I am quite judgemental. There, I said it! I really try not to be (especially as the editor of a natural parenting magazine), but the truth is, I am. I see babies crying without being picked up and I wonder why their caregiver isn’t picking the baby up (surely no one wants their baby to be distressed without being held) … I see newborns in a pram and wonder why they are not being babyworn (surely everyone wants to hold their newborn close) … I hear women ‘choose’ not to breastfeed and cannot fathom why (surely everyone knows breast is best ~ provided you can breastfeed) … I hear a woman say that she is going to try controlled crying and wonder how on earth someone can listen to their baby cry out and not go and pick them up (surely everyone knows that research shows how damaging it is for a baby). I think I’ve made my point!
I know that people will be quite upset about what I have just written ~ and believe me, I’m not proud of it. But I’m hoping by writing this, two things might happen:
1. I will be able to bring my awareness to my thoughts so that I can turn it around; and
2. It may bring awareness to you as to whether you do it too!
What has brought this on in my mind is a few of the posts on Nurture’s Facebook page. One in particular springs to mind. I linked to a blog where a woman seemed to be quite proud of the fact that she was going to leave her 8 week old baby with her parents so that she could go on a holiday because “it is not a vacation with an 8 week old baby”. I wrote “Well I wouldn’t.
I couldn’t even imagine leaving my 13 month old for a night” ~ to which I was told encouraged other women to judge the woman. Now, my vision for Nurture is not to judge other women, but rather to support parents and provide r e s e a r c h e d information on raising children.
However, then someone posted: “Making personal judgements about others choices is what establishes our own. It is how the human mind works, we notice, we judge the situation and we rationalise. The meaning of judgement changes with the person using the term. It can mean criticism to one, calling a spoon a spoon to another or it can merely be simple realization for one. We judge and compare our experiences against another’s to arm our own beliefs in life. This is how we evolve and connect and it doesn’t have to be negative or offensive and on the flip side we don’t need to be defensive.
Acceptance follows judgement if you allow yourself to move past this state of ‘my way or the highway’.
Confirm your own belief system but be consciously aware enough to know that whether it’s ultimately right or wrong there are others who disagree and believe differently. Accept and move on freely knowing that their truth is as real to them as yours is to you. Many of you will judge this comment, it’s HOW you choose to judge it that shapes your own reality so judge away!” is made complete sense to me. I had tried for years to ‘not judge people’ however, it was something that ‘just happened’.
Now I know that it is not particularly the judgement that I needed to change ~ it is my belief that my way is the ‘right’ way. So, whilst I would pick my baby up when he cried, and babywear my baby to keep him close, choose to breastfeed until William self-weans and not consider a ‘holiday’ one without my child, that is me – not others.
To add to this, I would also like to work on my compassion and empathy ~ especially now while William is still young as I know that I am a model of behaviour for him. So instead of harsh unwavering judgement, I will try to have more understanding (eg. rather than think “why is that mother just letting her baby cry”, think “Oh, there must be a reason why that mother is not picking up her baby” (eg. could be sleep deprived, baby could have colic, mother may have post-natal depression etc). I am a firm believer in self-betterment!
So, as not everyone may have seen the posts on Facebook, I asked Claire Eaton, one of Nurture’s contributors, to write an
article on judgment in our society (page 8). I hope you enjoy it and get something out of it because a world in which we can encourage compassion and empathy rather than simple harsh judgment will be a better world indeed.
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Enjoy the gift of Nurture!