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Why can't I be just a mother??!! "AP vs.Mainstreem Parents" - Page 12

post #221 of 301
Piglet, you have raised a very interesting question. And I think the answer to it is that it all comes down to your particular personality. (gee, wasn't that insightful? )

For me, I am very uncomfortable with extremes. That doesn't mean to say that I don't have passions, I just choose to see that my choices are the best and other's choices are not necessarily BAD. I definitely am a "life and let live" person.

Frankly, it couldn't interest me less whether people co-sleep, vaccinate, smoke or have affairs. I make the choices that are good for me and it truly does not affect me what other people do. I don't even debate these things because I'm not going to change someone else's mind, they aren't going to change mine, and even if I could change someone's mind, it's not that important to me to do so.

My exception to this is my feeling about gentle discipline which to ME is the definition of AP. I find all of the other "stuff" of babywearing, co-sleeping, etc. just temporary. Yes, a necessary foundation, but fleeting. Whereas GD is an ongoing, several-year process which I really believes makes (or breaks) the connection between parents and children, and eventually children and their friends and spouses. The entire crux of AP for me is found in GD and this is my "hot button".

I find it almost funny to argue about cloth diapers and breastfeeding when there is something so much more fundamental and urgent in the way we treat our children. Yeah, it's good to establish that connection early with co-sleeping, but co-sleeping and then humiliating your children with punishment doesn't make for a connection. Crib sleeping and treating your children with dignity will do a far better job especially if your child prefers the crib and your meeting his/her cues, or if mom prefers the crib because she actually gets sleep and isn't cranky and short-tempered the next day.

So...you asked! That's my take.
post #222 of 301
eilonwy: I don't have a problem with you choosing to use circ'ing as an example. I think the points you are trying to make are about decision making and judgement, not circ'ing itself, so if nobody here takes off and runs with a circ debate then I think it's just fine.

LoveBeads...you are so right about personality. My DH says I'm a very opinionated person (and not necessarily a bad thing, just something that, combined with my tendency to talk too much, and not think clearly before talking, gets me into trouble!). I tend to think very black and white (on some issues). Also, I think my training as a scientist tends to get me in trouble: I've been taught to define a hypothesis clearly and with conviction, then argue to support that hypothesis (it being the job of the other guy to raise the counter-points and argue against the opposite POV)...I think when it comes to other areas in my life that gets me into trouble sometimes. I speak as if I were stating facts, assuming that everybody gets that this is just my own POV, and fully expecting people to simply counter-point my facts with their own, instead of taking things personally. I then am surprised when people get hurt.

I also love what you said about GD being the lifelong practice, versus the baby stuff which is fleeting. Someone else in this long thread (pugmadmama, I think) said the same thing. I know I get really caught up in the baby stuff right now...and I often wonder if, 10 years from now, I will be so passionate about such things. But....it's my reality right now - if you'd met me 5 years ago, you'd find me ranting on my equestrian board about how to best handle/train horses.
post #223 of 301
One comment on what eilonwy wrote - I do not react so passionately out of fear. I truly believe in the things I do and view them as so important that I can't in good conscience just say to each their own when I feel that a child is being harmed.
post #224 of 301
Heavenly, you are helping illustrate what I was trying to say. A person can have a strong judgment and totally not accept the “to each their own” type thinking (that is not really how I am, btw) and still not do a darn thing to actually help prevent children from being harmed. Anyone can label something as abuse, anyone can judge other parents, anyone can complain about how much they don’t approve of this or that.

How is this helping a single child?

I know there is lots more on these posts but ya’ll are too fast for me. Hopefully I can come back tonight.
post #225 of 301
Originally posted by IdentityCrisisMama
I think the most positive thing that came from this thread is that we all seem to be thinking more about the words we use to express our judgmental feelings. I still feel that judgmental feelings are something to be worked on internally but I agree that keeping them from directly hurting another person is another important step. ...

