Update: Australian hurdler Jana Pittman Rawlinson opts to train without baby nearby

08/26/2007 at 08:41 AM ET

Update: Jana’s mother has responded as well.

Update August 23rd: Jana’s mother-in-law has responded to your comments.

Originally posted August 22nd: Jana Pittman Rawlinson, the Australian track and field star who predicted shortly after son Cornelis’ birth in December that motherhood wouldn’t pose a problem for her return to training, has found that the two don’t always peacefully co-exist.  The former world-champion hurdler, 24, and her husband/trainer Chris recently made the difficult decision to send 8-month-old Cornelis home to Australia to stay with Jana’s mom while Jana concentrates on this year’s world championship in Japan. 

Initially, it was more for him because when we first went over to the UK he really suffered badly from jet lag for about six weeks. The poor little sod has been stuck in a hotel room for three weeks now and we really thought it would be nice for him to be back in his home environment.  Realistically, I’m only going to be away from him for seven days, which for me and him is probably a better scenario.

Despite having only recently given birth, Jana has won six of her seven ‘lead-up’ races heading into the world championships — Which bodes well for her chances not only this week in Japan, but also at the Olympic Games in Beijing next summer. 

If I can finish top-five at the world champs this year surely it’s going make some people pretty scared of you next year. If eight months after you’ve had a baby you can get into the top five in the world, what can you do with another year of training under your belt?

Little Cornelis, whom the couple call ‘Cor,’ need not worry about missing his mom’s biggest race ever. 

He’ll definitely come with us to Beijing next year, but this year we just thought it was better that he go home with mum.

Source:  Sydney Morning Herald

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Noodle on

Please allow me to respectfully vent. Why do these women have children then leave them for their career? Even a week at this age is too much, imo. This lovely YOUNG track star probably has many more years under her belt to procreate…why not just wait? Six weeks of jet lag? that poor baby. his ears probably hurt so much. that would have been an eye-opener for me. Thank you for allowing me to post but i’m thinking you may delete this one.

Melissa on

It is sad that her training means more to her than her son. You can’t get that bonding period back.

Amanda on

I completely agree with the other posters. I mean, I work full-time, but 7 hours away from my baby, is not 7 days!! That is WAY to long. He’s just at about the right age to start going through separation anxiety too :( Poor baby. I don’t even know how she could do it? I’ve never even spent a night away from my 14 month old and don’t plan to! I guess some people don’t get the concept of making sacrifices for their children. And one more thing, maybe someone who is British or Australian can clear up. I noticed she referred to him as “the poor little sod.” Well, I thought someone once told me that for brits, the word “sod” is another word for “f*ck.” Is this true??

madison on

Six weeks of jet lag? Maybe she should ask Angelina and Gwen for some advice on handling jet lag in babies

Carrie on

I agree with both of you. As a full-time working mother(by choice), I still understand that you must put your children first. A week to me doesn’t seem to terrible (I also have a baby born in December), but I don’t think I would ever drag my son around like that. I tell my boss that I wont travel. He is hands down more important than my career will ever be.

Devon on

7 days in all reality is not that long. Just because she’s had a child, does not mean she has to give up what she loves to do. I don’t mean to be rude, but I really wonder if all the mothers on here are just as perfect as they would like everyone to think. None seem to falter in any sort of way, and their children are going to be the most perfect of all. If she wants to train, and have her child travel back home, then she has the right to do so.

It irks me that people, mothers even, can be so judgemental of others. We all do what’s best for us in out own individual situations or we make the best out of the circumstances that surround us. It would be nice if people would jump down off the soapbox and thought a little more before they spoke.

Kate on

What I find sad is that dads are never judged for going away on business after they have children, but mothers always are. When I hear some of these comments I feel like it’s 1950.

Meme on

Wow, talked about messed up priorities! If she thinks it’s okay at this young age, imagine how “okay” it’s going to be to leave him for longer and longer the older he gets, until one day, her career will no longer be there, and she’ll wonder why her kid really doesn’t care to be with her/has no connection to her.

And could someone explain to me what they have in the UK for training that she couldn’t find in the entire continent of Australia???

cats on

Totally agree. She should really think hard about what’s really important in life.

Tanya on

How on earth can being separated from your child for seven days be a better scenario?
For you or him? She has basically already admitted she hardly spends any time with him currently, and he spends most of the time in the hotel room while she focus’ on training.
All I’m getting from her statements is “my child is not a priority right now. What’s important to me is scaring everyone with how fit I am and what a threat I am.”
I think it’s sad.

Dancer on

Athletes have only a few years of prime physical condition during which they can compete. So people want her to postpone childbearing till she has to use assisted reproductive technology?

