Before you read this, please read my friend Carol's blog post from Monday November 2nd. (here).
I'll wait until you come back....
Here is the thing--I truly think most people are judgmental--whether or not they act on it is the question. All of us have values--especially parents--the way we feed our kids, diaper our kids, discipline our kids, all of these things speak to the way we live our lives and the way we want our kids to live their lives. It speaks to what we value in society. Now I could go on and on as to whether or not you think I value the right things, but it is easy to judge people who value different things. The question is whether or not that value judgment is going to be allowed to affect my relationship with you. For example, if we go out to dinner together and you order a big steak, I'm not going to let that bother me. I do not eat meat because I strongly believe that the way food is raised in this country is bad for our health, our economy and our planet. But I'm not going to stop hanging out with you because of it. If, on the other hand, we take our kids to the playground and upon the expected exhausted kid temper tantrum that happens at departure, you smack your child, I'm going to have a problem with that. Gentle discipline is something I believe in so strongly that it would make it very hard for me to hang out with you. Yes, I would be judging your family values and how you are treating your kids. I was judging your values before, when you ate the steak, but I would never act on that. It isn't about judging right or wrong--it is about judging differences. Some differences are small and some are big. Does that make sense?
Most people understand this and we tend to hang out with people who, for the most part, match our values. No, not all my friends are vegetarians, but most practice attachment parenting, gentle discipline, etc. This is great. But many of my friends have not had a loss, so our values surrounding some important issues are not the same and, frankly, could never be the same. This makes some conversations very hard, some conversations impossible and, sadly, it makes some friends walk away.
So what is it that Carol says so wonderfully that so many don't get? That all of this--all this judgment that parents tend to pass off on each other--is so different when you have had a loss. When you have a child "in the ground," as she puts it, you just see things differently and there is no way to explain that to someone who does not. I have tried--believe me, I have tried. But it can't be done. And it means that as we on this side of the fence sit and look over at the blissfully pregnant women on the other side, when we hear those wonderful happy-ever-after home.birth stories, when we hear about the baby showers and the fearless layette purchasing, we can't help but be "judgmental" and yes, sometimes bitter, about it all. We cannot change this. We see the world differently. And some of us have lost dear friends because of it.