... Personally, I don’t think it’s even enough to successfully hide your judgmental feelings or learn to express them well because I think the internal judgmental feelings will really obstruct you.
ITA with this, in fact I was talking to a friend about this thread last night and we said pretty much the same thing. I also agree with Piglet when she said that it is very hard to do. And of course, the question of whether it is even possible is a valid one as well.

We all have opinions, and we all make judgements. Not to get bogged down in semantics, but there is a difference between making judgements and "being judgemental". I don't think it is realistic or helpful to go around thinking that whatever anyone does is just a matter of their personal choice and it's all OK with you. That is "PC" taken to a ridiculous extreme - it's apathy and intellectual laziness disguised as tolerance and open-mindedness.

IMO, the way to not be judgemental but still be able to assess whether something is "good" or "bad" is to somehow disassociate the action from the person committing it. You can hate spanking, but not the spanker. If you truly have compassion for someone, you will not hurt them by thinking or saying things like "How can you do that to your children?", etc. etc.

For instance - when my DH does something I don't like, I don't go off on a mental tirade against him, or think things like "What a selfish, ignorant jerk!" I love my DH and I have a basic concept of him as a good person. So I tend to think things like, "Why is he acting this way? What can we do to overcome this problem?" and other more constructive things like that. I have respect for him, and I honor him as a person, so I *can't* say things to him like "What the hell is the matter with you?!" It would hurt *me* to do so. Now, this is NOT to say I never get mad at my DH or feel like he is being insensitive or whatever. But I see it as a temporary state - the *real* him is kind, loving, etc. even if he isn't acting that way. Of course not everyone in the world is loving or kind, but I try to give them the benefit of the doubt until they convince me otherwise.
post #226 of 301
I think there are a lot of things going on here.

I don’t actually think it is possible to judge a parenting practice (and verbalise that judgement) without people who parent that way feeling judged.

If someone practices CIO and comes here to read rants about how CIO is child abuse (even if someone adds the disclaimer that she knows that the parent is doing their best, but still…) – that person is going to feel that they are being called a child abuser.

Same with co-sleeping, breast-feeding, not spanking, etc.

Those of you who are saying that we all make judgements about things around us – of course that is true. And more mainstream parents also make judgements about things we do (think of all the threads about people being afraid of CPS being called on them for many of the parenting practices that are supported here at MDC).

And it is also true that all (or almost all) parents make the choices they make because they feel those choices are best for their children, their family, their circumstances. I think that is one of the very difficult things about parenting – the simple fact that I make a different parenting choice than another Mama means that I think that my choice is better (for me) than her choice. If I thought her choice was better, that’s the choice I would have made for my own child/family/situation, right?

I agree, Piglet, that a lot of what comes across as judgementalism stems from passion – I think, here at MDC, most of us here feel passionately about the parenting choices we make. Most of these parenting choices aren’t supported in the real world, so to make them, we HAVE to feel strongly, as we’re swimming against the tide, so to speak.

But – just because we feel passionately about something doesn’t mean we can’t be very, very careful about how we express ourselves. Precisely because our passion can come across as judgementalism, we need to be extremely careful about how we express it – I think that’s all ICM (and others) are saying.

Just to touch on the breastfeeding issue – I don’t think we can compare being unable to breastfed with making the decision to have a c-section, or an ultrasound or to vax/not vax. Because all of those things are choices – if one is unable to breastfed, and has to supplement (or completely ff), then that isn’t a choice.

Speaking as someone who, tonight, nursed all three of my children before they went to bed – if I had been unable to breastfeed them, and I had had to use formula – I would have been absolutely devastated. I want what is best for my children, and it would have hurt so very, very much to know that I couldn’t provide them with all of the physical benefits of breast-feeding.