I don’t like all these posters who just come here to whine about how celebrities raise their kids. I know a lot of working mothers who are forced to leave their kids with parents for short periods of time. It doesn’t hurt the kids, it fosters independence. Let’s see how many of these posters have kids who turn out to be drug addicts years later.

And having a mom at home doesn’t prevent that. I know plenty of messed up kids who had stay at home mothers.

CanadianGirl on

I agree Kate well said! We see tons of posts about fathers having to leave their children to go filming for longer periods of time and it’s totally acceptable. Why can’t she do the same.

nic on

this story is just sad to me. Why have a kid and then make such a choice, because, clearly she has a choice? I guess you can do what you want to do but then I can comment on it, then

Xan on

Kate, I totally agree. I can’t wait for the world to view the genders more equally. In my opinion, for this to happen it’s actually WOMEN who have to make the change first. Then, men will follow.

sarawara on

While I personally could never leave my child for this length of time, I also have no clue what it is like to have that kind of talent and to have worked so long and hard for a goal. She is among a very small, elite group of truly gifted people. This is very different from someone who has chosen to be a performer in my opinion.

I guess what I don’t understand is why her husband has to be her coach. I’d think that if I were in this position, I’d get another coach and let daddy stay home with the baby.

I’m just glad her mom is able to care for Cornelius and provide him with stability, routine and familiarity.

And to answer a question, I think the reason that men are not looked to in the same light as women is that they are not the same. Men are not life bearers or nourishers. They cannot carry a child or breastfeed her, and for this reason mom is looked to as the primary caregiver for children. It isn’t an unjust burden, it’s biology, and to some, a call.

Kate on

sarawara: Just because mothers are “lifegivers” does not mean that they are more capable of nurturing a baby than a man. It has nothing to do with biology. In fact I read a book not too long ago called “They Myths of Motherhood” that was filled with studies and world history that proves just the opposite: That the nurtering aspect of motherhood has more to do with the way girls are socialized and with what society expects of women, and that there is no biological proof to back up the claim that mothers are more capable of nurturing than fathers. And it actually is an unjust burden for many women who are judged unfairly every day of their lives for doing things that fathers are given a free pass on.

The reason why men are held to different standards is because we are still, unfortunately, living in a sexist society that pays lip service to equality but doesn’t truly value it.

Christine on

In response to Dancer – I believe the judgements are made towards celebrities (and the like) not on HOW they raise their chidren, but on how they DON’T raise their children.
I think the “poor little sod” is probably much better off with his gramma.

Heather on

I agree with the posters who are sticking up for this woman. As she said it is only a week that they will be away and he is staying with his grandmother, not a stranger. As she said later in the article, he will be with them next year when he is older and able to handle the travel better. An infant does not have to be with the mother 24/7 to bond with them! He is 8 months old, I’m sure that he is already bonded to his mother! I am a stay at home mother of two and sometimes it is nice to get away and have a bit of a break, I miss them terribly, but it does not make them feel like I have abandon them! I think that it helps them become a little more independent as they get older actually.

criminy on

Jana trains in the UK because she is not well-received by the Australian public due to some “unfriendly” words shared between her and one of her Australian teammates. She stated a while ago (before her pregnancy) that she wanted to move to the UK but probably chose to stay in Australia so that Cornelis could be closer to his Gramma.

I leave my 14 mo. old son for extended periods (1-4 days) with my Mom every couple of months and have been doing this for a while. They both love this special time together! Cornelis is 8-months old and 7 days at Gramma’s house is going to be just fine for him.

Jana has stated that after the 2008 Summer Olympics she plans to retire to focus on her family…so I guess we will see. Cornelis is going to grow up proud of his talented, strong mama.

All of us mamas (and aunties, nannies, and friends)need to support each other. We can’t always be trying to one-up each other, what kind of example is that for our children?

Sarah on

I’m writing this as someone who, as a child, was away from her parents for (at least) 7 days. I can’t remember the actual number of days, as I was under a year old. But that’s actually a good place to start, I can’t remember! There were other times when I was growing up that we were separated again, but I can definitely tell you there were no ill effects.

Today in fact my mother is one of my closest friends. I am close with my father as well, but I will focus on my mother as it is the mother who seems to face the harshest criticism here. (Society as a whole seems to have an alarming trend of “motherguilt”).

Children are alarmingly adept at picking up on the inner feelings of their parents, and as such I believe that parents owe it to their children to take care of themselves as well, so that whenever they do spend time with their children it is a positive experience. It sounds cliche, but it is often true that happy parents often equal happy children (I know that there are exceptions, as there are to everything).

This woman is leaving her child in a loving, familiar environment so that she can take one week to focus on her training/racing. This is something she has worked towards her whole life, something at which she is very talented.

