I am a crunchy parent.
I know a lot of people who are -not- crunchy.
And I know a lot of people who always feel like they have to defend themselves around crunchy people.
I wanted to express that you do not have to defend yourself around me! I may not agree with your choices, but you don't have to defend yourself, as long as you have done your research. I often feel like the mainstream parents feel like they are being attacked by the crunchies when they do something un-crunchy-like. I can't speak for all the crunchy parents out there, but I would like to say most of us are NOT attacking you. We are trying to EDUCATE you!
We aren't sure if you know your other options. Or if you know the research that suggests some of the crunchy ways are better than mainstream ways (i.e., breastfeeding). There is a reason mainstream parenting is called "mainstream". It's because it is the most popular parenting style in our culture today. And there is a reason parents like me get called "crunchy". We get a funny nickname, because a lot of people think we are...weird. Because we do things differently than most of the population.
I, personally, became crunchy through researching my options. I felt like the most natural way to parent was to be as self-reliant as possible (i.e., minimal doctor visits, no circumcision, no vaccines), to keep my baby close (i.e., co-sleeping, baby wearing), to introduce the least amount of foreign substances to my baby (i.e., natural childbirth, breastfeeding, no vaccines), and to use what God has provided me with -naturally- to care for my baby and myself (i.e., placentophagy, breastfeeding, herbal remedies, breast milk in eyes/ears/nose of baby when sick).
My mother (who is accepting of my crunchy ways, but not crunchy herself) and I had an interesting conversation about this topic just the other day. I chose to use the epidural as an example. This is obviously a mainstream choice, as it is believed that well over 60% of women in labor choose an epidural. There is definitely a long list of -possible- side effects (for both mother and baby). I would hope that every mother who chooses an epidural is aware of these possible side effects. Unfortunately, I know that not all mothers are aware of them. But, what about the side effects that are -always- present. Very few women realize that an epidural will slow, or even stop, their body's natural production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is what makes birth! It causes the uterus to contract, and it enhances the mother's natural love for her infant. With an epidural, many women need artificial oxytocin (Pitocin) to cause contractions. And they are missing out on that natural brain hormone that fills them with intense love and a desire to bond with their baby. (This does NOT mean, however, that a mother cannot bond with her baby. It just isn't as easy as it could have been without an epidural.) The risks list of epidurals (both possible and definite) goes on, but that is merely an example in this post. [If you are interested, Dr. Sarah J. Buckley, MD, has a wonderful article explaining the risks of epidurals.]
The point of my example is, some women are COMPLETELY unaware of the advantages of crunchy parenting, and the disadvantages of mainstream parenting. I know that not every mainstream choice is going to be a bad choice, or one made in ignorance. And I understand that everyone is entitled to making their own choices for themselves and their families. But, the natural parenting community has a desire for the whole world to at least -know- what their choices are, and whether they are good or bad choices.
Please remember. We are not attacking. We are educating!