Bear with me, whilst I get to why I'm writing this?
Thankyou, so much!
Earlier on today I read this post by TheKrakenWakes. I read her stuff a lot, and she makes sense. I don't read a great deal that does, but I was feeling her on this!
I've been down the mumsnet/netmums route, and it is a mess. I've never known such a bunch of nasty minded people in my entire life as I can find in those forums. You know how, in every toddler group, or in fact, in ANY group, there is always one person who never has anything nice to say about anyone? They all have laptops and get together in mumsnet/netmums-land. Seriously. It's all anti-teacher, anti-school, anti-whatever-anyone-else said, anti-anti-anti. It's a gathering ground for miserable trolls.
Amanda Holden was recently criticised for going back to work when the baby was 3 weeks old. By work, it was 3 days of her sitting and watching auditions for Britains Got Talent, whilst the baby slept. I'm assuming that she is a grown-up, that the baby sleeps, and that actually, this is none of my business. She also said that she thought mumsnet would be great for support, and was actually full of negativity. That made me feel like it wasn't just me, so that was nice :-)
So then TheKrakenWakes wrote her piece, and posted it on Twitter, and I read it and liked it, and meant to comment but I was on my phone, and it's a pain in the rear, so I didn't. However, when the Twitter conversation between her good self (@cathjanes) and @tattooed_mummy popped up in my Twitter feed, I was intrigued and led back to it, as apparently there was an interesting comment on there.
This is what I found......
And that pushed my buttons just a bit. Ok, a lot. SO much so, that it's taken me half a page to tell you how I got to the point of being irritated!
My son is now 9. He has not always been 9, clearly, and at one point he was a small bundle of screaming pain-filled fury. If I caught an attack early enough, he was calmed by being worn upright, because it meant his digestive system worked better. He was breast-fed until 2.5yrs old, because cows milk and related products made him disgustingly ill. It was painful for him, and disgusting when it emerged. I am not going into details in case anyone is eating whilst reading this.
He had to have organic food, home-made, until we worked out what was setting him off. Even then, we had to be very careful. He had real nappies because I was at home with him, but also I was living on an RAF base in the middle of rural Norfolk, and didn't drive. I did, however, always have water to wash nappies with. Not only that, his illness made him more likely to have outrageous nappy rash, and that was cleared, every time, with oat baths. Disposables made it worse, on the odd occasion that I was forced to use them by circumstances. No doubt though, this is me just being a perfectionist mummy - how dare I look for, and find, solutions that worked for my son.......
When I say he was ill, by the way, he was in pain to such an extent that one of my friends was in tears watching him, demanding to know why I didn't get him an ambulance, saying she would take him to A&E if I was afraid of hospitals. It took my Health Visitor to say that I was doing all I could, he was on the floor, on three layers of duvet so he didn't hurt himself as he thrashed in pain, he was accompanied, and knew we were there, and that this attack would pass.
At 9 months I took a determined step, and took away all his solids, and just breastfed him again. It took my body a few days to adjust, but all I did was lie on the sofa and drink water, eat fruit, and feed. My body got the hang of more milk again, and life went back to toddler groups and so on, but for a month, we did just breastfeeding.
It took 3 weeks for his body to stop hurting him to such an extent that he woke every 40 minutes, screaming, day and night, but we got there. Then I slowly reintroduced solids, starting with fruit, and cautiously going forward until the screaming started again, to find the culprit was dairy, as I'd thought.
These days, he is 9 years old. He still has a low tolerance of dairy, but since he was 5 has been able to make his own decisions. He knows that if we eat out and he has pizza *and* icecream, then he'll suffer. It's his choice. He's been brought up to take responsibility for his own actions, in the same way that I was.
the worst offenders seem to be the Mommy Perfectionists (you know, baby-wearing-breastfeed-until-they’re-in-kindergarten-organic toys/cloths/food-only types.
My story is my story, and part of his story. It wasn't about me being a perfectionist mummy, it was about me doing the best for the child who I had chosen to bring into the world, who was my responsibility. It was my choice to breastfeed, something which turned out to save his life. My choice prevented his intolerance turning into an allergy, which would have affected the whole of his life. My choice to cook it all for him meant I was able to know exactly what set him off and what didn't.
I have told his story to other mums. Dairy intolerance is NOT the same as a lactose allergy, and NOT something that I wanted to condemn him to. I've suggested to other mums with children with similar symptoms that they may want to get it checked out. Is that me being a "Mommy perfectionist", offending other people?
I will never, ever, doubt that breastfeeding to 2.5yrs was the best thing for my son. I have advocated it to others when asked. I was even asked by a friend of mine to go out with her, and our 15 month olds, to show her how to breastfeed a toddler in public, because she was ashamed of being seen doing it, and doubly ashamed of herself for letting society make her feel this way about doing something her child needed.
Places like mumsnet, like netmums, like any parenting forum full of different people with different children, should be places that a first time mum like myself should be able to go and find help for a child like mine. It isn't, because of commentors like rootitoot. Of course, on a mumsnet board I'd now be shouting "Would you rather my son was DYING in hospital because his stomach had RUPTURED after being force fed COWS MILK?" with the assorted bad punctuation and spelling that shouting on these boards produces. I'm not shouting that - rootitoot doesn't know my story and therefore has no idea how offensive and dangerous for us her attitude is.
That brings me to my final point. What I did, worked for my child. It has worked for other children with the same problems. Breastfeeding has many, many good things about it - and no breastfeeding mum is going to be worried that her boobs will be sent to China as a formula mummy is apparently worrying about milk this week! But don't abuse my parenting style because it doesn't work for you Ms Rootitoot. My parenting style was for my son. Had I have had another child, they would have received parenting that worked for them.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that if we spent less time on the internet, interfering in other peoples lives, our children would have more of the attention that they need. If we parented our own child properly, instead of sticking our noses into everyone else's business as these forums encourage, then we'd have a very different society. If we took the time to understand other people's stories, then we'd have a better society. If we formed our opinions from facts instead of rhetoric, we'd have a more thoughtful society.
And if we thought before we typed, the world would just be nicer!