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CNN Interview (And What I Wish I’d Said)

on May 14 | in Extended Breastfeeding | by | with 63 Comments

What I Said

Sorry about the sound issues at the end. Here’s what I was trying to say.

What I Wish I’d Said

Quick note: I did this second video without knowing I was going to share it, so the cutoff at the end is simply because I continued rambling  :)

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63 Responses to CNN Interview (And What I Wish I’d Said)

  1. Kristen Eppner Ethridge via FB says:

    Oh, Heather! You were fantastic! It is SO hard to be in a situation like that and to do as well as you did! I remember my first media interview–so thankful it was radio…sure to all of Texas, but no one was looking at me! You did awesome. And I think you and Bob did a great debrief too. Seriously, great job. You said it so well.

  2. Oops! I had to use a new software to create video . . . didn’t realize it was recording my voice at the end! Fixing now :)

  3. Well done – it must have been very difficult having to think on the spot in front of potentially millions of people.

  4. Erica Gorham via FB says:

    You are so adorable! Thanks for the video. ;)

  5. You did great! They may have tried to make you sound bad, but you totally didn’t. I’m not even an AP mom, and I thought you did a fantastic job and I didn’t think you made AP sound like it’s more about the moms. :)

  6. Margo Snider via FB says:

    First I want to say, your hair looks great. Secondly, I love that you guys do a re-process when the day or events do t go as planned (will probably add that to my mommy bag, if you don’t mind) and lastly I thought you did fine on the interview. During the psychologist guys second time of talking I totally got the the “what in the world are you saying” idea, the one where you think “that’s totally not me or my children you are missing the point and what you are saying is crazy”. Kudos to you for putting yourself, beliefs and thoughts out there. This mag article has caused quite a stir and again I feel like people will look at AP and some will find their way to it, others will think its just too much, and others will just have a better understanding. So, GO YOU, and go all you mommas for being the best parent for your children, whatever way you feel is best!

  7. Heather says:

    Thanks heather for both videos! You are awesome and we love you :)

  8. Anna D says:

    Heather, you are such a brave person to go and present/defend your view on the topic!!!! Well done to you!!!!! It makes me sad that in our society this absolutely natural thing (attachment parenting, full term breastfeeding and such) should be defended and justified. In my view it is as natural as breathing air. All those wrong questions about who benefits more – sooo frustrating!!!! Both benefit, but of course!!!!!!!! And on the side note I loved the pics of your family, they made me shed a tear – can’t explain why – they just overwhelm with beauty, kindness, love. You are a star!!!!

  9. Tara says:

    Glad you posted this. I’ve never commented on your blog before but wanted to for this. I thought you did a great job in the interview and handled yourself well. Interviews like this and most everything in the mainstream media can be so misconstrued. Even in our attempts to bring awareness to beautiful things like full-term/extended breastfeeding and AP, it somehow gets twisted into something that it’s not. I felt like this is what happened in the original TIME magazine photo and what almost happened in your interview. Hinting that these things are ways to fill a void in a mother’s life and causing our children to be socially inept was a bit uncalled for. If they were going to suggest that, there should have at least been ample time for you to respond instead of cutting you off and leaving the interview unresolved. All in all, you did a great job. I would have responded in a similar fashion when it “felt” like they were attacking my daughter. I bf’d until my daughter was 2 1/2 and OHHHHHH the comments. lol You are doing an amazing job, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Keep at it girl. This blog is a source of encouragement and inspiration to me.

    • ES says:

      Hi Heather,

      I also have followed your blog for a long time and have never commented, but felt compelled to give you a thumbs up kudos for your graceful, respectful and dignified presence on that interview. My blood was boiling as I heard those two men, who obviously did not have personal experience with this issue, act as though they were any kind of experts or qualified at all to speak to the motivations and benefits of breastfeeding. You had a lot of composure and self-control. Thank you for representing in such a great manner those of us who truly respect the God-given privilege of feeding and nurturing our children in this beautiful way. The truth will always prevail.

