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A Look At Why I Often Feel Judged By Other Mothers

My Twitter bio says:

@SharonVW

Opinionated & outspoken. Writer of The Blessed Barrenness. Mom wannabe of 1 naturally born, non-breast fed child not of my loins! Founder of trinityheart.co.za

Of course, that is all written tongue in cheek and full of bravado, but peel away the layers and you’ll find heaps of guilt behind those words. Every one of the words used in my bio are as a direct result from my feelings of guilt because I don’t fit societies norms of what a mother is or how one becomes a mother. It doesn’t help that I’m an infertile mother parenting in a infertile world, constantly being  bombarded by messages of what a “good” mother does, constantly feeding into my insecurities and my guilt. Trust me people, as a woman who has miscarried 7 pregnancies, I’m easily wounded and full of self loathing for my body and it’s inability to do what most of you take fore-granted.

I’ve written previously about why I’ll never really feel part of the mommy club and today was yet another reminder for me and it all started with feeling the sting of these words:

Attachment parenting or parenting gently is not about permissive parenting, I don’t advocate allowing your child to run riot and walk all over you. Its about showing your child that you respect them as a person. Its about teaching them to be confident and kind in the hope that they grow up to be adults who can empathize and connect with people, but most importantly it creates a strong, nurturing bond between parent and child. What’s extreme about that?

In order to understand why this statement hurt me, you need to know what attachment parenting stands for and where I stand on this style of parenting, the extracts below are from Your Parenting.

Birth bonding

This first ‘B’ looks at two things: preparing for birth physically, practically and emotionally, and the ‘golden hour’ for bonding immediately after birth. Pregnancy is a time of preparation – preparing a nursery, getting the baby’s layette and preparing for the birth of your child.

It is also a time to prepare mentally for parenthood. The Sears’ advise that you as parents should alsoeducate yourself about birth, breastfeeding and parenting. Thinking about your childhood experiences, finding out about parenting philosophies and recommitting to your partner are all part of educating yourself to become a parent and allows you to focus fully on your child and building a bond with him or her.

At birth a cocktail of bonding hormones is released in both you and your baby, which create a physical desire to be together. So the Sears’ (and other doctors) say that the prime time for bonding is immediately after birth.

These hormones kick-start a number of physical changes, such as the warming of a mother’s chest, the ability of a newborn to crawl to the mother ’s nipple, which if allowed to naturally occur, they say, decreases infant crying, promotes bonding and ensures successful breastfeeding. The key is skin–to–skin contact on the mother ’s chest seconds after birth.

See, I couldn’t do any of that. I couldn’t fall pregnant or stay pregnant so I most certainly could not offer my most cherished child that, a bonding experience at birth.

Breastfeeding

The second basic ‘B’ of attachment parenting is breastfeeding. Not only do the Sears’ agree that breastmilk is the best food for your baby, they also emphasise the emotional bond that occurs during breastfeeding and that breastfeeding should continue well into toddlerhood, on demand.

“Feeding a child involves more than providing nutrients; it is an act of love,” they say. The hormoneprolactin, released during breastfeeding, relaxes the mother and promotes caregiving behaviours. It also creates a need for baby and mother to be physically close.

When a baby breastfeeds he can smell his mother’s scent, hear her heartbeat, feel the warmth of her body, and gaze into her eyes – promoting a comforting bond. Attachment parenting explains that you need to feed on cue, before the stage of crying; breastfeeding as a means of comfort to the baby and that breastfeeding for nutritional, immunological and emotional reasons beyond one year of age is important.

Again, I couldn’t do that either. I couldn’t bond with my baby the way most “normal” mom’s do and I couldn’t give her the supposed best source of nutrition in the process – do you see how I feel I have failed, even though these were circumstances beyond my control, I still feel like a failure.

Babywearing

This B promotes carrying, or ‘wearing’ your baby in a sling or pouch. In fact this ‘B’ is one of thehallmarks of attachment parenting, as Dave Taylor on his Attatchment Parenting blog writes, “it is about carrying or otherwise being with babies (especially newborns) every hour of the day. You can tell us attachment parenting types, actually, by the slings we use to tote our babies”.

Wearing your baby in a sling or pouch means you are able to meet his needs quickly before anxiety, fussiness and crying set in. The closeness achieved when wearing your baby promotessecurity and familiarity. Babies also spend more time in a quiet–alert state, which is proven to promote brain development.

Ok, I did that! I had an awesome baby wrap and I literally wore Ava for as long as she allowed me to!

