Friday, August 19, 2011

Do you recognise that child?

That's right, that's my very own Small Person, gracing the 'Dear Essence' pages of the ABA's Essence magazine. Some months ago I read an article in Essence which struck me so deeply I felt compelled to write a letter in response to it and send it in, something I've never done before to any kind of publication.

Now, I must say that I'm not particularly evangelical about breastfeeding. Feeding Emi was difficult for a very long time, and often still is for a variety of reasons I won't bore you with, and quite often I feel more of a martyr to breastfeeding rather than a supporter of it. Nevertheless, I have pushed on because I knew I would feel more guilty if I stopped - what would be worse? The guilt from not enjoying something you are supposed to, or the guilt from giving up? - so here we are nearly 18 months on. Anyway, we go down, we go up, we go back down again, and then my letter gets published and we go back up again, and so on although for how much longer I couldn't say.

So here was what I wrote - to save you from squinting at the screen to read the photo! - in all it's uber-formal glory:

Kim Lock’s article, ‘Breastfeeding to sleep,’ came at the perfect time; I read it less than two hours after hearing my first negative comment about breastfeeding toddlers. Imagine if this negative person learnt our 15-month-old daughter, Emi, sleeps in our bed as well! Sometimes, when you parent in a way that is outside the norm, it can be difficult not to feel you might be doing things the wrong way. Like Kim’s child, Emi is ‘wakeful.’ I have been told many times that I need to be ‘doing something’ to put a stop to her waking, and I need to resist the feelings of inadequacy; this is particularly difficult when we have had a long night and been woken 6, 7, 8, or more times, and I have found myself feeding her back to sleep for the majority of those wakings. It was refreshing and reassuring to read Kim’s story, to know that other people parent the way we do, and that it’s OK and normal. I will never regret having our girl in between us in bed at night, and even though I would dearly love an uninterrupted night of sleep, I love having her there curled up safe and warm beside me. I know it is the best place for her to be.

I'm quite chuffed; I'm officially published!

This is very deliberately not a mama-blog, however since I've digressed from that today indulge me while I show you my new idea for something fun for SP.

The other day the fitted sheet on our bed ripped straight down the middle. Muttering to myself, I washed it anyway and wondered what I could do with all the fabric that was still OK. I hung it over a clothes rack and my girl ran underneath and we played peekaboo through the folds, and then it came to me: I'll make an indoor cubby house with it! I'm not sure how yet, and I think I'll need to dig through the rest of my stash to find extra fabric, and I'm tossing up between a teepee-type cubby or a more traditional house shape, but I think it should be fun and SP will love the extra hidey-hole.

12 days until Spring!


Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock said...

Great letter! Parenting is bloody hard. There is no one way to do it right!! and you shouldn't be judged on your choices. Our 2 year only starred sleeping through the night recently - on holiday actually! - but when he wakes and runs into our room I love having him snuggled between us even if he does turn full 360 in his sleep :) They are only little for such a short time...enjoy it I say, however you like!

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

She so adorable. Since I gave birth to my first child, we always have a baby/toddler sleeping between us until now.Now his almost 2 years old brother is sleeping in the middle of the bed with us :). I found it easier to wake up during the night while I was breastfeeding him (I am also guilty of many times fell asleep while BF). Although, he is not breastfeeding anymore, I just want to cuddle with him.

Chookie said...

The only thing with multiple night wakings is that you can have a child who is getting too hot or cold, or has a touch of reflux -- but you've probably thought of that already.
I don't blog about breastfeeding much either, but you are right to keep going. She'll sleep through later on, and so will you. I breastfed my elder boy to past 4 and my younger to past 5. They sleep very soundly these days and I can now barely remember the wakeful nights.