So before my little one was born I stopped being a vegetarian. Funny story actually, I don't know if I've told it yet here... I didn't know I was pregnant yet and my hormones were already raging. Before I could even suspect I was pregnant, I started having incredible cravings for turkey sandwiches. My mouth watered at the thought of slices of turkey slathered in mayonnaise and mustard with crisp lettuce and fresh organic heirloom tomatoes. Yum. But I had major guilt about it because I had stayed away from most animal flesh for so long. Sure, once in a very long while when I felt I needed protein I would indulge in some eggs, when I was still drinking I would indulge in the morning after bacon or hot dog and when I was still eating bread some kind of deli meat sandwich. But this craving wasn't occasional. It was all I could think about. It felt so REAL and my body was definitely asking me to pay attention.
So, here I am... an omnivore again. And it took quite some time to get over the guilt feelings about it. I eat farm-raised grass-fed conscious animal products because there is still my health, the health of the animals and the health of the planet to think about. But thank goodness for all the blogs, articles, and testimonies I read about people coming out of their omnivorous closets. They were a great support and helped me transition.
However, I have to say, it was also very confusing. Because there are such compelling arguments on all sides of the healthy eating spectrum. Sometimes I would read myself into hysterics not knowing what to do and who to listen to and I would just want to not eat that day because I ended up feeling NOTHING was good for me.
Same goes for parenting information. My goodness. The reason I even dove in was because I'm trying to find out about sleep training, what are the consequences if any, and how to do it gently but effectively. My baby is over a year old now and still likes frequent night visits to Momma's Cafe, apparently open 24 hours. That would be fine if she was sleeping normally during the day, but she doesn't usually and I realized we had a sleep issue on our hands. And further, I noticed that she doesn't know how to put herself to sleep. If she's not nursing she gets very upset and has never really soothed herself to sleep. It got intense for us and we were really tired.
So we started, even though that was one of the things we said we would never do. But we have both learned to never say never (we said "never" to the tv too... like never EVER... but she watches some elmo videos and LOVES- ADORES- the Classical Baby series). And the first week was brutal. I was crying right along with her some nights. All day I felt stressed out and guilty. And then one night, she stopped being tense in the moments leading up to sleep and she just whimpered for a minute and put herself to sleep. The night she did that, we asked ourselves- OURSELVES- how would we like to be put to bed? So we held her during dinner and made it calm but fun. We blew bubbles in her warm bath that we put some lavender oil in. And then we put her to sleep with soft mantra playing in the background. I waited until she got really sleepy and had sung to her for quite some time and then she went to sleep fairly peacefully after just a moment's discomfort. We did what we knew our baby would love.
But it took a week to get there. I started asking every mother I knew, reading every book, calling friends asking anyone who had a baby and would listen what to do. And I got it all...
"Crib training is awful."
"It was the best thing I ever did."
"You will scar your baby for life."
"She'll never get used to it if she's been co-sleeping up to now."
"She'll be more peaceful and happier and alert because she will be sleeping more and will be more well-rested."
... and on and on and on. And the blogs and testimonies and books I read were just as confusing.
What I realized was that I had to ask myself what was right for me and for us. Just like when I faced the food conundrum. I had to listen to my body. Here, I had to listen to my baby. She is always telling me what she needs. But I wouldn't have gotten there if I had let "perfect mom" take over. Perfect mom kept trying to find THE answer (as if there is one) everywhere but within. I had to get out of my own way. I have to say... getting out of your own way, i.e. surrendering, is the most simple and graceful things people can do as parents. Listening to our babies and listening to our hearts and most of all, our intuition is the way. Otherwise, we can be pulled in a thousand different directions by people who have their own paths to go down.
It's just like all of life.