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You’re listening to the slumber party podcast with your host Amanda Jewson, a mom of two girls, a child and infant sleep expert and general sleep lover. If you’re a tired parent who is desperate for answers, or just someone who loves sleep, this podcast was created just for you. Each episode is packed full of tips and tricks to help you maintain your sanity, as well as your social life during the early stages of parenthood. So grab your headphones, it’s time to get comfy.
Okay, hello. Welcome everyone to the slumber party podcast. I’m Amanda juice, and I am here today with best Bethany Saltman, I’ve done this every time I want to say Bethany, which isn’t even a name. But Bethany, who wrote strange situation, a book that I became aware of a few weeks ago, and I was like, Oh, I feel like this is right up my alley. And then I opened it. And then that’s all I did. Like, I ignored my family for the weekend. So I’d like to know your thoughts on that? No, no, but I was dying, I’m dying to have you on as a sleep person, as someone who helps people sleep independently. Often, many of my clients struggle with that part. And what is often the the pole between, I’m not, I can’t do this, I can’t do the like cosleeping thing that I’ve been told is like wonderful and revolutionary, and this great thing for me and my baby, I’m not really doing it well. But also, like, I’m afraid of the damage that I’ll do to our attachment, right, and this idea of attachment. And so a lot of the work that I do with my clients is actually breaking down attachment theory, in you do such a beautiful job in this book, both of weaving your personal story that I resonated very personally with, and actual attachment theory. Um, and so I would love for you to kind of just jump in and give us a little sample of your journey and why you decided to write this very important book.
Sure, well, first of all, thank you so much for having me, it is my pleasure to be here and talking to you and all of the moms and dads out there who are struggling with sleep, but also just with being parents, and you know, finding that a challenging journey. And it’s wonderful that they have people like you to be, you know, giving them resources and support. So that’s really wonderful. When my daughter Azalea was born 15 years ago. I’m sure there were things like that, but Well, I wasn’t on Instagram until last year. Oh, I don’t know what Instagram was doing. I don’t think it was even a thing.
I don’t think so either.
Yeah. But um, yeah. So it’s, it’s wonderful that parents have so many resources now. And I’m happy to be a part of that. And I’m honored in fact, so yeah, I mean, gosh, you know, my, my journey began. I mean, where does anything begin, but we’ll say, when my daughter Isabella was born 15 years ago, and I had been practicing Buddhism for many years and was, you know, had been in therapy and was a writer, a poet, a feminist, etc, all the things and really considered myself a pretty mindful person. And, and i and i think that i thought that when I became a mother, I would become a mindful person who was also incredibly patient and tolerant, and and I really thought that this maternal magic would happen, and I would not, you know, sometimes I hear people talk about feeling like they are supposed to know what to do. And it wasn’t so much that it was more like I didn’t know how to be. I didn’t know how, I mean, I loved my daughter, there was, you know, luckily, there, there wasn’t an issue there or was so called bonding or anything like that. But I, I just didn’t know, like what to do with her and I didn’t know how to be in that relationship. And I found it really difficult. And, yeah, you know, I’m trying to be respectful of the fact that she’s in the house. You know, I thought really challenging to to to my sense of self and who I was and what I like to do and how I like to spend my time and then I felt frustrated, and you’re ball and angry a lot present.
Did you have an understanding of attachment theory before you had azalia? Okay, now I know you go ahead. Sorry.
