Before I was pregnant people were surprised by some of the ideas I had surrounding health and lifestyle choices.
When I was pregnant people asked me why I had chosen a home birth.
Even stranger was when they asked why I had chosen a home birth when I didn’t have any previous bad experiences with a hospital.
I was also asked why I hadn’t had any tests, ultrasounds, scans or hospital examinations.
After I had given birth I was challenged by others on my choices around not vaccinating Evie.
I was challenged by my choice to exclusively breastfeed, especially when I had such struggles with feeding.
I was challenged on cosleeping, rarely putting my baby down, not pureeing her food, not using a dummy, not leaving her with babysitters… The list goes on.
It was often implied that I was just naive and perhaps a little uneducated. More often it was not just implied but blatantly stated. These are by people who I knew and trusted. People who I once looked up to. My friends. Sometimes my family. Mainly those not quite close enough to me to call my friends, but close enough for it to hurt. Often I was told that I was making the wrong choices. Or I was told to do things another way.
I remember being asked when Evie was about 8 months old “How did you come to make the choices you’ve made at such a young age? It took me until my 3rd child and until the age of 35!!”
At the time I didn’t really have an answer. I supposed it had something to do with having an open mind, doing my research and surrounding myself with those who had similar ideas to me about life and health. But I wasn’t sure about the age thing.
I have since realised it has nothing to do with age. Past experiences have something to do with it, they are of course the reason we are at the point we are at. However that’s not all it is. Anyone can make the choices I have made. And the choices I haven’t made. At any age. With any level of experience. It’s more about consciousness than age.
I know that everything happens at the perfect time, yet I still wonder what other conscious parenting choices I could have made had I known about them sooner. Would I have done EC? Would I have worn my baby in a wrap earlier? Would I have stopped working? Would I have started going to a mothers group sooner? Would I have started with cloth nappies sooner? Would I have breastfed differently?
But this is where I am right now. I have room to grow. I have grown already. It’s all one big journey, you can choose how you experience it.
So now as I have broadened my view, narrowed my support group and increased my knowledge, I know I am doing the right thing. I know that no one knows better than I do. I know that my choices are perfect.
I know because no one knows my child better than I do. I know because I am her mum.
I always thought it strange that someone would ever suggest that you ought to parent your child a certain way. I understand you telling me the best way to parent your own child. After all, you would know! I will listen too. I like to pick up hints, tips, ideas, inspirations and experiences from those who have done it all before, all of which are useful BUT every child is different and every parent is different. You are not a better mother to my child than I am. Just as I am not a better mother to your child than you are.
Make the choices that suit your child. The only thing I ask is that you make them consciously.