Lysa Parker, co-founder of Attachment Parenting International, had so many wonderful things to say that I decided to break my API post into two parts. See yesterday’s post to learn about API Here’s part two, the story of how Attachment Parenting International was formed, in the words of Lysa herself:

Lysa Parker

Lysa Parker

 

“Barbara (Barbara Nicholson, the other co-founder of API) and I met 29 years ago at our first La Leche League meeting in Nashville . She had just moved to Nashville from Texas , she was a leader applicant with her second child and I was a new mom with a 6 month old baby. We were every LLL leaders nightmare going on with side conversations because we found so much in common; we were both special education teachers, both of our husbands were struggling songwriters, both our husbands were from Texas and they knew some of the same people in the music business, we were both breastfeeding and we both had sons. So you can imagine how quickly we “attached” to each other.  Ironically I wasn’t able to attend too many LLL meetings after that but because our friendship blossomed I learned a lot from Barbara as she went through her leadership process and afterward. I managed to attend LLL area conferences over time and after moving to Alabama , I became a LLL too. After five years of being a leader I went back to teaching in the early 90s and became very discouraged by what I witnessed with my students in 7th and 8th grades- drugs, gangs, sex, fighting, dysfunctional families, abuse and neglect etc.

 

Barbara and I actually got to know each other better long distance because after the boys were in bed we would talk on the phone, or go visit each other and stay up late at night trying to figure out what we could do to get the message of AP out to the mainstream as a prevention model for so many social ills.  It finally evolved into API– we knew that AP support groups were popping up here and there but each had their own interpretation of what AP was that usually included lifestyle choices. As we educated ourselves we learned about attachment theory and were amazed that there was actual science to back up the benefits of AP practices (the Baby Bs that the Sears created.) We wanted to crystallize the essence of AP that related to the baby-parent attachment process that could be supported by research. We were amazed that this research had been in existence for over 50 years yet parents had no clue- it wasn’t being integrated into popular parenting advice. So we decided API would do just that- get the research into the hands of parents as well as professionals through our journal. Currently we have adapted and expanded the Baby Bs into API’s Eight Principles of Parenting which we fully describe in our soon-to-be-released book Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children. We eventually started a leader development process and affiliating support groups around the country. The rest is history…it’s been a real challenge learning how to create, manage and fund a nonprofit organization…still is a challenge. Right now we are solely supported by memberships and donations but are seeking grant money too. We have over 100 leaders, 60+ groups, and right now about 40 leader applicants, most of whom will be starting a new support group. We have approximately 1,000 members and over 6,000 subscribers to our Enewsletter.”

Thank you, Lysa and Barbara, for bringing this wonderful, needed organization into reality, and for putting so much love, thought, and effort into your daily work.

This is the third of five posts I plan to write about babywearing charities. You might also be interested in reading Part I of my interview with Lysa, and my interview with Andrea Howard, owner of No Mother Left Behind.

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