Welcome to the May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have waxed poetic about how their parenting has inspired others, or how others have inspired them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


I often think of salmon, swimming upstream. I think of how hard it must be to swim against the current all the time. How tiring. I guess if it were one single fishy, swimming up river, it would be an impossible task, but for a school of them, swimming together, fighting the current as one, the tired riding in the slipstream of the strong, it’s a different story.

I never intended to be an activist on anything, least of all things relating to children.

Honestly, I’m so non-confrontational, my poor husband almost has to pick a fight to find out why I’m in a bad mood sometimes. I think more than half of any problems or arguments we’ve ever had were because I ‘don’t want to talk about it’.

That, and the fact that I’ve never had much to do with babies (no, really. At seven months pregnant an acquaintance at the hairdressers asked me to hold her three month old while she had her hair done. I held her like a dirty football, terrified as I didn’t know what to do with ‘it’).

So it came as quite a surprise to me when I developed extremely strong feelings about certain aspects involved in not only childbirth, but also in the act and being of parenting.

When I became ill early in pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum and my GP let me down upstream by Jason (Audrey's Dad)terribly, I began researching and reading everything I could. This led to research on birthing, and later on natural parenting, natural healing and natural living. Having a child really has changed my life, but not in the way people normally mean it.

After the birth of my daughter, a beautiful home water birth, I felt so ‘full’ of information that I didn’t want to lose, but couldn’t keep repeating to every new mother or pregnant woman I happened by on the street, so I decided to write about it. It has been exceptionally cathartic, this blogging thing, writing down everything I’ve learned, researching new things and having a space to organise my thoughts.

More so because I find ‘real life’ quite lonely sometimes. I go to mums’ groups, to play groups, to coffee mornings and I am met with blank stares when I talk about why we don’t use some mainstream baby products, or the benefits of baby wearing or breastfeeding. Glazed over, sleep deprived eyes fill with concern when I mention co-sleeping, and looks of sheer ridicule often meet my cloth nappy choices.

Yet I keep going. I keep making the choices I do, and I keep writing about them, talking about them, sharing what I’ve learned. And the reason is simple: for every hundred voices of derision, one mother will come to me and say thank you.

Thank you for recommending I put my colicky baby on his belly, it helped almost immediately.

Thank you for the warning about that medicine – he’s no longer hyperactive and his rash is gone too.

Thank you for sharing what you’ve learned about cloth nappies, it’s made the change so much easier for us.

My mother, a midwife who did not recommend a home water birth for a first time mother, now thinks it should be the only method of (uncomplicated) birth.

But the person it has affected most, which has made all the stares and sideways glances worth it, is my younger sister. The other day she said she hoped I’d be her birth partner, when the time comes, and my heart leapt with joy. She said she hoped I’d still be able to remember all these things about birth and consciously parenting my daughter, so that when her time comes, she can do them too. My joy overflowed.

Where it matters most, I have made a difference. And so I keep on writing and learning, and parenting against the flow.


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo 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:

