No judgment here
Before midnight feedings, many conversations using poop patois and revisiting the magic of Elmo, I was a bonafide judge of all women. Gavel in hand, I seldom gave anyone the benefit of the doubt and continued handing out judgments just because I thought I could. Motherhood changed everything.
It's been the most humbling, heartwrenching, exceedingly joyful experience of my life, and I find myself pitying the old me, with my sarcasm and envy. In many ways, I feel like my life began when I had a baby and nothing can ever go back the way it was. But I would argue that you don’t need a baby to have a change of heart, perhaps maybe you just need to aware of court sessions going on in your head and try to take a recess.
The day my baby was born, I didn't know how to change her diaper. My husband and I tried to tag team it and eventually asked the nurse for help. Three days later, we didn't realize we needed to bring a diaper bag to her first doctor’s appointment. Two weeks later, I emerged from our house and fled to Target, sore and bleeding from nursing a newborn, and briefly considered running away. Having a baby is amazing and really does make your heart grow into a new shape, but boy, I had no idea how hard it was going to be.
The beautiful part is that I was so humbled and so utterly busy that I forgot to judge anyone. I relied on the kindness of strangers (thank you, Le Leche League of Olathe!), the love of my husband and family, and the tireless support of my friends.
And then, just as life with a baby got a little easier, I let my guard down and found myself being critical and judgmental again. But this time, I had some tools to fight it. I challenged myself to think of five good things about someone whenever one bad thought of them crept into my head. I looked deep into my sweet daughter’s eyes and thought about her innocent heart and how everybody starts out that way. I kept myself busy focusing on the many blessings in my life, and, fortunately, I think the inner judge has grown weaker as I fight it with a new perspective.
I glanced at a mommy blog the other day that asserted that mommy judging begins at the baby registry. I shook my head but found myself agreeing to a certain extent. A registry shows your first choices as parents and is immediately subjected to judgment by friends and family. My own mother had to ask one of my good friends about her preference of bottles, because, frankly, she didn’t want me to make the wrong decision.
And then there’s the delivery debate, natural or medical intervention? We took 10 weeks of natural child-birthing classes and after an excruciating 24 hours of labor and being hooked up to monitors, I threw in the towel and took an epidural. I desperately wished I could have found the strength to go natural, but I made the call at the time and, honestly, I can't regret it. Formula or breastfeeding? Cloth or disposable diapers? The list goes on and on and the I told you so’s are just waiting out there, catching you at your weakest moment and trying to make you feel bad about your toughest decisions.
It's really silly when you think about it. Everyone has the right and the freedom to make their own choices and live their lives. I hate to say it, but your opinion means nothing. But guess what? Neither does mine! Why should it? I spend most days in sweatpants, wiping up spilled food and changing soiled diapers, reading Baby Elmo is So Big over and over and over again. But I wouldn't trade it for the world.