I had a plan.
I knew how I wanted my pregnancy to be. Free of chemicals, free of stress, free of all of the added artificial ingredients. I was an active hairstylist of 10 years, and decided to not color my hair for my entire pregnancy. I stayed as active as I could even though I was God awful tired. I made a smoothie every single day – every single day with the same exact measurements of ingredients. I took special care to re-evaluate all of my personal hygiene products, and replace them with all of the natural, preggo friendly versions. This was not too hard to do, being that I was already pretty neat and clean with my products. What is a “crunchy” mom you may ask?
In layman’s terms, a crunchy mom is a mom who practices natural living. She is an advocate of natural birth, non or selective circumcision, not vaccinating, baby wearing, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, attachment parenting, homeschooling, organic and green living, etc.
It stemmed from history.
I knew I wanted a natural, un-medicated birth before pregnancy ever even crossed our minds. You see, when I was younger around my middle school and high school days, I had severe crippling depression. The kind filled with anxiety, so much so that I couldn’t leave the house, and missed a lot of school and couldn’t sleep in my bed for probably two years. Due to certain circumstances and different environments, I was over medicated. We are talking probably 14 pills every day. I was misdiagnosed with several different “mental” states. Looking back at this now it makes me incredibly sad, and it is something most people would never know about me. I do not have a single photo of myself from that time period, because it was just that dark era that I would never want to remember. Once the darkness started to fall away and I realized I was actually okay and didn’t have a single thing wrong with me, I was finally able to free myself of all of that medication and enjoy life. Because of this journey filled with medications and several therapists and doctors, I began to have a bad taste of the medical field in my mouth. I hated medicine. It gave me anxiety to think I could be out of control of my body ever again like that. After that downward spiral, I took a few vows with myself and the Lord, and never touched alcohol again and very rarely ever take a pill for anything.
I did research.
Since I wanted that natural birth, I did a boatload of research and talking with other moms with shared values and we chose The Bradley Method. We had a Doula, and our birth went just as we had hoped. We had a healthy baby. She was born on January 20th, 2017 at 10:21am. 8 pounds 2 ounces and 20.5 inches long. It was the most amazing life affirming experience.
I had several “plans” going into motherhood. I would use no medications, we would breastfeed for as long as we could – no pressure. Co-sleeping was not an option for me. Cloth diapers were the way to go. We would not use a pacifier for fear she wouldn’t take the breast. We would do baby led weaning and no pureed foods… those sort of things.
It wasn’t my plan.
As usual, I learned that God was in charge of this great journey we were embarking on, and I was not. We did breastfeed, with many hurdles and are still going strong 12 months in. We have given in and used both Tylenol and Motrin. I co-slept until she was about five and a half months old. I have never once touched a cloth diaper that we have in the closet. She received a pacifier around two weeks old and I am so glad we did. She also loves pureed pouches and sometimes that is the only food she wants to eat.
The sad reality.
I realized that one day, this girl was going to get sick. I tried everything in my power to keep germs away, but you just cannot protect them from everything. Just before her first birthday, our entire household came down with… the flu. Josh was over it in about 48 hours, but myself and Lily had it for about a week, and we had it bad. I had only really ever seen her with minor colds and on one occasion pink eye. This flu – this was something else. For a few nights she couldn’t sleep and her temperature rose to 104.5. Her owlet monitor alarmed us because her heart rate skyrocketed above 220. This was the scariest thing for me. I couldn’t bear to see her like this. I was literally up all night that night holding her, rocking her in the living room in a panic with an alarm set every 4 hours to alternate between the two medicines. I was heart-broken. Seeing my baby lethargic, not herself, burning up. It was so hard on me I just sat there rocking and crying in silence with her that night.
It was during all of this that I thought about my “plan”. It took me back to when she was a newborn and I was setting an alarm every 4 hours at night to nurse her. We had a friend from birth class that had her baby just 2 days before us, and we would text around the clock about our struggles and our highs and lows. I sat there, just rocking her and thinking about the past year and where it took us and where we were going. In those quiet moments with my sick little girl, I began to think about how fast time goes, and really how small some of those little details seem.
What is the point?
I want all of those “crunchy” moms to know something, and I want you to really and truly hear it.
It is going to be okay.
No matter how you choose to raise your children, there may come a day that you will have to go against what your plan was and do things you do not want to. I hate giving my little girl that medicine, but I had no choice those few days. I had to alternate those, because that was the only thing that would help her. I would do anything to take her pain away. This journey of motherhood – it is not about the cloth diapers, decorations, amber necklaces, purees, formula… none of that is really what matters. What matters is that you give in to Gods plan and follow what he has given you. Be the absolute best mother you can be. Make your child happy, keep them as healthy as you can, and hold on to them for as long as you can. As sad as I was to see her that sick, I held her and knew those moments would soon be long gone. Very soon, sooner than I would like, she will not fit into my arms anymore. She is going to outgrow them along with all of her clothes. One day she will outgrow that crib and want some sort of fancy new bedroom set. She’s going to be asking for money, staying out late, and driving a car. And when that happens, my crunchy plans will no longer be there for her. She is her own person and I can only protect her for so long.
So, while I know if we ever have another child, I still want another medication free birth. I still would love to breastfeed, BUT I will not hold myself to so many standards. I will try to put less pressure on myself and know that sometimes I just might fail what I had envisioned, but that does not mean that I failed as a mother.
I am doing the very best that I know how to do, and one day that little girl is going to thank me and hopefully ask me for advice on her own family. When that day comes, I hope I am able to put her mind at ease and tell her that she is doing it right. Whatever she chooses, it is all okay, and try not to take it all so seriously.