Family Dispute Over Parenting Styles - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wasn't sure where to put this because it touches on a lot of things, but I thought I'd try here because it is about parenting overall.

My husband and I are expecting our first child in May. BIL and SIL are expecting in July.
The problem is they belittle and criticize all our choices. BIL is a doctor, and is into totally medicalized EVERYING. SIL just regurgitates everything he says like it is unquestionable truth. She doesn't want to take any birth classes because he knows EVERYTHING already. She has every pre-natal test there is and will have every intervention because he says so.

They have belittled and attacked our choice to use cloth diapers, not to circ and to have a natural birth. They are incredulous that I did not have an amnio at the cronelike age of 39. When we try to respond by explaining that we have researched these things and made educated choices, they always cut us off and say well BIL is a DOCTOR and he disagrees. Or their friend is a PEDIATRICIAN and he disagrees. Like you have to have an MD to be a parent and make choices for your child.

I am at the point where I can't stand to be around them.. but I don't want to start a family quarrel or interfere with DH's relationship with his sister.

There are also serious religious issues.. They are Christian, we are Pagan, DH is of Christian background, I am of Jewish background. They can't deal with the fact that our child won't be Christian. They assume he will be and when we explain how we will be raising him they say things like "your child better not tell ours there's no Santa Claus."

I don't know what to do. Sorry if this is too long or in the wrong place. But I would love to know how other "non-mainstream" parents deal with this and keep peace in the family when you feel you are being attacked.

I am just distraught about all of this.
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#2 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 05:30 PM
 
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{{asherah -love your name, by the way}}I have dealt with a taste of this from my own family. After debating the same issues (circ, extended breastfeeding, etc.) a couple of times, I just said "You know, it's obvious that we disagree -lets just not discuss this anymore" If they brought it up again, I simply ignored them. I have literally said "I do not wish to talk about this" and walked away from a relative. She got over it.
They have a right to their opinion, but are wrong to critcize you. Let them know it bothers you (and dh) and that it must stop. Blessings to you and your Spring babe
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#3 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 05:45 PM
 
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That must be hard. I am finding myself distancing from mainstream people more and more. And it is funny when someone says "Well my doctor or pediatrcian says.." I tend to discredit it even more than I would a personal opinion. Sad I know! I just get less and less tolerance of ignorence and being questioned for my motives!
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#4 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 05:47 PM
 
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I am the "bad daughter" in my family. My stepsister and I were pregnant with our first children and due a week apart. We have totally different parenting attitudes and there was a lot of confilict those first couple years.

I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible -- alone. My mom and stepdad wanted to be called so they could come down at the first labor pain. My mother thought that she was going to be present at the birth, and cried when I told her that it was going to be only my dh and I there. They wanted to spend as much time in our hospital room as we did. I got lucky, and my stepsister delivered five days before I did. My mom and stepdad came and pretty much lived in her hospital room. When I delivered on Mother's Day they were in town visiting my stepsister, but had to go home that day because they had used up all their time off when my niece was born. They came up to the hospital for a couple hours then had to go home for the week.

My stepsister works 50 hours a week (not in a high earning, professional job) and puts her daughter in daycare five and sometimes seven days a week. When her dd was just a tiny infant they left her with my mom and stepdad for a weekend when they had to work. They have left her with our parents for a week or more at a time. We refused to let our son stay at their home. It is not at all babyproofed and is a deathtrap. Their are poisonous plants sitting all over the floor. They have a staircase to the basement that is in a very dangerous place. The lean a thin piece of paneling in front of it and think it's safe.

My stepsister weaned her dd at two months. My parents though it was great that she nursed that long and that two months was a good time to wean. I nursed my ds until he weaned himself at 22 months when I was three months pregnant.. They thought that it was horrible that I nursed that long. From three months on I was nagged about when I was finally going to stop "doing that." Doing what, feeding my baby??? I once said "If I don't feed my baby, isn't that neglect?" That didn't go over too well with them. Imagine their horror when I got pregnant and didn't wean. The concept of tandem nursing about sent them over the edge.

