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Did I plan on becoming a natural parent?

 |  Parenting

There’s a thread on one of the forums I read, “Did you plan on being a natural parent?”

Hahaha, I don’t think anything could be further from the truth. I had two plans: 1) that I’d breastfeed, and 2) that I’d try for a ‘natural’ birth to decrease the risks of buggering up plan 1. (I ended up having pethidine, in case you don’t remember.) Aside from that, we bought a cotbed and mattress for nearly £200, a travel system (car seat and pram thingy) for £80, a bouncy chair, baby sleeping bag thing, blankets etc. Everything was going to be hunky dorey for my mainstream baby. You wouldn’t catch me putting a baby in my bed, I’d never spoil it with cuddles, pandering to her every whinge…

Except, babies have other ideas, and so do mummies when suddenly hormones are raging through their system and they’ve got a naked, purple baby lying on their tummy opening her eyes to the real world for the first time.

I don’t know if I’m classed as a natural parent as such, because I believe homeopathy is bollocks and I am pro-vaxx, but I think my ‘experience’ certainly reflects that it doesn’t matter how much planning you do, how much mental preparation, it means bugger all til you’re there and in the moment and getting on with things.

As it is, most of my parenting decisions are based on laziness (couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, so co-slept; couldn’t be bothered to mush up food so do BLW; couldn’t be bothered to struggle with a bulky pushchair so use a wrap; couldn’t be bothered to settle Izz in cribs and chairs so keep her on/with me all the time — and I find out later on that these things hold similarities to attachment parenting) but it’s interesting to see how much they differ from what I’d had in mind all those months ago.

My cotbed makes a half decent dumping ground for books and spare pillows, and the buggy part of the pushchair might get the occasional use in the future. Maybe.

What have I learnt? Never say never…

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

11 comments so far

  1. Mumblies said:

    What have you learnt?

    I’d say, that breaking all the ‘golden rules’ you have THE happiest, smartest most contented baby I’ve ever seen. Isabel is way in front of ‘normal’ firsts, she is already copying speech (and as you know has been for a while now) sits unaided, is crawling around, plays happily with whatever she is given (no need for all those designer toys really) readily chows down AND enjoys foods that most teenagers won’t even consider eating, let alone a baby or toddler, is bright and alert and incredibly funny, even to the point of shaking her head ‘no’ at the exact moment that you would expect a much older baby to respond to. She’s self assured, healthy and strong and cheeky and oh so adorable.

    Between the three of you, you have managed to not only make Karl’s (and probably his Mum’s too) dreams come true, but also turned an ordinary bloke, who was filled with trepidation and a complete basket case of nerves before Izz arrived into a self assured, more than capable Dad who is clearly besotted with not only his precious baby daughter but also the woman that helped make her. (Karl too has had some really big life changes that he’s coped with incredibly well never mind the adjustments to daily life that becoming a dad throws at you) His loyalty to you is astounding, and his dogged determination to help you every step of the way during Isabel’s birth was fanastic!

    Not only have you done all that, but you have kept up with your house, and computer stuff, the cats and even managed to grow veggies outside in various containers until you transferred them to more conventional pots whilst stopping Hex from eating them (that took some doing too!) Moved house and coped with the flat from hell. You eat healthy, you cook healthy and from what I’ve seen argue with Karl a hell of a lot less than most argue with their respective spouses.

    You have both coped tremendously well with health issues and personal things that would have most reaching for antidepressants, and sailed through those and yet still carried on feeding Izz yourself. You are sensible smart and funny, incredibly talented and far more capable than most your age.

    and finally… you made me proud of you a long long time ago Jem, but since you both had Isabel I find myself smiling when I think of all you have achieved time and time again, and could not be more proud if I tried. In a nutshell – you’ve done damned fine missy and we love you! :)

  2. ErisDS said:

    Hey Jem,

    I love reading about what you and Isabel have been up to. I find it both fascinating and heart-warming.

    Does pro-vaxx mean you are pro MMR or have I got my wires crossed? I was wondering how come, as for someone who is clearly against anything else that might even potentially have the possibility to harm your baby (and don’t hear that like I’m saying it’s a bad thing) it seems strange to be pro that one!

    Eris :)

  3. Heather D said:

    Ok, so follow that comment! It sounds like you’re doing an awesome job through a combination of following your instincts and listening to Izz’s needs, with a good healthy dollop of laziness. When you suss dealing with 8 year olds can you let me know where I’m going wrong?!!

