"Never utter these words, 'I do not know this, therefore it is false.' One must study to know; know to understand; understand to judge."
I am a mother and I'm doing what is best for my child. This sums up how I've been feeling over the past couple of days. Since becoming pregnant and bringing Bella in to this world, I have been judged. Judgement accompanies motherhood but sometimes it gets to be too much. I am able to accept constructive criticism, but being criticized and being judged are two different things in my opinion. Here are several issues I feel that I've been subject to judgement on (in no particular order):
Judgement #1: I didn't exclusively breastfeed for the first year of Bella's life.
Rationale #1: Bella is off the charts in both height and weight. She also is a very healthy child and has never been on antibiotics. But, if you really want to get into the details of why I didn't nurse Bella, it involved post-patrum complications for me and severe jaundice for Bella.
Judgement #2: We utilized several cry-it-out techniques in order to get Bella to sleep through the night.
Rationale #2: While we did follow her cues, we also nurtured her to the point where she feels comfortable enough to fall asleep on her own. Bella sleeps through the night, as do Ian and I. She also naps for nearly 4 hours during the day. We are a well rested and very happy family. Need I say more?
Judgement #3: We didn't co-sleep with Bella.
Rationale #3: We have a tempur-pedic mattress and umm, hello, it's called SIDS!
Judgement #4: I don't use cloth diapers.
Rationale #4: Pampers work just fine for us and I do a hell of a lot less laundry, I'm sure.
Judgement #5: I intend to keep Bella in the rear-facing position in her car seat for as long as possible.
Rationale #5: Keeping Bella as safe as possible is my #1 priority and I couldn't care less if her view of the world is a little skewed in the car seat. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping children in the rear-facing positioning until the age of 2.
Judgement #6: I've introduced Bella to whole milk prior to her 1st birthday.
Rationale #6: My child will be weaned to whole milk in sippy cups by her 1st birthday.
Judgement #7: Bella has plagiocephaly and torticollis, and as a result wears a corrective helmet and is in physical therapy.
Rationale #7: I have a petite frame, Bella was a BIG baby and I delivered her vaginally, all very common causes of each condition. Rather than ignoring the issues, we have chosen to correct the issues because it's in Bella's best interest.
I'm not trying to pick fights with people or spark the next great debate. I've been the victim of unnecessary judgement and it feels liberating to get this off my chest. No one likes to be judged, but it sure seems like people like to pass judgement. I will also take this as a lesson for myself, as I am certain there have been times in which I've judged people unnecessarily. I do what I feel is best for my child and I've learned to follow my instincts. Following your own instincts is often the best way to raise your child. I will never instruct you on how to raise your child, nor do I want you to instruct me on how to raise my child.
All of this being said... I am off to spend time with my very loved, very happy, very healthy, well-adjusted child.
Ian, Kim & Bella