Choose Compassion and Love

by Birth Without Fear on November 3, 2011

I have been humbled since participating in social media. I’m sure I’ve offended people, whether intended or not. I used to have no problem expressing my opinion on hot topics like CIO (crying it out), spanking, circumcision, vaccines, and of course birth (mostly before BWF). Then something happened. I noticed how some people will go further than expressing their opinion and sharing information…they attacked (and still do).

It made me stop and think, hold my tongue more and look at things for the perspective of those I don’t agree with. I stopped participating in these conversations (other than birth on BWF of course). I realized there was a quality some people have (myself included) that others lack…compassion.

I have seen parents say to each other (summarizing)…

“You wouldn’t circumcise your son if you love him. You are mutilating him. You should be arrested or have your child taken away!”

“You don’t care about the loss of your child b/c you don’t agree with me on how to feel about it.”

“You are an idiot for not vaccinating. Of course they save lives. You are an irresponsible and careless parent.”

“You are an uneducated idiot FOR vaccinating. They are dangerous and you are damaging your kids.”

“You are putting your baby at risk and are an idiot, baby killer, stupid, and moreĀ  b/c you are doing ‘x, y, z’.” (This goes for everything from home birth to having an epi to birthing unassisted or having an ultrasound or cesarean birth. It’s ridiculous!)

It goes on and on and on.

Here’s the thing…you are NOT HELPING YOUR CAUSE. You aren’t bringing people to your ‘side’…you are pushing them further away. For those of you who are nasty, lack any compassion or taste and do not care one bit while you sit behind this…


Acting like a…

STOP! Look at yourself, where you are coming from and remember…

…goes much further than judging.

If you tell another parent you understand, tell them about yourself, where you are coming from and then share information, you will help them open their hearts and minds. Even if you don’t change their mind, I would bet your chances of doing so do increase. I’ve noticed this on BWF many times over. I even see myself understanding more about things I don’t agree with and revising what Birth Without Fear means as we are all different.

When we fight, judge, tear each other apart, we accomplish nothing. But when we show understanding, compassion, ask and receive forgiveness, we can make small changes that will lead to bigger ones.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Tamara Curry November 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Right on. Mothers and soon-to-be mothers have enough to focus on than everyone else’s choices or everyone else’s opinions of their own choices, regardless the topic.

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Krissy Lanni November 8, 2011 at 9:54 am

Amen!!! That is so true!

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Chelsey November 3, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Amen! :) thanks for reminding me.. we need to always humble ourselves and aim to understand, not out-do.

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The Skeptical Mother November 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm

:-) Yes.

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Elizabeth November 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Thanks!!! I agree. We all need to at least try to understand each other, and find the common ground. We could all find peace with each other.

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Bec November 3, 2011 at 7:32 pm

This is so true! We all can get a bit blind sighted by our own beliefs and forget the fact that each mother is different and makes choices based on what they think is right at the time! Just because you don’t agree with another persons choices doesn’t give you the right to attack them. Show them why you may not agree and give them some thing to think about for next time :)

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Krissy Lanni November 8, 2011 at 10:24 am

Great comment you made!

YES each mother is different and makes choices based on what they think is right at the time. Why is mothering any different from anything else in life? Some people choose to be lawyers, some choose to be actresses. Some are huge sports fans, some pay no attention to sports and are entirely creative. Etc, etc!
We just accept our friends are different and have different likes and dislikes; we don’t try to change them. So why can we not accept that every style of mothering will be different?

Why is it when it comes to being a mom many people think there is only one “right” way to do it?

I had NO idea what to expect when I became pregnant. I didn’t realize everyone’s ideas of what THEY thought I should do or shouldn’t do would be forced upon me. What made it even harder was that I got pregnant unexpectedly and was at a weak place in my spiritual life.

People should just respect someone’s boundaries. But then again, if they had an opinion about everything else you did in your life or what choices you made, why would they act any different in regards to your pregnancy or motherhood?

When I decided to have a natural birth and no epidural, my sister tried to encourage me to reconsider an epidural. I STRUGGLED over deciding what to do in regards to vaccinations for my daughter- giving her vaccinations brought me fear and so didn’t not giving them. I wasn’t at peace either way. Everyone knew what a hard decision this was for me. My fabulous sister called up and basically downed me for considering not giving vaccinations- “What if she gets a disease?!?!” she said. Etc, etc. She was very upset and frustrated with me. Made me more scared and made me doubt my decision. I had a nightmare about getting a disease that night. She then later called up to see if I would ever take my daughter to a “pox party”. I said no. (I guess she would have considered me completely crazy then!) The support was just not there.

My daughter had eating difficulties since she was born. She would cry often and for hours every night. It tore me up inside! I talked to my friend whose baby had the same issues and it was reflux. I felt so relieved after talking to her. I may have finally had a solution! I came home and started to share the good news. My dad got very angry at me, yelled and said I was trying to find something wrong with a healthy baby. He said some other things that were mean as well and untrue. It made me cry and feel like crap as a mom. He then stonewalled both me and my daughter the entire rest of the day because I was making a decision he didn’t agree with.

