Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Teaching them that prayers aren't answered

It's funny the things that stick in my mind.  I was visiting a repeat client and we were talking about the impending birth and reminiscing about her first birth.  I remembered how supportive her husband was when the midwife ignored all that they wanted.  The way he encouraged his wife and how happy they were when they were holding their daughter.  Then she told me about the first year.

She hadn't realised that they both had very different parenting styles.  She was instinctual and wanted to hold and feed her baby, his school of thought was about not spoiling the baby.  She said that it was a long, hard year but that this time round they were both more relaxed about the whole thing.  They were together at a talk where a question about leaving babies to cry was asked.  The reply came that 'when you leave your babies to cry, you teach them that God does not answer prayers'.  Wow!

There are many statistical analysis of what happens when we leave our babies to cry, but you may have noticed I don't post a lot of statistical stuff.  Rather than think of it by number, I like to think of it as relating to each baby.  I get many calls from my ladies (and/or their partners), but mainly my ladies.  Grandma, Dad, some self-appointed guru, the media or the stranger in the street has criticised something that they are doing.  Suddenly, all that they know is in question. I'm not sure what's worse, that or coming into parenting with all the myths and 'correct' things already established in their minds.  Oh don't imagine that I don't point that finger back at myself.  I was laughed at for having my son in my bed.  Told that I was mad to continue breastfeeding as long as I did.  Made to feel stupid for thinking I could fully breastfeed my twins.  Despite all of this (and that was only some of it) I could feel this instinctual pull towards my babies.  It didn't make sense that they slept apart from me or that I didn't hold them.  I put my babies in slings before I knew what wearing a baby was about.  My regret is that I didn't know about wrap slings and that it was possible to wear the Wee Weapons..  They did, at least, share an undivided buggy and so snuggled with each other.

So when my ladies call, I ask the questions 'what do you think?' 'what does your instinct say?'.  I can't parent these babies for them.  I don't presume to.  I can offer helpful pointers, but mostly I direct their question back at them.  "My mum says that I mustn't rush to the baby each time she cries, it will spoil her'.  'What do you want to do?' I ask.  'Go to my baby'.  'Then go to your baby!  The one who parents her best is you.  She's your baby.'

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