Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Things I'm Tired of hearing, Already

Yesterday I was on the phone and I had to give the phone to my husband because I just broke down crying. Pregnancy hormones, yes. Also, spiteful, unhelpful comments directed at myself attack-style were, of course, exasperating the problem of my hormones, but still.

I'd like to think I have pretty thick skin. I've always been a competitive person, and I've always (mostly) been able to laugh off people who judge me. Like when someone told me I was an over sharer, and that my blog was sinful because I shouldn't air my dirty laundry for everyone to see. I had to literally stop myself from laughing right in that person's face, and instead I carefully attempted to explain why I love blogging and talking about issues I am facing. I'm not a perfect robot. I make mistakes, and I don't mind telling people about them. I'm only human. However, this person lives with the mindset that you should always place your best face forward and showing your flaws is somehow dirty and disrespectful. I mean, that just sounds like you are setting yourself up for a lot of disappointments. But I do agree I am an over sharer. I love writing. I love sharing. I like to think that things I go through may reach someone somehow, or make them laugh or smile or feel less alone. When I read people's stories and heartaches on their blogs that I can relate to, I feel less alone. Mostly it's just my story.

Ah, where was I going with this? Things I'm tired of hearing. Nothing has affected me more then spiteful people who attack my person over parenthood. Yesterday it just cumulated and I cried for a good 10 minutes. And I can't even hold my baby yet. For some reason, perhaps related to my fragile state as a walking gestating receptacle, these comments hurt. In the last four months I've heard the following from actual, real life people.

  • If you don't take folic acid, your baby will be born disfigured. (Uh, my prenatal has folate acid in it, but apparently this person didn't think it was good enough. Also, not my doctor. And they wouldn't stop telling me I was wrong.)
  • If you don't vaccinate your child, you are a child abuser. (me trying to research about vaccines. I mean, I am a new mom. I wasn't trying to make a freaking political statement, but I am having a baby. There is a million things I need to know about and I want to know about vaccines as well. Why do you assume that I don't want to do this when I am just trying to learn about it??)
  •  You can't eat chocolate during pregnancy! (way to judge. now I feel horrible and I don't even know why)
  • If you have a home birth your baby will die. Why would you want your baby to die? (I am not having a home birth. But thanks, anyway. It's not like I'm not already afraid of my baby dying.)
  • We home-school because we don't want the government raising our children. All good parents should home school. (I don't even have a baby I can talk to yet, and I'm also panicking over a million things I need to learn to do in the first year. Don't lecture me over something that is years away and I haven't really thought about yet)
  • If you end up homeschooling your kid they will have no social skills and be totally dependent on you. (Said by someone other then the person above. I mean, WHY do you bring this up?? This person asked me, and I said I was leaning more towards homeschooling. Not a decision I've made yet, but my decision over how to educate my kid is not a criticism of how you are choosing to educate yours.)
  • You can't cosleep! You are married, that would be wrong. Baby should always have their own room! (Because keeping a baby in my bedroom for ease of breastfeeding is somehow terrible because I'm married? What? This is our plan right now, if baby likes it. What does proximity to baby have to do with me being married?)
  • Please tell me that you will circumcise if you have a boy. Uncircumcised people hate their penises (yes someone actually said that to me...) 

I could go on, but listing these things out is just making me more depressed. I'm just tired of hearing all these judgmental things. Instead of telling me what you think I should do, why don't you tell me what you did and how it worked for you and then let me make my own decisions, with the help of my spouse and doctor? These comments not only hurt, they destroy my self esteem. Here I am, growing a baby that I am going to have to take care of 24/7, and instead of being helpful or uplifting you decided to say that?! If I wasn't already panicking, I am now.

