A lot of people would look at me and not realize I may swing to the crunch side of the spectrum on a regular basis....well, Ill be honest, on a daily basis. The "glam" side of me loves to shop, loves to spend a few hours at the salon getting my hair highlighted and cut, loves to sip (or chug) a yummy glass of Pinot Noir, loves pedicures and all that fun girly stuff! The "crunchy" side of me is a firm believer in natural childbirth, cloth diapering and tandem nursing. I guess the first two may not come as a surprise for those who know me, but the third may as I don't openly talk about it to just anyone. Yes, that's right, I have and am currently nursing two girls at the same time - I have been nursing consecutively for almost 4 years- no need to gasp! See, I do it, and I appear fairly normal, don't I??? Wait, don't answer that.
I think the word "crunchy" has become much more accepted in the last few years. Now with the whole "Save the Earth" campaign, people have now accepted that it is okay to be crunchy. I guess you could say I have "evolved" into somewhat of a crunchy person. Actually, I think crunchy has an entirely new meaning nowadays.
I had always been extremely interested in midwifery and natural childbirth. When I started working as a labor & delivery nurse, those who went through their labor unmedicated always interested me the most. I loved working with them to help achieve their goal, it was true nursing to me. Even though I had never gone through childbirth myself, I still believed in it, and did my very best to be supportive in any way I could with my patients. When it was time to give birth to my first, Mairead, I wanted to attempt natural childbirth because I knew it was best for mom and baby. The hospital I gave birth and worked at wasn't super "pro natural childbirth", but thankfully I had a nurse who was, and she was amazing. I successfully gave birth to Mairead in 4.5 hours without a single pain medication. I did the same with Lilah in 2 hours, and again with Clara in about an hour. I felt like I could fly after each delivery. It was so invigorating to me. Seriously, it gave me a natural high, something I never realized until I did it myself.
The cloth diapering is fairly new to me. I didn't cloth diaper Mairead, and started Lilah when she was about 18 months old. It was something I had considered with Lilah, but was too afraid to try. I seriously did some research before Clara, and before I knew it, I bought my first stash. Now, Clara is 4 months old, and I am cloth diapering her and Lilah. I really like it. It makes me feel good in all sorts of ways. It saves our family money. It drastically limits the amount of trash. Instead of emptying our diaper pail each and every week, we empty just every few months. This is an entire other topic for another day!
The third thing about me you may be surprised about is I am an huge advocate of breastfeeding and tandem nursing, which means I am nursing more than one child. If you had asked me if I would ever consider nursing more than one child (one being a toddler!) at the same time, I am pretty sure I would have either laughed, looked at you funny or both! Hell NO, I would have said. When I became pregnant with Lilah, Mairead was just 12 months old. There was no way I could just stop her as she clearly was not ready to wean. It wasn't her decision for me to get pregnant, so I was going to let her wean on her own. I thought for sure she would wean during pregnancy as 60% of infants will wean during a pregnancy, but Mairead didn't. I then found myself nursing both Mairead AND Lilah together. It actually worked out great. I think it cut down on the jealousy Mairead had of her sister, and it was something the girls could share immediately. It was special. Mairead self weaned just shy of 2.5, no tears, no fuss...it was great. Now, I am nursing Lilah and Clara together. Lilah still nurses about 1-2 times a day if that, and I can see the end in the near future. She's becoming less interested in it, so I am guessing it will be in the next several months. It's been such an amazing experience for me, and I am glad I have followed the cues of my children. They are so happy and well adjusted, and if nursing helps with that, I am more than willing to provide that for them until they're ready to wean.
So, are you surprised? Some of my friends have asked me how long I have nursed my kids, and when I tell them the truth, or tell them I cloth diaper, they chuckle or don't believe me - yeah, I don't look like that type! I guess I am! I think you certainly can be a little glam and a little crunch all at the same time!