If she were to pull out, when she was so close to her dream (I’m talking here of next year’s OLYMPICS, something I’m sure she’s imagined being at since she was a very young girl, as anyone with any sporting ability probably has) I can’t help but believe that a part of her would always wonder “what if”. And I in NO WAY mean to imply she would blame the baby. Still, for anyone, wondering “what if” about anything can weigh on you.

By following her dream I believe this woman is investing in herself, doing what she can to ensure she is happy and able to put her best self forward. This is bound to carry over to her child.

That being said, this is still all speculative, none of us actually know this women. It would be foolish to believe fully any argument for or against her decision, since we cannot possibly know all factors involved.

I just wish the entire family all the best.

Dancer on

Well said, Sarah. I also agree with Kate that all women do not necessarily have the nurturing traits that we associate with motherhood. Being biologically able to bear children has no relation to how you bond with the child when it actually arrives.

My mother was a stay at home mom, and even though I am still close to her, she was the worst mother anyone could have. She was not interested in children, left us with nannies even though she was at home, never played with us. We were much closer to our Dad, who actually liked us, played with us, and told us stories. And I see this phenomenon with a lot of my friends as well. There is this societal pressure for women to be seen as maternal, when the truth is that a lot of women just are not nurturing, and a lot of men are.

Fynn on

I don’t understand what the fuss is, and I agree with those who say we women need to be more supportive of one another’s decisions–give one another the benefit of the doubt. It sounds to me like she made–within the context of her particular situation–the best decision for her family.

Chloe on

Well, I think it’s sad that people believe that once you become a mother, you stop being anything else. From the time I got pregnant I decided I didn’t want to breast feed. I got so much flak for it, I couldn’t believe it. Then I went to work after only 4 weeks and again all the judgments came on me again. My husband didn’t take any time off and no one said a word to him. I am a very loving mother and spend as much time with my baby as possible but that doesn’t mean that’s all I am.

Luna on

It would have been easier just to fly Grandma over for 7 days to avoid the criticism she will no doubt receive from the Australian media, who love nothing more than to run with another ‘Jana drama’. I would have thought after her previous issues she might have had some media training or a publicist to try and rebuild her public image, but it seems she still says the wrong thing almost every time she opens her mouth!

Kate on

Luna: I’m sure that Jana would have had an easier time with the media and the judgmental public if she had chosen for the baby to stay with her, but since she stated she felt that was not what was best for her baby I’m glad she sent him back with her mom. I think it’s nice that she’s putting what she feels is best for her child ahead of what the media and the public think of her. It’s just a shame that there are so many people who are so judgmental that they act like a mother being away from her child for a few days is the end of the world.
And I don’t see anything about this article that would qualify as saying “the wrong thing.”

Emily on

Amanda
– I’m Australian we say “poor little sod” like poor little rascal, munchkin its a term of endearment but in that they have a hard time, their experiencing misfortune.
What you’re referring to is “Sodding” thats a british phrase that does mean what you thought.
She was really just feeling sorry for her kid in saying that.
hope that clears up some miscommunication! =)

Spot on

Based on some of these comments you would think that the femininst movement’s never happened!!! As women we should embrace our ability to not be defined as any one thing mother, careerperson etc. This child is clearly still in a loving family so could we all please step out of the 1950s and remember that the nuclear family is no longer necessary for all of us. Some of you really need to rethink how you defining yourself and others as a mother and only a mother can affect the next generation of females. I only hope that our daughters and grand-daughters will be enabled to refuse this stereotype and that we can pass on the idea of women empowerment.

Lilybett on

Whatever happened to the adage that it takes a community “a village” to raise a child? How long ago was it when grandmothers, sisters, aunts, neighbours, friends were all involved in raising a woman’s child, not to mention husbands, brothers, uncles, grandparents, etc? I was raised in a family day care situation where a mother had three or four additional children in her home during the day. My mother had us one day, then another mother, then another. My mother had no choice but to work.

There seems to be a feeling here that what Jana is doing is frivolous or selfish, but it’s her work. She also only has a small window in which to do it. She’s also made a responsible decision to send her child home to her mother because she discovered the situation just wasn’t working. How is that selfish? Selfish would be to keep him even when he was miserable.

Also, “sod” does not translate to “f**k”. Poor little sod roughly translates to “oh, the poor little guy”. You can also use it jokingly, as in “that cheeky little sod”, the same as saying “that cheeky little bugger”. Additionally it can be used as a verb “sod off” or “sod it” but it doesn’t have the same harsh overtones as “f**k”

Kath Rawlinson on

I have been reading the comments on this site regarding Jana Rawlinson letting her baby son go back to Australia with his grandma for a week whilst she competes in the world championships.

I cannot resist adding my comment as I am in a rather different position in that I am her mother in law and live in the UK. I am therefore able to comment with some knowledge rather than speculation.

