Monday 10 September 2007

Right or Wrong?

It's such an unpopular opinion now, the idea of certain things being "right" and others being "wrong". We're supposed to live in a free-for-all grab bag of "choice", doing as we please on our own schedule. Even the suggestion that there might be a better way seems to offend.

And where moreso than parenting?

Oh, there are areas where each individual family must figure out what works best for them. But I disagree that there aren't even more areas that really do have a general right and wrong to them.

I guess I'm just tired of hearing lazy parenting excuses. I seem to be disappointed at every turn. It seems I expect too much.

Often, too, the people who are most defensive of their choices are the ones who say they will do what's best for their child in one breath, and in the next say that they are fine with [enter issue here] even though it has been proven to have adverse effects on children. You'll do what's best, even if it means not doing what's really best? Or the equally common "I do what keeps me sane - after all, a happy mommy is a happy baby." There is truth in that, but there is a limit to it. Beyond that, there is the need, as a parent, to sacrifice for your child, not simply choose the easier option.

Like feeding formula to infants. No woman will I admire more than the woman who, after finding she can squeeze no more milk out of her breasts, will give her hungry baby a bottle of formula while continuing to work on increasing her own supply. But the woman who decides to feed formula simply because she doesn't "feel like" breastfeeding? Please don't try to tell me that you're doing what's best for your child. Because you're not.

Or sitting babies and toddlers down in front of a TV for hours on end, even after studies have shown that TV before age 3 can only be detrimental. If you know that is true, how can you say it's still "best" for your family? What you really mean, is it's easiest for you.

Even before birth, there is this best versus easiest. It is easy to accept all the drugs they offer. But if you've done any research at all (and you can't say you're doing what's best if you haven't), you'll know the effects drugs have on both the labour and the infant.

Example after example. Excuse after excuse.

But I remind myself often of a woman I knew online. During her pregnancy, she blasted every woman who'd ever had a c-section. Granted, I agreed with her - c-sections are grossly overused by both doctors and patients. Scheduling c-sections for convenience, emergency c-sections because the labour is taking "too long" - it's all foolishness. But the conceit in her voice as she talked about the homebirth she was going to have, and the superior attitude in her every word, was just too much.

Well. Guess how she gave birth?

That's right. C-section.

And I - forgive me! - felt a small amount of vindication in that outcome.

(Now she goes on about being one of only 3% of women who truly "needed" a c-section.)

I try to keep her in mind because I don't want to end up with the same attitude, the same tone. But where's the line? I do believe there is right and wrong, but how to say so without crossing that line into smug superiority?

How much easier it would be if all parents would just take the time to find out what's really best, instead of saying that their choice is best for their family.

I don't know what's best or what's right in every situation. There are days when I'm sure I must be doing it all wrong. But at least I can honestly say that I am trying to do what is really best, and not what's simply easiest.

1 comment:

  1. So I read this thinking "hmm...this sounds like C"

    and then totally figured out it IS you when I read your second post.

    Did I know this was you already?