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December 06, 2005

Why are you called "Gentle" Christian Mothers?

by flowermama

Way back about nine years ago when I first got on the 'net hungrily searching for info about attachment parenting, there weren't really many (hardly any?) attachment parenting online resources that were particularly Christian in focus. I eventually decided to start a webring to help connect Christian AP moms, and I decided to call it "Gentle Christian Mothers."

I chose the name "Gentle" because the type of parenting I espouse sometimes goes by the name gentle parenting. I guess it's called that because. . . well, I guess because parents who parent in this style try and make choices that are gentle. *shrug* (Sorry my explanation is not more deep than that. LOL) They are choices we make because we are attachment parents, and some are more along the "natural parenting" side of things.

I really didn't have any grandiose ideas or long term thoughts about the name. As I mentioned, GCM started out as a webring. As I was thinking about what descriptive name to call the webring I was starting, I thought of "Gentle Christian Mothers" as a name that fit what I desired to be and what I believed in, and I knew there were other mothers like that out there, and I wanted to encourage them and help us find one another and support one another.

By choosing that name or by creating GCM, I had no desire to be devisive to Christian mothers in general (and would love to reach all mothers with the message of grace and love and acceptance to be found in parenting this way!). I saw, though, and personally felt a huge need for support for Christian mothers who practiced gentle parenting. God gave me the desire and capability to step in and begin in a small way to help fill that need.

The name wasn't/isn't meant to give the impression that mothers who don't agree with us are't gentle or aren't attached. In fact, there is quite a variance on the specific ways that this type of parenting looks in each family because each family is unique. That is one of the beauties of this type of parenting -- it's so customizable, so to speak. Also, the truth is that many of us who are part of Gentle Christian Mothers hesitate to actually call ourselves "gentle"! We make mistakes so much of the time! We fall, we are human, we fail. But we keep on keeping on and cling to truth that God's grace is sufficient even for us!

This was the description of the webring:

This webring is for Christian mothers who listen to their God-given mothering instincts and strive to respond to and meet the needs of their children with a servant's heart. I hope to have this ring filled with sites that contain information on subjects such as parenting (attachment-style, natural, responsive, gentle parenting), pregnancy, childbirth, infant care, breastfeeding, gentle guidance, health issues, etc. Sharing personal experiences moms have had with their children that support the ideals of gentle, godly parenting is encouraged.


I also began accepting mothers to join GCM who did not have websites. I had short list of questions they could answer, such as "What does gentle mothering mean to you?" and then I listed their names and email address and their answers on a members page so people could contact them should they want support. On that page I wrote, "I would like Gentle Christian Mothers to be a kind of 'support group' to help moms who practice gentle parenting. I would like us to be able to provide encouragement to those who need it."

Eventually I saw that I needed to add some clarifications and wrote out the beginnings of our statement of beliefs. On Feb. 11, 1999, in regards to those who wanted to join GCM, I wrote,

You must agree with the following statements:

* Parents should not put an unnecessary emphasis on schedules (i.e infant feeding/sleeping/playing schedules)
* Children greatly benefit from lots of physical touch (i.e. babywearing, holding your children a lot, etc.)
* Breastfeeding is God's design in infant nutrition (see Breastfeeding in the Bible)
* Breastfeeding is much more than just a way to feed a baby...
* A child's nighttime needs are as worthy of being met as his daytime needs... parenting does not stop when the sun goes down (i.e. being open to the family bed, nursing at night, etc.)


And another requirement I had listed was that "You must be pro-life."

Well, God chose to work through GCM and has helped it, despite setbacks, to grow and to be able to help many mothers and many children. That He decided to give me a part in this is beyond my comprehension, and I've wondered why many times. I can only guess it's one of those situations where God has used the foolish and the weak to confound the wise. *blush*

I feel the name "gentle" fits our group and what we stand for even more than I realized so many years ago. To be a "gentle mother" is a worthy and Christ-honoring goal. There are many good verses about being "gentle" in the Bible. Our theme verse is I Thessalonians 2:7 -- "we proved to be gentle among you as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children."

If you have any questions about GCM, please ask! :) You can read our current statement of beliefs here: http://www.gentlechristianmothers.com/aboutgcm/beliefs.php Make sure to read the last little bit at the end. I'll go ahead and post it here:

We are not perfect mothers, and we make mistakes all too often, but we believe that our children are a gift from God. God chose us to parent our children, and we can be sure that He, by His grace and mercy, will provide the tools necessary to do so in a way that will bring glory to Him.

That is our ultimate goal. . . to bring glory to Him. God, we rest in your arms, in your grace. Please help us to bring glory to you. Amen.

Posted by flowermama at December 6, 2005 12:52 AM


That's a great message of grace for us mothers as we strive to extend grace to our children. I'm glad to see you writing again.:)

Posted by: Becky at December 6, 2005 06:22 AM

I enjoyed reading this post about Gentle Mothering. I also enjoyed learning more about What Gentle Mothering Means to you all.

Posted by: Mrs.CarlaG.(CAGmomof2) at July 5, 2006 06:45 PM

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