First of all leaving your child for short periods is a necessity for a lot of parents, both mothers and fathers, not a matter of choice. Business people as well as parents in the armed forces have to do this on a regular basis. It’s the way they earn their living. This is the way Jana earns her living. It is not a hobby or something to fill in her spare time.

She has worked hard for many years to get to this position and she should not have to postpone motherhood just because her profession dictates that she has to travel a lot. She came to the UK to compete on the European circuit not just to train. That’s how she earns money. She could not compete in Europe without having a base somewhere in Europe and as her husbands family are in England it makes sense to stay here so that we are on hand to help out with Cor.

By the way sod does not mean anything to do with the “f” word. It’s actually used as a term of endearment for someone who can be a little mischievous.

Cor is a very well adjusted little boy and did not suffer with jet lag for 6 weeks as Jana was quoted as saying. He had very little trouble adjusting and I should know as we looked after him several times when Jana ran in Europe. He is not passed around all the time and only stays with us in the UK or his other grandma in Australia.

As to Jana not spending much time with him nothing could be further from the truth.She trains twice a day and for the most part spends the rest of the time with her husband Chris and Cor doing normal family things.

He is always their first priority and if her career interfered with her role as a parent to Cor’s detriment she would retire without hesitation. He has two loving caring parents who always put him, and his needs, first.

Please do not make assumptions when you do not know the facts.

Amanda on

Thanks to everyone for clearing the “sod” confusion :) It’s funny how many things literally get lost in translation. Thanks also to Kath for coming to her DIL’s defense. She makes a good point. A lot of the posters did. I, like most mothers, tend to get so judgemental when other moms make different decisions than we do. Before I had kids, I swore I would never be that mom! And now I catch myself doing it all the time. Will have to work on that…

Michelle on

Geeze. I went on vacation for 8 days when my daughter was 8mo old and we left her with the grandparents. Am I a bad mother too?

mama bear on

This is a day and age where kids are running wild, having sex at nine years old, wearing t-shirts with sayings like, “It’s all about me”, looking towards “celebrities” like Britney Spears as role models, and on and on. Catch a clue people. If you have children, then raise YOUR children. Children NEED their mothers and they need to know that they are more important than your job or whatever else it is so many people like to put before their kids now-a-days.

Don’t tell me that these “studies” say it’s okay to dump your children off on someone else to raise. As far as I’m concerned, these studies are probably conducted by the people who need to justify dumping off their own children.

All you need do is take a look around you to see how dysfunctional this world has become. Look at the real statistics on the effects of not being there for your children, and then maybe you’ll wake up.

Jeanette on

What an interesting discussion. While I am all for quality time with your children and also for parents raising and caring for their children personally when possible, it seems that this is a reasonable separation. There are many family situations and we have to respect that as long as the child’s best interests are at heart. I think Jana’s mother in law made a very good point when she discussed those who travel for work and for the armed forces. Also, those who mentioned actors who are on location and may be separated from their children for periods of time.
In addition, Jana may have periods of down time that far exceed those of us who work 40, 50 or more hours per week. Her mother in law says she trains twice per day – this might leave more time for her son than others get in a day, depending on her travel situation. Or, if her sport involves off seasons or if after the Olympics she has fewer events she may have weeks at a time to spend with her son. Her work now may allow her to be more available for him at other times and allow her to give him the future she wants.
I’d also like to point out that those parents who separate or divorce often have shared custody arrangements where the mother or father don’t see their children for a week or more at a time, including infants. Whether or not you or I agree with such arrangements, it happens all the time. As an attorney, I see parents who don’t want to part with their children in these situations and others but feel it is the best situation at this point in their lives.
Some parents are working nearly all their children’s waking hours and leave their children (necessarily in some situations) with caregivers. Jana left her child with a family member when she felt it was in his best interest for whatever reason. She is pursuing her goal and will make her son proud.

Jill on

I just do not understand why the comments on CBB are generally so discouraging from people. Whatever works for one person may not work for another that DOES NOT mean one person is bad for doing what works for her. I really think people need to grow up and respect others for their choices. Sure it may not be what you would chose for yourself or your child but that doesnt mean that either are wrong or right. You do what works best for you and your family.
It seems like Jana is a great mother and loves her son dearly! How can anyone say anything against that?
People need to be more open to different “ideas” and embrace them not as wrong or right just different.
I am glad her mother in law stood up for her. I would feel horrible if people were writing these things about me just because my son was being babysat by his grandmother.

Vanessa on

Okay – Everyone has to do what fits their circumstances. I had to leave my, even younger, daughter with my mother for almost three weeks because my husband was stricken with cancer and had several surgeries shortly after she was born. I doubt seriously some of you would judge me as harshly for doing the exact same thing. My daughter is now 6 and we are extremely close and she is a happy, well adjusted kid who is also very close to her grandparents. She’s not going to be an ax-murderer because she was left with my mom for a few weeks at an early age. Don’t be so quick to judge others. If 7 days away from her kid secures his future, I would do the exact same thing.

