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okay, what i mean by this is--

there are so many people in my life unsupportive of AP, without even knowing what it is. my instinct is that i have to find a way to manage these people or i'll have to burn a lot of bridges because the criticism is too much for me to take.

one example: i have a close friend who is not even a parent at all. she has nannied and thus thinks that makes her a baby/kid expert, and obviously thinks she knows more than i do. i told her i was having some trouble with depression, going back on my meds (i was trying to reach out and just let her know what is going on in my life), and she promptly started brainstorming things to change that will make me happier (because "what you're doing is obviously not working for you")...like not co-sleeping, putting baby in her own room with no monitor because our house is small enough to hear her if she REALLY cries
: then she told me that to REALLY get sleep in a few months i will "need" to sleep train her
:

or like she told me i only REALLY need to BF for 3 months (what does that even mean??!?!)...and that i should not try to have any goals about BFing. (well, i do--i want to do it for at least one year, preferably two or more). she said i am probably just the kind of person who doesn't enjoy it...(who DOES enjoy it when it's 24/7 with a newborn AND you have PPD?!?!?! i am holding out for the good parts!)

i was just so overwhelmed when she was talking to me. i tried telling her i don't think i really need to change a whole lot, just my brain chemistry!
and i need to get out of the house more, be more social (i'm a very social person, so i'm finding motherhood rather isolating since none of my friends are moms yet). i'm working on that, but it's hard when there are people in my life i want to AVOID because of their stupid advice and comments.

maybe the depression is just making me ultra-sensitive...i dunno. if she were a stranger, i'd be better able to ignore her. but we are good friends. she's going to be in my life. (also, she's offered to start watching the baby for a couple of hours here and there whenever we're ready so DH and i can go to dinner or something--which i will never be comfortable with if she's going to push this agenda!) how do i explain to her that yes, i am a new parent, and no, i don't know exactly what will work in my family, but there are some things NOT up for discussion, such as switching to formula, moving baby to her own room right now (i'm not committed to co-sleeping for a long long time, but for now, it is important to me), CIO EVER, etc., etc. do i just tell her that? can i ever expect any support from someone like her?

this post is already too long, but i'm having some of the same issues with my family--who i'm close to as well. i feel like my whole social support system is crumbling because of my parenting choices. but i am very committed to these choices. you more seasoned folks, how have you handled situations like these?
 

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I think you said it really well - you need to make your own parenting choices, and you could ask her to support you in them, even if you don't agree. Whether she is ready to hear that or not is sort of on her end.

I do know from having people close to me who struggle with depression that sometimes people - especially those of us with a "fix it" mentality - do launch into long lists of "things to do." What helps me be a better friend is when someone says "hey wait, I don't want a solution, I want a hug." I feel bad that I have needed to hear that sometimes but glad my friends were willing to say it.

I hang out with non-AP parents, and because we all respect each other we just tread lightly on some topics (they don't comment on my nursing toddler, and I don't comment on their CIO tales.) It did take some time to sort out who had a different approach but was respectful, and who was simply disrespectful. I found I had to be respectful first and make it clear that I wasn't judging them - hard to do sometimes, but I can see they love their kids; we just disagree on how to get to the same place.

Having said that I do think ex-nannies are sometimes in the category of worst offenders (along with non-parent nurses and teachers). They have enough contact with kids to truly have experience and wisdom to share, but not really the experience of how a *family* comes to certain places over time. If your friend doesn't show a willingness to hear you, you might have to not talk to her about those things and see how it shakes down.
 

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I think she as only trying to be helpful (it sounds like she was trying to let you know it is ok not to be perfect). However her approach seems anything but helpful. Since she wants to help is there a way you can let her know what would be helpful? as in "I don't need an escape hatch. I need your support and encouragement right now. Would you be willing to . . . . (insert ways she could be supportive such as come to a LLL meeting with you so you don't have to be a stranger in the room or just provide you with company every so often, be a cheerleader for you, listen silently while you vent)"

sorry you are struggling with PPD
 

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It really helped me when DD2 came along and I stopped labeling my parenting style. It made me feel alot more confident about the decisions I made (like they were coming from me, instead of a book/person/rule) and it allowed me to deflect people's "advice".