Bed sharing

As AP dad Dave Taylor, explains, “Rather than push newborns into a cot and separate room as fast as possible, we believe that newborns and babies need to be as close to their parents as possible. We believe that newborns learn healthy sleeping and breathing patterns from sleeping close to their parents at night.”

AP advocates that babies and children desire the warmth and protection of another person sleeping near them and that sharing sleep also makes night–time breastfeeding much more convenient.

For a thousand different reasons, that I still stand by today, we chose not to do this.

Being responsive

This final ‘B’ is really the backbone of AP. Quite simply, it is about listening to your child and learning to respond, with love and respect, to your child’s cues and not following rules and schedules.

So instead of feeding according to a schedule, AP says feed on demand, instead of letting your child ‘cry it out’ at night, give them comfort. By doing this, they say, it builds trust between parent and child. Babies learn to trust that their needs will be met, and that they have an ability to communicate. For the parent it creates a confidence in their ability.

Don’t all parents do this? We followed Ava’s lead in the early days and let her find her own routine. We did sleep train her, but despite what the nay sayers would have you believe, it did not involve cry it out.

So, two points I want to make here are:

1. Aren’t we ALL, in varying degree’s attachment parents? Is there any other way to parent? What would the opposite of attachment parenting be? Detachment parenting? Is there even such a thing? And if there is, exactly what would that be? Ignoring your baby and her needs? I don’t think any parent would do that.

2. The comment about gentle parenting, aren’t we all gentle parents? Just because I don’t follow every step of AP, am I not gentle, loving, kind to my child? And aren’t we all trying to raise confident, kind children who are able to empathize with others?

As a mother who is wracked with guilt at not being able to give her child the best or kindest or whatever you’d like to call it, by normal standards, how do you think it makes me and other mom’s like me feel? And believe me when I say this, I was not the only one hurt/offended, feeling judged by the article in question, I was just the only one brave enough to say it and then sit back at watch all the subtweet’s and messages fly back and fourth.

But the whole point of The Blessed Barrenness and other blogs like mine is to try and educate other parents, that while you may be a family in a traditional sense and come to be a family by traditional means, not all of us have followed the same path. And while I certainly don’t expect anyone to pussy foot around me, it would be nice once in a while when I do react to parenting related articles, advice and opinion negatively that those who “know” me try to remember where I’m coming from and why certain parenting subjects will always leave me feeling, left out, not normal, less of a mother, not part of the mommy club.

 

 

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29 Comments

  • Reply shazrich7

    Sharon I understand that you have guilt and trauma in your life and I’m sorry for that, but I assure you, my article was not about you. We are all on this journey called motherhood, no matter how we came to be mothers. I can’t consider how every single thing I write will affect every single person. The term that has so offended you, parenting gently, is purely stating my aversion to harsh discipline, it is a term often used in AP and is, once again, not used to hurt you. So far you are the only person who has taken offense to an article that was not a stab at parents who do not practice attachment parenting, but as a defensive of it. Extended breastfeeding, co sleeping and baby wearing are often viewed as weird or ‘hippy’. My article was mearly to show that we are not all that weird, we’re just parents who choose a different path. Not necessarily the right path, or the best path, just the path that works for us. I feel that when you stop seeing judgement around every corner some of your guilt will be appeased. I have never understood, and will never be able to understand, your guilt over not breastfeeding. You have an adopted child, no one in their right mind would expect you to breastfeed. Your body betrayed you by making you infertile, it is not your fault. Stop blaming yourself.

    September 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks for your comment Shaz.
      As I said in this posting, I don’t expect anyone to pussy foot around me but when one writes on an open forum such as Parent 24, one must surely expect debate and differing opinions. I was not nasty in my comments, merely sharing my point of view and my feelings and for that I got crucified – and not buy you. I am astounded by some of the openly nasty tweets and comments that have been leveled at me but I won’t stoop to the level of subtweeting or cat fighting. It would just have been nice, when I tried to engage with you and others on Twitter about this subject that I hadn’t been ignored or when I tried to explain myself as it would seem that’s what was expected that I get accused of having an agenda when I try to offer an agenda.
      As for my guilt, I think as mothers we all have guilt in varying degrees, I certainly have a number of issues that I need to deal with and I don’t expect anyone who hasn’t walked a mile in my shoes to understand, but empathy and compassion would be nice.
      Lastly, I just want to restate what I said in my posting – I was not the only one who had a differing opinion, I was just the only one brave enough to say it on an open forum, you’ll have to trust me on that, because I won’t out the others who felt the same way about your post.
      Thanks again for commenting, I do appreciate the fact that you chose to leave a comment instead of stoop to the level of subtweeting and being bitchy, I have no tolerance or respect for that kind of behavior but do have respect for the way you’ve chosen to respond.

