When my baby was about five weeks old, I visited a friend. From the moment we stepped into her place, I could tell that my baby was uncomfortable about something; I’m not sure about what. But I knew for a certainty that she didn’t want to go into anyone’s arms; she wanted to stay with me. It was a very subtle way she had developed of telling her father and I; a small arching of her back, pushing her away from the person who was reaching for her, and a gentle burrow into our neck or upper chest. She was still so little that we had to really focus on her body language, the movements were that subtle.
But the challenge is that this—being able to tell her parents if she wants to go into someone’s arms or not—is something that supposedly babies can’t do, according to pretty much everyone around me. And so, I was pressured into letting a friend hold my baby; the little one cried and cried, and the friend wouldn’t let go of her until I almost had to rip my baby out of her arms.
To make matters worse, the friend then looked at me and said: “You are too protective.”
At the time, I was so sleep-deprived that it seemed like the end of the world. But after some sleep and countless other similar experiences, I have come to realise two things.
The first is that my husband and I are our daughter’s defenders.
The second is that although people demand respect for their own children, they demand respect from yours. In other words, in the above-mentioned situation, you can’t hold theirs, but they have to hold yours.
There are a lot of things that I would like people to know and understand, things that I have and will continue to blog about. But most importantly, I want to gain control of the one thing that I have 100% control over: myself.
On the one hand, I do not want to become someone so arrogant that I will not listen to any advice that is given to me. But on the other hand, I do not want to become someone that is lacking the strength of her well-researched, well-thought out, and constantly worked-upon beliefs.
I’ve talked to a number of parents who feel the same way that I do, and we have made a pact: that we will trust ourselves, while remembering that we do not hold all the answers. However, despite knowing that our decisions cannot be perfect, since we are not perfect people, we will trust our current decisions and reinforce them with love and patience.
And, if you yourself are a thoughtful parent who has made well thought-out decisions, I welcome you to make the same pact. We will trust our current decisions and only change them if we have sufficient and good reason to do so for the sake of our babies, and theirs alone.