I don’t know just that. No, I had absolutely no,
nothing. Well, and I really distinctly my remember my introduction to attachment parenting specifically, which I really getting is not attachment science. Exactly. Attachment Parenting is a style of parenting. And I just remember being a new parent, I had gone to all natural birthing classes. And because I wanted a medic, medication free birth, and I’ve said this on this podcast a million times, it’s not for any reason other than I’m really scared of needles, like I’m going to get this vaccine, but I’m afraid of the needle. Still, and I didn’t want it out. epidural, a truly that’s it. The end. And so I went to a natural birth class, which the instructor was lovely, and then said, okay, all of you parents here, I invite you to my mom’s group after and I was like, What a great idea. I remember showing up this is just so hilarious in my mind now is a more experienced parent, but I show up. I have Winnie who’s my daughter in her car. See, I take her out, I’d like set up this like little play mat in front of her. She’s maybe like a month old. And I’m like, holding her and then I fed her and then I put her down. And she’s like, no Malala. And I remember I’ll never forget it. I’m in the class. And I think, Wow, look at me. She’s down there. She’s so happy. And I am like, champion mom right now. Like, she’s so great. She feels totally comfortable not on me. I’m then realizing through the conversation, as we’re going around, that everyone is like, I remember this mom being like, I’m really struggling with the idea that my child has to be on me all day, and I can’t have a shower. And I remember being like, Who says that they have to be on you. Like, I didn’t know that. And then I realized what was happening that these parents were subscribing to this style of parenting. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t even know that this was the thing. I stopped going to the class because I felt like, to be fair, it didn’t isolate me, but I was doing okay, mentally. And I felt like an odd number of the parents weren’t and I felt like a bit of an asshole coming on and being like, I do a great look at this little chat. Just stop going. Yeah, but that can be I did remember leaving being like, Ha, I’m not doing that. And there was a lesson moment.
Yeah, I mean, you’re not doing the that attachment parenting thing that you were just being introduced to in that moment?
Yeah, I had no idea. And then I started to wonder, Oh, is this something I should be doing? And the more I looked into it, I was like, I, I know that I can’t do that. So I’m just she’s gonna have to deal with things now. And things are going well and so I didn’t really put much thought into it until you know, later on when you start to learn about you know, these attachments and you know, potentially all of these harmful ongoing side effects of not having this great detachment with your child and having had my own personal trauma history, it did become something that I worried about frequently and you you go on that journey in your book as well.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, no and so when it really was born, I mean, I guess it was just before she was born, I started to hear about Dr. Sears and attachment parenting and and i thought it seemed pretty cool. Because I am someone who I am allergic to gear. I hate having any like stuff around so you know, the idea of wearing my child and nursing and co sleeping all of that seemed grapes, it would just be the last stuff in the house. So it turned out that you know, I loved wearing his anus thing. I weren’t listening to her in an air go like a character. She was like six basically. And what I just couldn’t carry her anymore. And co sleeping did not work for us, any of us. Breastfeeding did I loved that. But the premise upon which Sears is talking about is just incorrect. You know, and I would learn that later that that what he’s talking about, like you said, these are all styles that have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a child is securely attached and he’s taking science and hijacking it in order to make people think that his style is the one and only way And he has his own agendas for that. And he has his reasons and it’s pretty uncool, in my opinion, and he’s kind of falling out of favor, I think so that’s, that’s good. But But the idea of, you know, this, this fear around attachment is very much alive. And with us, you know, and, and my journey was very much about worrying that Azalea was not going to be securely attached, because I figured, because I had learned, you know, just enough to be dangerous, you know, that expression. Dan Siegel book, parenting from the inside out, that you know, what’s going on inside of you is being passed down to your child. I bet that because I knew what I had been through and I didn’t want my child who I loved so much to have to suffer the way I had an I just assumed that my suffering was due to an insecure attachment. figured, well, I had all these issues with relationships, I was a, you know, like a love addict, and, and more and, you know, dad was a delinquent teen, you know, all these things that seemed on the surface to describe an insecure attachment. Well, turns out that’s true. And, you know, after this big long journey that I went on, and did all these trainings, and got the some of the some of the things the evaluations done on me. And so I learned that I actually am a securely attached adult, which was the biggest mind blower of my life. And that’s but that’s not the end of the story. That’s the middle of the story, the end of the story is me having a better understanding of what attachment actually means. And what it means is valuing attachment, and valuing connection and valuing relationship, it doesn’t mean you never get into trouble. It doesn’t mean you don’t suffer, it doesn’t mean you don’t screw up, it doesn’t mean that you’re not human, it means that you have feelings and that you can deal with your feelings and you can move within your feelings. And this is a radical shift from the way we are conditioned to a think of ourselves as human beings, particularly women. And to think about attachment, you know, everybody is so caught up in fear as I was, you know, this isn’t a judgment. Yeah. Yeah. Secure or not secure, as though it’s like this precipice you’re gonna fall into and can never get out. And women are so we are just, you know, fed shame, day in day out as a way to keep us in line. And this is another way that patriarchy is keeping women away from their power.
