Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Know A Baby

I know a baby whose momma was grieving the loss of another unborn baby during pregnancy.

I know a baby whose momma feared every single day of her pregnancy that her body would fail him.

I know a baby whose momma was not able to gain the recommended amount of weight during pregnancy.

I know a baby whose momma thought circumcision was cleaner, healthier, more attractive.

I know a baby who thought cry-it-out was necessary for independence and assertion of authority.

I know a baby who was born in a hospital.

I know a baby who has worn disposable diapers.

I know a baby whose momma struggled to walk and was in therapy for months due to symphysis pubis dysfunction.

I know a baby whose momma was treated for deep vein thrombosis with twice daily abdominal injections.

I know a baby whose momma used a nursing shield. For months.

I know a baby who has been given a bottle.

I know a baby who has been given formula. Several bottles of formula.

I know a baby who has been given a pacifier. And refused it over and over again to his momma’s then dismay.

I know a baby whose momma feared being seen nursing while uncovered.

I know a baby who has been nursed over a public toilet.

I know a baby who has slept in a swing. For hours upon hours.

I know a baby who has slept in a crib.

I know a baby who did not get to meet his Poppy before he succumbed to Lou Gherig’s right before his first Christmas.

I know a baby whose momma struggled with postpartum depression.

I know a baby who has been spoon-fed purées.

I know a baby who has been carried in a carseat.

I know a baby who has been pushed in a stroller. And sometimes still is.

I know a baby whose needs have pushed his momma to the brink of exhaustion, the brink of sanity, the brink of faith.

And I know a baby whose momma, while she is flawed beyond repair, has been sustained purely by His grace.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

(This baby is my son. This momma is me.)

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Manifesto of an OCD Momma

*Disclaimer: Obsessive compulsive disorder is a serious struggle that many people face daily in their own lives and in the lives of those they love. Unfortunately, our society at large is neither kind towards those who face this struggle, nor does it boast a clear understanding of what it entails. For example, it is not at all uncommon for someone to proclaim, “I am OCD about my house being clean,” or to hear someone say, “She has OCD about how she looks.” These comments are not only ignorant, they can be very hurtful. In this post my intention is not only to comment on parenting practices, but to also comment on our society’s desire to label and discard those who are different. However, if you find my words distasteful or offensive, please do not hesitate to contact me or comment below, as that is not in any way my intention.

Moment of Truth

The other day, someone I love and care about very much declared to me angrily that I have OCD (for those less familiar with mental health jargon, obsessive compulsive disorder) when it comes to parenting and that there is “something wrong” with my brain. Her words pierced me deeply – the labeling, the disdain, the absence of kindness.

Verdict: Guilty as Charged

Since then I have done a lot of praying, a lot of thinking, a lot of soul-searching. The evidence all points in one direction. Not only do I in fact have OCD, I have an extra stigmatized, albeit rare variety classified as “OCD: Seeing Through the Smoke-Screen of Mainstream Parenting Practices.”  And yes, I definitely have a severe, pervasive and incurable case of it.

Even though her words were really hard to hear (being serious here), I am not actually shocked to learn that my rejection of consumerist, convenience-oriented, parent-centric parenting practices have landed me a “mentally ill” label. If my rejection of mainstream parenting practices did not immediately land me in the “sick box,” what would the crib, stroller, and clip-on toy manufacturers do? What would the formula and baby food industries do? What would corporate America do? What would the “baby sleep trainers” do? What would Dobson, Tripp, Pearle, and Fitzpatrick do? What would obstetricians and hospitals do?

They would lose money. And this would be utterly catastrophic. But don’t worry. There is hope for them. By labeling me as crazy you are helping them protect their bottom line. By distancing yourself from me you are helping them protect their bottom line. And by labeling me and distancing yourself from me because I parent differently than your husband, mother, friend, baby book, church, pediatrician, etc. have instructed you to parent, you are letting me know that you are not at peace with your own parenting choices. Your momma heart must be so heavy. I grieve for you.

Symptomology

But what if you aren’t worrying about the bottom lines of the baby industries? What if my parenting choices don’t rile up repressed feelings of fear for you? What if you have sensed for some time that you have “OCD: Seeing Through the Smoke-Screen of Mainstream Parenting Practices” too? Admitting there is a problem is half the battle, so in hopes of helping you decipher if you yourself belong in the “sick box,” I have outlined many of my parenting obsessions and compulsions below. Please note that you need only possess one or more of these obsession/compulsion pairs to be certifiable according to your friends, family, and complete strangers. For your children’s sake, for your sake, and for our world’s sake, I pray that you are just as sick as I am.

Complusion: Babywearing

Obsession: Knowing that this…

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…not only leads to less crying and fussing as it is the way babies and young children were designed to be transported, it is physiologicallyneurologically and psychologically preferable to this:

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Compulsion: Breastfeeding a toddler

Obsession: Knowing that this…

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…is not only normal, it is nutritionally, intellectually, immunologically, and psychologically superior to this:

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Compulsion: Bedsharing

Obsession: Knowing that this…

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… not only reduces the incidence of SIDS, decreases “sleep obsession,” increases breastfeeding, and results in more sleep for moms, it is physiologically better than this recent fad:

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Compulsion: Comforting distressed babies and children

Obsession: Knowing that this…

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… is a biologically hard-wired response to a distressed child. Leaving children to “cry-it-out,” on the other hand, negatively impacts lifelong health,  decreases intelligence, impedes self-regulation, fosters mental illness, impoverishes brain development, and corrodes trust. What’s more it is a myth that “self-soothing” results from this:

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Compulsion: Using gentle, punishment-free discipline that guides rather than harms

Obsession: Knowing that this…

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…is both respectful and effective and does not result in permanent brain damage, increased rates of aggression, higher incidences of obesity, increased violence and depressionhigher incidences of cancer, heart disease, and asthma, and sexual impairment like this does: 

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*I recognize that I have not fully showcased here all of my obsessions and their corresponding compulsions. As my teething boy permits, I will be sure to update.

How “Sick” Are You?

In the meantime, I would love to hear from those of you who also live with this “disease.” What are your parenting obsessions and compulsions? How did you find out you were “sick?” How have your friends and loved ones reacted?