Layla & Finn's Mommy on

I guess I would be a bad mom to you all. My children spend 4 days a MONTH with their grandparents (every other weekend). My husband and I need a break and time for ourselves and his parents love to spend time with the kids.

april on

i have two children 7 and 2 and every summer 1 or both of them go to my in laws for a month to the whole summer and my mother in law loves it she also deals with my quad brother in law and her mother
taking a break from your kids from time to time for a full time parent isn’t that bad

Beverley on

To everyone who thinks that their mothering choices are above reproach, lets have a story about you on here and hear everyone else’s opinion about you. I bet you wouldn’t like it.

There is not only one way to raise a child, there are as many ways as there are mothers. If we were all raised exactly the same as each other, this world would be such a bland place. I am an at home mother who loves it, but I respect everyone else’s choice, whatever it is.

Let’s not forget, she is trying to win something that only one woman wins, and only has a chance to win once every four years. She probably has only two or three times in her whole life to even try. During that same 4 years, how many other women have even a slight possibility of doing this? She has a God given talent and an amazing chance at winning a GOLD MEDAL AT THE OLYMPICS. That is an incredible thing and I think if any of us had the ability and opportunity, we would probably make the same decision as her. I know I would.

MommyB on

Oh my goodness…what is all the fuss about?? Jana is doing what she thinks is best for her son!! She obviously loves him and is trying to make sure he is in a loving, familiar, and comfortable enviroment for 7 days…not a lifetime!! Yes the bonding is important…but so is a happy baby!! And a tiny hotel room while suffering from jet lag was probably not the answer!! I personally probably couldn’t leave my son that long…but I am not in her situation…nor am I raising her child. So its not my place to judge!!

Monkeycox on

I think a lot of people are being very judgemental. There is nothing wrong with leaving your child with their grandparents for a few days. Big deal! Everyone needs a break sometimes and circumstances are going to arise that require someone else watching your child. Get off your high horses and get a reality check. That’s just the way life works. Quit judging people until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

Elizabeth on

Leaving your child to train isnt going to make you a bad mother or scar your child for life…geeeeeeze people.
Lay off.
the people on this site are so judgemental, kids cant have bottles…they cant ride in strollers…parents cannot leave them…they need haircuts…their names aren’t ‘traditional’

As long as the kids are happy and healthy nobody should be judging the parents.

essie on

Some of you should be really embarrassed because of the things you said about Jana. I am so happy Mrs. Rawlinson wrote to CBB. As she said, SHE KNOWS the situation and none of you people do. Perhaps in the future this will deter some of you from being so judgmental about people you don’t know. I sure hope so.

Jen on

Goodness, it is seven days with Grandma. With all the hen-picking I thought she intended to leave her son for seven years in the care of wolves.

Elaine on

I agree with the posters who have been positive about this – it is only for a week and the child is with his grandmother, no doubt having a great time with her. I don’t actually know who the mother is to be honest! I did notice that none of the critical posters have critisised the father for not being with his son – I presume because they feel a fathers presence is somehow less important to a child. If that is the case I think it is wrong and devalues a fathers role.

Sabina on

I’ve noticed that one of the main arguments coming from those who are supportive of Jana’s parenting decision is that her criticisers here think that their parenting skills and/or children are perfect.
I would just like to point out something that I would’ve thought was obvious- but apparently is not to some of you.
Having an opinion about another parent’s parenting choices does not require the opinion holder to believe that they themselves are perfect parents, nor does it automatically mean that they think that way. I have read every single comment on this page and not one criticiser of Jana has said anything remotely like ‘I am a perfect parent’ or ‘my children are perfect’.
Therefore, anyone who claims that people think this, is taking an unjustified and- in my opinion- childish approach to debate.
And for those who are telling others not to be so judgmental, consider the following. Saying that Jana’s choices are totally fine is still making a judgement. Just because it’s a positive judgement, that does not mean that you are being any less judgmental than those who believe the opposite.
You may well disagree with criticisms of Jana for any number of reasons, but in that case, disagree with the *criticisms*, don’t attack personally the people who post them by suggesting that they’re vain or self-important. That doesn’t achieve anything.

LAILA on

I’m perplexed about one thing, why didn’t she simply hire a nanny or babysitter to look after the baby for the hours while she trains? Or as someone else said maybe fly in Grandma or whatever family member to look after the baby? I’m not particularly horrified by what she’s done, it’s just a week after all and this is her career, she needs to train, I get that. I just don’t understand shipping the baby thousands of miles away as opposed to bringing someone in to help?

