Friday, 4 July 2014

A label for everyone: looks like I'll be a 'crunchy mama'

In trying to get ready for the baby adventure, I'm reading and learning lots. One of the things I've learned so far is that, since mothering is a mass pursuit (by which I mean, the very vast majority of all women do it), everything I might want to do or consider has been done or considered by someone else before. Here's a truth: nothing I do, think or consider in relation to my child is unique. Someone else has already done, thought, or considered it.

I think that's great! In the age of the Internet, I can learn from the experiences of others and hopefully avoid some of their mistakes.

Labels for everyone

Hippie baby... uh, no.
It also means there are groups of people with labels on. Think of 'tiger mothers', 'earth mamas', you name it... I certainly don't go around looking for labels and then trying to conform to any particular label. Although there can be comfort and support in that, because similar people cluster together and help each other. I've always done my own thing: I suppose I collect labels more like scout badges, never just one, and they don't usually go together.

So for example, I'm a vegan Christian. A Christian vegan. I have yet to meet another, online or in person - which puzzles me really, given that compassion ought to be a central Christian tenet, yet in the evangelical circles I move in this seems to apply almost exclusively to humans. Christians and vegans tend to be in pretty much opposite camps, for reasons unfathomable to me - vegans being (generally unfairly) associated by the other camp with unwashed hippies, Christians being (equally unfairly) associated with right wing homophobes. I like to think I'm neither unwashed, nor right wing or homophobic - I just try to follow truth (Christianity) and lovingkindness (veganism) without seeing them as diametrically opposed.


Now crunchy is an interesting one - why that designation I have no idea (a shared affinity for crunchy granola? Crunchy over smooth peanut butter?)... I've come across that label several times when searching for things / ideas totally unrelated to each other, so I couldn't help but notice a pattern... looks like the things I'm considering, ways I plan to raise my child, often conforms with the crunchy label. Not always, mind! Urban Dictionary defines a crunchy mama like this:

Mother who supports homebirth, breastfeeding, baby wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, etc. One who questions established medical authority; tends to be vegetarian and/or prepare all-organic foods. See crunchy and hippie.

Here's the hippie label rearing its head again! (still no flowers in my hair). But yeah... here's how I plan to 'crunch' it...

  • Homebirth: totally would, if it wasn't for the fact that this is a boat and if something goes wrong, I would need to be transported some 100 metres down the pontoon and up a ramp before getting to a road to an ambulance. Not a good plan. Plan B, a midwife-led birthing centre with a home-from-home atmosphere, feels safer and I still hope I'll never have to actually see a doctor.
  • Breastfeeding: can't understand why everyone doesn't... it's free, it's nutritious, it helps you lose the weight, it bonds you to baby, no faffing about with bottles and sterilising and all that malarkey... oh yeah and as for breastfeeding in public: whyever not? I often eat in public as well, why shouldn't a baby? That said, I like to keep my boobs to myself and my Mr. (well and baby) so I expect I'll cover up in some way. Not so crunchy.
  • Baby wearing: partly to do with space on our boat, but definitely I also see benefits in keeping baby close where they feel safe, protected, and warm!
  • Cloth diapering: £300 for an all-new kit of cloth nappies and all you need (if bought new, which I won't do - now that's crunchy! - my kit, which is almost complete, cost £20) or £'000's over the years with disposables. Also, it takes about 3kg of raw material to make a cloth nappy versus about 120kg for disposables. That said, my newborn will start in disposables because I'm not totally mad - I'll give myself a couple of weeks to get used to baby!
  • Co-sleeping: again, a space consideration, but even if that wasn't the case baby would definitely be with us. Why would I banish a tiny baby who experiences their world through immediate experiences like closeness, safety, or abandonment... to their own room? 
  • Gentle discipline: yeah, but let's emphasise that both gentle and discipline are of equal weight here. I won't take no $h!t from a 2-year-old.
  • Vegetarian: yeah totally. I wouldn't give my child harmful substances. As they get older they will have a choice, but I'll definitely make sure it's an informed choice.
  • All-organic: nah. Not on our budget. 

I suppose all of the above just seem like common sense to me, however apparently they justify a label because not everyone agrees. Just like, I'd say, veganism is an obvious and decent choice for all but not everyone agrees. Oh well: another label badge then!

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog. Congratulations on the baby news! My mum was an independent midwife in London for 30 years and did once attend a home birth on a boat on the Thames. I think they did have to check out with the ambulance crew that they could get a stretcher down the ramp, but once that was sorted it was all fine :-)


Thanks so much for sharing!