Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how a co-parent has or has not supported us in our dedication to natural parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Moments in time: a love letter
I am not blessed with a partner who supports my parenting, but blessed by watching him parent you. These are some of the moments I have been witness to:
We are in separate states, murmuring those words of endearment and infatuation so long familiar but with new depth now, new breadth as my belly expands, as the baby inside me grows. I hold the phone low on the lump that my torso has become, as he speaks from hundreds of miles away, over air waves and through the layers of my flesh and the precious sphere of fluid it contains. He speaks words I never hear, words that are not for me, words that the listener’s ear recognize only as that voice — known — love but are so essential to say, to have said; words that pass through me, beloved and welcomed by me, but are not for me. I will always remember these words I never heard, from him to you.
We have danced together, you and I and he, for hours ephemeral and eternal, and you are almost here, your body in mine and out of mine, in this space between contractions, between bearing down, between born and not. He is behind me, behind us, (but before you as well), and he cradles your head, waiting, all of us waiting. Later he writes:
The first time I touched you only your head was out. I was cupping the back of your head and I felt an ear. It was so amazing.
This image I could never forget, if only because I have studied it now so often. You are eighteen hours old, and already asleep on his chest. You will spend so much of the first weeks of your life this way, and it will be a familiar comfort to you for years.
It is he who suggests the hold that allows us to nurse in comfort at last. This time is ours, this aspect of parenting you for me alone (except a time or two when your need to suckle is greater than my ability to stand it, and he latches you on, you confused, the two of us giggling — but I have the respite I need, you have the comfort you sought, and he and I have a new shared vocabulary for this experience, that we draw on for so many months to come), and he respects that, protects that, and steps up everywhere else to support that: but here, too, he is essential, not extraneous, and his suggestion saves my back, soothes your hunger, and we are content, thanks to him.
So many more moments I could tell you of, my little love, my child. The times he knew why you fussed when I despaired; the times he walked the halls with you when neither of us knew; the moment when you laughed, laughed for the first time ever and it was for him, because of him; the moment you pushed a book to him to read to you, and all the moments of all the books he read with you in his lap, in his arms, in his heart. Of a million such moments, mundane and miraculous, does a relationship grow. Yours flourishes before my eyes.
I hear you now, in the bedroom, reading, laughing, talking. I am sitting up to write, as I do almost every night now, because you do not nap and it is my only chance. I can just hear his voice, calm and low and slow, lulling and loving, and sometimes louder to speak over you, to answer your persistent questions. Yours dances over his, bubbly and bright, not willing to yet relinquish consciousness. Bedtimes are your time now, yours and his: my job is to fetch you more books if needed, to hug and to kiss and to slip away quietly, to stay away until I am sure you slumber. He has always been there for you at night, reading to me, walking with you, a warm body to turn toward when you were done with mine.
You are done with mine now, and I cherish the memories from when it was my body, my presence and my breast and my milk, that you needed — but no more than I will cherish the memories I etch in my mind on nights like these, when I steal into bed hours after you both crossed into sleep, and I see you, my family, my hearts, lying together: him with an arm curled above your head, you pressed to his side, stretched out so impossibly long, one leg claiming the space I’ll push you aside to slip into, momentarily. But first I give myself this, this time when I am the intruder on something intimate. I am a part of it, yes, but apart from it as well. You two are two, complete, whole on your own: add me, three, and we are something different, not better, just bigger.
Dear child, know this: I love you with all that I am; I am your mother, from my body were you born — but I am not the only one who loves you completely, unreservedly. You will grow up knowing this, of course, grow up having so many moments in which I am on the outside, and you two are two, together. This will be old news to you, because love is built daily, and he is there for you, loves you in actions and words and presence, every day. But indulge me, and allow me these moments when I see your love and it explodes me, when I write it down so I do not forget.
There is quiet now: my two hearts slumber in another room, while I toil, alone. I would have it no other way; and neither, I think, would you.
Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated Feb. 9 with all the carnival links, and all links should be active by noon EST. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)
- A Thank You to my Husband — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl thanks her husband for keeping her grounded and giving her unwavering support in the face of discouragement from within and without. (@lactatinggirl)
- My Reverse Traditional Husband In the Wild — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries gives us a lesson on how dads in the wild parent their young. Can you guess which male animal actually nurses its young? (@babydust)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting — TopHat at The Bee in Your Bonnet tells us how the patience of a partner can make a difficult breastfeeding relationship succeed. (@TopHat8855)
- Parenting Together — For Alison at BluebirdMama and her husband, parenting is simply an extension of the way they live. (@childbearing)
- If We Had A Million Dollars — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and her husband would both agree to be crunchier parents if they had a million dollars to ease the way. (@bfmom)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Co-Parents — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written a letter to her husband, thanking him for his incredible support in every aspect of
their natural parenting journey. (@CodeNameMama)
- Natural Parenting Fathers — Sarah at Natural Parenting is balancing being all there for her son with being present for her husband. (@considereden)
- Just Wonderful: Love and Partners and Natural Parenting — Zoey at Good Goog let her husband lead her to babywearing and cosleeping. (@zoeyspeak)
- All that stuff I don’t get comes so easy to him — The Grumbles is taking this opportunity to say thank you to her husband for his mad parenting skills. (@thegrumbles)
- The Power of Having a Supportive Co-Parent — Chrystal at Happy Mothering and her husband started with vaccinations and moved on from there. (@HappyMothering)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners — Lauren at Hobo Mama makes do with babbling incoherently about how her husband practices natural parenting in such an effortless fashion, with bonus video. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Love and Partners — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her husband’s moving account of her birth story, and his testament to the power of a woman. (@myzerowaste)
- labor support… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is thankful that her partner has provided her immeasurable labor support through each of their last three unassisted homebirths (and will again for their upcoming fourth!).
- What co-parent? On prams, routines, ideals, sickness, and finding my way alone. — Ruth at Look Left of the Pleiades describes life without a present co-parent: making new choices and taking care of things herself. (@brightravenmum)
- Parenting With Support — How many people can say that their husband talked them into cloth diapering? Darcel at The Mahogany Way can! (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Co-Parenting Support — Summer at Mama2Mama Tips knows the importance of being supported in the face of criticism. (@mama2mamatips)
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Love and Partners — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start has been blessed with an incredibly involved partner. Her husband loves to take part in every aspect of parenting! (@pchanner)
- Daddy’s Little Girls — Kate Wicker at Momopoly finds her husband right at home in a tangle of girls. (@Momopoly)
- How do I love my parenting partner? Let me count the ways. — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is thankful that she and her partner co-parent fluidly and gracefully. (@mamamilkers)
- Interview with a Daddy — NavelgazingBajan brings us a highly amusing peek into her husband’s perspective.
- Being Supported in Natural Parenting — Sarah at OneStarryNight has witnessed both ends of the parenting spectrum, and is grateful she found a father who is comfortable with natural parenting. (@starrymom)
- Moments in time: a love letter — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick will make you cry with the beautiful way she describes the complete relationship between father and child. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Natural parenting converts — Jen at Recovering Procrastinator brought her reluctant husband around to cloth diapers, bed sharing, and time-ins as a discipline method. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Breastfeeding Father — Amber Strocel at Strocel.com describes how her husband helped her overcome the breastfeeding challenges she encountered with her premature daughter. (@AmberStrocel)
- A Natural Parenting Village — Acacia from Art, Body & Soul, in a guest post for Jamie at Suddenly Stay at Home, broadens the term “coparents” to embrace supportive extended family on both sides. (@SuddnlyStyAtHme)
- A Natural Dad — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest doesn’t have a husband who merely supports her — she has a husband just as dedicated to natural parenting as she is.
- Love and Support From My (sometimes pantsless) Man — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma describes life with the sometimes bumbling but always lovable Pantsless Man. (@kitchenwitch)
- G-O-T-E-A-M! — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile made sure her future husband agreed with her parenting choices early in their dating. (@tisworthwhile)
- how we come to parenthood — Michelle at womanseekingmother dances with her husband around the subject of cosleeping. (@seekingmother)