Oh, my god, you’re hitting all of the notes for me right now. Okay, so yes, I always call like, my biggest criticism of the thing I’m gonna lose, like followers for this, but my biggest criticism of attachment parenting is that it’s attachment, mothering, it’s not attachment, parenting, it, these are often responsibilities that are left to the mother to do co sleep body where, you know, it’s just like, all literally, we are asking so much of a woman’s physical body, which has never been how we raised children. It’s never been in isolation, with the responsibility being on one woman. It’s just, it’s it’s insane. Literally. Literally on one woman, like you just can’t do that, and especially in our modern life. And you know what, what a lot of people will send me No, go away. Yeah.
I just wanted to also, because what you’re saying is so true. It’s so important. It’s not attachment, parenting and attaching attachment mother was also not attachment, mothering, its clinging, mother. Yes, yeah. And so from a Buddhist view, we talked about attachment as what happens when we cling. And attachment is what happens when we aren’t aware when we’re not in the groove of the impermanence of all things, everything that arise, falls, and this is true of every single thing, you know, in our lives, and we get into trouble we suffer from a Buddhist perspective, when we cling and when we try to keep things static. And that is so so you know, from a psychological point of view, a secure attachment is a healthy thing. From a Buddhist point of view attachment is the thing is the source of our suffering. So when I hear attachment, parenting, or attachment, mothering, as you put it, I think, yeah, it’s actually clinging. clinging to a certain state of mind and trying to create an experience as opposed to just you know, relax
and you You know, this is all all not to say. And I think you would agree. And you know, from what I read in your book and on your own Instagram, I think we do agree is that it’s not to say that attachment parenting styles are wrong, if that is what you really are excited about doing. And it brings out the best in you. And it’s like, Oh, I love doing this. I love co sleeping like, Oh my gosh, have attr I really think that we need to be encouraging a parenting style where you are, it feels like a breath of fresh air, whatever it is, it feels like you’re living your truth. Yes. And your kids will feel that, you know, just like I can’t say everyone should sleep train. Everyone should absolutely not sleep train. Absolutely not. But there are a way there are ways to do it. And what I really loved. So I love that you talk about Dan Siegel, because Dan Siegel wrote the foreword in your book as well. And that’s like, like, no big deal. Good job on that.
Like, I’m in all of my sleep work, do you know, I have like, what would Dan Siegel do in my head at all times. And one day, I will write a book. And if he does my forward, I will feel very accomplished in my life. So I think Yeah, you know,
Unknown Speaker 16:29
you say that he would be supportive of you as a mom. That’s what he does.
Yeah, he’s Yeah. He is amazing. And I always refer to his work in my work as well, for that reason. Yeah, it and I felt like one of the things that you come to at the end as well, is that, that I didn’t know or understand is that attachment is like something that’s evolving, and that you can change, maybe change is not the right word. But as you heal, you can attach to different people, caregivers, which I think is actually you know, I don’t know, you have some pretty cool thing. So you kind of glossed over this a little bit. But in your book, you kind of get in with like the scientists doing the top notch research on this, and you’re like, Hi, I want and I want to and tell me what you’re doing. And they’re just so open to you, which is amazing, and, and fully underscores the message like if you want something, just ask. And so you get to do all of these experiments, you get all of this knowledge that nobody else gets. And as a result of this, you get to know things that many people don’t know about themselves, including, what was your attachment. Like, as a child, there’s a whole process to figure this out. I did get to the end of the book. And you know, I went from, I don’t think I had a secure attachment with my mother. But I did have a secure attachment with my grandmother. And that actually, I think was really healthy and kept me going. So yeah, I mean, you jump in?
