A Decision

After getting some comments that I’ve taken offense to, I’ve been thinking about unsolicited advice, and the whole heap of it I’m going to get when the baby arrives.

I was raised to be independent and make decisions for myself.  If I had a choice to make, my parents were happy to let me make my own mistakes and learn from them.  I never heard “I think you shouldn’t do that” or “I told you so.”  In fact, when faced with a tricky situation on the farm, my parents often involved us in the decision-making process.  My dad called it “Yankee Ingenuity:” the ability to figure out a good working solution to a problem.  This served to give us confidence in our own intelligence.

Since I was raised to make choices, I didn’t have a paralyzing fear of being wrong that I’ve seen in some people.  When it came time to make big decisions about my life as I got older, my parents still allowed me to choose for myself.  There was never a pressure to go to college, or where to go, or what to major in.  When I decided to change my major from nursing to education, my parents were happy for me.  When Ed and I announced that we were engaged when I was a senior in college, again my parents were happy for us.  There was never a heady discussion about whether it was the right thing to do.  My parents gave me the freedom to blaze my own path in life.

The same is true with having a child.  I never felt any pressure from my parents to start a family, even as Ed and I had been married longer and as I got older.  The knew that we would decide to start a family when the time was right for us.  When we announced that I was pregnant, I never got unsolicited advice from them.  Sure, I have plenty of questions and am happy to listen to my mom’s experience, but she never pressures me to do things her way.  And my dad has made it clear that the way we want to raise our children is our decision. 

For the most part, family and friends have been the same way.  They know we’re competent people and we’ll be able to make wise choices for our child.  We’re happy to listen to their experiences and ask questions, but nobody’s pushy about their opinions.

So imagine my surprise when, here and on my other blog, people who I’ve never spoken with before felt the need to jump in and give advice.  They don’t have any understanding of who we are or our values.  They don’t know me or my husband, and they certainly don’t know what’s right for our family.  I think most of them have their own agendas.  Pushing home birth when I’ve already decided that our hospital is the best place to have our baby–How can anyone tell me what’s best for my baby, and did you have your baby at this same hospital?  Telling me that my doctor will try to trick me into medical interventions– Have you met my doctor? (This is not about my internet friends… I know that you offer your opinions in the spirit of sharing your own experience, not in forcing me to think your way.)  Those are just a few examples, but I take this type of unsolicited advice as an attack on my own intelligence and decision-making skills.  And I don’t like it.

I can only imagine how much unsolicited internet advice I’ll get as I start to raise my family, from people who have no right to give that advice.  So, as a result, I’m going to scale back what I share here about my personal choices for our family.  I don’t need the attacks on my intelligence, and this blog was never intended to be a parenting blog anyway.  I’m going to go back to sharing photos, stories, recipes, and gardening.  Nobody’s ever had anything negative to say about one of my pie recipes.

29 Comments

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29 responses to “A Decision

  1. Alisa

    Great post! You do what you need to do! S when do you plant your peas?

  2. Oh Abbie, I am sorry. I get tired of hearing all that stuff too. I am sorry that you are now going to be limited in what you feel you can share, but I do understand.

  3. I don’t comment that much, but I wanted to chime in and say… Great post! Way to stand up for yourself.

    I wish I had your confidence when I first had my daughter. She’s 10 now and I still find myself having to tell people to mind their own beeswax.

  4. I totally understand where you are coming from having had a similar blog experience recently. I chose to put something out there knowing it might spark a passionate reaction, and it did, just not in the public forum. The thing is, you are making people think. You are triggering their emotions, their fears, their desires. You are causing them to question their own values. Your planning and vision strikes a nerve right down at their very core. You challenge their beliefs. Isn’t that what a writer seeks to do? Otherwise, one is simply a reporter.

    The question becomes (and I think you have addressed it for now) can YOU be okay with triggering those emotions and their subsequent reactions? You are a terrific writer/blogger, and your stories allow us to live and relive vicariously through your experiences. I never had the opportunity to plan country stroller outings through the maple trees. I get to experience it through your eyes and heart, and you are so gifted at making that experience come alive. I will be pointing my own girls to your writings over the next several years not to suggest they have to do things your way, but to give them an idea of what their options are.

    The passion, fire, and determination gifts given you by your family will always and forever trigger polarizing reactions from others, if not in print, in some other venue. You can’t not. It’s embedded in your soul. This negative blogging experience will be filed away back in your subconscience where it will either close that part of you off to the world or it will serve to feed your passion, spirit, and determination.

    There are way too many intelligent women in this world whose voices have been silenced. I trust yours will not be one of them. Quiet for a time is okay. Pie and canning recipes will be appreciated in the meantime. Just know that your passionate words will be missed until the time you choose to return with them. Blessings to you and your beautiful family.

  5. Jan

    I completely understand where you are coming from, no one ever likes to feel like they are being attacked. One thing for sure is that your intelligence should never be questioned or attacked. You are obviously a very smart girl with a good head on her shoulders.
    I have been visiting your site off and on for a few months and enjoy everything from the photos, recipes, and stories about life in your part of world. I will continue to visit and look forward to whatever you wish to share in the future.

    Encourage One Another!

