When I started this blog, I was looking for an outlet. I'd always been a writer and, more importantly, a voracious reader. One of the best ways I process information is by writing my thoughts out. So it is only natural that after many years of neglecting this side of myself that I really NEEDED to return to writing. Not professional writing, but cathartic writing. THAT is what I loved doing in the past. Writing to work out and analyze literature, but also writing to work out my own thoughts on my life.
Monkey's pregnancy and birth really took an emotional toll on me, opening my eyes up to a new world that I was not aware of before in many different aspects of my life. I had never fathomed attempting an unmedicated birth, breastfeeding for longer than 6 months, babywearing, delayed vaccinations, cloth diapering, etc. NONE of these things were even on my radar. So the entire experience not only opened my eyes, it changed my entire frame of reference, giving me a new perspective on life in general.
I was never one of those parents who thought that my way was the only way. And I also tried very hard to ignore those nagging doubts and insecurities when others would criticize or look at me with disapproval regarding my own parenting. But, the experiences surrounding Monkey's birth has made me even more open to the choices of others and even more secure in my own parenting decisions. I do not have all the answers, but I do things the best way I can for MY family. I cannot fault others for doing what they consider best for their family.
If someone would have asked me nearly a decade ago when I was pregnant with my first child if I would have an unmedicated birth, I would have told them they are CRAZY if they thought I was going through that without serious drugs. If I was asked if I was planning to babywear, I would have said, "Um, no, that's what strollers are for." If I was asked when I planned to stop breastfeeding, I would have said no longer than 6 months. If I was asked when I plan on introducing solids, I would have said we're stocking up on Gerber and Beechnut for as soon as baby is 4 months at the latest. If I was asked when I plan to give a specific vaccine or IF I plan to give it, I would have looked at the person like they had 3 heads and said, "Um, my doctor will decide all that for me."
So here I am nearly a decade later. I've birthed 3 beautiful babies, including my unmedicated birth. I always have a carrier or wrap in my car or diaper bag and do not remember where my stroller is in the garage. I am breastfeeding a 19 month old TODDLER (holy crap!!). I know a long list of reasons that delaying solids is beneficial and did not use any store-bought baby food with my youngest (excluding those awesome fruit/veggie pouches that are great for on-the-go, easy-clean-up food). I have researched a little about all vaccines that are required in my state for admittance to public schools (which is LONG in WV) and developed a delayed scheduled, working WITH my pediatrician.
I know that some people think I have gone off the deep end. But trust me, people, if I had the time to more adequately research some topics, you would all REALLY think I went off the deep end.
But, for all the changes I have made in the last nearly 3 years, I am very much the same in some areas. There are some areas that will never change. And there are others that I am working on.
So, I have become a more "naturalized" version of my former very mainstream self. Hence why I am changing the title of my blog. Well, that and "Where Did This Crunch Come From?" is very LONG and I wanted something shorter that was more concise for where I currently am in life.
So welcome to the new beginning of my blog, "Naturalized Mainstream Mama." I am not uber-crunch. I am not super eco-friendly. I am not on some path leading to crunchy nirvana. I am just who I am: a more naturalized version of my former self. And I find the more educated I become about natural norms, the more it flows into every aspect of my life. From birth to health decisions. Nutrition to discipline. Education to advocacy.
I do not have all the answers, I'm just doing what I feel is right for me and mine in the moment. Give it 5 or 10 years and I might reflect back on the decisions I am making now and find things I would have done differently. But life is not made to have one way to live. It is a journey, with ups and downs, hardships and joy, all allowing the individual person to make the best or worst of their prospective path.
Our lives are shaped by every person we meet, every event we experience, every word that we read, every song that we hear. Sometimes it is a minor change that we experience, so small that it is imperceptible to even ourselves. Other times it is a major change that irreversibly changes the coarse of our life and our very being.
Becoming a mother changed my life.
And it has continued to change during the past decade, over and over, as motherhood causes me to constantly reevaluate my life and my journey. It was this constant reevaluation that made me realize that this new world I was introduced to during my pregnancy with Monkey truly resonated with my being. And finding things that resonate so deeply is what we all need in our lives.
So, at this moment in my life, I am passionate about life in general, from conception to adulthood. I have opinions about what is ideal when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and parenting. But, being on the mainstream side for so long and realizing that today's society can throw huge wrenches into this "ideal" allows me to know and accept that most of us are all just muddling along, doing the best we can given our current knowledge.
That is what I am doing. Making the best decisions I can for my family based on my current knowledge. Gaining knowledge can cause me to question past decisions, but it always helps me make future decisions and meet challenges with a more diverse frame of mind.
So I have this thirst for knowledge to help me make the best decisions. And I am passionate about sharing this knowledge when I can. Not only to explain why I am making the decisions I am, but also so that others gain this knowledge. NOT so that they make the same decision as me, but so that they know that the knowledge is out there if they CHOOSE to look into it further.
I am forever grateful to those people in my life that have shared tidbits of knowledge with me because some of those tidbits caused me to completely reevaluate my decisions and seek more knowledge. I may still not change my decisions, but education is never a bad thing. Knowledge either reinforces my decisions, or it causes me to change them.
I will share this knowledge to give others a frame of mind for MY decisions, while not judging them for making their own, even if they differ from my own. That is my goal. To share knowledge and help others understand my decisions, hopefully giving them a glimpse into their own decisions and causing them to either reaffirm their decisions as the best decision for their specific situation or reevaluate it and research further.
So there you have it. My new beginning, my goal, and my passion.