Attachment Parenting, Mainstream Parenting, Positive Parenting, Authoritarian Parenting…
Parenting in many parts of the western world has become a movement. Each movement has created a “tribe” of likeminded parents who aim to raise their children within the confines of their chosen parenting style.
When I became a new mom, I was thrown head first into the virtual rabbit hole of parenting styles. My once relatively calm birth board became a torch and pitch fork wielding war zone. Once each new mommy fell into her natural rhythm of parenting, she became absorbed into her designated tribe. These tribes fought like warriors over everything; how to feed a baby, how to put a baby to sleep, where to put a baby to sleep, how to carry them, what to carry them with, what to clothe them in, and more.
For new mama’s like me, who were reeling from undiagnosed postpartum depression, this constant warring heavily influenced and furthered my paranoia and anxiety, causing the belief that I MUST NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG. To hear many of these moms put it, one misstep, and I will ruin my child.
This fear ate at my soul for the first two years. I became hyper vigilant in my actions. I shunned many mainstream methods for fear that I would emotionally harm my baby. I stopped caring for myself because I no longer existed as a separate person. I was Mama, and that was that. My job was to not fail. It kept me up at night.
Then it occurred to me that this was no way to live. After some time in therapy, I was able to clear my head and really see the harm that many of these parenting styles inflict on new mothers.
When a way of parenting becomes natural to you, that’s great. It’s such a good feeling to know that you’re getting the hang of it. But when that becomes your life, when you sit and feel disgust at the actions of a mom who does things differently, then you need to step back and evaluate what’s going on.
Parenting is not an all or nothing game. There are no opposing teams and you don’t get a trophy. New moms are so vulnerable to scare tactics created by parenting experts and even some pediatricians who promote certain ways of child rearing.
The divide needs to be bridged and we need to dismantle the territories. We can learn something from each other.