And to have to be reminded of the fact that I had given my children formula, when I desperately wanted to give them breastmilk, whenever I came to MDC (even if it was accompanied by assurances that I wasn’t being judged for that, as it was a necessity for me), would have just rubbed salt into the wounds, I think. Is that so difficult to understand?
I parent the way I parent because I do think this is the absolute best for my children. But I agree with a lot of what Eilonwy said (although, ironically enough, I don’t agree that it applies to circumcision, but that’s a whole ‘nother argument we won’t get into here!) – that the tendency to see everything in black and white here at MDC is a big part of the problem.

There can be good reasons- for a particular individual to choose not to co-sleep or not to breast-feed or whatever. I personally struggle a lot with nursing one of my children – I can’t stand it, feel very negative about it, etc., etc. I know she needs to nurse; and I know that if my negative feelings about nursing her affect our relationship, that can outweigh the good I do by meeting her need to nurse.

At the moment, we have our boundaries, and those are helping me to be able to meet her needs. But my struggle with my own negative feelings has given me more compassion for/understanding of mothers who don’t love the nursing relationship as I always did with my babies. Does that make sense?

Although I personally can’t understand choosing not to nurse (just as I know people who really can’t understand choosing to continue nursing three children at once!), I am learning that the choice to breast-feed isn’t as black and white as I once thought.

I still feel sad/frustrated/etc when I hear of Moms who don’t try to breast-feed/give up after a week/etc. But what good does my judgement of them and their choices do? Especially when I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes?

I always think it is a good idea to sit back and re-read posts before hitting ‘send’, and ask yourself – How would I feel if I’d felt I needed to (for whatever reason) do the thing I’m criticising/ranting about in my post?
post #227 of 301
Sorry - that other post was getting so long!

And re-reading it, I haven't managed to say everything I wanted to.

I do think that there are some parents who choose to do things without knowing/realising that there are other/different/better ways to do things. I reactive co-slept with my oldest daughter when she was an infant/baby - it seemed natural to me, but I kept being told it was a bad habit to get into, so I struggled to get her into a cot.

I did manage it, and with only a modified kind of CIO (she was never left alone to cry, and she was a lot older, but still...make me very sad now). I did that out of ignorance (defined as per Piglet earlier in this thread).

That does happen - and it happens a lot, I'm sure.

But we just can't assume (as Eilonwy so eloquently said) that any parent who makes choices that are different from our choices has made them out of ignorance, etc., etc.

Sometimes people make different choices because - for them, in their situation, with their children - those ARE the best choices.

I'm hoping some of this is making sense.
post #228 of 301
Originally posted by Piglet68
Now a general question for y'all: this concept of "whatever works for you"....is that really what most of us feel?
I've been trying to come up with an intelligent answer to this. Other than to say, "Yup!"

I was thinking back to something I read by William Glasser, a psychiatrist with an awesome book called, “Warning: Psychiatry can be Hazardous to your Mental Health.”

In his book he says,

”Nothing is as harmful as the third false belief. The premise goes beyond harm; it goes on to destroy most of our relationships. It is the one to be aware of and to make a strong effort to avoid. It goes this way: Not only do I know what’s right for me, I know what’s right for everybody.”
That describes how I feel more clearly than I can. AP is right for me, but I don’t assume it’s right for everybody.
post #229 of 301
Originally posted by Mommiska
...if I had been unable to breastfeed them, and I had had to use formula – I would have been absolutely devastated....
So (just to use you as an example ), couldn't this comment be taken as an insult by a FF mom? As in, what's so horrible about what I do that you were "devastated" by it?

And to have to be reminded of the fact that I had given my children formula, when I desperately wanted to give them breastmilk, whenever I came to MDC (even if it was accompanied by assurances that I wasn’t being judged for that, as it was a necessity for me), would have just rubbed salt into the wounds, I think. Is that so difficult to understand?
It's not difficult to understand. What is difficult is deciding whose responsibility is it that you get hurt? As Britishmum keeps saying, I think we all need to own our feelings. What I am hearing in this quote is that we should all refrain from saying *anything* about FF that at ALL puts it in the negative b/c we might offend the FF moms. I just don't see how that is possible on a board that advocates BFing.

