Saturday, May 4, 2013

Confessions of a Mama Alone but Strong (May Discipline Series)

Published with permission. Copyright Rebekah Shearer 2013.

This week's gentle parenting journey shows us that despite a myriad of obstacles, a lack of support and much stress, we can still reach within us to find that patience and love necessary for our children.

"Here's my story that I'd like to share...

For years I tried to conceive, being told it would be difficult, if not improbable for my husband and I with my severe PCOS. This was something my husband cruelly used against me in his reason for cheating on me, the reason for our divorce six months after I left everything to move to Texas from Pennsylvania with him. After the divorce and being together for a short time, I found myself at 35, pregnant with a man I loved more than I had loved anyone.

I was shocked to say the least. I decided right away when we found out it was a boy: breastfeeding and no circumcision. I was adamant. Eight months went by. My partner went to every appointment, every sonogram, sang to my belly, got maternity photos done, ran around the baby stores with the ”gun” picking out endless things for our baby boy.

On September 11, 2011, my whole world changed. It was a Sunday, three weeks before my due date, I came home from work to find my partner, the love of my life, the father of my son moving out of our home. I was alone. I was 1500 miles away from my family. Because of the stress, I ended up with a c-section. I developed, in those three short weeks, mild gestational diabetes and my son's belly was bigger than his head and I had extra fluid.

My son's father was present, but other than that, I was alone. Depression and fear were setting in. I had no one to support me or my decisions I was so adamant about. My son had a long foreskin. Like a lot. The doctor was telling me that it was beneficial, blah blah blah. I honestly believe that he took advantage of my situation. This doctor also told me I'd have to find a new pediatrician because I didn't adhere with Texas state guidelines and schedule for vaccines (why did my two day old need a Hep B vaccine?) I agreed, helplessly, to allow a man that knew me for ten minutes to convince me to cut my perfect little boy. I cry about this all the time.

Because he did have such a long foreskin and he had the ”bell procedure,” he still has some tissue left. He gets adhesions where that skin sticks to the scar tissue ... still, at almost 19 months old. So now, riddled with guilt, this is still a story of success at gentle parenting.

I have to forgive myself for that decision I made while I was in really bad shape. I survived being alone. I survived PPD. We dealt with weekly doctor visits because he wasn't gaining weight and I had low milk supply, taking care of a newborn after a c-section in a third floor apartment with a rottweiler and no car and no family. What did I learn? I learned strength. I learned patience. I learned to not give up on breastfeeding. (Yes, we are STILL nursing).

We do organic foods, we do time outs and explanations, we show love not hitting. We do cuddles and attachment. I researched vaccines. We did some ... very delayed and skipped others. I learned to do my research, to stand my ground, to be an advocate for MY son.

At six weeks old, my son and I moved back to Pennsylvania to be with my parents. I slowly am recovering from PPD. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and currently have a broken foot. I do get frustrated, I do have non-mother-of-the-year moments, and it's difficult at times being both a mother and a father. My parents were very non-attachment parents. I have educated them and they are very gentle and patient with my son. Never too late to learn.  I do still get grief from them about bedsharing or extended nursing, but I explain that he is MY son and I will raise him as I see fit.

 I wanted to share this to help other moms who need to forgive themselves, to know it's never to late for gentle parenting. To never give up, despite the obstacles. Much love to groups and sites like yours that gave me support and education to make me a better mom. Although we went though all of those things, I wouldn't change it. My son is amazing. I am a better mom and by far a better human being because of it. I now also teach gentle parenting to families I work with (I'm a behaviorist and work with troubled children and children with autism). I am truly blessed and have not given up on a ”happily ever after.” Sorry so long. Just wanted to maybe help some moms that may be struggling with any of these things.

With much love,
Rebekah Shearer"

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