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On a natural parent board, a mother wrote in, asking for some advice regarding an induction.  She stated that she will be induced a week after her due date if her baby has not arrived, but has concerns about the baby’s heart rate.  She remarks that her doctor is being very cautious, but she’s nervous as she has heard that pitocin can affect the baby’s heart rate even more.  She is asking for advice from people who have been in a similar situation.

One particular mother responds quite harshly:  “I thought this was a ‘naturally born’ page…inductions are not natural births…vaginal maybe, but not natural.”  She is called out on this by a couple of other mamas for being being judgmental and unnecessarily harsh.

Another mother offers this very unhelpful advice:  “… Your [ob is] a fear monger. Runaway fast.”

Many other mothers point out that induction is not necessary in her situation.  Whether this is true or not, it does not leave this new mother much to go on.  She is at the end of her pregnancy and quite possibly doesn’t have the option to switch caregivers (or perhaps doesn’t want to).  Very few responders are actually giving this woman some advice she can use: personal stories of their own births to make the woman feel better, suggestions on what to talk to her practitioner about, etc.  What has happened to compassion?

Weaning

A mother writes to a natural parenting board, already knowing there will be those out there who judge:

“Any advice how to,wean an,ebf baby? Please don’t judge me! My LO is approaching her 1st bday… I don’t,have a clue how to wean bf baby…. She takes A sippy but not much, she also comfort nurses at night! T.i.a,,:)”

I don’t think these women think they’re being judgmental, but by avoiding the question at hand (how to wean) and immediately and solely addressing the woman’s choice TO wean is preachy and unhelpful:

“Is there a reason you want to wean? Just because she is a year doesn’t mean you have to stop you can cut back to a level your are comfortable with the benefits of breastmilk go way beyond the first year of life.”

“I promise that you will miss nursing your baby. Not as much as your baby will. It’s going to be really difficult for both of you. Good luck”

“Why stop? Breastmilk is still so important. Don’t offer, don’t refuse if there is a true need to stop breastfeeding. Don’t let society tell you to stop. And don’t quit cold turkey. That’s horrible.”

This mom thinks that she won’t appear judgmental if she just states so: “No judgment, but are you having some issues that we could help you with that make you want to wean now? Two years min is rec’d, and self-weaning is really so important for them. Also health benefits for both of you (both immediate – protection from colds, diarrhea, ear infections, etc., and lifelong – protection from asthma, cancers, etc.) and the emotional security it provides your little one who is just learning to navigate the big, wide world are so important. Good luck!”

Another mom calls out some of these women:  “She asked for a solution, not judgement, which is exactly what all the why stop comments are. She’s stopping for her own reasons. None of your business. There is nothing wrong with stopping nursing at a year.”

Every mother has her own reasons for the choices she is making.  Listen to what she is asking and help her along.  She didn’t ask for opinion; she asked for help.  Questioning her choices is not helpful!

Judging Naturally is in its infant stages right now, so a small hiatus was probably not noticed by many.  Even so, it is not expected that I will regularly take such long breaks between posts. 

 

I strongly urge you to give me some feedback about this little blog.  What are your thoughts?  Is this a blog that you think you would read?  Why or why not?  

 

If you like, please share!  Thanks for your support 🙂

Mayim Bialik wrote a blog entry (okay… she’s written many blog entries and a book.. bear with me here) regarding what constitutes a true practioner of “attachment parenting.”  She said, “There’s no hard and fast ‘one way’ to do AP…. people do it all sorts of ways.”  This, coming from a woman who wrote a book on AP:  You don’t have to be perfect.

The Attachment Parenting community overlaps quite a bit with the natural parenting community.  In this blog, I have been calling attention to those sorts who have been overly judgmental about their beliefs.  In some instances, I have seen parents call into question how or why someone could post “such a question” to a natural parenting forum and not expect to get responded to harshly.

With no fear of sounding like a broken record: There is no such thing as a perfect natural parent.  There is no such thing as a perfect parent.  So, just stop touting your self-inflated ego, prancing around like you do everything naturally, as if there are a list of criteria that one must meet in order to seek advice from the holy “natural parents.”

You can absolutely still call yourself a “natural parent,” seek advice from so-called “natural parents,” or associate with “natural parents,” even if you do any (or all) of the following:

* feed your baby formula
* use disposable diapers
* use store-bought baby food
* use traditional Western medicine
* shop at a big-name grocery store
* birth at a hospital
* drive an SUV
* use petrochemicals
* buy non-organic foods, clothes, etc.
* watch television
* use a stroller system
* feed your kids McDonalds or processed foods
* let your baby cry it out
* put your baby in a crib
* have your child in childcare
* circumsize your son
* vaccinate your child
* send your child to public school
(and this list could go on…)

Oh, the horrors!