  • Woman Seeking Inspiration — Seeking Mother’s struggles and joys to find her own path in motherhood have inspired others — to her surprise! (@seekingmother )
  • Paving the Way — Jessica at This is Worthwhile makes a conscious effort every day to be a role model. (@tisworthwhile )
  • No Rules Without Reason — The Recovering Procrastinator wants to inspire her husband to discipline their children gently. (@jenwestpfahl)
  • Creating a Culture of Positive Parenting Role Models — Michelle at The Parent Vortex shows parents at the playground how to do a front wrap cross carry and tells nurses about her successful home births, as a way of modeling natural parenting in public. (@TheParentVortex)
  • Making A Difference for Mamas — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest took an embarrassing pumping incident at work and turned it into an opportunity for all the employees who breastfeed.
  • Inspiring Snowflakes — Joni Rae at Tales of Kitchen Witch Momma is a role model for the most important people: her children. (@kitchenwitch)
  • Paying it Forward — Amber at Strocel.com inspires new (and often scared) mamas with these simple words: “It will be OK.” (@AmberStrocel)
  • A SAHD’s View on Parenting Role Models — Chris at Stay At Home Dad in Lansing doesn’t have many role models as a SAHD — but hopes to be one to his daughter. (@tessasdad)
  • Am I a Role Model? A Review — Deb at Science@home brings attachment parenting out of the baby age and shows how it applies (with science fun!) to parenting through all of childhood. (@ScienceMum)
  • Say Something Good — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick reminds women that it is within our right to be proud of ourselves without apology. (@RaisingBoychick)
  • Try, Try Again — Thomasin at Propson Palingenesis wants to inspire like the Little Engine that Could.
  • I’m a Parenting Inspiration, Who Knew? — Sarah at OneStarryNight has received several beautiful comments about just what an inspiration she has been, if not in real life then definitely online. (@starrymom)
  • That Little Thing — NavelgazingBajan at Navelgazing demonstrates the ripple effect, one status update at a time. (@BlkWmnDoBF)
  • How Has Your Day Been? — mrs green @ littlegreenblog inspired her friend to be an active listener for her children. (@myzerowaste)
  • No, Thank You! — If you are reading Maman A Droit’s post, you’ve probably inspired her. (@MamanADroit)
  • My Top 3 Natural Parenting Principles — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now describes how her family’s natural and Montessori principles inspired others. (@DebChitwood)
  • My Hope for a Better Life — Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children hopes her choices inspire her children toward a better life.
  • Natural Parenting Felt Natural — Sheryl at Little Snowflakes didn’t plan on natural parenting — but her son led her there. (@sheryljesin)
  • Rest. Is it even possible? — Janet at where birth and feminism intersect has found that even role models need rest — and that there are ways to fit it into everyday parenting life. (@feministbirther)
  • May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model — Lauren at Hobo Mama was the fortunate recipient of a seed of inspiration, and has been privileged to plant some of those seeds herself, though she didn’t know it at the time. (@Hobo_Mama)
  • crunchspiration — the grumbles at grumbles and grunts wants to inspire others to parent from their heart. (@thegrumbles)
  • No Extra Inspiration Required — Zoey at Good Goog doesn’t think she inspires anyone and wasn’t inspired by anyone in return — except by her daughter. (@zoeyspeak)
  • Upstream Parenting — Luschka at Diary of a First Child blogs for that one mother in one hundred who will find her words helpful. (@diaryfirstchild)
  • Parenting Advice for the Girl from Outer Space — If Mommy Soup at Cream of Mommy Soup could give one piece of inspirational advice to new parents, it would be to parent with kindness. (@MommySoup)
  • Natural Parenting Carnival — Role Model — Sarah at Consider Eden feels the pressure at trying — and failing — to live up to her role models. (@ConsiderEden)
  • May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role Model — Dionna at Code Name: Mama encourages natural parenting mamas to take joy in the fact that they are touching lives and making a difference to children every day. (@CodeNameMama)
  • Inspiration Goes Both Ways — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! is flustered that people consider her a breastfeeding role model — but the lovely comments she’s received prove it’s so. (@bfmom)
  • My Seven — Danielle at born.in.japan has identified seven role models in her life who brought her to natural parenting. Who are your seven? (@borninjp)
  • A Quiet Example — Alison at BluebirdMama was one of the first parents in her group of friends — and has come to see almost all those friends follow in her natural birthing footsteps, whether intentionally or not.
  • Gentle Discipline Warrior — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries has inspired a gentle discipline movement — join her! (@babydust)
  • Change The World… One Parent At A Time — Mamapoekie is more comfortable inspiring parents online than she is in real life. (@mamapoekie)
  • Inspirational Parenting — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start has intentionally tried to be a role model but was unprepared for how soon someone would take notice. (@pchanner)
  • My Inspiration — Erin at A Beatnik’s Beat on Life has written thank-you letters to everyone who’s inspired her to become the lactivist and natural parenting advocate she is today. (@babybeatnik)


Upstream Parenting

  1. I’m lucky that I found other mothers locally who are practicing natural parenting. However, I love that there is an online community of mom bloggers from whom I continue to learn so much. So for every look of concern you get over mentioning something like co-sleeping, there’s probably someone like me reading one of your posts and nodding along in solidarity.
    .-= NavelgazingBajan´s last blog ..At 10 Months Old =-.

  2. I’m the definition of non-confrontational too! But have found strength when it comes to sticking to my parenting decisions.

    I am in a conventional mothers’ group and have actually found that what I imagine they might think about me and my ideas is far more judgmental than anything that would ever pop into their heads.
    .-= Zoey @ Good Goog´s last blog ..Guest Post @ The Feminist Breeder – Skipping Chapters =-.

