So glad they told me #sogladtheytoldme

So glad they told me

On Monday and Tuesday I wrote about the ways in which people misuse science to tear down emotionally fragile new mothers.

Last night, while checking my Twitter feed, I made the happy discovery of a new movement designed specifically to do the opposite, to support mothers, especially emotionally fragile new mothers.

It’s #sogladtheytoldme and it was started by women whom I admire.

Here’s Stephanie Sprenger explaining the genesis of the movement:

… [W]hat if we didn’t do either of those things — fill mothers’ heads with unrealistic, sugar-coated imagery OR try to scare the bejeezus out of them with horror stories and unkind warnings? What if, instead, we just supported mothers? What if we gave them the room to speak honestly and openly about their experiences, including the ugly, hard-t0-hear stuff? What if we compassionately shared our own truths without a hidden, possibly malicious “warning” attached to it?…

I am teaming up with my partner Jessica Smock at The HerStories Project to issue a challenge to mothers this week. We want to hear from YOU now. Did anyone throw you a life preserver at some point—either during your pregnancy, postpartum period, or even later into motherhood? Did someone give you a piece of advice or an honest admission that you were profoundly grateful for?

I had my four children before the motherhood competition became as toxic as it is now. I was exceedingly fortunate to be surrounded by a group of women friends, as well as the greatest sister-in-law in the world, who supported each other through pregnancy, infancy, toddlerhood and beyond. Most are friends from college or professional school. I knew them in their pre-mommy incarnations as doctors, lawyers, teachers and executives. Most were at my wedding, and I was beyond thrilled that nearly all were there when my eldest son and his wife were married over a year ago. It seemed only fitting since there were times I didn’t think I would survive until his adulthood without the love and support of those friends.

I learned a lot from these women as we navigated motherhood together. It wasn’t so much what they told me, as what they showed me.

I’m so glad that they showed me that it makes no difference how a baby arrives, whether through vaginal birth, C-section or adoption. The love of a mother is fierce regardless of how the baby came to be part of the family.

I’m so glad they showed me that it makes no difference how an infant is fed. I was proud that I breastfed my children, but 25 years later I can see clearly they are indistinguishable from the children of my friends who bottle fed.

I’m so glad they showed me that there is no right way to raise a child. Different approaches work for different families and different approaches are needed for different children within the same family.

I’m so glad they showed me that it doesn’t matter whether a mother stays home full time with her children, pursues a full time career, a part time career or a career that is staggered over time to accommodate the needs of children.

I’m so glad they showed me that the most important thing a mother can do is love a child and make sure that child knows it. The rest, as they say, is just commentary.

Truth be told, what I learned from these women, influences what I write nearly as much as what I learned in medical school and working as an obstetrician.

I’m so glad they supported me in motherhood, and I hope that by what I write, I can support other mothers in the same way.

  • Outi

    I was among the first new parents in my friend group. It was hard to find support. I will always be grateful of my mother. She had twins just four years before I had my first and her resources were worth gold. She told me it didn’t matter that I had to have a c-section. She told me I didn’t have to breast feed to be a good mother. She told me my best effort to be a good mother was good enough, that I didn’t have to be perfect.
    I’m also thankful for having a great man beside me. When our second was born just a year after the first baby, I was having a post-partum depression. When she was two months old, he told me to go to my friend’s house for a weekend, so I could get a breather and some much needed sleep. After our third child was born, I had to go back to the hospital because my c-section scar ruptured. He took care of our newborn, so I didn’t have to take her to the hospital with me. He’s my hero.

  • J. Andrés Pérez ★★★

    Hi, and sorry for my english… I think that this post could be the best abstract of all the blogs about OB subject. My great thanks Doctor Amy… I think I will use your words like a manifesto against every -ism regarding childbirth. The bold part of your written is a summa of “buon senso” (italian common sayng)… we hav a great lack of this, unfortunately.

  • moto_librarian

    I want to take a moment to personally thank you, Dr. Amy.

    I found your blog when I was in the midst of severe anxiety and guilt about my inability to breastfeed. I had switched fully to formula a couple of weeks earlier, but I was still wracked with guilt. I was just sure that my son was going to get H1N1 because he was too young to get a flu shot, and I felt that I was failing him by not passing along those precious antibodies in my breastmilk. Imagine my relief when I found someone who demonstrated that much of what I had learned about childbirth and breastfeeding had little or no evidence to support it! I was also still struggling to understand why my unmedicated birth had resulted in complications and a general feeling of disappointment. I had done everything “right,” but I sure didn’t feel empowered by any of it. I was at high risk for developing PPD due to my history of mental illness. Finding you and the community of commenters here (along with staying on my antidepressant during pregnancy and postpartum) really helped me to get my head back to the right place. I wish that the people who so demonize you would understand that your no nonsense approach is a real lifeline to many of us.

    Thank you, and keep up the good work.

