Struggling to conceive and ultimately getting pregnant via in vitro fertilization has done a real number on me and my husband and on who we have turned out to be as parents. Had we had a relatively easy time getting knocked up, we never would have gone through the gnarly process with our fertility specialist, would have never been so run down and doctored out, would have never gone with a midwife and home birth, would have never gone against all other mainstream ideas, values, and miscellaneous malarkey. In short, we would have been our parents, our friends, everyone we knew. We would have been exactly who we had been conditioned to be. Thank Dog for not-so-small blessings!
On our path toward becoming who we are now as parents, we began our search for a pediatrician (something I would never do now that we are further down said path, but that is for another post). Our first interview was with a doctor to whom a friend referred us. Let me see if I can paint you a picture. Immediately after being seated in an exam room to wait for the doctor, a circumcision surgical procedure began in the room next to us. The only thing separating us from the screams of betrayal, horrific pain, and terror was a paper thin wall. The only thing preventing us from walking out right then was the fight we had with our instincts. Mistake. Big mistake. We fought down our mounting nausea and blinked back our tears when in walked Dr. Jive-Talker. From the moment he walked in to the moment we walked out, he was non-stop talk - non-stop fast, loud, bologna-slingin' talk, I should say. I was immediately put off, because it wasn't an interview, it was a sales pitch and neither we nor our unborn child were in the market for what he was selling. The kicker, though, was when he launched into his sleep training bit. This man, a father himself, directed us to sleep with our child nearby, but in his own bed, do not breastfeed him between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., go to sleep and make him cry himself out all through the night. "Sure, it'll be hard at first, but it'll only last for 3-4 days and then he'll learn to sleep through the night by himself." And that's when we left. Fast. We did not pass "Go," we did not collect $200, we did not listen to the rest of his harmful drivel.
Everything in me was screaming at this man. Everything in me was screaming at everyone who hurled such brilliant and unsolicited advice our way every time we blinked. Everything in me wanted to scoop up that babe in the next room and run. Everything in me wanted to yell from the rooftop of the office that this man's advice is akin to child abuse - DON'T FOLLOW IT! Instead, we went home and vowed that we would not be choosing him for our child's doctor, would never again go against our instincts as we had when we didn't walk out right away, would never put our child through the pain and torture he was prescribing.
We learned a lesson that day that we're thrilled we learned before our son was born, so we didn't have to use him as a guinea pig. We learned to listen to ourselves and our babe. We learned that nobody has our son's interests at heart the way we do. We learned that protecting him is our most important role - more than being a lummox to the demise of ourselves and our son. Our son is our greatest teacher. He taught us all these lessons and he continues to teach us every day as long as we open our ears, eyes, hearts, and minds and listen, really listen, to him.