No.  None of these things make you a bad parent.  None of these things should ever prevent you from seeking information!  We are all the best parents we know how to be.  No one else has any right to make us feel less than for simply seeking advice.  Until we have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, we have no right to judge.

I read an article tonight on co-sleeping.  It was discussing a recent case where a five-month-old infant had died, possibly because of co-sleeping.  The author discussed co-sleeping a bit and her own experiences, and then opened the question up to her readers:  Do/Did you co-sleep?

One of the responses was very harsh: “Co-sleeping is selfish and dangerous, and for the benefit of the mother only. It’s stupid and irresponsible, and so are those who do it.”

Again, the information in this reply is not what I’m pointing a finger at, but rather the attacking nature of the post.  Another mother even responded to her, noting, “…while I’m completely with you on being agains co-sleeping, there are so many better ways to present your opinion without attacking others. Your real message got lost amid the hate in your words.”

Another response:  “There is no such thing as ‘Safe Co Sleeping.’ My cousins 5 month old died from Co Sleeping too. I think its ignorant and lazy parenting.”

Statistics and comments on both sides of the fence are presented.  Most  are personal opinions and are not as blatantly judgmental.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion — and this author asked for them.  Is there really a need to attack others for their choices, however?

A poster asked for some advice on making a homemade formula on a natural parenting forum.  She explained that she needed to give her baby formula, and was not going to explain her decision further.  She asked for recommendations for recipes, stating that she had done a web search, but wanted more opinions.  Despite clarifying this, SEVERAL posters replied that she should use donor milk or nix the idea of making formula altogether:

“Look for donor milk, human milk for human babies page on fb”

“Please don’t make the formula yourself.”

“That’s not something to mess around with. Get donor milk or stick with organic formula”

” Human milk 4 human babies or eats on feets.”

“Have you thought about finding donated breastmilk?”

“That sounds a little crazy to me…..create your own formula?? You are the mother of a child, and there is SO much work that goes along with that. Why add to your list of to-do’s??? If you cannot breastfeed I recommend just buying organic formula. That way, you know it has no GM0’S, and is a SAFE and pediatrician recommended way to feed your baby…. Now if you are talking about using the Baby Bullet to create your own fruit/veggie meals, go for it! But formula??? A bit much in my opinion.”

I don’t understand why all these women are assuming that the poster does not know that she has options other than formula.  She told us that she has already looked online for some help… wouldn’t that indicate that she has put some thought into this already and might have educated herself before making her decision?  Keep the judgment to yourself and either answer the question asked, or keep quiet.

A woman asked a natural parenting board about some advice regarding her toddler who had been biting.  She mentioned that she had tried gently biting back, but it hadn’t worked and wondered what advice other mothers had for her.  This mother did not ask why her method had been unsuccessful, nor did she ask for opinions about what she had already done.  Rather, she was admitting that she needed some help.  The responses were overly harsh:

” Biting her back?!?!?!?!?!?! How is this going to show her that it is wrong?? Monkey see, monkey do!!!”

“You are biting her back? For real? That won’t help anything…”

I appreciated this woman’s response to the judgmental replies: ” i dont think criticizing is the answer, she clearly came for advice and when people get up in arms it really hinders a parents ability to come back when they need advice again. also hinders their desire to be honest within the community…”

Another woman also addressed the negative comments: “… Every parent is different its not ANYONES place to judge and criticize anyone else’s individual parenting style just because you choose to parent a different way…”

Given these two replies, I’m suspecting that there were other negative comments that were removed from the post before I was able to record them.  Thankfully, this board seems to have a good staff that monitors the discussions and will act to curb bullying.

Toys

In this blog entry I recently came across, the author fully admits (multiple times) that she is being judgmental.  Unlike my previous entries to this blog, however, this woman isn’t trying to offer anyone advice.  She’s not answering someone’s question with her her own preachy judgments.  She is admitting full-on that she is judgmental.  It is her personal blog.

The author describes her strong dislike of many children’s toys these days, primarily those made of “cheap plastic”  or which are marketing gimmicks.  She explains how she needs to go out of her way (and usually online) to find toys for her child that she feels more comfortable with.  All fair points.

