I've been thinking lately about the huge responsibility a parent has to make decisions for their children. Even before conception there are so many choices. The easiest path to take is to follow the general population. You don't cause ripples, you assume someone has researched for you, and if Mrs Bloggs' kids turned out OK, most likely yours will too.
Sometimes I wish I could take the easy way, but I can't. I feel I have to read up on every issue I encounter. Sometimes I come to a quick decision. It just feels right. I knew I wouldn't ever let my baby 'Cry it out'. Yes, I read a lot to support my decision, but I didn't need a book to tell me how wrong it feels to let a baby cry uncomforted. Then there are the decisions that took a little longer to make. I began bed sharing with a huge burden of guilt. I'd said all through pregnancy that I'd follow the FSID guidelines for safe sleeping, and keep my baby in a cot. After less than a week, she was in our bed, and closer research revealed that this was actually not just better for me, but also better for Alice, I felt vindicated.
Unfortunately, there are also decisions that I sit on the fence with. At 19 months old, Alice still hasn't had her MMR jab. Frankly, I hate both the idea of her having it, and the idea of her not having it. My heart and instincts are useless to me in this decision, and I'm so confused. Equally, should I get pregnant again, I don't know if I'll want dopplers and ultrasounds used on me. I find in medical matters, I'm completely clueless, and sway wildly from one point of view to the next.
In the natural parenting community, I think there is sometimes pressure (self imposed, I must add) to collect the full set: Breastfeed, babywear, bedshare, eat wholefood/vegan/raw/paleo/organic, don't vaccinate, use homoeopathy, home birth, practise EC, unschool, plus many others. Straying from these makes me feel uncertain. If people I respect and identify with have gone a particular way, maybe I should too. I suppose that a decision made purely to fit in with a particular group is as ill-considered as blindly taking the conventional route.
I may not always make the right choices. There are already many I regret, and there will be many more, but I hope my children will know I always had their best interests in mind.