I am an AP parent in a very non AP family. I can't name another person in my family including all of my cousins who even comes close to APing. No one breastfed (except my stepsister) and they had never seen a sling before they saw mine. I was told that my son would grow up to be insecure, spoiled, dependent on me. None of these things happened, and my son is a wonderful, caring child. All of their critical, hurtful comments have been swept under the rug and forgotten, at least by them. They will long be remembered by my dh and I. This is just an overview of our situation, I could go on and on, but it would make me too angry.

As for your your bil being a doctor, you didn't mention his specialty, but I assume that he isn't an obgyn. Being a doctor makes him an "expert" so to speak in his specialty, but not others. My husband is a construction engineer, but would you want him designing for NASA? Of course not, he isn't an aerospace engineer. Simply being an engineer doesn't make him an expert on engineering as a whole, nor does being a doctor make your bil and expert on all things medical (that is if you consider birth a "medical" event.) After all, would you want your obgyn removing a brain tumor? As for pediatricians, I too, have a good friend who is a pediatrician. Her daughter is the same age as my second son, and she comes to me much, much more often for advice than I come to her. After all, she says, she was trained to treat sick children, not to parent. Her training was not in things such as how to get your child to sleep through the night, or the best way to toilet train, or what to do if your child hits other children. These are all parenting issues, not medical issues. My former pediatrician (she just left the practice ) had two boys in elementary school. I greatly trusted her input on parenting issues, but even she told me that the advice that she would give was as a parent, not as a doctor. What worked for her, might not work in our situation and I had to do what was best for my children.

I would talk to your bil and his wife soon and tell them how they are taking the joy out of this for you. It sounds as if bil has to be the one who knows it all and that people look up to. IMHO it seems as if they are criticizing your choices because perhaps they feel guilty about theirs. There is nothing wrong with using disposable diapers if they choose, but to belittle you for doing so is just plain rude, uncaring and certainly unsupportive. Why should they care, anyway? As first time parents they know no more than you do, even if they would like to think that they do. If they want your children to be close they need to lighten up and realize that there is more than one way to parent. If it were me in your situation I would find myself avoiding being around them because of their attitude. Take the high road and try to talk to them now before it gets too bad.

I feel sorry for your sil. Think of the crappy birth she is going to have. I've had two drug free births -- they rock!!!

Best of luck, and if you want to blow off some steam, please pm me!! Being the bad daughter isn't so bad. I feel like a rebel!
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#5 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 07:12 PM
 
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Oh, Asherah, I've been in your shoes. Five of my dh's brothers are doctors. (One is an ob/gyn and one is a pediatrician.) All of them and their wives parent differently from the way I do--they wean early,or don't bf at all, they spank, use disposables, etc. Most of them are fairly respectful, but one SIL, the wife of the ob/gyn, is so obnoxious. She's convinced that midwives are stealing the bread from her children's mouths. (This woman has at least 3 fur coats, a huge house, a cleaning TEAM, an enormous SUV...) She always has to make a comment if she sees me nursing. ("You know, you're only doing that for yourself.") Sometimes her comments make me cringe, but usually dh and I just laugh at her behind her back. I kind of feel sorry for her. Attachment parenting gives me so much joy (just as it will give you joy) that I feel bad for what she has missed.

This summer, dh & I have to go to a resort with all of them to celebrate his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. Just wait until they see me nursing a 3 year old.

I'm not sure what you can do about the Christianity conflict. Just hold firm to your convictions and refuse to discuss it with them. It's none of their business! Dh & I are Catholic, but one of our SILs is an atheist. DH's family really makes a point of exposing her children to Christianity. Like at the Christmas party, MIL will make a big deal of making everyone sing "Happy Birthday to Jesus". (It's awful.) The SIL handles it pretty well, although I can just imagine what she says behind closed doors.
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#6 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 10:34 PM
 
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Asherah, I think you need to take a nice deep breath then breath.I feel bad for your situation and I hate to be negative but once the baby gets here its probably going to get worse.
Unless your SIL and BIL opinon will change once they have there precious little baby.