I'm a new mother. I will say I don't know much. I'm researching and reading and praying like crazy preparing for this little one and I am so excited. I want to make the best choices for my kid. But these kinds of comments drain me. They make me not want to talk about my new bump or my plans. They make me not want to vocalize anything about my pregnancy! Honestly lately I feel like I've been fighting a battle. Parenting is not a war. If I send my children to school, that means nothing against people who home-school. If I home-school, it is not a political statement against public schools. It's just a choice I would make looking at my child's individual needs, and due to the fact that I don't work right now outside of my home. I can see pros and cons to each choice. And that is what I'm searching for. People who will be honest about the pros and cons of the choices they made. My husband was home-schooled and he was honest with the things he didn't like about it and the things he felt didn't help prepare him for life. He also knows a lot of the positives from homeschooling and he is thankful in many ways for the time he got to spend with his family. I went to a public school for many years and for high school attended a private school. I can see many pros to how my mom decided to raise me and also some cons as well. There isn't a "right" answer is what I am saying.

I never knew parenting was such a hot topic or that people could do a complete 50/50 when I happen to have different opinions about things then they do. It's a diverse world, people. You wouldn't want me trying to make decisions for your kid, would you? Then stop trying to make decisions for mine. Be helpful, kind, and share your story with me. Don't judge and don't ever make ultimatums. Lets all have a little respect.


Stacie said...

Unfortunantly that never stops...and it gets worse once your child is here. For example, we plan to homeschool and are so incredibly excited about it. Our excitement is taken personally by those who chose not to, and is often twisted as us being judgmental, which is not the case. This then turns into people doing things like asking my son (who is 1 years old) questions as if they are testing his knowledge. People have actually tested him on his color recognition as if any other 1 year old would know his colors. At the same time, they completely ignore his 40 word vocabulary at 16 months (the average is about 12-20). That is something my son excelles in, but there are many things he doesn't know, and people are m or than willing to pay attention to those things.

On top of that, the worst experience of my life was breastfeeding...or not breastfeeding I should say. I wanted to do it so badly, but after doing EVERYTHING I could, I came to find out that the glands to produce didnt developed during puberty. It was hard enough having to admit to myself that I was unable to do something that I found to be soimportant (which later research showed that I may not be as significant as people claim). What I didn't new were the loud voices that told me I had to try harder, and that every woman is able to breastfeed if she just tried hard enough. It was so bad and so hurtful that I went in for second and third opinions to try and find a doctor that would confirm the possibility of me being able to breastfeed. None of them were able to.

Through that experience I learned that what my son needed most was a mother who was condfident. At some point I stopped sneaking into nursing rooms to feed my son formula (because i was afraid of what people would say when they saw me bust out the powder), and I just went with it. Now any form of judgment just goes over my head. My self-worth and happiness come from G-d, and my son...not the people who try to tell me how to raise them. He is happy, healthy, and doing just fine. That is the only confirmation a mother needs.

Parenting puts people in a very vulnerable state, so I think it's important to extend grace when faced with judgment. Everyone is confused, everyone wonders if they are doing the right thing, and insignificant mistakes make you question whether or not you were meant for this...despite the fact that every single parent on the face of the earth asks themselves that. When that insecurity starts building up, people disguise it as confidence and a know-everything attitude. That's all it is is a desguise, and while it's annoying to deal will find yourself doing it too every now and then, because we've all been there, we've all wanted confirmation that we are doing well, and we want it so much that we try to force that confirmation on people by pretending we are enlightening the weaker minded. It's not right, but the core of it is something we all actually have in common.

Stacie said...

Sorry for all the typos...stupid auto-correct.

Jonathan Rudolph said...

I've been reading your blog posts for a while, and I'd just like to say I appreciate them. I am always tempted to comment, but I haven't been in the mood to figure out what I want to say. The realities you discuss require serious thought and always call your audience to reevaluate their priorities.

This is a mildly upsetting post, but I don't think that's bad. It just makes me want to find all the people you have mentioned, and ask them to write down their full opinion, complete with citations, and sign it and publish it in some public venue (if they are not prepared to do this, they have no right to instruct you, let alone condemn you). Then, using the Bible and as many other valid sources of pertinent information as possible, soberly investigate whether or not they qualify as a trusted source of information for that particular issue. If their opinion is insightful and helpful but not a law, then it should be presented accordingly.