  3. Who will survive the Tsuname?
    Swimming against the current strengthens you, its a recognized form of exercise called resistance training. In this case it may happen while you are not even aware of it and while you are concentrating on something else and and in the course of time it sorts the weak fishes from the strong who will eventually go on to pass the benefits of a strong mind,body and spirit onto the NEXT generation. And to the mainstream we say “Keep the current flowing”.Bring it on………

  4. It’s so inspiring to me that even those of us who avoid confrontation like the plague, as I do, can be role models to others. And not necessarily by doing anything exceptional, but just by doing what we would otherwise do every day. By parenting in the best way that we know how, and sharing what we’ve learned with others. But all the while, we’re sowing seeds of change.
    .-= Amber´s last blog ..Paying it Forward =-.

  5. We still relish every bit of support for our alternative ways. Its like finding someone who speaks your language, all of a sudden, in a strange land out there. Today we found out that the head of the e.r. at our local profit-monger hospital loved our unassisted birth story. LOVED it. Funny, because that’s the hospital we would have had a free, fancy shmancy, birth at – but had our simple birth at home because we thought it was better – and that guy seemed to too. Anyways, thought you’d be interested to know.

  6. I also didn’t know anything about babies before I was pregnant and while I did hold some strong beliefs and desires about how I would go about birthing and parenting, I sometimes found myself swimming in circles before being able to put them into action. I love that you continue to share and educate and be the mother you were meant to be. Clearly moms and babies benefit from your committment. I need to follow this example more often and not shy away from explaining why I make certain choices. It is an exceptional gift to others.
    .-= Michelle Caplan´s last blog ..Woman Seeking Inspiration =-.

    1. @Michelle Caplan, Thank you Michelle, that’s a lovely thing to say. I have found that there are three types of people: Those who don’t know and don’t want to know, those who don’t know and find out more when they are made aware and those who already know and follow, or choose otherwise. The only ones you can really make a difference to are those who want to know. Good luck. I hope you are able to make your choices public and that you have support!

  7. I got tingles reading this. I’m glad I didn’t frequent the mainstream mom and baby groups because I think I would have felt too much of an outsider to keep going. La Leche League ended up being my mom and baby group and it was great. And we all inspired each other. Anyway, thanks for the great read!
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..Inspiration Goes Both Ways =-.

    1. @Melodie, Thanks for stopping by to comment Melodie! I’m so pleased you enjoyed it! You are definitely blessed to have had a supportive group around you. I feel like an alien more often than not – so much so that there are days where I just don’t go as being the sole voice of non-conformity can be really tiring sometimes. But, I wouldn’t change it. I’m so grateful to my rolemodels for showing me this way – the thought of not knowing is quite frightening.
      .-= Luschka´s last blog ..Amber Teething Necklace Giveaway =-.

  8. So much of your post resonates with me! I have said exactly the same things – for every 50 people who click on a post, read two lines, and click back out, there is one person who finds something helpful. There is one person who has a light bulb moment. There is one mother who recognizes the beauty of gentle parenting. And I share a very similar story in my post today about my younger sister (who is now gently parenting a beautiful baby boy). Thank you for sharing!
    .-= Dionna @ Code Name: Mama´s last blog ..The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #5 =-.

    1. @Dionna @ Code Name: Mama, Thanks for the comment Dionna. I agree – as much as I write for myself, to record my thoughts and to share what I’ve learned, it really is those moms who email me or comment to say thank you that make all the difference. Thanks for co-hosting the carnival!

  9. That is lovely. I’m so glad someone close to you responded so positively. It’s wonderful to have those few voices who agree with you, particularly when you least expect it. I was talking with a new friend the other day, and we suddenly got to talking about birth, and it turned out she was a natural birth advocate, too, and it just feels so peaceful and affirming to have those connections. Particularly when you’re feeling like a lone salmon!
    .-= Lauren @ Hobo Mama´s last blog ..May Carnival of Natural Parenting: Role model =-.

    1. @Lauren @ Hobo Mama, Thanks Lauren! I had to laugh at your comment. If you’re really feeling like a lone salmon, a different kind of doctor might be needed! Lol. But yeah, I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for stopping by to comment and thanks for hosting the carnival!

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