Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Parenting is Tough...No Matter How "Simple" You Try To Make It

When I was recently handed the latest edition of "Breastfeeding Answers: Made Simple," a 900 page book, I asked myself, "what is so simple about that (talking about the size of the book)!?"  and I figured no wonder people get turned off by Breastfeeding...it's not as simple as we present it to be.  While I understand the thoroughness of the author in writing this book (she's been writing it for quite sometime and this is her 2010 edition) , I'm guessing that anyone that would attempt breastfeeding and found this book, might run in the opposite direction.  But the truth is the word "simple" isn't one that should be associated with parenting or any activity related to parenting.  I don't know any parent that has had it entirely simple and easy...because it wasn't designed to be that way.  Even for the most easy-going person, parenting is a time to get to know someone on a whole different level and it can test every limit you know because you are in your own uncharted territory.  You're getting to know someone that is a little person that requires a lot of love, care, empathy, and comfort during the tough times that you might face with teething, illnesses, and just plain womb-sick, my idea of home sick--from the womb.  On top of getting to know that person with all of these complications, you are getting to know yourself now as a parent.  You now have graduated from one or two adults in love to, two adults and a little person.  And that little person is here to change you and your significant other in every way possible.  And here's the tricky part: It isn't easy and no one knows you and your child better than you do BUT as I have found, learning from what others have done to make their parenting experience more pleasant is definitely worthwhile.  No parent should ever claim to know or have all the answers.  All we have our ideas that may or may not work.  But it is up to us as parents of that little one person to give it a try and make things better in our relationship with our child.  As I jokingly mentioned to some friends over the weekend, I figure my kids look at me like I'm a clown--constantly making them laugh, cry, scream, grunt (the latest tactic my kids are using to intimidate each other), and when they're upset about something I pull out all the balls I have (both literal and figurative) and start tossing them up in the sky for me to juggle and them to see.  The more balls I throw, the more tricks I end up doing and as long as I can keep them going something is bound to work.  And that's all that parenting is.  Kids need to know we can juggle as we try to figure out a way to get through whatever life throws our way.

As for Breastfeeding...it isn't simple!  It can be pretty complicated and while juggling our new life, some of us are tempted to try things that may make our juggling act less crazy.   But if for you this is one that goes under the "must-do" category just like all other baby caring activities, then you must realize that feeding your baby any other way will not "simplify" your life.  With all the growing information out there about how risky it is to give formula to infants it might complicate your life and your baby's in the long run.  One of the many reasons Moms give up on Breastfeeding their infant is that it is too stressful and difficult.  What we have found in our program is that this is true for most parents...and surprisingly those are two things all parents struggle with!  Not because they are breastfeeding but because they are now parents.  Parenting is difficult and stressful! And surrounding ourselves with people that help us keep our sense of humor, live life no matter what gets handed to us, and reminding us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel either with time things getting better or by giving us suggestions and tools to try, makes us better, more well-rounded people through the process of learning.  We learn to recognize the humanity we all need to share with others especially with our children.  So our children really can make a difference in our lives--if we let them.  And while we have our share of tough days, in the end they are worth it because we end up coming out of it learning something new about ourselves.

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