Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Mummy's Dirty Secret

Being a mother has opened my eyes to a world full of taboo.  Some things just aren't spoken about.  At least not before you test the water to work out the other person's view on a particular subject, especially if it is another mother. 

There is the mother who co-sleeps with her baby.  She told me she is reluctant to speak about this at our mothers' group because she will be judged because "co-sleeping is dangerous and against SIDS recommendations".  At least that is what she was told by one of the nurses at our family health clinic.  It is her dirty little secret.  She confides in me because she knows I think there are benefits to co-sleeping.

Then there is the mother who topped up with formula and introduced solids before the recommended age (depending on which health care professional you listen to) of four months.  Her son was hungry and breast milk alone just did not cut it for him.  She is constantly asked how she got her son to sleep through and what she does with solids.  She doesn't want to tell people because it works for her and she doesn't want the looks or expression of horror when they find out her five month old son eats chicken for dinner.  She confides in me because she knows I'm her friend and am of the view that "if it works for you and your baby, do it" even if I don't agree with it. 

Why can't mothers be honest and open about their parenting style?  The answer seems to be a fear of judgment by other mothers.  Sadly, this fear is often well founded.  It seems, as with most other areas of life, women are the harshest critics of other women.  I find myself automatically justifying the things I do, particularly when speaking with people I know follow routines with their children.

In fact, this seems to be the greatest divide - between the mothers who follow Tizzie Hall type routines and those who feed on demand and comfort their babies to sleep.  It is a brave mother who confesses to falling into one group when talking to a mother who belongs to the other camp.  This divide is probably best left to a post of its own.

My dirty secrets are:
  • I "wear" BabyB-B  most days and sometimes don't even try to put her into her cot because I like to be close to her.
  • I want to co-sleep but DaddyB-B won't allow it.
  • I don't want to give BabyB-B bottles because I want to be the only one who can feed her.
  • I don't let BabyB-B cry (unless I'm covered in soap in the shower - a wet, soapy mum is not comforting - I learnt that the hard way).
  • I want to toss in my career and be a stay at home mum.
  • I love breastfeeding BabyB-B and intend to do it for as long as she wants to.
  • I used to judge other mums for doing what I now do before BabyB-B arrived. Now I get it!
BabyB-B having her nap in the Moby at the beach - it beats having a battle with the cot!

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