I wasn't always a crunchy, hippy, earthy, natural, granola person. But I have always enjoyed being unique. I have always been abstract. Artistic. Creative. Different.
I knew I wanted to have natural births, because my mom gave birth to all four of her children without pain medication. Birthing naturally was one of those things that I thought was so cool! Of course, I didn't learn until much later that the only reason my mom went natural was because she couldn't afford pain medication. And, of course, birthing “naturally” seemed to me then to only give birth without medication.
And then I met Ingrid.
Ingrid is a woman that I met at church. I first remember watching her from a distance. I saw her wearing her baby in a ring sling (although I wasn't familiar with slings at the time). I saw how beautiful she looked, even while wearing light or no make-up. Then, one day, I was sitting close enough to her to notice that her legs were unshaven. I was completely absorbed in curiosity and interest in this strange woman. She was so different from all the other women that I knew. She shocked me with her lifestyle. But I liked her. I even talked to my mom about how I admired Ingrid for being different. Ingrid had, unknowingly, touched something in my soul. Something that had been there all along, but had been small and weak. Like an unlit candle. Ingrid's touch was a small flame for my candle. The light helped me to see things more clearly. I had a library of information to learn about. And so I began learning.
When I first got married and started thinking about having children, I was only just interested in the crunchy lifestyle. I was willing to do a home birth with a midwife, if I could easily find one. I fully planned on breastfeeding, but only to a year. I was shocked when I learned that Ingrid breastfed her children much longer than that. I also planned on vaccinating my children. And when I found out I was pregnant, I bought a crib…because that’s where babies sleep, right? But I kept studying.
I learned about Attachment Parenting. It sang to my soul and brightened that little flame. And then I found out that Ingrid had birthed some of her babies at home. With no medical personnel in attendance. Unassisted Childbirth (UC). I was floored. I didn’t even know you COULD do that! I didn’t think it was quite for me. However, I studied it. Intrigued. I kept seeing a regular OB for my prenatal checkups. But I still studied. Home birth. Unassisted birth. Unassisted pregnancy. Free birth. Pure birth. Intimate. Loving. Comfortable. Safe.
I studied the whole world. There is so much out there that I had no idea about. Breastfeeding. Sleeping arrangements. Vaccine free. Babies’ cries. Circumcision vs Intact. Birth. Diapering. Slings, wraps, mei tai’s, simple pieces of cloth. Ancient parenting. Natural remedies. Red raspberry leaf. Colloidal silver. Life. It all sang to me. It was right for me. For my family.
I waltzed happily down that path. And I’m still waltzing happily down that path. I believe in and practice attachment parenting. My baby sleeps in bed next to me. My baby has no vaccines. But that’s ok, because he is still breastfeeding at 14 months. And I will let him breastfeed for as long as his precious, little heart desires. My sons will all be kept whole, intact. And my children’s precious bums will be softly wrapped in cotton diapers…when I am willing to do the laundry for them! I will carry my babies when we go out, wrapped in a simple piece of cloth. And, although my first child was born in a hospital, it is my desire to birth the rest of my children at home. In just the company of my loving husband and family.
And through all these parenting choices that threw open wide the door to my crunchy lifestyle, there are other changes that I am continually making in my life. Like trying to eat healthier. Like wearing less make-up. Less jewelry. Like going “no-‘poo”. I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner on my hair for nearly two weeks now, thanks to the inspiration of TopHat. And I love it! [Perhaps I will do a whole post dedicated to this topic, including my recipes for washing and rinsing]. And, I have almost completely retired my razor. I have chosen to wax my legs and armpits occasionally. But, in the months between waxing, my hair grows out long, and my razor sits alone. Unused.
Perhaps. Just maybe, I will light the candle in some young girl’s soul as she sits next to me, and sees my unshaven legs.