During pregnancy, women are bombarded with advice, much of it conflicting. I was told by several women (who ironically smoke, by the way) that coffee was terrible for the baby... [it's decaf, b*tches... I'd be in a much better mood if it wasn't, thank you.]. I was told outdated fitness information by a personal trainer about how intense my workout should be, I was told to Eat This, Not That, and it wasn't by David Zinczenko... I heard about supplements to take, supplements to avoid, you name it. I was also told that I'd need an epidural, that a midwife wouldn't provide me the best care, that being out of a hospital was dangerous- I heard it all.
In having conversations about terrible unsolicited advice, I was told, "just wait until you're a parent, it gets worse." It does.
We did our research on vaccines, breastfeeding, pacifiers, cosleeping, attachment parenting, baby wearing, all sorts of parent-values that we were sure we had mapped out. I had successfully blocked out anyone who had opinions that conflicted with our strong values, and welcomed feedback on those things for which I did not feel I had enough understanding or knowledge... I was ready to be a parent!
...and then Addison arrived.
...and then Addison cried, and cried and cried, and my books say no pacifiers until 6 weeks.
...and my nipples got sore, and my books say no pumping for 6 weeks.
...and then our pediatrician said "pacifiers are fine!" and told us at 3 weeks that she should be introduced to a bottle before she refuses it.
...and then my LLL leader told me that's not crucial
...and then I thought about how I'd LOVE a short outing to myself but I can't leave her until I'm pumping and she's accepting a bottle.
...and then I worried about messing up my supply in week 3 because this book and that book said 6 weeks.
...and then my head was officially spinning.
Who to listen to? Who to ignore? Who to trust? Who's talking out of their... pacifier?
I have a degree in family studies, another one in psychology, another one in counseling. Addison doesn't need therapy and doesn't care about Erik Erikson or Maslow. She wants... mommy milk, all the time. We have a small library in our sunroom with a wall of bookshelves; my shelves are full of human development texts and parenting books... I went from a certified family life educator and parent education expert to an overtired, flustered, lost mommy, desperately reaching out to anyone who wants to give me a correct answer. I stare at my library wondering "where is the magic answer?! who wrote that article about that thing that makes the kid stop doing the thing with the stuff?" I fold. I surrender. I got nothin'.
and so, we're back where we started... who to listen to? what is the right answer?