When I was pregnant I was debating cloth diapers and my SIL actually said she would not hang around with me if I did that. I did eventually try cloth when dd was 8 months and I did not hear the end of it. :mad:

Just enjoy this wonderful time with your dh and soon to be db. Have a beautiful birth and when people start to be judgemental tell yourself it is because they are jealous. That is usally why people are so mean.:mad:

Daylily LOL your only breastfeeding for yourself. I got the comment too, but for me that is the truth. I just get so mad with the mean hurtful commets,I sometimes start to doubt my parenting skills then I come here to this board and I get my perspevtive back.

Just rember that you are doing a great thing for db and making the best choices. Tell everyone else who doesn't agree to piss off.

I guess I needed to vent
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#7 of 32 Old 02-10-2002, 11:49 PM
 
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Yeah, I love that "you're only breastfeeding for yourself" comment. Yeah, I love still having leaky breasts at 16 months and having to carry nursing pads with me everywhere. I so enjoy the plugged nipple ducts that have been plaguing me lately. I really had a blast during the two bouts of mastitis I had this fall. Now, I know that these are all the negatives of breastfeeding, but when someone makes such a ridiculous comment, I have to mention the above. I like how all these women seem to think that breastfeeding is providing us with some sort of orgasmic high. If that were true the breastfeeding rate would be near 100% and women would nurse as long as they possibly could.

Breastfeeding is definitely a wonderful thing, but it is because of the bond formed between us and our children, not because of any physical sensation, or strange, perverse emotional need. Those who think that obviously never tried it.

Daylily, the cloth diaper thing had me rolling. Was your sil afraid that you would make HER change them and wash them out in the toilet? I have always used disposables simply because of my prior experience with cloth when I used to babysit my cousins nearly 20 years ago. I hated folding the diapers and trying to get them to stay on tight with those D**N pins. I didn't know anyone who used cloth, and it wasn't until I was introduced to Mothering that I saw all the adds for cloth diapers and saw how much they had changed. I have several friends who use cloth and I can't imagine what reason I would have for not hanging out with them. OMG, I can't believe they are trying to save the Earth. :LOL

Isn't it nice to know that as frustrated we get with our families, there is always someone there to comiserate with.

BTW, the above mentioned sil is being induces with her second child (yet another unplanned pregnancy thanks to poor pill usage, but that's another story) and my mom and stepdad just arrived in town tonight. Stay close to the thread, ladies, I may need to vent!!!!
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#8 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 12:23 AM
 
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Cut them lose.

You don't need them. There are plenty of good people in the world with whom you can share joy, not spite.

jbcjmom. You are a mountain of strenth there.

a

The anti-Ezzo king
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#9 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 02:06 AM
 
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First off about circ'ing. IF they critize it again politely ask your brother to find a medical organization that recommend it. Through the medical aspect back at them. The AAP says it is not essential for your child's well being, period end of discussion.

About the other medical stuff, politely tell them "Well my doctor says _______ and since he knows my medical history better than you I will listen to him." Then politely ask them not to talk about medical advice/situation since they do not have full access to your's, your childs, or dh records because it could be dangerous if they miss some pertainant information. (THis is a fact)

You will never convince them your way is right so don't try. It is not worth the stress.

If they bring up Santa Claus again. Politely tell them Santa Claus has nothing to do with the reasons for christmas.

If they bring it up religion again. Explain to them you will teach your child about all religions (which I hope you do) and that your child will understand why Christians celebrate Christmas, Jews Hannaka (SP), Muslims Romadon (Sp), and Pegans/wiccans (I know I am assuming) celebrate the winter solist. Tell them not to worry you will teach your child to respect all religions and you sure hope they do the same with thier child, we don't want our kids to be anti-sematics or as narrow minded as the "Talaban". Anti-sematic is ussually a knee jerk word. NO one wants to do that, it will help get your point across because of the strong meanings/reasons behind the word.
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#10 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 04:49 AM
 
