Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Crying Babies- Not Just a Pain in Your Ass

"Belief in Baby's Cries," as Dr Sears himself calls this aspect of attachment parenting, is the understanding that babies have a reason for all that they do. This really is the crux of it- babies are born hardwired to survive. They give off an alarmingly loud and heart-tugging wail when something needs to be attended to. Usually, it has anything and everything to do with food, sleep, comfort, and nurturing. Breastfeeding, by nature, covers all of the above- it's food, it is sleep-inducing (for Mama and Baby), it brings a sense of comfort to the baby.

Take away the food on demand, or the sleeping in close proximity, or being held, and the baby will cry. This seems fairly simple to solve- obviously add the missing component, and the baby will stop.

Some people, who have decided that they are the God-send (literally) to all long-suffering parents, advise that the cries are an instrument of manipulation. That babies are in training to be major brats if their parents just cave in and nurse on demand, or enable them to sleep close by, or hold them too much. I'm not that politically correct enough to stop myself from saying- these people are complete buffoons. Wonderful examples of ignoramuses. Applying adult, learned behaviors such as manipulation and negative intent to small, primal creatures is appallingly self-centered and probably a good indication of how these adults live their lives- through manipulation and coercion.

Attachment parenting does not mean "Let the kids do whatever, whenever." It doesn't mean that just because Junior cries for a dirt bike at the tender age of 4, that he gets one. It also doesn't mean your children will never cry. It DOES mean that if the needs of babies are attended to at a very small age, and they understand (through constant repetition and immediate cause and effect) that their basic needs will be taken care of, that later on in the difficult toddler and preschooler "big feelings" stages (in other words, when the meltdowns cause Mom to wish for an invisibility cloak and cause onlookers to wish for a tranquilizer dart) that children ultimately understand that even though they are full of outrage and frustration, that it is not the end of the world. Their little "cups" are still nice and full.


Aside from the AP tutorial, and in personal news, our latest addition has already flown. In outline format, here are the order of events:

- Pregnancy detected.

- In May, right around 6-7 weeks, a heartbeat was seen on ultrasound. The baby was positioned perfectly, had a healthy heartbeat, yolk sac, and was developing a healthy placenta.

- Abruptly around week 9-10, all pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness, exhaustion, food aversions, etc.) stopped.

- Last Friday, the midwife listened for a heartbeat. Nothing. We tried to listen and doppler for more than a half an hour.

- Yesterday, an ultrasound confirmed that, at an even later gestation than last time, our baby has joined his or her siblings in the arms of God.

Very sad, and in an increasing amount of physical pain, we wait for everything to complete. We also are now on the path to some answers. Miscarriage and birth loss is a lonely place to be, even though it happens frequently. It's not spoken about until it happens, and then women whisper to one another, "I've been there too." It's still somehow seen as something to either hide, or forget, or put away. It's difficult to grieve for a person you never knew- while I know that this latest little sprout had chubby cheeks already, and looks on the ultrasound like a perfectly formed tiny babe, I have no idea what he or she would have been like.

Nothing happens without reason. I may never know that reason, but it doesn't matter- my babies did not live or die without a specific purpose. Gianna may have to wait a little longer for a sibling, but ultimately, we will understand someday when we do look into the brand new face of an arrival, and see what we were waiting for this whole time.