Sat, 11/23/2013 – 8:17 | One Comment

The Attached Family 2013 Loving Uniquely Issue is about loving each of our children as individuals with unique character traits.
Get your free copy here today.
Attachment Parenting is about loving each of our children as individuals with unique …

Read the full story »
1. Pregnancy & Birth

Fertility and conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and the early postpartum period.

2. The Infant

From newborn to 17 months.

3. The Toddler

From 18 months to age 3.

4. The Growing Child

From age 4 to age 9.

5. The Adolescent

From age 10 to age 18.

1. Pregnancy & Birth, Your Birth Stories »

Every Birth is Natural
Wed, 23/04/14 – 3:34 | No Comment

By Kelly Coyle DiNorcia, API Leader. Originally published in the 2009 “New Baby” issue of Attached Family magazine

Photo: Bas Silderhuis

Photo: Bas Silderhuis

When I became pregnant with my daughter, I had every intention of having a “natural” childbirth. I wanted to labor at home without pain medication, to fully experience her entry into the world. I left my obstetrician’s practice and found a midwife whom I loved and who assured me that the birth I wanted was within my reach.

Of course, life does not always turn out the way we plan. Complications arose, necessitating interventions that eventually led to a Cesarean birth. The whole birth experience was traumatic, and I was angry and disappointed. I spent the first several months of motherhood feeling inadequate and depressed, and missed a lot of the joy that new babies can bring. After much reflection, I came to recognize my two biggest mistakes:

  1. I treated my pregnancy as an impending deadline—Instead of embracing the coming transition, I used those nine months to finish up projects. I was a student, I worked full time, and I was an active and dedicated volunteer –and all these things were important to me. I struggled with the idea that once I added “mother” to my list, something else would have to give because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice any of them. I insisted on plowing on … when I developed gestational diabetes, when I broke my foot in the seventh month of my pregnancy, when my feet swelled so much that I couldn’t put on shoes, when my blood pressure began to rise. I refused to stop and rest.
  2. I believed that my body would be permitted to give birth as it was built to do—It is certainly true that women are built, from a biological, physiological, anatomical and evolutionary perspective, to have offspring and that most of the time this can be done safely without intervention. However, what I did not realize was that the modern medical system is not designed to allow that to happen for most women, and that it can take a great deal of education, effort and willpower to fight for a natural birth. Most birth practitioners see birth not as a natural process but a necessity to be endured and sped through if possible, using whatever means are available to move things along. Avoiding this pitfall requires a great deal of preparation and soul-searching.

Deciding on VBAC

With this in mind, I began preparing for my Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) within weeks of my first baby’s birth. I quizzed the surgeon about the location and orientation of my scar, the reasons for my daughter’s failure to descend and my chances for a future vaginal birth. He assured me that the surgery had gone well, and there was no reason I couldn’t attempt a VBAC. At the time, I didn’t know this was doctor-ese for “But your chances of success are about nil.”

I joined support groups. I read. I wrote in my journal. I entered therapy. I learned about the current medical model of obstetrics. I researched how I could take care of myself to prevent many of the complications I had experienced. I waited, and when the time was right, I became pregnant.

“By no means is it justifiable for anyone to be made to feel negatively about whatever birthing options they choose or for whatever birthing experience they have had. We all deserve to have our birthing choices and experiences validated.” Read more by Tamara Parnay in “The Importance of Sharing Birth Stories

Unfortunately, my former midwife was no longer attending VBACs, so I was forced to start from square one and find a new provider. I was frustrated that I had to tell my story over and over and face so many negative reactions from providers who were pessimistic about my chances for success, but I came to realize that this was really a gift. I had the chance to start fresh, carefully consider my options and know that I had given myself the best chance for my desired outcome. I ended up going with the first midwives I interviewed – their VBAC success rate was very high, I felt instantly at ease with them, I liked their office and their hospital, and their backup doctors were incredibly supportive of natural birth and even collaborated with most of the homebirth midwives in my area.

I also asked a close friend of mine who is a doula to be with me during my birth. During my first pregnancy, I thought a support person was an unnecessary luxury, but this time, I knew better: having a woman there who was supportive and knowledgeable, and whose only responsibility was to help me through the process, was a necessity.

A Second Chance

I spent this pregnancy resting, eating well (when I wasn’t vomiting) and preparing myself and my family for the impending arrival of my son. I was able to avoid the medical complications of my previous pregnancy, I attended Bradley classes and when the time came, I was ready.

After a few false starts, labor started on a Friday at about 11:00 p.m. Unlike many of the videos I had seen of women giving birth surrounded by family and friends, I preferred darkness and solitude. While my family slept, I paced, showered, squatted, groaned and bounced. When daylight came, I called my midwife, doula and mother and then woke my family.

By the time I got to the hospital, I was 6 centimeters dilated and was having strong and regular contractions. We were given the room with the birth tub, which I was not able to use because there was meconium in the amniotic fluid, and I was allowed to use a fetal monitor that worked by telemetry so I could change position, walk and even shower.