Kate on

Sabina: There is nothing judgemental about the positive comments that we have made. Those of us who are making positive comments are not saying anything good or bad about Jana as a mother – we’re not pretending like we know her or her situation. We’ve been simply pointing out that we don’t think people should criticize someone when they don’t even know them. So nice try in trying to say that we’re being judgmental too, but that argument just doesn’t wash.

Kate on

Laila: In the article Jana already explained why she sent the baby back home with her mother. The baby already was with her to begin with but then he wasn’t responding well to that situation, so she sent him back with her mother.

Lynne on

While I absolutely understand emergency separations from young babies (like one of the commenters whose husband was diagnosed with cancer!), I will always feel *highly* uncomfortable with the idea of infants/babies/young toddlers being separated from the primary caregiver (typically mom, but this could be dad or grandma, etc.) because of a desire to take a 2-week trip to Hawaii to lay on the beach, or do some high powered job-type-thing involving making loads of money or getting lots of fame/celebrity.

That’s just my gut feeling, and it’s not some outdated 50’s belief I’m schlepping here (PS – I believe in gender equality, thank you very much!). It’s far more primal than that, actually. Biologically/evolutionarily speaking, the mother-baby dyad is *not meant to be regularly separated* in the first 0-12 months (and even 0-3 years) due to serious survival issues (lack of food, warmth, shelter, safety). Biologically, babies are designed to nurse at mother’s breast (though there are rare accounts of male lactation!) — and just because we’re so modern these days that we’ve figured out ways to completely *avoid* the breastfeeding thing does NOT mean that biologically or socially that this is a good thing for babies and/or mothers. (See rising rates of cancers in women, rising rates of diabetes and obesity and cancers in children – it has roots in how our diets have changed so drastically over the last 100-200 years, processed instead of whole foods! Formula instead of breastmilk, big macs instead of raw, local veggies, fruits, meats, etc. We’re paying for this so-called “modern convenience” in our long-term health.

So, while I understand that an olympic medal is neat and all, I personally would not choose to leave my young baby for this length of time because I don’t believe it’s healthy to do so, for either of us. If I *had to* leave my baby due to emergency or military service (again, I’d argue that going to war is hardly a choice – to be called to service, as many people join ROTC or the military to fund education gambling on that slim chance of being called to active military), of course I’d want to leave my baby with a close family relative. I think it’s wonderful that Jana does have family that is ready and willing to provide consistent, loving care to their grandbaby!!! And I DO BELIEVE that it takes a village, that we’re supposed to parent in community (not in isolation).

Even with that, and even with accounting for temporary, short separations from baby (we’re talking hours here, not weeks), I do not understand Jana’s OR HER HUSBAND’s choice(s) as they clearly result in a lot of time away from their young son (even outside of this “7 days at grandma’s in Australia” stint). The bottom line is that they’ll never get those early months of their son’s life back, and it sounds like that’s OK with them as their highest current priority is to work towards olympic success. That may be ultimately fulfilling for them. But it would not work for me –> and I am a very imperfect parent! I just have a deeply held belief in babies being consistently with/near their mothers & fathers for the first 3 years (and yes, being breastfed, taking into account the horrid cultural support and widespread misinformation & sabotaging of the breastfeeding relationship, also taking into account medical conditions that prevent breastfeeding). Those first 12 months are when our babies’ brains, bodies, emotions, and trust are developing so fundamentally, so tremendously, at such a dizzying pace… and really there’s very, very little that could lure me away from my kids in those early, formative years. But I know I’m likely in the minority here! :)

Kath Rawlinson on

Thank you CBB for allowing my comment to be shown.I just felt that the true facts should be known when Jana was receiving some very undeserved criticism. There is no right or wrong here but we have to accept that what is right for one family may not be right for another. thank you.

Kate2 on

Lynne: I’m curious to see if you have any studies, statistics or facts to back up your opinion. I totally respect your right to have an opinion on this matter, but unless you have some proof to back it up then it’s just your opinion and not a “written in stone” fact. It’s fascinating to me how some people take something that is merely their opinion and try to pass it off as something that it true for all babies/families/parents just because they personally believe it.

Mama Drama on

Well, Lynne, you are going to think I am the worst mother in the world. I had to leave my baby when he was only 2 months old to get back to work. See, I have bills to pay and in order to be able to do that I had to get back to work. My hubby didn’t take anytime off. Besides that, I also chose not to breastfeed despite incredible pressure from pro breastfeeding loonies at the hospital. I think we all have to do what is best for our situation. You can’t have a cookie cutter solution to a situation like this because we are all different and have different priorities in our lives. I had to go back to work because I needed the $$ to feed my baby and also because I had a little PPD and getting out of the house really made me feel better. Jana has been training all her life for this moment, for the chance to have a gold medal. I don’t think having a child should mean that she should have to give that up. I think it would be a huge mistake actually because it could result in some underlying resentment toward the child.

