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The Cause of the “Mommy Wars” (Or How to Get Along with People Who Disagree with You)

Last week we had an amnio to test baby Luke for IVA. We’ve done it during late pregnancy with each child since Micah and it is never an easy decision. We’ve prayed, sought medical counsel and personal counsel, and revisited the issue with each baby.

A few days before we had the amnio I had a conversation with another mom on Instagram whose baby has a similar disorder to Micah’s. She’s pregnant with her second and they are opting to not test during pregnancy because of the risk of the amnio.

I had a few moments after I read her comment (which was left graciously- the comment was not the issue at all) in which I questioned every step of our decision. How could what we decided be right if someone else had decided something different?

Finally, I came back to the truth. We made our decision through the filter of our experiences with Micah, our conversations with God, and our advice from various trusted counselors. They probably made their decision the same way. And it’s fine that we came to different conclusions. Uncomfortable, but fine.

“Mommy Wars” happen over these nebulous topics: breastfeeding, homebirths, natural births, vaccinations, sleep training. These are topics that might not have one clear answer or an answer that makes you feel 100% comfortable. And when you don’t feel 100% comfortable with your decision you need validation. You are constantly looking for something or someone to affirm that you made the right choice.

Another mom doing something a different way is the opposite of that. It’s uncomfortable. How can both of you love your children and yet arrive at different decisions? How can you both be right?

It doesn’t matter that you are both right. What matters is that you are going to answer to God for what you do and she is going to answer to God for what she does and you’ll never have to answer for each other. You will, however, have to answer for how you treat each other.

The root of the mommy wars is insecurity. You aren’t entirely sure that you are doing this motherhood thing the right way and so you want everyone around you to come along, making the same decisions to validate your choices. You need the backup, the majority vote, the loudest protest in order to assure yourself that you are doing ok. But validation from your tribe is poor motivation for decision making.

I ask very few people for their opinion on our having the amnio done. And, outside of this pregnancy, have almost never mentioned it on the internet or even in real life, because of the feedback that could result. It’s a touchy subject and honestly, I just don’t care what most people think about it. It’s why I never poll facebook about our big decisions either. I’m not looking to agree with the majority; I’m looking to make the decision that I believe most honors God.

You rob yourself when you only form relationships with people you completely agree with. You do this for the sake of comfort. It’s much more comfortable to be friends with people who agree with you on the big issues. It’s entirely uncomfortable to feel your way through a relationship with a person who does things drastically different from what you do. You have to learn to have conversations with respect and tact. You have to know your reasons for making decisions. You have to stand firm and yet respect their process as well. To do less than that might be comfortable but it’s a loss. If you are going to walk your own path through life and form genuine relationships then you are going to have to be ok with other people being different and doing differently.

“Who cares” is going to be your response when someone disagrees with you. That will be the response, but it won’t be an attitude. It literally means that it does not affect your life. You do not need the validation of them making the same decision. You might think back through some decisions and see if your decision making was sound, if you ended up where God wanted you, but literally, what difference does it make?

When you are confident in your decisions you are still confident when someone else makes a different decision. When you are confident in your decisions you don’t feel that must persuade everyone else to agree with you. When you are confident in your decisions you can scrap the pushy bumper stickers off your car and quit describing yourself as a “breastfeeding-exclusively-through-toddlerhood, anti-vaccination, unschooling mother of seven.” (And my ultimate apology if that’s you.) Just do you without announcing it as your identity. Your identity is in Jesus, not your decisions.

Let’s not make our big stand on anything less than the Gospel. These issues are not the Gospel. They don’t decide our salvation and ultimately, our behavior surrounding these topics will speak so much more about our faith than our actual decisions about these topics.

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