Because of SuperGirl’s sleep problems (which you read about on Thursday in Elise’s post), all of us PB & K Mama’s have been talking about sleep — how our kids sleep, when and why … if they sleep at all. I’ve come to one conclusion, all kids are different, all situations are different, and if you think you’ve got everything figured out, just wait a few nights. But I’m not really going to talk today about how my kids sleep (we co-slept with both of ours, but I’ll save those gems for another day.)
But all this talk about sleep got me to thinking about why we made the decision to co-sleep. It was a decision, too. It wasn’t us caving to exhaustion at four in the morning. My husband, the Geek, and I practiced attachment parenting pretty much straight down the line, but kind of by accident. While I was pregnant we made decisions about natural childbirth (check!), breast feeding (check!), co-sleeping (check!) and baby-wearing (check!). Only later did I happen upon the term attachment parenting. Luckily there are books out there cover all those issues together and fill in the gaps as well.
I love attachment parenting partly because it suits my personality and my easy-going nature, but mostly because it makes me feel like a mother.
In case you’re not a mother, here’s a little secret I’m going to let you in on … having kids isn’t enough alone to make you feel like a mother. No matter how get them–whether you adopt or have your own–the mere presence of tiny humans in your life isn’t enough to make you feel like a mom. Just like having a cow wander through your yard won’t make you feel like a cowboy.
I think some women are natural moms. You know the type. They’re great with kids their whole lives. They played with dolls when they were little. Having children was always part of their life plan. They see a baby and instantly want to hold it. Their whole face lights up at the sight of a newborn.
That wasn’t me. I never played with my dolls. I preferred books and stuffed animals. I wasn’t even sure I wanted kids until I was in my 30′s. To be honest, I wasn’t wholly committed to the idea until after my first mis-carriage. I’m the person who would look at newborns and think, “Wow. Were they sure this one was done when they took it out?”
I didn’t come to motherhood naturally.
You know that moment mother’s have when they look at their baby for the first time and fall in love and know that it was all worth it? Yeah, I didn’t have that either. I had thirty-hours of un-medicated labor. I was exhausted. I remember holding the baby and trying to nurse. Robyn was standing at my right shoulder gazing in wonder at the miracle of life on my chest (’cause she is the kind of woman who feels that way). She said, “I know it was hard, but now that she’s here, it was all worth it right?”
I looked down at the tiny squirming bundle and thought, “Eh. We’ll see.”
Now, almost seven years in to this motherhood gig, I can barely remember a time I wasn’t a mother. It feels like this is how I was supposed to be. I love kids and I’m that dopey person who lights up at the sight of a newborn. I feel like a Mother.
I attribute a lot of that to attachment parenting. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe would I feel this way no matter how we parented. Maybe the act of caring for little ones makes a parent no matter how you do it.
But I do know this: attachment parenting isn’t only about attaching the child to the parents. It’s about attaching the parent to the baby.