New Moms and Unwanted Advice – From the moment a woman announces she is pregnant, she receives an abundance of advice. Everyone who has had children is willing to offer solutions, caring words, tips, and stories of their own experiences.
But what is quite unsettling, is how much judgment, scrutiny and criticism is passed on to moms-to-be and new moms.
New Moms and Unwanted Advice – Diet
I can speak from experience that others provided their not-so-welcomed advice to me in many different situations. For example, when I strictly followed the list of foods I should not eat while pregnant, many (non-pregnant) people kept telling me that a little bit here and there would not harm anything. They actually thought I was too fanatic for not straying from the list. The biggest challenge was at a holiday party where I had to forgo most of the food, and in turn, underwent a lot of criticism. I did not “cave to peer pressure” and instead kept with my doctor’s orders. A friend of mine who is currently pregnant tells me “I get a lot of grief for not eating lunch meat and seafood. I typically hear ‘I ate anything I wanted when I was pregnant and my kids came out just fine.’” On the other hand I know of others that received stares or comments for eating junk food or gaining “a lot of weight.”
New Moms and Unwanted Advice – Natural birth or medicated
When I told others that I planned on having a natural childbirth without pain medications, almost everyone tried to convince me that I was crazy and that I should (and would) change my mind. They told me I would not be able to tolerate the pain and I would most likely succumb to pain medications. Instead of giving me support and helping me believe that this was something I could do, they were slowly taking my confidence away. Luckily, I held strong in something I believed in, and delivered two children naturally. Choosing to have pain medication isn’t always supported either. I know of one mom who had decided she would have an epidural for the labor of her second child. She was very unpleasantly surprised when the ob nurse tried to delay notifying the anesthesiologist long enough so that it would be too late to get one.
New Moms and Unwanted Advice – The Breastfeeding Debate
After my first child was born, I chose to nurse. After doing some research, I decided that I wanted to try and nurse for the first year. It wasn’t the easiest choice. I was amazed by the amount of judgment that was passed on me for doing something that I felt was the best choice for my child. I know the topic makes some feel uneasy, but isn’t it ultimately my decision? Why should I have been made to feel uncomfortable for doing something that seems so natural? Another nursing mother told me she had a colicky child and was made to feel that the baby was crying because it was hungry. She was told she could not provide enough food for her child because she was too small-chested. She ultimately did switch to bottle feeding and it did not decrease the baby’s crying. I have also come across those that criticize mothers who bottle feed because they believe everyone should breastfeed. I know of some moms who wanted to breastfeed, but couldn’t, and have been scrutinized. And, others who simply chose not to, and felt they need to explain themselves to those who judged them. The baby feeding dilemma extends well into the solid food stages. One mom confided that she took her four month old to a party and found someone feeding her cake because she felt it was rude that everyone was eating cake in front of the baby. The mom was furious; she had no intentions of giving her child any sweets that early.
New Moms and Unwanted Advice – How many kids?
Most recently, I had my two children at a party. A mother of three passed by and said to me, “So you have just the two?” as she gestured to my children. Since when did two children become a cop out? Additionally, isn’t it a bit personal to ask such a question? What if I had complications after the second, but was really hoping to have more children? I think the same judgment gets passed when people have only one child, or no children. Whether it is their choice, or something they have no control over, they should not be judged for it.
Apparently many have an opinion on a range of issues such as how much weight someone should gain during pregnancy, what they should name their children, or if they should learn the sex of the unborn baby. Everyone feels they are the expert.
I guess it never ends. Growing up, my mom looked over me and told me what to do, what not to do, what I was doing wrong, etc. My mom has done an excellent job letting me make my own decisions now that I am an adult. But, the public eye seems to have taken her place.
Have you ever been judged or faced scrutiny or criticism for one of your parenting decisions? Or had to endure New Moms and Unwanted Advice?