I don't see how it is possible to say that you went out of your way, battled the odds, swam upstream, fought to make sure your child never got any formula and then NOT have some FF mom get offended. I'm so proud that my DD never got bottles...NOT because "bottles are evil" but because I feel that I worked to get to that point and they weren't necessary for us. But if I say that, then I have to follow it with a disclaimer b/c the working/pumping moms will take it as some sort of criticism of them. We just can't seem to win!

Certainly, there are posts that everybody agrees are mean. But there are also those that hit a grey line, and then those that people just blow way out of proportion. A given individual's reaction seems to be based on their own inner feelings/conflicts around the issue. I'm struggling with the concept of expressing one's convictions without offending people. I can only control my own responses. I can choose to dismiss insults, or ignore animosity directed at me. I can also choose to take personally something that wasn't directed at me, or to read into things based on my own prejudices, emotions and experiences. But I can't control what other people say or think about me. Ultimately, that's my demon to face.
post #230 of 301
We use bottles, when I'm working. Mostly bm, but the odd time, we had to supplement. Though I'm still bfing my 8 mth old, I stopped nursing my 3.5mth old, and swiched to formula. I have my reasons, my regrets. I've delt with them, and moved on.
I do not get insulted with comments on bottles, or formula...unless I am pmsin'g :
I just go on. I'm comfortable with my parenting, I am the best parent for my kids. I know that. I don't need to justify myself to anyone, anywhere.

All this to say...what's been said before...feel comfortable in your skin, and don't let other's views or comments get under your skin...unless like Piglet said, they are downright rude..

post #231 of 301
feel comfortable in your skin, and don't let other's views or comments get under your skin...unless like Piglet said, they are downright rude..
ITA! Maybe thats it........some people ARENT comfortable in their skin, with their decisions...... Just a thought.....
post #232 of 301
Argh - I'd started a response, then ds woke up...when I got back, dh had closed down my 'reply' window and lost everything I'd written (men!)...

I do hear you, Piglet - I really do.

I have often felt in the past that I haven't had to say anything for people to feel judged by me - in simply seeing the choices I've made (child-led weaning, no formula supplementation, delayed solids, no CIO [once I learned better!], leaving my son intact, etc., etc), others have felt judged. And I haven't said a word!

That is very frustrating.

I agree that we all need to own our emotions - and our individual response to a given post can say a lot about our own inner conflict/etc about a given issue.

I usually stay out of these types of threads, but having recently been through all of this with my best friend (who is very mainstream, and who felt very judged by me, despite me saying very little to her about any of my parenting choices), I have had to take a good look at myself, how I feel about parenting choices different from my own and how I choose to express myself concerning how I parent.

I have not been judging my friend at all - I think she's a wonderful mother. But yet she still felt judged by me. That really brought me up short.

I do think some of it is to do with my friend's own issues. And I can't control that, as you said. But looking back, some of it is also to do with off-hand (to me) comments that she misinterpreted. And looking back, I can understand (in some cases) why she interpreted them the way she did.

So - I have learned that I need to be more careful/sensitive to the feelings of those around me.

I think there will always be people who visit MDC and feel judged - even if they never read even a single word that could in any way be construed as judgemental here. And there isn't anything we can do about that.

I also think there will always be innocent statements of fact that are misinterpreted - perhaps like my comment that I'd have been devastated if I'd had to supplement with formula (although most of the moms here who ff from necessity have expressed similar sentiments - I thought I was just empathising with them?!).

But two points:

1) I don't think that is all we see here at MDC - only innocent comments that are misinterpreted. I do think, at times, that some fairly judgemental things are said - mostly in the 'venting' threads. I tend to avoid those for that reason. But visitors are probably drawn to them...and I wonder what impression it makes on them? If we are passionate about how we parent and want to share that passion with others, these venting threads probably aren't the way to go, you know?


