Professionals caring for new moms
I have been noticing an unpleasant trend as I make my way through the networking game trying to find professionals with appropriate experience (or an interest in) working with the perinatal population. We are all guilty of it at times but need to be aware of our words and actions. It breaks down to this: What are the "RIGHT" ways of birthing and raising infants? 1. A physician, midwife or birth doula 2. Natural birth or medicated birth 3. Breastfeeding or bottle feeding 4. Co-sleep or separate sleep 5. Baby wearing or not 6. Cry it out sleep training or not 6. psychotropics during pregnancy and breastfeeding or not And the list goes on and on and on.... Some experts focus on natural methods, while other experts stress the importance of delivering the child to term, and yet others focus on the mother or family system's health. All experts recommending different choices so just think how hard it is for someone who is not an expert to decide which the "RIGHT" choice. What we as professionals forget is that clients/patients are experts in themselves, they will choose what they think is best based on the information given to them. It should not be our job to shame parents into one direction or another. We need to remember that most parents are trying their best. What works for one family might not work for others or what worked the first time around might not work with the second or third child. It is our job to inform, understand, and respect those choices that parents make. Sometimes without thinking professionals will place judgment on parents because they as the expert believe one way is better than the other. What we forget is that perhaps that mom tried natural birth but had complications at home and had to go to the hospital. Perhaps that mom desperately wanted to breastfeed but even with intervention from a lactation consultant the baby wouldn't latch. Maybe a co-sleeping situation or sleep-training method allows the parents the much needed rest in order to provide that infant with the care needed for the day. Perhaps another mom has severe anxiety and rather than doubly exposing her baby to the medication and the stress (Cortisol) hormone she is choosing to use the medication to reduce the stress hormones on the baby. These choices are not always clear cut dichotomies. Therefore rather than judging and shaming these families, let's listen to their stories, provide them with supportive words, and be respectful of how hard it is to be a parent.