Sunday, October 24, 2010

Attachment Parenting

16 years ago I took steps to become an attachment parent.
I was raising my ex-husband's 4 year old daughter at the time and I was struggling.  Every thing I did was wrong for her.  She lied, she stole food, she argued about everything.  I was at my wits end.
My precious step-daughter was suffering from an attachment issue.
It took awhile, but I finally got pregnant.  I knew I was going to breastfeed so I started attending LLL.  That's where I got my first issue of Mothering Magazine and came across an article that discussed Jean Liedoff's book The Continuum Concept: In Search Of Happiness Lost (Classics in Human Development).  I couldn't find the book but I did find Jean and called her to see if she could give me help with my step-daughter.  I couldn't afford her consultation fee but she sent me a copy of her book, which then put me on the path of becoming an attached parent.
Armed with The Continuum Concept, Dr. Sears The Baby Book and numerous issues of Mothering Magazine I set out on my quest to make sure my son and I became attached.  I was known in the neighborhood as the crazy mom.  I breastfed until my son was 2 even though my ex-husband objected, I used cloth diapers, I defied the doctors and co-slept with my son. 
The biggest thing I did that turned everyone's head was I wore my son.  I think I was the only mom on Mountain Home Air Force Base that wore her baby.  You could find me walking down the aisle of the commissary with my son in his ring sling.
I was CRUNCHY back before it was called crunchy!
Fast forward to now...My son is shy but he is a caring, kind young man with good manners.  He gets good grades, he's a cautious driver, he is rarely contentious.  He's a good kid, and I'm proud of him and the adult he is becoming.  
When I explained to him that we would be bringing a little baby girl into our lives he commented that we didn't have very good luck with girls.  He has two "sisters" and they haven't turned out so well.
My response to him was that I didn't get a chance to raise his sisters from birth, that they came into our lives already slightly damaged.  He shook his head and went back to reading his book.
I have brought a newborn into his life and he has stepped up to the plate.  He starts the dishwasher if its full, he mows the lawn without me asking, he told me that if I need help he's here to help me-all I have to do is ask.
Is this all because of attachment parenting?  I don't know but I'd like to think so!
I do know this, the little girl that's laying beside me sleeping is going to get the same chance that my son did 16 years ago.  I can't breastfeed, but I can wear my LO everyday and make sure that she learns how to properly bond with her caregiver.
I can give her the one thing that will affect her life forever whether she spends it with me or is placed back with her birth mother.  I can give her the gift of ATTACHMENT and it seems to me that is the most important thing a baby can be given.

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