      September 11, 2012 at 6:54 am
  • Reply Gwen

    There is something profoundly misogynistic about the biological determinism that underlies this kind of philosophy, where physiological functions are elevated to the pinnacle of maternal achievement (fathers seem to be largely exempt from attachment parenting). The obsession with the physical processes of birth, hormones, breasts, body warmth and so on relegates mothers to the role of breeding sows and somewhere along the line it’s forgotten that we mother our children with our brains above all else. Not to mention the banality of the competitive martyrdom of ruined backs, bleeding nipples, torn vaginas and sleeplessness.

    And the word “babywearing” always puts me in mind of Paris Hilton wearing her dog as an accessory.

    September 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm
    • Reply Coco

      Gwen really you made me giggled out loud! Thx I needed that!!

      September 11, 2012 at 7:38 am
  • Reply Denise

    Sharon, AP is one perspective of parenting wander down the aisle at exclusive books and I guarantee you will find 10 books telling you why AP wouldn’t work. Personally I couldn’t do any of it because Jaden was a toddler when he came to us….

    If I could have done it – there is no way I would have a baby in my bed because my opinion is that my relationship with my husband needs to be protected. You have personal experience of how challenging marriage and parenting can be.

    I think you need to focus on where your strengths in patenting lie because there will always be someone who thinks they have found the ultimate solution but in reality they have found their solution, not necessarily yours 😉

    September 11, 2012 at 6:10 am
  • Reply Coco

    Sharon although the road I travelled was not nearly as difficult as yours and although I did not adopt most of your comments do reason with me. I “prepared” for pregnancy by wishing it over, fearing I will lose my baby, fearing that something will be wrong. Nothing was ready when she was born. Birthbonding – she was placed on my chest for two seconds and spend the three weeks in NICU. I can carry on but I am sure you get my point. I suffered from PND and the guilt was killing me … Until I got told that all they need when born is to be loved and feel loved. Now on that point you can have no guilt because nobody doubts your love for Ava!

    September 11, 2012 at 7:49 am
  • Reply Sian

    I don’t like the term ‘attachement parenting’ at all, but I do understand that it works well for others. Which is fine, of course.
    My personal issues make me feel a little inadequate next to the concept of AP, as I have discovered that I am not that kind of parent. It makes me feel guilty that I want my boy to have a little bit of independance and that I don’t want him to sleep in our bed. Sometimes I wonder if I am wierd in NOT wanting this, especially after waiting for him for so long.

    At the end of the day I have discovered that parenting opinions are a minefield of judgement. Everyone has an opinion and that opinion is bound to offend someone somewhere.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:07 am
  • Reply lauren

    I love Shaz’s comment here.
    What I couldn’t believe (and am still struggling with) is how the article that she wrote with a clear intent and stated as much, you took and turned into a discussion about judgement. You called her out for judging parents who didnt/don’t AP. In fact, everytime this particular topic comes up, you feel judged and remind us of it. Must we not write about it?!
    You imply that you’re all for differing parenting styles, but its not often that I see that played out in your comments (just being honest here)

    I do think you need to stop focusing on what you didn’t get to do, and start focusing more on what you did and do get to do.

    September 11, 2012 at 8:14 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks for your comment Lauren, you’ve given me some things to think about.
      I do agree that perhaps the use of my word judgement is incorrect and I should rather state that it feeds into my guilt. I don’t expect you or anyone else to understand this, but I do carry a lot of guilt over what I couldn’t give my child and I’m reminded of it fairly often, especially when people say things to me like – how would you know, she’s not your real child? Or ask questions/make comments about Ava’s real mom. Those types of comments and statements do leave me highly sensitized to any discussions that potentially call to question my parenting skills.
      WRT my participation in discussions where I apparently remind you all of this, noted, I was under the impression that the use of SM and blogs was to share thoughts, opinions, feelings & experiences but I have learned a valuable lesson in the last 24 hours and shall avoid participation in these types of discussions going forward.
      Having said all of that, it is still unacceptable behaviour (in my mind) to subtweet, behave like a troll (not saying you now) or try to ignore me when anyone calls to question my opinions and then when I try to engage them, either ignore me or accuse me of having an agenda and I’m sure, as two adults, that is something we can agree on.
      Believe me when I say, the last day has given me much food for thought, much internal reflection and also taught me valuable lessons not just about myself but about how others choose to conduct themselves.