  • guestS

    The best thing for me has been keeping up with this blog for a few years which has helped me to have a very rudimentary understanding of childbirth. My husband and I qualified as CPMs at 5:23am the other morning when we had to deliver our own baby after a labour that lasted less than an hour, unassisted and at home!!

    We’re all well and healthy. For all of the NCBers crying out that Dr Amy fearmongers etc, having some idea of things to look out for at a birth and signs of problems arising was actually what kept me calm until emergency services got here and we made it in to the hospital for baby checks etc.

    Off to start a sanctimonious blog as is the done thing in these scenarios…;)

    • moto_librarian

      Wow! I’m so glad that you, your husband, and baby are all healthy and well! Good work!

    • Young CC Prof

      Congratulations, and glad everything went well despite your baby’s excessively speedy arrival! You are now an expert on normal birth!

  • SporkParade

    The best advice I got was that it is not only impossible to be a perfect mother, but children are actually better off with imperfect parents because it teaches them to be individuals, to be patient, and to deal with the disappointment of not always getting what they want or need. The second best piece of advice I got is that nothing bad will happen if I put the baby down in a safe place for two minutes while he is crying inconsolably so that I can pee or get a drink.

  • guest

    <3

  • Squillo

    My son was born 13 years ago today. The circumstances of his birth are nothing more than fond (and a few less-than-fond) memories. What has been life-changing is having had the privilege of helping him grow and mature. All those things that seemed SO important–midwife or OB, epidural or unmedicated, bf or formula–seem so amusingly pointless today. He is who he is, and everything I’ve done from the moment he was conceived has contributed in infinitesimal ways–bad and good, to be sure–and I’m glad for that. That’s life, and it is miraculous. I wouldn’t change a thing.

    • Mishimoo

      Happy Birthday to your kiddo!

    • KarenJJ

      Happy birthday to McSquillo!

  • KarenJJ

    I was very lucky to have a friend that was very open and honest about the newborn period and a mum’s group that had a wide range of parenting styles and an attitude of “we’re in it together” and were non-judgemental.

    I have also come to think of most parenting books as being complete tosh. However I must give a shout out to the Australian book by Robin Barker (an experienced infant and maternity nurse) called “Baby Love”. It gave plenty of advice and a few warnings but was largely non-judgemental. EG, there was a section on baby-walkers and gave the warning on injuries but also said that if you are going to use them, here’s how to do it. Similar for dummies, formula, controlled crying etc etc. Loads of info without a ‘this is how you must parent your children’ philosophy attached to it. It also gave me the reassurance that in her experience catnappers (for day sleeps) could rarely be fixed and after a tearful and frustrating few weeks I tossed “resettling techniques” out the window and gave up trying to force a baby to sleep longer in the day time.

    • Mishimoo

      Baby Love is awesome, it’s one of the ones I lend out to people.

      • KarenJJ

        I threw my Pinky McKay ones in the bin, I cannot bare to pass them on, but Robin Barker I still pass around 🙂

    • Sue

      Agreed – Robin barker is awesome: pragmatic, realistic, non-judgmental.

      It was Barker who convinced me that teething does not cause illness, and probably doesn’t even hurt, cos secondary teeth emergency without illness or pain.

      • KarenJJ

        That’s probably her most controversial part of the book. What’s interesting though is that I didn’t notice teething pain with either kid. I once thought we might have it with my eldest, but because Robin Barker doesn’t believe that teething causes many issues I took my kid to the GP and she had a raging ear infection – so yep – not teething pain.

        However for secondary teething, my kid does sometimes complain of a sore/aching tooth when it is coming through. So I can imagine babies may feel some discomfit and be grumpy/sleep poorly because of it.

        • Wren

          Either my son managed a virus with each and every tooth (and they all came separately) which gave the same symptoms or teething caused him issues. He has complained of pain with his later molars too.
          My daughter got grizzly but didn’t appear to have a cold plus a stomach bug every time.
          My nephew however had no issues. The boys are 6 months apart. Mine is older and has been behind his cousin on teeth since my nephew got his first 2 teeth. Anecdotally, the hypothesis my sister and I developed that earlier teethers feel less pain seems to hold true with other kids we know, but anecdotes are just that.

      • Young CC Prof

        I remember secondary teething hurting, but that might not be a fair comparison, since it also involved losing teeth. (And wisdom teeth usually hurt a lot, but that’s probably because they are usually dysfunctional in some way, and intelligently designed humans wouldn’t have four teeth too many.)

        • Cobalt

          My wisdom teeth caused some very mild achiness coming in, except for the one that impacted. That was a steady soreness, so after the other three had been erupted for a year with only part of the fourth visible I went in and they pulled it and the other one on top.

        • Liz Leyden

          I was 19 when my wisdom teeth came in. The pain was very, very memorable. I ended up having all 4 pulled.

