Wednesday, February 27, 2008

what would faustina do??

Since getting pregnant, we have started to think more specifically what type of parents we want to be. I have also been stressing about gathering all the equipment, gear and stuff that babies seats, strollers, crib, cradles, pack and play, swings, bouncer chairs, bottles, changing table, clothes, baby toys, monitor, custom quilts, boppy, carriers, diapers, wipes, just to name a few.

What would Faustina do? This is a questions I ask myself a lot these day. Faustina is an amazing mother of 5 who lives in Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan, Guatemala. I first met Faustina when I was on a BYU Anthropology Field Study in the summer of 2000. I lived with her and her family in a small Mayan village in the Guatemalan highlands. Faustina and I became good friends and I have returned to visit her her several times. I took Lonnie to met Faustina in May of 2005.

Faustina does not have a lot of material possessions. She lives in a very small adobe home and cooks her meals on an open fire. I am quite certain that her children never had any of the list of the things that I consider necessary for a baby. Yet she manged to raise her beautiful, happy children. Of course, many of the things available to me will make my life easier and the babies lives safer. Also, Faustina lived in a different type of society than we live in; her sisters, mother, and extended family all live within feet of her home and all took part in raising and watching over her children. Still, it seems like we become convinced that we need so much stuff in order to have a baby living in our home. So where is the balance? What do we really need? What can we do without? How do we find the balance between consumerism and necessity? Can all of that baby equipment distract us from the actual baby and deny our natural abilities as mothers?


  1. i love you, i love your thoughts.

  2. Alisa, I just clicked on your blog to check on you and I LOVE YOUR POST. (But then I would.) I will not post my own long list of "crazy stuff" here (or what I think is crazy) but I will say that with Child #1 I toted around a HUGE diaper bag full of "stuff" and by the time Child #3 arrived last year I didn't even own a diaper bag. Seriously.

    I really recommend the book "Milk, Money & Madness" by Baumslag & Michels. It's about breastfeeding but covers a lot of ground. You are smart to be thinking through this, esp with two on the way. Angela in Kansas City

  3. Alisa,
    You are awesome. I am touched that in the mist of all your craziness, you are pausing to give thought to what is really important. I felt humbled by the story of your friend and think that we can all learn from her example.In regard to all the baby stuff remember,
    "less is more". Get the stuff that you really need and add to it as you go along. Some children hate babyswings etc. We never used a diaper table. The bed and floor work great. All you really need is LOVE & DIAPERS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I liked your post - it made me think :-)!

  5. You are awesome Alisa. Would you be surprised to hear that I have held that conversation in my head a time or four? If you want to chat, give me a call!!

  6. hey alisa.

    I have to second the love and diapers comment. I was stressed about having everything I needed with shaelynn, but it turned out that we needed much less than I had anticipated.

    I think that having twins might mean that you need "more" and I'm not referring to diapers or clothes. You might need more furniture, bigger items, etc, in order to manage both of their needs as opposed to one. Maybe a diaper table will come in handy for storage purposes, who knows, whereas with one child the floor worked perfectly.

    If you're going to nurse, even if partially, I think a breastpump (an electric one) is a necessity, and would be even more so if I had twins.

    But overall, the commerce of babies has really gotten out of control, and it can be difficult to figure out what will help you and what will end up sitting around wasting space.

    Great discussion.

  7. I was checking back to see if you were announcing the baby's sex yet. Here in Nigeria the moms carry their babies the same way as Faustina, wrapped with a piece of cloth tied to their back. I get very nervous when they are riding that way on their motorbikes with no protection at all. But the babies always seem to be very content, carried that way close to their moms. We'll be in town for Easter, so if you're around, I'll be checking your size out in person. You look great!