If you’re a woman who is thinking that you may want to have children soon or down the road, I’m glad you’ve landed here! Nearly 16-years ago, when I myself was only 24, a lovely, plump ten-pound baby was put to my chest and all I could think was, “I have no idea what I’m doing and now I have a tiny human who relies on me for her everything??”
That baby girl is now preparing for early college and I still feel guilty for not knowing she was clinically blind until she was six. When she got her glasses, the first thing she said was “that’s what leaves look like?”
Go right ahead and hand over my mother of the year award.
That’s pretty much what you can expect from parenthood. Even with all its guilt and challenges, there is no thing in this great big world I’d rather be doing.
I’ve had some time to reflect on what has worked for our family and what we could have done without. This is the disclaimer portion of the article: None of what I share going forward is intended to be judgmental or steer anyone in any direction of how to raise their offspring. It is not professional advice and it is up to each individual to make decisions about what is best for their body and medical care.
Before I got pregnant, I had very few resources that supported the way I intuitively wanted to raise my children. While the resources are abundant now, thanks to the interwebs, I want to share my personal journey of making babies (I’ll leave out the TMI) and having babies and my now professional journey of helping other women start their lives as mothers.
When I became pregnant in 2000, I didn’t know there was a movement of women to reconnect to ancestral ways in parenting. Years before I was pregnant, I knew that when I watched The Baby Story on TLC I liked the calming, peaceful water births that women had at home and I didn’t connect with the idea of a hospital birth.
Just weeks before I found out I was pregnant, I met a woman who had those peaceful water births in her home. As soon as I saw those two pink lines on that rainy November night, I knew she would be my natural parenting guru.
Years after all my babies were born, I delved into the ancestral health community. The way I’d been parenting finally connected to these new discoveries for me: nutrition, sleep, stress management, mindfulness, movement, digestion, and community. I realized quickly why I love the ancestral health community so much. It was the missing piece to the ancestor puzzle I’d been putting together my entire life.
Ancestral Parenting versus Attachment Parenting
This is my personal version of modern-day parenting through an ancestral lens and not everything falls under the scope of attachment parenting. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that you have to navigate your way to what intuitively feels right for you and your family.
My early parenting was black and white and that thinking led me to experience a great deal of perfectionism and need to be the best attachment parent there was. Here’s the thing, tribes who practice what “attachment parenting” is created after have an entire tribe to support them! You and I, my friend, do not.
Unfortunately, becoming mothers tends to trigger old childhood wounds of not being good enough that we have trapped inside. My version of Ancestral Parenting is, “take what you want and leave the rest”…especially the perfectionism and the shame. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Babies greatly thrive under the guise of being attached and I think it’s an important tenet of Ancestral Parenting, but I believe mothers need self-care and support first and that’s far more important to the wellbeing of our children. This is why we need a balanced foundation to start from as we create the template of our parental journey.
That foundation begins with the ancestors.
The story of all the women who came before us is locked inside of our DNA. This story is crucial to the future of our offspring and all the generations to come. For the first time in generations, we are desperately disconnected from the ancestors and their ways.
While I was in no way consciously connected to my ancestors before I began making babies, they were definitely there guiding and protecting me. It’s the only explanation as to how I went from chain-smoking Virginia Slims, drinking copious amounts of caffeine, and eating three fast food meals a day to becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who had several homebirths, breastfed, and discovered the connection I had with the women who did it all before me.
I am excited to share with you this series of Ancestral Parenting: Pre-conception to Post-partum. It is a four-part series based on my personal and professional experiences. Please join the conversation and let us know where you are in your journey.
If you are ready to get a jump start on your pre-conception planning, hop over here to read the first installment!