It’s such a relief not to know everything anymore.
Before I had my first baby, I knew pretty much everything there was to know about babies. (Considering that I’d always preferred dogsitting to babysitting, this was a particularly impressive credential.)
For instance, I knew that introducing a pacifier too early would interfere with breastfeeding, and that in fact my baby might be better off without one at all. (Which is why there was nary a nuk in the house at midnight when everyone besides the screaming two-week-old was interested in sleeping, so a family member had to be dispatched to obtain one at that rather inconvenient hour. Fast forward to babe-in-arms number four: we shoved the binky in her mouth while still in the hospital.)
I also knew that babies must be roused every few hours at night for the first few weeks, in order not to miss a feeding. (What?! You think anything could induce me now to waken a peacefully sleeping babe? And you mean that some newborns actually sleep for more than a couple hours at a time?!)
No, I sure don’t know everything anymore. And I feel badly for all the parents-to-be and new parents who [think they] do. Navigating all that information for the first time is beyond overwhelming. It’s attachment parenting OR ELSE you’re callous and your child will be maladjusted. It’s strict scheduling OR ELSE your baby will never learn proper sleep patterns. It’s every vaccine, following the schedule exactly, OR ELSE your baby will get a deadly and/or disfiguring disease. It’s no vaccines/delayed vaccines, OR ELSE your kid will end up on the autism spectrum. Some people believe everything their doctor says and some believe next to nothing of what is purveyed by the traditional medical establishment.
Do I have opinions (and often supporting research) on these and other topics? You betcha. But they’re not held quite as tightly as they perhaps once were. Don’t get me wrong: I’m an objective-truth kind of person. And I know what I know—but I also know that most of what I know pertains to the particular baby whose head I’m looking over as I type this and/or to her brothers. We’ve all got to figure things out as best we can for our families, and so long as prayer and common sense figure high on the parenting priority list, the rest will get sorted out eventually. In the meantime, simply acknowledging that omniscience belongs only to One can lift a huge burden from a mom’s shoulders—and maybe make her a more pleasant companion amongst her circle of acquaintance, too. ;D