From the moment you conceive your child you will be bombarded with “advice”, as well as assured regularly that whatever you’re doing is wrong.
You’re cutting out alcohol? Why? A little wine never hurt anyone. I drank with my children and they turned out fine. My mother drank when she was pregnant with me and I’m alright.
You’re drinking and pregnant? Why? Only alcoholics can’t go without a drink for 9 months. It’s selfish to put your wants before your babies needs. You’re going to end up with a baby that’s premature/ill/dead.
You want an epidural? Why? You’re pumping your baby full of drugs before it’s even born. Only weak mothers think they can’t get through labour without help. I can’t believe you’re not even going to try and do it naturally.
You want a home birth? Why? You’re putting your baby at risk if something goes wrong. You’re being an illogical hippy. You won’t get through labour without painkillers.
Then the baby comes along…
You’re breast feeding? Why? You’ll be tied to the child until you wean it. People will judge you when you breastfeed in public. You and the baby won’t get any sleep. Breast milk isn’t filling enough.
You’re bottle feeding? Why? It’s selfish to bottle feed when breast milk is so much healthier. It’s a lazy choice so you can get other people to watch the baby. Breast is best.
You’re co-sleeping? Why? The baby will never learn to sleep on it’s own. You will end up with a really clingy child who can’t be left with anyone else. Only freaks and hippies want to share their bed with a baby. It’s dangerous to have a baby in your bed.
You’re putting your baby in it’s own room? Why? The rate of SIDs is significantly higher in babies that sleep alone. You’re putting your desire to sleep ahead of your baby’s needs to be with it’s mother. You are acting like you never had a child.
Whatever you do you will be met with criticism. Whatever choice you make you will have people who doubt you. And it’s so easy to doubt yourself, it’s so easy to question your actions. In some way it’s healthy to, it’s always important to question yourself and make sure you’re finding the best possible course of action for both yourself and your child. If you automatically assume that everything you’re doing is right you might miss out on something that’s actually better.
That said, there are people who doubt themselves but ignore the doubts. If someone is trying desperately to convince you that you HAVE to agree with them and their choices maybe it’s because they don’t agree with them themselves.
I, despite any advice or opinions I asked for, despite any doubts I had, ultimately was totally confident in my parenting choices. People tried to convince me I was wrong but I knew that, for us, what I was doing was right. Baring in mind how blooming awesome Miss Rose is I’d say that was correct. It didn’t matter that people disagreed. It still doesn’t matter. Miss Rose and I have a great relationship, she’s a secure, confident little person who knows her own mind and communicates it well. I wouldn’t change her, and I wouldn’t change the choices I made in raising her. If people ask WHY I do things, I tell them. I discuss ideas, talk about alternatives, and make my choice from there. I never bother to try and force people to agree with me because, quite frankly, I don’t care. She’s my child not theirs. I’m the one raising her not them.
So if you find someone furiously tell you that you’re wrong and you should do it their way, ask yourself this. Are they confident? Are they certain they’re doing the right thing? Or are they looking for reassurance and validation because they doubt themselves. If you’re raising a happy, healthy child that is what matters. The way you’re doing it has to be down to you as the parent. Make your own decisions. Be open to suggestions, open to discussion, but make your choices for you and your child.
Don’t live by other people’s standards.
You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.
Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!