If you think I am crunchy, you should meet my mom. She is SUPER crunchy. The kind of crunchy that buries kitchen scraps in the backyard so she can have good compost for the veggie garden. The thing is, bless my mom’s crunchy little heart, when I was a newborn, my mom hadn’t heard of swaddling, co-sleeping, or extended breastfeeding. I am convinced that she would have tried the whole nine yards with respect to attachment parenting. She just didn’t have a clue.
So, per my dad’s uninformed request, I was deposited with a babysitter at six weeks old while my mom went back to work as a therapist, thus ensuring that some future therapist would have job security helping me sort out the mess that being separated from her would inevitably cause.
My mom and I are really close, because you can do the less-than-ideal thing with the best of intentions. Kids get that. I never doubted that my mom loved me. It was literally etched in her expression every time she looked at me. But still, I recognize that early separation from my parents seriously affected me. So when I found out I was having a baby, I KNEW this time had to be different. I would be the model attachment parent and everything would be great.
Okay, now that you are done laughing at my naivete, let me tell you what happened. I LOVED attachment parenting! Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing. Count me in!!! But… about that “model parent” thing? Man was I in trouble. The more perfect I tried to be, the more aware of my failures I became. So I tried harder, thus failing more often. By the time Katie was ten months old, I felt defeated. I had failed. What was I trying to do, anyway? Un-break myself by being the mother I had needed as a child?
Um, yeah. That’s exactly what I was trying to do. What a mercy it is that early on, I started to see how that would work out over time. We cannot undo our pain by parenting our children differently than we were parented, but our pain can become purposeful when it helps us make better parenting choices. In the end, though, the pain can only be resolved by taking it to God. I am oh-so-aware of how cheesy this may sound as I type, but it is real. Becoming a parent has helped me understand the God in ways I had never imagined. To know that He loves me MORE than I love Katie . . . how could I not begin to trust Him in a new way?
And so, one Sunday afternoon, I prayed with my husband and asked God to heal the pain of being left alone. To my surprise, he is.
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