(..baby, don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more)
If you love him, breastfeed him. On demand and until he wants no more.
If you love him, don't breastfeed him. Or at least, if you do, because I see you're stubborn, give him breast regularly on the clock, once in three hours. No, once in four hours. He'll get used to the rhythm and it's good for him. "Soon you will want him to wake up for school and then..
And of course, stop at six month. He actually does not need it more than 6 months, and it will make you and him independent. You'll have a life. And your breasts might actually retain a decent form after.
If you love him, do. not dress him too warm. He will get tougher this way.
If you love him, dress him warm.
If you love him, punish him.
If you love him, accept everything he does and smile and never tell him he is wrong.
If you love him, give him timeouts and spank him so that he learns his limits. So that he learns who the boss is.
If you love him, you must decide for him every single move, because he is too small to know. You are the parent, you decide. Otherwise he will never know what's right or wrong.
If you love him, vaccinate him.
If you love him, don't.
If you love him, sleep at night with the window open, even when it's freezing (it's gonna make him strong, even if sick in the beginning).
If you love him, make it warm for him. 20C or more.
If you love him, offer him regularity and rhythm.
If you love him, offer him as much freedom as possible.
if you love him force him to..
if you love I'm, never force him to do anything..
if you love him..
Which of these ring true for you?
We all seem to have a certain view (and sometimes vision) about what love "is". And subsequently, about right or wrong.
It comes with the "nurture program" that we got every single second of our lives from when we were wee cells in our mother's belly. Beyond that, we've got conditioning from other lives, lives that we had as a body (as your body is made up from elements of the Earth and everything is energy) and lives that we had as soul; we also got it from our blood ancestors.
In this life, it also comes from the society we grew up in.
Right now, enormously little from the love we give to our children is "unconditional", "natural" or "universal".
We all seem to see love through a certain color glasses.
We all have a certain "the way it's supposed to be".
We all know "the rules" (just it's different rules depending on each part of the world and type of family we grew up in)..
Some of them rules are written and some of them hidden and hiding - most of them come disguised as our own head voices when we make the slightest 'naturally coming' love-move..
We seem to live with the idea that babies are here to hurt us. (I know that the song I make a connection to in the title does not refer to this kind of babies but
As a single mother I seemed to attract unwanted advises from mostly everybody in how to raise/ educate/ feed /clothe/ treat my son. Not only from the doctors, etc, who ideally should be trained in caring for the physical body - and whom I ask for advice occasionally.. Friends or people on the street, neighbors and family, other parents and grandparents, people who never cared for a child (or anybody else for that matter), they all seem to think they know better than me who V is. They all know better than me what it means - to me and to him - to love him.
And they seem to think they have a very good idea about what it is to be a single mom. I was even told a few times that in fact all mothers are single mothers, as their men are working hard to bring bread on the table and thus are absent. It sometimes seemed that I was unwittingly competing in the competition "who has had a harder life".. I was also told that i was single because I probably "cannot hold a man next to me".
It would help a lot, I think, if we could choose a partner based on the details of how we "see" love, particularly love for (our) children.
It's mostly not anything we discuss openly or properly.
In most cases, we do not even discuss what being in a relationship means.
When I got pregnant, my partner at the time did not see himself in a relationship with me. I totally did see us as "together".
We had never discussed how we saw the concept 'relationships' because that is not something one discusses.
We never talked about love or what love was to us..
Talking about love seemed "stupid" and might make one seem needy..
Is love, for example, telling the other, or your child, his faults all the time? "Constructively" criticizing? Imposing our points of view because we are always right? Shouting because they did the things their way or were unsure what "the way" was, instead of doing things our way or asking us what our way was? Is love imposing it on your child to have the same color socks on both feet at any particular time?
..yet, we generally do this every day.
..I will criticize you because that is the best for you.. (because I love you).
..I have to tell you all your faults (because i love you)..
.. I will not tell you that I love you because it will make you soft (and you should not be soft because i will not love you if you are soft).
.. I will not give you any food now (when you're hungry) because you have to eat at lunch/dinner /whatever - and that's in three hours from now. (Because I love you I know what's best for you)
.. I never show you my love because that is better for you (I know you know it is)...
No, I don't know. If you don't show me love, I might not know you love me.
In exactly the same way, my child might not know I love him. It depends on what love is for me and if I show it to him in a way that he gets.
It's such a personal subject..