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I don't know if I have much advice, but I sure can relate! My family thought everything I did (and do) with my son was wrong. They are horrified that I homeschool him, and cannot understand why. In my last conversation with my mother, she was mortified to find out that not only do I homeschool, but I don't use a packaged curriculumn (sp)!! She asked "how can you teach him, then?"........my son is 9, it really isn't difficult to teach a 9yo!!! A college science major I couldn't teach, but a 9yo! I told her that. All you can do is ignore them, it's what I do. However, I have the advantage of not seeing my family much, and they aren't downright mean like it sounds like your bil/sil are. I cannot believe they make comments about cloth diapers?!!! What could possibly be wrong with that? Anyway, what I would do is tell them that you are making informed decisions, and you would like them to respect your decisions if not approve of them. There is no reason for them to demean you and your husband. The same goes for religion. Basically, stand your ground, and if they cannot be civil, don't be around them! My family was upset when my son and I stopped celebrating Xmas (btw, my family is JEWISH, my son and I consider ourselves pagan), and refused to accept it. It's been a few years and now they send my son holiday gifts not wrapped in Xmas paper, so they're improving.: Anyway, enough of my ranting.......feel free to pm me, and don't give up!

"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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#11 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 05:06 AM
 
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what worries me here, is that if your mother went to a public school, and now, after half a life-time, she could not teach a nine year old, what use was her education??? Really?! What value?

a

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#12 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 12:01 PM
 
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I think the bigger issue here is not whose choices are right or wrong, but rather the fact that these people feel that they can openly criticize and attack you. I went through some of the same stuff with my ILs, and I learned the hard way that debating and trying to argue with or educate them was pointless, and only ended in bad feelings all around. What worked for me was first to let them know that I didn't appreciate being attacked. I told them I didn't enjoy being around people who were constantly putting me down, and I didn't want my ds to spend time with people who have no respect for his mother. They were taken aback--apparently they just thought they were "helping" me. Anyway, after that if they slipped into their old habits, I walked away--literally. Once, I even bundled up ds and told dh to pack our stuff and meet me in the car, and we left. Now they think I'm weirder than ever, but family gatherings are mostly pleasant and civil.


It took a while, but now I'm confident enough in my own choices that I don't worry too much about what other people think. When a mainstream-type starts offering advice, I react based on the assumption that they really care about me and my child and are trying to help us (even when I know they're just plain ignorant and rude). I sweetly say something like: "that's interesting, I'll give that some thought". How can they argue with that?
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#13 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 12:09 PM
 
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Asherah, it's good that your baby is due a few months earlier than your SIL's. This way, when she is recovering from her c-section and her baby has nipple confusion because some idiot at the hospital fed him formula, you will be fully recovered from your beautiful, natural birth, and you'll have a glowing, healthy baby who will be starting to smile at you.

Dancinggirl, I must know: why would your SIL not hang out with you if you used cloth diapers? When the babies are dressed you can't tell the difference, except that cd'd babies have slightly fatter bottoms, which makes them cuter anyway. Maybe she didn't want your baby to look cuter than hers! LOL.
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#14 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 01:42 PM
 
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Hmmmn. . . sounds like someone is pretty insecure (already!) with their parenting choices.
It's one thing for them to be curious as to your reasoning behind certain choices but to continually belittle and criticize them would indicate to me that they are reassuring themselves by doing so. The best approach that we've found is to respond initially with a calm, very succinct explanation, then progress to a simple "This is what works for us." and then finally change the subject!

Here's an example. . .
Q: Why on earth would you not want an epidural?
A: We believe that pregnancy & birth are natural life-events, not a medical problem! We don't want to chance the complications and risks associated such as (insert information here). . . And we are taking a great Bradley course to learn how to manage labor & birth naturally.
Q: You're nuts! Babies should be born in hospitals. Why would you want to suffer like that--you don't have to feel a thing! Dick is a doctor and he can tell you how foolish you're being!
A: This is what we want. This is just the approach that works best for us. (being completely calm--use your in-labor-relaxation-techniques!)
Q: You don't know! You'll be begging for an epidural. You'll be in terrible pain. You could even hurt your baby! (This is the craziest comment I ever heard about our births--implying that drugs are good for babies!) Dick says you're making a terrible mistake!
A: Did Aunt Rhoda have her nose-job yet?
Q: Huh?
A: Did Aunt Rhoda have her nose-job yet?
Q: You're trying to change the subject!
A: That's right. Anyone hear about Aunt Rhoda's nose-job?

