It Takes a Village

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published April 20, 2008, but its immortal message continues to ring true today, more so than ever in this ever-increasing Internet Age.

API Support GroupWe’ve all heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and it is still true, even in these modern days of computers, mobile phones, dial-a-pizza and TV on demand. In fact, I would say now, more than ever, we all need our little village.

Before our daughter was born, I never really thought much about how isolated our lives had become. After her arrival, I started to actively seek out a village for her. We moved closer to my parents and sisters, back to the town I grew up in. I started going to mother-and-baby groups, La Leche League meetings and other breastfeeding support groups, sling-meets, anything really where babies were, hoping to find like-minded mothers who shared our way of parenting.

And I started to realize that the village is needed, not so much for the little baby, but to support the parents–to help and nurture them. In doing so, the parents can be free and feel confident raising their little baby, learning about all her little quirks and celebrating this new little life.

I began to realize that a village doesn’t have to be a physical location. I tentatively began to wander around online forums and entered the wonderful world of blogging. I’m a computer programmer by trade. Before I started on my parenting path, the Internet had always been a work tool, a research or holiday planning guide. Now I began to see a different aspect to it.

Very quickly, I found like-minded people, mothers who breastfed past six months, parents who coslept, fathers who were wholeheartedly involved in parenting, parents who believed in gentle discipline and, best of all, parents who admitted that, yes, their babies didn’t sleep through the night and that it was okay, they would in their own time. I found a name for our parenting beliefs: Attachment Parenting.

And I made friends.

I hadn’t really believed that you could make friends online before this. But you can, and you often share a lot more with these friends than with the person who lives next door to you. So with these discoveries my online, worldwide village began to grow. It has been a huge support for me.

I know when I’m lying awake feeding my teething daughter for the 10th time during the night in the middle of winter, that my friend in Australia is awake playing with her daughter in a beautiful summer’s day. At the same time, my friend in England is probably also awake, feeding her daughter as she is also teething at the moment. Maybe the women I know in America are only getting ready to go to bed now and are nursing their children to sleep or reading just one more story. Or it might be bathtime or dinnertime. But it is good to know that we’re all there, busy parenting our little ones as they go about the busy business of growing up.

Locally I have met many wonderful mothers and fathers, many of whom do not share my parenting approach. Some are still breastfeeding; some react with amusement when they see my 17 month old nursing. Some cosleep; most do not. Many have sleep-trained their babies; most react with shock when I mention that my daughter doesn’t sleep through the night. Several of them practice gentle discipline; many do not. Many gasp when they see me carrying my daughter in a sling; some happily show me their own slings! But each of them has a child whom they love, and this love brings us all together into a little village so that our children will have friends and so that we can sit down with a cup of tea and chat aimlessly for a while as the children play.

Both my real-life village and my online global village are very important to me. They both nurture and support me, in very different ways. I sought out my online village as I needed to connect with other people with similar parenting beliefs. I sought out my local village so that my daughter would have a community. And I have made friends in both villages, both with people I have everything in common with and with people I have almost nothing in common with!

While my daughter reaps the benefits of our real-life village, playing joyfully with all her friends, and I enjoy a nice cup of tea and a chat, I am also happy in the knowledge that if I need advice–or a moan–I can go to my online community and get help, real help, where the other parents understand why we parent the way we do, how it can have its difficulties, but also how it can be full of joy! It feels good to know that there are other people who feel the same way you do, who are raising their children in a similar way, who are creating secure and compassionate families. It is great to be able to ask for help and have other people give you advice that comes from the same parenting beliefs. Attachment Parenting International’s many online resources are opportunities for us all to add a few new friends to our global online villages.

Looking to connect with more AP-minded parents? Read more than six years’ worth of parents’ stories here on APtly Said, begin sharing in the API Neighborhood or start following discussions on API Reads, for starters. And don’t forget to check out if there’s a local API Support Group near you–to add to your real-life AP village.

Half Pint Pixie

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API Blog (306 Posts)

APtly Said, Formerly API Speaks launched in April of 2008 as part of Attachment Parenting International's larger effort to offer interactive content through their newly-redesigned web site: http://www.attachmentparenting.org. All contributors to APtly Said, as with so many of API's staff, are volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote Attachment Parenting world wide.


Author: API Blog

APtly Said, Formerly API Speaks launched in April of 2008 as part of Attachment Parenting International's larger effort to offer interactive content through their newly-redesigned web site: http://www.attachmentparenting.org. All contributors to APtly Said, as with so many of API's staff, are volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote Attachment Parenting world wide.

0 thoughts on “It Takes a Village”

  1. I totally know what you mean about having an online community and a physical community! We have been lucky enough to move to a small town that not only has lots of young children, but lots of AP families too.

    We feel so lucky to be here, but I still rely on all my online buddies who have taken every step of my parenting journey with me and look forward to continuing to have two communities to support us!

    🙂 Julie
    http://www.chezartz.com

  2. Hey there IRL friend Julie, and virtual friend, HPP! Small and wonderful AP world! If it were not for the villages you mention, I’m not sure where we’d be. The Maxling has rocked. our. world. But we’ve been blessed by the amazing support – physically here and virtually there every day. So grateful for your blog especially, my vegan, globe-trotting, Mama friend 🙂

  3. Ths is a great post, and so true. Some of my “real life friends” are great people and loving parents, but don’t practice AP. It is nice to have vitrual friends who share similar values too, for that important support system.

  4. Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree. This is very, very little support for AP in my real-life village. In fact, were it not for the AP communities online, I might have lost my mind in those earliest months of mothering. I am thrilled API is taking the online community a step further with this blog.

    Great post, mama!

  5. Lovely post HPP. I too am eternally grateful for my online support group – especially during particularly long nights!

    Summer is fading fast here now though, so perhaps it is starting to warm up over there for you?

  6. Pixie, I wouldn’t know if I was on the right path in some occasions,if we hadn’t this support group. You ladies keep me strong.Thanks for this wonderful post!

  7. I’m incredibly fortunate to have the real-life village in the form of my family and close friends in addition to the wonderful AP folks online.

    Through my work as a doula and parent educator i’m trying to help other moms and families create their villages and support systems…sharing these blogs is a great way to get them started on their AP journey!

    Thanks for sharing!

  8. You are so right. There is nothing more valuable than a village of parents, right at your fingertips. There has never been a better time to be a parent, than now, when you can reach out, any time day or night, and get answers and help when you need it.

    Thank you for sharing this, it is good to remember how connected we all truly are.

  9. fabulous post, HPP. 🙂
    i feel blessed to have found such a supportive online village as well as real-life village. the encouragement and support i’ve received over the years is invaluable.
    i’m glad to have you as a part of my village. 🙂

  10. Thanks for this post HPP! This is SO where we are at right now. We have been away from our IRL village and I’ve not been able to be that active in our OLV much this year either and it’s definitely taking a toll on me. We are trying right now to weigh the benefits of moving back to where family is but really longing to get back to where we truly want to be. Trying now to also find the balance that allows me to tap back in to my OLV so that I can connect that way again too. Your post is perfect timing for me bc it’s good to know that others have had to make big sacrifices in certain ways just to provide that village for their families too. Thanks a bunch!! 🙂

  11. I have no real life village anymore because I now live very far away from my friends and family, and dont speak the language here either. I’m so grateful to have discovered this virtual village. It is very isolating staying at home with my lil angel, but I wouldnt trade it for the world. It is a comfort to find others who share how I feel about being a mom.

  12. Hi everyone, I’m delighted you all enjoyed my thoughts! You’ve all been a great support to me in our little ever-expanding online village, thanks 🙂

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