I have often heard that when we know better we do better. However this is not always the case or the reality of some who learn that there is a better way to parent/care for a child. The defensiveness of parents is often intriguing for me. I guess because I was the oldest daughter of a mother who suffered from a severe and persistent mental illness and who seemed to lack mothering skills from the very beginning I knew when I had my first child that I wanted to do better. I couldn’t learn what better was fast enough. I was thirsty for knowledge on how to do better and wanted better for my child.
I admit I do lack compassion for those who choose instead to feel guilty for what they did not know and decide to defend themselves with justifications and rationalizations for not changing their behavior even in the face of credible research that tells them otherwise. I just can not wrap my head around not wanting a better world, a better outcome for one’s offspring. I admit, I don’t get it!
I don’t get how the ego takes over and everything about our children becomes some statement about us as parents, as human beings or an overdeveloped sense of loyalty to our own parents. We don’t have any control to change the past, we do however, have the power of now. We have the power to change the future by choosing today to do something different. We have the power to decide right now to choose to do our best to be the best we can be as a parent/caregiver of children.
As I read this article I found myself laughing at the reaction of “mainstream” America to a lifestyle that I had chosen some 35 years ago. A lifestyle based not upon research and only based upon what my instincts, what my heart told me was true. I chose to breastfeed when it wasn’t popular. I chose attachment parenting and co-sleeping even against all of the disapproval of my extended family, my in-laws and even my husband. The only regrets I have today are when I succumbed to his bidding and put them into their own beds against their protests. I parented from my heart. For this I have no regrets. I would listen to my heart all over again if presented the opportunity to do so. AND I would listen even more closely than before.
I didn’t read the TIME article. I saw the picture and the picture spoke a thousand words. I refused to read it based only on a I didn’t need to know what those who felt so offended by those of us who had parented from our hearts. I know they must feel betrayed to be taught that science that their outwardly sense of of what was good for their child was not what was true. I however, cannot fix that for them. I can only deal with my own sense of where I failed and where I feel like I succeeded as a mother. Taking on other people’s pain won’t do them or me any good. I posted this today however because someone did read the article and their response was comprehensive. It even includes ideas for how to respond to parents/caregivers who feel backed into a corner by their own guilt.