2) I think a lot of the innocent comments could be rephrased to say the same (or a very similar) thing in a less potentially hurtful way - and if that can be done, why not do it?
post #233 of 301
Ummm........... I feel the need to clarify one thing..........

In my last post, I think I may have come off as thinking that I myself am the soul of compassion, filled with the milk of human kindness, so to speak....... let me just say bwaa-ha-ha to that! : I have certainly been judgemental, even downright catty, unfortunately. But I do think it is a goal worth striving for. And I still think it is possible to hold a different opinion than someone and still not judge that other person. I loved dotcommama's quote, I think I am going to print it out and tape it to my computer.

The need to own one's own emotions has been brought up here several times. I agree that you have to take responsibility for your own reactions. But I also think that people (noone specifically) need to take responsibility for the things they say. You can't just say whatever you want and then shrug your shoulders when people get upset and go, "Well, that's YOUR reaction and YOUR problem."
post #234 of 301
BTW Mommiska, I was not offended by your "devastated" comment. But I guess I can see how someone who saw no problem whatsoever with formula could be. But to me, that is an ignorance issue. 'Cause, there IS a problem with formula. It's NOT as good as breastmilk. It's not as bad as McDonald's, maybe....................................... Sorry, I couldn't resist.
post #235 of 301
Anyone feel like we’re doing a good job of working through this stuff?
I do…but I’ve had a "couple" of beers. :

BTW, I’m no fairy princess of compassion either – I just play one on MDC… :LOL

BTW, Piglet, I haven’t forgotten that we bonded over common ideas once before. If I am challenging you it's only because I know you mean well.
post #236 of 301
Originally posted by Piglet68
So (just to use you as an example ), couldn't this comment be taken as an insult by a FF mom? As in, what's so horrible about what I do that you were "devastated" by it?

Oi. I feel like I have to respond to this since I am one of those FF moms.

No, this comment isn't insulting, in fact I found the understanding to be pretty touching and I thank the poster for saying it.

I don't know why it seems to be so difficult to get this concept across but I will try again.

We (FF Moms) are breastfeeding advocates as much as the breastfeeding moms are! We believe in breastfeeding, we believe it is best, we believe that it is in the best interests of the baby to receive breastmilk, we are sad when we hear of women who choose not to breastfeed because they are grossed out by it or just don't want to be so attached to baby. We are not happy that our bodies failed us or that our children were in the NICU after they were born and couldn't receive breastmilk, or that are children have cleft palates and couldn't nurse properly, or that we didn't receive proper support when we made every attempt to breastfeed, or that we had to have surgery for kidney stones after giving birth and our milk dried up.

We feel pain that we couldn't do it or couldn't do it exclusively. We feel this pain because we are breastfeeding advocates as much as any other mom on this board.

But we don't have the luxury of feeling that formula is "bad". We have to see it as "second best".

We don't go to mainstream boards because we are breastfeeding advocates!

We don't mind seeing breastfeeding advocacy on MDC because we are breastfeeding advocates!

We do get hurt when we see our option compared to McDonald's because we didn't have a choice. If you decide not to vax, good for you. You have a choice. If you decide not to co-sleep, good for you, you have a choice. If you decide not to breastfeed, good for you, you have a choice. But for the majority of us (I would venture to guess all of us but I don't want to make that much of a sweeping generalization) on MDC had no choice!

I have definitely said all I need to on this topic, you either get it or you don't. What I'm really saying in a nutshell is this: we are all on the same page with breastfeeding, we all believe it is best. We just don't see the need to trash formula because frankly it's been painful enough to have to do what we had to do. And think about this: for those of us with girls, imagine how much fun it's going to be to encourage my daughter to breastfeed when I couldn't do it myself! I can't wait for that conversation, "why wasn't I breastfed?" I am in the awful position of having to advocate for something that I didn't do while making sure I don't speak negatively of the thing that I did do! But you know what? I truly think that teaching my daughter tolerance for other people's decision is my responsibility anyway so the chips will have to fall the way they may.
post #237 of 301
post #238 of 301
famousmockngbrd & IdentityCrisisMama you're making me feel I should confess I'm not perfect either. Darn it now my secret is revealed.