      September 11, 2012 at 9:07 am
  • Reply Melanie Voordewind

    I’m an ‘AP parent’ but with my own rules. Adoptive Children are so different from each other. you will get a newborn baby within hours and he could have serious attachment issues, or you could get a newborn that have no issues. When we got Jano he was 2 days old, he was easy, we did not have any issues with him. We feed him every 4 hours, we were responsive to his cries, and I kept him on my chest (kangaroo) as much as I can. he was satisfied and happy. we did sleepsence with him and he took like it like a champ! But When we got Liam at 7 week it was a whole different story. He wanted to be feed on demand, he wanted to be held kangaroo 24/7 he wanted to have close skin to skin contact, he screamed his head of when he did not see me, he slept in our bed since we got him. he is now 5 1/2 and he is stills sleeps with us. he wants that assurance that I’m next to him. I take him to bed at 20:00 he will get to sleep on his own but exactly 22:00 he is in our bed. he then snuggle close and sleep thru till next morning. if i take him back he is every 2 hours back in our bed. he wants that constant skin to skin contact. What I’m trying to say is you cannot raise your adoptive child to the teeth on what articles and book say. you will have that feeling this is working or not. Jano wants to be independent, Liam wants to be babied. Listen to your inner voice. you will be utterly miserable if you stick to books and your child is not responsive to what an expert is saying.

    September 11, 2012 at 9:30 am
  • Reply Lisa-Marie

    I agree with alot of what you’ve had to say here; because I can totally relate, having adopted a child myself.
    I also don’t feel part of the ‘mommy club’ – and I know that I never will; sometimes for my own reasons, I don’t want to …. You and I, we got to be a mom by travelling a different path.
    I try to just let it be, because this kind of debate could just go on forever and cause undue pain, bitterness, bitchiness. All unnecessary. A woman who has borne a baby could never understand what you and I have been through, just as you and I could not understand what she has been through. Our journey was a painful one, yes. We had to make life altering decision, yes. And we will continue to defend ourselves when the need arises.
    I don’t know anything about the tweeting that was going on, but, like you, I feel that that kind of thing is SO unnecessary and downright childish. The truth is – if you don’t know anything about adoption or whatever is being discussed, or what the person has been through, you’d best be quiet about it.
    I sound like I’m preaching here … Sorry.
    XOXO

    September 11, 2012 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Melinda

    Hi Sharon…I wasn’t going to comment but wanted to leave you with two thoughts

    1. Forget about the Mommys club!!!!! It is not important unless YOU allow it to be. When an external person is allowed to control how you feel, it is not a good thing. Care what those that love you says…and screw the rest.

    2. When you are feeling sensitive about something always ask yourself “Is it my perception or is it the reality?”

    I am NOT an infertile or fertile. I am A Mom. When God created me, some things were not created equal..but he did give me a big heart and mind. And I use this heart and mind to bring up my child. I did not conceive naturally. I did not deliver naturally. I hated breastfeeding. My child sleeps in my bed, not because of AP…but because I like it. My child is always dirty. My child climbs on tables and chairs. My child does not say “Please” and “Thank You”…but guess what, I am a damn awesome Mom……….

    September 11, 2012 at 9:58 am
  • Reply Laura

    I am actually bubbling over with blog posts about this after reading another rather judgmental post this morning but a mom who claims to not judge!

    It is often from the “earth moms” or “AP moms” that I feel the most judged and they are the ones claiming “just do what is best for your child” and other such fake cliches. It’s actually starting to piss me off slightly to be honest!

    People can raise their kids how they want to – really it is their business and that specific article went well until the last paragraph that upset you because it does passively imply many things! And it is those implications that annoy me personally!

    I don’t AP and never have and wont do it with any future offspring we may have – it just doesn’t work in our house especially with my rogue son and my delinquent daughter – so we use harsh punishment now!

    Argh this comment doesnt really make sense cos I am a little (ok a lot annoyed) right now!

    September 11, 2012 at 10:58 am
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Laura! Your comment makes perfect sense to me and you have said, so eloquently, exactly what I was trying to say. It is exactly as you’ve said about the paragraph that upset/offended/annoyed me it does passively imply (whether intended or not) so much more.

      September 11, 2012 at 11:01 am
      • Reply Gwen

        It says “Attachment parenting [is] about showing your child that you respect them as a person. Its about teaching them to be confident and kind in the hope that they grow up to be adults who can empathize and connect with people, but most importantly it creates a strong, nurturing bond between parent and child.”

