I have come to the conclusion that the moment you become a mother, everyone around you feels that it is their duty to judge you on a more personal level and give you their $.02 at every turn. Beyond being exhausted because I have an infant child, the unsolicited advice from everyone is exponentially more exhausting.
From the moment I got pregnant I started getting advice from everyone. No matter how well intentioned, it just gets to the point where you start to wonder what the hell people think of you. From the moment I got the plus sign on pregnancy test, I started to hear, “you need to eat better, drink more water, take your vitamins, don’t stand/sit too long, don’t carry heavy things, when are you going to stop driving/working, what hospital are you giving birth at, a natural birth/C-section/medicated birth is the best way to go” etc, etc, etc. Then when I had the baby it became “are you going to breastfeed, why aren’t you breastfeeding, stop breastfeeding, when are you going to start solids, have him sleep in your room/why is he sleeping in your room, he sleeps where(?!), when are you moving him to his room, you’re spoiling him, don’t carry him too much you’ll regret it, take him out with you/don’t take him out with you, cover him up/isn’t he hot?”
A lot of them, particularly about breastfeeding are painful because as much as I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my son, I just couldn’t. I tried, I cried, I fought with doctors, consulted lactation consultants, breastfeeding educators, La Leche League, and everyone I could think of, but I just didn’t have the necessary supply to feed my son. So that very personal (personal because really, who’s business is it how you feed your child anyway, except for your doctors?!) “are you still breastfeeding” question, no matter how well intentioned, just stuck the dagger in my heart that much further. I have never in my life – since becoming an adult – had so many people tell me what to do as if I’m some kind of child that has no clue and just totally intruded on my life as if they have every right to, when frankly they don’t. Yes, this is my first child, but I have an idea of what it is to care for a child and how I would like to raise my child, thankyouverymuch! I’ve done the research, I’ve read the books, I’ve consulted with my doctors, my husband, my doula, childbirth educators, and have read every number of books available out there. I’m not an idiot people, stop treating me like one!
I would further like to add that there is no one way to raise a child. What worked for you may not work for me, just like breastfeeding. I have plenty of friends who were able to exclusively breastfeed well into when they started solids, and then continued to breastfeed for a year or two, yet I couldn’t from the start. Not everyone is the same people! I happen to enjoy having my son sleep with me because I feel that much closer to him and it actually helps us both sleep. I happen to love carrying/wearing my child, because he feels secure there, and I feel secure having him there. Isn’t it limiting him in any way? No! He’s meeting his milestones, and is an incredibly happy baby, so I’m doing something right! Cloth diapering? Yes please! Am I elbow deep in poo? No more than I would be if I was using disposables AND I’m saving a shitton of money, thankyouverymuch! This is what works for me! If it’s not what you want to do, fine, then don’t do it, but who are you to try to convince me to do things your way or to judge me for doing things differently then you?
Honestly, it’s just so exhausting to hear this same stuff every.single.day. And the worst part is that the family that is supposed to be supporting you in your parenting adventures are the ones who judge the most. It really is exhausting, disheartening and maddening. So if you’re reading this and you’re family of a new mother, please stop with the unsolicited advice. Just don’t do it, because as well intentioned as you mean to be, it really isn’t helping.