      • Heather says:

        Tara and ES -

        I know it’s been a few days, but I just wanted to send you a big virtual hug and thank you for leaving a comment on the CNN post. Of course my friends and family will say I did well (they’re soooo biased!), so it really meant a ton that you took the time to comment for the first time just to let me know I did okay. Made me feel SO MUCH better about an experience I felt a little raw about. Big hugs!

  10. Christy Shaffer-Belisle via FB says:

    I love that you re-process your day, what a great thing you are teaching your daughter to do. I just might try it sometime. :)

  11. I just wanted to say you did a great job. You were so graceful…I don’t think I could have been near as calm when that guy started putting words into your mouth. John and I were like “what?! She just said nothing of the sort!” (Is AP more for you or the child) I totally would have set it all back a million years by being the raving lunatic they had to drag off the air :)

  12. Grace under fire. You did good!!!!

  13. That is awesome, Heather. I love that you made a follow-up video. Thanks for nailing the misconceptions with some well-done rebuttals. I hope everyone watches it.

  14. Great points! Good for you in the first interview to assert yourself…I am actually surprised after the first time you spoke, it was as if they weren’t listening and had their own response ready that didn’t seem to even go with yours. Also, your second interview was great! I think the AP techniques are not to tell people what to do, but that it is ok if you do and normal. When my first daughter turned 2-ish we established some nursing boundaries when it came to public nursing, and that is part of the self-weaning process, she had to make a decision- go nurse in private or continue socializing…there is no question what a confident and social girl would pick.

  15. p.s. I also thought you did really well in the CNN interview, terror notwithstanding; I just wish they’d given the interview more time, because then you could have said this stuff on the air!

  16. I stand and applaud you!!! Tears. So happy when Mom’s have more love for their families than they do fear of what others may think. You are beautiful in so many ways!!! A light set on a hill :) xoxo

  17. Kristine Winniford via FB says:

    Great job! They were obviously trying to set a tone for the interview and I you didn’t play into it all. I like your re-processing, I think that’s a great idea.

  18. Shalonne says:

    Wow – that guy was such an ass! The look on his face was so “I wanna stir up some s**t.” That must have been frustrating, amazing how someone can take something so good and genuine and twist it around to the opposite. I wonder if the show is on CNN’s website – I’d love to go comment over there and make sure they know they aren’t fooling anyone with their sensationalistic method of interviewing you – just like Time’s cover didn’t fool any of us either..

  19. nicki says:

    my husband and i LOVED your interview. we think you did great and you got some wonderful points across! keep doing what you are doing…you are helping so many of us young mommies!!!

  20. Jenny says:

    Heather –
    You did so well, and I’m proud of you that you were brave enough to interrupt and disagree with the Dr. I see this a lot as a criticism of AP, that the kids are somehow neglected (socially) and stuck to the boob all the time. Any AP mother or father knows the exact opposite is true. By providing that secure base of attachment the children are more socially confident.

  21. Elizabeth Hesse Sheehan Dc via FB says:

    I really appreciate your bravery and putting yourself out there. I am sorry the CNN interview did not go as you had hoped- I think you did well- those interviews are stacked against you anyway- unless you are superskilled in speaking in short little sound bites- it’s hard…….it’s a very intimidating situation! I also appreciate your second video- and I love the reprocessing! You did great- and I appreciate you!

  22. Michelle says:

    Awesome job. Love how articulate and sincere you are :) NAK or I would type more about how much I admire you :) Thank you for representing us mamas.

  23. Jenny says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, but they made it sound as though being rewarded by parenting your children is something bad or some sort of aberration. I LOVE being a mommy, and I hope that other women (and men) find parenting rewarding too. Happy parents = well-adjusted, happy kids.

