"it’s the rare mom who never experiences self-doubt - it’s an occupational hazard. it’s the internal critic that many of us need to muzzle because it does the most damage. doing what you believe is best for your children and your family makes you a good mother, no matter if it fits anyone else’s standard" ~ lisa zamosky via elizabeth pantley of the "no cry" books.
i'm the queen of self-doubt.
then, i talk to like-minded mommas and read (a lot) and that self-doubt melts away...at least for a while.
parenting is hard work. don't let anyone try to tell you different. yes, it is amazing. it is life-changing. it is beautiful. it is the best thing i've ever done in life...but it is tricky. there are so many choices to be made and they start well before the baby is even born. where is your baby going to sleep? are you going to nurse? are you going to go back to work? when will you start feeding solids? how will you diaper? will you follow a specific philosophy? do research? talk to others? go at it on your own, following your gut? do what your parents, siblings or friends have done?
each question may have a very different answer from one parent to the next. and everyone has an opinion. i'm sure that most every mom can attest to all of the unsolicited (and sometimes unwanted) advice given to them as soon as there is the slightest sign of a baby bump. but, it doesn't stop there. that advice keeps on coming...at least until 18 months...that's as far as we've made it, but something tells me that it doesn't end their either. some of it, amazing...just the right thing to help you get through whatever is going on at that moment. some of it, not so much. :)
i remember being pregnant and getting really irritated when a random woman would come up to me and with little other conversation say, "get the epidural!" what?! who are you? do you know me? would you like to say anything else or just whisper as if it is the secret of the century, some amazing gift of knowledge that you are imparting on me, "get the epidural"? this probably wouldn't have bothered a lot of women, but it sent me (and my pregnancy hormones) through the roof! and then, i thought about it...and decided that it just wasn't worth it. i was trying so hard to keep the (inner) peace for the health and well-being of my little buggy in my belly, that i had to let it go. so, with all the unwanted advice i received, i would just let it in one ear and right on out the other and then leave the situation as soon as politely possible. if it was advice that was of interest to me, i would further the conversation and try to learn more.
now that the baby is no longer in my belly and is 18 months old, the advice still seems to roll in, but not nearly as often. now it is usually less "in your face" and more by way of information i read, etc. but, i still keep my promise to myself. it i think it is "ugly" or simply unwanted...it goes in one and out the other. and then i usually start researching other ways of doing things or researching for further support of my decisions to help curb that self-doubt that sneaks in.
for me, the key to sanity with all the decisions to make and all the opinions to hear has been building my community. without my amazingly supportive husband, my fellow mommy friends, the various blogs i follow, the books/articles i've read and the health practitioners i've surrounded myself with, i don't know where i would be. anthony and i raise our son with a less-than-mainstream philosophy and so that extra support from our like-minded parent friends is necessary. going against the grain can be tricky at times, for sure, but i wouldn't have it any other way. it isn't right for everyone, but it is for us.
i was lucky enough to have a drug-free natural labor/birth and anthony got to "catch" nolan. we left the hospital within 24 hours (and would have liked to have left sooner).we kept the placenta and had it prepared into capsules to consume (ps. this is an amazing way to help keep baby blues and post-pardum depression away).we love the idea of a home birth and still toy with the option for future children. i am lucky enough to get to stay home with him. we co-sleep. i nurse him (yup, even in the night) and plan to until nolan decides he's done. he has had maybe 3 bottles, in his life. i rock and nurse him to sleep every night. we wear him. we cloth diaper. he has never sucked on a pacifier. he didn't start solids until 7.5 months and then it wasn't with rice cereal. i make all of his food. he has had one vaccine. we don't let him "cry it out". we speak to him respectfully and let him "explore" as much as possible. we teach by example. we don't do everything perfect; we just try our best. when have bad days, we try to figure out what went amiss and move on...try to get back on track.
this is the type of parenting that feels right to us. it is possibly someone else's nightmare. but, that is the beauty of parenting. we are all doing what we think is right. i'm not here to judge anyone else for their parenting decisions. i know that all "good" parents have their child's (children's) best interests at heart and that is all i can hope for. i LOVE when i read an article or book or hear a thought from a fellow parent and feel that it is perfect for our home. this is why i want to share what i learn too. i realize that just as i may disregard something that i hear or read and find my own information, someone will probably do the same with the information that i share. that is great. it is not my intention to fuel that mommy-self-doubt in someone else. it is my intention to share knowledge and let the reader decide whether they agree or not. so, let us support one another and learn from one another and raise the next generation to gently rule the world!