Is there another way?

When my daughter was born, she liked to be held. We spent her newborn days snuggling in bed. Eventually we would get up and snuggle on the couch. After a couple of months I learned how to wrap her so I could carry her around for walks and around the house. It was lovely, but it didn’t leave me much time for the multitude of tasks I felt I should be doing. Shouldn’t I be able to accomplish more than just caring for one baby? Do I need to have her spend more time in a bouncer or play pen? I didn’t like putting her down when she cried for me.

I wondered, is there another way?

When my daughter approached six months old, I started to feel desperate for sleep. She slept in a crib next to my bed. She would wake frequently, I’d nurse her back to sleep, gently place her back in the crib, close my eyes for a while, and repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat.

I started asking other parents what they had done. “Let her try to settle herself,” they said. “My kids slept better after moving into their own rooms.” Perhaps these things had worked for other parents, but it didn’t feel right to me.

I wondered, is there another way?

When my daughter grew into a toddler, we got to know other families and she started making her first friends. Chatting with other adults while the kids played was a breath of fresh air in my day, even if the chats were interrupted by the need to break up frequent toddler squabbles. I began to notice other parents using time-outs in an effort to mold their children into good citizens who would be kind and generous, but it didn’t feel right to me.

I wondered, is there another way?

When my daughter turned two, I was halfway through my pregnancy with her little sister. She loved to nurse, but it was becoming more of a challenge. “I guess this means it’s time to wean her,” well-meaning friends said. “Two years is a great run.” I was proud of our two years, but the thought of taking away the nursing I knew she needed didn’t seem right.

Once again I wondered, is there another way?

I’m thankful that along the way I found another way. I’m even more thankful that I found a tribe of other parents who are walking the same path. Other parents who are carrying their babies alongside me. Other parents who are up at night, nursing or rocking their babies to sleep alongside me. Other parents who are guiding their children with an abundance of kindness and patience along with clear limits. Other parents who are nursing their little ones until they are not so little anymore.

And I know now that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ninawrittenby

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