Natural parenting and the centrality of maternal sacrifice

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Mothers sacrifice. It has ever been thus.

Whether it is sacrificing sleep to soothe a fretful baby, sacrificing the last piece of cake to please a hungry child, or sacrificing tremendous amounts of money to send a teenager to college, sacrifice is part and parcel of motherhood.

Natural parenting posits that the body of the good mother must be literally interposed between children and omnipresent threats to health and brain function.

Nontheless, we are undergoing a profound change in beliefs about maternal sacrifice. The philosophy of natural parenting has transmuted maternal sacrifice from episodic to the central purpose of motherhood. That change has been harmful for mothers and without being beneficial for babies and children. That’s not surprising since natural parenting isn’t about children and what’s good for them; it’s about mothers and how they ought to behave.

Yesterday I wrote about natural parenting’s problematization of infant/child safety. There has never been a safer time or place to be an infant and small child than 2016 in industrialized countries. Ironically, there has never been greater anxiety about the physical, emotional and intellectual status of those same infants and small children.

Why the disconnect? Natural parenting problematizes infant/child health and safety in order to enforce a “regime of truth” regarding the appropriate role of mothers. The problematizing of safety offers the justification for the central premise of natural parenting.

And the central premise is this: constant sacrifice is the definitive feature of good mothering. But not just any sacrifice is required. Women must sacrifice their bodies. The body of the mother must be literally interposed between children and omnipresent threats to health.

As sociologist Pam Lowe explains in her fascinating book Reproductive Health and Maternal Sacrifice:

…At its heart, maternal sacrifice is the notion that ‘proper’ women put the welfare of children, whether born, in utero, or not yet conceived, over and above any choices and/or desires of their own. The idea of maternal sacrifice acts as a powerful signifier in judging women’s behaviour. It is valorized in cases such as when women with cancer forgo treatment to save a risk to their developing foetus, and it is believed absent in female substance users whose ‘selfish’ desire for children means they are born in problematic circumstances…

But not just any sacrifice will do.

Never mind that perinatal mortality, infant mortality, and child mortality are at historic lows, vaccine preventable diseases have been nearly vanquished, malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies are rare and foods and medications are safer than ever because of government oversight. In the cosmology of natural parenting, infants and small children face unprecedented, omnipresent technological threats to their physical health as well as their emotional and intellectual development. The only thing that can ameliorate those threats is the mother’s physical body.

  • Natural parenting rejects pain relief in labor, insisting that good mothers sacrifice their physical comfort, willingly enduring hours of agony to protect their babies from the “dangers” of epidurals.
  • Natural parenting rejects formula, insisting that good mothers sacrifice their physical comfort, sleep, body boundaries, and even mental health to breastfeeding because “breast is best.”
  • Natural parenting rejects jarred baby food, insist in that good mothers sacrifice time and effort in sourcing organic, GMO free foods, and hand preparing them to protect children from “toxins.”
  • Natural parenting rejects routine pediatric preventive care like vaccines, insist if that the mother who sacrifices her time and “does her research” is the best guardian of infant health, and, in any case breastfeeding is protective against all microbial threats.
  • Natural parenting rejects putting babies down, insisting that good mothers sacrifice their physical comfort, and need for separation and recuperation, because only close physical contact with the mother’s body protects the bond between parent and child.
  • Natural parenting rejects placing babies to sleep in their own rooms, insist if that good mothers sacrifice sleep, privacy and the opportunity for sexual intimacy because only unremitting physical contact through every hour of the day can ensure infant and child wellbeing.

Sunna Simmonardottir expands upon these observations in Constructing the attached mother in the “world’s most feminist country”:

…Within the discourse of attachment and bonding, the ideal Icelandic mother is constructed as being constantly present, happy, and content with her role, happily breastfeeding and fully understanding of her child’s needs. Her body is not her own but shared with her infant, even after birth, for heat, nourishment, and comfort… [M]others are instructed to direct all their physical and emotional capacities at their children and … the maternal body and mind is subject to disciplinary practises… In this way, both attachment and bonding (or lack thereof) are constructed simultaneously as the problem, as well as the solution for mothers…

The maternal body is imagined as always functioning perfectly; all problems are therefore ascribed to the mother’s mind.