So, yes, everything you said in this post is true!

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Jenny Kuehnle November 3, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Well said, Mama.

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Suzi Mendoza November 4, 2011 at 8:16 am

Well said, kudos to you Mrs BWF for staying strong & not stooping to their levels. I don’t always agree with everything that’s said on here, but I have too many other important things in life going on to WANT to battle it out via Internet. Keep up the great work BWF, some of us really love you ;)

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Melissa November 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

Mothers are brutal to each other! I love this post and will be following you now (I just found the BWF site).

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LoriC November 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

I think this is my favorite blog post! It’s for these very same reasons I don’t participate in many conversations about the same topics. <3

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Sarah November 4, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Well said. I know some people would say we are nuts for vaccinating our baby, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about it at all. However, we live in an area where there are people from so many parts of the world and we use public transport everyday- you never know who you are sitting next to and what they have and one sneeze from them and you may catch something. I’d rather take the small risk of vaccinating than run the bigger risk of catching something since we come in to contact with so many people on a daily basis. It just gives me more peace of mind than skipping a vaccination would. If we were not here in this place (Manchester, England) I may think otherwise, but here- I’m not taking the chance!

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alaina November 6, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Very true. I think most Mothers are simply doing the best they can in their circumstances. And how each of us were raised, and what each of us were taught are different- so no two people are going to make the same choices when making decisions for their kids. I think attacking or judging just makes people more close minded when it comes to having conversations or opening their minds to different ways of doing things. It’s better to be kind and understanding of where people are coming from, and try to leave them better than when you met them. Thanks!

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Soshanna November 8, 2011 at 10:19 am

So true, thank you for sharing!

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lynsey November 10, 2011 at 11:32 am

Agree with this 100%.

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Beth November 11, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Thank you for writing this. I have had people attack my circumcising my son and I wish I could make them understand where we were- I had just gone through severe pre eclampsia/HELLP at 26 weeks and had delivered via c section just before 27 weeks, after a very stressful 2 1/2 months in the NICU (pumping 8-9 X/ day) we finally we able to take our son home (2 1/2 hours away, I lived near the hospital, away from my husband, while he was in the NICU). With the stress of the NICU I left the circumcision decision up to my husband who had the same procedure done and was glad that he did (he also breastfed and has really great relationships with his parents). We love our son with a fierce passion. That love has had me exclusively pumping for him to get breast milk after he had difficulties nursing, now going on 17 months. We may not all agree on anothers parenting decisions but please take a moment to stop before saying anything, you may not know what that person has gone through or what brought them to a certain decision, but just understand that they deeply love their child and want the best for them.

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Aj November 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

Love this! I wish more people would understand that attacking others choices does not help anything! It hurts your cause more than helps it! When I was pregnant with my first daughter my plan was to have an epidural. The nurse who taught my hospital childbirth education class was so (shockingly enough) against anything that natural childbirth that I just plain tuned out whatever she said on the subject. She went as far as to imply (quite clearly) that if you used medication you were a bad parent! That was the end of me listening to anything she said! If it had been presented differently I may have ended up making a different choice, like I did when I had my second child. I would have at least been better prepared and maybe had a different labor experience. As a doula and childbirth educator I try to present the facts in a non-judgmental way so that parents can make an informed choice. It can honestly be summed up by the old saying “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”! Thanks for this post!

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Cindy B January 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm

An ounce of diplomacy is worth an infinite amount of ugly. Blessed are the peacemakers. :)

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Alliesmomma51511 February 16, 2012 at 11:56 am

Exactly! I was on another site parenting site the other day and their post was the exact opposite; stating that if you choose circumcision they did not respect you as a parent. I felt offended and disrespected, and I am a mother of one daughter with no plans to circ if I have a son one day. I needed to comment and tell these mamas that attacking and shaming moms for their choices is NOT the way to bring about change, and as someone above mentioned, may well cause listeners to tune out valuable info you may have. Thanks for writing!

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Alliesmomma51511 April 29, 2012 at 11:25 am

I agree very much with this post, and it was a needed reminder for me to be kind in the mommy wars online; especially on hot button topics. I am usually for gentle education and do believe u catch more flies with honey but sometimes it is hard not to lash out at others who are negatively defending the choices that I may disagree with. I needed this reminder today, thank-you!

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michelle August 2, 2012 at 10:40 pm

i absolutely love this! i wish all moms/people in general thought like this! i was just getting upset over how people were bashing each other over different beliefs, after reading this i feel humbled again and back in my peaceful state, i couldnt have read this at a better time… i believe in educating others on certain beliefs, but never making up their minds for them or belittling their choices! anyways i could never say it better than you just did! <3

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Tosha August 20, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I agree with all of this! On another note, I WOULD like yours and other parents opinions and facts on vaccines. Im 15 weeks pregnant and something in my gut is telling me not to vaccinate my baby.. I’d really like some input or personal stories on pros and cons of vaccinations so I know that I’m making the right chioices!

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