Tag Archives: Anthroposophy

Update

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DS at my SIL's wedding

I have been having a rough time with sleep, as I wrote about earlier. It’s getting much better. Last night we went through the steps of supper (table clear of clutter and a candle for a more serene mood), bath, pajama’s, bed time story in bed, DS switching the light off and snuggling down to breastfeed and in 15 minutes he was fast asleep. I was extatic.

I have also been reading up far too much about vaccines and the immune system. It is not making me happy. I know that vaccines are not going to be part of our preventative health options in our family. I however doubt that every problem in modern societies can be atrributed to vaccines.  And I am getting tired of investing so much time and energy in seeing just how wrong most of the scientific community are when it comes to vaccines. I know enough to know that I want to support our innate immune system as best I can, and not freak out when DS gets sick. I know enough to keep our commensal bacteria happy through diet and lifestyle and avoiding drugs, heavy metals, chemical cleaners, etc. I also know enough to make sure my next birth is at home and that it stays at home.

Anyway, I have also been feeling the need to grow my mind a bit. I have stagnated and it does not feel good. I need to have something going on in my head other than health and childcare. So, I found free courses available through MIT – no certificate or registration, but at least I can expand my mind somewhat – and register should the bug bite.

On the issue of what to study, I have been thinking of getting into something like TCM. Through my reading up on health, I find this approach and understanding of health and disease far more comprehensive than what my ped/GP has to offer. However, I have also thought of doing my masters in OT with a Senosry Integration spin. I think my challenge is to find something that I can study and then apply to real life. I love gathering knowledge, but then get cold feet about applying it – all sorts of self esteem issues there. I seem to really believe that I can’t apply what I am learning, unless it is being a mother. I seem to be applying all that I learn there without any conflict or insecurity…. well kind of. I know I need a strong rhythm in our home, based on mealtimes and rest times, play times etc. And it eludes me. I just kind of whoosh from one thing to another – other than the sleep, it’s all approximate.

I am thinking of trying to use the anthroposphical idea of a grain a day/colour a day. I have not read enough about it to know if I agree or not about all that goes with planetary influences, etc. I do hope it will give me the frameowork I need to have more of a varied diet – ensuring I don’t get stuck on oat porridge, pita with eggs and salad as our staples. The more I read about diet and food, the more I think have a varied whole foods diet is the key…… anyway, I got lazy and ordered the Little Acorn Leaning winter childcare menu…. I’ll see if it helps me get myself more organised.

As I write it is pouring rain outside. Winter has arrived, and with it the need for rubber boots, indoor shoes and warm drinks. I always love the change of season.

Oh, and the pic is just ‘cos I love it. 🙂

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A little More pondering on Anthroposophy and care of the Infant

credit: abutterflyemerges.com
credit: abutterflyemerges.com

To put my previous post into a bit more context, I thought it best to clarify just why this is so personal for me.

I was brought up in an anthroposophical home, by two anthroposophical parents. There are many positive qualities in myself that I attribute to the nurturing that I received at home. There is however a lasting impression that I have been left with in my life – one that emotions don’t count, or are secondary to intentions or spiritual goals/aspirations.

I found it very difficult reading about the Madonna Cloak that Joan Salter writes about in her book, the Incarnating Child. This thinking that the environment can play a protective role in the upbringing of a child and can essentially protect a child from mistakes the parents will make, makes me a bit nervous. I wholly believe in creating a loving, gentle and safe environment for babies and young children, and certainly do my best to do just that in my home. However to say that there is some sort of spiritual bond created between mother and baby that allows for the mother to respond in thought and not in action greatly distressed me. Babies need actions. They need the mothers physical body. I am quite sure that thoughts can be reality, but I am also quite sure that thinking how much you love your baby while the baby lies in another room alone is not the same as picking your baby up to snuggle and kiss it.

