Friday, February 24, 2012

Fostering Healthy Attachment?


Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama!. This month, participants have looked into the topic of “Fostering Healthy Attachment”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!

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Are you an "Attachment Parent?" I hadn't heard the term until I had Sasha. I was very attached to my older daughter, too, though. We rarely left her anywhere. Hell, I rarely even left her with her father! I nursed her on demand, until she self-weaned at 3½ years old. She was, however, considered a "mama's girl" and it is all too easy to blame that on my parenting style. When I left that family (got a divorce), I had planned to take her with me. However, based on my weird work schedule at the time and living at an apartment, her father suggested leaving her with him - in the house in which she'd grown up so far. We agreed on it. We hoped that the separation would help her, too.

I still can't speak to that topic. I don't know yet if it was a benefit or detriment. Three years later, her father passed away suddenly and she came to live with me full time. We're not as close as we were back then and I think being her mother would probably be a lot easier if we hadn't had that time apart. Thinking about that makes me sad.

Tyler with Baby DollI started working from home while I was pregnant
with Tyler because I couldn't fathom leaving her.
(This photo was taken from my desk.)

Now I have Sasha. I'm still parenting as an Attachment Parent. It is simply what works for me. It is how I'm wired. Maybe I'm just too much of a control freak, but neither my husband nor myself are comfortable leaving her with sitters. We have one friend that we're comfortable having care for her, but even then it is generally within the perimeter of our home. He takes her for walks or outside to play.

Sasha with Uncle BrandonSasha with "Uncle Brandon"

Now we have Spencer, too. And I'm not changing me. My husband trusts my experience and supports my decisions. We do discuss things if we have differing opinions on how things should be handled. I know sometimes it disappoints him just how much she prefers me over him, but he also understands that breastfeeding alone makes a big difference there.

Even though my older daughter may have seemed too needy and my toddler prefers me over everyone else, I really believe this is the right and healthy path for us.

So how, exactly, do I encourage a close relationship and healthy (hopefully) attachment with my children? First off, I'm available at the drop of a hat. I generally put their needs well ahead of my own. The other, really wonderful way that I enjoy fostering a close attachment is holding my babies while they sleep and having them cosleep in our family bed. I just feel that these choices help show our children that they can trust me to be there for them.

Sleepy Mommy & Baby SpencerCatchin' a cat nap with Spencer

My hope for their healthy futures? I hope that my children become adults that want to talk to me every day! My mother had it with her mother and wished that we had it. We did have it before she passed and I miss rattling to her about whatever was on my mind. It was a relationship that I treasure, though.

I also hope that by being here for them, fulfilling their needs as they express them, they will one day develop that into voicing their needs with their life partners. Dreaming big? Eh, this just seems like a great place to start that foundation!

How do you ensure a healthy attachment with your children?


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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

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