  6. I sincerely apologize if my comments fell into that camp. Obviously, we have never met and I don’t know you at all. I just enjoy your blog and felt it was okay to offer my two cents now and then…. I don’t THINK I’ve been insulting in any way, but if I have, please accept my apologies. I will refrain from commenting on anything personal in the future.

  7. I’ve got some pre-delivery impatience and hormonal issues going on! Please know that this post wasn’t directed at any of the regular commenters here! I love the community that I’ve discovered online, and I certainly can agree to disagree with you all! This post is mostly from a reaction to my other blog, but I felt the need to share it here.

  8. You have another blog?

      • I think your other blog is a great thing, while I know you don’t want unsolicited advice (I just can’t help myself), I have heard you can turn a blog into a book. So when you son is older and you are done blogging about his childhood on that site you might want to turn it into a book for him.
        Good Luck and I hope I have not insulted your inteligence in sharing my experiences. You come across as a very smart, well thought out individual to me, and my “advice” has only ever intended to share my experience. I do try really, really hard not to give usolicited advice to my friends who had children after I did, but I always liked hearing how other people did things, because it would always get me thinking.

  9. Like you, I’m a teacher. There are SO MANY THINGS I don’t share in my own blog. Things like politics, religon/spirituality, kid stories…you know the drill. It’s a scary big world out there, and unfortunately we have to watch what we put into it via this medium (which apparently is forever). Don’t feel bad about avoiding issues that bring unsolicited advice. We all pick and choose just how much of ourselves we’re willing to share, based upon the potential repercussions.

    I don’t speak of my professional life, of my past emotional life, or of individuals I’ve known in anything other than a professional context (except in the broadest sense) other than my family. It’s all part of my life…but not for the web.

    Isn’t it nice to have a secret, safe kernal of self that’s only there for you and your family? Intimacy…there are limits. Things that are just meant for those you love.

  10. Sue

    Just wanted to say that I love your blog and I’m impressed that you speak your mind without being concerned about what others might think of you. It never matters what other people think anyway… if it feels right for you, then it’s the right thing to do. 🙂

    You’ll be in my prayers for a safe delivery!

  11. Abbie,

    Just in case I haven’t told you lately . . . Dad and I could not possibly be more proud of you!

    We love you and we’re so proud of the woman you’ve become. We just are so appreciative that you’re letting us share in this next big step that you and Ed are taking! You both will make the most wonderful parents and you’ll be the perfect parents for your baby!

    Love always,
    Mom

  12. You do what you need to do, Abbie. I hope you know that many of us are pulling for you, and wishing you all the best. I also hope that your little one arrives soon, and I can’t wait to hear about it. Although I understand that you may not share all the details, and that’s fine. This is YOUR family, and YOUR choice.

  13. I can understand your frustration – we faced some pretty fierce criticisms when we had our babies (youngest is three weeks old🙂 ). People seemed to assume we were too stupid to do our research, to make the right choice for *our* family. They also saw our choices as a judgement on the way they had done things, and that certainly wasn’t the case! We just wanted to do what we felt was right for us – it wasn’t our business what other people chose!

    Do whatever you need to preserve the wholeness and peace of your family. We will miss those tidbits, but I know we respect whatever decisions you have to make! oxox

  14. Maria in CT

    Do what you need to do for you and your baby (and the hubby!). Everyone has an opinion, (and always will). Take it with a grain of salt.

    You are obviously a strong individual and you will stay on YOUR path.

    Best of luck with everything and prayers for a wonderful, healthy child!!!🙂

  15. Rob

    Now Abbie- you know most of my suggestions for names and such is done tongue in cheek. Of course your gonna raise your child how your and Mr. Ed see fit. You will get no advice on raising baby from me. Or natural child birth (as opossed to unatural child birth?) LOL. Just let us know when little John boy Freddie Edward james gets born. say Happy Birthday for me!

  16. Good Luck and Best Wishes for your families future.

    Kind Regards
    Belinda

  17. Bob

    Well spoken Ab. I have loved keeping up with you and your husband. I think he is sure better looking (and more helpful) than the “Broom Groom.”

    I have not posted before, but I will give you the one, best piece of advice that someone once gave me about parenting. Do the best you can do. Don’t care what other people think. Because your children do not know any different. And they will love you like you love them. In the end, that’s all that matters.

    Can’t wait to see the family in a few!

  18. Aunt Sara

    Good for you!!! Too much advice from well meaning strangers is never a good idea. Talk to your mom and to Marie, and forget the rest of us!!!

  19. Way to speak up! Continue to do so. I enjoy your blog. I check back frequently to see if that little baby has made an appearance. Very excited for you and yours.

  20. goatldi

    I will chime in late and a dollar short.

    There are so many things in life that have many different paths to the same ending.

    Healthy baby, mother. end of story. What worked for me 30 odd years ago no less , will not necessarily work for you.

    Love that baby, relax, enjoy. If you truly love, with your soul, you and babies father and you listen with your hearts you will be o.k.

    p.s. I like your pie recipes too!

  21. OMG! My motto: “Hell no.” lolololollololol🙂

  22. 🙂 Believe me, people you don’t know will even give you advise in the checkout line. (People with no kids visible of course…) Do your own thing, girl!

  23. We scaled back on personal posting a couple of years ago … know that you & your opinions and skills are highly valued at our place!

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