Jackie Pittman on

I am Jana’s mother and the grandmother with whom little Cor is currently staying. I would just like to add that I was actually in Japan with Jana, Chris and baby Cor for 3 weeks already as their ‘nanny’. We were staying in Kochi – yes in a hotel- for her to acclimatise and train (coming from cold UK to extremely hot and humid Japan).

Now however training is over and the Championship has started. All athletes then move into the athlete village/hotel in Osaka and the IAAF competition rules clearly spell out that babies and children are not allowed to be there.

As a result, Cor flew home from Japan with me yesterday and is very comfortable being here with me and his grandfather, just as he was very content being with his English grandparents when Jana’s work as a international athlete means she needs to race in Europe and uses the UK as a sensible base rather than travel up and down from Australia every time.

I know lots of grandparents who mind their grandchildren in order to allow their sons or daughters to work. We are lucky enough to have a very close family and I believe having a loving extended family around you is a wonderful support for any parents and for children of any age (most especially during those difficult teenage years).

I believe having loving and supportive grandparents to mind your children is even better than a nanny (which I might add Jana can not yet afford).

Lastly may we say (and I know I speak for Kath as well) that we absolutely love looking after him. It’s a wonderful time to bond with your grandchild. Being a grandmother is one of the most rewarding and joyful experiences in life and I feel privileged that Jana and Chris allow me to share in Cor’s life.

Jackie Pittman

Beverley on

As a mother myself, I am very grateful to have a set of grandparents nearby. One of my sons has autism and once in a while, it is nice to get a night out with my husband where we can just relax, or have the kids sleep at Grandmom and Grandpop’s just to sleep past 6am. Our 10th anniversary is this year and we are going on a cruise just the two of us. I suppose that some of you think I am a bad mother, but I would rather have their grandparents, who love them so much, watch them than anyone else who is paid to look after them. If, for financial reasons, I wasn’t able to be the stay-at-home mom that I am, I would much rather have grandparents watch them than daycare or a nanny. Thankfully, Jana and her husband have grandparents who can help watch and love their baby.

tink1217 on

I haven’t commented on this particular story yet but I felt bad for some who did.

Lynne, while I agree with some of what you said it came off as very condescending. I was told I sounded a certain way on the nanny discussion and IMHO I didn’t think they were right. But, your post really struck me that way.

Mama Drama, nobody thinks you are a bad mother for going back to work. You have to do what is best for your situation. Sounds like you did the right thing and as long as you and your child and family are happy and healthy that is what really matters.And I have to agree about the breastfeeding “loonies” as you called them. It gets on my nerves beyond belief.

As for the olympic hopeful, Jana….lots of luck. For me personally, even if I were in her shoes, I don’t think I could have left my baby for that long. Even with all the years spent training. But, that is just me. I think it’s great she has such a large support system. BUT, I do hope she doesn’t regret the time she is missing from her baby.

Basically…to each his own.

Ada on

Oh my god. We ARE talking about 7 days, are we not? One little week??

This is an embarrassing post on so many levels.

Those of you who think that leaving your baby in the loving hands of your mother for A WEEK is “detrimental” or “selfish” are absurdly ridiculous.

Those of your who imply that Jan should abandon all of her dreams and become a stay-at-home-mom simply because she had a baby are ridiculous. (Read a book.)

I am ashamed that Kath and Jackie had to come on here and read some of these comments about Jana. She is doing NOTHING wrong and deserves no such criticism.

Go take care of your own babies and get off the computer if you’re really so worried about constantly “bonding.”

sinclair on

it’s the year 2007, people. it looks like some WOMEN don’t get it; not just men. Women are holding other women back when it comes to this issue.

it’s too bad that so many women think they know it all, like what every woman should do as a mother. For those critical of Jana’s decision to train, ARE YOU GOING TO PAY HER BILLS???

didn’t think so.

Some of you are the same ones who won’t bat an eyelash when male athletes are reported on CBB, with babies being born, yet won’t lash out at them for leaving and going back to work. Double standard. And don’t get into the mom-needs-to-stay-with-the-baby crud; dad is a parent, too.

tink1217: “BUT, I do hope she doesn’t regret the time she is missing from her baby.”

Why don’t you let HER worry about that, okay? Seven days away from her child won’t break either of them. If they are not attached at the hip (Or breast), the world will not end.

Veroncia on

Once again, another prime example of women refusing to support one other and the decisions that they make for their families. I will never understand why some SAHMs and WMs feel that they must bash each other. Maybe they should get comfortable and be at peace with their own choices. Being insecure about your own life will make you lash out at at those who will a life you secretly wish you had. Food for thought.

