The first year of a baby's life is no cakewalk. There are a multitude of decisions to make...
- hospital or home birth
- breastfeed or formula feed
- cry-it-out or comfort-quickly
- crib or family bed
- homemade baby food or jars of Gerber
- disposable or cloth diapers
- AAP vaccinations or no vaccinations at all, and...
- everything in-between.
Each family has to find their own way. With the first child, I think that journey is be a bit more painful than with subsequent children. When my firstborn was a newborn, my tendency was to feel uncertain about my own instincts, to rely on "the professionals" with greater trust, and to look around timidly at other parents...wondering if I was doing things "right."
With our second child on the way, I feel more confident. I won't feel the need to "apologize" about my baby not being in a crib or about breastfeeding past the 1-year mark or about not leaving my baby in the church nursery. I'll be able to brush comments off with grace and a smile. It's okay that I won't birth in a hospital. It's okay that we don't believe in crying-it-out. It's okay that we don't even own a crib. It's okay that we opted for the convenience of disposable diapers. It's okay that we don't like leaving our baby during the first year. That's what works for us.
Some of our decisions are unconventional in mainstream USA. Most of the popular parenting magazines tend to describe parenting in the traditional hospital-birthing, bottle-toting, AAP way. But Mothering Magazine
("Natural Family Living
") has a slightly different "voice." In a typical issue, you might find articles about green living, breastfeeding, homebirth, babywearing, and vaccine alternatives. You'll also find photos of moms breastfeeding their babies (and toddlers) and of actual births. The ads you'll see are for cloth diapers, natural oils, baby carriers, and co-sleeping aids (not baby formula and Huggies).
Which magazine "fits" our family? Well - neither...and both. Perhaps we lean more toward the natural way of living that Mothering espouses, but they're also a bit more bohemian than we are (I don't breastfeed in public, for example, and we do vaccinate our children to some extent...).
The thing that I like about Mothering is that it's different. It is unashamedly counterculture. It provides parents with new perspectives and thus encourages thoughtful decision-making.
Most parents don't fit neatly into a particular parenting box. Decisions related to parenting are many - they're not always easy and sometimes they change. That's why I'm glad Mothering exists. Because its pages provide new ways of looking at things and also give parents "peace" who might be doing things outside of the prevailing societal norm.
One winner will receive a 1-year-subscription to Mothering Magazine
($22.95). To enter, leave a comment on this post prior to Sunday, November 23
at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules
). * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #39 casual friday everyday. Congratulations!