Is this generation of mothers more neurotic than the previous ones?
I feel like we live in an age of fear that is resulting in mothers going nuts trying to protect their children from the world.
I know, I am one of them.
I am a neurotic mother.
I don't question that all mothers are neurotic to some extent, I just wonder if we are more so than our predecessors.
I was talking to my mother in law, Deena, a few days ago about vaccines and the insane amount of information that is out there. As I was shoveling dirt into pots I was complaining to Deena that the internet has created an impossible situation for parents. Anyone can get online (myself included!), make a professional looking website, write something down and all of a sudden they are legit. Reputable. Someone to source on facebook and scare all your mother friends.
Can there be such a thing as too much information?
I think so.
There's too much. Too many stories. Too many people with too many opinions. Now even online newspapers have comment sections after each article and it appears that all the crazies crawl out of their dark holes and write their opinions. It could be an article about shaving your legs or about shots for your children. Everyone has a perspective and wants to be heard. But for a mother who is already terrified due to the autism scare, which was proven false last year, trying to protect your baby becomes a war on all fronts.
All of a sudden the bad guy isn't just some person appearing out of nowhere trying to snatch your child - now it's the medical industry.
How can you fight the medical industry?
At what point are you fighting ghosts instead of reality?
Yes, it is important to be aware.
Yes, it is important to question everything.
Yes, it is important to be an informed patient and parent.
But where do you draw the line?
Did you know childhood illnesses that were long eradicated are coming back because people are refusing to vaccinate their children?
I don't have the answers, I can only offer questions that need to be examined and thoughtfully processed.
After several months of fear regarding the MMR vaccine I finally decided to ask my facebook mommy friends their perspectives on the shot. I've heard lots of negative perspectives from people who knew someone who knew someone that had a child who had a negative response, I needed to know if any of my friends' children experienced a bad reaction to the shot. Every single mother that wrote a response said their child got the shot and survived the experience. Only one child out of the thirty responses I received had a reaction to the shot (she had a fever and was fine). Everyone else had the shot and it was soon forgotten. At 14 months I took Sadie in and got her the MMR vaccine. I was extremely afraid and asked the nurse if she ever had a patient die from the shot. She looked at me with sadness in her eyes and said in 20 years she never had a patient with a severe reaction and she was worried that the autism scare was keeping parents from protecting their kids.
Okay, that was the MMR vaccine. There are plenty other scary vaccines out there and I will deal with each one in its time.
Let's address baby proofing. Today you can buy thingies to prevent doors from closing, things being stuck into electrical sockets, drawers from being opened, bath tub knobs from being turned, toilet lids from being lifted and pretty much anything in your house can be prevented from functioning the way it should. Who knew children should grow up in completely closed down homes? Maybe we should nail chairs to the ground to keep them from moving and potentially falling on our children?
Where do we draw the line? We are towing a line of safety and falling into insanity.
The news likes to mention how the following things can either kill us or give us cancer, which can kill us too:
2. cell phones
3. sitting for more than 6 hours a day
5. smoking, drinking, anything fun really
6. food - it's dangerous and will kill you, if you eat too much of it or not enough of it, food is the enemy
7. antibacterial soap - a new danger in our lives
8. money - like food, if you have it or if you don't it is horribly stressful and heart attack inducing
I really could go on and on about the list of things that are dangerous and out to get us.
Life is out to get us.
We are almost forced to be neurotic in this age of fear. Everything is f*ing dangerous.
Now there are links between the chemicals pregnant women are surrounded with in this society and autism/adverse health consequences. (link) (another link)
Are pregnant women better off living in a bubble? Can we really avoid everything?
When I was pregnant, except for a few special instances, I didn't wear makeup, take medicine, wear nail polish, use lotion, wear deodorant or color my hair. I was extremely afraid of chemicals and their potential danger to my growing child. I avoided as much as I could and it wasn't easy. It's not for everybody. I'm also a crazy health nut - my way of controlling my fate. Reality is, I have no real control over when I will get sick or die.
I also have no real control over that regarding Sadie. Unfortunately I don't get to decide how long she gets to live. I can only pray she outlives me and dies at a very old and ripe age surrounded by her great great grandchildren and loved ones. But that's in G-d's court, not mine.
Perhaps this is the age of neurotic mothers because we know so much more than we ever did. And we are much more in control of our family's health. But we are also prisoners to the truth. By knowing we are guilty if we don't act on our knowledge. If we don't protect ourselves and our children we are at fault for anything that goes wrong. We are to blame.
I'd like to find a better balance between managing the health and well being of my family versus surrendering to G-d's plan. I don't think G-d wants me to passively mother my daughter; however, a little more faith in his plan could go a long way towards calming fears regarding hazards I cannot possibly be aware of or control.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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