A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

Kindness Begets Kindness

I often wonder how I will be able to continue with The Badass Breastfeeder Facebook page while maintaining my sanity and my good name. I feel the reasons for my frustration have been misunderstood. I am frustrated not only with trolls. I can delete their comments and ignore them. What has become difficult for me is seeing the gentle parents that have become the voice of this page alienate people who have differing views. We have been lucky to be given this opportunity to teach and pass on our information to others who may not know a gentler way to parent. I did not expect this page to become so big. I did not expect to be given the platform that I now have. But I have come to see this as an opportunity. An opportunity to educate people about gentle parenting. I fear that sometimes we trade in our opportunity to teach for the chance to engage in an internet argument. Don’t get me wrong, I have strong beliefs and I speak firmly about them, but what I have always been most proud of about this community is that we treat people with compassion. We share information to help parents make safer choices for their children, share our personal struggles and never speak down to anyone.

The Badass Breastfeeder logo

There seems to be a misunderstanding that “Badass” refers to being tough or overpowering. This could not be further from the truth. “Badass” refers to doing things that are difficult. We are Badass because we choose to do things that tend to be unpopular because we have done the research and know that it is the best thing for our children. We are Badass because what we do might bring us ridicule, but we do them anyway. We are Badass because in the most important of times we remain steadfast in our goal and our push to bring gentleness to those who have never experienced it.

I have seen an increase in ugliness here. An increase in choosing arguments over teaching moments. An increase in defensiveness over compassion. Maybe some people are not ready to learn, but that has never stopped us from trying. That has never led us to treat people with the ugliness which we tell them not treat their children. You are the voice of this page. You represent me and my mission when you speak on my page. You need to feel compelled to protect this space. I would like to clarify what my mission is so that in the future we can work better together.

My mission is to normalize breastfeeding and attachment parenting and to empower women to put down the baby books and connect with their natural maternal instincts. I believe that when women do this they will choose a parenting style akin to what we refer to as attachment parenting.

The Badass Breastfeeder's son.

The only way to empower someone, no matter who they are or what they have done, is to meet them with kindness and compassion. I am a social worker. I have been a therapist to parents and children. I have been a supervisor of employees. I can tell you with certainty that the single most effective way to help a person make changes in his or her behavior is to treat them gently, compassionately and empathetically. This is a public page where we have dedicated our time and energy to advocate for something we are all passionate about. We could kick everyone off who doesn’t agree with us, but then who are we advocating to? This is an advocacy page and therefore needs to be an open forum. (I have a private group with strict rules, but you will need to read the Facebook About section to find it). People are invited to the Facebook page to listen to what we have to say and we must allow them to hear it in their own time. Think about a difficult change that you have made in your life. Didn’t it take you awhile to gain the strength to make that change? Didn’t you resist at first? If someone is here engaging in a conversation, then we can see that as a sign that they were triggered. We pushed a button. The reality is that intense and aggressive arguing only pushes people further into their viewpoint, and an opportunity to connect is lost. We will not reach everyone and that is just something that we have to accept. We then have to recognize when to stop engaging and move our energy to a more accepting place.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, and son.
There are many people who were not held as babies, that were left to cry alone. These people are still lost and disconnected as adults. They might be lashing out at every opportunity. These are the people that need us the most. Who else is going to help them parent their children differently than they were parented? These people do not need to hear about all the things they have done wrong. They already know this, even though they might not say that in so many words. We need to provide them with the loveand nurturance that they didn’t get as babies so that they can feel more open to change.

This is a long and slow process. It is going to be a bumpy road. We can do this if we stick together. We need to have each other’s backs. Just as I need a plan for self-control you do too. You need to learn when to walk away when you are feeling that you cannot be gentle anymore. You need to walk away when you feel you are wasting your time. I need to make changes as well and I promise to do so. I will make these changes because I believe in our power to make significant change. I believe in the power of you.

