself for at least six months after our wedding, I'd only have him for about five and already with something extra: my bulging belly. I haven't really thought about how I'd want to take care of my baby, and of course, how I'd want to parent my baby.

Fastforward to around 2-3 months before I'd give birth. Or rather, when I was searching the internet for maternity tops since my belly was starting really show and I don't have much tops that are roomy at the stomach. I chanced upon Next9... where I saw the ring sling. I fell in love. I mean, I already saw the ring sling being used by someone before, when we were eating at Pizza Hut when we were still in the dating/getting-to-know-each-other stage. And I said that I liked that concept. Besides which, I don't want to use a stroller. Especially when I already see a toddler, still sitting in a stroller, when s/he could walk beside the parents. Because I have this belief that it's just instilling laziness to the kid. Don't get me wrong. I know how useful the strollers are but it's just that, I really dont' see why the kids can't walk around (under parental supervision of course, especially when there are a lot of people milling around) and when they're tired already, sit down somewhere, or ask mommy or daddy for a ride. And if they're super tired they want to doze off, let them on mommy or daddy's shoulder. I mean, I personally like having my baby sleep on me, even when he's already getting heavier and heavier, when we're out and about. I can check on him periodically without having to stop at a corner or slow down...

But anyway. Yes. I fell in love. I fell in love with the concept of Attachment Parenting (AP). And what is AP exactly?
The term, "attachment parenting", was conceived by pediatrician William Sears and his wife Martha, to describe a highly responsive, attentive style of caring for a child. Attachment parenting promotes physical and emotional closeness between parent and child through what the Sears refer to as the "Baby Bs." The Baby Bs are bonding, breastfeeding, babywearing, bedsharing and boundary building. [IVillage]

When I started reading about AP from Next9's website, more specifically on babywearing, I was hooked. I wanted that kind of relationship with my baby. And then I continued to read on to the websites' other topics and well... the rest, as they say, was history. Attachment Parenting was exactly what I was looking for.

Why do I like AP so much? Well, let me count the (7) ways...
  1. I don't believe in letting my baby "cry it out" and AP believes that there is a language value in a baby's cry.
  2. A lot of well-meaning parents, either officemates or relatives alike, had told me to not let my baby get used to being carried since they'd be looking for it. Well, I actually love carrying my baby, even if it means getting a back ache later on but that's where babywearing comes in. And I love wearing my baby. I mean, if the title of my blog isn't some indication then I don't know what is. :D Besides which, they wouldn't stay as babies forever so I'd cherish the time my baby wants me to carry him and not moan and mope when the time comes that I want to carry him and he'd run away from me.
  3. AP promotes breastfeeding as not only an infant's source of nutrients, especially right after birth (colostrum, anyone?), but also as a way of bonding and exercising how to read your baby's cues. And who wouldn't love breastfeeding, even if it isn't as easy as it sounds, when you see your little one pause and look up at you and give you a grin?
  4. Co-sleeping. At first, it was because I read about it and it sounded (and felt) right. But later on, I realize, I really wouldn't want to leave my baby alone on a crib. I want to be near him, so it'd be easy for me to feed him and change him, even if it meant compromising sleep and some alone time with J. But then again, we already knew beforehand that having a baby (kids, actually) meant that we would have to get creative and some sacrifices would have to be made for us to get some alone time but then (again!), that wouldn't last forever.
  5. Rooming-in after birth. AP believes in birth bonding and seriously, it was easier for me to have my baby roomed in since I was breastfeeding him rather than having our room knocked on every 2-3 hours for feedings (which happened the first night).
  6. I haven't really thought of strictly following a parenting style nor even buying a book about how to train my baby to eat, sleep, etc. at certain times since I really just want to get in tuned with my baby on when he wants to eat, sleep, etc. Plus, like I said, I'm not really into the "cry it out" method. His cries always tug at my heart and I simply cannot ignore it.
  7. Balance. And this means knowing when to say "no" and when to say "yes" to baby. And knowing when to ask for help when overwhelmed.

With those in mind, but actually, with those in my heart since while I do love AP, I mostly do things with what my instincts tell me, I think motherhood, came to me almost naturally. Naturally, but certainly not easy. As the journey of motherhood and parenting has just started for me.

And, oh yes. It was just at the previous paragraph I mentioned motherhood, hmm? Well. I think I can sum it up in a short sentence: I love it.

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