Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Halfhearted Hippie

Have you ever been bitter about something for years without even knowing that was the emotion you felt until it hit you like a ton of bricks?

Well, if you haven't, just pretend with me. I'll start from the beginning, I suppose. 

I've always been fairly "natural minded". I have no idea where the inclination comes from. But I'd picked out the midwife group I would use prior to even becoming pregnant, at 19 years old. I knew I wanted to do things naturally for birth, and of course my research crazy self went on to discover breastfeeding, cloth diapering, attachment parenting...and when I started out as a young mom, I was so very proud of myself because I thought I was doing the very best for my baby. I mean, everything I read told me that by doing all these things, my kid would be healthier. As Diva Girl grew, it seemed like she had that promised health. She was rarely ever sick, never needed antibiotics. Her development was perfect. She happily munched on all manner of organic veggies (I was so incredibly obnoxious, I'm sure, bragging about how much she loved broccoli.)

And then? Shortly before her third birthday she was diagnosed with a rare autism spectrum disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder. 

I felt....cheated. I was doing everything right, how could I end up with a child with, you know, "issues"? So then I thought- I can fix this! I read and read and saw people using diets and vitamins and I thought- YES! Up my crunchy alley!

Only, she didn't get better. She just ate less. And still lost skills and words.

So, we stopped. I mean, I still went on to have two homebirths and nursed the boys and that kind of stuff. But any time someone would suggest something "natural minded" to me, I would pretty much ignore them. A little part of me would just think- yeah, right, like that would actually work.

And I never really realized that somewhere along the way, I'd become this incredibly bitter person. I was so angry that I did all this research and invested so much of my time and effort and money and belief into a "natural lifestyle" only to be let down by it. And then, the almost daily barrage of people "informing" me that they or their cousin's sister's best friend's daughter had cured their kid by doing GFCF/going all organic/cleansing toxins from vaccines/using supplements. Each suggestion was like an annoying kick to my wounded self. I became defensive of my previous attempts at some of these things and of my current penchant of feeding my kids gluten laden nuggets and milkshakes. So somehow, all of this swirled around in my brain and I became this really inwardly nasty and closed off person from almost anything anyone would suggest to me to help anything from a cold to sleepless nights.

Of course, eventually I realized that I'm not looking to cure Diva Girl, especially after Rascal and Vlad came along with their own diagnoses. And I am sure that there are families out there that have been helped by the things I listed above. But my family isn't one of them. And that's ok. 

So I need to let it go.

I need to not get insanely defensive when someone recommends garlic and honey for my cold. I need to not go all inward eyeroll when anyone mentions GFCF. I need to let go of the bitterness. Because really, we are alright. Actually, my kids are fairly fabulous. Plus, they probably could use a good probiotic and multivitamin. And I kind of miss being a hippie sometimes. Maybe now, though, you can just call me the halfhearted hippie. 

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