While writing this post I found an article written by Kimberly Yvette Price for The Natural Parent Magazine. I love this article because she takes the ideas I speak about above and applies it to advocacy in general and ties it to Attachment Parenting International’s Eight Principles of Parenting. Check it out! Advocacy as an Art form: Principles of Being a Friend

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. what I love about you most is your passion, compassion, strength of character and kindness. you are the kind of person I would love to have as supervisor because you choose to more good than harm and you choose to reach out even when it seems like endless negativeness has taken over the world. your statement about adults who were left to cry as infants and are still lost and disconnected makes me deeply sad and because I wonder if I was left to cry it out alone. . . and I was raised in a family where it was NOT OK to be angry or show anger. I am watching my lovely grown daughter raise her son by attachment parenting – she and her husband are trying to over come their own attachment issues and I can see where all three of them are becoming more loving every day. Keep posting please, keep encouraging and teaching. Because even those of us who are now grandparents need your words of wisdom. With love and respect, Tina

  2. Well said. You’re a good person, doing right by your son and others. –J. Skalski

  3. Happy you decided to stay! This is perfectly written, I couldn’t agree more. thanks for clarifying to us all and making a return to help guide those who need it the most.

  4. Perfect. 🙂

  5. I’m glad that you’re sticking around 🙂 I just found you! My husband and I have four daughters all together (two of which are mine by blood). I am breastfeeding for the first time with my last child and I’m still figuring it out! (She’s 5 weeks old). I’m so glad you’re still here… I haven’t figured out this damn sling yet. 🙂

  6. beautifully written. I am new to breastfeeding and attachment parenting. I was not able to breastfeed my now 3 year old son and we did not do an attachment parenting approach with him. To be perfectly honest(please hear me out) I thought the idea was well for lack of a better word crazy but that was only because I was ignorant to what it really was and what it stood for. Now that i have been educated I am trying it out myself and I am happy to say that I can see the difference attachment parenting makes. I wish I would have given it a chance when my son was just a baby but I am using it with him now. It has been a struggle to “change my ways” I work hard at it everyday because it is best for my babies. thank you so much.

  7. Thank you Abby.

  8. Well said, and so glad you are back! I was missing seeing your posts on facebook!

  9. I couldn’t agree more, with everything you’ve said. Compassion, understanding and tact certainly seem to be missing from a lot of human interaction these days. However, one thing struck me so hard. The comment about people who were lost and confused. You see, my husband was breast fed AND left to cry alone in his crib, from the first night he was brought home. I have always believed this was one of the reasons that he is wandering alone and lost thru life.It’s interesting to see someone else say the same thing.

  10. Thank you. I have been struggling with getting pissed off at some long-time friends for their parenting choices. Your post made me realize that these people need me to be encouraging, not judgy. This came at the perfect time.

  11. Abby, we’re lucky to have you! Thank you for sharing your passion and empathy.

  12. I am glad you stayed. I just found your blog and Facebook page for the first time. 🙂

  13. Thank you. beautiful,so true x

  14. It sometimes takes everything in my power not to comment on other mothers choices especially the ones that I feel are not healthy for their children. Yet I am slowly coming realize this is my issue not theirs. Our children are born to us so we can learn more about ourselves and our relationship wit the world around us. Everyone has their own path in respect. We can’t force change upon people with criticism, It only leads to more defensiveness and anxiety. Everyones experience needs to unfold individually and change only truly occurs when people are ready. I find that at times mothers need to stay within the confines of what society has established in order to feel secure in their parenting. There is nothing wrong with this. Secure mothers = secure children and whether or not they breast feed, co-sleep or baby wear doesn’t seem to matter as much as the fact that they are supported even by those that don’t agree with them.

  15. Thank you, I admire your kindness. You make me feel motivated to continue breastfeeding my 2 month old. I can do it!! , I nursed my first child up to 1 year and 1 month and I plan to do the same with my second.

  16. I’m so very glad that you’ve decided to stay. It has been through your words of gentleness, kindness, and encouragement that I have found these things within myself. I am still making mistakes and sometimes it takes me longer than I would like to settle the feelings of anger, frustration, and worry, but I will continue to work on it. A friend of mine recently told me that I’ve become so “Zen” which is not a word that would have been used to describe me less than a year ago. Yet here I am, channeling my thoughts and feelings into positive outlets, recognizing how my baby is affected by my mood, and making a conscious effort to let go of things I cannot change and have no control over.

    I’m sorry that the negativity has grown so much. But know that we are still here to learn and teach and grow gently with you. We love you for all that you stand for and all the information you provide us. Thank you for doing what you do.

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