You get the idea. When we have to be with the kind of people who can only reassure themselves by denigrating others, I take along a mental list of "topics-to-change-to." I refuse to be drawn into debates. If someone asks and is curious, we happily share what, how and why (and for us that includes homebirth, whole & natural baby boys, family bed, extended breastfeeding, selective vax, cloth dipes, vegetarian diet, home educating, etc.) because we want people to know that there are many ways of doing things--some people never even realize that there are choices, and perhaps couples who are beginning to plan a family will make a more informed decision. Some people really do just want to know why, so share your reasons and give them something new to consider.

I do try very hard NOT to be offensive--I think that would just be counterproductive and take away from the credibility of our logic. (Can you imagine responding with: What! Why would you want to feed your newborn artificial baby milk? How do you intend to explain to your son why a significant part of his penis is missing? Aren't you worried about having the chemicals in those diapers against your child's reproductive organs for three solid years? etc.) In my mind I say all these outrageous things and have a knock-down, drag-out cat-fight! But in real life I smile serenely and calmly reply "This is just what works for us." And then change the subject. This general approach works for everything, especially when the individual asking the questions is not really interested in the answers but just wants to be "right."
You can't argue with the statement that this is what's "right" for us!

The "rule" about not discussing religion, politics and sex should also extend to parenting issues, too!
I would limit my exposure to them as much as possible so that on those occasions when you do have to deal with them you can be as centered and peaceful as possible and radiate confidence and self-assurance. Just wait until August when you start hearing about how many hours their baby cried-it-out before it fell asleep and how you are carrying yours too much, shouldn't have it in your bed, etc.! Nothing forestalls criticism like confidence and inner peace. The first time you get asked "Are you still nursing that baby?" respond with a calm, yet slightly puzzled "Of course!"

Good Luck and don't let these negative relatives interfere with a blissful birth and well-nurtured baby.
Teresa
p.s. Medical professionals are not ever encouraged to think "outside-the-box" and those that question the sacred cows of conventional medical "practice" (Mendelsohn, et al.) come in for heavy criticism and risk the wrath of their professional associations and the pharmaceutical industry. (Geez. . . I sound like one of those conspiracy-nuts, don't I?).
p.p.s. I would be mightily tempted, though, to say, "Gosh, we Pagans love Santa Claus, after all, he's sure not a Christian creation!" I think I'd then provoke them a little more by saying " We'll make sure baby knows all about Jesus, too. . . after all, he is probably the most famous Jewish man in the world!" They haven't even gotten their baby safely here yet and they're already worried about your child telling them about Santa Claus? LOL!
Is it a safe guess that your SIL is a very anxious, the-sky-is-falling! personality?

I think you should be writing some of this stuff down--there's an hysterical book there in the making!
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#15 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 01:59 PM
 
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Oh the in laws. Over the past 12 years I have tried a variety of responses, for awhile just ignored it, said "uh huh", "oh really", and so on, because any other response was either ignored or taken as an argument. When I was pg, MIL and SIL would ask me if I was going to get an epidural. I would say that my plan was to try to delivery naturally (which I did), and I would hear anything from "You know it doesn't hurt the baby" to "You know, it's not about being a martyr." MIL had an epidural and I guess it made her defensive. SIL just seems to like to be demeaning of my choices. DH had to finally tell SIL, in private, that basically that if she didn't have anything supportive to say then to save her comments. She was floored, because not only does their family not say things out in the open like that, but because she didn't even see it that way at all. But, I always knew that once I had the baby, ignoring would no longer be an option, because I didn't want the baby to grow up watching that kind of family interaction and thinking it was acceptable. We all live close to one another and see each other often.

So, I am trying to be more up front now, but it sure is hard. I try to make DH do the stuff that makes me feel really uncomfortable. When ds was first born, I made sure to tell dh beforehand that as soon as his family arrived that he had to tell them to wash their hands, not wait for me to do it. Oh, one time when ds was just a few weeks old, they all came over after having been out for a birthday dinner, and ds was asleep in the sling (dh was wearing him). Well, MIL had had quite a few glasses of wine, and was being totally obnoxious about wanting to wake ds up so she could visit with him. She would be deliberately real loud and then laugh like it was funny. I was appalled by her behavior, but more appalled that my dh didn't say anything or walk out of the room with ds! I laid into him that night, and he got the picture that he needed to step up with his family when they were being inappropriate.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am working on being better at speaking my mind when I don't like what is going on, but that I think it is dh's responsibility to step in and put a stop to the basic problems. My SIL is now pg with her first, and since she was an authority on pg and babies while I was pg, I'm assuming it's going to get even worse. What does the dalai lama say . . .Be thankful for your enemies because they are your best teachers. If no one tested you we'd all be a bunch of lumps. Not his exact words obviously
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#16 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 02:15 PM
 
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Ok here are my thoughts:

I don't buy that they are jealous but I do think that your choice of something different from what they choose is threatening to them. It is like you are putting them down because you don't agree with their choices. That is how insecure people react.

