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Thread: Coping with differences

  1. #1

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    Default Coping with differences

    I thought I was not too bad with dealing with the fact that I do gentle parenting. I was really only running into issues with my MIL, but today I went to mothers group and I am now feeling really bad, I actually feel quite sick in my stomach.

    We were just doing our normal catch up and what has been happening in the past week. I commented on that Maggie seems to be attaching herself at night, then of course I had to explain that I co-sleep. The usual comments came out of "I couldn't do that" or "You wouldn't get any sleep, would you?!" Fine I can cope with that. Then a couple of the mothers were talking about weaning or how they can manage to drop another feed, reasons being "want body back", "life back" etc Ok, I was still fine with that, but then of course I had to say "I still demand feed and will when when one of us wants to". As with Angel, there were also discussion on leaving our babies with others and I had to confess that she has only been away from both of us for 1/2 hour on 2 occasions.

    It was beginning to dawn on me how differently I parent to the others, I felt really left out. It got worse when some of the babies needed to go to sleep. One was put in her cot, the other in his pram. Both parents sat there calmly as their babies cried and made matter -of-fact comments of "oh, I control cry" and of course one has been to sleep school.

    Maggie was sitting quite happy, she had been awake for hours and wasn't sooking. They all marvelled at that. All during the get together they commented on how active and alert she is.



    When we left 3 of us left together, Maggie then started to cry in the pram, her over tiredness had kicked in. Sleep school mum commented, "oh she'll go to sleep once she has cried", I don't like letting her cry. Then they pushed ahead of me a quick as possible, like they couldn't get away from me fast enough. I don't talk about the other mums in a negative way to any other mother, but I knew in my heart they were going to talk about me.

    I really do feel sick now, I just want to cry. I never thought I would feel like this. I just feel so alone.

  2. #2

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    Oh no Astrid, I do feel for you as I felt the exact same as way as you and often left my mothers group meetings in tears. I eventually come to the conclusion that not everyone is the same and Matthew and I did not have to be around such negative people - or maybe saying different is better - and decided to leave. Oh such a heavy weight was lifted and I definitely did not need the added stress.

    That is why BB is such a support to me and without it I would be lost. Just coming here makes me feel 1000 times better knowing that there are others out there that feel the same as me.

    I run into people with gentle parenting issues everywhere, I try to let it wash over me but sometimes it does get to you!

    Just so you know, Matthew still demand feeds his breast milk feeds, I don't let him cry - ever, I hate hearing that mums let their babies cry! Matthew would sleep with us if he liked it - he doesn't unfortunately. He is 11 months old, so I think everything you are doing for Maggie is wonderful - you are a brillant mum! Just remember that! Hope you are feeling better soon.

    (PS - I always read one of Pinky's books when I am feeling a bit down about things - her words always cheer me up.)

  3. #3

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    Oh Astrid, how horrible for you! Try not to worry about them (I realise this is easier said than done); it sounds like you are doing an absolutely terrific job with Maggie. Hope you feel better soon.

  4. #4
    Melinda Guest

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    You're not alone Astrid. I know that it may feel that way, but remember that you have all of us here at BB!! I know that's different to the people you interact with IRL, but we'll provide you with support and understanding all the same.

    I stopped going to my Mother's Group a long time ago. I found that they were very competitive and it was doing my head in. Jacob was the youngest in the group but having a lot of the "firsts" and it got to the point where no one would comment on his achievements, yet I was expected to comment on their children's achievements. To me, any achievement for any baby is worth celebrating. On top of that, other things took place where I was being excluded (very pointedly) so enough was enough. So, I decided that I didn't need that kind of competitiveness or negativity, nor did Jacob. So whilst my reason for leaving my MG was different to yours, I do understand how it can be a bit of a "cliquey" environment to be in. I was sad to be not participating in it any more as I wanted Jacob to have 'friends' and for me to have a network of people to meet and talk with, but it simply wasn't worth it. I made one friend out of the group who I still see now and she holds very similar thoughts to me
    WRT to parenting (and the MG - she left too!). I also made another friend through different means - so I have 2 friends that I see/chat to regularly about all things parenting and our children play which is lovely. Jacob also goes to playgroup now which is another way of having him interact with other little ones.

