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Outside the Norm

From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 19 No. 1, January-February 2002, p. 12

When my first child was born two and a half years ago, I initially felt a loss of connection between my extended family and me. The majority of them didn't think there was any difference between bottle and breast or sling and stroller (push-chair). They clearly thought we were spoiling our daughter by letting her cosleep with us. Then, our second child was conceived and we began planning a home birth. Well, as you can imagine there was a great deal of concern. Funny thing is that somewhere along the way my extended family began to appreciate our thoughtful and conscious way of doing things. Instead of feeling judged, I began to feel as though I was enlightening other members of my family. They truly became interested, asking questions to assure themselves and support us.

After my son was born, I started seeing a great deal more reassurances from my extended family. My parents, who were present for the birth, couldn't say enough wonderful things about the midwives and the entire birthing experience. When my parents' co-worker became pregnant they discussed the benefits of breastfeeding. Really telling is the comfort my parents now show with my tandem nursing. To them, it is just the way things are. Recently, my uncle was at my parents' house when my two-and-a-half-year-old insisted on having "num-nums." Of course, everyone assumes my daughter has long since weaned. When Nicole began nursing I heard my uncle ask, "What is she doing?" In response, my father said, "Nursing. Every time the baby nurses, Nicole wants to nurse, too."

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