    • Leah says:

      I’ve read your blog for a pretty long time, and I totally love you. I’ve never commented before but I have to!
      I just watched these videos and I thought you were amazing in both!! That interviewer was really trying to stir the pot and then the psychologist says to give him an honorary PhD????? What the heck for??? For asking the WRONG question???? Sheesh!! How infuriating.

      But anyway, I agree with what Jenny said. I think it’s part of the woman/mother hating undertones of the society to suggest that you shouldn’t be getting any pleasure/reward from raising children. It should be ALL sacrifice on the mothers part, and she should probably resent her children as well. *rolling my eyes*
      I thought that you handled that question SOOOO gracefully.

      I think this happens with breastfeeding advocacy as well. When people bring up the “sexual nature” especially when talking about an “older” child nursing. I hear a lot of the counter arguments and they tend to talk about how hard breastfeeding is, how painful it is, and what a sacrifice it is. And I’m not saying it’s not. But why does it have to be that way to be acceptable. What if it does *feel good*… can we really not handle that? Can it not still be a good thing if a mother does *enjoy* it?
      Ugh.
      You were beautiful and wonderful. I’m glad you interrupted in the end too, and didn’t just sign off. Rock on mama!

  24. Tana Agudelo says:

    So proud of you for speaking up, Heather. You were very poised and I am so happy that you were one of the spokeswomen for attachment parenting and extended breastfeeding. Hurray for you! Love your second “interview” too. Keep up the great, great work, woman!

  25. Thank you so much everyone. I felt SO MUCH better after making the second video and I appreciate ya’ll taking the time to watch both and give feedback. <3

  26. Carrie says:

    Sigh. One of the current criticisms of attachment parenting is from the feminazi community – they say that breastfeeding and other attachment parenting practices makes a woman a slave and takes us back a century. Can’t win for losin’ can we?

    • Jenny says:

      Seriously! I see that too! Breastfeeding, for me, was enormously empowering. But then, again, I was just nursing my boy *for me.* (rolleyes).

  27. Carrie says:

    … also, what in the world is UP with the whole “you’re (extended breastfeeding) for yourself, Mom” thing? What exactly are they implying? Because breastfeeding, while it has benefits for mom, is sometimes quite a sacrifice personally and professionally. Having a cranky, sick 2 year old nursing every hour while you sit on the couch isn’t *for me*. But we make these decisions at times that are in the best interests of our children, knowing that their needs are urgent and temporary, they grow up and we can (being adults with perspective) wait to meet our own needs later on. I simply don’t GET that.

  28. I thought you did so excellent. I am fairly new to following your page but I really like how you stayed visibly calm when faced with many difficult questions from men who may have very different perspectives and opinions on attachment parenting. The thing that you said that I was most grateful for was that attachment parenting is only one way of doing it and you were clear that it is not the only way. I think you did so well to keep the conversation off of yourself even though I know you were concerned that you did get too personally offended. I don’t think that you conveyed that at all. I think you conveyed your experience with one style (which was grossly skewed with the horrid TIME magazine cover) with proof that it is good parenting and that is what I would call a success :) Thank you for being so brave!

  29. Kiera Leatherman via FB says:

    Thank you for doing this!!!

  30. SOOOO proud of you Heather! You did great in a stressful situation! And I have learned SO much from you over the years! Keep up the amazing work! :)

  31. Michelle Lane Martin via FB says:

    I think you did a beautiful job. The interviewers obviously went on the air with an agenda against extended breastfeeding. I have no idea how they pulled their comments about mothers nursing for their own benefit from what you said. Kudos for you for standing up for your child on the integration issue. You should be proud of being a strong advocate for your family and this community. Thank you!!!

  32. Do what works for you, and keep the intimacy between mother and child. This is not something that everyone needs/wants to see.

  33. dianthe says:

    i thought you were awesome – SO super proud of you!

    and here’s what’s irritating about the “is attachment parenting for the parent” argument – i would argue that the opponents of AP, oppose it “for the parent” – one of the primary arguments that i’ve heard is that they’re not going to let their children run their lives – so who is THAT decision for?