I’m not really sure how long it took, but as darkness fell, the time had come to push. I walked around, squatted, laid on my back and side, and pushed for several hours. Eventually, I looked at my midwife and said, “Check.” But I knew that my baby hadn’t moved, that he was stuck high in the birth canal, that I was headed to the operating room again.

The nurses prepared me for surgery, the surgeon and anesthesiologist came in to introduce themselves, and my midwife helped my husband and friend pack all of our belongings as I struggled against the urge to push, waiting for an operating room to open up.

A little after 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, Harrison “Harry” Herbert Francis was born weighing 9 pounds, 1 ounce. He was healthy and robust, and the surgery went well. As soon as I was in recovery, my doula came in to check on us, and my midwife brought my son so I could nurse him, which he did easily and with gusto. He accompanied me to our room, where he stayed for our entire hospital stay.

Every Birth is Natural

When I met my first midwife, she had told me of her disdain for the term “natural childbirth.” She prefers the term “unmedicated childbirth,” because “natural” implies that there exists an unnatural way to give birth. However it happens for you, she said, is natural for you.

“Yeah, whatever,” I thought at the time, “be that as it may, I am going to give birth naturally, like our foremothers did, with no medication, no intervention, just me having a baby.”

Now, I know exactly what she meant. My second birth was not natural in the sense in which that term is commonly used, but I feel like it was as natural as possible under the circumstances.

I am still bitterly disappointed that I will probably never know what it is like to bring new life into the world on my own power, and I regret that I could not spend my children’s first moments of life snuggling and counting digits. Sometimes I feel like a marathon runner who fell within inches of the finish line and just … couldn’t …make… it … across. I hate that I am another statistic of a failed VBAC attempt and that I was unable to support other women for whom this opportunity is becoming increasingly scarce.

On the other hand, I am incredibly grateful to live in a time and place where the medical technology was available to bring my son and me safely through labor. I am empowered to know that I was strong and determined enough to at least make it to the finish line even if I couldn’t cross. And, of course, I am thankful for my two beautiful children. I won’t say that all the rest doesn’t matter as long as we are all healthy, because I believe that our birth stories do matter and that we are entitled to mourn the loss of the birth we wanted but couldn’t have. After all, whenever a baby is born, so is a mother. But in the end, I also believe that we all have the birth we need to make us better parents and people, and I am no less a woman or a mother because of the way my children came into the world.

To read more birth stories from our growing collection–or to find out how to share yours–visit Your Birth Stories on The Attached Family.com.

The Importance of Sharing Birth Stories
Wed, 23/04/14 – 2:59 | No Comment

By Tamara Parnay. Originally published in the 2009 “New Baby” issue of Attached Family magazine.
 
Birthing is a hugely important subject for parents and parents-to-be. We have a great deal to learn from and share with …

The Beauty of Breastfeeding: An Interview with Photographer Christine Santos
Thu, 17/04/14 – 3:22 | No Comment

In May 2013, a Kickstarter campaign was launched to raise funds for an innovative art exhibit featuring the work of photographer Christine Santos: “Nursing is Natural … Naturally Beautiful.” This exhibit was intended to revolutionize …

API Announces New Attached Family Edition: “Voices of Breastfeeding” Double Issue
Wed, 16/04/14 – 4:42 | No Comment

By Rita Brhel, Editor of Attached Family magazine, API’s Publications Coordinator, and an API Leader (Hastings, Nebraska, USA)
The core of Attachment Parenting is responding with sensitivity.
API recognizes that breastfeeding can be difficult in our society. …

Navigating Military Life with API’s Eight Principles of Parenting
Thu, 10/04/14 – 3:00 | 2 Comments

By Kathryn Abbott, API Leader. Kathryn led an API Support Group in Skagit County, WA, in 2011-2012 and then served as a Co-Leader for San Diego County API in 2012-2013. She plans to start a new …

40 Percent of Children Miss Out on the Parenting Needed to Succeed in Life
Wed, 9/04/14 – 6:07 | No Comment

Press release issued March 21, 2014, by the University of Bristol.
Four in 10 babies don’t develop the strong emotional bonds–what psychologists call “secure attachment”–with their parents that are crucial to success later in life. Disadvantaged children …

An Ever-Changing Village: The Importance of Parent Support for Military Families
Tue, 8/04/14 – 3:25 | No Comment

By Kit Jenkins, Master babywearing educator for Babywearing International, Event Liaison for API and a co-founder of The Carrying On Project (www.carryingonproject.org).
We are celebrating Attachment Parenting International’s 20th anniversary this year. One of the main …

API Cofounders Featured in Parenting with Presence Summit
Thu, 3/04/14 – 4:48 | No Comment

World peace, for many, may seem like an unattainable ideal. Not so for families finding support through Attachment Parenting International (API), whose research-backed parenting approach promotes healthy relationships rooted in nonviolent communication and respectful interactions, …

API Reads: Giving the Love That Heals
Thu, 3/04/14 – 4:47 | No Comment

We’ve started talking about Giving the Love That Heals by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. The  topics we’ll be discussing in April will be:

Growing Yourself Up

The Stage of Attachment

The Stage of Exploration

The …

Pocket Full of Feelings: An Interview with co-creator Dr. Ann Corwin
Tue, 1/04/14 – 3:50 | No Comment

By Rita Brhel, API’s publications coordinator, managing editor of Attached Family magazine and an API Leader (Hastings, Nebraska, USA).
 
