You describe attachment parents as “especially intense” in regards to our relationship with our partner and the sleeping arrangements we make, it might be best to look at EVERY parenting style. Parenting is intense. THE END. Relationships change and grow as a result of having children. Everyone is tired. Mothers and fathers can feel overwhelmed and EVERY parent needs to communicate. Relationships are about communication and respect. Relationships take a lot of hard work and needs to be paid attention to. Not every parent wants to do sleep training, not every parent wants to breastfeed 24/7 and bed-share. Most of us go through some sort of change as we grow as parents.
We don’t practice attachment parenting because we think we’re right and everyone else is wrong. We don’t practice attachment parenting because we think it’s the best for everyone…we simply think it’s the best for OUR family. Maybe we do seem a bit “annoying” at times. I think this is because we are constantly having to work against the mainstream. We are constantly criticized and questioned…”Are you STILL breastfeeding?”, “Is he STILL in your bed?!”, “Don’t you EVER put him down?”…the list goes on.
You said what you saw some something “akin to female masochism in the pursuit of maternal perfection”. I have yet to meet an attachment parent who describes herself as perfect. If there is than that has nothing to do with attachment parenting and everything to do with her own ego. I have yet to meet a non-attachment parent to describe herself as perfect. If there is then that has nothing to do with her style of parenting and everything to do with her own ego.
EVERY mother questions herself while mothering in those early years….and beyond. EVERY mother knows she is not perfect. EVERY mother has moments of wondering, “Is this the right decision?” EVERY mother feels guilt at one point or another. However I know that I will never look back and feel guilty for holding my babies too much. I will never look back and feel guilty for answering their cries. I will never look back and feel guilty for mothering through breastfeeding. My hope for other mothers is that they will be able to do the same, regardless of their parenting choices. It’s about doing the best we can with the resources we have at the time…and following our own motherly instincts.
By Meg Nagle, IBCLC and mother to 3 boys. Attachment parent.
“And no. I’m not better than you. I’m a mother doing her best…just like you are.”