Saturday, 9 April 2011


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.


  1. Hi, I came across your blog, and was interested by this post. I hope you don't mind me leaving a comment.

    There are plenty of choices we can make as parents, that will influence our children, and that is exciting. But, if you have your daughter's best interest in mind, and the interests of all the other children she meets, I would strongly suggest you give her the MMR. I'm sure you've read up about it. The vaccine is not a perfect solution but it is a whole lot better than measles, mumps or rubella, which are on the increase again in the UK.

    Good luck with your decisions! - Dan

  2. Thank you Dan. It's a decision I still don't feel fully informed on yet. My daughter has already had rubella and I'm looking into single vaccine options. Of course I have my daughter's best interests in mind which is why I am so keen to make the right choice.
    Thanks for reading!

  3. Follow your heart and you will make the right decisions for Alice :) Trust yourself, you are a great Mummy. Don't follow the trends because you want to fit in, do it because it feels right for you!
    I understand where you are coming from, we babywear, cloth bum, co-sleep etc, but we have decided to vaccinate (MMR is on Friday), we eat meat and dairy and Louie will be going to a school, as much as I would love to keep him at home with me, it just isn't an option.
    I don't feel like I have fallen short, I am confident I am doing right by my child and that I am doing the best I can for him.
    Take care x

  4. I certainly agree that making choices that are right for your family is all that matters. Sounds like Louie is a fortunate little boy! As with all things in life, sometimes we have to make tough decisions, I feel I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't at times. Your last sentence really rings true with me - it's about doing the best we can. Thank you!

  5. I agree it really is a case of damned whatever you do - someone will always have a comment to make.
    I try hard to go with what is right for little miss and so far it has worked out very well indeed.
    We have vaccinated as i just felt that the risks of not having it were too great, even though several people told me that i shouldn't because of the things in it, risk of autism ( which as far as i can see has been entirely proved as rubbish) and it seems to ahve been best. I think particularly when you are living life in a holistic, green way and doing all the things such as cloth nappies, slings, bf, ap and so on - the sense of living as naturally as possible then goes against the idea of intentionally putting foreign bodies/germs into your body even though it is supposed to protect the child.
    Entirely your choice.
    my feelings did concur with dan and the idea that more people not having the jabs may lead to bigger risks for all really did concern me, so that was another and additional factor in us taking it up. Good luck with your decisions.
    Out of interest - my friend used the phrase the other day about how there is no such thing as a perfect parent but one who is good enough and it made me think of your blog - very true though. THe best parents,i feel, are the ones who try hard to be good enough- if you are trying your hardest then no one can fault you even if you make decisions that really are not perfect in other people's eyes.... and as long as your child is happy and secure - what is better than that !!! xx