Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's a hard job

Everyone has always said that parenting isn't easy, but recently I have started to realize that parenting seriously is.not.easy.  It's a realization I have come to within the last two weeks when in a few moments of despair I have thought to myself "Gosh,  I just don't know what to do, THIS IS NOT EASY!!!"  Now don't get me wrong,  as a parent it's very easy to do all the fun stuff with your child like giving them sweet baby kisses, playing with them outside, watching them eat a messy ice cream cone, or laughing at them when they fart really loud.  Nope, none of that is what makes being a parent a hard job.  What makes it hard is when you have to make important decisions about their health and well-being.   

From the moment I held Cambria in my arms, I wanted her to experience life in the healthiest and happiest of ways, as I assume most parents do.  I saw my choice to give birth at the birthing center as one of the first positive decisions I made for her.  I wanted to bring her into the world in the most natural way, which is what I saw best for us.  But the very day she was born I realized that being her mother wasn't going to be as easy as I had thought.  As my midwife was stitching a small tear I acquired during childbirth, Kyle and I were faced with our first real decision concerning our 2-hour-old baby.  Did we want her to receive a Vitamin K shot?  I hadn't heard of the shot before that moment and started flooding the midwife with all sorts of questions "Do most parents get it? Is it standard procedure in hospitals? Do you recommend it? Is it the most natural choice?"  I felt panicked.  For a moment, I felt like this was a life and death decision that would affect Cambria for the remainder of her life.   We ended up deciding in favor of the shot.  Little did I know, this was the first of many times I would feel this almost panicky, helpless feeling about a decision I was making for her.

Throughout the last (almost) 16 months, there have been so many decisions.  Decisions that are important.  Decisions that have and will continue to affect Cambria's health and home environment.  Most of the decisions I am talking about are debatable and depending on who you are talking to, you  can hear a vast array of opinions.  What pediatrician do we use? Should we follow the recommended immunization schedule? Are pacifiers bad?  Should we spoon feed? Is it okay for her to sleep in our bed? Should we use cloth or disposable diapers? Is a vegetarian baby healthy? Does she need Orajel? Is she developmentally on schedule?  Will her baby signs slow verbal communication? Does she socialize enough? What should we do about a cold? A fever? Throwing up? SO. MANY. QUESTIONS.  Until about a week ago none of my close friends had children.  Without having anyone my age with children to consult with, Kyle and I have made many of these decisions on our own.  We have definitely discussed certain issues with our own parents, but they had us over twenty years ago and truthfully a lot has changed since then. 

Because a baby brings with them all these questions, I think the most important thing to do it to stay INFORMED.  Knowledge is power and this statement is so incredibly true when it comes to your child.  It's easy to just listen to your parents, friends, or your pediatrician.  The hard part comes when you research all sides of an issue and make your OWN informed decision.  I have found this to be difficult because the decisions Kyle and I have made are not always the most "normal" or "mainstream".  This leads people (friends, family, acquaintances) to question the decisions we've made, decisions that I myself questioned at one point.  This cycle just leads to more questioning.  Did I make the right choice? Am I harming my child? Am I a BAD parent?  I think one of the worst feelings in the world has to be realizing something you did harmed your child. 

After all is said and done, I have to remind myself that Cambria is my child.  I do not own her, but I am one of two people in charge of making important decisions for her until she can make them for herself.  As long as I continue to research, question, and discover information for myself, I feel that I am doing my job as her mother.

Cambria eating a piece of broccoli.  This reassures me we're doing something right.

3 comments:

  1. Hey Brandie! It's cool to see you have a blog! I have been blogging for about 2 years now and love it. Look forward to keeping up with you and reading more! :)

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  2. Well said Brandie! The very fact that you two care so much to do your own research and try to make THE BEST decision for Cam, to me, shows that you're doing something right. And don't forget... for the most part none of these decisions are going to "make or break" her. If something turns out less than ideal, life has taught you a lesson which you can apply to the next little one!

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