Sunday, October 24, 2010

Being judgmental

In my last two posts, a handful of people felt that I was being judgmental. My official reply to that, I suppose, would be: "Wah wah wah."

Meaning this: We ALL get judged all the time. For everything. Whether people mean it or not. Do women get judged more than men? Possibly. Do female physicians get judged more than non-physicians? Actually, I doubt it. And no matter how much you protest that you do not judge others, we ALL do it.

One person commented that we "must be supportive of all women." Supportive of all women? What about a female patient who comes into our clinic pregnant and drinking vodka? Obviously we wouldn't support this decision just because she's a woman. I know that seems like an extreme example, but there are lots of crunchy internet moms who think giving your baby formula is just as bad as guzzling vodka during pregnancy. We judge any decision that we don't agree with, that we think is potentially harmful.

So after that lengthy introduction, I'd like to present some actual REAL judgments passed upon me over the last several years by family, friends, and nosy people on the internet:

You should go to medical school. You're never going to be happy if you don't.

Why are you going to medical school? You're going to be in debt forever.

You're going to sleep now? The final is tomorrow! Are you really done studying?

How are you going to do well on your exam if you don't get any sleep?

You're going to do a residency in internal medicine? You're going to be miserable and never make any money.

If you drop out of internal medicine, you'll never find a new residency.

If you do PM&R, there won't be any jobs for you when you graduate. And what IS PM&R anyway?

You shouldn't have a baby in residency! You're going to be exhausted!

You should have all your babies before residency ends because the coverage is better.

If you get an epidural, you won't be able to feel your labor and you'll end up getting a C-section.

Don't try natural labor. You're just going to end up begging for the epidural and by then, it'll be too late.

Don't give your baby a bottle too early! She'll get nipple confusion!

If you wait too long to give your baby a bottle, she'll refuse to take it.

You let your husband give your baby formula so that you could sleep? You're a terrible mother. I don't care that you had a fever of 102 and had just come back from the ER.

You have to swaddle your baby or else she'll never sleep.

Stop swaddling your baby, you monster!*

Everyone does a fellowship after residency.

If you do a fellowship, you're wasting your time.

Having a second baby will quadruple your work, so make sure you're ready for that.

If you don't have your kids two years apart, they won't be friends.

I could probably think of more, but I think you get the idea.

The point I'd like to make though is not that we should all try to be less judgmental and more supportive of each other, because let's face it, that's never ever going to happen. The one thing I've learned though is that you must try to be happy with your own choices. The judgments that really hurt me were the ones where I wasn't sure I was doing the right thing and already felt guilty about it (i.e. giving formula).

So while it would be great if we could all support each other, what I'm really trying to say is that we should try to support ourselves.

*This is my absolute favorite. I posted a video of my two month old daughter in a Miracle Blanket on youtube just for my parents and in-laws to see (because she was making sucking motions in her sleep and it was cute). I thought it was unsearchable, but somehow some nosy woman found it and started yelling at us for swaddling her.


  1. Spot on. The thing people have to understand is that "judgement by others" is not a game you can opt out of. It's also not a game that you can claim to be above. We all do it, and if we didn't it would be impossible to have opinions and form impressions. The best I can do is to be as open-minded as possible when considering choices (i.e., going to med school, or having a baby during residency vs. after), and then refusing to let others dissuade me once I've decided.

  2. My friend just had a new baby, and told me that someone yelled at her for bringing her to a restaurant and placing her carrier too close to the aisle. WTF??

    Some people have way too much time on their hands.

  3. OMDG, I don't get why people feel like they have a right to be so judgmental about how other people are raising their kids. What really makes me angry is how people spend so much energy getting angry over a stupid situation like the one you mentioned, while they do nothing to help the poor kids who actually ARE being abused in some way or are starving or something else that is objectively awful.

  4. Great trilogy

    I'm happy that you did not waver in your opinion to pacify those who felt offended and judged. Like you said, everyone places judgment on others whether they want to and not. At the end of the day, your opinion is your opinion and it doesn't pay anyone else's bills. If people were offended, they should have been content in voicing their opinions and then keeping it moving. Some people have a problem with others disagreeing with them

  5. Thanks, Anon. This is one of my oldest-held opinions and I've lived it for so many years, I don't think anything could change my mind. It's too ingrained. I actually used a lot of restraint in my posts, compared with how strongly I feel.

  6. Well, first I had to google and figure out what was a Miracle Blanket (sorry,kids grown) but it seemed like a good idea....People are just crazy, and sometimes, they're mean and crazy.

  7. You're right in that we'll never make anyone happy - in fact, I've heard some conservative pundits say that if you're a doctor, you have no business being a mother (!) . . .
    But you're speaking of being judgmental and I want to know how you managed to make all of the awful chief residents in your cartoons look just like me (really).

  8. Excellent post. I know that I judge people, it's a bad habit and I generally try to keep the judging only inside my own head rather than spewing out stuff people really don't want to hear. That being said sometimes I can't help but give my opinion! Especially if it's a harmful or potentially harmful situation (i.e. vodka mom)....I also try to take other people's opinions with a grain of salt. What's good for me might not be good for you and vice versa! To each her own.

