At one of my baby showers there was a large group of older women (mostly co-workers) who told me I was crazy for considering a natural birth. There was a mix of those who wondered why I would ever do that to myself, those who tried natural and asked for an epidural as soon as they got to 4cm, and those who regaled me with horror stories (“my kid broke my tailbone!”). Altogether I think there were about 30 people at my shower, and only two came forward to tell me that they also had natural labors and YES I could do it. I was very appreciative of their support. The others drove me crazy and to this day I’m annoyed by their attitude toward my wishes. With that said, I remembered their comments during the most painful part of my labor and that memory stiffened my resolve to forego pain medication so that I could have the birth I had planned. I never spoke about my labor with any of those women afterward; it was just enough to know that they were wrong and I could do it.
In discussing my plans to use cloth diapers prior to having Jack, I received some flack from a few friends. Some were simply ignorant on the subject and doubted that I would be able to get the diapers clean. Some had given up cloth diapering themselves, mostly because their wash routines were overly complicated, and they assumed I would also give up. 20 months later and I still love cloth diapers. I found my own way to make it work in our life and I have been very happy with my decision. No one ever mentioned it after Jack was born, except for those people who saw what we were doing and wanted to try it themselves. It wasn’t my intention to inspire others to cloth diaper, but it’s certainly nice that more people are considering it.
While no one said it outright, I do believe there were some folks in my life who were dubious about my plans to breastfeed Jack. I got the impression from one person in particular who, when Jack was about 5 months old conceded, “He’s obviously thriving, so what you’re doing must be working!” In the early days breastfeeding was certainly difficult, and it definitely still has its moments, but I am just thankful to have made it this far despite the fact that I had no one around to help.
Overall I think I’ve had a pretty easy go as a new parent. I haven’t received any criticism since Jack has been born. I think it helps that Jack is such a happy, easy-going fellow. I doubt that his awesomeness has much to do with how Joe and I parent, in all honesty. I’d like to think that Jack is teaching us how to parent, and that things have gone well because we are responsive to his needs. It sure is a nice thought but there is probably a bit of luck involved, as well. In any case, I am kind of giving myself a pat on the back for all my hard work over the last couple of years (we’ve all gotta take a moment to do that sometimes, right?) but I also wanted to acknowledge that I have been helped by the naysayers. If it wasn’t for their comments and my drive to prove them wrong, things might have turned out differently. You certainly never know…