When Mother Doesn't Know Best
I'm the youngest of three girls in my family. So naturally, I was last in line for a lot of things. And while most of my life's milestones were celebrated, I'd be lying if I said it didn't sometimes feel like it was just "old news" or overlooked altogether. I know my family loves me - there's no doubt in my mind about that - but in many ways, I've always been the "baby" of the family, even at 26.
Always a step behind. Less knowledgable. Less experienced. In constant need of guidance and direction from those who have already been there.
I was last to be born. Last to grow up. Last to date. Last to drive. Last to graduate. Last to move out. Last to marry...
But then the first to have a baby.
Brand new territory for us all.
I was well into my doula career when I got pregnant, so I knew what options were out there and I already had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to do concerning my birth and early parenting. And while I knew many of my choices were sure to be met with some confusion and disagreement from my family, I don't think I ever really expected to fall under the group of moms that had to deal with unsolicited advice and judgment from their relatives.
But I did.
I'm sure a lot of it comes from being the baby sister, the youngest daughter; simply still being seen as the least experienced member of the family, in need of correction from people who knew better. They mean well, and I get it. On a certain level, I guess I can even appreciate it.
But a lot of it is just your common case of "you're-not-doing-it-the-way-I-would-so-you-must-be-wrong." No human is free of guilt from having this thought; at some point, everyone has. It's normal. But it's not right.
When it comes to birthing and parenting your baby, mother (and sister and aunt and grandmother and neighbor and best friend and stranger in the store) doesn't always know best.
That's not to say that your friends and family don't ever have good input or seriously helpful and relieving advice. They often do, and that's something to be thankful for!
But in the end, the choice to do or not do; to implement or avoid; to listen or ignore... is yours, and yours alone.
It's not uncommon for people to tell new mothers that they're doing something wrong and try to "fix it". So to be a source of non-judgmental support for my clients - to tell them that they're not bad for wanting to do ABC; to tell them that they're not wrong for trying XYZ; to tell them that they're doing a great job - is a real gift, and one of my favorite things about my job. The help I offer isn't tainted with my own bias or preferences; it is based on and tailored to your specific goals.
So whether someone is gently suggesting a different way, or aggressively attempting to "set you straight", remember this: this is your baby, your family. Take what you get from others with a grain of salt. Unless it's just complete bull crap, in which case you can throw it out completely. ;)
This is YOUR milestone. Do what feels best to you. Do what works best for your unique circumstance. And do not let anyone tell you there's only one right way to do this baby-making, baby-birthing, baby-raising thing.
You're doing a GREAT job.
Have you had disagreements with loved ones concerning your birth and parenting choices? Did you do or say anything to help relieve the tension? We'd love to hear about your experience!
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