I feel like I'm being overwhelmed with "advice" - whether it's people telling me I'm not doing (insert whatever they think is best) or telling me horror stories to scare me into doing (insert whatever they think is best). I'm just wondering, how do you all tell the BS from you just sticking your head in the sand and how do you block it out? Trying to reason with people hasn't gotten me very far and just ends up leaving me pissed and ranting for days on end. I'm just really frustrated and all this conflicting information is making me question every decision that I'm making when I'd rather be settling into my choice and preparing for the baby to be born.
How do you block out all the "advice"?
For me, I count on the fact that I'm a smarter than average person and I've put more thought and research into this process than many things in my life. I'm quite certain that I'm going to do something "wrong" or something that I would change if I could do it over. I just have to trust that no person does things perfectly, and listening to other people's advice isn't going to change that. There are risks and benefits to every single decision we make in life. Just because a risk exists doesn't mean a different decision is "right." Trust your gut, after you've informed yourself. And leave it at that.
Is this your first baby or do you plan on doing things differently this time? All you can do is research and trust your instincts. If you arm yourself with knowledge, then it's easy to retort to people if you're informed and use research. If that doesn't work, simply nod and agree.. and then ignore them.
Oh man, do I ever hate unsolicited parenting advice, as well as all the guilt and fear-mongering! Unfortunately it doesn't stop but it does get a little better. Honestly, I think that not talking about it as much as possible is what helps the most- some people will still insist on giving advice, but if you don't start up a conversation about X then maybe you can head off some of that (not saying that you are bringing it up, but especially after baby comes it's easy to start talking about issues (sleeping, breastfeeding, diapers, diet, appetite, etc.) and then people REALLY get going. Obviously this is more difficult while pregnant because it seems that first time mothers (not so much with subsequent, at least in my experience) are wearing a sign that says "please tell me what to do!"
Once people are giving advice, though, I find that trying to be gentle while also offering a different POV is helpful. For instance, maybe you could just generally say "that's really great that that worked for you/them/her, and I'll keep it in mind. We're going to see what works best for our baby." Or more specifically "I have done a lot of research in that area, and I'm trying to decide what will work best" or "we're really into X so we think we'll try that first".
There's always anecdotal evidence. Everyone knows someone who did this or that, or maybe they even know a lot of people who did X and it worked. But that doesn't make it right, it doesn't make it wrong either, it just means it's different. People can be very hard-core and unwavering in their opinions- and it happens on both sides- mainstream and super crunchy. I think we just have to remember that we're all doing the best we can, and making the choices that are right for OUR families.
I think you'll find that parenting is very much instinctual. Don't question what you have decided on, but also be flexible and know that you will DEFINITELY have a list of things that you always said you'd never do but then you will. Trust me. Babies have different needs and we'll never be able to predict what we'll get. It's also important not to compare to other mothers/babies (this is so hard to not do!) because every child is so, so very different and thus we all make different choices.
Thank you for all the replies! This is more pregnancy/birth advice than baby advice, at this point. I'm planning a VBAC and I keep getting the extreme scary stories from both ends - either "lots of moms and babies die all the time from uterine rupture" from L&D nurses or "you're not spending enough time on yourself/working out your issues/doing whatever so you won't be able to VBAC" from the less mainstream folks. I just feel like I'm being told that if I'm not some sort of birth goddess I won't be able to have my baby come out of my body, or that if I try to let my baby come out of my body on it's own, as uninterrupted as possible, that the baby and I will die. Where is the middle ground?!
And to whoever said it, you're right, I've researched this stuff to death over the last three years and I know why I'm making the choices that I'm making, but with how sensitive I feel right now all this stuff is getting to me and making me doubt myself. And then of course there's that person's voice that pops up and says "well if you doubt yourself you won't be able to do it!"
I really just wish I could crawl into a hole for the rest of my pregnancy, but between work, two kids, and a husband, I don't see that happening.
Stay true to yourself, Sasha's Mama! Remember that you know what's best for you. A lot of people have voiced concerns using scare tactics regarding my choice to home birth, so I understand all of that VBAC "noise" putting doubt in your head. It can be overwhelming for sure. It brings me down and makes me second-guess myself in the moment, but I have to just take some deep breaths and stay focused on what I know is right for my own birth experience. Chatting with fellow natural birthers on MDC helps re-focus me. It also helps when my husband reminds me of why we arrived at the birth plan we did in the first place. Having support to counteract the doubters is most helpful to me when I'm emotional. I haven't birthed before, but I know that the best thing I can do to comfort myself with my decision is to take comfort in the fact that I've made an informed choice and I'm going to have control over my birth experience! Don't let others rob you of that.
You can have the VBAC experience you want! Sure, there are always risks with anything, but I've heard from several midwives and my childbirth ed teacher that the risk of uterine rupture is very low and cesareans carry their own risks that can be worse. C-sections are so routine these days that people forget that it's major surgery! I've read that there's a less than 1% chance of rupture w/ VBAC, and the risk is greater if you're induced or have other labor interventions. The statistics aren't cut and dry. These are just things I've heard and I'm not a medical professional. But uterine rupture can happen in people who haven't even had prior cesareans! The rates aren't that much different and aren't limited to VBACs like it seems people focus on these days. Too often people are focusing on "norms" and not individual experiences. You are an individual and what's right versus risky for others isn't necessarily right for you, nor as risky for you. Maybe you can gently remind people of that? I try to voice my respect for other people's concerns but go on my merry way.
Good for you for planning the birth that you want and not just going with the flow. It's okay to feel doubtful and worried about your decision. Just don't let the doubt sway you into making a decision you know in your heart you'd regret.
Edited by birdhappy85 - 9/23/11 at 8:34am