What it Means to be a Crunchy Parent?
It can be hard to put an exact definition to crunchy parenting. It is often associated with the term “hippie” which can make sense, and some crunchy parents are proud to wear that label as well. However, it doesn’t really properly describe what crunchy parenting is really about. Crunchy parenting is mostly all about choosing more natural ways of doing things. Often times, crunchy parenting can also be referred to as evidence-based parenting. Evidence-based which would be associated with the scientific method may sound as if it would be the opposite of natural but actually they tend to lead to the same parenting choices. Research finds over and over that the more natural choices in life, especially in regard to parenting, tend to be the best choices for the overall well-being of both you and your children.
Since crunchy parenting is largely about making well-informed decisions, crunchy parents tend to do their research and do it well. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I literally spent all of my time researching and learning everything I could about pregnancy, labor, birth, and caring for a new baby. I always made sure to look at all sides of every situation and choice so that I would have the best information possible to make the best decision for my baby. I found time after time that the best choices were the more natural ones.
The first natural, crunchy choice that I made as a mother was to go through with an unmedicated birth. When I got pregnant, I knew nothing about giving birth or what my options were. I assumed an epidural was the way to go because that is what I had always been told and seen in all the movies and TV shows. Something else that you will find as a crunchy parent when you start to dig is that the mainstream way that society does things is often not the best way of doing things. At first, I was scared of going natural, but after everything that I learned about the epidural, I knew that there was no way I was going to be getting one. I was scared because, again, that is what I was taught by society. Society says that birth is horrible and unbearably painful, but that just doesn’t have to be true.
When a pregnant mother is educated, prepared, and supported, birth really can be a beautiful and powerful experience the way that it is meant to be. I would say that learning that first bit of information and making that first well-informed, natural decision was the beginning of my crunchy parenting journey even though I didn’t recognize myself as crunchy at the time. From there, I continued to learn more and more, to dig more and to research more. I learned many things along the way and encouraged my husband to learn as well. Sometimes we would do things one way and then learn later that we didn’t make the best choice, but one very important thing to remember that many crunchy parents often say is “Know better, do better.” Some of our crunchy parenting decisions include breastfeeding, cloth diapering, babywearing, co-sleeping, and respecting our children’s rights to bodily autonomy. Together, we now choose to base every decision off of well-researched information and we still find that the natural choice is almost always the best choice.
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