In the 6 years since becoming pregnant and a parent, access to information has never been so readily available. Social media has escalated beyond belief – we are all becoming phone addicts and spend all our waking time googling or reading on facebook every single issue with regards to pregnancy, birth, feeding, sleeping, baby behaviour and more. Having access to this information is fantastic but how do we know what we’re reading is well informed? Or does that makes us experts in managing not only our own children but others? And what about our instincts – are we losing the ability to instinctively parent our babies by following the ‘advice’ of experts?
6 years ago, there were literally two books everyone talked about reading (I won’t mention them for fear of giving them any more publicity), but both were ‘baby manuals’ about how to manage our babies and both still extremely popular today. Apart from that and a little bit of access to google (remembering we didn’t have smart phones 6 years ago), there was really limited access to information. I think most of us muddled through as best we could. And there was no liking, sharing, posting on FB, FB groups, FB pages or twitter. We had ‘message boards’ and forums but little else.
In so many ways I envy new parents to have access to this rich information – there is some fantastic resources out there but I also worry for what they are reading, thinking is normal or specifically fear when their peers start diagnosing non-evident issues in their healthy babies. If a mum and baby are happy and thriving and there are no obvious issues, why start telling them there is something wrong with their baby leading to hours of their own searching on Dr Google.
For me, we need to get back to basics, start trusting our instincts again as parents, spend time in communities with people going through what we are going through or have already gone through and learning from listening to others ACTUAL experiences. Start surrounding yourself with like minded people.
I recently read the Red Tent which is a book based in biblical times on a family where everything from menstruation, marriage, sex, birth, breastfeeding, child rearing where learning was done by observations, stories, traditions and in communities. Time wasn’t wasted on Dr Google searching. And whilst I have no idea, I reckon postnatal depression rates weren’t as high as they were all part of communities raising children together.
I’d really like to set up some women’s circles in and around Edinburgh to start trying to build a community where we don’t rely on Dr Google but share stories of our experiences of birth, child rearing, fertility and of course just life. If you’re interested get in touch so I can add you to any lists we start to build.
And next time you worry about what’s going on with your baby – maybe phone some specially selected friends who you trust? Ask them how they got by, what they did? And maybe just start trying to trust our instincts again, get some calm quiet space and tune into our bodies and babies and work out what’s going on.
Much love, Tricia xxx