        To say that these things differentiate attachment parenting from parenting in general, is to say that other parents don’t do this. Nothing passive about that.

        September 11, 2012 at 11:10 am
        • Reply Sharon

          Actually, you’re right Gwen! You have hit the nail on the head! It’s not passive and what it insinuates is what annoyed me!

          September 11, 2012 at 11:21 am
          • lauren

            As a stand alone statement that’s can be seen as judgemental.
            In context with the article, its not judgemental.
            Parent24 and Sharon, I’m sre are loving all the click-throughs and comments 🙂

            September 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm
          • Sharon

            Mostly I’m enjoying the debate and reading everyone’s view points. It’s a sad day when people cant have a healthy debate.

            September 11, 2012 at 12:49 pm
  • Reply Amanda Harrison

    Sharon you have to remember that that article was written from one perspective. There are other articles that are written purely from an adoptive perspective. So just take it as it comes, if the article doesn’t pertain to you, shrug it off and move on. Nobody is all in the same catagory, parenting is an individual journey, no one set of parents go through exactly the same issues.We all have our own struggles, and I decided long ago to not allow anyone to make me feel inadequate or inferior for my decisions. Obviously your experience as a Mom who gave bith to a child will be different than when you adopt a child. It’s up to the parent to embrace or feel judged by their respective situations. I chose not to do some “natural” Mommy things with my boys, and I am and always will be a proud Mom, not because of what I did or didn’t do, but because I look at my boys and know they are amazing people that I raised the way I wanted to.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm
  • Reply Pandora

    I love reading, I love magazines, and I love gathering information. I read both the major baby magazines every month, and often felt that the authors of the article did not consider anything but the traditional route of becoming a mother. At times I found certain things downright insulting to adoptive parents. But let’s not forget the purpose of magazines. Sure, they are there to give us information, but more importantly they are a huge advertising machine. Lots of products and books to buy. I like that part of magazines, I like to see what is on offer, what my choices are.

    So people will latch onto a topic, write a book about it and start promoting it. That does not make that particular philosophy the right way of doing things. Remember Dr Spock’s philosophy, it challenged the way people parented at the time. Even he had to update some of his advice over the years, and has even been called the corruptor of a generation for advocating that people should show their children they love them. This is, of course, a simplified version.

    As someone mentioned, go to a bookshop and for every one way of raising your child you find 10 books promoting the opposite. So I read and I choose what to use. It is sad that there are so many labels now, co-sleeping, AP, helicopter parenting, etc. It implies that we have to choose a path and stick to it.

    Before I was a mom, I had a conversation with my mother about my youngest sister who was a new mom. Basically, my mom was commenting on how moms nowadays Google everything, and have to have all these fancy gadgets etc. She said that she had none of these things, and still managed to raise 3 healthy, well adjusted daughters. I took her point, and she is right. Moms have been doing it by instinct for a very long time. So why do we now have to follow a parenting style? Why are there right ways and wrong ways? Let’s just accept that people do things differently, and that we are all allowed to have our opinions, and that stating said opinion is not an attack on anyone.

    I have now read the article, and I have no issues with AP, and I know someone who parents exactly like that, and it really works well for them. However, I have to say that I agree with your perception on the gentle parenting part. The author may not have intended it like that, and I agree that she cannot consider everyone’s circumstances, just as I am not considering everyone in my reply. However, I fully support your right to comment from your perspective, and you should not have been attacked for it. It is all about perception, and that is all about each person’s frame of reference.
    And although I fail on every aspect of AP, I also consider myself a gentle parent.

    I had no birth bonding, no ‘golden hour’ straight after birth. My child was 2 months old when we fetched her. We loved her immediately, bonding was not an issue. I know moms who did not bond with their babies straight after birth; it took weeks sometimes, due to their circumstances.
    I too did not breastfeed, I was not prepared for a baby in any way, all I had was one winter jacket that my sister had given me years before, just in case. No baby room, so clothes, nothing. We do not co-sleep (unless we are away and there is no extra bed); I never carried my child in a sling. So I ‘failed’ all those already.
    Being a responsive parent – wow, that is a loaded one. How many articles have I read about the importance of routine in a baby’s life? My baby had a routine already, and I stuck to it. This does not mean that I ignored her cries if she wanted to be fed half an hour earlier than her ‘scheduled’ time, or ignored her at night because it was meant to be sleep time. I still responded to her cries. Routine, we are told, is not only about making our lives easier, it is about letting your child know what comes next. So which is right? What is right, in my opinion, is doing what works for you. If my child had been hungry at odd hours, I would have fed her then. But the routine worked for us.