Why? No, I mean, you’re right. I love that you brought that out, because one of the big messages of my book is if you want something, ask and then never give up. I mean, because I asked and asked and asked, asked and asked. And, you know, so yes, there’s all the attachment stuff, and there’s the book writing stuff. And but there’s also just, you know, and one of the qualities of having a secure attachment is this grit. And, you know, but we can reverse engineer these things. And this is what I talked to people about all the time when they’re reading their books, and you’re just like in life, that it goes both ways. So if if a secure attachment is what you’re after, and a secure attachment, someone who has a secure attachment tends to be more more able to be in the present, more able to tell a coherent story, more able to observe and and, you know, correctly report upon what they’re seeing in their environment, and more able to have connected relationships with others. Oh, if if a attachment if a secure attachment is what you’re after, you can reverse engineer it and just start trying to do all those things. Take a writing class, get into therapy, really prioritize your relationships. start to notice how you’re a workaholic and perhaps you’re trying to get your your needs met through external means. All these ways that we are avoiding the pain of not having our needs met. Yeah, you know when we do this over a lifetime It creates a certain kind of karmic experience. And we just repeat, repeat, repeat. So yes, we can absolutely change our orientation in our attachment through our present day work. This is utterly true. And we can all start right now. And one of the main ways that this is that we do this is through valuing attachment. It’s like this crazy, you know, cycle a. And so valuing our relationships, spending time with the people that we love working on our relationships. You know, these are, these are the things that create and maintain a secure attachment throughout generations. In fact,
I love that so much. And I feel like that’s such an important and empowering message for for mothers that that, you know, I I think about my own personal journey, I also thought, in all fairness, my daughter came out and I was a way better parent than I thought I was going to be to an infant. I’ve always said, like, I want children, I want children six plus I and I didn’t know how I was going to do with the baby stage. And I loved it. Breastfeeding came easily. But then she became a toddler. And I actually really struggled with that. The opposition of her and then I wasn’t dealing with that well, and then that’s where my fears and everything came out. I mean, I had a whole ton of things that I need to unpack in therapy, one of the most, like, aha, over the head moments for me as I’m sitting in therapy. And my therapist asked me, What do you think your children think or feel when you were anxious? And I said in in 100%, certainty, I said, No, they don’t know I’m anxious. I don’t talk about it in front of them. And she said, No, they absolutely know that you were anxious your children feel you. And one of the lines that she said when you are well, Amanda, your children are well, and that was just if that’s not the wake up call that you need to like, be like, Okay, I have to do things for me. That feel really good. So my children feel really good. That means sleep, that means not baby wearing, or it can mean co sleeping, it can mean baby weight. It’s
Unknown Speaker 22:35
It’s like you need to do that. You just need to be honoring thyself to Honor thy children.
Right, but we’re so conditioned to think that that’s being selfish. It’s just a craziest
upside down. Not burger thing.
jerky at work.
Yeah, we should you know that. And, and I say this to moms, you know, every single day. If you can’t take care of yourself for yourself. Do it for your kids.
The women are doing it for themselves.
I’m Yes, he brought me back to a point where I was like, Oh, crap, I forgot it. And now it’s back. We have to be I have questions about people who create these parenting books and these these mothering guides written by men. I mean, I don’t want to see I’m gonna get myself into trouble. There is a breastfeeding person here in Canada that is very well renowned, who I’ve heard not wonderful stories about, and is very, very, very, very breastfeeding forward. I know mothers who is especially my clients who are literally like killing themselves to make this happen. They’re not sleeping. They’re up 10 times a night pumping. They are and it’s just like non stop. Like, I breastfed both of my girls, I love breastfeeding. You can also breastfeed and sleep train. I’m very breastfeeding friendly. But when it comes to the point where you are, are doing crazy things to make that happen. Who are we doing that? For? Who Who are we doing that for? Is it and then again, it goes back to women’s bodies? Who has control over that? Who’s running the narrative about women’s bodies?