  4. Ana said:

    I breastfd because I wanted to. I slept in bed after feeding the baby- only a mommy of a breastie will get that one.
    Everything else was babyled-the feeding etc.
    The only thing I made a firm decison on was to NOT speak babytalk to the child. Yes it was a softer tone of voice but it was all proper English used. That and no dummies ,both for the BF and it does impede the speech, oh and no TV on until the were speaking, after that it was 1 hour per day and with mommy/daddy present. we preferred to play/interact with our children being the wild hippy type parents that we are.. We now have a five year old with the vocab of a 8-9 year old and a three year old who talks like a 60 year old man..
    Keep doing what your are doing- your are doing fine by the sounds of it. No-one has a plan when it comes to being a mommy it just falls into place-or was that just me? Oi.

  5. Mimi said:

    Your mom’s comment made me tear up! So sweet. :)

    I guess if your baby is just happy and healthy as a little clam and gets everything she needs and deserves, to hell with plans! Sounds like you’re doing just fine. ;)

  6. Jem said:

    @ErisDS: yes, Isabel will be getting the MMR. I’ve done my research and quite frankly, the scare stories surrounding it are total bollocks. This is an excellent comic which sums it up:
    http://tallguywrites.livejournal.com/148012.html

    …and this also may be of interest:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15877763?dopt=Abstract
    (Where no vaccinations were given over a period of several years in Japan, the incidence of autism spectrum disorders rose, not fell.)

  7. Lilian said:

    I can’t wait to see Izzy this August, and see how much she has grown. I suppose I’ll have to deal with the rest of you as well ;)

  8. ErisDS said:

    Hey Jem,
    I know that most of the vaccination hype is media driven, and that there is no medical proof or disproof of the link between the MMR and children developing neural disorders such as autism and epilepsy. However it is very hard to separate science fact and science fiction when these things unfold before your eyes ?

    My sister became extremely ill after having her MMR with complaints from serious anaemia to orbital cellulitis. I remember it all really well because she was taken to hospital on my 5th birthday. All the cliches apply. She *changed*, refused to eat or speak.. she wasn’t the happy bouncing child she was before.

    She was eventually diagnosed with (relatively mild) aspergers. No one thinks the MMR directly caused her autism, but the illness seemingly caused by the cocktail of vaccines certainly triggered a very noticeable worsening (from something no one really noticed before, to something they did after).

    My concern is just as much about the illnesses (orbital cellulitis is pretty nasty) as much as the potential for triggering/worsening autism.

    I don’t really know what I think about it all, but I do think I will probably be erring on the side of caution with my kids mainly because I can never shake the memory of my sister looking so poorly.

    Just wanted to share my experience with you, hope you don’t mind!

    Eris :)

  9. Jem said:

    Thanks for sharing Eris. I can understand why you’d be careful with your own kids and the MMR based on family circumstances. I know of women who don’t vaccinate because of other relatives who’ve had fits post-vaxx; I think those are definite reasons to delay/stagger the jabs or avoid them altogether. I think the whole point of immunisations is that they protect the many so that the minority that can’t be vaccinated get "herd immunity".

    I know that there is no history of reactions in my family so I’m still confident enough to get the jabs for Isabel :)

    I saw this story yesterday and thought it somewhat relevant, if totally coincidental that we’re discussing this right now, hehe…

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/06/23/whooping-cough-now-an-epidemic-in-california/

  10. Jen said:

    I read many similarities between your story and mine. I too was going to "be the best mainstream mum ever", apply all of Jo Frosts techniques to my child along with better ones I’d made up, and my child would be the epitome of good behaviour.

    I too graced the different parenting paths for reasons such as laziness or because they felt natural, and the interest, eagerness and now downright opinionated tone I have for certain things such as feeding, sleeping and crying came second. Now I realise what a challenge it is going to be to try and help all babies enjoy a more natural existence, if even *I* (the opinionated, eager and interested-in-facts biotch that I am) took my merry time to know what I now know.

    Common sense has disappeared. Faith in corporate companies has increased. The progress for the sake of progress generation still populate and infect the workforce who help bring our babies into this world. When these things are corrected, perhaps more families can enjoy the peaceful existence that "natural parenting" brings.

    It’s stressful having kids? No, it really doesn’t have to be.

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