The latest cover of TIME magazine didn’t shock me. I was surprised that they devoted their number one story to Attachment Parenting, but it was not surprising that they would use such a provocative breastfeeding photo to do it. After all, a magazine’s main purpose is to make money (no, I don’t believe that they are more interested in real journalism and the greater good) and that photo definitely got everyone’s attention!
What has been surprising to me is the hatred that has been spewed in the direction of mothers who nurse their children beyond infancy and towards Attachment Parenting followers as a whole. Because I just had to see it, I recorded the episode of The View that featured Dr. Sears the other day. I just cannot get the whole train wreck of an interview out of my head. Most of the women there looked at that poor man as if he had suggested administering heroin to your babies! The utter disgust and disrespect on their faces made me hurt all over. Not to mention the fact that they hardly let him finish half a sentence.
Most of all, I remember Barbara Walters looking completely indignant, accusing Dr. Sears of making all working mothers feel guilty. Dr. Sears tried to explain that his ideas about parenting actually had nothing to do with whether a woman works or not- they can be practiced in any situation. And at the very end of the interview I finally realized what was behind all this animosity when Barbara exclaimed that it was making HER feel guilty. All the ‘ladies’ nastiness probably stemmed from their own parenting insecurities…
As a general response to all the bad press, putting down Attachment Parenting followers and their beliefs, I can only say: You’re all being ridiculous! Attachment Parenting has been made to look like this extremist form of parenting, this unattainable model of perfection, when all it is, in the tiniest of nutshells, is this: Responding to your baby’s needs.
Attachment Parenting is not something that has to be learned or studied. It is not a new idea. It is not radical or unusual and we are not extremists. Attachment Parenting is exactly what we would all do if we didn’t have the advice of family members, books and other media, pediatricians, OB/GYNs, countless other ‘professionals’, friends, neighbors, strangers at the grocery store, etc. If a woman were to end up on an island by herself, she would handle her baby exactly the way Attachment Parenting suggests- it is instinctive parenting that can be found in each and every one of us.
I didn’t start my parenting journey as an informed mother. I had no clue what I was doing. And the advice poured in from every angle possible, tearing me in opposite directions. Everyone knew best- after all, they had all done it before and been somewhat successful. Thankfully, I was given an Attachment Parenting book and immediately a light bulb went off in my head- Yes! This is it! This is what my inner most gut feeling has been telling me to do.
As soon as I had been enlightened, as soon as someone had given me the reassurance to listen to my inner voice, I knew that it was right. My baby knew what she wanted/needed from me and she was able to tell me beautifully. Finally, I was able to give her what she had been asking me for all along!
I am passionate about Attachment Parenting and all that it includes. However, I am not an extremist nor am I some sort of radical parent. I do what I feel is right, as does everyone else in the parenting world. I write about it a lot, but I never suggest that this is the right way for everyone, nor do I say that all other ways are wrong. I wish that respect and tolerance was given to parents like myself who have chosen a different way of doing things…
Therefore, in honor and support of Dr. Sears and his wonderful concept of Attachment Parenting, I will be writing a blog post every day for the next seven days, introducing you to the seven ‘B’s of the AP style of parenting. Just to clarify: this is not meant as some sort of criticism of other parenting styles, or a how-to guide, etc. I will just be writing about what the seven ‘B’s are and what they mean to me as a parent.
Tomorrow will be the first post- all about ‘Birth Bonding’. Fellow bloggers, won’t you join me? I will have a linky underneath my post for you to submit your own blog posts on the subject.
Let’s make it a carnival in celebration of Attachment Parenting!