Smartphones have brought a great deal of convenience and access to information into our lives. Who doesn’t always have theirs with them, in very close proximity? It’s so handy to look up random bits of info, like how many cups are in a pint, Google the name of that actor or settle a bet with your significant other.
There is a difference, however, between information and knowledge. Dr. Google, for instance, has at times mis-diagnosed me or my family with skin cancer (it was a wart) and hives (it was Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.) Google, for the infinite information it possesses, doesn’t have a one ounce of experience and wisdom regarding actual people.
As doulas, we see this heavy reliance on information taken out of context frequently in pregnant and new parents. This makes sense. As new parents, there is so much that we don’t know! As a generation, we’re used to using the resources available to us to find answers to questions. We’ve been schooled that way.
Looking for solutions to our parenting dilemmas and stressors isn’t new, either. But our own parents turned to the wisdom and experience offered by credible, respected and professional authors in parenting books and classes, like Dr. Benjamin Spock, Lamaze and “What to Expect When Expecting.”
Simply put, there isn’t an app for wisdom and experience.
There isn’t an app that can tell you when the right time is to go to the birth facility. It doesn’t matter if the frequency of contractions matches what the app programmer thought would be the right time.
There isn’t an app that can tell you what’s wrong with your fussy baby, and relying too heavily on tracking feeds, dirty diapers and naptimes can introduce a great deal of anxiety into an already exhausting time.
There isn’t an app that can tell you what kind of care you may need during pregnancy – a trained, competent and caring midwife or obstetrician can help you weigh options and discover your path.
So, you may counter, where do I get all this wisdom and experience?
Take a little bit of the information that is available – from trusted, credible sources. Add in your OWN intuition and instincts. It might feel like diving off of the high board for the first time. You’ll probably hold your breath and be worried the whole way down. But the next time you do it, you’ll know what to expect and be a little less afraid.
Good parenting is an equal combination of love, instinct and experience. You’ll get there, day by day, without an app telling you what to do.