Child-Led Towards Liberation.
What does it mean in this age to be truly child-led as a parent?
To be an attachment parent? Natural parent? Follow your mother’s intuition?
I have swirled these words around in my head since the moment I knew I was pregnant.
I did not plan biological motherhood, but when this determined soul overrode my carefully planned methods of birth control, I knew (s)he was suddenly somehow in charge of this journey, I was simply the vessel, charged with protecting, sheltering and guiding the willful spirit within.
But right away, my new plan for a natural pregnancy followed by natural birth was taken off course by high-risk circumstances and the emergency cesarean that followed.
Yet I felt more called than ever, after such a traumatic and intervened-upon entrance, that he was still weaving the web, that this medicalized Western world was not his master, but one of many teachers of the many paths.
I felt deeply aligned with co-sleeping, breastfeeding and homeschooling.
But motherhood, like politics, is wrought with extremes, and for every voice or study of support in these practices, there were at least two more shouting against it: “Do what’s best for the baby,” the mantra marketed fiercely for everything from diapers to day care.
But how do you know what’s right for my baby, America? You rarely know what’s right for me or yourself! I envy my fellow parents, content to follow the pediatrician-approved status quo from inception to graduation.
I envy my fellow mothers who, on the other side, are 100 percent confident in their rebellion of this system.
My son is nearing his third birthday, and I am still confused. Conflicted. Crazed. I watch my child sleep — still in my arms, still at my breast — and I question my behavior in the day that passed.
Did I offer enough attention, affection and healthy stimulation? Would he be better off in preschool or if I’d sleep-trained at six months or weaned at a year? Is every mother, committed to following her child’s needs and lead, still scared shitless each night?
But the truth is, amongst the long days and mostly sleepless nights we have strung together in our mother/child adventure, the best ones are the times I get out of my head, and off Google.
I create a canvas for him, be it trees in a park, sand at the beach, or even a bucket full of crayons or soapy water. I offer the space and he fills it, with love, light and magic. He is confident in the direction his little heart leads him.
He has pure, inborn faith. In me. In life. In himself.
I’m still seeking such a faith. Still searching for my tribe, women like me in the middle of mommy-road, leaning to the left, trusting their child but still so tied to cultural indoctrination.
It’s hard enough to break personal chains, but when you are the responsible party in raising a human, how do you live with mistakes?
Intuition is cultivated through experience. Each day we build it together. Each day that I let him lead the way, that I allow him his innate wisdom, this instinct strengthens for us both. There are so many choices ahead. I choose him.
At the end of the day, all I have is my heart and he is at its center. With that as my guide, I pray the rest will follow.
Bekah Turner is a mother, yogini and shamanic practitioner. She follows the moon and the wisdom of her son. She is passionate about writing, reading, nature and supporting fellow women on their paths. For more info, please check out her website.