Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Competition

I am a member of one of those infernal baby boards, the kind where women (and a few men) get together starting when they are pregnant and carry on after their babies are born. The one that I am on is organized by the month that we were due. I have been reading and occasionally posting for more than a year now, though I am not sure why I return day after day. Most days I just shake my head at what is written and wonder about the people putting all of this stuff out there.

There are times when this is a very supportive community and people are genuinely happy for each other and offer great advice and generally share stories about how the pregnancy/baby raising is going. And then there are the other times, which seem to me to be in the majority at this point. The board took the tone of a race track soon after we became pregnant, with parents hustling to claim that they knew the sex of their baby already (through ultrasound, symptoms, or prognostication bordering on sorcery), were already showing (unless they had just had too much cake that day), had felt their baby move (or was it gas? HOW COULD THEY KNOW, they demanded). As due dates approached, there was a flurry of homespun methods to induce labor, stories of false labor that sent them sprinting to the hospital to claim their bairn too early, frantic wondering about what would happen if they passed their due dates. After the babies were born, the race continued with progress reports about the babies' size, physical coordination and development, and the mad rush to start feeding them solid foods before they fell behind the pack.

I realize that everyone wants the best for their baby, but does everything really have to be such a competition? There is such a wide range for normal development, especially for children this young. If the constant fretting alternating with boasting does anything it only serves to make for insecure mothers and pressured children. There is plenty of evidence of this on the board, with moms questioning every decision they make with their children and writing in distress that their child is not crawling at six months, should they make an appointment to have him tested? I just wish that there was more support and a better understanding that our children are resilient and more than likely completely normal no matter what they can do at the moment. I know that I can be guilty of this same insecurity, but right now it just seems to me that if you love and play with your child and keep an eye out for obvious medical concerns, your child is going to be fine. And probably a lot happier with a parent that's not so stressed out.


At 8/25/2005 11:24 PM, Blogger celeste said...

You know, I don't think my mom worried too much about all the "shoulds" when she raised my sister and me....It's really interesting and reassurring to read your post because you sound rational. :) I have gotten to know many kids in my profession (think 44 kids[two classes a day of 22) x 7 years]...and I've come to the conclusion that too little attention is bad. And too much attention is sometimes worse. But I don't know anything for sure yet...I can't wait to be a parent....I want those twins!!!!

At 8/26/2005 2:32 PM, Anonymous colleen said...

Good point. I remember with the first strangers on the street would give advice! But after the second I was spared that sort of thing.

At 8/26/2005 11:39 PM, Blogger scrappintwinmom said...

I enjoyed this post. My twin girls are currently receiving services from Early Intervention for developmental delays. I continually resent when folks compare my kids to other kids. I struggle daily with walking the tightrope between wanting my kids to develop on their own timeline and wanting them to conform to some "schedule". I'm here via Michele today.


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