    It sounds as though the people in your MG want you to not pass judgement or be critical of them when they say that they do CC or whatever, but if you say you co-sleep, then you have negative comments fired at you. It's not a very nice feeling and I know you must feel really isolated by that. I don't blame you for feeling like crying. I would too (and I did!)

    But have faith in yourself - you're doing a wonderful job.

  5. #5

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    astrid big big hugs to you. you are a fantastic mum listening to maggie's needs. it is such a shame that these poor bubbas are left alone and bewildered. i have been an attached parent for 10 years now and know it is so worth what you are doing. i have seen other mothers use CC and other methods and know alot of those 10 year olds are quite out of control, challenging children. i know about feeling isolated by mothers groups. when i had josh i felt the same and so i left and went only to ABA meetings where i felt more on the same page. also there are attached parenting groups that you may feel more at home at. my baby's breastfed for years, co-slept for years, i 'wore' my babys and my two older boys are intelligent, well adjusted, capible, respectful people and they now sleep in their own beds, are weaned and walk around on their own two feet. they can describe how they are feeling, discuss their feelings and are very articulate. don't let those buggars get you down you are doing the absolute right thing for maggie.

    =D> =D> =D> to you and maggie.

  6. #6

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    Unfortunately women can be *****es. And its generally a majority rules thing, I think no matter which side of the fence you sit on there's always going to be someone with their nose out of joint and won't be shy at letting you know that either. I have to say it gives me the ****s that women think they can give another their 2 c when they can see they obviously do things differently. I think you are doing a great job astrid, and if you are happy and your darling little Maggie is happy then poo on them! Often people feel the need to tell you to do it their way because they don't want to be seen as doing something wrong? Why do we need to compete can't two people just do things differently? ARGH! Drives me bonkers! I think it really does suck that we gentle parenter's are in the minority. And don't think it stops now, I think the older they get the more you just learn to not say anything unless you know the person isn't going to give out negative remarks. I think you should hold your head high, and try not to let it get to you. Its hard though because often all you want is an understanding ear and some sympathy and thats hard to come by when someone is telling you its as a direct result of X Y or Z (which is crap!). Its funny but a good friend of mine who is a mum at Kinder still bf's her 2 y.o. and she cops so much flack from everyone, but because I've often told her about BellyBelly she always finds comfort in talking to me about it when no one else is around, and the same goes for parenting. And thats what I love to see a women who feels supported no matter what she does! On the other side of the scale I have 2 women who now refuse to talk to me as a direct result of me talking about gentle birth LOL! So go figure, their loss I say And yet I think had it happened when Paris was smaller I would have definitley taken it harder.

    I don't think I've made you feel any better, but I just want you to know that I understand and we are here. And the longer in the tooth you get as a parent the thicker your skin gets and the smarter the comebacks too

    You are doing a wonderful job, and don't let someone else who's doubting their own skills cause you to doubt yourself!

    *mwa*
    Cailin

  7. #7

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    Astrid - Hugs to you, I`m not sure why some people have to voice their opinions all the time, it`s not fair on people like yourself who is doing a wonderful job but doing things in a different way to 'these' other women, why can`t they see we`re all different.

    Matthew is approaching 9 months and he`s still demand fed, at night when he wakes which can be anything from one to three times a night I offer him my BB, I have been told by my MCHN not to and let him cry, well he`s my baby and I`ll do it my way, by offering him the breast at each wake up at night he`s soon back asleep again and we`re both happy, there has only been one occasion that he`s woken up at night and totally refused my BB`s and that was only a few nights back he just went to sleep in my arms.

    I can`t stand hearing Matthew cry for too long, it really gets to me.

    I haven`t been to Mother`s Group and by the sounds of it I`m not missing much, thank goodness for BB.

    Your doing a great job and stick to it.

  8. #8

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    The hard thing is that my MG was ok up until now. Normally the meetings are held at the health centre, but over summer they are being held at our homes, so the groups turning up a bit smaller. Normally with the larger groups I don't get to talk to all of the mothers and not that many parenting topics come up at once. Up until yesterday it was a good mothers group.

    I think I also felt uncomfortable in this particular house. It was magazine spread perfect, complete with the "dream" nursery. I wondered how she found the time, then she admitted to putting her baby in a bouncer and leaving her in front of the TV for hours. My house on the other hand is a complete mess, we are hoarders by nature and are in the middle of renovating, also I will not leave her in front of the tv for any more than 5 minutes just so I can clean.