  34. Hi Heather!
    I’ve popped by your blog here and there over the years. I always appreciate your posts and the information you put out there.
    I wanted to write and tell you I think you did a great job! You were so brave to go on CNN. I love the second video so much, you’re so wonderful.
    Our son Bracken will be 2 in October. He is still breastfeeding and it feels perfectly natural in our family. The society that we live in is what does not feel natural to us.

    Love, Taryn

  35. Megan says:

    WAY TO GO! They tried to attack your style of parenting, & you stood up for your values. I love that your “respectful disagreement” at the end made them backtrack. Great job!

  36. Erin says:

    Thank you so much for speaking out about AP even though your interviewers apparently weren’t listening to what you said.

    I also must say that I LOVE the idea of Bob and the end of day recap/rehash. I’m gonna go add some googly eyes to a lonely sock.

    • Erin says:

      Ha ha! Bob is gonna take some practice I see… According to my two year old socks do NOT belong on hands. :) I wonder if he’d take to a non-sock puppet. I really like the idea though so I’ll keep at it.

  37. A. B. says:

    You looked great and were very brave for going on – I can’t imagine going on TV and speaking about such a delicate subject. I have never labeled my parenting style – I look around and see what works/has worked for others and tailor it to my children’s and my life (and the husband’s of course!). I think standards for parenting should be a lot like standards for choosing food – look at what is natural, what has worked for centuries and what your family needs!

  38. Emily P says:

    I think you did a great job on the CNN clip and you looked very calm and collected. :) Good for your for standing up for Katie too, even if he wasn’t specifically referring to her. He was referring to ALL of our kids. :)

  39. vina sanchez says:

    Didn’t even know you were on CNN until I did my daily check in on your website! I think the newscasters never actually put the TRUTH on TV anyways. It seems like they know how to manipulate questions/answers their way to make it sound more scandalous or absurd. Sadly, most of what is truly RIGHT to do or natural to do is considered PREPOSTEROUS in this generation. Bravo on a job well done under fire. Pretty cool to have “I’ve been on CNN” on your resume….if you were ever wanting to do a resume that is. =)

  40. Kelly D. says:

    You did so great! The media is so frustrating how they twist words, events, pictures etc. all the work you do is truly appreciated!

  41. Millie says:

    You did a good job on CNN. I can tell you my child is 30 yrs. old and I didn’t know about AP but I now think that’s what I did just naturally. I took a lot of heat from people who said I was too involved with her. She nursed for 2 yrs., slept with me for many years, and she grew up better than most kids and very well adjusted socially. As a child, she was like you said your daughter is, able to socialize with adults as well as kids. She is today a very accomplished and confident young woman. My husband always told me to do what worked for our family and forget what everyone was saying and he was right. Good luck to you and I think you are doing the exactly right thing for your family.

  42. Amber says:

    Well said! I applaud you. Just discovered your site not too long ago in my firece research to get to the bottom of my 2 1/2 years old son’s food allergies and the social pressure to wean my 15 month old son. You have given me some valuable info and helped ease my mind about attachment parenting. I love what you are doing.

  43. You did a great job, Heather!

  44. Hey Heather,
    You did a great job even though outnumbered. Why didn’t they at least get a woman psychologist? I hate when men talk about things that are so out of their experience. The announcer clearly had his own opinion. Just the media kicking up stuff die to a photo taken in very poor taste.

  45. You were poised and lovely. Good job!

  46. Mother TRUCKER! I’ll admit that CNN guy made me MAD! (that smug, ridiculous attitude is why I LEFT journalism!) It is a surreal experience being on live tv or in front of a camera. You did fine. Time picked that image because it would SELL and get people talking (like we’re doing now). I’m glad you brought some authenticity to the interview. Far from being easy (and more about the mom’s needs) I honestly found BF to be a huge commitment that often made me feel a little claustrophobic and to CRAVE my own space. There were things I loved about it and things I loved less :)….Kudos to you…(and to all of us working hard each and every day to be the best darn moms we can be!)