      • Kelly

        My wisdom teeth hurt coming through and they came in perfectly. There were only a few times in the middle of the night that our first would wake up screaming and would only calm down with medicine and oral gel. My second tends to get two to four teeth in at a time and her entire mouth will swell. She won’t even let me touch her gums at times. She definitely suffers. I would say though, that not all of her fussiness is from teething and I think that is part of what she is probably saying.

        • Young CC Prof

          Definitely. There is a tendency to attribute any and all woes of babies between 5 and 24 months to teething, and that’s usually incorrect. If your baby has a runny nose and slight fever, he isn’t teething, he has a cold. If he’s cranky, it could be almost anything.

          If your baby becomes unusually upset all of a sudden, nothing will settle him until you give Tylenol, at which point he’s fine 10 minutes later, and then erupts a tooth the next day, THAT might be teething.

          • Mishimoo

            I tend to write most grizzles off as frustration and runny nose/slight fever as fighting off a virus. Which meant that it didn’t cross my mind to give the youngest some nurofen when he was teething because I blamed his crankiness on being tired, and cluster feeding all night on a growth spurt. I sleepily facepalmed when I realised it was because he’d had THREE teeth come through at once.

    • Bugsy

      That’s really great to know. I likewise enjoyed the “What to Expect” series – I found that it contained a great deal of useful information on developmental stages without being directive or judgmental.

  • fiftyfifty1

    When I was pregnant, a nurse I was working an urgent care shift with told me: “Some women find out they are baby-mommies which means they love the baby period. Other women, like me, find out they are big-kid-mommies which means that the older the kid gets, the more they like it. Both kids of moms make good moms, so if you discover that you aren’t a baby-mommy, don’t worry.”

    Here’s is my husband’s contribution:
    When our first was a high-maintenance toddler, an elderly woman took my husband aside in the grocery store and said “That kindness you are showing will pay dividends later. So keep up the good work.” That encouragement was just what he needed to hear during a trying stretch of parenting.

  • Mishimoo

    I’d love to thank my late granddad for sharing his belief that each generation should be better than the previous one, and for supporting my parenting choices. For sending books with family history notes in them, newspaper cuttings, recorded documentaries, and for passing down advice from the family midwife (his grandmother) – specifically, “It’s impossible to spoil babies.”

    I’d like to thanks my nanna-in-law (and do, regularly) for being a gentle parent, helping to raise my husband, and for being a wonderfully supportive person.

    I’d like to thank my friend’s mum, who warned me about inverted nipples and told me that shields are a perfectly good option because none of her boyfriends nor her husband noticed that her nipples were different. I’d also like to thank her for telling me that formula is a good option and I shouldn’t feel that I have to breastfeed if I don’t want to.

    I’d like to thank the lovely Indian woman who saw me burping my 3 month old colicky eldest, and showed me a gentle trick her family uses to help get the last little bit of air up.

    I’d like to thank my adopted aunt for showing me how awful breastfeeding at all costs can be – it’s absurd that anyone should feel like they have to breastfeed after being bitten so badly that it required a suture.

    I’d like to thank another friend’s mum for being so encouraging, gracious, sweet, an awesome mum that has a great relationship with her kids, and also has a career. She inspires me.

    • Dr Kitty

      What is the burping trick? Inquiring minds….

      • Mishimoo

        It’s weird, but it’s worked on every baby I’ve tried it on when everything else has failed: sitting them carefully and safely on your lap, very gently draw a clockwise circle with your index finger a few times on their right shoulderblade.

        There is no reason it should work! I was so surprised when it did. Even if it doesn’t work for everyone, it’s still soothing for both bub and the adult, so I recommend at least trying it.

  • DiomedesV

    I had several sisters in law and friends with children already. My nieces and nephews are fantastic. By and large, all very good parents. But they have made different choices about feeding, staying at home, discipline, etc. What came out very clearly from this is that 1) the kids are fine, and 2) these choices have had profound influence on the happiness of the *parents*. And honestly, some of my in-laws and friends struck me as not very happy. I was determined to avoid that.

    50/50 co-parenting was the best decision we ever made. No guilt whatever about anything. Happy kid, happy parents. For me, it’s all been a blur of bliss. My husband caught the bug a little later, around 4 months. I think he just doesn’t love babies.

    I’ve personally felt very little judgment from anyone about my choices, with a few exceptions. And those just happened to be the people that struck me as unhappy and dissatisfied. I chose to see that as a nonrandom association.

  • SF Mom & Psychologist

    I had two very valuable pieces of info passed along to me.
    1. I’m so glad my dear friend told me that it was totally normal to have days during the newborn phase when I’d cry my eyes out and feel like a basket case, and that I could call her, and that she would answer her phone (and she did, at very inconvenient times, too) and talk me down. I love her for this.
    2. I also appreciated that my OB’s NP told me that vaginal dryness would decrease and elasticity would return after breastfeeding ended. Holy crap – why did they wait until I was 10 weeks post-partum to share that detail!?! I was fairly freaked out about the state of things below.
    These are the two gems I pass along to all my first-time pregnant friends.

