I remember a little game we played at one of my bridal showers. Everyone at the party was asked to write a bit of advice on a piece of paper for the bride-to-be about marriage life. Things like: Never go to bed angry, Don't sweat the small stuff, and Always appreciate one another. At the time, I had no idea that was the tip of the iceberg. But I'm not talking about marriage. Be advised that the advice really doesn't begin until a few years down the road when you decide to bring a new life into the world. Then it triples.
Often seen as a negative thing, this is my little twist on unsolicited advice. For our pregnancy and probably through the entire upbringing of all of our young-ins, I've decided to refer to those helpful hints that people tend to deal out so freely as Unsolicited Love. You see, I know these pieces of advice/love are coming from a very good place and I think that's what counts. It's just the 'village' making sure the young of our species will do well in this world. I'm learning to see all of the unsolicited love as a natural result of society's push to survive and people's longings to connect and share themselves with each other. Not at all a bad thing.
The challenge comes in when, as the recipient of the unsolicited love, you feel judged instead of supported. Joe & I are three months young into the world of BABY and have already been judged on breastfeeding (my first visit with the head nurse was greeted with a stern look followed by, 'I hope you're going to breastfeed!'), daycare (I had no idea that this was a scheme thought up by lazy parents who don't really want to raise their own children?!), and the size of our home (who knew the square footage of our house is directly proportional to how happy and healthy our baby is?!). But we bear in the mind that we must evaluate the giver of the love. They only see a snapshot of our lives and are judging accordingly. Without a shadow of a doubt, we are the ones who will know our baby the best. And we are the ones who know what's best for our family. Our good decisions have shown us through to this point and we must remember this and feel confident.
I love free advice. Don't get me wrong. I want to hear about your experiences, the lessons you've learned, and what to make sure we don't miss. Just tread lightly and walk that fine line of unsolicited love and judgment. A pregnant woman's heart is tender.
But a father's roar is fierce...