Hot Topic Blog - Parenting
THE INFORMATION AVALANCHE: SOME MOTHER'S DAY MUSINGSLyn Dunsavage Young: Dunsavage Communications, Future Horizons, Sensory World
Introduction by Diane Bahr
The “Information Avalanche” is one reason I wrote the book Nobody Ever Told Me or My Mother That! Everything from Bottles and Breathing to Healthy Speech Development (and the FREE PARENT BOOK GUIDES). I want to help you easily navigate the “sea of information” on feeding, speech, and mouth development (finding what you need when you need it). Now, let’s see what Lyn has to say.
The current generation of mothers (and fathers) lives in an entirely different world than past generations. I know you’re probably saying to yourself, that’s what all old people say about the present generation. But, stop and think about this. In the not-so-distant past, when you got pregnant you basically didn’t know much of anything about what was transpiring in your body, except what your doctor told you and, trust me, they didn’t tell you much. A person with a proclivity toward research could find out something about what she needed to know, but, basically, you were told “everything is fine” and come back in three months or, even, six months and keep your weight down.
Compare That to The “Information Avalanche” Generation
Today, you can get a weekly – if not daily – update on your computer telling you the size of the baby in your body, what he has in terms of finger nails, appendages, eyes, or whatever. One week, your baby is an acorn size and, not too long after that, a lemon, and, then an orange, an eggplant – you get the size picture immediately. You can get tested for disorders, find out the sex of the child, see the baby’s movement within your body, and, even, have your first picture – full facial view, hair and all – of your child (prior to birth, of course). Doctors and nurses can determine the child’s weight, the size of his head, how much he has gained or lost, and so much more.
The impact of having a baby today (on parents) can be enormous. Worriers find out much more than they really want to know. Decisions have to be made that mothers (and fathers) never had to make in the past. What if the child has autism or Down syndrome? What if she’s not gaining enough weight? What if she’s gaining too much? What if, what if? The mountain of information increases daily and goes on non-stop.
How Do Today's Parents Cope?
How do mothers without their own mothers around for support – given such a high percentage of mothers-to-be live in locations often far away from their own mothers (who, by the way, didn’t have to deal with so much information) -- handle this? How do teen moms or single moms handle this? I can’t imagine how parents today handle all of these decisions and all of this information.
When I became a mom, I HAD NO IDEA about any of this, except (maybe) the sex of my child. I shake my head in disbelief that we ever had children without all of the information. And yet, I sometimes find it difficult to believe that parents today are brave enough to have children with all of the information.
Things Have Changed Dramatically!
The dynamic of pregnancy has definitely changed. Dramatically! In the past, you could choose whether you wanted to have a child or not. But, once pregnant, you had what you were given, and parents were resolved to that reality upon the child’s arrival. Today, you can choose having or not having what you have created based on tests. And you certainly have mountains of information that define the child prior to the child’s arrival. These are substantial differences from previous practices.
Before your baby arrives, you pick out everything from clothes (in the right colors, of course!) to strollers to car seats to clothing to books. You are on registries, so your friends can totally outfit your child for years!!! And, then, the toys arrive. Wow, it’s toy overload. My son actually begs me NOT to bring a toy to a birthday party for my grandchild – even a small one – because the house is overloaded with toys, computer learning games, Legos, and so on. Once parents have a child, they get charts, shots, and, I’m sure they feel, non-stop appointments. Do you know that we used to take a child in for only three immunizations? Now, thanks to science, that’s just one shot (3 in 1), one visit in mega-numbers of visits.
How To Deal with Information Avalanches
So, how does this change “mothering” and “fathering,” if at all? I believe that we need to deal with “information avalanches” by:
• Finding the best possible information by using reliable and informed sources