6. What area(s) of AP have you struggled with and how were you able to resolve your issue(s)?
I wish that I had realized that “balance” was as key to a happy, healthy family as was “responding with sensitivity”. I’m at home with my daughter. On the weekends, I love spending time with both her and my husband and when she was younger, I didn’t want to leave and have time for myself. But, then, come Monday, I was exhausted and frazzled and really felt the need for time alone. Now, I make sure to make time – for meditation, for yoga, for taking myself out to lunch.
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When my daughter was a baby, it felt easy to respond to her with sensitivity. Now that she’s almost three, it can be challenging in the face of emotional upsets and tantrums. What’s helped us is to focus on prevention – don’t take her to the grocery store too close to nap time, etc. And it’s also been REALLY essential to me to have AP-minded folks in our life. My closest mommy friend (we met in our childbirth class) happens to practice AP and it’s been wonderful to have someone to support me, talk to, encourage, trade ideas, and challenge my old patterns along the way. I’ve also connected to our local API support group that has a vibrant yahoo group and monthly meetings.
Dr. Sears talks about birth bonding, which I was not able to do. I had HELLP Syndrome with my pregnancy and my son was delivered 2 months premature. We were all so grateful he was born healthy at his gestational age. However, I was very sick (even after delivery) and I was not able to see him for three days. My husband, mom, dad, and sister-in-law (who is a pediatrician) took charge. My sister-in-law took a photo of my son in the NICU and brought it to me to help stimulate my milk. My husband would bring me the pump every two hours. If I was sleeping he took it upon himself to attach the pump for me so I could sleep through the pumping session. My parents and sister were my cheerleaders. They were so positive about being able to breastfeed and bond, but also were so great about understanding formula potentially could be an option, and there was no shame in using it if we needed it. We ended up not needing to use formula, but I think the encouragement from my family and knowing that no matter what, my son would be nourished, was what helped our breastfeeding story be successful.
Attachment parenting is a constant growing and learning experience for everyone involved because it is a relationship. Being present and balancing has always been my struggle and as a parent continues to be. Through attachment parenting, though, I am more aware of its importance in my life and am continually challenged to find it.
Gentle discipline is the hardest for me, because I was raised in a home where yelling and spanking were acceptable forms of discipline. Before I became a parent, I assumed that I would use similar discipline methods. But once I started reading about how respectful and gentle discipline can have much more positive long-term results, I decided that I wanted something different for my children. Changing this one area for me has not been easy – especially during my son’s preschool years! I continue to read and learn, and I try to surround myself by people who share the same values so that I can be motivated and challenged to continue on the path that feels right for our family.