Consider the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. Descibing its founding statements Lowe notes:

Whilst it suggests that the purpose of the BFI is to support parents in making informed decisions, the outcome of their deliberations should be an increase in breastfeeding… That women might have different needs and priorities and could make an informed choice not to breastfeed is not considered seriously. As the name ‘baby friendly’ implies, women’s position is assumed to be synonymous with what experts deem to be ‘best’ for their baby…

Indeed:

The underlying assumption behind BFI, and many other breastfeeding campaigns, is that women who decline breastfeeding only do so through ignorance or as the dupes of formula marketing campaigns. Palmer is typical of this position. She suggests that infant feeding companies as well as ill-informed experts have contributed to a loss of faith in breastfeeding… “[W]hilst women should have a choice, they should all be informed that formula milk is signicantly detrimental to their baby’s health.” This is hardly a neutral position and is not necessarily based on the evidence…

In other words, a mother who is not willing to constantly use her body in a never ending pageant of maternal sacrifice is pathologized as ignorant, emotionally immature and selfish: a “bad” mother.

Why has constant maternal bodily sacrifice come to be defining characteristic of the “good mother”?

Simmonardottir postulates:

When older structures of oppression start to disintegrate, new structures develop and become “regimes of truth.” Within the discourse of attachment certain “truths” become scientifically sanctioned and reasonable, while conflicting discourses are made to seem inappropriate or even unnatural. Within the discourse of attachment and bonding, the ideal Icelandic mother is constructed as being constantly present, happy, and content with her role, happily breastfeeding and fully understanding of her child’s needs. Her body is not her own but shared with her infant, even after birth, for heat, nourishment, and comfort… [M]others are instructed to direct all their physical and emotional capacities at their children and how the maternal body and mind is subject to disciplinary practises.

The inevitable and desired result is that women are forced back into the home.

The political, legal and economic emancipation of women in industrialized countries is arguably one of the greatest achievements of the 20th Century. It allowed women to leave the home and seek their own destiny. Seismic social changes generate backlash. Natural parenting is part of that backlash.

By imagining a world full of omnipresent, never ending dangers to infant/child health and insisting that only mothers can protect their children from these dangers and only by constant bodily sacrifice,  women can be disciplined into returning home, not for the original sexist justification that women are inferior but for a new sexist justification — that sacrifice of the maternal body is best for babies.

  • maidmarian555

    Oh dear…..wee man gets formula, pouches and pots. This is partly because I really enjoy spending our free time rolling about on the floor with him actually playing rather than spending every spare second in the kitchen preparing properly-sourced organic, well-balanced meals. Bad Mummy…….

    • Ayr

      We are both bad mummies. My munchkin gets formula and pouches too. I too would rather play with and watch my son grow than spend every waking moment making baby food and looking for dangers that don’t exist. Oh and he sleeps in his own crib in his room on the other side of the house and has done since he was six weeks old.

      • maidmarian555

        I just don’t understand when we embrace convenience in every other aspect of our lives (for example everyone who can afford it now has a washing machine and vacuum cleaner in their homes) why there is so much resistance to it when it comes to motherhood. Wee man hates napping. He sleeps very well at night (thank God) but he takes up my entire day. I need those few hours in the evening with my OH where we get to enjoy each other’s company. Sometimes I even go out and catch up with my friends!! I love my son more than anything but for my own sanity I still need some time in the day where I just get to be me instead of being focussed on being Mummy. I couldn’t get that if I insisted on doing everything the hard way.

        • Ayr

          I’m right there with you! It makes no sense to me, why women intentionally make life harder for themselves. I look at my Facebook feed and see all these so called ‘super moms’ who grind their own flour and make their own bread, they grow organic veggies in their back yards and make their own baby food, and I sit back and wonder to myself, ‘When do you actually spend time just playing with your kids? When do you see your husband? When do you have time for yourself?’ I need me time, if little man wakes up before 7 A.M. I let him play in his crib while I enjoy a cup of coffee while it’s still hot and maybe read or watch something I can’t watch while he is awake. In the evenings he is put to bed at 8 and my husband and I spend time talking, he naps well during the day and sleeps through the night. During his naps I usually use that time to clean or nap myself.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    When I feel guilty about not doing every little thing for the kiddo, I remember that she may one day herself be a mother and I sure as shit don’t want her sacrificing herself to give the kid a “perfect” environment–or foregoing motherhood because she sees it as endless drudgery and the negation of herself as an individual. So I think of it as modeling behavior: teaching her that she can be a mother and a person simultaneously and that spawn are fine even if they don’t have mom as a toy 24/7.

    • FormerPhysicist

      I also think of perfect mothering as rather a pyramid scheme. If that’s my goal, and should be my daughters’ goals, when does anyone do anything directly to better the world? Or to just live their own life?

      • Kerlyssa

        that’s what men do. women just rock that cradle -_-

  • I think what you are describing got it’s foundations at Mothering Magazine, back in the day, and it was called Natural Family Living. It can sometimes seem intertwined with lactivism and attachment parenting and natural childbirth, but they are not actually always connected. For example, I support breastfeeding but am not a lactivist, I am a long time practitioner of attachment parenting but eschew natural family living, l believe homebirth can be done safely (with limits) but am not a natural birthing activist.

    We are not all extremists. Every parenting choice has extremists. Look at the Pearls and their teaching about hitting babies with a switch to teach them to stay in one place. Not all christians practice like that.

    • Sue

      I expect that most readers here would understand that the article is about the rigid extremes – just like “NCB” is short-hand for the radical ideology that rejects all forms of intervention, not just for unmedicated birth.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      You do you! Whatever works for your family/yourself/your partner/your kids ….Great! Yes but when you have Health care providers and entities/hospitals practicing the Baby Friendly Hospital rules and promoting breastfeed/exclusive breatfeeding as the be all end all of how to keep one’s baby healthy/not-obese/smart/etc etc etc it can be very detrimental to parents trying to work what is best FOR THEM.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Also, all the organic, natural, AP, Breast is Best, no one is as good as mama ideology seems to completely erase: Fathers, Non-traditional families, working parents, poor parents. Basically any family that is NOT mom-stays-home and dad-goes-out-to-make-the-money. It IS 2017 NOT 1947 isn’t it ?!?

        I was able to recover from a difficult delivery partly because my husband got a few weeks baby-leave ( in 1994 , we were both in the Navy) and he took all the night feeds and was MUCH better at calming our daughter so I could get some sleep.

  • Fleur

    Happy New Year! I probably won’t be popping by very often in 2017 as the small one is getting mobile and I’m also heading back to work, but I wish Dr Amy and everyone BTL the very best. You were an invaluable source of information and support in the first months of motherhood – heartfelt thanks to you all.

  • Inmara

    First, Happy New Year to Dr. Amy and all the wonderful people here! I’m really grateful that I found this place before being sucked into the woo and NCB philosophy which is kind of prevalent on this side of the Atlantic too.

    Second, my kid is approaching 18 months and I see more and more clearly that the real challenges of parenting have just started – and they have nothing to do with feeding or sleeping methods and kid’s proximity to my body. It’s the handling of temper tantrums, setting boundaries, teaching about wonders of world, saving from dangerous attempts to explore it on his own – all the stuff that you can’t put into simple set of rules and enforce without resistance from child, unlike when he/she was infant and thus quite easily calmed and entertained.

    • StephanieA

      Yes! My oldest is only 3 and I feel like his 11 month old brother is way easier. Transitioning to being a parent is definitely overwhelming, but babies are so easy compared to the challenges of older children (at least in my very short experience).

  • Mel

    After I delivered Spawn at 26 weeks gestation, I was in a special OB ward for moms who had babies in the NICU, moms recovering from losing a baby and other moms for whom being on a floor with baby cries would be hellish.

    We still had the godforsaken BFHI guidelines emblazoned on plaques all over the hallways. I hated, hated, hated seeing those damn things next to the elevator as I was ushered by wheelchair to see my son.

    Apparently nothing is traumatic enough to prevent having something about the importance of keeping your infant in your room, immediately initiating breast-feeding and avoiding pacifiers in your face if you’ve given birth recently.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Yup. My hospital required me to view an educational video before discharging us. Most of it was dedicated to breast is best/easy/awesome. Not a word was given to how one prepares formula, or even appropriately thaws/bottlefeeds breastmilk. I was feeling quite sorry for myself that I had to attend, as I was so tired that I was falling asleep throughout the movie, until the only other patient there asked the nurse showing us the video how long it was going to take, as she wanted to go back to the NICU to see her baby.
      While I still think that video was stupid to the point of assininity, making a mom watch it who apparently didn’t know when or if her kid was going to be discharged* was nothing short of cruel.
      *The nurse explained that you have to watch the movie to get discharged, but a nurse has to show it to you in the video room, and if they get busy they can’t show it to you and then you can’t get discharged, therefore both that mom and I needed to see it while they had the time to show it to us right that second. *facepalm*

