My Mom, The Perfect AP Role Model
by Heidi, Hannah Rose's Mom
My mother was (and is) the best mother I have ever known. She has practiced the principles of attachment parenting for 23 years without ever knowing that those principles had a name! She breastfed all seven of her children into toddler-hood, practiced co-sleeping, and always tried to see the world “through the child’s eyes”. For her efforts, she has earned 7 healthy, intelligent, and kind children from the ages of 23-8! She is my inspiration.
From the time I was 11 years old I knew that I wanted to be a mother. I began my research on parenting at that young age! I read all of the parenting books in my mom’s bookshelf, as well as parenting magazines. I babysat throughout adolescence and was a nanny for two years; I also worked for nine months at a University day care center. All of these experiences gave me the opportunity to observe and compare childcare methods. What I learned only served to re-enforce the example that my own mother set. It was easy for me to see that hitting a child taught that child to hit others, ignoring a child’s needs did not make those needs go away, and most importantly, both parents and children are happier when there is love, empathy, and attentiveness on the part of both.
When I became pregnant, I discovered the writings of Dr. William Sears and his wife Martha. I was delighted to finally find a pediatrician who could identify and validate the childcare theories I had believed in all along! It was also very helpful to have my dear husband read The Attachment Parenting book so that he could understand and share my vision of how we would parent our child. I believed that I had prepared myself as well as I possibly could to be the kind of mother I wanted to be for my sweet baby.
But all did not go as planned when my daughter Hannah Rose was born suffering from the effects of group B strep disease as well as inhaled meconium. She and I could not experience the birth bonding I had envisioned. During her 8-day stay in the NICU I could not even hold her when I liked, or attempt to breastfeed her! Breastfeeding was something I had looked forward to so much, but I was unable to produce enough to feed my baby! It took prescription drugs and countless prayers before my milk came in, and even then I had trouble latching my daughter on.
But despite our difficult beginning, my husband and I were blessed to have a healthy daughter come home to us. And once home, I believe that the practices of Attachment Parenting helped to heal our little family. Breastfeeding, Baby Wearing, and Sharing Sleep have all brought us closer together.
I am not as rigid about the “rules” of Attachment Parenting as I was before my daughter was born. She now spends most of the night in her crib (though she always nurses to sleep). I believe that Attachment Parenting is much more than a few rules, as many other parenting methods seem to be, Attachment Parenting is an attitude of sensitivity and intuitive responsiveness to children.
My daughter Hannah Rose is now a very curious, VERY active one-year-old! She is healthy, outgoing, and well adjusted. I am so grateful to be her mother.