You Asked. They Answered. TIME’s AP moms take your questions. (Question 16 – The End)

May 24, 2012. Posted in: Blog Posts

Part 16:  You Asked. They Answered. TIME’s AP moms take your questions.

16. Do you think the TIME article/cover helped or hurt (or both) the effort to educate about AP?

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Jessica ____________________
I think a national conversation about AP was a good thing. The coverage probably convinced the critics of their opinion and the AP community of their need to stick together. I think offering an alternative to the way of parenting that is so pervasive is important. I love our AP life – AND it can feel lonely at family gatherings or on the playground when talking about – or talking TO – our kids.

Jamie ____________________
I had a chance the day after the cover came out to speak to Dr. Sears about my concerns. He said that long-term he had no doubt this would be beneficial to AP. I respect him so much, so I took his positive message to heart. It was hard seeing all the negative reactions from this, but I do see the pendulum swinging the other way. This of course is due to the community I have grown to love so much standing up and giving truths about our lives. I think the cover was negative and complete shock factor journalism which got the world talking. The AP community took that dialogue and is turning it into something beautiful. I didn’t do that, my family was definitely taking a stand for something we believed in, but it was the efforts of my fellow APers that created the education currently going on in the world.

Melinda ____________________
I think it got the word out there, even though it might have been in a controversial way. It is now a household name and people are learning.

Dionna ____________________
Both, of course. But we are not TIME. We do not need to let TIME speak for us. We can choose to take the opportunity that TIME gave us – by putting AP and breastfeeding into the national spotlight – and turning it into a positive. Who would you listen to, the author of an article meant to sensationalize a parenting practice? Or a friend who lives it? Be the friend who normalizes it in your community.

 

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I would like to thank everyone – Jessica, Jamie, Melinda, and Dionna – for responding to our questions. The TIME article has raised both awareness and controversy, and it might be some time before the dust settles. We applaud your efforts to advocate for breastfeeding and attachment parenting, and are proud of you for taking the negative publicity and leveraging it into something positive.

 

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Tom Steenhuysen May 25, 2012 at 9:14 pm

My hats off to all the ladies. Well done! ~Tom

Eleanor Stribling May 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I appreciate that all of these ladies look the time to elaborate on this and share their experiences.  However, the fact that AP is a movement and a philosophy is part of the problem.  If we really just want to respect one another’s choices and be respected ourselves, why do we have to put labels on things and “advocate” for them?   While we all look for like-minded people to support our choices, I don’t get what possible purpose broad promotion of co-sleeping, breastfeeding or baby-wearing as the way to treat your child in a nurturing and respectful way has aside from asserting that your way is the correct one, and moms who aren’t doing that are selling their kids short (even if you add the everyone’s-different/not-that-there’s-anything-wrong-with-that disclaimer at the end).    My son’s an alert, happy kid who constantly has a smile on his face, and my husband and I are both happy and healthy.  If other moms do things differently, or think my mothering is inferior to theirs, I really don’t care.

Kayla May 31, 2012 at 1:52 am

 Hi there!  I’m appreciative of you being focused on the fact that your family is happy and not letting others bring you down for it.  That’s awesome.

Just wanted to add some of my observations/reactions to your comment.  AP is really more of a way of life for many than it is just “a movement and a philosophy”.  I don’t really think it is part of the problem.  It’s constantly evolving and people aren’t always appreciative of constant changing.

The broad promotion is mostly for information, for connection, I think.  I really enjoy that, personally!  There’s so much about AP to be discovered.  There’s so much to have a conversation about, and promoting/supporting/advocating it keeps the conversation going!  My hope is that there will be less judgey, more “Oh cool I’m learning something new!”.  And I also hope that it will be less about “my way is the correct way” and more about “hey this is what I do! what about you?”.  I learn so much from mamas who open up about what they do, whatever path they’re on.  And I advocate for them and their family’s happiness, for the information they can provide to others.

There are a lot of things about AP where I entertain the possibilities, but dismiss them if they don’t sit right with me.  Similarly, there’s a lot about it where I embrace what resonated with me.

Thanks for the thoughts, Eleanor!

A Sillito July 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Good reply, Kayla. There’s that defensiveness again that always comes up with mamas – just being happy and confident in the fact that you did/are doing the best you can for your child should be enough. Unfortunately there are still people who see any articles like this as a personal attack on their parenting skills – not so. If you’re taking it that way then maybe there is something you feel guilty about and feel the need to lash out instead of turning around and realizing its a personal issue. Congrats on dealing with negative reviews diplomatically : )

Courtney December 28, 2012 at 12:20 am

Personally, I am more of a “conventionalist” when it comes to parenting; but I must say, hats off to these women! They are the perfect embodiment of motherhood empowerment! When my daughter was born, I made the choice to breastfeed. I had a rather poor support system however as my husband was serving in Afghanistan and my mother-in-law was avidly (and quite vocally) against breastfeeding. I suffered from postpartum depression after my daughter’s birth and the negative response I got breastfeeding my daughter only helped to deepen my depression. It doesn’t matter if you agree with AP style of parenting or not (after all, we all do what’s best for our situation), these women should be commended for standing up for their parenting beliefs and for offering a strong hand of support to those struggling with their own parenting choices due to opposition. I truly wish I’d had the type of support system these women are lucky enough to share with their peers, and I hope that I can make myself a beacon for my own peers regarding my views on breastfeeding the way these women are.

(On a side note: I would like to proudly mention that I nursed my daughter 10 months and am now happily nursing my son who is 23 days old today)