Individualism, Consumerism, and the Rejection of Nature
The obsession with individualism, consumerism, and the rejection of nature are three important factors in the degradation of personhood in our society. Individualism is linked to “success” of a person, which is usually defined by the number of dollars in his bank account. Obviously there are many issues with that, but I will speak about how this affects babies. From the start, modern mothers are told not to let the baby be too attached or dependent because they’ll grow up to be wimpy, insecure, and needy. The other side of this is that mothers somehow deserve not to be inconvenienced by their children because that would impede upon their own individuality. So we have all these contraptions and devices that make parenthood “easier” when it doesn’t have to be difficult in the first place. Giving babies and children objects instead of human connection may be a contributing factor to the major consumerism that literally devours us today. Along with the aforementioned is the rejection of nature. To be a successful individual, one must acquire nice things that usually make life so convenient that there is no real need to venture outside except for recreation. This attitude of living comfortably and being disconnected from nature carries into our parenting. A baby not spending much time outside is a negative aspect, but also the way we treat babies is called into question. We as mothers are so far from our primal instincts that we rely on books often written by men to tell us whether or not to respond to the baby’s cry, when to feed the baby, how often to hold the baby, where the baby should sleep, how long the baby should sleep at night, and more. Babies, on the other hand, are the most primal humans there are; so responding to their cues accordingly seems to make sense (they also don’t read baby care books). Babies are not born broken; there are no habits to be fixed. In the beginning, they do not know anything but their need for nourishment and human connection. Yes, it is convenient for the baby to sleep all night, but it’s simply not natural (Dr. Sears on Sleep). We need to start respecting babies’ utter vulnerability, not taking advantage of it. We also need to start respecting mothers’ God-given instinct to respond to their offspring instead of piling on the guilt with each “is she sleeping through the night” inquiry. I may write later about my severe derailment from the natural mothering track, but it’s still too painful to do so now, almost one year later. The attitude we have toward our children starting when they are babies is likely to carry into toddlerhood, childhood, and beyond. If leaving the baby in her crib to cry is the pattern parents begin with, it’s likely that will continue into childhood.