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As a new parent, I received tonnes of advice and was judged innumerable times. It continues to this day. Perhaps, it is too easy to judge a new parent, but too difficult to be kind and supportive.
Since the day my little one was born, someone or the other would always point out to me, “You are doing it all wrong!”, “Why is your baby crying? You should give her the pacifier”, “Hold her carefully; you will hurt her for sure.”, “Why can’t you buy some interesting clothes for her?”, “Are you still breastfeeding her? It is time you wean her off”, “Make the cereal for the baby and don’t feed the store-bought cereals.”, “Massage her neck, or she’ll get a double-chin like yours.”.
These are only a few things I heard. I am not someone who takes criticism at heart; however, comments and judgements like these left me confused and worsened my post-partum blues. The insensitive comments and judgement continued until one day. I realised that the scrutiny that people subject you to is never going to stop. Defending oneself is, therefore, a futile exercise.
So, I stopped doing two things instantly – I stopped feeling guilty unnecessarily after listening to what everyone had to say, and I stopped defending myself against the criticism and judgement. I started ignoring critics and judges and did things my way. Eventually, I felt better, confident and happier. Above everything else, I realised I know the best for my child, so the only other person whose words I should take seriously were that of the paediatrician’s.
Every parent, at some point, does have doubts as to whether they are doing it the right way. As is the world to a newborn baby, parenthood is a new experience for new parents. Each day brings in a new lesson, developing in them a fresh learning experience.
The concepts of perfect parenting, right and wrong parenting are mere myths when it comes to a new baby. Each baby is different and has needs that can be perfectly met by the parents. The health of the baby can be monitored by doctors/healthcare professionals. The baby and the parents, in due course, learn it all themselves.
New parents do not need commentary, judgement, criticism or advice on ‘how to do it all perfectly’. They need support, concern, and they also appreciate being asked if they need any help. As the old saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” it really does take a strong support system for raising a child. This implies there is absolutely no need for a group of individuals pointing out flaws in the parenting styles of new parents. Instead, everyone should contribute towards creating a happy and healthy environment that favours the mental and physical growth of the child.
If you are a new parent, trust yourselves and your doctor above everyone else. Enjoy each day as it comes, for little humans are both messy and magical!
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