  • Maria

    I feel very lucky to have been one of the last in my family and group of friends to have kids. I was able to see how it can be done so differently but with the same results: happy healthy baby. I was able to see that you can either focus on the details of each day and have a happy, healthy baby, or focus on the big picture and have a happy, healthy baby. Plus, all those experienced parents gave me great advice and wonderful support! I am also so thankful that my sister told me that she felt I was doing a great job, out of the blue, and I needed that bit of encouragement.

  • yugaya

    My friend went back to work recently, two small kids at home. She’s been heavy on AP. Her comment from last week that was directed at her AP friends speaks volumes of how much the whole natural parenting narrative is failing women:

    ” I wish more of my friends would share and so I would not feel so damn
    guilty all the time. All I see is perfect moms all around.”

    • Julie

      I read this quote recently: “The brighter the picture, the darker the negative.” I bet all those perfect moms’ lives aren’t nearly as perfect as they’re portraying on their perfect FB feeds.

      • Mishimoo

        Speaking of – I’m in a FB parents group and have noticed that everyone is all over the cute/happy things, but as soon as there’s someone asking for help, there are just crickets.

  • lawyer jane

    o/t: I just attempted to edit the Wikipedia page on induction of labor to better reflect the recent research on the connection with C-sections. would be great if other SOB readers helped out! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_induction

  • Julie

    Recent gem from everyone’s favorite BBC poster, haleysmom1:

    “I had 2 surgical extractions followed by a birth.

    I do love all three of my kids, but I am definitely more bonded with
    my vaginal birth child. I am so glad I educated myself and switched to a
    supportive provider for my vba2c. I finally got the ‘easy way out’
    that I’d been accused of having the first 2 times. Hands down, vaginal
    birth was WAY easier than either c/s.”

    I’m so glad I don’t let people like her have any bearing whatsoever on my personal decisions.

    • anh

      what kind of asshole would openly admit to being more bonded with one child over her others? The best I can get out of my mom is “I love you all uniquely” (which is nonsense, I’m clearly her favourite 🙂 )
      Even if it’s true, you just don’t share that stuff. It’s so hurtful

      • Bugsy

        …and her bonding is based on vaginal birth alone!? WTF?

        • momofone

          Exactly! That says nothing about how they were born and a hell of a lot about her. It’s like loving someone more because they came to visit by airplane rather than by bus.

        • just me

          Seriously. I just wanted the kids out. What bonding as they finally went thru? Oh maybe the vac prevented the magical bonding.

      • Julie

        Oh, she’s been spouting poison on the c-section and VBAC “support” boards for years. The scary thing is people actually listen to her and commend her for things like this! There’s a thread somewhere on SOB where she’s quoted encouraging a GD mom to eschew her doctor’s advice (i.e., “educate” herself by “doing research”) and not agree to RCS or induction prior to 42 weeks. Mom took it to heart and got her VBAC, but baby died. She’s dangerous and I don’t know why BBC hasn’t banned her. I’m sure that’s not her only venue, either. She proudly proclaims she didn’t care if her second CS baby died because it was too “stupid” to come on its own and wound up being “surgically extracted.” I can understand being upset in the moment, but even her youngest (the VBAC) is several years old and she’s still talking like that! She also uses every tactic in the book to scare moms on the CS board out of an RCS, including secondary infertility, milk never coming in because your body still thinks it’s pregnant since you didn’t labor, etc. etc. etc. It’s sickening to think she has any influence whatsoever in these women’s minds. And even scarier, she’s not alone.

        • anh

          That breaks my heart. My mom lovingly jokes about how I was 17 days late, and was tickled when my daughter was 12 days late. I’m horrified to imagine how I would feel if she truly hated me for it. This woman cannot be real

          • rational adult

            Seriously. I broke my mom’s tailbone when I came out, she must hate me.

          • Mishimoo

            My kids all re-broke mine on their way out, I found it mildly impressive. I haven’t told them because I know the older two would brag about it, which might be a bit awkward for their classmates.

        • Dr Kitty

          People like Stormbride on MDC and Haleysmom on BBC should be the easy ones- their clearly dysfunctional relationships with their children which are blamed on CS, their fairly obvious mental instability…

          It should be obvious to even the most casual reader that they are damaged people who should not be trusted for advice about birth because their experiences and beliefs are so far removed from the norm.

          What is most sad is that BBC and MDC give them forums where it is obvious that vulnerable women who CAN’T see the damage and the dysfunction and DON’T get to hear people call them out on their nonsense are all too willing to listen to them.

      • Kelly

        That is terrible. My grandmother said things like that to my Mom and it very much damaged her identity and her self confidence. Children don’t realize that it is not their fault and will take it to heart.

      • DiomedesV

        A narcissist. And yes, that is a diagnosis.

