You know what makes motherhood really hard?
Other mothers who are judge-y.
Other mothers who only have a singular view of parenting.
I have to date left three Facebook mothering support groups because of other mothers. They use Facebook as a means to pursue their personal agenda, whether it might be breastfeeding, delivering naturally, delivering without epidural, baby-lead weaning, attachment parenting, and so on and so forth. It’s as if they are on a personal crusade to rescue motherhood from modernity.
The fact is environmental, political and even climatic factors matter in how we parent our children. So a lot of confinement practices in Singapore actually makes little sense in our tropical climate because they were practices of long-ago migrants of North China who had to battle long and harsh winters. And the nature of our medical system and the kinds of specialist present also matter in how we deliver our babies. There are no perinatologists in Singapore, for instance. There might be in the future because I saw that there was a fellowship programme in our local hospitals for OBGYNs who wanted to add perinatology to their speciality.
Parents also have to work within their means when they want to deliver: the kind of social background, education level, income bracket and personal temperaments matter in their parenting decisions.
So with this in mind and the great diversity of individuals just in Singapore alone, how can there be only a singular method of pursuing parenting? This is made more complicated by the fact that Singapore is inherently diverse culturally, and each culture also brings its own set of parenting cultural norms. So how can we rank any of it, and say one is better than another.
A particular spate I had in one of the Facebook groups was over C-sections and identical multiple babies. Having done more than enough research on the issue, I was well-versed in understanding the risks involved in carrying and delivering identical twins and triplets. With that said, I have nothing against parents who choose natural birth for their identical babies. But I came head to head with a mother who insists that ALL kinds of multiples can birth vaginally and it was just a matter of finding the right caregiver. She went as far as to urge parents to change caregivers and chastised any OBGYN who recommended C-section. I took issue with her pushiness, preaching, and self-righteousness more than her actual love for natural delivery. I felt she was horrifying a lot of people and making parents who choose C-section felt like second-rate parents. She clearly did not fully grasp what I was getting at and I decided there was no point being in a Facebook group, whose admin did not respect the experiences shared by parents who chose to do C-sections. She was also pushy in other matters but this was the particular issue I took up with her. She said if I found the views in the Facebook group imbalanced, I should leave. So I did.
For every horrific story about C-section deliveries, there is a corresponding horrific story about natural delivery.
The fact is our modern condition have afforded us a diversity of options, and it is totally absurd to me when personal crusaders want to narrow down these options. I think all mothers have enough self-induced mommy guilt and do not need more externally-induced ones.