Smiling like Sunshine: Sharing the love

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Sharing the love

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
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 shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

It was 2005 and  blogs were the new phenomenon. Somehow I came across The Crunchy Domestic Goddess Amy and started to read her blog. She had a 1.5 year old daughter and mainly wrote about parenting.
We didn't have any plans for a baby yet, but what she was writing about was speaking to me. She was a gentle mother who chose to breastfeed, cosleep,vaccinate selectively. I was thinking that  "If I have a child one day, this is the way I would like to parent."
Fast forward to 2006. I was pregnant with my first baby and Amy was expecting her second one, a boy this time. This time she was writing about breastfeeding through pregnancy, natural birth, the benefits of tandem feeding and why she would like her son to remain intact.
As a pregnant woman, these subjects were interesting to me.
When I had my baby in January 2007, I understood that what she was talking about was just in line with my mothering instincts. When my baby was about 5 months old, I had decided to let her self wean when she felt ready. When I got pregnant with my second one, I breastfed through pregnancy. At the moment, my two are tandem feeding just like Amy's children did.
Before becoming a mother, I had a food blog. With the birth of my daughter, I wanted to write about my experiences as a mother, too. I met many lovely women  through my blog. On many occasions I was told that they find my parenting style very inspiring, which is obviously very flattering.
I understand this feeling very well, because I was inspired by other fabulous mums, too.
To give the love back, I am also blogging about my adventures in natural parenting. There are a few forums that I frequent to, and when needed I share my experiences and knowledge with others.
I encurage them to give birth naturally.
I breastfeed my children everywhere on demand. I think it is important for the public to see breastfed babies out and about. (Okay, I don't breastfeed the four  year old in public, but  that is okay, I think ;-))
I love carrying my babies. Not only it is practical for me and great for the babies, but also looks lovely and inspires many to do so.
When new mums ask me when their children will sleep through the night, I tell them it is quite healthy and perfectly normal for little babies to wake up a few times during the night. I get very sad when somebody tells me that they will leave their children to cry it out because s/he needs to sleep on their own. To the best of my ability, I try to tell them how detrimental it is for their baby and to their relationship. I talk to them about cosleeping. Not only it is a beautiful thing to do but also  enables mums to get a better night's sleep.
I share the list of books that helped me a lot and on a few occasions I gave away two of them through my blogs.
Yesterday I got an e-mail from an online friend. She just had her second baby. She was writing to share how happy she was to be tandem feeding and thanked me for sharing my experiences.
Touching someone's life in this way makes me very happy. I like to think that we, women, create this circle and share experiences and wisdom. Amy's experiences and sharings inspired my mothering style and my style is inspiring others. And when the time is ripe, they will inspire others.

Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she's been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she's doing — and it's a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on "holistic" — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We're great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by "just doing her thing," she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I'm not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don't tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.


  1. It's so inspiring to hear how reading a blog inspired you. It makes me want to read through Amy's and your archives to get to all those stories that sound remarkably similar to my experience just now, pregnant and breastfeeding and expecting soon to be nursing a four-year-old along with a new baby. There's something so thrilling about hearing that you are not alone, so thank you.

  2. I'm another follower of your mothering style,, thank you for sharing of your knowledge and experiences,, babywearing and cosleeping,, I've learned them from your blog..

  3. same here!! i also use my blog to share breastfeeding/parenting insights.. and there are definitely days when i just want to quit writing but receiving emails, SMS messages, blog/FB comments from readers inspire me to keep going. :D

  4. What a sweet chain of compassionate advocacy via blogging - I'm sure Amy will be delighted to read this post. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I enjoyed reading this. You never know what kind of an impact you have on those around you. Thanks for being an inspiration!

  6. Finding community online has definitely helped me to solidify my parenting choices. As an adoptive mom I still haven't completely found my niche, but there are so many inspiring bloggers that I connect to so much more than most of the "real-life" moms in my area!

  7. It's always wonderful to know that your efforts help inspire others. Great post! Keep inspiring! <3

  8. I never thought that reading a blog can have so much effect on our personal lifestyle. It inspired me a lot.

  9. I love this! It's so powerful and inspiring to hear how bloggers can inspire others - and I love that you are now giving back as a blogger by sharing your stories :-)

    Thank you for being my 200th FB fan! <3

  10. Thanks, I am glad you enjoyed reading my post and yes, blogs can be effective :)
    Yaban, thank you for your lovely words :)

  11. This is a great CarNatPar post! I love how you found inspiration from another compassionate advocate for gentle parenting blogger and became one yourself. You're right, it is an excellent way to give back.

  12. Isil,
    Thank you so much. It's always so nice to hear that something you did/wrote about inspired others. I often forget that my words can make a difference. Thank you for the reminder. And I love to think of you and other mamas all writing about your parenting journey and inspiring even more people along the way. Our words can truly be a gift. Keep doing what you're doing. :)

  13. It is so cool to see the circle of influence here. :) It is certainly a reassurance that compassionate advocacy really does work! I am a recipient of this type of influence as well, and so enjoy how we can all benefit from the wisdom of one another. :)

  14. I find it inspiring reading other women's blogs about natural parenting since I learn so much about becoming a better parent this way. That's also why I blog about my experiences so that perhaps others can benefit from what I have learned too!

  15. Thank you for sharing your journey! I'm on the other side of babyhood now with the youngest almost 3, but I feel sad when I see moms carrying their babies in carseats rather than wearing them.

  16. I have also found Amy's blog to be inspiring and worthwhile. Meeting her in person was the icing on the cake.

    I'm also right there with you on feeling the love come full circle. I think being able to encourage another mother is one of my greatest successes.


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