Introducing ‘Free Childhood!': a mommy blogger with a unique angle

Breastfeeding an infant

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I want to introduce you all to a mommy-blog I have been following called ‘Free Childhood‘. When scanning my google reader for blog updates I find my eye wondering to FreeChildhood to see if she has a new post. I don’t always agree with her but I always want to know what she is going to say next!

I mean, for example, she has a habit of trawling through twitter for people dissing public breastfeeding and then slamming them. This is, in a way, quite a horrible post. It is filled with negativity and conflict to the point that I found I didn’t want to finish reading it… and yet… the image of the militant-cyber-breastfeeding-activist stayed with me. It is not my style, I guess you know that by now, it is not my style at all. I am more of a live and let live kind of a gal.

I approach breastfeeding with naturalness and expect people to respond in kind and so far I have found they do. I tend to believe what you put out is what you will get. If you put negativity, paranoia and aggression out there then you will find it met by an equal opposing force. The Universe obliges and makes your world what you think it is…

Still as different as we are in how we react to the world, many of our basic beliefs are shared. We are both pro-natural-birth, pro-homebirth, pro-natural-breastfeeding, pro-child-centered-learning, etc. I guess my interest in her writing is akin to the fact that I am a big GreenPeace supporter even though they are all about in-your-face activism and I more favour meditation and prayer as a way to change first yourself and then the world. Somehow, I guess, supporting GreenPeace balances out my energy, a bit of yang to go with the (over developed?) yin I got going. So, it is with FreeChildhood that I find I just can’t look away, entirely.

I wonder if she is happy living this angry life… but then it is none of my business. This is how she is approaching her enthusiasm for natural mothering practices.

She is also way out there. Whenever I think I have found the limits of hippydom in motherhood I meet somebody new who challenges my thinking. FreeChildhood wants and is going for not only a home birth but an unassisted (or ‘Universe assisted’) birth. I had literally never heard of that. She finds the presence and practices of even a homebirth midwife too intrusive. I got to say, raised on Ina May as I have been, it never occurred to me to think of midwifery as intrusive, I just thought it was a natural, ancient, gentle support to birthing women. I had really never heard anybody say anything to the contrary, until now. Again, I may or may not support this view of hers but I am thoroughly fascinated by it. I kind of get it, too, but not sure I’d have the courage or inclination to see it through. I like the idea of some sister support through my labour, thank you very much.

Anyway, go check her out and give her some love. She is out there, fighting for us, for freedom to breastfeed in public, for unschooling, for ‘Universe assisted’ births and for generally doing it our way. You go girl. You got our back!

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9 thoughts on “Introducing ‘Free Childhood!': a mommy blogger with a unique angle

  1. This post strikes me as creepy. But more importantly as “hippier then thou”, condescension where you are putting someone else down to make yourself feel better, cooler. This is a sad and harmful way to behave towards others.
    UC usually stands for Unassisted but also has many other names. Many of us mamas have discovered that modern midwives are medicalized and ointrusive, not trusting birthing and wimmin’s bodies and not being much better then OBs. You don’t need to take that personally or belittle the choice as you wouldn’t like someone doing the same to you. Respect each persons choices over their own bodies, please.

    • Okay. Sorry to have offended. I am definitely not against ‘Universe assisted’ or unassisted birth. In fact I am quite fascinated by it and even slightly tempted to consider it in the future. I was trying to say I am too chicken to do it, not to ‘hippy’ to do it! So, are you saying that I am ‘hippier than thou’ in this post? Is that because of the ‘meditation and prayer’ comment? Okay… perhaps, but I was also admintting that I am some what conflict-averse (too yin) and that I admire and feel I can learn from FreeChildhood’s more yang assertive-action approach.

      My post was me trying to share a blog I genuinely love following by a woman who is strong, confident and unafraid of being different. I am inspired by that (as I often judge my differences very harshly)… but yes I was also surprised, even shocked to hear these new ideas. Some times they take time to digest, no? I guess this post is me digesting them in public. Not a pretty sight, I guess.

  2. I agree 100%. I see so many mamas on twitter getting up in arms over so many things, but don’t often see the happy sides of their lives. Are they happy in their anger, maybe it motivates them? I believe many of the same things she (and many others) does but think I’m a lot more accepting of people who don’t think that way.

    • Yes, this was my main point. I, like you, agree with most of what they are saying but not always with how it is said. We are all on the same side here we just have a few different approaches to expressing it, I feel.

      Thanks for your positive comment :)

  3. The most important thing in birth is for the birthing mother to feel safe while laboring.

    Each mother has to determine where/how that is. Might be alone. Might be with only a partner. Or with a birth professional. At home. In a hospital. With medical intervention or without. All of these are valid choices, which I’m grateful we can make.

    • I agree thoroughly. I am for freedom of choice and support FreeChildhood’s right and decision to do it her way.