Like all life is personal kind of way.
We feel that our way is best and when 'our way' does not show up in the other, we feel hurt.
I feel hurt when I see parents not showing love to their children on the street. I feel hurt when they do not show love how I know love.
They probably feel hurt - and thus angry - when they see me showing my love to my son.
'Do not hold him.'
'Do not kiss him when he's hurt.."
'Do not kiss him ever."
"just let him cry, he will thank you later"
"he is so spoiled to ask for something he wants to eat in place of eating what's in front of him (and is healthy)"
My son was just a few days old and I was told by the family of his father that I should let him cry out and not hold him unless in extreme cases (he was screaming to be in my arms and my milk was flowing). That I should not listen to him because he will "soon" walk all over me. Because I would spoil him. Because that was what they did with their children who were now men and look how good they turned out. (I could've argued with that A LOT but i didn't,.)
To what and to whom should we listen to?
It is as confining and conflicting as that story with the man, the child and the donkey..
A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by his side a countryman passed them and said, "You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?" So the man put the boy on the donkey, and they went on their way. Soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said, "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."
Different people will always have different opinions. About everything.
In fact, there is actually no realistic possibility to fulfill people's expectations.
We only think so, and we try and try and try, moving like a rootless tree in the wind.
It gets even more confusing when the same people different opinions on the same subject depending on the day or the color of the sun.
And when it comes to love, this is painfully obvious.
You may have heard about the saying 'there are only two energies, love and fear'..
Just two ways we do things: from love or from fear.
Wayne Dyer said once that when in doubt, he used to ask himself 'what would love do?'.. I decided i wanted to try that.. I started asking myself what would love do.. and I Just. Could. Not Get. It. The vey question irritated me, I had no idea what love would do.. And who was "love"?
At the time I saw myself as a very loving person but I just could not find the answer to that question, regardless what I asked it about..
Only a few years later I could find my answer:
When I do something is either for the love or out of love, in that moment in time - or from fear, mostly about something in the future or something that I cannot see right now.
To breastfeed my son once in three hours and for only thirty minutes, regardless of his hunger (because I know better) and cries, because it would help him understand regularity.. Is that from love or fear?
To me, love was and is feeding him on demand, for as long as he needed it. Babies do not 'want' things in my opinion, they NEED things. They cry if and when they don't get the things they need.
For the first 6-7 months V was suckling for two hours at a time with one hour of deep sleep in between. (he slept less than other children even then).
Yes. It was demanding.
Yes, some of the suckling time was half-sleeping for him so some would argue that "it was not needed".
Yes, I went out to eat often, just because in the little time that my son was deeply sleeping (in the Manduca) I would rather spend my time walking outside, reading, sleeping or making art, and not cooking meals..
But it was his rhythm and it was the only rhythm I saw fit to follow.
In the very beginning I attempted "dis-attaching" him from me. He would wake up immediately and consequently cry - he just could not sleep without being totally content with how much milk or suckling he had (yes, I tried that a few times because 'they' said so).. He also could not sleep far away from my body. The more I tried, the more desperate we both got. I had too much milk and was getting a lot of breast infections.. He was probably hungry for touch and my milk.
It took me a few months to totally adjust to his rhythm.
Had I asked myself what would love do, I would've probably struggled less..
As he started growing I begun noticing how incredibly difficult the conditioning we have makes rearing a child "naturally" (read: how we deeply feel we should). I was raised in another culture than the one I live in right now with my son. As there are rules everywhere, now I had two or more set of rules… The challenge was, as I was attempting to use a common ground of the many sets of rules, I was noticing more and more that my own wishes were mostly going totally against the "how I was supposed to do things"..
When I was pregnant I bumped into an old friend. Given that she had two children already and seeing my very pregnant belly, she instantly gave me a friendly advice from a mom to another mom: to make friends with any other mother, no matter who and what kind. Motherhood is motherhood and it bonds, she said.
Because it was such a one time advice from someone who worked with mothers (she did), it stuck with me. I intended to apply it.
Turns out, for me personally that was an impossible task. Going to the park and seeing how some other mothers treated their babies - I was often in pain. Already highly sensitive before my pregnancy - when my son started growing in my belly and after he was born, I became extremely sensitive to the energy of babies and children. I could feel in their cries what they needed and in most cases they would not get it. They mostly got what mothers thought that was good for them. Mainly it was the conditioning, not the "unconditional" love. Not the "what my love for my baby asks me to do now" 0 but it a conditioned answer coming from "what could happen 15 years down the road if I feed the baby now.."
