If I have one piece of advice to offer the new and expecting moms, it is this:
DON'T compare yourself to other moms, or your kids to other kids.
Now, for me, I haven't really had trouble with the second part of this. AJ is the most perfect, most adorable, cutest baby in the world. Wait, so is your kid? Of course they are! As moms I think its natural to look at your kid and see Heaven. Seriously, there are days when I sit and watch her play and just smile because I can't believe that not only did I make that piece of perfection, but I managed to keep her alive up to this point!
That's right, folks, I'm taking credit for her! Well, the good parts at least, the stubbornness and attitude come from the hubby (yeah, right).
My point is, I rarely compare her to other kids. I think I heard the saying "every baby is different" enough times during my pregnancy that it must have sunken in. To me, watching AJ learn new skills or get new teeth is exciting, regardless of whether Bobby across the street started walking at 2 months old or Susie was potty trained by her first birthday (I call bull sh!t, people, but I digress).
What I struggled with early on was comparing myself as a mom to other moms.
I didn't have an all-natural, home, water, pain-free, drug-free, hypno, upside-down birth. I had a scheduled C-Section.
I also didn't cloth diaper right away, nor did I breast-feed AJ past the 6 week mark. I have my reasons for each and every decision that I made and honestly, I no longer feel the need to explain myself. I made the best decisions for my family, and while your choices may be different from those that I made, I'm sure they're the best for you and your family.
Plus, lets be honest here.
Some of the choices that I made were not at all what I expected. I changed my mind. I'll admit (and this isn't easy, here) that I was wrong. I thought that I would have a drug-free, all-natural birth. I thought that I would breastfeed until 1 year (or at least 6 months). I had decided that cloth diapers weren't for us. We were not going to co-sleep, no matter what. AJ would be in her crib from day 1.
Well guess what, folks. As I said above, I had a scheduled C-section, only breastfed for 6 weeks as opposed to months, we use cloth diapers, and AJ was in bed with us for the first 3 months of her life and even after that I had trouble putting her in her pack 'n' play in our room, much less across the hall by herself!
I have encountered moms who have made different decisions and some are understanding (without explanation) of my choices, but far more are judgmental. Like somehow, my decision to bottle feed will affect their child negatively. I used to feel like I owed them an explanation as to why I chose to
Maybe its because we're past this point and AJ is now drinking the same whole milk that their kids are, or maybe I have grown more confident in my skills as a mom, but I no longer feel the need to even discuss my choices with the judgmental moms. Now, don't get me wrong, if you want to know, I'll tell you, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it, nor will I follow the line "we used formula" with a lengthy explanation about the inability to latch or nipple shields, etc.
If you want to go to a LLL meeting, more power to you! There still are times when I wish that I had been able to breast feed AJ, but those thoughts are no longer ridden with guilt like they once were.
So, to all you expectant moms out there, be ready for the judgment. I think that moms of babies are some of the most judgmental people out there, mostly because the different options are so controversial. Do you vaccinate on schedule or delay? Breast or Bottle? Pacifier or no pacifier? Cloth or disposable? Baby wear or stroller?
I think in the end, no matter what decisions you make for your child, trust your gut. You know what is best for you, your baby, and your family.
Bottom line is, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.