      Perhaps I let my musings about the twitter-breastfeeding-comment-wars and the newness of the Universe-assisted-birthing concept obfuscated the fact that I am actually quite taken by the idea of unassisted births… even if I may need some time to fully consider it from all angles.

      Thanks for your calm ‘voice of sanity’ style response. It is much appreciated.

  4. Your post is indeed odd. You say you’re a follower of the free childhood, then go on to down her at every point. She ventures into topics you are too scared to, and obviously not educated enough to. Why don’t you try asking her questions to topics you are unsure about, instead of declaring a lack of understanding and unacceptance of someone else’s point of view?

    This is your blog, and you can say whatever you want, in whatever manner, just don’t expect others to sit back while you trash other bloggers.

    Cherie – Natural Mama NZ

    • Let’s start here: you are right that it is better to ‘get curious than furious’. And I am certainly not ‘furious’ at either FreeChildhood or the concept of Universe-assisted birthing. Quite the opposite: I am fascinated and intrigued which is why I follow Rachel’s blog – one of the reasons, at least. Re-reading my post it is true that my thoughts about the twitter-breastfeeding-debate, if you want to call it that, kind of dominate and are not favourable… but in a sense that is a side-issue. Perhaps I should have spent more time outlining the stuff I really enjoy about Rachel’s blog such as: her candidness; her vulnerability and willingness to share what is going on for her on a human level, very openly; her willingness to create her own path, by walking it, etc. She is pushing boundaries and I respect and applaud her for doing it. That begins to give a more rounded picture of why I follow FreeChildhood. However, the main thing people are reacting to here, if I read you all correctly, are my perceived views on unassisted births and FreeChildhood’s approach to childbirth in particular, so I want to state again, clearly, that I am not at all opposed to unassisted births and I totally defend Rachel and your right to the birth that feels right to you.

      Meanwhile, lots of FreeChildhood supporters appear to be parachuting into my blog and, understandably perhaps, judging me by the one post about something/someone they love. I assumed most people who would read this post would be people who have been following my blog, have seen my views on a wide range of topics and know where I am coming from… I guess I underestimated the power of twitter to summon the internet free-birthing mammas of the world to set me straight.

      So, yes, I do follow her blog. I do like hearing what Rachel has to say and generally find it interesting, challenging and enlightening. The one topic, unassisted birth, is new to me, sure. Let us put this in context, though. I have been brought up ‘naturally’ and according to attachment parenting style principles, I have travelled a lot and now live in liberal California (having previously lived in London and several other UK cities as well as in Portugal). I meet and correspond with both alternative and mainstream mommas from all these countries and beyond. I am also an avid reader. I have studied nutrition, naturopathy and flower essence therapy to name a few of my interests… I am giving you a bit of background here. I may be new to unassisted births but surely, surely you find people much less open to these things than me, no? How do you react to them? I mean I did plan a homebirth (that was not to pass – which in itself probably colours my views), I advocate extended breastfeeding and have an interest in ‘Baby-led Weaning’, Elimination Communication, Baby Sign language, etc. I am quite open minded and progressive, I would say.

      I assume you mean ‘uneducated’ about this topic in particular, no? I mean, I have a BA in Combined Social Sciences (Evolutionary Anthropology, Philosophy and Psychology) as well as an MSc in International Development. I know that reading books doesn’t make me ‘educated’ in the sense you mean, perhaps, and it certainly doesn’t make me wise but I just want to give you some perspective on who I am and where I am coming from. Whilst I might not know much about Universe assisted births (a name I love, by the way) and not having met anybody who has done it (intentionally, at least – I know some people whose birth was so fast it ended up being unassisted) I find myself drawn to finding out more. Reading FreeChildhood is one step toward doing that. I directed people to her blog because I find it a good read and very thought-provoking. I did not mean to ‘down her at every point’. I did say I didn’t love the one post about aggressive twitter-lactivism and found it rather negative… but hey, not all my posts are lillies and roses, some are stinky, moody or moan-ey, depending on my mood. We bloggers all have posts that are more positive and others that are less so, no? I can see why people criticising public breastfeeding get on her goat and good on her for going out there and defending it – which is what I was trying to say in my post… even if it is not my style.

      Thank you for parachuting in.

      So, now, here’s a question to you unassisted-birthing mothers (you told me to ask questions, right? :) ) were you personally drawn to it first and foremost through love for your family and trust in your body or through fear or an aversion to arguably bumbling, intrusive interventions of both midwifery practitioners and the medical establishment? I mean, I am assuming a bit of both come up for most people, but which dominates for you, personally? Would you want to have a midwife or doula there if they were less domineering and disease/disaster-centered or is your view that birth is a natural process and does not need assisting until or unless it does? I am curious… don’t get too furious at me.

  5. Pingback: 2010 in review – THANK YOU ALL « The Blessing Tree

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