It is entirely to be expected that the average human does not learn carefully, nor teach carefully, due in great part to sin. I pray that God continues to show us his greatness in the mercy and grace he gives to all humans, and that all people humble themselves before him and not their vain knowledge.

Michelle said...

Who on earth said you can't eat chocolate while pregnant?! I've had so much of it. I would like to have some words with that person.

James and I are strongly leaning toward homeschooling, too. I'm really excited about it, but I've definitely gotten similar reactions.

People say some awful things. I haven't let much of it bother me, but this last month or so has turned me into a bundle of hormones and I cry over EVERYTHING. A lady at work told me on Monday I'm huge and will probably give birth too early. I cried so hard when I got home even though I knew I was being ridiculous. I try really hard to let things roll off my back and I usually can, but I will never understand why pregnancy makes people think they can openly comment on your body and your choices.

All you can do is research, pray, and trust your instincts. Get advice from people you trust who have been through it. And tell everyone else to shove it. And never read online baby forums unless you want to have nightmares.

Eleanor Crossley said...

A lot of people will have an opinion on everything, but at the end of the day only one opinion matters. Yours. Keep sharing :) xxx

Carolynn said...

right when I was having my meltdown yesterday was when you tweeted out your new blog post. Best distraction ever :) I keep hearing the comment "I can't even tell you are pregnant, and I was wondering about it" from people. I'm like, I guess you were entertaining the idea I was just fat?! Weirdest comment ever. I think I'm through that phrase now because recently I've totally popped.

Carolynn said...

I feel the same way (about learning carefully)! I totally need some of that humility as well. Thank you for commenting :) I really need to find like the perfect phase to respond to these people with. Something that will both assert my right to raise my kid how I want and also opens up a discussion about what they think in a non-judgmental way.

Carolynn said...

I've seen people "test" homeschoolers knowledge. Totally the wrong motive. If ever anyone does that to my kid (no matter if we homeschool or not) I think I will teach him some questions to ask them as well and turn the tables. Hard questions, hah!

I really liked your last comment, about parenting putting people in vulnerable states. I never thought of it kinda like that before, like everyone is trying to reaffirm their own choices. It makes sense. I need to think of a way, a nice way, to diffuse the comments they say and open the forum up to discussing things lightly. I want to make them feel non-judged as well!

Jane Eyre said...

I think a lot of people are obnoxious about their opinions because it somehow validates them and their parenting style. Everyone has fears and doubts, and maybe trying to tell you (instead of politely sharing) what is best makes their choices seem right. Just a thought. And you're going to be a great mom :)

Brita Long said...

*hugs* I'm so sorry people are being rude and critical and obnoxious to you. Not every decision is right for every family. The best parenting decision for one family would be the worst in another. Just keep researching and praying and discussing things with your husband. Y'all will be great parents.

Brittany said...

Oh my goodness, yes! Parenting is practically a contact sport. Trust your gut and be in sync with your husband about the big issues. Let everything else go.

Cody Doll said...

I have seen several bloggers attack for all kinds of things. It's really making me think about how much do I really want to share vs how much I want private.

Anyways, I totally think it's your and your spouse choice (doctor not included). Whatever you do, you'll know through material bonds and childhood up bringing. Good luck!! And don't let me people get to you.

Rachel G said...

I'm not anti-advice, but I do believe advice is only helpful when it comes from the right kind of relationship and attitude--without that, it really doesn't matter if it's good or bad advice, no one's going to listen. Mom has done a lot of advising for young moms, even going over to one's home to show her how to bathe her baby since she was too scared of the baby's cries to bathe her--I think parenting advice that comes from a place of humility, from someone you have a previous relationship with, and who you respect, is very valuable. All the others can be either ignored or written into blog posts. :)

kjherstin said...

All I can say is that I love your blog. We are very different from one another but I accept your views and I have no right to judge you or anybody from being different from me, that would be so wrong!

I find that your life experiences can really help a lot of people out there, me included. I thank you so much for taking the time and sharing your knowledge, it is very enriching. Keep being the awesome person that you are.