    So I am not sure what to do. I do get on really well with one mother, she isn't a gentle parent, but she does not seem to judge. I might talk to her and see what she thinks, she gets on quite well with everyone. If I choose not to go again I need to make that decision now, otherwise I have to pay the fees for this year.

    Thanks for all your support. I should probably see which BB members live out my way.

  9. #9

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    If she doesn't judge then I'd say stay friends. I've got lots of friends who don't parent the same way we do and thats ok. They love their kids and they respect their children they just have different techniques, I think if it were to affect your relationship or your children's relationship then I'd understand iykwim? And re the house, good on her but don't feel bad because yours is not the same LOL! There are always going to be people like that which you come across

    Its really hard to not worry about what others think, or to watch someone else and think "should I be doing that?". I used tp feel like that all the time, and the house thing still gets me don't worry! But yet if I went to a house and someone said to me "sorry for the mess" unless I was sitting in feces I wouldn't notice LOL!

    I hope things get better soon!

    *mwa*
    Cailin

  10. #10

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    Oh Ingrid, you poor love.

    Parenting choices, competitive mothers groups and dealing with your own baby: it makes for v.tough mental work!

    To my mind, whichever parenting style a mother chooses, as long as she is confident in herself that it is right for her and her baby, and doesn't ever judge, that is what you need around you.

    My Mothers Group in Darwin was a very mixed group of Mums, and a mixed bag of parenting styles, & a very mixed arena of income/socio-economic situation. (One or two show homes, one or two renovators delights, and everything in bwtween).

    The interesting thing is that whilst we have all now gone our separate ways (moved interstate), there are about 6 of us (from the original 12) who keep in close touch (via phone and email) & are all the ones that are utterly confident in our choices and never judge each other. The ones that were keen to judge or snipe behind backs or tried to compete in anyway are the ones that have fallen by the wayside.

    So, I think you are doing a great job, and as long as you are confident and happy in what you are going for Maggie, that is what is important. Stick to your guns, and if the mothers group is not making you happy, walk away..........

  11. #11

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    I have decided to stick with my Mothers Group. I found it was much better being back in the health centre and with more people there. I just didn't get into anything more than polite conversation with those that upset me.

    I spoke to my friend about it and she understood me and also agrees that we all should be able to parent differently and not be judged. She admits that she would not do some of the things I do, but that's my choice. She also explained that one of the mothers who came from a group in a more affluent area was actually quite shocked by our group. At the time, she was the only full time formula feeder (some mothers were bfing with comping) in our group, her previous group, there was only one mother breastfeeding, so for her someone doing gentle parenting is quite strange to her.

    When I thought about the group a bit more I realised that the group is not just for me, but it is also for Maggie. She enjoys it. It is good to get her out of the house and she likes being with other babies (even if she is a bit rough with them). So for her sake I need to continue.

    Once again thank you Ladies for all your advice and support.

  12. #12
    *Yvette* Guest

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    I understand what you're feeling Astrid. As you get older and more confident hopefully you'll just worry less about what others say/think.

    Picture this, a mothers group in Warrandyte (for example) where a new young mother feels ostracised because she's chosen to immunize and not send her kids to a Steiner school, or isn't vegetarian, or uses disposable nappies......

    I am totally guilty of judging others myself, but try really hard not to, because I can see that no matter which choices I make someone will always be there who'll judge them to be wrong.

    Sounds like you've got it together Astrid.

  13. #13
    angelfish Guest

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    Astrid, I agree with most of what has been said. You're doing a fantastic job. Don't even bother trying to explain or justify your choices to people who are going to make you feel bad.

    Yvette, I had to laugh at your scenario. I have experienced both sides of this. First I was in a mums group where I was the only person who didn't have their baby in hospital, the only one who co-slept and the only one who carried my baby in a sling. Only one other mum kept up with exclusive breastfeeding. Later I went to some meetings with a support group for homebirthers. In this group I was the only one who used disposable nappies (some even eschewed cloth nappies in favour of elimination communication), and the only one using conventional medicine and vaccination rather than osteopathy and herbal remedies. I think my "smorgasbord" parenting style pretty much ensures that everyone is critical of something I do!

    I hope this isn't against the rules, but I can't resist giving a little plug for my ABA (nursing mothers) group, which has a variety of women at different stages of their parenting careers, but is so accepting and supportive of everyone, no matter how you choose to parent.

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