After I had my first baby, I had been excited to join a mothers group to share advice and stories, watch my child socialize and play, and possibly make some mommy friends. So what table was I ready to sit? Feeling worried about breastfeeding and wanting to share my experiences of long nights along with my son and trying to handle cloth diapers to save a few bucks, I reluctantly picked the group entitled, attachment parenting.
Little did I know that I’d be entering a huge pseudo-science, delusion, and, what I afterwards learned, was a psychological phenomenon called groupthink. I must have seen a red flag immediately after reading words such as “anti-vax” and “acupuncture” on some of their bios, but my perception was skewed by my desire to make friends. My initial impression was that the girls seemed lovely -even ordinary. Sure, they were all marsupials using a disturbing hate for scooters, but I didn’t feel shy when I had to breastfeed in public, because one girl whipping her out was a cue for the whole group to follow.
I should have observed the groupthink then. Were all the toddlers and babies on exactly the identical feeding cycle, such as when a group of girls get together and sync with each other’s menstrual cycles? But my time with this group just kept getting weirder. Uh, no, it was a crisis. Uh, at the time I was worried about was having a healthy infant. I wasn’t trying to win a competition with the girl birthing down the hallway. Again, I do not want to risk her life so I can have bragging rights afterwards.
What does it mean?
Natural occasionally means death and that’s just too intense for me. I wondered if’sometimes’ was a fantastic answer? I really had stress whenever there was a birthday to celebrate. Should I ignore my tight budget to purchase an American made, organic product to acquire their haughty acceptance, or simply get a reasonably priced item and black out the’made in China’ label? Yes, I had the gall to secure my child’s immune system by injecting him with a vaccine -a weapon, to defend against a virus whose mission is to weaken his body permanently, torture and scar him, and permanently lay dormant awaiting a cause to harm him afterwards as Shingles.
No, I didn’t have the backbone yet to state this. At the time I was shocked by the lady’s tone and mystified by the sudden hush in discussions which were just minutes ago flourishing around me, and felt awkward with ten girls staring at me in horror. I must have run for my life then and there. I stood out in more than 1 way as an oddball member of the dysfunctional group. For starters, I not only went into a mainstream physician’s office (rather than a naturopath), but I regularly (as in two annually ) seen a mainstream dentist. This specific group of girls was completely terrified of X-ray machines, together with sonograms, or modern medicine generally.
Take into account
I’m not against mid-wives or even home births when security measures are implemented, but one pregnant woman gave me the chills when she insisted that it wasn’t necessary to know whether her unborn child had a disability or medical condition until he had been born. She stated that everything was in god’s hands and she saw no advantage in knowing what state her unborn child was in with a sonogram.
What if the infant had a life threatening disease or illness, such as an omphalocele, where the liver, intestines or other organs grow beyond the belly? What if they needed immediate and specialized care after birth? What if the baby was dying and had to be born early to save it? Some of these girls were overly confident in their’natural’ lifestyle that they put their unborn infants in danger by rejecting an extremely straightforward sneak peek into the uterus. I’m not entirely against homeschooling and understand firsthand that public schools aren’t perfect and, yes, you will find difficult teachers and, yes, there are holes in the program, but you will find difficult holes and supervisors in life.
I know being concerned about bullies or depressed about being separated from your child during the day -but for crying out loud, you can’t keep your children in a bubble! When I talked about enrolling my son for preschool and looking forward to school, I’d either get a barrage of questions (did you explore the instructor? Can you trust this instructor? Will the faculty be locked when in session?) or a sudden change in subject. One reason that some were awaiting homeschooling (although there weren’t many levels, much less a teacher’s diploma, in the group) was because they needed their own religion intertwined into all facets of learning.
So it can be ascertained that those children wouldn’t be learning about the Big Bang, evolution, or gender. Others were only trying to protect their prized gems in the big bad world, which comprised the agony that’s learning rules. Actually there was an infinite collection of exceptionally strict rules mainly followed by the mother. However, in the brightly colored glasses that these mothers wore, the motto was that as a great parent you need to let your children lead the way. The children were supposed to follow their own natural route, without mother telling them what to do or how to do it. So complaining and pouting and tantrums were frequently given into.
If a mother was talking to another mother and her child interrupted, yanking her hand, the mother always allowed the child to drag her away. If the kid decided he wanted to go home, the mother went home. If the kid threw a fit in the grocery store, the mother would abandon her cart of food to take his sorry ass home. Basically the child was in control and nearly always won everything. I was given dirty looks if I just took a stern tone with my child. Even time-outs were frowned upon. I wish I was making this up. Interestingly, there was a place where the children could never win: meals.
Many of these mothers acted like they had eating disorders and were obsessed with calories, fat, sodium, and especially the evils of sugar. I once witnessed a two year old desperately hunt his mom’s cabinets for any scrap of nutrition. When I alerted the mother, who had been in the backyard, the tot was eventually allowed to have a couple of organic, crackers that were fermented. This specific mother later freaked out when her son discovered a non-gluten bag of crackers that she had been saving for herself and ate them. She maintained that he ran wild around the house and was, for all intents and purposes, a typical high-energy child. I’m health-conscious and make most meals from scratch, but what I saw was absurd.
A growing child needs food; they want to fuel their bodies, not eat just enough to barely survive. The treats were always lame. For her daughter’s next birthday party, 1 mom offered fruit and healthy pumpkin muffins. Look, cake shouldn’t be eaten each day, but dammit there’s a time for cake, just because there’s a time to dance, and yes, I’m referencing the film Footloose and believe that whole group could learn a few things by watching it. I had been a non-regular member of the group for just over a year before I couldn’t take the bullshit anymore. I haven’t seen girls so cocky with how they parent and so convinced they have life fully worked out. Who does? I believe most people, particularly parents, are constantly on’experimentation’ style and constantly question themselves and their decisions. It went beyond their assurance to their utter intolerance of others who might not follow their self based life rules.
If you had a c-section, vaccinated, employed formulation, or fed your children non organic food, you failed in life. I did find a few sane moms who secretly confessed they vaccinated their children, were planning on sending them to college and (gasp) indulged in a cheeseburger every so often. I felt ostracized in the discussions many times, but kept going because my son had established several friendships and, for his sake, I went into a few of the play dates, though they were few and far between. I also felt as an undercover investigative reporter and listened, heard, and later discovered that groups, such as the one I had been a short member in, probably helped contribute to the outbreaks of Pertussis in Washington state.
Once out, I discovered that I couldn’t completely eliminate these girls, or rather, girls like them. At the park, the zoo, as well as grocery store, I’d often engage in conversation with a local mother who would begin on a tangent about the evils of bottle feeding, assuring me of the risks of mainstream medicine, and before I could find a word in edgewise, urge her favorite homeopathic cure for influenza. I immediately realized that these mothers are everywhere and they’re spreading their life message. Initially I had hoped that they were just an anomaly -just some strange intense pseudoscience group that I had happened upon, but I shortly l realized that these girls were, to a lesser or greater degree, part of a growing movement.