Then (when I was, maybe, 22): I remember having a discussion with my sister about whether, when I had kids someday, I would breastfeed them. We both decided that we would “try” it. My big concern was whether it would infringe on my sleep and cause me to get more migraines.
Now: I’ve been breastfeeding for 4.5 years straight. Part of that time, including now, is tandem nursing. I help other women to breastfeed their children. I know now that whether you breastfeed or not, babies and children do infringe on your sleep. Nursing in bed actually helps me get more sleep.
Then (about age 25): I was discussing with someone that an acquaintance’s kids crawl into the parents’ bed at night, and how the child just does it to manipulate them. (I cringe even writing this down).
Now: I’ve been co-sleeping for 4.5 years. Arp and I love it. I know that a child’s needs don’t just stop at night.
Then (age 22): I attended a hospital-run childbirth prep class with my sister. I thought all that a birth support person needed to know was where the ice chips were and how to count (shout) to 10.
Now: I’ve gone through 2 births myself, one at a (hospital) birthing center and one at home. Both births, and especially the one at home, were times of my greatest triumph. I know a partner’s willingness to be truly present and do everything possible to help the mother be comfortable, strong, and courageous can mean all the difference. Arp was one of those partners, especially at our homebirth, and I’ll love him forever for it.
Then (age 27): I wanted to try a birthing center for my first child’s birth.Â If everything “went OK”, then I would be open to having a homebirth for other children.
Now: I’ve had a birth both at aÂ hospital birthing center and at home.Â In many ways, the two births were like night and day.Â If I were able to go back and do it all over again, I’d have had the first child at home too.
Then (teen years and beyond): I was a very competitive kid in school. It was really important to me that I go to a prestigious college. When we ended up not being able to afford any of the ones I got into, I cried for a long time. Then I picked myself up and went to community college. Later, I went for my masters in teaching. I knew I loved spending time around kids, especially teenagers, and thought teaching them would be a great job. It would enable me to talk with them and be constantly surprised and excited by all the learning going on.
Now: I have to pay back exorbitant student loans for education that I’m not even really using now, at least not to make money. I’m no longer a teacher, and I can never imagine going back to it. I learned that I really do love talking to teens (and younger kids too), but not much talking and sharing goes on in a school. Really, not much learning goes on either. It’s mostly just forced temporary memorization.
Then (last year):I was getting nervous about homeschooling as M got closer to school age. I asked the relatives to buy him quite a number of items for Christmas, including math manipulatives and the first set of Miquon math books. I was exploring any number of styles of homeschooling and trying to figure things out.
Now: I’m committed to unschooling. I’ve barely opened the Miquon books, except to review a math concept for myself. I’m seeing them more as a reference material for when my own math stress surfaces. I’m looking to M for what he wants to learn rather than anxiously checking things off the world-book list. Instead of viewing M and J as kids in two totally different planes (school-age and toddler), I now see our whole family on an equal plane, learning along side each other as we each see fit. We’re living, learning, respecting each other, and helping each other along the way.