Stephanie on

I’m not a mother, so I can’t freely offer up the judgement on Jana’s parenting skills that apparently comes with that title, but I don’t think I need to add to the criticism that’s already posted on here. What I am is an athlete. A swimmer, and one whose trained for the Olympics since I was 4 years old, and saw Dara Torres in the Olympics. I’m 23 now, and I haven’t made it yet, and my time is getting shorter that there’s a good probability I’ll never make it. So I’ll offer some insight on that area.

Lynne, I’m sorry, but saying “I understand an Olympic medal is neat and all” clearly shows that you don’t understand at all. I don’t know about track, but let’s use swimming as an example. Say you’re a swimmer, and your event, the only race in swimming you do, because that’s your specialty, is the women’s 100 meter backstroke. In order to qualify for the Olympics, you first have to qualify for the Olympic Trials (they don’t just let anybody in, it’s not a thing where you sign up). You have to meet a certain time standard by a certain date. So, using the stats from The 2004 Long Beach Trials, you are one of 56 women in the entire country who swims the 100 backstroke fast enough to qualify for the Olympic Trials. 56. There were more people in my community college psych class. So, you made it to the Trials. Now you have to swim. First you swim the preliminary heats, which, in 2004 for the women’s 100m Backstroke, narrowed 7 heats (56 swimmers) down to 2 (16 swimmers). That means that 40 of the swimmers who trained between 40 and 50 hours per week made it to the Olympic Trials only to swim a single race and pack it all up and go home. I’ve been there, and there’s nothing I could compare that experience with to show you how it feels. But say you’re one of the 16. Then you have to swim the semi finals, which narrows two heats (16 swimmers) to 1 (8 swimmers). Then there are the finals, where you have to be 1st or 2nd out of the 8. For you math people, that means, if you qualify for the Olympic Trials, you have a 28.5% chance of making it to the semi-finals, a 50% chance of making it to the finals, and a 25% chance of qualifying for the Olympics in the finals. Do the math; that means, if you QUALIFY for the Olympic trials, you have a 3% chance of actually qualifying for the Olympics. Then, if you GET to the Olympics, it’s the same scenario all over again. Let’s say you’re now in Athens. Remember, you were one of the two American women who qualified for the Olympics in your event. Now you’re one of 42 swimmers from all over the world who qualified for the Olympics in your event. Back to the races. First up, the preliminaries, which narrows 42 swimmers down to 16. Then the semi’s, which takes 16 down to 8. Then the finals, where you have to finish in the top 3 to win an Olympic medal. Math again: 38% chance of moving to the semi’s. 50% chance of going to the finals, and a 37.5% chance of winning a medal (12.5% of winning the gold) in your event, which tallies to a 7% chance of medaling in your event if you make the Olympics (2% for Gold). Overall, if you were an American woman who qualified for the Olympic Trials and wanted to win an Olympic medal in the 100m Women’s backstroke in 2004 in Athens, you had a 3% chance of actually accomplishing that goal, and a little over 1% chance of winning the Gold. Neat, huh?

I know Jana isn’t a swimmer, but I don’t know enough about the structure of track and running to add up the figures for you. It takes a world-class God-given talent to be able to compete at this level, and it takes an incredible amount of dedication, work, and commitment to work for something like this. Athletes have a pretty short window as far as being able to train and compete at this kind of level. Some start at a world-class competition when they are teenagers, 14, 15. Some don’t make it until later. If they’re lucky, their bodies hold up and work hard for them until they’re 30, sometimes 35 (in the world of swimming, Dara Torres is an unheard of age, and she’s winning medals and setting new records again. She’s so old in our sport, that she’s submitted to extra dug testing in order to prove that she’s not doped up to help her win. She’s 40, FYI.) I’ve got a friend who qualified for the Olympic Trials when he was a teenager in 2000. He’d been training his whole life, and for a couple years at college in Texas for this. It was his dream. It was what made him get out of bed every morning at 4:45am to drive to practice. He made it to the Trials in his event, and when he got there, he swam his heart out, and when he touched the wall, he found out that he had gotten third place. Second place had eluded him by .03 seconds. That’s three one-hundredths of a second, a time nobody but swimmers can comprehend. Along with the loss comes a crushing realization that all of your training, all of your hard work, sacrifice, and desire are washed away because of .03 of a second. And you won’t get another chance at this for another 4 years. 1460 days to re-live those three hundredths of a second in your head. In four years, he went from age 19 to age 23. You all know that 4 years is a lot.

So, so sum up, because I know I rambled, the Olympic medals aren’t just a “neat” thing. They’re an immeasurably valuable tangible goal that take an unbelievable amount of courage, dedication, strength, sacrifice, work, and skill to attain. Has anybody thought to think that Jana had to choose between her beloved child, and the sport she had worked her entire life for? And for those that would say she either shouldn’t have had a child, or should have just dropped the sport for her child, do you really think athletes shouldn’t get to have children or families? How archaic. Why don’t all mothers just stay at home and not work full time? