One of the most difficult times for me in our community life was when we were accused of being a part of an “attachment parenting cult”. That if we just chose to parent differently, our lives would be easier, better. That we had created children / babies that had certain needs rather than that we had been supporting our high-needs children in a way that they required.
Then we had Atticus.
He is so very very different than both Gwen and Gil. He cries rarely. He will actually refuse to nurse if I offer and he’s not hungry. He sleeps best near me at night (on the same surface) but doesn’t need to be in my arms or touching me. He is happiest when in arms, of course, but for the most part doesn’t care whose arms they are.
I. Feel. So. Stinkin’. Validated.
I mean, I knew that what we were doing was the best for our kids – heck, they DEMANDED it. Loudly. But it still hurt to hear that those who were supposed to be supporting us really didn’t believe in or even respect our way of being – because for us, attachment parenting is just a name that other people have given to a set of behaviours that our first two children required. They had to be held, they had to nurse frequently, it was co-sleep or NO sleep at our house. And although it was hard at times, we came to love the closeness that these behaviours fostered. Love the bond that keeping them close day and night had created.
And I’m so very glad that we have spent the early days of their lives like this. And now, I can say with confidence that we did nothing to “create” these needs in them. That some babies truly just are “more difficult”, “spirited”, “high needs” … and some aren’t. We don’t belong to a “parenting cult”. We are doing what’s right for our children, our family.