“Your baby is crying, your baby is crying!”

Yes. I am aware lady. My baby is crying. I’m sitting right there beside her. I can see that she is upset and crying. I can see, and yes it bothers me. And no lady, I don’t need your help by pointing it out to me. I spend twenty four hours a day with her, I am more than capable of handling her all by myself.

I absolutely love unsolicited advice from strangers who think they know it all, since they had their children back in the fifties. What frustrates me the most is the fact that she dared to call me an “unfit mother” because I was “ignoring the baby’s cries” while having lunch. I don’t venture out into the public malls with her that often anyway, and now I realize why. This is why.

I’m not allowed to have my baby cry in public. A crying baby is often assumed to be a bad baby, a baby who’s parents won’t discipline it, a baby who misbehaves.  Having to listen to a baby cry can be very hard, on anyone, even the baby’s mother. I can tell you, there are days when Emma screams right into my face until I think my head will pop, but someone please tell me, what should I do? She’s been fed, she’s been changed, she’s cranky and won’t go down, and refuses to take the pacifier. Sometimes the only thing I can do is put her down and walk away. Yes, I let her cry.

I know this must sound awful, but I actually allow my child to scream her lungs out. Not for longer than ten minutes mind you, but still, many people find this to be quite disturbing. It’s not, sometimes it’s survival. I remember spending so much time trying desperately to calm Alyssa down, stressing out, frustrating and sometimes downright mad, when I couldn’t. With Emma I haven’t felt this way so far. I am a lot more patient. I try different tactics when I know something is bothering her, but if nothing helps, or if we are in a situation where if she doesn’t take a pacifier she will scream it out, then I just let her.

In this case, my friend and I were at the mall, and Emma suddenly got hungry and cranky in the middle of our meal. I let her cry for a few minutes while I gulped down the rest of my lunch so that I can tend to her on a full stomach.

I was not ignoring her, I understood she was upset. By letting her cry for a few minutes I was not tormenting or abusing her or leaving her traumatized in pain. I shouldn’t have to justify it to anyone. It really angered me that a total stranger could judge me like that, just because my baby was crying. I’m sorry that my baby refuses to take the pacifier and has a loud cry, but this is as much my public space as it is anyone else’s. If a crying baby bothers you, then you better stay home where it’s nice and safe and quiet, but don’t go around assuming or judging others, that is mean and unfair!

And I know many people don’t believe in the let them cry it out method, but that’s what I’m left to resort to. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love my child, or love them any less than someone who tends to their every utter. I think that many moms can relate to this. When our babies cry it is our responsibility to just do something to make them stop. I sometimes have anxiety over that. What if I can’t just do something? Why do I have to be put down because my baby cries? Studies have shown that there is no short term or long term damage done to a baby by letting them cry. It can seem brutal, but it is a method that many moms often turn to, and there is nothing wrong with that.

So, lady from the mall, who probably went home and told everyone about this unfit mother, it shouldn’t be your concern what method I choose to take to sooth my baby, it is my baby afterall, and my responsibility to take care of.  If for three months she has been fed, changed, nurtured and has been growing perfectly healthy, then I think I’m doing a great job!

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About Malvina Beker

Malvina Beker is a Mom, a teacher, a writer, and a sociologist. She has a Masters degree in Sociology, a Bachelor of Education, and a background in child psychology and development. She has taught high school Family Studies, Parenting and Music courses, and has research experience through interviewing as well as surveys. She is a mother of three children who inspire her the most, and is always excited to share and exchange experiences and opinions with others.
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