You may be wondering what qualifications I have to make me the sort of person who feels they can write about parenting. To tell you the truth, I often wonder that myself about anyone who claims to be a ‘parenting expert’ unless they’re a child psychologist or something very clever like that. Still, parenting is much more than just knowing how children tick.
So why me? Well, with regard to breastfeeding, I was an NCT trained breastfeeding counsellor for over five years, before resigning recently to concentrate on supporting parents in other ways; and a breastfeeding peer supporter for three years before that – making over eight years of breastfeeding support experience. This means that I am trained and experienced in using counselling skills to offer support to parents and parents-to-be to help them make the feeding decisions that they feel are right for them and their family.
Obviously this is primarily with regard to breastfeeding, but the same principles apply to all aspects of parenting – trying to think outside the box, gathering evidence and ideas, listening to your heart, and not choosing to do things just because everyone else does them or tells you to do them.
I am passionate about presenting information in a non-judgemental, empathic manner and believe strongly in the value of diversity in parenting. My aim is to encourage parents to question advice that they receive, and to consider it carefully within the context of the uniqueness of their own family.
I live in Gloucestershire with my husband and four daughters, aged between 3 and 9 years old so, as you might expect, I also have a lot of first-hand experience of applying the same principles to my own family, sometimes feeling like we lurch from one problem to another: just as we work one out, another one presents itself to us. But we carry on, living and learning and loving the seemingly endless challenges life with children throws at us. You can follow me on Twitter: @ClareKirkp and read my writing website at http://clarekirkpatrick.wordpress.com