Expecting our Little Brother in November!

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Monday, January 31, 2011

Maybe I'm REALLY not fine at all, actually.

Wow I'm shocked that so many people were offended by the article I posted here. The only thing that bothered me, honestly, was that she had some misspellings, which I can't stand.

I thought the main point she was making was that there are risks associated with certain things--that's the bottom line.

Some of these things are totally in our control and it's really a choice--so in my opinion, I think a Mom SHOULD feel somewhat guilty for knowingly choosing something that has more risks (like spanking, for instance).

But sometimes, we don't HAVE a choice. Should my parents feel guilty because I went to public school? Definitely not! They couldn't afford to send me to private school. I'm sending my kids to public school, too, because these studies don't take into account people's values, cultures, choices . . .

Should someone feel guilty for trying their hardest to breastfeed but the baby won't latch/they have undersupply/they don't have the right support? No way!

And I definitely did not get the impression from the author that she disagreed. For instance: "But, the reality is, sometimes formula is necessary. Adoption, low or no milk supply (rare but does happen), in these instances, formula becomes the lifesaver."

The fact is, no matter how loving, caring, and devoted parents are--they can't always do "the best" thing. She, herself, admits this, when she makes the argument that epidurals can interfere with nursing, cause fetal distress, respiratory problems, etc. But, she says, "If I ever give birth again, I am going to get an epidural."

So what is she REALLY saying with that statement? She's saying that it's not simple. None of this is simple. If you think about it, a country like Switzerland has lower infant and maternal mortality, and universal healthcare--so in effect, we are "putting our child at increased risk" by NOT living in Switzerland, right? Or maybe we should move to Japan so our kid would have a better chance at a long life? Or everyone should be vegan because of the risks associated with eating meat and dairy? ;)

I found the article to be informative, fact-based, and well supported--though also OBVIOUSLY one-sided, opinionated, and biased.

Why are my kids going to public school? Because the research she posted, while true, is only one side of the story. It is important to my VALUES that my kids attend public school, get vaccinated . . . and of course there are also (different) risks to attending private school and NOT getting vaccinated.

As parents, we have to weigh the risks with the benefits for every decision we make, and it's not a complex or universal process. I like this article because she DOESN'T try to water down her point--and the risks that she talks about are real, and cause real problems for real people. When we weigh the risks against the benefits, it is easy to underestimate the "weight of" the risks because we are so afraid of hurting our children.

So I agree with her that we should always try for the best case scenario--but I don't necessarily agree with her on what that is. Why? Because I'm not her, my family isn't her family, my kid isn't her kid--and these facts are only one part of the whole story. But they are a part that we should be aware of.

As the author says in the comments: "As I've mentioned many times, my own sister's milk never really came in because my dad died a few days after her baby was born. She tried many different things to bring her milk in and it never happened. She became an expert in the effects of nutrition on her daughter as a result. I never once heard her say, "it doesn't matter." She knew it mattered, and she did something about it."

And also: "For the record, I don't think everyone should be homeschooled. I don't think everyone should give birth at home, either. There are few things in life that cut and dried."


Amy said...

Well said! :)

Aletta said...

And that's why I read your blog and won't be following hers :) It felt to me like she was paying lip service to the idea that choices other than hers could be the right ones for other families, while I know that you understand that.

justadrienne said...

I agree with most of the comments people left before--not because I had a negative reaction, but because so many people did. Obviously even if she didn't really intend it, if so many people are upset by what she is saying, I agree that she "loses" people. And like some of you said, that really is too bad, because her actual message has a lot of validity...

Ella said...

DITTO exactly what Aletta said ;)

Ruth said...

I also agree that she was trying to make some valid points, and applaud that she pointed out what works for her does not work for everyone. But I think her message got lost in how she presented her arguments. Like her case against public school saying "loss of social interaction,".....made me think hmm most of the people I know who were home-schooled either (a) don't know how to read or write appropriately or (b) can describe every flag of the world and do calculus but have no concept of age-appropriate social interactions and/or go to college (if they're allowed) having NO IDEA what sex or drugs are and how to protect themselves. Not saying all homeschoolers turn out like that, just that there are flaws in ANY education system.

The other point that really bugs me (and I know I'm probably gonna get a lot of heat for this one) is the spanking issue. Now I was spanked as a child and looking back, I definitely see a LOT of problems with the ways my parents spanked us, but wouldn't call it abuse. The problem with a lot of the studies is there is not much clarity in what is defined as "spanking." A lot of times in studies, parents who spank only in EXTREME cases (i.e. child in danger) and only with a bare hand (and probably only need to spank their child a few times in their LIFE) are lumped together with those who regularly spank their children with a belt, so the data is skewed. Personally, I don't know if I would ever spank my future children. But I do believe for some it can be an effective disciplinary tool when used appropriately. I think it should be used only in extreme cases, NEVER for petty little misbehaviors, NEVER when the parent is angry, NEVER by anyone other than the parent, and NEVER with any tool other than a bare hand. If a parent gives their small, strong-willed child a quick smack on the hand for trying to touch a hot stove, or a quick spank on the bottom for trying to run out in the street (immediately followed by explaining why), I don't think it's fair to call her/him a bad parent or a child abuser.

Ruth said...

p.s. sorry for the comment novel Adrienne :)

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