    My child is healthy, confident, loving, and independent, has empathy with others, eats well, sleeps well, loves going to crèche and is kind and funny. No, I don’t get it all right; she can be stubborn, wilful, cheeky, throw a mean tantrum and be downright disobedient at times.
    I have to disagree on one of your points though: Detachment parenting? Is there even such a thing? And if there is, exactly what would that be? Ignoring your baby and her needs? I don’t think any parent would do that.
    Sadly, some parents do not have their children’s best interests at heart. We read about these things on the news nearly every day. And this leads me to your feelings of guilt. I do get why you feel guilty, I have my share of it, and it comes with being a mom. However, guilt implies that you have hurt someone. As my good friend Wikipedia says:
    Guilt is the state of being responsible for the commission of an offense. It is also a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.

    So in a roundabout way, I just want to say that although I only know you through your blog, I know that you love your child, that you only want the best for her that you consider her feelings in ways many people would not.
    Did you hurt her by not giving birth to her? No.
    Did you hurt her by not breastfeeding? No. Sure, breast is best, and the one benefit you can’t reproduce with bottle feeding is the infection fighting properties, which are important until a baby can produce its own antibodies. I loved holding my baby close while I bottle fed her, and I did consider this part of the bonding experience.

    In my opinion, there are other important things that a child needs that are not related to how they came to us: Our attention, our time, our love. I see how my TV addict of a child will abandon it in a second if I say ‘let’s do a puzzle’. You can buy them all the toys you want, but they would rather play with you. What my husband and I both remember from our childhoods is not the toys we had, but the time our parents spent with us. And we want our daughter to have the same memories.
    I have read numerous times on your blog how you have gone out of your way to find a solution to Ava’s problems, like when she was not able to sleep during the day. How you plan her birthday parties, how you spend time with her. These are the things that build memories.

    You worry about her feelings after your loss, this is what makes you an awesome mom, because our children’s’ little souls are so important. I watched a DVD on parenting once, and a particular story really made an impression. About how a grown up told him that her mother loved her the wrong way, by which she mean that nothing she did was ever good enough for her mother. As an example, she mentioned that if she came second in a race, her mother asked her why she did not come first. This was the pattern of her life, and she was a very bitter person. The narrator then said that by hurting a child’s feelings we touch their very souls. Being aware of that makes you a gentle parent.

    Infertility is a bitch, but our bodies let us down, it is not something we did. I choose to believe that adoption was meant for me, I had to go through the other stuff to get here. My path was not nearly as traumatic as yours, I have never had to deal with a miscarriage, or go through all the treatments and their effects. I consider myself lucky in that I was quite soon diagnosed with early menopause that made all that impossible.

    I know that only you can deal with your issues surrounding your guilt, I just wanted to highlight that I for one don’t think you need to feel guilty for any of these reasons.

    Regarding some of the comments left on your blog now, I have to say I also don’t give a toss about the mommy club. I don’t comment a lot on blogs, and hardly ever on articles. I don’t have a mommy’s group I attend; I tried that and did not like it. I do have friends that are moms that I met through my daughter’s friends, and I value them for treating me as a mom. We don’t all parent the same, but so what. We don’t make each other feel less for doing things differently. So these are the people whose opinions I value.

    And in closing of my sermon :), you are doing a huge lot of good with your blog and website. You are giving us a forum where we can be understood, where others understand that our fears for our children have an extra layer to them. You are teaching people about adoption, and arming them with information. Don’t let this incident and people’s comments change the way you interact.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:47 pm
  • Reply Jeannine

    I don’t comment on peoples’ blogs often, but have been reading your blog for a while now. I am also an adoptive Mom as well as a biological Mom – both my children came to me in different ways – through open adoption and through gestational surrogacy – I also never breastfed my children, never got to carry them for 9 months, never felt them kick for the first time, never gave birth to them, thus never experienced all the hormone release etc that helps with bonding etc etc. Also went through the whole infertility thing for many many years – was prodded and probed by many doctors over the years – I have two beautiful children today and I love them dearly – I do not and have never ever felt guilty or felt a loss about the way they came to me and my husband. I don’t stress about me not having carried them, or breast fed them etc. The minute I laid eyes on my children , my bonding started and has never stopped – I do agree with the person above who stated that you need to stop finding judgement in everything you read and see – in many instances (perhaps most), people are not making any judgements at all – your insecurity is making you look for things that in my mind are not there – you have a beautiful incredible daughter who loves you dearly – do you honestly think she cares about these things that you feel are so important – all she cares about is being loved and cared for – keep doing that for her and your relationship will go from strength to strength.