    • Lisa C

      I really dislike the term “surgical extraction”. I didn’t have a tooth pulled. I had a baby. I just don’t understand why it matters how your baby exited your body. I also wonder if women that are so focused on vaginal birth, extended breast feeding, co-sleeping, etc while look back when their kids are adults and realize that it didn’t make a bit of difference.

      • Sue

        I do like the term ”surgical extraction” for exactly this reason – because the route of exist bears no influence on how besotted you are with the child or how good a parent you will be.

      • just me

        And I wonder if some of that ap stuff WILL matter–but in a negative way. Bedsharing and extended BF in particular.

        • Allie

          I never chose bedsharing and extended BF. They just kind of happened. They work for some, not for others. I hope nothing negative will arise from them or any of my parenting “choices.”

          • KarenJJ

            In all honesty half the time “parenting choices” mean “whatever the hell got us all some sleep and food”.

            Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes etc etc. The idea that I “chose” formula as though I just randomly picked it out of the cupboard on a whim one day is laughable.

    • Guest

      A friend of mine just had her first baby! A beautiful healthy baby who is uber cute. Mom was in labor for >30 hours (spontaneous start on due date, augmented by pit and eventually AROM) and she never dilated past 8cm, nor did baby descend into her pelvis. She ended up with a section. And if anyone every said her baby was extracted, I do believe she (and I) would smack them!

  • KeeperOfTheBooks

    I want to thank my best friend, who kept me sane while I tried so hard to breastfeed, and reminded me in the end that the important thing was that my baby was fed, not that she was fed breastmilk. My best friend also has been at the other end of the phone every time I’ve come close to a breakdown over the last eleven months. I think it’s no exaggeration to say I couldn’t have done this without her help.
    I want to thank my OB, who always took enough time at appointments to explain what was going on and answer any questions. I’d planned a natural birth, and when I found out I was going to have a C-section, I was a bit shaky because I’d never had surgery before. He gave me a big hug, said I’d be fine and not to worry, and then stayed late at his office that evening (I was his last appointment) to walk me through what to expect with a C-section and to assure me that there was no reason I couldn’t try for a VBAC next time. Knowing that DH and I are Catholic, he prayed with us before the section. He did a million little things that made DD’s pregnancy and birth a wonderful, beautiful experience, and then when I was going through hell breastfeeding, he gently told me that I, and only I, could make the decision to stop or continue breastfeeding.
    I want to thank my MIL, who saved my sanity by coming for a week and helping take care of DD at night so I could get a little more sleep.
    I want to thank all the sweet, kind, gentle nurses I had at the hospital. There were a few nutters, but the majority were simply wonderful: very helpful and very reassuring to a terrified first-time mom.

  • namaste863

    I often wonder what will happen once these AP/NCB types once they figure out that babies don’t stay babies forever. For example, I know a woman who is a die hard AP/NCB/HB/Anti-Vaxx type. She named her son Colt. IN my opinion, it’s a sweet name for a little boy. And it’ll be completely ridiculous on a business card 30 years from now once he’s a grown man. Ever notice how all of these parenting fads have elaborate prescriptions aimed at parenting babies and toddlers, and then the kid drops off the radar once they hit Kindergarten?

    • Cobalt

      I was just thinking something similar, reflecting on how glad I am now that I didn’t have internet access when my first baby was a baby. I am certain my parenting experience and skill set and priorities are better because of it. By the time I regularly had internet access, my oldest had aged out of the AP target range, and I had “been there, done that” confidence for subsequent babies. I already knew from experience that the stuff they were selling wasn’t at all necessary.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      She named her son Colt. IN my opinion, it’s a sweet name for a little boy. And it’ll be completely ridiculous on a business card 30 years from now once he’s a grown man.

      Not really. Among other things, there will be more Colts around at that time, so it won’t be a totally off the wall name. Not as many as there will be Aiden/Brayden/Cayden/Jayden/Kayden/Leyton/Peyton/Seyton/Zaydons, but there will be Colts around. There are plenty of Coltons, too.

      • Cobalt

        Yeah, Colt is pretty mild on the odd-name-o-meter. It’s been in the top 350 on the SSA lists since 2010, and Colton has been as high as number 64.

      • Sue

        Yep. There may be SO many Colts that, to distinguish amongst them, some might have to be spelt ‘C0lt’, with a numeral instead of a letter.

      • rational adult

        Pardon me but I believe you forgot Hayden, Graydon, and I just met a Xayden!

        • Mishimoo

          Don’t forget Xavier.

          • momofone

            If my son had been a girl, he would have been named for his father’s mother (Caroline). The first day I took him to the half-day, two-day-a-week program he started when he was two, we hung up his backpack and I saw that the boys’ backpacks all had different names, but the girls’ backpacks, all in a row, read: Caroline, Caroline, Caroline, and Caroline.

          • Mishimoo

            It’s become the new Jessica, I think.

          • Klain

            Interesting – I don’t know anyone under the age of 30 with the name Caroline. The most popular around here seem to be Emily, Sophie and Charlotte.

          • Amy M

            And no Jennifers either, since all the moms are named Jennifer.

