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