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Judgment Day

As soon as my husband and I decided to have baby, I immediately began reading as much information about pregnancy as possible. I read what foods enhanced fertility, how to calculate ovulation, and when to seek professional help if we didn’t become pregnant. I actually read a book called What to Expect Before You’re Expecting. I also read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Health Sleep Habits, Happy Child, Happiest Baby on the Block, and I even had time to read about three chapters of What to Expect the First Year. Then, Greyson was born.

From reading these books, I began to realize that everyone has an opinion. Every author, every doctor, every professional, every parent –they all think they know best. Even people that don’t have children have an opinion about raising children. How ridiculous is that?

It wasn’t long after I was pregnant that I learned that everyone is very judgmental when it comes to parenting. Everyone wants to share their advice, from sleeping habits, to behavior management, to the best brands of baby gear. They all think that you should parent exactly how they do, because obviously they are the best parents in the world.

The very first time that I felt this parental judgment first hand occurred at our pregnancy class at the hospital. Even though I had read tons of books, scrolled through countless websites, and talked with tons of parents, I still felt it necessary to take the pregnancy class. The class was held on Thursday nights from 7pm-9pm in the hospital’s conference room. On a side not: 7pm-9pm – really? Are they crazy? As a person who works ten hours a day, who is six months pregnant, 9pm is way past my bedtime. After a long day at work, we hurried home, downed a quick dinner, and headed out to class. We stopped on the way so that my husband could grab a cup of coffee. As an avid coffee drinker prior to becoming pregnant, I ordered a cup of decaf to enjoy on the way over. As we walked into class, all of the mothers sat there eager to learn, with a pen and notebook by their side, and their bottled water close at hand. Here I was, walking in late, carrying a cup of coffee. I could feel their eyes burning through me. How could I be drinking caffeine, something so harmful to my growing fetus? – I already felt like I looked like a horrible parent. Relax ladies, it’s decaf.

As the months progressed on, so many people shared their opinions with me. Should I be eating organic food only? Should I breastfeed as long as possible? Should I make my baby be a vegetarian? What the hell is attachment parenting?

Greyson is now eight months old. I’ve recently stopped reading ridiculous books, stopped asking for advice, and stopped listening to what everyone else thinks is best. I am his mother – I have to be confident that I know what is best for him. I’ll follow his cues and work my way through trial and error. I have learned that every child and every family does things in a different way, and there is nothing wrong with that. For all of those expecting mothers out there, stop worrying that someone is going to judge your choices -trust your instincts. I’ll bet that you’re almost always right.