I know I was left to cry. I know that I did not breastfeed enough (although my mother did try with me and did pump for months – in 1977). I remember sucking on my dolls arms to get to sleep and my mother just replacing the arms when they got too damaged from the sucking. She never thought to ask herself why I was sucking my dolls arms so much or what I needed that I was not getting. Nothing in her anthroposophical environment would have told her there was anything to question. I was eating organic food, dressed in cotton and wool, sleeping on a sheepskin, playing with a doll she had made me. It was all as it should be.

To me it seems an injustice to babies to impose our reality on them with evidence (crying) that it is not working. It just seems so cruel to dismiss the cries of a baby as a fundamental approach to caring for that baby.

And my last thought for this morning on this issue.

I was talking with my father about searching out bio-dynmaically grown food as I am sure that it is superior in nutrition to organic food, as well as being more sustainable and earth friendly. (this is just a hunch mind you) Anyway, I was saying that I have no idea what the spiritual significance of biodynamic agriculture is, but practically it seems to care for the earth and encourage biodiversity and nutrient rich soil. My father responded that in his experience the spiritual is made evident in the physical, so if it is working in the physical, you can find the spiritual there too. Which took me in my mind back to the issue of breastfeeding. If it makes sense physically (nutritionally and immune system development wise) and it makes sense emotionally (as long as it is working for both mother and child) it cannot be a spiritual truth that it has to stop. At least not to the way I am thinking.

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Anthroposophy and Infant care

This has been a post waiting to happen for some time now. And having recently received the Incarnating Child by Joan Salter, I have finally started to get my head around some of the issues that bother me about how anthroposophists (some, not all) approach babies and how to care for them.

My biggest issues are with breastfeeding, crying and sleeping. I think the broad anthrophosophical approach with toys, clothing, decor, rhythm, toiletries, media, parent staying home, not vaccinating babies etc is pretty much spot on – but weaning at 6-9 months, leaving babies to cry and forcing babies to sleep in their own beds just does not sit right with me. I suspect that anthroposophists who choose to parent their babies in this way, using justifications put forward in anthroposophical literature are missing the developmental needs of babies. As soon as the child is independent in the sense that s/he can get to where they want to be and ask for what they need, then I am more supportive of the anthroposophical approach and I think there is much wisdom there.

Weaning a baby at 6-9 months as his spiritual needs recquire him to be independent of the maternal forces of inheritance, giving him a good start in life to be a strong independent person just boggles my mind. Authors who suggest this are obvisouly not up to date with the significance of extended breastfeeding when it comes to developing the immune system and protecting the infant. I was absolutely floored to read that while breastfeeding does offer superior nutrition and it is relaxing and comforting for mother and child, on a spiritual level it is not the right thing to be doing for a modern baby with a modern conciousness. How can someone recommend weaning when it makes abundant sense to breasfeed as it is superior nutrition and it is meeting the emotional needs of the child. How can you turn your back on those truths for the possibility that spiritually it is not a good idea. That just seems ludicrous to me. If physically and emotionally it makes sense, I personally would want a lot more evidence of just how potentially dangerous breastfeeding can be on a spiritual level. So, here is a mother who is most decidedly not weaning her child any time soon, and definitly not for any spiritual reason. (I realise I may eat my words one day 😉 )

On the crying issue.

Joan suggests leaving a child to cry as it is not really distressed, not like an adult who is wracked with grief and cannot be comforted. As soon as you comfort the baby s/he stops crying and this is proof that they are not really that distressed. Again, my heart just plummeted. I am still not sure how to get my head around this. It really is just unbelievable that someone could justify ignoring the cries of a baby as it will stop when you pick them up and is therefore not that serious! Again, I have to just be thankful for my child that I have had the sense not to do what I have read/been told (that pretty much goes for any book and any person). I cannot fathom how this can be in line with the developmental needs of a baby. I get that it is hard as a parent to have a crying infant. I have been there, admittedly only with one, but I was there for 16 weeks of daily crying that did not stop no matter what I did. But for an approach that claims to be child centered and in tune with the developmental needs of children, I have to say that ignoring a babies cry is not in line with it’s developmental needs.

