How do you know what the 'right thing to do' is?
I'm on a number of online pregnancy & baby forums, and I've seen lots of posts this week from women asking what the 'right thing' to do is. Whether it's having a sweep at 40+ wks, co-sleeping, giving exclusively breastfed babies vitamin supplements or home-schooling.
The great thing about social media is that the answers come thick and fast - sometimes anecdotal, often supported with links to articles & research. But quite alot of it can be contradictory. One person's GP told them one thing; a health visitor for another said quite the opposite; the majority view is that answer X is quite, quite wrong; people get indignant, defensive, rude. How
It's easy to say that being pregnant and parenting, is just like any other thing you do in life. There isn't a right way or a wrong way to do it - just the way that's right for you. Which is all very well, but it doesn't help parents know what they should or shouldn't be doing. So what's the answer?
- Read widely. Learn where to find trusted sources of information, and be critical. If it's a publication funded by advertising revenue understand that brands may have some influence on editorial.
- Accept that there's no such thing as a universal truth. Time and cultures change - what your parents (or GP, or health visitor) did with their kids may not be common practice now, it doesn't mean they're flat-out wrong.
- Make your own risk/benefit assessments. You have to be honest about what your values are, what's important to you, and what you think is best for your children.
- Try to be kind, rather than judgemental. Understanding why other people make their own decisions is as important as your own reading and research.
- Prepare to change your mind. Sometimes you see or hear something that changes your point of view. That's ok, it's a normal part of life. And as they say, if you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got - and who's life is so wonderful they don't want to change some aspect of it from time to time?