What bothered me about the article was that she did not stop at explaining her own preferences for her children’s play things.  She went on to condemn parents who, in her mind “just don’t care” about getting their children quality toys when money or availability aren’t issues for them, and “just throw whatever to their kids.”

Just because someone doesn’t buy the quality of toys that this woman prefers does not necessarily mean that they do not care about what their children play with.  I found this woman’s tone to be quite unnecessarily judgmental towards others.  Her tone seems to imply to me that she is claiming that her methods make her a better parent; all others are lesser, and they don’t care as much as she does.

This woman has every right to be a self-proclaimed toy snob.  I just think her tone towards other parents could have been a bit less judgmental.

What do you think?

Anti-Antibiotics

A woman asks a natural parenting board about a concern she is having during her pregnancy.  She writes, “I am 28.3 weeks and I am on antibiotics for strep throat for the second time in my pregnancy. The first time I did not have the leakage I have now. Now that I have needed to wear nursing pads for weeks and being put on antibiotics over the last few days I have a yellowish discharge with a slight odor. Don’t know how do describe the odor as anything other than a food like smell? Is this normal or something I should talk to my midwife about? TIA”

Many mothers suggest that she consult her midwife, suggest it may be colostrum, etc.  But of course there are those that have to speak up about her decision to have used antibiotics in the first place, even though this was not her question.

“Garlic is stronger than antibiotics, and I’m sorry but homeopathics do get rid of anything a doctor can with drugs. We are very much a nonantibiotic using family, and strep absolutely can go away with home remedies. I definitely never took antibiotics while pregnant, also treated group b strep colonization at home and had a successful homebirth. All three kids full term and in perfect helath. It’s a personal choice to take drugs for everything, but realize, choosing not to and treat naturally should not be made to sound neglectful.”

” id go a alternate route strep can stay in the body – homeopathy”

” I have had strep, as have my children. We have NEVER used antibiotics. So if someone says homeopathic options don’t work… They are misinformed.” (To be fair, this mother went on to suggest she may be leaking colostrum and to consult her midwife, albeit after already passing her judgment on the mother’s choice of treatment.)

Why worry this pregnant mama more by making her second-guess the choices that she and her healthcare provider have made?  She’s said that she’s already taken the antibiotic regiment twice now.  She cannot undo what’s been done.

The topic of circumcision brings out the worst, I’ve found.  Regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, the way people respond is just plain mean.

This was the original question:  “Hello I have a question concerning circumcision and the vit K shot. We are chosing not to vaccinate but we WILL circ…I do not want any comments trying to tell me not to circ because we HAVE made our decision….my son will most likely be born early because of pregnancy complications and I was wondering if him being premature will affect his blood clotting and if he would be safer just to get the vit k shot???? Please only answers on vit k shot and bennefits for preemies or baby boys being circumcised….”

[Website’s] Note: Please answer the question at hand, or don’t.”

And answers laden with judgment poured in:

“Well since you’re cutting a piece of your babys body off i would say go with the shot so he doesn’t bleed to death.”  This comment was removed by the site, and she later re-posted, even after a warning.

“How about waiting 18 years and let him make the decision for himself regarding his own penis. Then voila problem solved re: vit k shot.”

” If you’re going to cut him…”

“Seriously. This is [a *natural parenting*] page. I don’t understand why you would bring up the fact that you’re circumcising your son – which is clearly UNnatural – if you didn’t want anyone comment on it, when it doesn’t have anything to do whatsoever with the question you are asking.”

A user responded:  ” really? You can have a naturally born baby and still circumcise. Is there a list of things that have to be done to be considered “crunchy” enough? What if this woman is Jewish and doing it for religious purposes? You don’t even know. I myself will not circumcise if we have another boy, but this woman has already made her decision. Also, if you think this page isn’t crunchy enough, you could definitely find a more suitable page for yourself. I personally like hearing about all different types of parenting choices.”

More users began to comment on these types of remarks:

“Wow…way to be passive aggressive. I am actually happy when reading answers like this that I didn’t find this group before making some of the decisions we’ve made regarding our DS. Judgemental opinions could drive some emotional pre-birth and/or post partum mothers to some serious mental health issues with dire consequences….Please ignore the judgemental and rude “support” from some of the mothers on here.”

The site deleted many comments that I was unable to copy before they were removed (yay!).  They jumped in multiple times to caution people on their borderline vicious remarks:  “We have a policy of not allowing bullying. We plainly stated at the beginning of the question about what the question was about. Some people want to make a statement or make this a debate. . .it is not.”