      • Gæst

        My hospital also had a video I “had” to watch before discharge. They had it running on a loop on the hospital TV channel, and when I was assigned to a bed with a broken TV (100% fine by me – the last thing I was interested in post-partum was watching TV) they were flummoxed. Their reason for insisting I watch it was because it had something about Shaken Baby Syndrome I apparently needed to see. I said I already knew not to shake the baby, but the nurse said it went over important signs of a baby who has been shaken. So, whatever – knowing the signs that someone might have abused your child is not terrible. They finally put me in a private room one afternoon just for the hour needed to watch the program. It ran on a loop and I had to sit through all kinds of information that I already knew, often from having read the pamphlets they handed out, and a lot of stupid stuff about how to breastfeed, which apparently requires a male partner to bring you glasses of water. It was so unrelated to my life. I eventually got so bored I just left and never saw their shaken baby bit. They asked me to sign a form attesting that I’d seen it, and I refused. They probably lost money or something over that, but hey – not my problem. I had babies in the NICU and a surgery incision that made sitting on the guest chair in the private room uncomfortable. Asking me to watch TV for an hour in those circumstances was nothing but CYA lawyer nonsense, not actual, useful practice for new moms.

        • Nick Sanders

          Ok, see, so the reason you need a male partner to bring you water while you breastfeed is this: water absorbs the thoughts of people near it (yes, some people actually believe this rubbish) and we straight men are always thinking about boobs. Every minute of every day. So when he’s holding that glass of water as he carries it to you, it’s absorbing all those booby thoughts. Then you drink it, and thanks to it’s new obsession, it will rush immediately to your breasts, thus making sure they have plenty of fluid to keep the taps flowing for your little one.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Their reason for insisting I watch it was because it had something about Shaken Baby Syndrome I apparently needed to see. I said I already knew not to shake the baby,

          I don’t know what is in the video, but I will tell you that “I know not to shake the baby” is not sufficient to avoiding SBS. NO ONE thinks is it OK to shake a baby. Ask them ahead of time, and everyone will tell you they know not to do it.

          However, the problem is more that a lot of people don’t realize what “shake the baby” means. It’s not just like shaking a martini. A single grab or abrupt yank can cause SBS type trauma. Shaken baby prevention is not about teaching parents that shaking the baby is wrong, it is about teaching parents the ways that SBS can happen, and, more importantly, teaching parents strategies for coping with situations where SBS is most likely to occur.

          • Nick Sanders

            Interesting, thanks for the info.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Glad to, Nick. This is one thing we spent a lot of time talking about in Dad’s Boot Camp.

            I’ve said this before about that Yurkos who has blamed vaccines for the SBS. He admits that he hung the baby by it’s feet and hit it, but denied shaking it. As a father, my response is, really? SBS is FAR more understandable, because it is a situation that can happen due to lack of proper education more than anything. Hanging a kid by their feet and hitting it is, otoh, a deliberate act of abuse.

          • Gæst

            They should probably not have buried that information in an hour-long program about common sense information with drawn out re-enactments about how to diaper a baby, then.

          • Azuran

            The sad thing is that some people don’t have this very basic, common sense information.
            One of my friend’s sister wanted to give her baby a bottle of breastmilk that she forgot overnight in her car because ‘the night was cold so it’s fine’
            Someone once brought me a half dead kitten because he seriously didn’t think cats needed to drink so he didn’t give it any water for 3 days.

        • guest

          This is also information that is much more useful if discussed with the pediatrician as they are the one’s caring for your child and also see you frequently in the first months. My daughter was a colicky baby and all appointments with the pediatrician focused on checking her over for issues and discussing many options for helping her and us calm down. They were very concerned with our coping mechanisms and state of mind and gave a lot of practical advice for getting through that stage as sanely as possible.

      • tired already

        What happens if you refuse to watch it? They can’t keep you prisoner in the hospital.

        Thanks for the warning, I see this is another thing I’m going to have to be ready to argue about. The maternity ward is sounding more and more like an obstacle course.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          A valid point, that. I was just so tired I wasn’t up for the argument.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          We had to take a class to bust kiddo out of the NICU. A lot of it was redundant since I’m a 2nd timer. At least it wasn’t too horribly boob uber alles. still, we missed the wednesday one and there wasn’t another until friday, might have gotten her out earlier otherwise.

      • Heidi

        I was required to watch a few videos, too, except not in a separate room. I wasn’t opposed to the ones about bedsharing, SIDS, shaken baby, etc. but we took child safety classes already and knew these, although I think I still halfway watched most of them. The booby one, though, I played on mute while we snoozed.

