Monday, November 7, 2011

I've judged you, and I apologize.

It's true. I was one of those Hippy-la-las who has rolled their eyes at newborns in prams, gasped at bottle fed babies and cringed at school talk. And what of those poor misguided women who birth in a hospital? Won't someone think of the children?!

Over the last little while I've come to realize that my judgement of women who I know nothing about is far from the supportive Feminist ideal that I would like for myself and my daughters.

This post has been a long time coming because I know it will draw rolled eyes and judgement towards me from others in the Hippy-la-la parenting community. But I read this article yesterday and I agreed.

I still have a whole heap of judgement though. I judge a hospital system that fails so many Mothers, Fathers and babies-a flawed system that sees birth as something which needs to be managed and often takes all the power away from the woman. But I no longer judge the women who use it.

I judge those who write parenting books telling parents to train their kids like dogs, to give them unrealistic goals about sleep and adding so much pressure to be perfect. But I no longer judge the women who read these books.

I judge a hypersexualized society where so much emphasis is placed on work and early separation from their kids that it cannot possibly support breastfeeding, and I feel anger at those "health professionals" who give terrible and outdated advice. But I no longer judge the women who choose the bottle.

And I judge a school system where kids are expected to learn by rote, conform and attain high grades rather than follow their passion. But I no longer judge those who send their kids to school.

I'm passionate in people feeling empowered to know that there is a whole other way to raising your kids rather than the mainstream way of punishment and reward. I want people to know that they could parent where kids will sleep when they are tired, eat when they are hungry and learn when they are ready. I want people to know that birth does not have to be mean intervention.

But just because I say that you could parent this way does not mean that you should.

I'm choosing to let go of all the judgement that goes around in my parenting circles. I'm saying do what works. I'm saying that I'm absolutely pro-choice for a womens body-that means an elective c-section for no other reason other than you want one and a freebirth with only yourself and your partner present. If you want more information go get it. Interested in homebirth, home education or co-sleeping? Speak to someone who knows what they are talking about, probably someone who has done it before. Don't feel boxed in to whatever parenting style or method you have decided to take on.

I'd invite you to also stop judging other parents-you know nothing about them or their lives. Be true to yourself and be true to your kids-enjoy the freedom it brings.
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