Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 9 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Stubborn Mommy


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 9 seconds

I have absolutely no problems with being called stubborn. I think people use the term stubborn to refer to someone who sticks to their guns and I am fine with that. I don’t think I am stubborn in a sense of refusing to budge even when it’s clear I am wrong. I don’t think I am stubborn in the sense of being inflexible if it fits the situation. But I definitely stick to my guns when I know what I am doing and why I am doing it. Parenting is the big one here but I have a couple more.

Breastfeeding – the big one
So for some odd reason the more educated you are the less likely you are to have had a mom who breastfed you for long (I am talking Egyptians of my generation ; my own mom said she tried but that I myself refused her milk after a very short time ; it’s still distressing).

What that means is, a. As a new mom, you have few adults with breastfeeding experience around you to give you advice, and b. Most people around you don’t think breastfeeding is that valuable.

Having had a low birthweight child, people (who the heck are they, right?) suggest you should supplement with formula was downright infuriating when I was learning my way into this breastfeeding thing: with a bit of help from a lactation consultant, some LLL/Sears books, a few supportive friends who had breastfed (thank God I had about a few of those) and a heck of a lot of emotional labor and sleepless nights.

So my pediatrician after a few months suggested formula. Angrily I tried it. My daughter hated it. I stopped it after like 3 days or something and she thrived. She did fine without it and grew well her first year. That was before her real health issues appeared years later.

But the emotional and health benefits of breastfeeding for both my child and myself? Priceless.

And I didn’t care what anyone thought because – she’s MY CHILD. Who the heck are you?

I was sharing this story with my mom this morning and she agreed. She also supplemented it with something I hadn’t thought of.

I carried my daughter a lot her first two years. First coz it felt good and right and made us both happy; second because an Ergo baby carrier is a heck of a lot more convenient than a pushchair if you’re walking around a lot and it frees your hands and third, because my daughter was really light and this wasn’t too exhausting for me.

Beyond 2 years, my daughter wasn’t climbing stairs like other kids were. I thought it had something to do with her height. She walked and ran and climbed stuff but not like other kids. I thought maybe she just wasn’t the physical type. When she asked to be carried, I carried her. She was still light enough that I could.

People constantly criticized me for carrying her too much.

Now that she is getting treatment we saw the immediate jump in her physical activity. She was suddenly climbing stairs without holding anyone’s hands. She was running around much more than before and doing all kinds of naughty and dangerous things I never knew she might one day do. She was doing this now because she was getting treatment.

The thing is, as my mom said, a mom’s heart knows. I may not know why my child needs a particular thing or how exactly to solve it, but I know something and it’s no one’s business how I respond to my child’s needs. Because in the end, I am the fulltime carer for this child. No one else.

Appetite is another thing. Her appetite jumped and she is a bit less of a picky eater now. And before that? People kept thinking I wasn’t feeding my child well enough. Grrrr

Professional Stance
So time for a big jump now. To professional stance. Often when your stance in your discipline is a little on the edge, this automatically means that most people in your area don’t think like you do. You have to stick to your guns a little or you’re not gonna survive. And eventually it’s possible your stance will become better heard. I went online to find people who share my stance and help me think through it further. And then you come back to face the world again.

One of my proudest accomplishments this year was the publication of my New Scholar’s Perspective on Open Peer Review.  It’s open access, which is another proud accomplishment because I intentionally submitted it to a double-blind subscription journal – then after it was published, the publisher decided to make it open access because they felt it was pushing the  conversation on scholarly peer review. Yay!

Now if only I could do that with all my other crazy ideas 🙂 I would die happy

Whew. On that happy note… I’ll stop 🙂


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