A couple of weekends ago I went to a Natural Parenting Expo. The good things about this were:
I met up with some delightful friends
No one minded when I let Addair Kentucky nurse in public
I bought two new diaper covers (the next size up!) without having to drive to the store
I got to visit the Lisa Ross Birthing Center booth and heard some good news (another secret! that I will tell you about later)
However, my visit wasn’t an all together pleasant one. Upon arriving, I was accosted by an amped up baby-wearing mom about the evils of my particular baby carrier. I can’t tell you what she said specifically because I was focused on not crying but it was something like, “You are causing your baby’s hips to dislocate by him letting face out like that” with a tone that implied, “I am expert and you, oh silly, little know-nothing, should have read up on this. You obviously aren’t one of us.” Sniffle, sniffle. She called on her fellow Natural Parents to back her up, “Yeah, I mean, no offense, but that just looks totally uncomfortable.” She was also kind enough to inform me that I was using the absolute worst cloth diaper covers. On and on it went while I swallowed that quivery tearful feeling.
I’m a sentimental soul and besides being a fragile new mama, the carrier was the same one my mama used to carry my little sisters. Perhaps its an Appalachian complex but I hate pretension and my feelings get awful hurt when it comes to a mean thing said about my kin folk. I looked around the room full of parents puffed up with artificial confidence that comes from convening with people like yourself and imagined everyone looking on me with pity and scorn for carrying a “crotch dangler” (yes! they really sat that) and so I sheepishly took baby Addair out of his carrier and held him all the time I stayed.
Apparently you aren’t suppose to let babies face forward in Baby Bjorns, but that’s beside the point. The thing I want to talk about is this relentless pursuit of us humans to create insiders and outsiders.
We tend to create circles of expertise. Whether its on a particular sport, religion, fashion, or hobby; we create easily identifiable characteristics to let the in-crowd know who’s in and who’s out. It’s elite snobbishness and really quite foolish. I was chatting with a friend about this and she thinks this sort of behavior is driven by a craving for identity. I think she’s right. It’s just a readymade way to feel good about ourselves.
We all want love, even if it means that we withhold love to get it. I’ve seen this over and over. People bond over bashing whoever isn’t there at the moment. It starts as children and we just keep doing it.
Artist are awful for doing this. I felt incredibly disparaged when I learned that “professional/academic” artists don’t sign their canvases. Apparently it was a dead giveaway for an amauter or commercial artist and I had been happily showing myself the idiot for many many paintings. Well, humbug, I say. Now I sign my name prominently without even relegating it to the bottom corner because boo hiss thats the way I like to paint. And even though I’m not putting baby facing outward in his Bjorn (just in case) I am being careful about creating an identity based solely on motherhood or any other title, interest, or style.
[ from ashley who is listening to Beastie Boys (Ill Communication) ]