Hot-Button Issues and the Mommy Wars

11.02.12 What is motivating so much anger toward other parents' approaches?


There are certain hot-button issues that always generate a lot of emails and comments on our blogs and Facebook posts. They include: circumcision, breastfeeding, labor management techniques and the most recent biggie—vaccinations. These topics are guaranteed to bring out the fireworks because parents have very strong, often polarizing opinions about the choices they make. Sometimes, these opinions are so strong, we want to put up a stop sign so readers/commenters will take a step back and examine their motivation before posting whatever is on their minds. Too often, it seems their need to be right is more important than their need to be courteous, kind, accurate, fair or open-minded.

Where is all this righteous indignation coming from? I suspect it’s passion, grief, fear, confusion, desperation and, most of all, the sincere desire to do the right thing for our babies. With so much at stake and so many different ways to raise children, sometimes all a mom can do is make a choice, dig in her heels and fight for her right to do it her way. Sometimes, however, parents don’t recognize that what’s right for her isn’t right for everyone.

We’re all for back-and-forth discussions. We expect a few thumbs-up “Likes” and a few “no, thanks,” but sometimes things get overheated.

The thing is, there are more than two sides to any parenting decision. While some are nonsense, many opposing opinions are completely valid. We at Fit Pregnancy encourage people to talk about their viewpoints because it provides educational opportunities other parents might not have considered. It’s our responsibility to provide the most relevant, medically sound information we can from a variety of perspectives. That’s why we present articles with both traditional and alternative viewpoints.

For parents trying to figure out what to do, the best advice I can give is this: Read all you can about a subject from a variety of perspectives. Talk to your health care providers and get the opinions of friends and family members you trust. Then, go with your gut and do what you feel is the best thing possible for your child. Will you be right? Probably. But as I’ve mentioned time and again—there are no guarantees in parenting. We’re all just doing our best here and most of the time, that’s good enough.

Jeanne Faulkner, R.N., lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and five children. Got a question for Jeanne? Email it to and it may be answered in a future blog post.

This Fit Pregnancy blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice from your physician. Before initiating any exercise program, diet or treatment provided by Fit Pregnancy, you should seek medical advice from your primary caregiver.

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