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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.
My goal in writing this blog has always been to inspire and inform new and/or breastfeeding moms. No matter if the nursling is a newborn, toddler or older child. However, when anyone tells me that I have actually done that, I am surprised. Me? I’ve inspired you? I’ve taught you something? How can that be? I’m just flying by the seat of my pants. It makes me realize that anyone and everyone can make a difference in somebody else’s life, if only we try.
It’s a humbling and wonderful feeling to be told that you’ve made a difference in someone’s life. I remember one of the first personal emails I received from a reader who told me that because of my blog she learned that it’s perfectly natural and beneficial to breastfeed past one year. She said,
“I believe that I found you through twitter when I made an uneducated comment on breastfeeding after 1 year. My views on breastfeeding after 1 year where not very positive, but I have now come to understand this is not only great for the health of baby but the mother and child get a chance to bond even more…I wanted to let you know you have opened my eyes to breastfeeding long after 1 year and how to stand up for my rights to breastfeed. I believe with your help and support of others I will succeed with breastfeeding and if I ever need help I feel I can always come to you.”
Someone else told me that because of my blog she feels more comfortable nursing in public.
“You’ve also made me less shy about talking about breastfeeding publicly and doing it in public too! I’ve still never seen another mom nursing in public except at family gatherings at hubby’s grandma’s house, which isn’t really “in public.” And my own parents and extended family actually think nursing in public or around company is rude and you should use bottles and formula in those situations. So for me, knowing that there are other women nursing their babies proudly everywhere was a big deal!”
I’ve had commenters thank me for not making them feel like weirdos for practicing natural parenting. Many of you have identified with issues I’ve had and have come forward to say thanks for making you feel not so alone. (Don’t you know that in saying that you’ve made me feel not so alone?)
But the personal messages I’ve received that resonate the most for me are the ones that tell me I’ve made a difference to moms around feeling more comfortable nursing a toddler and nursing in public. Something I am passionate about has found its way into the hearts and minds of others! My gratitude to you for telling me this surpasses everything. For this reason, I continue to write.
I write about topics that I know a lot about, and I write about topics that I don’t know a lot about. Sometimes I’m happy to ask readers for help on a certain subject and sometimes I’m a little reluctant. What if you think I shouldn’t be writing a breastfeeding blog if I’m asking for breastfeeding help? What if you don’t agree with my ideas? What if I’m the only mom in the universe who has struggled with this issue?
Yet, every time I post something I’m almost too scared to say, someone comes out of the woodwork and says “Me too.”
When combined, “me” and “too” have got to be the best two words a mother can hear from another mother. I always think that everyone else is doing a way better job at parenting than I am. I often feel like the outcast in my parenting values. So each time I get a validating comment from a reader, as much as my post has made you feel better, your comments make me feel better.
I think we inspire each other just as much by sharing our faults as our successes. I think the more human we are, and the more honest we are about our fallible natures, the more we want to connect with each other and support one another.
Now every time I feel less like supermom and more like the old lady who lived in a shoe, your comments and letters remind me that I’ve already made a difference. Knowing this helps me to make a bigger difference in the lives of my own children. And for that, I’m grateful to you, and I’m inspired to keep on.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated by the end of the day May 11 with all the carnival links.)
- 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)
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