  47. Jennifer S says:

    You should be proud of yourself for being able to go on national tv and stand up for what you believe in. So many people would cave under the pressure. You were extraordinary. While I don’t have kids that I birthed from my loins (and actually don’t have plans on giving birth…my Hubby had 2 kids already when we got together and that’s plenty!), I have always been an advocate for attachment parenting. I think it’s a wonderful and beautiful thing and should be seen as such. People tend to be scared of things they don’t understand, that are new, or go against things they think are right and that makes the lash out with misunderstanding. Hold your head high! You are doing an amazing thing!

  48. Tiffany says:

    Ugh! I ached for you after watching that. They didn’t even hear what you had to say but just really seemed to jump at a conclusion they had already picked. Even if you had said all that you wanted I think they would have just talked over you and tried to shut you down. You were so strong to sit there and listen to them on live TV. I am afraid I would have not been as collected as you were. Ted was surprised that you handled it so well too. He even said “What do you expect from CNN – they have their own agenda.” Good job!!

  49. Heather says:

    THANK YOU for all these amazing comments, ya’ll! I seriously feel so much better after the sock interview and now your incredible words of encouragement. Big hugs to you all!

  50. [...] in traditional positions such as the cradle hold. Given the recent controversy surrounding the TIME Magazine controversy I just want to say that this is the only way he would nurse at this age. He has since [...]

  51. Heather- Someone sent this to me in an email (I’m just getting to it now) and I honestly was afraid to come on to any of my favorite AP blogs after the cover came out because I was so upset if I let anyone down.

    First off, you did AWESOME. Every single interview I did is so cring-worthy to watch 1000 things I had wished I had said, and so many things I had wished I didn’t say. The worst part was that I did the interviews the day the cover came out and TIME arranged and drove me to all of them. I was in such shock and I didn’t want to play the victim, but I think my desire to not try to make people feel sorry for me ended up making me defend TIME too much in those early days. It was a risk, but TIME took a photo that did no represent the shoot. If I could do it over again I probably would call them out more in the interviews that the families and Dr. Sears were not approving of the extreme and polarizing portrayal of AP. It is so not like that!

    Also, I had no idea they also contacted you! I would have loved to have met you in person.

    I don’t know if you saw this, but I wrote about my experience here:http://www.iamnotthebabysitter.com/time-cover/?doing_wp_cron=1345854931.4728119373321533203125

    Contrary to popular belief, I believe with all my heart there were wonderful people with pure intentions at TIME that wanted to get out the real story. So many people are involved and the ones that make the big decisions clearly didn’t, but even some of the staff at TIME was not okay with what their employer did.

  52. [...] Don’t tell CNN, though, because obviously any aspect of parenting you manage to enjoy means you are really doing it for **you.** [...]

  53. [...] wife, blogger and mom to two amazing kiddos, both waterborn at home. She loves all things fermenty,talks to sock puppets, and dreams of owning her very own flock of backyard chickens. She is the author of two [...]

  54. [...] wife, blogger and mom to two amazing kiddos, both waterborn at home. She loves all things fermenty, talks to sock puppets, and dreams of owning her very own flock of backyard chickens. She is the author of two ebooks. [...]

  55. SeekingResearch says:

    Hi, I’m a more recent visitor to your site. As a graduate student of psychology, I recently did a research paper on AP, and I must admit that attempting to find research sources on AP practices outside of Dr. Sears work was extremely challenging. I found some research on breastfeeding (but not much on significantly extended bf, say, more than 18-24 months) and some on co-sleeping, but I truly came up disappointingly short. In these videos, you state that the research clearly demonstrates that the practices of AP benefit children. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.

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