Before I had my first child, I really don’t remember feeling like people were in my business. I don’t mean that in a bad way. I just mean that as a pre-baby adult, I didn’t feel like people were watching what I was doing and having strange judgmental feelings about it. This all changed when baby number one entered the picture. For some reason, as soon as you become pregnant, every stranger in view has an opinion or piece of advice for you.
I remember pushing the stroller on a crisp autumn day and an elderly lady saying loudly to her friend, “Aren’t his feet COLD?” as she gave me a look and walked on. Immediately, I felt guilty. But, after a few seconds, I was a little perturbed. Doesn’t she know that MY baby hates socks? That he won’t keep them on his feet? Whatever.
During pregnancy and parenthood, there are so many decisions to be made. Epidural or natural birth? Breast vs. bottle? Pacifier or no pacifier? Cry it out or not? Get a Bumbo or just put the wee one on a blanket? Oh, the things you ponder when parenthood beckons.
You must assume that most parents do put some thought and effort into how they are choosing to raise their child. Nonetheless, there will always be moments when you feel judged as a mother.
When my son was born, it was a very long and painful labor. I walked the halls of the hospital for hours and hours and hours and my little guy just wasn’t descending. After 32 hours, an unplanned C-section, and some tears, he was born and I was in love.
Afterward, in my haze of exhaustion and numbness, a nurse came in and confirmed that I had a C-section. I told her that I had, but that it wasn’t scheduled, and she sighed and said, “Oh, that must have been really disappointing for you. You know, that you had such a long labor and couldn’t deliver naturally.” I must admit that I felt a little like a failure. Like it was my fault that I had to have surgery. I didn’t like her.
No matter what you do in life, you will never please everyone. This I know to be true. Even when you have the best intentions, someone will call you out with some crazy tidbit. Nursing is a controversial topic for many. It’s a personal decision. No matter what, however, when you have a baby, inquiring minds want to know. Once my son turned one, a relative came to me and said, “How long are you going to do THAT?” Another person jokingly said, “I hope you aren’t going to nurse him until he’s five!” Um, no.
In the end, each mother is different. We do the best we can. As women, we should support each other no matter what we choose to do. And as people, we should appreciate the fact that behind every mother is a story and an experience that no one else has.
Remember that next time you see a mama at the grocery store with a whiny kid…