          • MaineJen

            Yes, yes we are. Ask me how I know.
            Sincerely,
            Every Baby Girl Born Between 1970 and 1979 Was Named Jennifer

          • momofone

            It’s fairly common here, but Sophie and Charlotte aren’t. Probably a regional thing?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Hayden, Graydon and Xayden are on vacation.

          “Can’t I just call them all Aiden?”
          “Oh, he’s on vacation.”

          Radio commercial

    • Dr Kitty

      There’s a man locally who changed his name from Jeremy Brown to Crazy Horse Invincible.
      He’s been Crazy Horse for more than 10 years now.

      http://www.breakingnews.ie/ireland/final-boarding-call-for-crazy-horse-invincible-178785.html

      Pick a name you like for your kids, they can always change it later.

      I have a feeling the children of some Star Trek fans I know of who were all named after very, very obscure Star Trek characters might be doing just that…

      • rational adult

        Crazy Horse Invincible! Wow! You must be so sad that name is already in use in your area as you consider baby names.

        • Dr Kitty

          Oh don’t, baby names are too hard.
          We have no clue what we’ll call a girl, because the “veto” list the first time was HUGE. Kiddo was called the only name we both liked, with some inoffensive family names as middle names.
          Thankfully the boy name has been locked down for years.
          DH and I have very different tastes in names.

          His most recent suggestion was Zelda “so I can say she was named after the video game and you can say she was named after that writer’s wife”.

          He’d probably be fine with Crazy Horse.

          • Mishimoo

            It was a relief to have a boy, because we couldn’t find a girl’s name that we liked that also fitted with the older girls names. (Silly, I know, but we wanted to stick to the strong character thing.)

          • Wren

            We really struggled with names the first time around, then found we did a lot better going through the name book individually and crossing out names we disliked. It got us down to a reasonable number to consider. We agreed on a boys first name and possible middles before birth, both took one look at him and decided it was the wrong name. The planned name became the middle name and within a few hours we separately decided on the same potential middle name as the right first name. With our daughter, we both vetoed the planned first name and he suddenly vetoed the back ups when we met her. We separately came up with the same first name within a few hours. Her middle name was set in stone before she was conceived. Apparently we can only name babies after meeting them.

      • Mishimoo

        We gave our girls normal middle names, just in case they hated their first name or hated the character they’re named after. We also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give our son the middle name “Danger”, and it really fits him.

        The girls are named after strong female characters who are gorgeous and have a good sense of humour. Our boy is named after one of his great-grandfathers, who once climbed a tree backwards and upside down to see if he could, served in the Navy (was luckily transferred off a ship just before it was sunk in WWII), survived polio, and walked around selling oranges from a bucket to pay off his farm (despite having a withered leg).

        • Amy M

          My husband wanted our boys to have the middle names “Action” and “Adventure” and I vetoed that.

          • Mishimoo

            But think of the pick-up lines! 😛

          • MaineJen

            LOL…Oh no, baby…Danger’s my *middle* name.

    • guest

      Oh, they just keep on wooing no matter what age the kid is. The child goes to elementary school, and suddenly it’s hand-wringing about what kind of probiotics to put in the water bottle they force the child to bring to school, because only bad mama would let their kids drink tap water.

      • Amy M

        Wow really? I haven’t heard that one. Is that a regional thing?

        • KarenJJ

          They just keep finding the oddest stuff to worry about…

      • Young CC Prof

        Fortunately for the kid, once he gets to school he can drink whatever he wants. Like the fluoridated tap water.

      • Liz Leyden

        I grew up in an town with famously bad tap water, and the public schools had problems with lead. It was discovered in the 1990s, so it may have been corrected by now.

    • Lion

      Growing up in a family like that he will probably own a yoga studio or make Chrystals or pottery for a living so luckily he won’t need to try to be Colt in a corporate environment. I kind of like Colt though.

  • Felicitasz

    Wonderful post.
    I thank my midwife (CNM), and Community Midwives Hamilton in general, for all the information, science, encouragement and support I received from them. I thank McMaster Hospital’s Women’s Center, also in Hamilton, for the outstanding relationship with the midwifery practices and all families, I am grateful for the obs and nurses for all the information, science, encouragement and support. It was so wonderful that I started writing a health blog trying to share all those good things these people gave me. I also had my three best friends who are just awesome, and a few good people from an online community – I met one of them since, a mother of four, but there is another, a mom of five, who remained an email friend to this day: she lives in France now, we never actually saw each other in person. These two, with all their experience, also helped me enormously.
    I was very lucky to have the best first pediatrician as well, I still miss her, although wherever we moved the doctors were very supportive and I was never left alone with any problem or concern or question.
    And there was this random colleague in the nursing home I used to work; upon finding out that I was pregnant she had told me that I would be “the best mother” she could imagine. It still feels good to think of these words every now and then (my son is 7).