My therapist told me to say "That is an interesting perspective." or "That is one way of looking at it." then to change the subject whenever someone criticizes you. I have those 2 sentences imprinted on my brain. Believe me, they get your point across and make your family look rude if they continue to push it.

The only other thing you might think about doing (like I am sure you have the time if you are getting ready for the baby) is to print off articles and hand them out whenever someone criticizes you. Have 2-3 for each topic. Or hand out a booklist and say, "Read these and then we'll talk about it." Refuse to discuss it until they do their "homework."

My family usually just stares at me in stunned silence whenever I bring up homebirth, etc. Although I expect it to get worse later.
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#17 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 02:45 PM
 
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p.p.s. I would be mightily tempted, though, to say, "Gosh, we Pagans love Santa Claus, after all, he's sure not a Christian creation!" I think I'd then provoke them a little more by saying " We'll make sure baby knows all about Jesus, too. . . after all, he is probably the most famous Jewish man in the world!"

I never thought of it that way. LOL !! That is a good come back
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#18 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 05:24 PM
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I don't have the drama with my family. Dh and I had our older children much earlier in time than either my sister or his brothers and sister. The only negatives I received were some off-the-wall batty commentary from my MIL (like she wanted me to give up dd for adoption because I couldn't afford formula. Couldn't convince her that I would succed at nursing. She pushed "food" on my two month old nursing dd. She is generally into plastic parenting but has the sens to keep her nose out of most of my business.) The other in-laws are more positive toward me because I'm sort of the family parenting expert <G>

I *have* experience being persecuted for being ap in my old, Ezzofied church.

We were actually *kicked out* of that church because we were successfully AP style parenting (at the time) six children and *they* didn't want anyone giving the people in that church a contrary message.

I was told (point blank) not to share my parenting views with others.

You must understand that doctors can be as ignorant as anyone else about parenting issues. They usually get two paragraphs of breastfeeding info in medical school.

If anything you could legatimately challenge your bil about *his* contradiction with medical establishment in the area of natural birth, breastfeeding, and circumcision. The AAP strongly encourages ad-lib breastfeeding for a *minimum* of one years preferably two years or longer (!!) There have been studies (supported by the ACOG) reflecting the safety and value of freestanding birth centers staffed with Certified Nurse Midwives.

The AAP is also neutral regarding circumcision. I should think *you*, as a Jew, would be more hesitant to have your son intact (circ. is very strongly woven in Jewish culture) For you to *not* circ. in light of your heritage speaks of your dedication to educating yourself in this subject and resisting such a strong incentive to circ. (A Christian family should know that there is no socital or religious need for them to circ.)

Even though I'm a Christian (with a Jewish background :-) I am repulsed by much of cultural Christianity (as opposed to the actual teaching of Jesus) To subject you to indiscriminate and ignorant criticism goes against the very core of Christian values (although they're in very overpopulated company IMHO)

They should be ashamed of themselves.

Debra Baker
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#19 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 11:04 PM
 
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I'm in the same boat. We're still working on building a family, but my sister, who is a nurse, brings up questions she knows we'll disagree about. She's not even trying to have a baby yet, she just wants to tell me how much she learned in nursing school. She's never worked in a maternity unit (just ER and pediatrics), but she knows she's going to give her baby a bottle of water the day he's born because it's so important. She's going to breastfeed, but there's no such thing as nipple confussion, so she's going to get the baby used to bottles from day one. The baby is going to have supplemental bottles of formula because she's "going to have a life." One day a lady nursing a 14 month old toddler came into the ER, and all the staff made fun of her the rest of the day. They know the AAP recommends feeding for a year, so they recommend you start weaning at 10 months so you can be sure your baby will be weaned by his first birthday.