  9. If you don't blog about it, it'll just eat you up inside.

    How could you post such things?

    (That was my poor attempt at judgmental humor, thanks for keeping us thinking, honest, and supportive, Fizzy!).

  10. My husband, who I now think is incredibly wise, read this post and told me I'm probably the least judgmental person he'd ever met, but what else are you supposed to write about on a blog aside from your opinions? I think he's right on the mark with that one. Because if I'm forced to make posts that are completely devoid of judgements and opinions, what am I supposed to write about? My kid's poop? Cuz I can do that. I could easily write like five pages about her poop, if that would be preferable :)

  11. I'm glad I'm not the only MiM who was obsessed with her daughter's poop. Mine had constipation issues I attacked with prune juice (too much!) and other crazy remedies until she was 2.5. I even sat in the parking lot of a Children's hospital emergency room for two hours contemplating taking her in and knowing they would just manually fix her (something I was totally capable of doing but didn't want to). Finally, my new nanny, who didn't speak English, told her daughter to tell me to put a spoonful of honey in her milk every day. Worked like a freaking charm. Who needs doctors (hee hee just kidding)?

    To exist and voice your opinion on this planet is opening yourself up to being judged. I like to think it makes me better. Kudos to you, Fizzy for sticking to your own guns. Can't you feel your skin getting thicker?

  12. Giz: What's the fun if everyone just agrees with you?

    Not only could I write pages on my daughter's poop, but (much to my husband's horror), I actually have multiple photographs of some really amazing ones.

  13. Oh my. I never took pictures. You've got one up on me. I can't wait for a new photograph series on your cartoon blog involving your daughter's poop.

    It is much more fun if you create a stir. For everyone, I think.

  14. I left the comment last week about being supportive. Now where I disagree with you is that we cannot be supportive even in horrible circumstances. If you do not help that woman with the vodka habit--because you judge her--how is that helping her or her baby? You are not supporting her habit, you are supporting her in doing her best to get to a good outcome. You felt judged about your infertility decision, but how blessed you were to be able to make that decision; many women do not have your luxury. Okay now I am ready to get flamed.

  15. I am currently in a post-bac and everyone is constantly judging each other. I actually had a 5 minute conversation with a friend the other day about how we are incredibly judgemental. He was like, "Well, it's a stress reliever." I mean this is a man, who is as judgemental as I am and he is totally okay with it. Why are women the only ones who are thought to be constantly judging? It's probably because we feel some sort of guilt in doing it, but you are right, EVERYONE does it and EVERYONE is vicitim to it. I know I've been judge, and obbviously I do judge others. The first 2 judgemental comments on this post are exactly what I am experiencing now. It's so funny when family members are like.."You don't want to be a doctor, you'll have no life! You'll never be able to have children." Well, maybe I won't have YOUR life, but I will have my own. And that is really all I ever wanted. I'll find a way. Countless women before me have. And I'd say they are the best role models I could ask for, so how is that for a judgement!

  16. We have a "meeting" that always involves margaritas once a month where we do nothing but judge. Seriously, it gets me through med school. I can judge everything I want ... and then tell someone about it ... and we keep it all secret ... I don't want them telling what I think and vice versa. Its amazing. I find it actually makes me a less judging person on a typical daily basis! :)

  17. Anon: So your argument is that it's OK to be judgmental as long as what the woman is doing is REALLY wrong? Or are you saying that if you judge someone, you are unable to help them? I don't know if I agree with either statement.

    What is REALLY wrong anyway? Yes, guzzling vodka in pregnancy is pretty horrible. How about smoking during pregnancy? How about smoking in general? Eating two Big Macs for dinner every night? How about putting a baby on their tummy to sleep? How about giving vaccines? Not giving vaccines? Giving formula? It's not entirely clear cut and everyone (including you) have their own beliefs about what we think is wrong or harmful. Only robots have no opinions. If giving an opinion makes me judgmental, which some people seem to think it does, especially if the opinions don't match their own, then I guess I'm judgmental. *shrug*

  18. Fizzy, you monster!!

    Anyway, hear hear! People are ridiculously judgmental about little things, but on the other hand, we do need to have opinions, especially about something as important as parenting. But, we don't need to let our judgments about things turn into mommy wars. And we don't need to volunteer our opinions, especially if they are pretty subjective, as the absolute truth.

    That's why I wrote the Mommy Wars Bingo card. Enjoy it at the playground, or at the next baby shower you attend. (Those are the worse, IMO. I am going to be an ob/gyn who detests baby showers when I grow up.)

  19. Wow, MomTFH, that Bingo game is awesome. Right on the mark. I think we're all guilty of making at least one of those judgements at some point.

  20. Thanks, Fizzy. As you can imagine, I can't take a lot of credit for it. It wrote itself.

  21. ha ha.. I am 51 years old and had ONLY formula as an infant. I have an IQ of 175 and am in good health. I can still play a good game of tennis. Do not sweat the small stuff.


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