Can I be completely honest with you? I consider myself as a natural mama, I try to raise my children as toxic-free as possible. For the most part that is going well but sometimes that little voice creeps in and starts to question if I’m doing it right. That’s why I wrote these confessions of a natural mama because I know I’m not the only mother who deals with this kind of doubt and insecurities!
Every mother always want to do what’s best for their children. We research, read and re- examine all the time to see what works best for us. Since I moved to Thailand I became more aware of all the chemicals around me so when I had my daughter I didn’t want to expose her to all of that. My natural mama quest becan.
4 Confessions of a Natural Mama
- Parenting is the easiest to have an opinion about, but is the hardest thing to do!
This is a quote I’ve read years ago and it’s such a powerful one. When you walk away from the more conventional methods, people will tell you their opinions, which might be very different from yours. You have done all the research and made a certain decision for a good reason! Their opinions matter and sometimes you change your mind and go mainstream (whatever that means) because you feel alone.My firstborn was the easiest baby ever! She slept through the night quickly, only cried when she was hungry or tired and was overall so content. When I would see other babies who had pacifiers in all the time, I would (silent say to myself) seriously, a pacifier during the day?! Now that I have a son who is easily upset, has a hard time sleeping and is very sensitive, I can’t live without a pacifier! Everywhere I go I have at least one with me so when he gets upset I can calm him down. I wish I could calm him by walking around with him, talking to him and comfort him, but that doesn’t work with him. Every baby has different needs and every mother is different. It taught me a valuable lesson not to judge the situation before you know the whole story!
How we love to debate about how we feed our babies, but lets face it, our babies need to be fed and it doesn’t matter how, as long as we feed them! That being said, I am a strong breastfeeding advocate. I think it’s in mother’s and baby’s interest to breastfeed but if you can’t or choose to (for whatever good reason you have) bottle feed, that perfectly okay! I’m not somebody who tries to convince mothers, I respect your decision.I’m blessed that I was able to breastfeed both my kids without any issues. However after 9 months of feeding my daughter, she stopped, overnight.. It was heartbreaking (and really painful) because I was in it for the long haul. It turned out that she had a lip tie which started to hurt after her two top teeth appeared but I only realised that months later. With my son I was able to feed him until 19 months. I was going to go for at least 2 years, but my body, mind and soul were being pulled in so many directions that I made the decision that start weaning him. He did so well that I think it was the perfect timing for both of us. This time no guild because I knew it was the best for us both. I learned to surrender to the moment and let go of expectations.To every breastfeeding mom I like to say, hang in there! I know it’s hard and painful in the beginning but it’s so rewarding. Don’t let other people let you it’s time to stop. You know your baby and you know what best for him/her. Following my own intuition was the best thing I did. For months people were telling me “he is getting too big, it is getting weird (something so natural is weird?) or it is time for a bottle…” I respect and appreciate everybody’s choices and opinions but mothers are sensitive to these kind of comments. It isolates them, it isolated me, pushing me further away into my shell. Now I’m done with the shaming and I want to stand up to all mothers. How you feed your baby is up to you and let’s respect each others choices, even if they’re very different from yours!
- Cloth Diapering
This started out of a needs for good quality diapers because the diapers here in Thailand are a disaster. Cloth diaper were the solution and I haven’t looked back since. Diaper rashes are nothing compared to the rashes they had with disposable diapers. When I discovered all the chemicals that are present in diapers I couldn’t simply put them on anymore. But…. when life gets chaotic and children, work and the house need attention, it’s hard to keep the cloth diapering game up. You’re never done with them! Enter; guilt. When I’m using disposable diapers and I look at the pile of garbage we’re producing… ugh.What is it about this guilt, seriously?! I’m only one women so I can only be at one place at the time. I already reduced our production of waste (and money!) drastically. I should be looking at what I am doing, not what I should be doing.
“Do you sleep with your baby? Isn’t that dangerous and weird?” I can’t count the amount times I hear the word weird in the same sentence as my lifestyle and the way I raise my kids. Just because someone’s lifestyle is different than yours doesn’t make it weird. The same with co-sleeping, everybody has an opinion about it. Like with everything else, do what feel natural mamas! We chose to co-sleep with both of our kids. I couldn’t just put them in a crib after they’ve been with me for 9 months! I really enjoy having them close to me and to be able to feed them when the first signs of hunger appear. Our oldest easily switched between our bed and her own crib. After that she easily transitioned to her own bed in her own room.Our son still sleeps with us and I don’t think he’s going to be on his own soon and that’s fine. I do sometimes wish he would easier fall asleep by himself but he doesn’t. The concept of letting them cry themselves to sleep is not something I’m willing to try. I personally don’t believe in letting them cry to teach them a lesson. Our son is super sensitive about everything and the last thing I want is to add to that sensitivity. Children need their mothers, there’s nothing wrong with that! But there are moments I wished he was able to sleep by himself, to have more space in the bed and sleep through the night without being kicked. And then the sweetest face and the biggest smile wake me up in the morning and all is good again.I’m not going into the science of all of this, but if you are interested in reading more about co-sleeping, Mommypotamus wrote this great article filled with scientific research. I believe there’s nothing wrong with keeping your children close, before you know it they are leaving the house!
Doubt and insecurities
Raising children is hard work and having support is so important. Criticizing other mothers is easy, but think how it would make you feel if someone said that to you. We all need to stay and support each other! We all deal with doubt and insecurities. Some may express it while others hold it to themselves.
The hardest and toughest criticism probably doesn’t come from the outside, but from the inside. I know that I’m my own worst critic, no one can get to me more like I can (read all about my journey into and out my postpartum depression). Self judgement is the worst. I made a promise to myself to stop with the guilt trip and be more gentle with myself. This blog is an extra reminder to myself that it is all good. I’m doing the best I can and so are you! Believe in yourself and in your own routine. Just because you don’t follow the crowd doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise!