march monthly theme: high standards

It it took us 3 years to conceive. Three years of trying and hoping for a child. When I wasn’t researching infertility treatments I filled a lot of my time with researching parenting itself. I read books on newborn development, sleep theories, feeding theories. I devoured studies from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization on the benefits of breastfeeding. I looked into when it was best to introduce solids, why was rice cereal the ‘go to’ first food and was there an alternative? I even researched local preschools and theories of education. All for a child I didn’t have yet. All so that if I was ever so lucky to have a child, I would be ready to be the best parent EVER.

When we became foster parents I delved more into researching. I studied the effects of secondhand smoke and neonatal drug exposure. I read up on psychological issues that foster children are more apt to have, like Reactive Attachment Disorder and anxiety disorders. All so that in case we got called for a child available for adoption, I would be prepared to parent the heck out of that kid.

In some ways all this research was an escape for me. Infertility focuses on so much of what is not possible, not being able to conceive, not getting pregnant month after month. At least researching parenting and child rearing theories let me escape to that dream world where I had a child. And in that dream world I was kicking butt in parenting.  But don’t take this the wrong way, I wasn’t researching all this stuff so I could ‘compete’ with other parents. It actually had nothing to do with other parents and everything to do with me.

With my infertility. I couldn’t get my body to work. I couldn’t do what most women could do. I couldn’t get pregnant. So if I was ever so lucky to have a child, I was darn sure I was going to do it “right.” My body may be screwed up, but if I ever had a child there was no way I would ever let myself make even one mistake. Not after the battle we went through to have that child. Not after weeks, months, years of feeling like a failure. Parenting, was one thing I could 100% prepare for and not fail at. My body may have failed, but my ability to learn ALL. THE. THINGS. about parenting? That was still possible.

I have held myself up to some incredibly high standards. And I then experienced the crash of when I didn’t meet my own high expectations. When Stella was so jaundiced that she had to be readmitted to the hospital, it was ‘my fault.’ I didn’t nurse her enough to get the jaundice out and now she needed treatment. Never mind that jaundice makes babies not want to eat and I had literally stayed up over 24 hours straight trying to get her to nurse as often as I could.

Or when one night a few months back she wouldn’t stop crying. She didn’t want to nurse or be snuggled, she wouldn’t sleep. She was chewing on everything and had a very slight fever. Ok, maybe she’s teething. We had baby Tylenol and I went to get it. Then I read the ingredients and saw there was high fructose corn syrup in it. And so I literally panicked about giving her the Tylenol. What if she’s not really teething and doesn’t need it? Am I giving my baby this just so she’ll sleep? She’s never had anything but breastmilk and now if I give her this she will have had corn syrup and artificial coloring, is that ok?

High standards. They can be really good, wanting the best for your child is a good thing. But they can also be really bad. When we hold ourselves up to some unachievable standard or berate ourself for failing to meet some goal that we have set for ourselves.

This month we are curious to know, do you feel you hold yourself up to a higher standard when it comes to parenting after Infertility? Here are some prompts to get you thinking, but feel free to write on any topic:

  • How has infertility affected you as a parent now? 
  • Did having more time to think and plan (due to infertility) make you a more ‘researched’ parent? If so, do you feel it has paid off?
  • Do you feel the time you spent trying to become a parent means you should know more than the ‘average’ parent?
  • Do you hold yourself up to a higher standard? What specific parenting standards do you have for yourself? (Are they about feeding, sleep, education, etc.)
  • Is trying to be ‘succesful’ at parenting one of the ways you cope with having struggled with infertility?

As always, if you don’t have a blog we welcome your comments on the topic below and we’ll link your comment in the post listing.

Entries for this month’s theme are due Wednesday, March 20th at midnight, EST. The full list of links will go live on Thursday, March 21st.

Please submit your entry using the form below:

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Comments

  1. moonstone says:

    Interesting….I think many of us fall/fell into this trap. Personally I feel it’s experience and not reading ‘everything there is to know about everything’ that makes us good parents. It did, however, take me a while to realise this though. Try not to beat youself up about things that are outwith your control.

Trackbacks

  1. […] brought us this month’s theme post on high standards. What are your standards for parenting? How have you handled your inevitable parenting mistakes? […]

  2. […] current monthly theme post topic over at PAIL is all about “high standards” — and asking how/if coming to parenting from an ALI background affected the standards […]

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