And lastly, sleep.

I think that where a child sleeps in a cultural expression. This post does not have the scope to go into the history of the family bed, but it is worth noting that it is relatively new that babies get their own bedrooms and are expected to go to sleep alone. I personally am wary of this drive to make babies independent before their time. They need us, our love and our attention. Emotionally and physically they are relying on us – and it is not enough to have good intentions. It helps. But an intention is meaningless to a baby. You as a parent need to respond appropriately and honestly.

As a final word. This rant may come across as passionate. It is. I am passionate about the care of babies and the power of the mother baby entity.

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Stranger

I am starting to think more about our future as a family and the options we have for education. I would love for DS (and any siblings) to attend a Waldorf school, although I am not closed to other options – it is familiar and much more in line with how I see child development than anything I have seen in public schools here in Israel. And having come from an anthroposophical home with a father as a respected teacher and a mother as the respected burser for the school for over 25 years – I am used to be the respected daughter and being welcomed into the fold so to speak. So it came as a shock to me to be treated as a member of the public – with a hesitant, non-welcoming attitude. To be honest I really am not sure what to make of it. Perhaps I need to reasses what my expectations are, but I expected to be welcomed more warmly. It feels weird to be not embraced and accepted. I am certainly not a die hard anthroposophist and I do not plan to study anthroposophy, but I entertain fantasies of bringing my background in OT and Waldorf together…And I think I have a lot to offer in bridging these two worlds…. I just do not know where to start, beyond my fantasies

Anyway, I a still gardening up a storm and want to upload some more photos.

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It’s coming together

I have just received my copy of Mothering magazine and have read an article about ‘real boys play with dolls’. Well, I read the article to my DH. Both of us loved it for different reasons.

I am so excited about being a parent, about being one of the people who is there for my son to open the door into our world – to show him the beauties and wonders of our world. To guide him towards a love of the world and all of creation. I hope to model respect and gratitude and through this give my son (and our family as it grows) the tools to build a good and honest life….. such lofty hopes.

I grew up in an Anthroposophical home and was educated in a Waldorf school. One criticism of anthroposophists that I could identify with, was that they had such high ideals and they were not in touch with the reality of life. I do not want to fall into this trap. I would love for my ‘lofty hopes’ to guide me, not bind me. To inspire me, not trap me. I guess this is largely where the beauty of life is gathered, in this meeting of hopes for the future and the reality of the moment. I would love to buy only organic, sustainable, fair trade etc toy, food, cleaning products, clothes, hygiene etc. I would LOVE to. However, it is not realistic with me being a SAHM and us having one salary to support the family. Compromises have to be made. I try not to let that undermine my hope and optimism. For me it is more important to be at home with my boy and compromise on some of our commodities than have the money to support the best decision, but not have lived my dream of being a SAHM. This is my choice.

What also got me thinking, is the counseling session that DH and I have just come home from. The issues of being authentic, of being powerful, of not smudging and not building fairy tales are all issues that are drumming in my soul. Our therapist, who was my therapist for some years, remarked at how powerful I have become. And I feel that power. Becoming a mother and listening to my heart and my body and making choices that are informed and powerful are changing my daily experience of myself and my world. I feel myself blossoming (for lack of a better word) and I feel a confidence that I have always known is lurking deep down but had not found it’s mouth piece. Motherhood is helping me voice this confidence and finally express my hidden parts. No longer do I feel like I need to appologize for who I am. And this is no small statement.

I think I can honestly say that becoming a mother has totally changed and revolutionized my life and brought me back to myself. Yes, I CRAVE sleep. And I wish there was something that could substitute me when DS is glued to me 24/7…. just for 15 minutes to drink my coffee or write down and out what I am experiencing.

So. it is starting to come together in my mind and heart as I begin to get an inkling of the power that is being unleashed through my journey into motherhood. This is very potent stuff.

My heart goes out to all the mothers around the world making the choices and decisions to best suit them and their families – and now I need to go to sleep.

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