Saturday, June 21, 2008

Mothers of Intuition

Attachment parenting is really just permission to parent intuitively.

It's about closing your eyes and sitting in a dark room and letting all those books stuffed with parenting/baby-training advice go up in flames. Because, really, what would you do without all the (culture-specific, mind you) expectations and pressure? You would feed your baby when he's hungry. You would pick him up when he cries. You would be in tune with his needs and wants because that's what feels right. Only it seems that our intuition is crushed in the deafening stampede of (often well-meaning) advice from friends, relatives, and the (not-always-so-well-meaning) baby trainers.

There's no list of items you must check off to ensure you're practicing attachment parenting (although there are touchstones); you simply follow your baby's lead. It's beautifully simple, although that doesn't make it easy.

To be fair, it is easier on some levels: being so in tune with your child allows you to know him better than anyone else, allows your intuition to kick into high gear so that you know when things are wrong or right in his world. But always being in high gear, always switched on--even in the dead of night when your body is "sleeping"--can be exhausting. It also means your orbit shifts, probably irreversibly: you learn to fit with your baby; he is not an inconvenience to be inserted into your old pre-parent life.

Attachment parenting, for us, is part of a larger way of existing. It follows that attachment living means being connected not just with your child, but with everyone and everything around you. It means listening a little harder, tuning in to new frequencies and lower rumbles.

Attachment living is living gently, compassionately, consciously, with purpose. Harmonizing. Being thoughtful. It is not, as another AL mama so incisively observed, a disposable lifestyle.

In case you're wondering, the AL blogging mamas met on a crunchy forum back in April 2007. We were all flying the attachment parenting banner, pregnant as heck, and due to have our babies at the same time (January 2008, if anyone's taking notes). When our babes were Earth-side, we all felt the pang of separation and decided to continue our community even after our old forum was archived and started collecting dust. I felt like a newborn myself, flung ungracefully into the brave new world of motherhood. I longed to connect with my old e-friends--some of whom were having their second, third, or fourth babes.

For many of us, our small group is the only place we have to go to connect with other mamas and get support around attachment living/parenting issues. I know that for me, it is a lifeline. Motherhood can be an isolating experience, even more so when you're radically (in the case of some of us) AP/AL.

We share recipes and links to BPA-free teethers. We seek each other out at two in the morning when we can't go back to sleep after a long nursing session or a teething explosion. We talk each other through tough parenting moments, through mastitis and cantankerous in-laws. We start posts about birthday parties that evolve naturally into conversations about consumerism. We talk about healing our bodies and hearts after the transformative experience of giving birth. We share our joys and trials with each other. It's a never-ending virtual slumber party!

During the course of our time together, we've had some thoughts, ideas, and challenges (most notably, the green smoothie challenge--more on that very soon) that we wanted to share beyond the intimate e-walls of our forum. And that's why this blog is here.

Whether AP is old hat or a novel curiosity for you, we hope you'll pull up a chair, enjoy a green smoothie with us, and join in on the conversation. Welcome to AL!


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