Guest Post by Hannah
We had the cloth diapers picked out, religiously attended our Natural Birthing Class, and had about half a dozen slings and wraps on our registry. We were totally ready for a natural birth and natural parenting experience. That was before our son was born at 32 weeks.
Instead of a natural delivery, immediate skin to skin bonding and breastfeeding, I was recovering from an emergency c-section and our new baby, whom I hadn’t even been able to meet, was somewhere in the NICU in a plastic crib instead of our arms. We spent 2 weeks in the NICU, 2 months recovering from an emergency c-section and months trying to figure out what had happened to our shattered expectations.
|Hudon, our NICU baby3 yrs later!|
Our plans for natural birth were squelched by a sudden onslaught of pre-eclampsia and swift dive into HELP syndrome. Exclusively breast feeding had not gone according to plan as our son was taken directly to the NICU and I was unable to attempt breastfeeding till much later. Cloth diapers were out of the question, as they generally don’t make any small enough to fit on a 4 lbs. baby.
We both felt like such unnatural parents as we adjusted to a cranky little guy who wasn’t ready to be in the world, and seemed to need more from us than we could provide. We did what we could; pumping breast milk, wearing our baby skin to skin and we eventually even got him into the cloth diapers.
As we stumbled into our role as parents, I think we came to realize that we didn’t have to use all the special ‘natural’ baby gear and that our expectations of natural parenting wasn’t exactly on the mark. Natural parenting is not only about natural things or natural instinct, but committing to raise your child in the most spiritually, mentally and physically healthy way we can. Despite an unnatural beginning, we found we were able to naturally parent after all.
About Hannah: My husband and I are Rochester natives, returned after an 8 year educational hiatus. Mom to Hudson Daniel 4 years old and Ellis Irene 4 months old. I practice law by day, natural parenting by evening and attempt to put my creative writing minor to use after bedtime.