Someone recently posted this article on Facebook, The Unnatural Mom
, and it was the final push for me to write this post. Why do people care so much about what other people think about their birthing & child-rearing practices?
I read the article and immediately thought about the woman who stood up, during the Birth Without Fear session at MommyCon Philly
, and asked how she should respond to people who remarked about the fact that she (egads!
) had an induced labor/birth with (oh, no!
) an epidural. I turned to a friend next to me and said, "Why does she care? It's none of their business." It makes me sad that "mommy wars" even [exist] revolve around whether you birthed your child: at home. from your vagina. unmedicated. Who the heck cares, as long as both mom and baby are healthy?
I started my family at an older age, and the majority of my girlfriends had their children when they/we were in our twenties. Not once did I ever ask them if they had delivered 'naturally' (read: vaginally), or if they had gotten epidurals -- I was more concerned about how both she and the baby were feeling, and got lost in all of that sweet, new baby squishiness. I did, however, begin asking those questions ten years later when I was pregnant, and realized that I did have options when it came to my pregnancy and childbirth.
I made the decision to cloth diaper before ever getting pregnant...
which left me plenty of time to research cloth diapering...which led me to TONS of information about natural parenting and natural childbirth. Through my research, I realized that I did, indeed, have choices regarding my prenatal care; I didn't have
to see a surgeon for my checkups and I didn't have
to birth in a hospital -- what!? The more research my husband and I did, the more our
decision became clear. But guess what? Due to a defect, my uterus was unable to allow my baby to be anything other than breach from 5 months pregnant on. There was no room. I didn't have the birth I had "planned," but life never goes as "planned" anyway. My son was born healthy, I was healthy, and the sun rose to see another day.
I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't upset that my birth wasn't natural, unmedicated and outside of a hospital. But I got over it and I didn't care what anyone else thought because...who the heck really cares how a baby gets here anyway? Guess what else? We had our son circumcised, and we sleep soundly at night with our decision (how could they!?). In fact, my husband and I were probably more traumatized than our son will ever be. You know what else? We give our son immunizations (they're poisoning him!). Yup, I said it. And you know what? I don't care what anyone else thinks about it because: he is no one's child but ours. Whether you vaccinate your child or not is of no concern to me (my kid's covered).
So, if you want a term for 'how' we parent or our parenting philosophy, I would say that we practice "natural parenting" or "attachment parenting," en vogue terms for: you got it - parenting
. By strict definition, we do neither. I babywear but have never coslept. Yup, our son has been sleeping in his crib, in another room, from the ripe old age of 2 weeks. I never thought twice about getting out of bed and going into his room every 1 1/2 hours to feed him the first 6 months of his life (and I'm pretty sure he doesn't feel abandoned or that his needs aren't being met). Oh, yeah, I breastfeed too (and [gasp!
] STILL nurse him at 14 1/2 months old), but again, that's my decision. If I was unable to breastfeed, I'd likely need to feed my baby formula (breast milk banks are expensive), but thankfully, we never had to 'cross that bridge'. Yup, we let him "cry it out" when we (le gasp!
) did sleep training
. You know how long he "cried-it-out" for? A max of 7 minutes...and then he fell soundly asleep on his own. I made all of his 'baby' food because I wanted to and
I had the time to do it, but baby-led weaning didn't work for us until after a few weeks of purees (failed at 'natural parenting' there too).
I could go on and on, and some people might find it shocking, but you know what? We really don't care because our parenting decisions are of no one else's concern. Our son is not neglected, starved for food or affection, nor will he ever question our love for him. Our job is to keep him safe, healthy, happy and to raise him to be a moral and ethical human being (and gentleman). How we go about that is our business, and outsiders' opinions won't change our decisions. So, before you even begin to wonder what other people may think about how you birth(ed)/feed/care for you child(ren), stop and remind yourself that you don't give a ____.