    I was not breastfed, my mother couldn’t even hold me for 10 days after my birth, I was also in NICU for three weeks when I was born. I am 39 years now and my Mom and I have had the most amazing relationship – she is still my best friend and we confide in one another all the time – I couldn’t care less that I wasn’t breastfed or held immediately after birth, what I do care about was that I was loved and cared for and nurtured for my entire life.

    I know that I sound hard, I just feel that you need to understand that all those judgements that you feel people are placing on you are not their judgements but yours alone. You need to be strong, self confident, self assured, and have no guilt about the way things turned out – many many birth mothers also have circumstances turn out that they cannot control – babies in NICU, lack of breast milk, horrendous diseases etc etc.

    My daughter is now 8 years old – her questions regarding her adoption are becoming a lot more complicated, and at times take me by surprise – you need to be so confident in yourself and not feel guilt about things – Ava will pick these up as she gets older and possibly start to feel different, just like you feel different – this might make the adoption much more difficult for her. I am telling you this as a ‘friend’ – I have walked a very similar journey to you in many ways, but I am so far on the other side of the coin than you, that at times I wander if you have ever really come to terms with your infertility – you need to talk these things out until you feel all this horrible and truly unnecessary guilt drain out of you and then perhaps you can truly start to heal. Always remember it was NOT your fault that you are infertile, nor is it my fault that I am infertile, the same as people that have brain tumour etc – it is nobody’s fault – it is the cards that we have been dealt, and we have to learn to play them to the best of our ability.

    My friends have all been great to me regarding the way our family was made – I don’t recall my friends judging me for anything, and I can honesty say, I never let articles about breast feeding, bonding, natural birth, biological child etc disturb me – I know who I am , and who my children are and I love them more than anything in the world – continue being the great parent that you are to Ava and stop worrying about things that in the grand scheme of things will have little or no bearing on her life – get rid of that guilt – you are hurting yourself.

    Take care of yourself and know that this was all said in a kind way.

    If you wish to talk privately, you have my details.

    September 11, 2012 at 12:56 pm
  • Reply Elize

    Holycrapadoodle!!! Sorry you got hurt my friend (sub tweets and all). I think you’re an awesome Mommy and you’re doing such a wonderful job with Ava, who in my opinion is a sweet natured, well adjusted, HAPPY, gorgeous little girl.
    Oh and PS. Always always engage in debate, it’s healthy and that’s how we learn by hearing other people’s opinions. Whether they like it or not…

    September 11, 2012 at 2:38 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks Uncle Leez!
      And I so agree with you, debate is healthy. It’s just sad that some people cant do it in a grown up manner and take everything as a personal attack or refuse to hear or engage.
      We’re never all going to agree with each other and that’s just fine but we should not try to shout down someone who is expressing an opposing view to ours.

      September 11, 2012 at 2:41 pm
  • Reply Wenchy

    Hi, Written tongue in cheek … now there is something I can relate to. I write about my three marriages as if it is funny, but it really isn’t. Who grows up hoping to have been married three times? Not me. We write in jest to protect our heart.

    I have 3 biological children, I have had 4 miscarriages… I have 3 step children and have 2 adopted by heart children. Be they by birth, by heart or by marriage, you have to form a bond with each one in some way.

    I never feel part of the mommy club either. Especially after I became ill last year and our children had to stay with another parent… so I see some kids every other weekend and halve the holidays, 2 live with us permanently… it is quite a bit of juggling!

    September 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm
  • Reply lisa

    Hi there, I’m probably not in the position to comment here seeing as though I don’t have kids…and yes I do get the snooty questions from the Mommys club as to why I haven’t got any yet (I’m 33), but we’ll leave all of that for another time. I find it sickening how competitive and bitchy some moms can be – instead of being there for one another, they use their mommyhood as some kind of power of over other mommies. “I do this and it’s the best way, my baby can do this already, can’t yours?”, etc etc.

    To be perfectly honest, I will probably end up adopting one day, I may or may not breastfeed, I don’t really like the sound of this AP style – I have an issue with the co-sleeping thing, for starters, as I believe the marital bed needs to stay kid-free for a number of reasons. Yes breastfeeding gives your baby important nutrients, but not all moms can (or even want to) breastfeed. And that’s their choice, why others need to come in and judge on this is so disgusting. And then there are the moms who’ve had natural childbirth sans drugs who love to remind the C-section or epidural naturals of their accomplishment all the time.