  • Bombshellrisa

    Thank you so much for this!
    What I love about this concept is that anyone can apply it. Some of the nastiest “Just you wait” horror stories I heard during pregnancy and even now raising my kids have come from people with no children or complete strangers. It would have been just as easy for them to say “this part doesn’t last forever” when my toddler was having a meltdown at the grocery store or said something positive when I was smiling all day after baby slept through the night for the first time instead of “Well, don’t get used to it”.

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Since mine is a newly minted toddler, I just give sympathetic smiles.
      Oh my, isn’t that first full night’s sleep wonderful?! All of 8 weeks old and on Christmas night in our case. (We joke that was his present to us). Not that it happened again for ages, but a the bliss!

      • Bombshellrisa

        It was the nice lady at checkout who said “Honey, we are all parents and have all had the turn of being the one with the fussy baby. Don’t worry about it!” who made me feel better.
        That first night of sleep, there are no words!

        • Mishimoo

          The first night of sleep scared the crap out of me! Our eldest slept through on the 3rd night after she was born and I was terrified that she’d died while I was sleeping. (She was fine and didn’t sleep through again until she was 6 months)

          • wookie130

            This was my experience also! I feared the worst when my babies slept through!

          • KarenJJ

            I rang the help line here for advice and the nurse told me to get her checked at emergency just in case! I didn’t, my baby seemed fine! She didn’t do it for me again for another 10 months..

          • Bombshellrisa

            Me too! I was sure baby had died of SIDS. DD and DS made it a habit from that first night they did it, which was nerve wracking for me, I was still waking up and they didn’t need me.

  • MLE

    I absolutely credit the SOB and SOB community for helping me see the big picture of parenting. I used to stress out about things like using a pacifier and screen time. Now I reserve my worries for serious things like drugs/violence/alien abductions.

  • Gretta
  • Amy M

    What a nice post.
    I feel lucky, because when I had my babies, mostly I got support. My doctor put me on bedrest a few months before they were even born, and friends at work made food for me which lasted months after the babies came and had a little baby shower for me (one of them brought over all of the stuff).

    When I was in the hospital for a month, over the holiday season, during a nasty winter, people came to visit me or called me on the phone. People I didn’t even know–strangers on forums online, or friends of my parents gave us clothing and baby items. When we took the babies out and about, we’d see other people with older twins, and they always said “It gets easier.” I’m definitely so glad they told me that.

    Since then, I’ve tried to pay it forward—I’ve given away most of the baby clothes and gear. I’ve offered (and will continue to offer) a listening ear to people I don’t even know who are expecting twins or have infant twins and have questions or just want to talk. And whenever I see someone with baby twins, I say “It gets easier” because its true, and it always made me feel a little better.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Twins! Oh wow. I remember offering to help my friend with three kids (a little boy and twin girls, with only a year between the first kid and twins) with either babysitting while she went to the store or going with her, and helping her by going to her doctors appointments with the kids. There were some less helpful people in her life who were trying to educate her by offering to show her how to wear her children all at once.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Wear…three kids…at once…while at the doctor or grocery shopping…
        I’m gonna need a drink after reading that. Good gosh.

        • momofone

          I never mastered wearing the one! I confess I used…a STROLLER.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Horrors! The horrors! Don’t you realize what you’ve DONE?! :p

          • momofone

            I know! There were times when we went MINUTES with no eye contact!

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh nos!! Minutes where baby was focused on something besides YOU!! No!!

          • Cobalt

            Don’t you know that breaking physical contact will cause your milk to immediately and permanently dry up! Then you’ll have to buy milk off of Craiglist! $3 per ounce!

            That stroller is looking like a false economy now, huh!

            Wait, what’s this you say? Formula? Oh, the lactimanity!

          • Bombshellrisa

            $3 an ounce–that is a steal, this is Seattle we are talking about and $5 is the going rate!
            Unless of course you are a certain homebirth midwife who adopted a baby. Then you simply ask your clients, fellow midwives and doulas to either pump and donate to you and/or ask their clients/fellow midwives/doulas/friends to pump and donate to you. You still have to bring your baby to clinic days and wear it everywhere, including to the births of your clients.

          • Amy M

            Ha! Me too, I never wore them, even one at a time. Well, I did once or twice, because someone gave us a Baby Bjorn, but it hurt my back, so I stopped.

            Bombshellrisa–more power to your friend, I only have the two, and they’re all I know.

          • Bombshellrisa

            My friend never wore any of them and was a proud c–section and formula feeding mom. She was on bed rest for a few months before the twins were born and really only cared that they came through the birth ok. The triple stroller was a hoot to help her push, before she got it I didn’t even know they existed

          • Amy M

            We had a double snap-n-go, which was great for the first year, but cornered like the Titanic. I gave to a friend of my sister’s, who got unexpectedly pregnant with twins.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Some babies like it, others hate it and let you know. Sometimes you luck into finding the right carrier the first time. All I know if I had one who wasn’t down with the baby wearing (probably because she wanted to be faced out and observing) and the whole world knew it and then my little guy loved it. Now that he is a year old, the Ergo is his worst enemy. He does love that stroller though. And it’s easier for me.

