When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to have a spiritual parenting practice that resonated with me and that I could bring to my child. I read Mindful Motherhood and Attachment Parenting and Seven Spiritual Laws for Parenting (You can find all these links on the Resources page of the website).
I chose Attachment Parenting as the school of parenting I wanted to subscribe to because the major values sang to me: bedsharing, breastfeeding, babywearing, balance, beware the baby trainers... and a couple other "b's" that I can't remember right now. And because I thought I *had* to subscribe to something.
Everyone else had a "they". "They say that you have to..." "Well, everyone knows that you have to ..." I wanted a "they," an expert, a parenting philosophy with a Dr. behind it to justify that I might not be doing everything just the way the rest of suburban America does things.
Attachment parenting gets a hard knock sometimes, because that "Balance" B-word gets left out. It can be seen as a school of parenting that asks Mom to completely suspend her entire being for the sake of having 12 children velcro'd to her at all times while pureeing organic baby food by hand and simultaneously nursing twins.
On the contrary, attachment parenting promotes balance of family and individuality... but might not have been the right parenting choice for a working mother. While I was glad to learn to respond to my baby's cues in a loving way, and foster deep closeness with the techniques of attachment parenting... I, also, failed to honor the "BIG B" of "balance" and soon felt completely overwhelmed, depressed, and anxious. What I remember most was finding that my teeth were constantly clenched in the back. Constantly. Even when I thought I was relaxed and happy.
Inside of me, I knew there was something better for our family. I started releasing some of the Attachment Parenting principles. I read Happiest Baby on the Block and found a few techniques that worked for soothing the baby. I read The No-Cry Sleep Solution and found some resonant strategies that didn't involve cry it out, but gave me some light at the end of the rocking-for-hours tunnel.
Even despite my strong instinct, I was looking to experts. I was looking for answers, support, and techniques from strangers who had never met me, my baby, my unique family dynamic, and many of whom had a judgment about parents who worked or had C-sections underwritten in their parenting paradigms.
The experts, even the helpful ones, caused me a lot of distress in the early days of parenting my first child. The other thing to know about experts is that they require you to polarize yourself from people who don't follow the same expert.
How glorious it would have been if I knew that my own instinct was my perfect ally. That me and my husband were the experts on our family and its needs, and what felt good.
Imagine how different the reality of first time parenting would have been! How much more ease and joy I might have found if I could have allowed myself to relieve the pressure of doing it right, according to someone else's right.
Banish the experts.