When you are a soon-to-be or new mum, information is considered your best friend. It helps to understand why, gives tips on how, and generally reassures you that you and your new baby are well. There is no shortage of advice from books and internet sites, magazines and journals, doctors, parenting classes and of course every second person in the supermarket line. Advice is everywhere and here the problem arises.
A short errand invariably involves the following conversation:
"Oh, how cute. How old is she/he?" asks the polite checkout attendant.
"She's two months," replies the tired and, depending on her day, impatient mother.
"That's wonderful, does she [insert an unrealistic action, eg. roll over, sleep through the night]?"
"Not quite yet, she's only two months."
"Oh really, my [daughter/son/niece/nephew/granddaughter/grandson] rolled over at this age."
It is at this point that, as a mum, you rush home to check through your book, the internet, and any other source of information you previously found useful and hurriedly search the pages to check that you and your baby have not somehow fallen behind the developmental eight ball.
While most people are simply inquisitive and attempting to be supportive, their advice or comments tend to throw a certain mother into a tailspin. The fear that you have failed your child, that they are behind in development, not properly engaged and stimulated, that they are small/big/short/tall for their age takes hold of a new mum in seconds, but takes days to shake off. In fact this overload of other people's opinions, comments, and experience can have such a strong effect that it can overwrite your natural instinct as a parent to the point where it is difficult to make a decision without consulting the books, the internet, or someone else.