09 December 2014


Do you ever feel like you are not in a great position to receive advice? Probably because I'm quite prideful and am my own worst enemy, I feel like this quite often.

As baby time draws near (I wish I knew how near!), I feel increasingly anxious about the prospect of a home birth, postpartum recovery, and having two kids to stay home with and care for. The other day a woman in my ward suggested that I practice with a doll to prepare Shepherd for having a baby sister. Mommy's feeding the baby, Mommy is changing the baby's diaper, etc. Good idea, I thought, but probably it's not going to happen. I seem barely able to survive a day without the help of the TV as far as Shep is concerned and things just seem to be getting harder in many ways. I have been thinking and worrying (probably mostly unproductively) so much over the past nine months about how this transition will go for Shepherd. I'm sure I haven't done enough to prepare him for it, either. But I guess when it happens, we'll just go survive.

I've never considered myself a particularly confident or passionate person. I don't have a political agenda about breastfeeding or home birth like some of the women who make similar choices seem to have. I don't think formula is inherently evil, and I respect the experiences most women have with hospital births. The motivation behind these choices for me personally can probably be more simply boiled down to fear of the alternative. After my less-than-ideal experience birthing Shep in the hospital, I am more scared of giving birth in a hospital than I am at home, so a home birth seemed like the better option. (I am aware of the risks and implications involved with birthing at home, though, and I'm scared of those too!) I am more scared of weaning and teaching my child how to sleep on his own than I am of continuing to nurse and allow him to use it as his main method to fall asleep, despite the fact that there are a lot of implications and problematic elements involved with that choice too that I worry about.

I just wish sometimes I felt like my efforts were enough. I understand that almost all of the concern for me others express probably comes from love and good intentions, but sometimes I don't feel very receptive to suggestions, worry, and concern. I'm not doing this because I'm brave or trying to prove something. I feel weak and scared, and I want to hear positivity and confidence expressed in me because sometimes I can't seem to muster it myself. I want to hear that I'm okay and that what I'm doing seems to be working well. Of course no one else can really provide me with these things; I know it has to come from within. I suppose that's something I need to work on.


Rachel // Maybe Matilda said...

I think my main issue with receiving parenting advice is that it is almost always so insultingly general and unhelpful. "Oh, give Shep a doll to prepare him for a baby!" It's just so woefully inadequate and obvious and NOT what it will be like to have a real baby in the house that it's almost embarrassing. I feel like most parenting advice is like that--so obvious, so general, and so unspecific to YOUR child that it's pretty much useless. Every child is so, so, SO incredibly different, that one parent's sworn-by advice that worked perfectly for their child is often completely worthless when applied to someone else's child. (Is it obvious that I get a little annoyed by being offered parenting advice?)

And I can totally relate to you in feeling like you don't have the confidence/passion behind your decisions. I really feel the same way about my own parenting--most of the things I do with my kids, I do because they are the easiest or simplest or most obvious things to do, not because I have some deeply-held belief motivating it. I'm not sure this is a bad thing, though. If it makes any difference, I generally find it really, really unpleasant to talk to those moms who DO have a ton of confidence/passion behind their parenting, because it so often comes across as condescending and judgmental toward the parents who do things differently. When we were at Palmer for chiropractic school, for example, I felt like such an oddball when pregnant with Forrest and after he was born--it seemed like almost every other 'Palmer wife' was so deeply devoted to doing things totally naturally (home births, exclusive breastfeeding, no vaccinations, etc), that it was incredibly uncomfortable to even talk to many of them because they were so pushy and insistent about their ideas. (Many were fine and accepting, of course, but some of them were borderline mean toward parents who went the other route--hospital births, epidurals, formula, etc, and you'll NEVER guess which camp I fell into.)

I remember being lectured by one mom in the mother's lounge at church once for using disposable diapers ("they are loaded with toxins that make people infertile! don't you want grandkids someday?!") and another who saw me bottle feeding Forrest ("oh, you're not breastfeeding anymore? that's such a shame." Is it? Is it really such a shame?).

So at least moms like you and me might be easier and more enjoyable to talk to? :-)

Rachel // Maybe Matilda said...

Wow, that comment was LONG. Sorry.

Lauren Mc said...
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Lauren Mc said...
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Lauren Mc said...

Ack, typos. Sorry to artificially inflate your comment count!

I am really hoping the blog I am linking to right here: http://www.coffeeandcrumbs.net/blog/2014/12/9/hand-me-downs is not becoming stupidly old news, because I love it and read that post almost right after reading yours.

I am with you on the lack of passion thing. I kind of believe that when I am passionate about something it means I have taken a very personal and private road to get there and that results in me feeling less likely to share ...

I think this raising children thing is supposed to be unique for each of us. I think it is embracing that uniqueness that we stop feeling consumed or lost. I find a lot of reassurance in reminding myself that it is OK to be uncertain. It is OK to live with hard. I loved your post a little while back after reading All Joy and No Fun (I also, subsequently, loved the book).

Based on what you write here it sounds like you are doing a hugely successful job being the mom Shep needs, and the great thing is that all the love and mettle you have built into yourself for him creates a foundation that kind of amazingly sets the place for the love and mettle that continues to build in raising two.

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