I also became much more vocal about what I needed when they clearly were not offering ideas that would help. People mean well and they all have their own experiences and ideas that color what they think you need. Do not allow yourself to become subject to their ideas, instead head that off by being honest about what help you do and do not need.

I am so sorry that you are struggling with PPD. I had it pretty bad after both of my pregnancies.
I know the one thing that helped me everyday was to get up and take a brisk walk alone in the morning for 30 minutes. It also helped to take a walk in the evening before it got dark (for me it got bad when the sun went down). I used to take the girls and I tried to do one "normal" thing each day.
 

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first of all, huge hugs to you!

second of all, there are *plenty* of people in your area (saw you on FYT) who *are* pro-breastfeeding and pro-cosleeping, and pro-AP.

We just need to help you find them!

Seriously, even though my boy is older than your LO, PM me and maybe we can meet (with the kids of course) for a cup of coffee this weekend.

the MJH new moms group was helpful, even though I ignored the nursewoman who ran it. I just talked to the other moms...

ETA:
: i guess I should answer your questions...

My best friend is child-less and loves to tell me everything I am doing wrong. She really is doing it out of concern, but i would just politely and firmly stick to my ideals. Once she realized that I had, you know, *read* things and *thought* about them, she backed off. I kind of conceded a little to her. She is horrified that we are cosleeping and still nursing, but gets it when I tell her, "the pediatrician said we *must* keep nursing because of food allergies, and cosleeping is a good way to make sure my supply stays good." It is a shame that my son's allergies are the only reason people support our parenting decisions, but it does shut them up!

So yeah, if you are firm about your beliefs without getting all preachy, people will eventually realize that you aren't going to change your mind.
 

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It must be hard to have so little support. The way I handled the few people who didn't get it was to stop them cold (gently) and say that it sounded like we have completely different parenting philosophies that are just so different that there wasn't really any room for discussion.

I just didn't have the conversations, just like I don't discuss abortion, but that's me. I just didn't want to talk about it.
 

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People are full of opinions, and very liberal about spreading them around, whether they are AP or not. It sounds like you maybe would like some friends who share your opinions, and thats okay.

I sometimes feel bombarded by people's strong opinions! And I need a rest -- to withdraw a little, not open myself to input.

There is something about new motherhood that opens us up to all sorts of unwanted advice. It does get better though -- you learn to carry yourself in a way that communicates confidence, and doesn't solicit so much useless "help." It will be nice for you, when she has a child someday, to demonstrate the kind of support that she'll need.
 

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I think to some extent there is a bit of art in finding out what things you can discuss with which people. For instance, I have a dear friend (who is NOT AP in her parenting styles, but is a wonderful warm parent) ad she and I both have first children who ar eintense and fairly high needs. We could call one another and commiserate about our "horrible" kids when they were babies and not fear being judged by the other. I have other friends with easy laid back babies who could not be that sounding board for me because they couldn't relate and thougt I sounded like a terrible mom.

I have some friends who I can talk "AP" stuff with, some I can talk "SAHM" stuff with, some I can talk "school/work" stuff with etc.

As far as family (and even some friends) go, they might at times suggest that you deviate from your AP intentions because they hear your distress and are worried about your well-being. I'm not suggesting that this is a good approach, just trying to speculate about their motives. When I was working FT and trying to be a good mom to my DD (by my own standards) my mom must have suggested that I consider formula at least a dozen different times to spare me the night wakings, pumping stress, supply concerns, etc. She also suggested that I be open to an epi while birthing, go with paper dipes for ease, etc. My mom had 3 drug-free births, BFd us all, and CDd us all as kids, yet when she saw her own baby having a hard time her instinct was to suggest ways that I could make changes to ease my own stress. It wasn't helpful because I wasn't going to abandon my parenting values, and ultimately I asked her to stop saying such things because it just made me expend more energy to refute her, but I still understood (and appreciated) where she was coming from.

I think that your situation is especially hard because you haven't found your "people" to talk about things with yet. You will get there with IRL folks in time. In the meantine, know that there are people here on this very board who are probably ready to discuss any issue of interest to you at any time, you just need to find the proper subforum and you're on your way.

Good luck
 
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