  • Mel

    Heck yeah! I’ve managed to avoid all of those that are age-appropriate for my son!

    *I sure as hell had an epidural when I had a CS – with no trial of labor. I had a baby without ever having a single honest contraction and I’m really glad about that one!

    * Spawn’s been getting all sorts of additives to breast milk since he could digest more than 1mL – and I’ve never thought to ask of they were organic – although I’m sure they have organic compounds in them. (*nerd giggle*)

    *Spawn’s one-for-one when it comes to vaccination.

    *Spawn really likes his isolette. He’s getting his own crib when he comes home and probably his own room…..

    Spawn’s doing really well. His vent leak has been really low and his blood gases are really good so they’ve been slowly working changing his settings to better match the NIPPV before they switch him over; his medical team thinks that would be a safe choice that makes it more likely for him to transition successfully between the two.

    The unit’s physical therapist wants to start working with him. Spawn always kicks his legs straight out or straight up when he gets out of his swaddle and the physical therapist hopes to be able to get him to “relax” and keep his legs flexed. Personally, I think he does that for the sheer enjoyment of movement, but I like the idea of baby massages for Spawn so that will be nice.

    Yesterday, he was using the vent leaks to vocalize and cry a bit which was adorable.

  • Sheven

    I’ve been reading about the history of medicine. These are popular books, not academic treatises, so my view isn’t authoritative, but what strikes me is how throughout history so much stuff that people recommended to promote “health,” especially the back-in-the-days-before-we-were-so-spoiled-and-modern wholesome health, involved making the person suffer.

    Don’t take hot or even warm baths! Cold water is healthier. Don’t indulge in activities that will stir you up like dancing or singing or reading novels! Do calming tasks like needlepoint and for exercise take brisk walks during which you don’t stop to chit chat. Stay away from music. Stay away from warm drinks. Stay away from over-flavorful food. And don’t you dare lie on a soft mattress.
    It’s always a thousand miserable little compromises that make your life less enjoyable to promote some mythical state called “perfect health.”

    • Who?

      I know right. ‘Miserable little compromises’ sums it up perfectly.

      At a friend’s place recently we slept on a mattress with a topper on it. I took a moment to pull the bed apart the following morning, and after I put it back together and put the sheets in the wash (I’m not a monster) I went straight to the shop on the way home and bought the softest, fluffiest, thickest topper I could find. I have flown internationally for less money than that topper cost (I live far away from anywhere, btw) but OMG it is wonderful.

      As though any of us would be any worse people for being kind to ourselves.

      • Sheven

        And it’s always the same line given to the same people. Back in the 1830s middle and upper-middle class women (and their children) were shivering through cold baths, eating bland mush, and being bored out of their skull instead of doing what they liked because they thought they were too modern and had to go back to the ways of their grandmothers in order to raise good kids and be healthy.

    • Juana

      This.
      Plus it’s always that convenient excuse for the healer/advisor when you don’t manage to mind all those little itty-bitty advises to a T. It doesn’t work as promised? Well, perhaps your bath was still too warm/your food still too flavorful/your mattress still too soft…
      Your child has an allergy? Must’ve been that few milliliters of formula back then in the first days of life, even if you breastfed exclusively for a year afterwards.

  • Anna

    This is so insane… My daughter who is 1 year and seven months wants to spend like ALL of her time hanging on me, sitting on my lap, playing with me and grabbing my pants. Now according to the NCB I guess I just have to persevere somehow, as far as I understand their philosophy kid will be tragically ruined if parent gets at least of a glimpse of life of their own. No personal space, no household chores, no hobbies, nothing. And this is supposed to last for years. I don’t know. I find that setting boundaries with my daughter works way better and for HER too.

    • Anna

      P. S. Parenting a toddler is hard enough without being a guilt-ridden stressed out competing with other “warrior moms” paranoic.

    • Amy M

      Yeah, and if you ask an NCB community for suggestions on how to deal with your child’s clinginess, they will say “Be strong, Mama! This too shall pass.”
      Which is less than helpful, if you are losing your mind—which passes first, the frustrating phase or your sanity?

      • My mother was always told that I was “going through a phase” whenever I began to drive her around the bend (which was frequently). I can now state, from scientific observation of my own three children, that the “phases” end when they are in their mid-thirties.

    • Kelly

      My youngest is like this. Sometimes, I have make all the kids go up to their room to play and close the door behind them. She screams for a little bit and then she plays for an hour or two. Otherwise, I would be carrying her 24/7. She only wants me which is nice and terrible all at the same time.