I will say that I always try to be super careful about what I post here. I know such a variety of people read these threads so I try to be very sensitive about the words I use and how I express my opinions.
post #239 of 301
I am wondering if it is just human nature to feel judged?
I mean, when someone differs from my opinion and I know it, I automatically am aware of it in their presence. I know that they do not share my opinion and that they disagree with it.

ie: If my best friend "choses" to ff because she thinks breastfeeding is weird, and she knows that it is my belief that ff'ing is absolutely wrong and should be a prescription given by a doctor if it is needed because of medical reasons...wouldn't she always feel that I think my choices are better than hers? After all, I would think my choices are better than hers...that is why I would be choosing to do it my way and not hers...OH MY HEAD!

So how can there be a real answer to most of the debates here?
Now, if instead I tell someone who choses to use disposables, that they may as well line them with poison if they are going to put them on their babys behind instead of cd'ing...then I can see why someone would get a little ticked off. YKWIM? There is a boundary that you can cross, but if I chose to parent one way instead of another...of course it is because I think one way is better than the other! Judging by definition is only "forming an opinion about things through careful weighing of evidence and testing of premises".
How can people be offended by a decision to parent differently unless you are outwardly rude? You in fact, should feel judged...because that is what judging is...having differing opinion on things.

feel comfortable in your skin, and don't let other's views or comments get under your skin...unless like Piglet said, they are downright rude..
post #240 of 301
everyone here is voicing such great opinions + ideas. great thread, everyone... i am reminded of why i come here.

addressing this...
this concept of "whatever works for you"....is that really what most of us feel?
... did most of us here choose to do the things we do... simply b/c we felt "hey, that fits me, that's conducive to my lifestyle"....was it that benign?
in some things i chose, yes, it's that benign. i think that as long as a parent is responsive to their child's needs, and is raising a child who is obviously self-confident, securely-attached, happy and healthy, then their lifestyle is working and it's not my place to judge their means. we chose to cosleep because it was easier than CIO :LOL i mean, honestly... when we made the decision to sleep with our son, it just made way more sense to us than spending weeks training him to just cry and learn that he wasn't going to get held. i had no idea it actually would have caused physiological stress to not cosleep. i just thought, "hey, i like to cuddle, i like having a happy baby, and we're all getting more sleep so let's just be careful, and keep doing this..."

other things, like babywearing, i honestly didn't subscribe to at first because i didn't know why i should. my son liked to be held, and i held him, but it never crossed my mind to *wear* him, until i started reading Mothering... he also loved his swing and loved playing on the floor with me. it worked.

and so on.

with other things, there was far more passion involved... namely, with circumcision. once i learned about it, about the procedure, the risks, and the historical reasons why it became commonplace, i knew there was no way i was going to circumcize my son, period. i would have rather killed all the dr's in the hospital then let them mutilate my son... i guess i'm kind of a mama bear when it comes to people harming him.


about the ff issue... i have a couple of questions...

for those of you who ff and really look down on formula... why not use donated breastmilk? i'm curious because all of the books i have say that that's the first option next to breastfeeding that the WHO recommends for parents who can't nurse... (or maybe the third; i think the second may actually be a wet nurse, not donated breastmilk from a bottle... but either way...) is donated milk not readily available to parents? is it not high quality or not tested for diseases? are there no local milk banks? is it in short supply?

my personal opinion on breastmilk is this... if i wanted artichokes (one of my favorite veggies; just an example), i'd want to go to the market and pick out fresh, preferably organic, nice lucious artichokes. i wouldn't ever buy myself an artificial artichoke-like substance with most or some of the nutrients of artichokes, from synthetic sources... and a completely different flavor... in a can. you kwim? the real thing will always be better.
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