She also told me that I could use cloth diapers, but she's going to use disposibles because she "doesn't mind spending extra money for her baby when health is concerned." Excuse me? I guess it's more important to put your child in a diaper that you can get by with changing every 5 hours and expose it to dangerous chemicals than to just change the cloth diaper every time it gets wet.

I don't have any advice, but you're not alone. AP is a minority lifestyle, so most people won't identify. The best thing you can do is probably change the subject.

(BTW, the Santa Claus thing floored me. DH and I are Christians, very conservative Christians, and you can bet your life that there will NEVER be a Santa Claus in our house!!!)
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#20 of 32 Old 02-11-2002, 11:49 PM
 
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LEmama gave you the best advice. Refuse to discuss it. If they bring it up, change the subject. If they pursue it, say "I have decided not to get into these discussions with you, they were ruining our relationship." If they persist, leave the room.

I have already learned the hard way that there are some discussions that aren't safe to have with my family. So I don't discuss circumcision with my cousins Margaret & Becky, I don't discuss co-sleeping with my aunt, and my MIL is more than welcome to make me a crib set I won't use. The rest of my relationships with these people are wonderful; it is not worth it to me to ruin things over parenting styles, not when all of the children in the family are loved and healthy. In the end, it doesn't matter that my coz Shane & his wife Theresa refused to have their daughter Katie sleep in their bedroom; she's a perfectly content child. Likewise, I doubt the boys in the family will cry over the loss of their foreskin. These are not my choices, and they honestly seem bizarre and unnatural to me, but neither are the children my children, and if I want to have my parenting choices respected, I must respect theirs. And since I'm not good at keeping my mouth shut, I just avoid certain topics. And everyone lives happily ever after.

Sabra: Mama to Bobbie (3/02), Linda (1/04), Esther (10/05), Marie (11/10), & Douglas (11/12)

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#21 of 32 Old 02-12-2002, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh bless you all and thanks for the great advice and good humor.
I am printing this out to show to DH.
I would feel so alone without these boards-I just wish you all lived here so I could invite you over!

By the way.. BIL is a plastic surgeon, so DH and I are always joking privately about how since he is such an expert on pregnancy/birth etc.. we might as well get the OB to give us both nose jobs and lipo.

And last time SIL said "but BIL is a DOCTOR!" I did manage to refrain from saying "so was Dr. Mengele.

Anyway I will take much of the advice you have given me and I feel so much less alone now.

And thanks Debra for the comments about the difficulty of the circ decision when you are Jewish. I did not start out anti-circ.. just as I did not start out ap. I read.. and read.. and my mind has changed about many things since I began this amazing journey.
I did not know my reading and instincts would take me here... but these things (BF, no circ, co-sleeping etc) just seem so inherently right to me. And there is research from credibile sources to back it all up. I feel secure in my choices for the most part. I just had no idea how much hostility I would face for them.. and my boy isn't even born yet!

Thanks again for all your support.
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#22 of 32 Old 02-12-2002, 01:15 PM
 
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I just have to write...

I am so happy this board exists. Like some of you I come from a medical family - both parents are gps and two of my siblings are doctors. My son is the first grandchild and everyone constantly offers 'wise words'. My son is only 4 1/2 months old - he is exclusively bf and I carry him with my always. Our philosophy is that we have been given the most wonderful gift - a lovely bright healthy affectionate little boy. We are going to enjoy every day - that means he will be nursed, he will sleep with us, he will not cry and we will take him everywhere we go.

Just this morning I was chatting with my dad (who I love) and he said, "You are doing a great job... it is just I think it is time to put him in the crib... you should start him on solids - give yourself some freedom... he has you wrapped around his finger." Ugh.

I think it is true - the best thing is just to try and ignore what others say.

I love knowing that others are going through the same thing - somehow it makes it all a bit easier.
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#23 of 32 Old 02-12-2002, 02:28 PM
 
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There are some posts that get me so mad I can't coherently respond immediately. Yours brought back bad memories. Funny thing is, Dh and I are doctors, and while my mother thinks I walk on water and anything I do must be right (she's a huge co-sleeping convert), Dh's family think we've gone off the deep end.

