So as I’m sure it goes without saying, I get a lot of email. Like, a LOT a lot. And for the most part I can keep up with them . . . well okay, I could keep up with them, before grad school. These days it’s more like they pile up over the course of the quarter, as I try feebly to chip away during my free hours, but mostly just allowing them to increase indefinitely, until I finally get a chance to sit down and work through the whole bursting inbox over the between–quarters break.
At least, that’s how it’s gone so far, and that’s why I had an idea.
One of my very favorite things about this community that we’ve built here, is that it’s composed of the most incredible people. Smart and compassionate and worldly and wise – you guys are freaking amazing and you never fail to impress me. So “Hey!” I thought, “why not just put some of these questions to them??”
Duh. OF COURSE.
You guys are the *perfect* crowdsourcing focus group. With all the combined wisdom of this readership, I’m sure you guys can help each other out!
So we’ll start today, with this heartfelt email from a very very very long-time Bonzai reader. Some background, she is Estonian and lives in Estonia, and recently gave a public interview about raising vegan children which has led to some backlash. She writes:
I have something I wanted to discuss with you … as I’m raising a vegan kid (3 months now, exclusively breastfed, not even getting any other foods yet) and the society in Estonia is very conservative when it comes to different views on traditional values or raising children, I’ve already had arguments and problems with how I want to raise my son. I’m not afraid to stand for what I know is right, and I’ve got the USDA nutrition database, ADA’s position on vegan diets and other Western countries’ national nutritional guidelines to use as proof (because our national nutritional information still claims that you can’t even get all essential amino acids from plants etc), but the public attention was very hard for my parents, especially my mom. But I’m the kind of person who just can’t sit still or be quiet about my views.
Of course, I also got much support from other vegan parents who are basically hiding and afraid to ever tell anyone they raise their children vegan. It’s very very hard to get vegan or even vegetarian food here in kindergartens or schools. Later I’ve had more arguments with my parents about veganism and my son. My child’s father and family isn’t vegan but they’re very supportive about it. But as we don’t live together, my son and I live with my parents, I have to be double strong and also probably extra influential in the future when I have to start explaining to my son why the rest of the people eat so differently and think that it’s morally ok to eat animals etc. Of course veganism can be socially quite difficult as it’s such a new ‘trend’, and I know that it’s definitely much much easier in the USA (and also in many other European countries with more open societies than ours) so it must be much easier for you, too, but I assume that it’s not always, or has been, the case?
Anyway, a long story short — I would love to hear either directly from you, or if you ever have the time to write an article about it to share on your blog, if you’ve ever had problems, arguments, anything like that when it comes to being vegan and raising your child vegan. With your family, relatives, the society? It’s been so hard lately that I already dread what the future brings, if my son will feel too different from the rest of the people, that I’ve considered raising him vegetarian/omnivorous or just moving away from Estonia. Of course, if every vegan moves away, who will change the society here? I’ve also started to have thoughts that maybe all vegans are just abnormally sensitive people and have a distorted view of reality? Like, maybe it IS ok to kill animals even if you have good alternatives? There is no absolute truth anyway. Ridiculous, but I’ve been having these thoughts lately.
So the truth, guys, is that I actually have *not* had to deal with any negativity surrounding raising Waits vegan. Not from friends or family or society or anything. I realize I am incredibly lucky/privileged! But yeah, I feel like I’m not the best person to address this question.
But I’m sure that a lot of you guys out there have gone through something like this (lord knows I’ve heard the horror stories!), so please, if you’ve ever dealt with anything similar, please share your story and your advice for how to deal with it. I have ideas, of course, but personal experience carries so much more weight.
And so I turn to you. Help a reader out!
Thank you so much.
♥ ♥ ♥
PS – Ohmigod you guys I wish you could see a picture of her baby HE IS SO CUTE. Vegan baby chubs for days. I die.