Don’t pick a side…


“Don’t pick a side…”

I wish someone had told me that before the birth of my first child …

There are so many choices in the world of parenthood – well there are so many choices in life generally –
but as a parent the choices you make have an immediade impact on a whole other life and that can sometimes be a scary responsibility…

Sometimes it can seem like you have to pick a side and decide what kind of parent you are going to be – let me illustrate…

Mum A

She has played her growing baby music in uterto, meditated and rubbed her bump with aroma therapy oils.
She never once had a drop of caffeine or alcohol and her cravings consisted of asparagus and steamed fish.
She did pregnancy yoga and wrote an in depth birth plan.
She had a home water birth without any pain relief amongst dimmed lights and scented candles.
She breastfed her baby on demand, co slept and carried it around in a sling.
Her baby was weaned the baby-led way on only organic foods from the age of 6 months.
She uses washable nappies, eco friendly detergent and baby clothes from fair trade manufacturers.
She is a gentle parent and naughty steps do not exist in her vocabulary.
She is a stay at home mum who does lots of activities with her child such as reading and playing outdoors.
There is no TV for the child until it is at least two, neither are there computer games, smart devices or barbies.
She goes by the books of William Sears and she fits her life around her child.
She is a really great mum who loves her child and the child thinks she is the best mum in the world.

Mum B

She didn’t really plan this pregnancy but is hugely excited just the same and paid to have a 3d scan of her baby.
She has had a couple of glasses of wine, simply cannot do without at least two cups of tea a day and her cravings are mainly chocolate cake and ice cream.
She takes pregnancy one day at a time while all the while praying the nausea will eventually pass.
She had a scheduled c- section.
She choose to bottle feed her baby, it slept in a cot in its own room right from the start, and was sleep trained to learn to soothe itself.
Her baby was weaned the traditional way with jars and pureed food from 4 months onwards.
She used disposable nappies and went shopping for cute little outfits for her precious baby.
She is an organised parent and the naughty step is a necessary tool to teach her child right from wrong.
She went back to work after her paid maternity leave and her child is at nursery when she is at work.
The child can watch some TV and is allowed to play with her smart device under supervision, there are lots of modern toys in the toy box.
She goes by the books of Gina Ford and her child’s life needs to be structured and ordered.
She is a really great mum who loves her child and the child thinks she is the best mum in the world.

Now, to me personally it often seemed like I had to pick a side but the problem was that I didn’t know which one was the right side …
Midwives and health visitors are meant to be a “go to” for advice and support but they can often have very variyng opinions…

When I had Winry my health visitor was a very “by the books” kind of person who told me everything exactly as it was meant to be told.
No dummies until 6 weeks, back to sleep, Baby in its own cot in your room, wean from 6 months … there was no point really asking her anything because all she had to say to me I could have read in a book…
When I had sam I was exhausted, he refused to sleep anywhere but in my arms…
Now, he was a very strong boy right from the start and when he was about 5 weeks old he rolled himself on his tummy (it was more of an accidental jerk) and slept for 4 hours straight …
the midwive (close to retirement) came in and my first thought was that she would tell me off but she just looked at him, smiled and said – “don’t look so worried love – its how they all slept back in the day”…
(I just want to point out here that it is safest for a baby to sleep on its back and I am well aware of that. This was a risk I choose to take to preserve my sanity)

anyway …
my point is – there are so many options and choices and they say nothing about whether or not we are a good parent. Every mother, Baby and family situation is different and there are very little “rights” and “wrongs”

It seems so silly now but sometimes when I see a mother carrying a baby in a sling I imagine her breast feeding and co sleeping – it’s a cliche that instantly forms without intention…
So often I have gone against my instinct because I was confused or torn or convinced otherwise.
I have regretted it everytime.

So if anyone with a baby on the way ever asked my opinion all I would tell them is:
“don’t pick a side – or if you have to – pick your baby’s side and trust your insticts – thats what we were made for after all”

until next time…

ta da


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