We tried all sorts of approaches, and nothing worked, until I developed The Strategy.

When we see them, and they say all the things that hurt so much (all with a smile), I smile back and then I go to work on them:
I describe in somewhat purposefully lecture like tones, details and data (most learned outside of medical training, but supplemented with excruciating medical detail) on my subject, be it cloth diapers, evils of sleep training, advantages of breast feeding, the permeable gut, until my victim is Sorry they Ever Said Anything.

Passive agressive? Maybe, but funny thing, I'm not getting bothered so much anymore.

Best of luck, I really feel for you.
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#24 of 32 Old 02-12-2002, 02:29 PM
 
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Debra,
I agree with so much of your post!
I'm so, so sorry that your church "kicked you out."
I know someone who had a similar experience and was truly devastated.
I hope you found a congregation that realizes what an asset you are!
Teresa
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#25 of 32 Old 02-12-2002, 09:11 PM
 
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I like what Jennifer had to say and I second all of that.

I am pretty ferocious with my boundaries and regardless of who it is, if I am not accepted in who I am, I simply do not engage. Theres no law stating you have to say a thing or even spend time with them if you dont want to. Honestly there are people out there who will envelope you in your choices, and even if they disagree, still remain respectful

If you want to offer literature, stuff this in their beaks
(sorry, can you tell this P**** me off? ? )

http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/...enNeedTou.html

and this:
http://www.continuum-concept.org/

and finally for you guys, this:

http://www.tcs.ac/


Cheers
Cassandra


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#26 of 32 Old 02-13-2002, 03:13 PM
 
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Thank you Teresa,

I thoroughly enjoyed your post. And thank you all for this great discussion- instructive in so many ways,

-Jeanie
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#27 of 32 Old 02-13-2002, 04:01 PM
 
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i dont have advice either
but i do relate

i have taken SO MUCH grief from my friends because i bottle feed and taken SO MUCH grief from my parents because i don't let my baby cry it out....etc

too bad for them is my new philosophy.

i just do what I want and I don't really care anymore what other people want. It takes time to realize you can't always do what others want. or it did for me.
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#28 of 32 Old 02-13-2002, 04:22 PM
 
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Sounds like you've gotten alot of good advice on your difficult situation.

I would really "put my foot down" now, because later you'll be tired and too in love with your new babe, and you *won't* want to be upset by them during that lovely time.

I really liked the phrases "This is what works for us" and "That's one way of looking at this" - I'll have to remember those!

Also, I'd suggest, "Thank you for your concern, but my baby is happy & healthy and thriving - we are obviously doing something right!"

I really liked the doctor's suggestion on pointing out how your BIL is suggesting things that are in opposition to recommendations from the AAP!

Welcome to the "Black Sheep Club", lol. I am planning on doing just about everything different than my sister (who has two young ones) - extended bf, family bed, cloth diapering, changing careers to spend time with the baby while young etc.

Good luck! You are NOT alone!
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#29 of 32 Old 02-13-2002, 11:55 PM
 
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Well I think we finally got MIL to stop worrying about my breastfeeding. Or the fb.

Dh just told her we're not vaccinating.
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#30 of 32 Old 02-14-2002, 02:45 AM
 
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Knowledge is power.

If people gave me advice on pregnancy, birth or parenting I would ask them where they found their information so I could read it as well. If they didn't have any references, I just moved on to the next topic or politely excused myself. With doctors (although family members may be more agressive), listen to their experiences as you would like someone to listen to yours and try not to make the conversation be a "group decision".

I think it was Alternative Medicine (magazine) that wrote about the Physician's Desk Reference being created by drug manufacturing companies (yeah, they also write-up the symptoms so doctors can figure out who needs their drugs).

I'm not interested in buying into popular belief but I understand why others feel secure in it.

Same with religion. I question anything "organized'.

We had to cut off ties with 3 family members on my husband's side and one couple whom we were quite close with at one point because of their intrusive and self-serving actions. It took a while, but one day we just let it go and are much happier because of it.

I won't make room for that kind of stress in my life again.

Hang in there, everything is always changing. Try not to get caught up in the negative.
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