What Makes a Mother Do This?

I received a disturbing letter from someone who was under the influences of the promises and fear tactics of a book on “infant management.” Such books lure inexperienced or overwhelmed parents with a promise (sleep through the night, raise a respectful child, avoid having a disrespectful brat like so-and-so’s child) and scare you with horror stories of what will happen if you don’t follow the plan.

So in diligent, well-intentioned pursuit of the book’s ideas, this loving mother described letting her newborn baby cry for HOURS. The baby was less than a month old.

She expressed that she doesn’t want to ask the baby’s doctor about it because she already knows that he does not accept the value of the book’s goals and ideas, therefore he might give her advice contrary to the book, which she does not want to hear.

It broke my heart to read her letter because I know it is the very kind of thing that when she is a more experienced mother, she will look back and wonder, “what was I thinking?”

I hope she soon figures out that she can dump the book without risking the future well-being of her child.

Edited to add–I did share some thoughts with her, and she seemed receptive.

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About katiekind

Enjoying the second half of life. I have three sons who are the apples of my eye and a wonderful husband of 35 years--those are the important things. Long ago, out of the blue, I became a Christian. It was something I never planned on, but what joy it has been. I do website development and I like to read and garden and paint and I love beauty and truth.
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6 Responses to What Makes a Mother Do This?

  1. Mel says:

    Poor baby! Poor Mama!! She’ll look back one day (hopefully not too long from now for the baby’s sake) and wonder why on earth she listened to some opinionated man’s analysis of “how things should be” rather than to her mothering instincts. It’s hard to see through the haze of those first sleepless weeks how much the infant management gurus really appeal to the innate selfishness of the parents–rather than parenting/preventing this 4 week old from becoming a “tyrant in a crib” as they claim–Please!!!

    But in one way or another, we’ve all been there… looking for answers in books instead of asking the Author Himself. I know we did things differently with our #2 than with our first; and now that #3 is only a few weeks away… well… things are fixing to change again. Fortunately the older siblings don’t remember “how things were” for them. :-S

  2. Brian says:

    I certainly pray that your words will cause her to pause and reflect on what she’s doing. I pray for the baby as well, that there will be no long term ill-effects from this “training” s/he is being put through.

  3. darlene says:

    Two words: That’s scary!

  4. TG says:

    What makes a mother do this? Love and naivete. Wanting to do what is “right” and fear of the unknown. Listening to promises of a pied-piper and not realizing he’s leading down a dangerous road. . .

    God is gracious, though. . . Even with the mistakes and the harmful consequences of mistakes. . .

  5. Ruth says:

    With #1 I read That Book, but thought alot of it silly. Praise God! She slept with us quite a bit with some guilt on our part. #2 shared the bed with us even more. #3 has napped in his crib one time in 7 weeks, sleeps in his cosleeper for a few hours each night until he’s wiggly, then next to me. Right now he’s napping in the sling. Time and children teach so much about how to care for them! Thanks for your posts and info, I’ve read it off and on for about a year now.

  6. katiekind says:

    Hi Ruth, thanks for sharing a little bit about your progression as a mother. Merry Christmas and congratulations on your new little baby!

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