          • momofone

            I didn’t try an Ergo, but I remember hearing they were really good. I had a Kozy Karrier (I think?) that worked well when he was a few months old, but after that he didn’t seem to like it, and I never was brave enough to try the back carries (I struggled with the idea of tossing him over my shoulders like the video showed–it never ended well for the stuffed animal I practiced with). Even though he was surgically extracted, I didn’t want to dump him the floor.

          • KarenJJ

            My kiddo HATED the Ergo because she couldn’t kick her legs about. She loved the “crotch dangler” Baby Bjorn.

          • Klain

            I’m too short to use a Baby Bjorn for long. After a few months I couldn’t go up or down stairs carrying them since their legs were dangling and interfering with my movement. Fortunately I had borrowed the carrier and so hadn’t spent a lot of money for a few months.

            Now only getting 12 weeks use out of the brand new car capsule that clips into the pram is another story,

          • Young CC Prof

            I’m not all that short, and I ran into the same problem.

          • Dr Kitty

            We never wore our kiddo, partly because she hated it whenever my husband tried and partly because my back doesn’t allow it.

            She spent plenty of time being carried or held in our arms though.
            At 5 and a half she still likes to be carried or held, but is much too big for me to do it, so DH gets the honours! She likes “baby backpack” (piggyback) best.

            It a false dichotomy of babywearing vs stroller/car seat.
            As if people who don’t use slings or carriers never pick up, carry, hold or cuddle their children.

          • Cobalt

            If were going on a long walk around somewhere (zoo, kids museum, sightseeing) we take both. The carrier is nice for feeding, and smaller spaces, but the stroller holds a bunch of stuff. I am not turning down the excuse to use my own personal baggage cart. Short trips, he stays in the car seat, possibly with it on the stroller.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            She likes “baby backpack” (piggyback) best.

            We had a baby backpack. It was a babyseat that you carried on your back. We used it when we went hiking.

        • Bugsy

          It would be a good way to build up your core strength following a twin pregnancy, though!

      • MLE

        Did they write her a post-dated check for future back surgery??

  • Mrs. H

    Love this

    It doesn’t matter. My babies are loved and I am great mom.

  • This. The community of motherhood has lost its way – and has devolved into some kind of sick femachismo where each woman is so focussed on how she can outdo the mom next door, that no woman is focussing on how she can help the mom next door – no woman is looking beyond to the things that matter. Instead of focussing on “how can women get the best information and the best care?” – the focus has been “how can I get that woman to mirror my choice back to me?”. I’m always shocked and saddened to read/hear of a maternal death or bad outcome for the baby and can’t help but ask myself, “what needed to happen that did not happen?” What did that mom need to avoid the worst, what did she need to be told or shown to get through and wind up in a better spot.

    • Bugsy

      Very well-said.

  • Stephanie Sprenger

    Thank you so much for this beautiful addition to the #sogladtheytoldme movement! We’re so happy you found us! Fantastic post!

  • ArmyChick

    Unfortunately I never had any kind of support from women around me; I was called a bad mother for going back to college when my daughter was 6 months old, told that I didn’t give birth but my daughter was “surgically removed” from me… And the list goes on.

    I never allowed that stuff to get to me because I realized people who spend so much time touting their own horn are doing it out of a need to feel superior and by putting me down, they feel better about themselves. Well, they never succeeded. I think one of the reasons why is because I am an American who was raised in a third world country and I’ve seen both sides of the coin. People where I used to live are just trying to survive; there was no pettiness whatsoever among mothers. At the end of the day what mattered was a healthy child and a mother. A loved child who had their needs met.

    I just don’t understand the constant need for superiority coming from women in this country. It does nothing for their children in the long run. People who are constantly shaming women for not doing things their way have issues that run deeper than they realize.

    • Daleth

      You’re so right. This sort of shaming behavior is never about you (the person being shamed), it’s always about the psychological problems of the person doing the shaming.

    • Roadstergal

      This is all so very true, and I’m glad that you were able to see through all of it and do what you needed to do for you and yours.

      But then – how do we deal with trying to express concern when we’re not shaming? Things like ‘I’m really worried about you and your baby’ when someone is planning their HBAC because ‘hospitals have risks, too?’ When they’ve ‘done their research’ and don’t want to hear anything against it, and they’re using the tropes of anti-mom-shaming and bodily autonomy against this sort of discussion? Not really looking for an answer, just venting. It’s been a bad day, and I feel like there’s nobody I can talk about this sort of thing to other than people on this board. I feel like the only thing I can do that isn’t crossing the line is to express my concern, and then shut up. The shutting up part is hard.

  • Christina Maxwell

    What a lovely post, thank you.

  • Daleth

    Yay.

  • Cobalt

    Thank you for this.