This blog is small glimpses into my heart and soul - attempts to be transparent with friends, and sometimes, to myself. This is my safe place, where I can come and be purely Ness.

Family: If you found your way here, please do me a favor and don't poke through my closets, ok?

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Superior Choice

When I wrote this post, there was so much that was "clear" to me - black and white even. While I still feel strongly about most of these topics, I have gained a lot of grace and compassion for mothers who end up on the other side. I've learned far more about the myriad of reasons why some might make different decisions and seen some of the walls that they are faced with - sometimes even forcing them towards choices they do not want. While I would still make all the same choices again - I feel that they are my better choices, and I've learned that sometimes they are not your better choices. I've been tempted to delete this post entirely, but it's a tiny piece of me, of where I've been. Suffice to say, if I were to write this post today, it would have a very different tone to it.  - A slightly older Ness

Today I came across a comment about attachment parenting mothers having an attitude of superiority. This is not the first time I've heard this. It seems to be a common label given to those of us who practice this style of parenting. My response - Yep.
It's not that we think we're better than you, but that the methods we've chosen are better than the alternatives. That's why we chose them.  Isn't that they way it's supposed to work? You research and compile and listen, and then you decide to do what sounds and feels like the best - superior - thing for your baby. So, yes, we think what we do is better than what you do. Don't you think the same way? What mother says, "Yeah, this is definitely the poorer choice for my kid, but I'm going to do it anyway?"
Honestly there are times when we simply can't understand why you choose some things, like cry it out or formula feeding. It just seems so clearly to be the lesser or more harmful choice. It boggles my mind why some parents make the decisions they do, even when they are presented with evidence contrary to what they believe. It's like watching someone standing in front of a bin marked "Garbage" on one side, and "Recycling" on the other and then proceed to throw their glass bottle into the garbage. Huh? I'm so confused. How did you decide that was the better or right choice?
I know that making the decision to attachment parent is a bit more challenging than moving your arm to the other slot on the bin, but often it's easier to do than not. Bringing your baby into bed with you instead of listening to them cry for hours? Easier. Whipping out a boob instead of getting up to prepare formula? Easier. Throwing your baby in a carrier instead of lugging around a car seat? Easier. Keeping your tiny newborn close to you instead of letting them be strapped to a board while the doctor cuts off his skin? Easier. Follow that with - "wipe like a finger" instead of "protect with antibiotic ointment and watch for infection"? Easier. Letting your child wean themselves when the time is right instead of denying them the mother milk they want so much? Easier. (okay, I know that some people will face quite a bit of flack and criticism on this one that can make it very hard to continue.)
I do know that there are exceptions to the rule - the baby that demands his own space to sleep, the mother who needs medication that keeps her from breastfeeding, but the good reasons to chose else-wise are the exceptions, not the norm.
 I could go on and on about why the choices I make are the better choices, but that really would go on and on... and on. So suffice it to say, "Yes, I think my choices are better. Why else would I choose them?"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sucker-punch of Grief

Woke up feeling somewhat energetic. Somehow, within a few hours,  that changed to murky, crabby, irritable depression. Trying to shed my funk when the first one hit. Remember this? That poor little cat you lost, all alone in a strange neighbourhood in the cold of winter? You're not good at protecting little lives given to you, are you? POW! Left shaking and vulnerable, completely unsuspecting the second hit. Remember this? The time when your husband was happy and confident, had the smile of an expecting father, throughly unprepared for his own sucker-punch. POW! And I was undone. The grief swarmed and surrounded. Relentless pummels rained. Howls of pain and screams of rage emanated from a place I didn't know still existed. Almost three years have passed, but today it feels like I never left that moment. The grief is so strong I can't conquer it, and I lie beaten and bruised.
Little one, I'll never forget you. Every March and November, I'll remember the one missing from my arms. Every time I see the first crocuses of spring, I'll remember the joy you brought me for a few shorts weeks. And every now and then, I'll remember you, JJ, my baby who never had a chance to be, through the sucker-punch of grief.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I hate this feeling. My sister and I have always had this inherent sense of competition between us. I don't know what causes it, why it's so much more present with the two of us than with all our other siblings, but there it is. And I hate it. I hate that I feel left behind sometimes when she's doing something new, or that I often feel like I need to show how I "one up" her on whatever story she's telling, or that I feel this need to do things first. Part of it is definitely personality. She's bold and outgoing. Not afraid to go for what she wants, or to demand what she feels she deserves. I, on the other hand, am more laid back and content in the background. I get nervous asking for small favours. But, I'm still the oldest, so she should have to wait for me, right? I should be able to get to things before she does. Marriage, babies, house, even little things - like writing a blog. This morning I wake to my sister's post, "trying this blogging thing." Urr! "Wait! I got there first! I already started one! I'm ahead of you! Really people, like last week, I started my own blog. Her idea isn't unique, it's just copying the rest of us!"
Everything in me wants to scream those words, to prove that I wasn't left behind again, that I'm right there, just a little bit ahead of her. I know, how childish. How immature and unwomanly. I'm fully aware of the stupidity of this, and how bad it makes me look, but I can't seem to shake it. I don't want to feel this way about her. I don't want to always feel in competition. I hate competition! It makes me antsy, and somehow feel less worthy. And, it puts such strain on our relationship. I love my sister. I wish we could just totally accept each other and where we are in life. I seem to be able to do that with all my other siblings, why not her?
Of course, the irony is that this blog was never meant for her to know about. Her, or any of the people who could look and judge who was "winning." So, I can't tell her about it. I can't prove that I got there first. I just have to accept that she has a "public" blog, and move on. A small exercise in moving past this juvenile competition that defines our lives.

Reality - now it will come down to who continues to write in their blog. Will I still be posting when life and a new baby have overwhelmed her time? Will she keep updating about the growing of her family while I have grown bored with taking the time to write? Who will be the blog writing winner?  
(frustration, frustration, frustration. Why can't I just let go?)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I Choose to Be Tired

Sometimes I think I should update my Facebook status. I sit there and think, "Vanessa is... what? What am I right now? Tired. I'm tired." Probably about 80% of the time that is what goes through me head. So, I post nothing. I can't keep posting that I'm tired over and over again. Why not? Besides that it makes me look like I not only have a boring life and must be boring also - since I have nothing better to say, it indirectly reflects on my parenting. I can just hear people thinking, "Why is she so tired all the time? Is that baby not sleeping through the night yet? Man, she needs to train him how to sleep, and stop giving in to his wants all night."
Well, you know what? No, he's not sleeping through the night, not even more than three hours at a time, and yes, I'm quite aware of how old he is, but I will take this happy well adjusted baby over a good nights sleep anytime. Today, we left him in the care of people we had never left him with before (yes, of course he knew them), for longer than we had ever left him, for only the fifth time we have ever left him at all. He kissed us goodbye, waved at the window, and proceeded to have a grand old time, not missing us one bit, until he rushed smiling to hug us when we came home. That's what co-sleeping and night nursing have helped do for my child. He's independent, safe, and secure in his world. He knows he can trust his parents to provide a safe environment and constant security for him. He has no need to freak out when we leave him.
I had one very caring mother tell me that it was so important to put babies in their own room, or they would have such a hard time learning to be independent. To that I say, "Have you seen my son?"