Once, in the tram, I was sitting with my two months son sleeping on my belly in the manduca. Next to me was a baby carriage with a baby in it.. The baby started crying at one point and was getting more and more upset. His mother was a few chairs behind me and not only that she did nothing to soothe the baby but I heard her talking to her companion: yeah, I just do not understand why they do not accept my child at the crèche before 6 weeks of age. I want to get beck to work as soon as possible and I cannot do that until then. It's just plain annoying.
6 weeks?!? That baby was not even six weeks old. She was by now screaming - and she was all alone, a very small being, in an unknown (for her) environment, far from any warmth or known voices, with these unknown frightening sounds all around her, probably hungry and scared. I started rocking her as she was next to me. The mother came to me and asked me in an angry tone to "not touch her". Then she returned to her seat and left the baby crying, without giving her any attention. My only confort was that the tram was rocking the carriage a bit..
This was a mother I could never ever ever become friends with, even if we were the only ones on the planet.. She was probably doing the best she knew. But how immensely far from love to me.
Later I found a monthly breastfeeding group in The Hague, started by Lida van Ruijven many years before. Her book "ouderschap vanuit je hart" - (parenting from your heart - in Dutch) had been the first book that I had read when I discovered I was pregnant so I was excited to meet her. They held meetings every time on another location in The Hague and the group and Lida were (and still are) promoting a natural, softer, more intuitive approach to parenting - and, as the name of the group gives it away, breastfeeding. Although I lived at around 2 hours distance I attended religiously these meetings until I stopped breastfeeding and beyond - just to be in contact with a group that was doing what I was doing. It was great! Breastfeeding on demand, carrying the baby in place of using a stroller, attachment parenting, co-sleeping and more, this was my tribe! (I was so hooked that two years ago I agreed to design their website and now I also do their newsletter and the book's website).
All of a sudden, I had some mothers around me that were doing more of the things I was doing naturally.
And in the same time there was nothing like what I was used to or had learned..
What a relief to see that what was natural and loving for me was natural and loving for other moms.
I could not imagine how the mother in the tram was so detached from her baby that she could apparently not relate to her at all.
For me, love also has a logical side, be it a bit woo-woo.
Let's imagine: a soul, a spark of life, becomes incarnated, it comes and lives into a human belly - and it's experience with the world is being inside a body. When the baby is born, it has a natural instinct for being close to the mother.. If we allow it, the baby will probably want to be close to the mother - or the parents - for as long as it possibly is.
(as we can see hereunder)
Can you imagine how lonely and frightened YOU would be if you were alone in another country with a totally strange language, sounds, movements and light? Right. And you are a grown up.
For babies - even if we do not consider them to be really cognitive in the very beginning - the whole world is strange like that. They have a body that starts functioning in different ways then when they were in a belly, there is air moving and there are bigger and unknown noises, there are sensations that they cannot place and there are things happening to them. They have FEW! basic needs that need to be answered - and one of them is touch, touch, touch - a loving touch of loving people. I suspect that a baby has a real radar for real love. Babies die without touch, even if the other of it's needs are met. (I won't link to those studies, much too depressing).
Now imagine how you would feel in that unknown world and imagine a baby in your place. A baby cannot walk, talk, cannot change it's situation in any way. They are lost without us, they need our help and support.
Mothers in general all (believe they) love their children.
But being conditioned by society and family, we "think" about our babies in place of feeling with our babies.
We ask people what we should do with our baby and sometimes that is not a good idea. Other times we do not ask anyone and that is also not a good idea.
To me, it should be a combination. Ask questions! Our generation is the first one that does not raise the children "in a village" and most of us not even with other members of the family in the same home..
AND in the same time do not take for granted all that is said around you, even by the "specialists".
Trust yourself to hear the right answer FOR YOU between all these conflicting and antagonist ideas (that we as a society project on our babies).. Read between the lines.. Listen to your heart!..
Please, do not believe me.
Do not trust that what I say is right.
Trust only if something in your heart resonates so well that you feel that it is right for you.
You might ask a question to 10 people and you will probably get 10 very different answers; trust the one that sings to you.
And when in doubt, ask yourself : do I do this from love - or because I am afraid?
Do I fear or do I trust? Do I love or do I control?
Why is love so colored? What color is my love?
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