Part of the core of Attachment Parenting is teaching our children about emotions—what they’re feeling and what …

Strengthening Secure Attachment Through Food
Fri, 28/03/14 – 5:20 | No Comment

By Kelly Bartlett, author of Encouraging Words For Kids, certified positive discipline educator and Attachment Parenting International Leader (API of Portland, Oregon, USA), www.kellybartlett.net. Originally published in the “Feeding Our Children” 2009 issue of Attached …

Malnourished by a Western Diet, or NDD
Thu, 27/03/14 – 3:54 | No Comment

By Dr. William Sears, pediatrician, author and member of API’s Advisory Board. Originally published in the “Feeding Our Children” 2009 issue of Attached Family.
Oftentimes, parents bring their child to me for consultation on learning or …

Feeding the Whole Family: An Interview with Cynthia Lair of Cookus Interruptus
Wed, 26/03/14 – 5:14 | No Comment

By Rita Brhel, API’s publications coordinator, managing editor of Attached Family magazine and an API Leader (Hastings, Nebraska, USA). Originally published in the “Feeding Our Children” 2009 issue of Attached Family.
My mother has a PhD …

Kids in the Kitchen: An Interview with Sally Sampson, Founder of ChopChopKids
Wed, 19/03/14 – 2:06 | No Comment

By Lisa Lord, editor of The Attached Family.com.
After my oldest son turned one year old, the number of foods he would eat slowly began shrinking, and it continues it’s descent toward the single digits. Luckily …

Manage Your Emotions: How to Cool Down Before You Blow Up
Fri, 14/03/14 – 7:42 | No Comment

By Kassandra Brown, parent coach in private practice at ParentCoaching.org.
Your baby is crying at 3 a.m. It’s not the first time tonight you’ve gotten out of bed to answer her call and offer her your …

Peggy O’Mara: An Interview
Fri, 7/03/14 – 3:40 | No Comment

By Rita Brhel, managing editor of Attached Family magazine, API’s Publications Coordinator and API Leader (Hastings API, Nebraska).
As it turns out with so many of the most amazing people I have been privileged to write …

API Reads: Giving the Love That Heals
Mon, 3/03/14 – 4:24 | No Comment

Let’s begin March by talking about Giving the Love That Heals by Harville Hendrix, PhD, and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD. Just a few of the topics we’ll be discussing in March will be :

The Unconscious …

Emotional Eating: An Interview with Dr. Marian Tanofsky-Kraff
Tue, 18/02/14 – 5:21 | 2 Comments

By Rita Brhel, managing editor of Attached Family, API’s Publications Coordinator and API Leader (Hastings API, Nebraska)
Feeding a child involves more than providing nutrients. From birth on, there is a very strong emotional component. This …

Jack Christian’s Birth
Wed, 12/02/14 – 4:50 | No Comment

By Walker Powell
I became pregnant quite by accident when I was a senior in college. I’d never really considered different birth options before, but I knew immediately that I wanted a natural home birth.
I sailed …

Birth Story Guidelines
Wed, 12/02/14 – 4:39 | No Comment

Share Your Birth Story

Parents, we invite you to share your childbirth experiences. Sharing birth stories can empower parents to educate others, to break down barriers and help others become more accepting of experiences very different …

How Attachment Parenting Produces Independent Kids
Thu, 6/02/14 – 5:41 | No Comment

By Zoe Claire, originally published on www.unnecessarywisdom.wordpress.com. Reprinted with permission.
Children are in our care for a limited amount of time, generally spanning two decades. During that time, their needs change drastically yet gradually from year …

API Reads January and February 2014: The Science of Parenting
Thu, 6/02/14 – 5:40 | No Comment

We started out 2014 talking about The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. Some of the interesting sections from the remaining portions of the book are:

Those trying times in public, in the car, meals

When children fight

How …

Take Time to Reconnect After the Work Day
Thu, 30/01/14 – 3:40 | No Comment

By Rita Brhel, managing editor of Attached Family magazine, API’s Publications Coordinator and an API Leader (Hastings API, Nebraska). Originally published on TheAttachedFamily.com in October 2008.
My friend, Nicole, and her husband both work full-time. Their two-year-old …

An Attached Family in 3 Languages
Wed, 22/01/14 – 5:51 | No Comment

By Birute Efe, AttachFromScratch.com.
We speak three languages at home with our two children, aged 5 years and 20 months: English, Lithuanian and Turkish. No, the children are not geniuses or extra-advanced. They are just regular …

Spotlight On: Birth, Breath and Death
Wed, 15/01/14 – 0:39 | No Comment

An interview with author Amy Wright Glenn about her book Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula.
Tell us about your book.
Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and …

10 Parenting Resolutions for the New Year
Thu, 9/01/14 – 4:21 | No Comment

By Bill Corbett, author of Love, Limits, & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Cooperative Kids in English and in Spanish and member of the API Resource Advisory Committee, www.CooperativeKids.com.
Every January presents us with the …