      • StephanieA

        My oldest is terrible at doing anything independently. He constantly wants our attention, and it is SO draining. I’ve realized in the past year that we have to set limits, and it’s okay to tell him that I don’t want to play.

        • Empress of the Iguana People

          My oldest is terribly independent. Why would his mother be upset to find him standing on the open door of the gas oven messing about with the tea kettle and a pot?? He’s 3.

          • Box of Salt

            This is why we gated off our entire kitchen.

            Until the kids figured out how to use stools (those that allow shorty me to reach the middle cabinet shelf) to defeat the gate.

            My older kid redefined “independent” as an infant. My younger kid redefined “resourceful” as a toddler. They’re now heading into teen/preteen . . . and we parents are in for a ride no matter what.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            yeah… He grabs a stool and carries it here or there to help himself with his nefarious ways. Did you know you can use a butter knife to get into an orange if you’re persistent enough and don’t care how wet your rug gets?

  • BeatriceC

    Parenting requires enough sacrifice without adding unnecessary crap to guilt moms even more. Really, enough with this bullshit. And what’s worse, is they turn us into each other’s enemies at a time when we should be backing each other up. I seriously wish that these “warrior moms” could get their heads out of their asses and see that they’re being played.

    Two side notes: Nicotine withdrawal SUCKS. I’ve been awake for four hours, 12 minutes. Yes, it’s a minute by minute kind of day. Last cigarette was right before I went to bed about midnight, so about ten hours, 52 minutes.

    Second: This guy is making it easier since he needs constant supervision. He’s a rescue. I wasn’t going to take him, but relented after a time.

    [URL=http://s301.photobucket.com/user/mmsw1/media/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_1512_zpspptsms0t.jpg.html][IMG]http://i301.photobucket.com/albums/nn67/mmsw1/Mobile%20Uploads/IMG_1512_zpspptsms0t.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Is Mr.B reconciled yet? lol

      • BeatriceC

        MrC? Kinda. He’s giving the bird a manicure now if that counts for anything.

        • Nick Sanders

          Wouldn’t that be a pedicure?

          • BeatriceC

            They use their feet as both hands and feet. So it could go either way. Plus he’s getting his wings and beak groomed as well (MrC is a brave man).

    • maidmarian555

      Oh well done!! I did three days without cigarettes last year. Unfortunately I decided to try and quit right before Brexit. Needless to say, it didn’t pan out. OH successfully stopped via vaping when I got pregnant (I tried…..really hard….cut down a lot but never stopped properly as my stress levels became insane when I tried which ultimately became more damaging than the smoking). I am doing it this year though. Even if you only survived that 10hrs 52mins then that’s 10hrs 52mins better IMHO. I will cross my fingers for you! I know how hard those first few days are. Even if those end up being up being all you get through, that’s a big achievement.

    • Something From Nothing

      Have you read Alan Carr?

  • CSN0116

    I want to write a book called, “How to Parent Like You Don’t Give a Fuck”.

    I think I could become the Betty Friedan of my day.

    • sara, MD

      Someone wrote it, called “Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids” – not a great book, but certainly says, chill the hell out, they’ll probably be fine.

      • StephanieA

        I would love to have more kids. I need to stop worrying about every damn thing.

    • StephanieA

      I’d read it. I’ve really learned to chill the fuck out since my second was born. I still worry about stupid stuff though- am I reading to them enough? Are my 3 years old’s fine motor skills up to par? Is he getting too much screen time? But hopefully I continue to give less fucks as time goes on.

      • Megan

        Having a second child helped me chill out more than anything else. I’m approaching normal at this point! I’m sure this is actually the best thing that could’ve happened for my kids, not hovering more.

        • StephanieA

          Having my second definitely helped, but I’m still more neurotic then I’d like. Maybe I need a third! Just kidding, kind of.

          • Megan

            Funny, you and I are thinking alike with thoughts of a third. 😉

          • Amy M

            I think having twins helped a lot in this regard–we could never focus 100% on one baby, and didn’t have time to freak out as much. Sleep became the most precious thing in the world to me and anything that would facilitate more sleep was a good thing. It also helped that most of my friends with children didn’t do the AP/NCB thing either, so there was little pressure to conform to some “perfect mom” ideal. At any rate, my boys are almost 8, and they are generally happy/healthy children. I’m pretty sure that nothing we did when they were babies has any impact on their long term health.