Yeah, no, it’s really it is like the final frontier of patriarchal conditioning, because it is, oh, deep inside of us. Look, I’m all for nursing and breastfeeding. And I’m all for I mean, all of it, you know, but the reason why I call it clinging parenting and attachment parenting, is because of exactly what you’re talking about. It becomes life or death identity. Mm hmm. And that is the source of our suffering, we are clinging to something that is no longer effective, or relevant or important, you know, like, not life or death for babies. It’s not No, no. Is it an indication of secure or insecure attachment? It is not an answer. If one of the kings of this whole world has said that, you know, it’s better to bottle feed an infant with love in your eyes. I mean, this isn’t a direct quote, then be you know, frustratingly trying to stick your breasts in your baby’s mouth.
Absolutely. I and I love that. And I, that’s a really powerful statement. And you know, there’s definitely going to be a mom listening to this in that moment. It is worth, I mean, I refer to one lactation consultant only who calls herself a feeding consultant, because she helps people feed their babies, whether through boobs, or bottles. And I’m like, Yes, that’s what we need. That’s exactly what we need. Okay, I feel like we could talk about this forever. I always say that this podcast, I like to keep it to the length of a crap nap, which is about 25 to 30 minutes. So you can like get through it while you’re like doing something in your house. The book is a strange situation. Now it just came out in paperback in the US. I don’t know if it’s out in paperback.
yet. It’s coming out in paperback. But you are. And you know, I read we haven’t really talked about sleep at all. So we should do we should do another one of these talk about sleep.
I would love to well, and you you have a whole section in your book. It’s sure but you do talk about your own experience with sleep. I don’t think you’re very prescriptive on purpose. And but that’s, but I also think like, we need to see I like to see your journey through that. So I don’t want to ruin it for people either. I want people to go and read this book. I found it very healing. So thank you. And I hope that everyone who reads it feels the same. And I’m also had my goal was not to cry in this podcast and I didn’t so
I crying is good.
I love crying too. But I’m an ugly crier and this is unfilmed but i when i when i am. So I love listening to books. I do an hour long walk every morning especially from the pandemic so I listened to your book. And I was like walking down. I live in Stratford, Ontario walking down the river, crying being like, and I was even doing this. Oh, like, people thought I was losing my mind that impactful. So good. I can’t recommend the book enough. Where can people find out more about you?
I have a website Bethany Saltman calm. And I am on Instagrams that the pandemic got me on the gram. And that’s Bethany underscore Saltman. And I’m having a ball there actually. And Yay, like you. So, yeah, so those are the two places and actually I run a I offer a free study group on the second Tuesday of every month on Mary Ainsworth secret teachings, where we talk about her really hardcore deep attachment work that nobody ever talks about. And it’s for an hour and a half. And it’s from two to 330. Eastern, it’s incredible. The people who are on there are therapists and moms and researchers and experts, and it’s and we just nerd out and we talk a lot about a lot about sensitivity not just to your baby but to yourself.
I think I’m gonna join this. So that’s for me really going
for you to be there. You will love it.
There was something Oh, yeah, I was going to say spoiler alert. Mary Ainsworth has a Canadian history.
I was so I was like, Oh my gosh, this is like a little shout out. And did you raise? Your mother is Canadian? Did I imagine that right?
Yes, my mother is Canadian. She’s from a little town in Ontario. Oliphant.
Oh, I don’t even know what it is.
No, no, I’m sorry. It’s wiarton. She’s from wiarton. My mom had all of it.
Yeah. Oh, my goodness.
Yeah, yeah. So Mary Ann’s was actually was born in United States, but she moved to Toronto when she was young and went to the University of Toronto. And yeah, she was Canadian ish. Yeah.
Canadians just can’t help themselves either and be like, Oh, I heard your mother’s best friend’s daughter’s dog is Canadian. We’d be like, yeah, it is true. Look at us.
He’s an amazing attachment researcher and he’s Canadian.
Oh, look at us. We’re just sitting over here just given it.
Really are you?
Amanda 30:28 Well, it was a pleasure. As always, folks, you can find me at babies best sleep calm on Instagram @babysbestsleep. Please share your thoughts on this episode on YouTube. Go ahead and write a review on iTunes. But most importantly, get a good night’s sleep. Have a good one everyone. See you later.