You hear the word natural a lot as soon as you become pregnant.  And that word ‘natural’ hangs around for the next year or so. Did you conceive naturally?  Was it a natural birth?  Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world.  You’ve taken to it like a natural.

But when you really think about it having a baby and the subsequent raising of that baby, isn’t  always ‘natural’.  I think the word natural feeds our guilt when things don’t quite go so naturally.  Because naturally isn’t superior to any other way.

 

natural parenting

 

Before actually becoming pregnant I always envisaged pregnant me in long floaty white dresses, looking serene and ‘natural’.  In reality pregnancy was pretty much spent with my head down the toilet, being hoisted out of bed by husband due to PGP, and the pregnancy ‘glow’ was purely sweat.  And whilst I marvelled at the kicks and cried at the scans, and couldn’t wait to meet my baby, nothing about by body felt ‘natural’ during pregnancy.

Was it a natural birth?

I suppose.  But having lots of people staring at my lady garden and making sounds not to dissimilar to a cow didn’t feel all that natural.  It was me doing the mooing by the way, not the people staring at my lady garden.  

Breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world.

Is it?  Is it really?  Because getting my baps out in public was so far out of my comfort zone it really didn’t feel very natural.  Saying “Do you mind if I feed him” then getting my boobs out in front of my brother-in-law felt a bit odd.  And as for the enormous proportions they swelled to the day my milk came in, well they looked more Jordan than natural.

You’ve taken to it like a natural

What does that even mean?  

And what happens when we can’t do things ‘naturally’.  We beat ourselves up.  We feel inferior.  We feel the need to justify our choices.  With my first son I had an epidural and felt like a failure.  And when I stopped breastfeeding I felt the need to justify my choice, even though it was the right choice for us.  

There are many wonderful natural moments of parenting.  It’s natural to stare at them in complete awe, thinking “I made that”.  I still do that now and mine are 8 and 4!  It’s natural to feel the overwhelming desire to protect your child.  It’s natural to feel like you could burst with pride with every achievement and milestone they make.  It’s natural to love them more than you ever thought possible.

But do you know what?  It’s also natural to need a break. 

 

natural parenting

 

It’s natural to find it hard and sometimes lonely.  And we shouldn’t need to suppress our natural urges, for fear of someone saying we are ungrateful for our children on that we should cherish every moment.

There are the natural parts of parenting that aren’t marketed as ‘natural’.

But they are.

The natural urge to have 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, or to to superglue your baby’s socks on.  It’s completely natural to want to pull in a stranger off the street to deal with the poonami.  As is the natural urge to punch the lady giving you death stares because your toddler is having a meltdown in the supermarket.

And so is the natural urge not to flip the bird behind your kids back when they are arguing with you.  Or the natural urge to bury your head in a pillow and scream when you hear the Paw Patrol theme tune.  It’s completely natural and very understandable to want to weep when your toddler asks you “Why.”  Again.  And the natural urge to crack open the wine at 9:05 am after a stressful school run is felt by parents across the country every day.

Natural isn’t all white floaty dresses and harmony.  

Natural is far more bumpy and stained!

And as for all those things that are supposed to be ‘natural’?  They are about as natural as my hair colour.

 

You can read more about being a ‘natural mother’ in this guest post by the brilliant Anna from Mummy Muckups.  It really made me think and inspired me to write this post.

 

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Natural parenting. It's just as natural to have urges to scream into the pillow as it is to protect your little one like a fierce mama bear.

 

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11 Comments on What’s Natural About Parenting?

  1. You are so right – I’ve never really thought about that phrase before. It’s a bit wishy washy and puts so much emphasis on you having everything nailed…like ‘trust your mothering instinct’ which made me well up everytime someone said it – I just wanted someone to tell me ALL the answers!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub Claire xx

  2. You’re right – nothing really feels natural about it! Though is IS natural to need a break – even though we’re sometimes made to feel like we should be totally absorbed in and loving every minute of it. #coolmumclub

  3. So true … natural? There is such an in-built pressure in the very word; by definition you are “unnatural” if you don’t conform to some mythical norm. #itsok

  4. Such an awesome post Claire. It is sad but true, we are bombarded with so many expectations from the second we are pregnant, and are then deemed failures if we don’t live up to them. But as you rightly pointed out, it’s also ‘natural’ to be exhausted, to want a break, to want to be away from your kid/s if even for a few hours. It’s natural to just be human…
    Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful post with #itsok

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