It's frustrating to hear attachment parents. Often the scene is set, consisting of a new mom with one infant who is zealous about jumping at her every infant's cry and sure that the vague but exciting sound of non-punitive parenting is the right way to live.
She is quite sure, having just completed a few weeks out of a journey that lasts past 18 years (yes, Hon, 18 years is not the finish line, it's the marker for 1 part of a triathlon) that no one can have more than one child. Or at least, the children must be 3-5 years apart, minimum, to ensure each child is properly cared for and bonded.
In her whirlwind world filled with the contradictory pattern of parenting, of complete boredom overlain with streaks of anxiety and rushing, she can't possibly imagine another parent being attached to more than one. Secretly, some days, she worries she's not attached to the only one she has now!
It gets worse. Along come the moms with many. And for the purpose of this post, I won't define how many is many. It's dependent more on your culture than an actual number. For example, having grown up in a natural/homeschooling/Christian community, I don't think families are large until they reach 8 kids. Maybe 6 with multiples. My own brood of 4 is quite small in my mind. I have some large-family mom friends who are dancing because they only have 6 kids LEFT in the nest. But I digress.
Along come the moms of many. They've had a long trip. Most of them are first generation, meaning they've learned about healthy living and holistic parenting as they went along, changing things with each child and praying for forgiveness. With that comes the tough duty of breaking old habits and replacing ingrained conditioning. They are the ones who dug lines in the sand and then swept over them, life carrying them along, making concessions as they kept their heads above water. Attachment parenting? Bah, that's not only not for large families, that's detrimental!
Why, a kid needs to get roughed up, pushed out of place and reminded not to be selfish! As each of their children slid into the home run as a newborn, knocking the other children out of the limelight, cast to the side, quietly tucked into bed by someone else or maybe not at all, these mothers did what they could. Oh, yes, they did what they could and they did it with all the pounding, overflowing love a mother feels for her children. But they dare not consider it wasn't enough. So in their minds, it became beneficial.
Should you have another child? Should you add to your family? I don't know. I can't say I even care as I disagree with the question itself. We don't control the destiny of another person. Anyone who has fought infertility, loss, IVF failure etc for years can tell you this. Out of all the questions you ask about family size, do you ever turn to the darkness in the middle of the night and whisper, "Would you like to join our family?"
Little Person out there...do you want to be part of our family?
Little Person, are you waiting?
Little Person, is that your voice in my heart?
Little Person, who are you?
In the family size and parenting method debate, everyone misses the truth about big families who parent intuitively. It's not about the parents. It's not about what we want. It's not about how good we are or how much money we make or how well researched we are on the method. A mom who asks what her children can do for her or if she has "enough" for her children has placed human limits on her family, limits that are felt in that family bond. A limit implies that only a measured amount of love is available.
Can she stretch that conditional love over 3 kids? What about 4? Maybe they can bring 5 kids in if they knock a few kids off the pedestal? It's good for them, after all.
Hey, I know! Bring in another child because you can use hand me downs. Have another child because you can make them take care of each other. Or alternatively, refuse to bring another child into your family because you can't give them new clothes. Restrict your family size because you want to care for each child one at a time. Whichever one floats your boat, you have to realize that they are two sides of the same coin.
No. To find out if another person is ready to be in your family, look instead to the unconditional love. Look instead to the cessation of limits. Feel good when your child is beautiful and smiling and the sun is casting a glow over the yard and your heart swells. But know the truth when the days are long and cold and your child is unlovable but you sweep her up and love her more.
Bask in the happiness of posting sweet newborn photos, of doing the right thing in a parenting topic, of cleaning and baking and playing house competently. Then know the truth when those things look dull and you turn instead to jumping in leaves and making fairy houses late into the night.
Look to when your heart fills, then overflows. Look for when you love, and then you groan that long, deep sound from within, like a woman at her birth, fully intent on her task, every cell in her body moving towards one directive. Do you hear that sound, when you reach your end but find one more unit of love, and then you dig and you dig and you realize there is no end to that unit and it's all flowing into one?
There is your next child.
|No matter the number of children, let your heart overflow.|