Friday, August 10, 2012

Advantage Mama Bear

"Advanced Maternal Age". I hate that label. It makes me feel old. I think maybe it's supposed to. There seems to be an expectation that mothers-to-be should worry. Have you ever read "What to Expect When You're Expecting"? I did when I was pregnant with Jonas. There were exactly 2 and a half pages of positive stuff. The rest, all 300 or so pages, we filled with things to worry about. As a not-my-first-time around mom, I've got a slightly more balanced view of those worries, but then they slap that lable on and add a bunch of new things to the list of worries.

As if all those worries aren't enough, there are also the on-going societal debates to contend with. At times, being pregnant (and, in general, a mother) can be kind of like putting yourself up a cross and inviting everyone to critique your every decision. I expect to have discussions with family and friends, with the understanding that they will respect our decisions. It never ceases to amaze me, though, how quickly people judge complete strangers.  Jonas's pregnancy and birth were littered with examples.

I recall a gentleman saying "that had better be a decaf coffee you just ordered!" when I was about 7 or 8 months pregnant. A couple of weeks after he was born, an old guy at a restaurant told me that if I fed Jonas like I fed myself he would grow up to be obese too. (He was really old, so I wrote it off to alzheimer's.) And, my personal favourite: I once got the stink eye and lecture from a random self-righteous woman in a mall, when Jonas was about 5 weeks old. I was bottle feeding him and she lambasted me with a lecture about how the breast was better. When I told her that I pumped and my bottle contained my breast milk she turned bright red, stammered for a second or two, and then told me that I shouldn't have given up on the breast. Bottle feeding is bad for children's teeth don't 'cha know?!  As Jonas got older, the unsolicited advice got worse, but my skin got a lot thicker, but seriously, what's with that?

Even though I am now 16 weeks pregnant, I've only known for about a month. In that teeny tiny amount of time, I've already been confronted with:
  • the debate over amniocentisus
  • the breastfeeding wars
  • the ethicacy of having a baby in your 40s
  • the ethicacy of having too big of an age gap between children
  • the ethicacy of telling your kids (or anyone, for that matter) you're pregnant when you know there's a chance you might lose the baby
  • the debate over cord blood
  • the war between stay-at-home moms vs work-out-of-the-home moms
  • the ethicacy of male circumcision
  • the hospital vs home-birth vs midwife/doula debate
  • the dangers of caffine, medications, non-organic foods, etc...
  • the argument between vegitarians and carnivores
  • cloth vs disposable diapers
  • discipline  (UG! Like we don't face this every day already, with Jonas!)
  • the debate over attachment parenting, co-sleeping, etc...
  • the debate over whether ethicacy is even a real word
I haven't even come to half of these bridges yet and already I feel the tremendous tug-of-war, almost exclusively from people who's opinion I don't really care about. I really wish that those people with respect us enough to accept that we're going to do our research, work closely with our trusted advisors, and make the best decisions for our family that we can. Or, at least, I wish they would understand that we are complete strangers and it's none of their business. If they don't, frankly, they're not going to know what hit them. I'm not perfect, but I've already earned my mama bear card. I'm not the timid, inexperienced, first timer I was the last time around. Advantage "Advanced Maternal Age" mom!



  1. "make the best decisions for our family that we can"

    That's the absolute BEST anyone can ask of any parent.

  2. You TELL 'em, Mama! ;o)