    I don’t buy the whole “you can only know real love if the baby is biologically yours” either. Love is a feeling, an emotion, and it can take many different forms.

    Since when did having a baby become a competitive sport? Last time I checked, you adopt/make a baby because you want one, you want to give another human being love and (hopefully) a wonderful life.

    I don’t know you, but I’m pretty sure you’re an amazing parent. So try not to listen to what others say – I know that’s hard, I am very bad at taking my own advice! Sometimes I think our society takes parenting way to seriously, yes it’s a serious subject, but come on! They’re sucking the joy out of it with all these rules, and parenting strategies! Your kid is a person, not some project you can manage! Tribes all over the world raise perfectly healthy, normal babies without all this hoo-ha! And there is probably a lot less judgement going on in their mommy groups – and a lot more encouragement and support. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

    September 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm
  • Reply shazrich7

    Please will you go and check out the full article in question everyone, the comment above is read out of context and I feel you are basing your comments on it without having the full story. http://www.parent24.com/Toddler_1-2/development_behaviour/Is-attachment-parenting-extreme-20120907

    September 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm
  • Reply Julia

    Hi Sharon, I just LOVE Melinda’s comment.
    I do believe that how we interpret things is generally based on our context – we are bound to be more sensitive about things that have personally affected us negatively and specifically things that we couldn’t control. This is normal and so yes, I believe that your opinions on the article(s) is perfectly justified. It’s perfectly natural for you to feel strongly about something that gets so much “airplay”, especially if your normal was not like that. I read the article that Shannon wrote and didn’t feel that it was judgemental, however my normal (and hers) is different to yours so my feeling about are based on my particular context.

    I will give you an example of the context thing. The other day, Marcia wrote a blog post about the 5 Love Languages in Kids. In one of the points she mentions that IF kids have a full love tank then they will be much better at learning. Now, as a Mom to kids who struggle to learn, I might have felt offended by that. I might have felt that the implication was such that my kids CLEARLY don’t have full love tanks and therefore they struggle with very basic concepts. I was a GREAT learner at school but I can’t truly say that my Love Tank was full. As a Mom to a kid who DOES NOT have learning issues, you wouldn’t have read anything into that because your context is different. So, what I’m trying to say is this: My “normal” is different. Yours is too. It’s not wrong or right. It’s different. It’s no one’s fault. It is the way it is. It makes the world go round. It’s all part of the beautiful tapestry and quite frankly, it makes us MORE AWESOME

    When I read that point in Marcia’s post, I was sooooo proud of myself for being able to recognise the post for what it was – I’ve had to do A LOT of work with myself to get to this point. I know my friend and the context that her point was made in. I can now see the bigger picture and see that everything that is not necessarily “MY normal” is or rather everything that is DIFFERENT to my normal is not an attack on me. It’s merely someone else explaining and justifying THEIR normal which is essentially their right.

    A few months ago I was getting offended by parents bragging about “their” normal i.e. kids who have perfectly timed milestones, kids who are not neuro-atypical, kids who can actually have a conversation. NONE of this is MY normal and I was essentially getting annoyed with other people’s normal. I’ve since had to do A LOT of work (and I still have off days) to learn to accept MY normal.

    You are a BEAUTIFUL woman and you are a MAMA in EVERY sense of the word. OWN it. Claim it. And please don’t worry about what you couldn’t do for your girl. Worry about what happens NEXT.

    Much love.
    xx

    September 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm
  • Reply Mash

    I didn’t read this before, not sure how I missed it. What I find so interesting (and I’m not a mom yet despite many desperate attempts) is how any kind of parenting can be viewed as successful or unsuccessful, an achievement or a failure, better or worse, right or wrong. What is it about us as human beings that requires every single thing we do to be rated with a tick or a cross, like we are still at school, still seeking the teacher’s approval? Imagine how our ancestors would laugh at the concept of “successful” parenting, when to them a good parenting day meant all the mouths had been fed. Why do we need the categories, and even more questionable, how is it that those categories can divide us as women? As with everything there is too much information, too many choices and it confuses the hell out of us. None of it really matters does it? If there is one huge life lesson that infertility has taught me, it’s that there is no recipe for success. A lot of the time there are no reasons. We do what we can, and a hell of a lot of the time, we get it wrong. Let’s stop judging ourselves for that. Our self judgement is much more harmful to our children than anything else.

    September 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply We All Feel It, We All Do It – Judgement | The Blessed Barrenness

    […] my last blog post about judgement, which you can read here, I really did spend some time thinking about all that was said and I cam to the following […]

    November 6, 2012 at 11:45 am
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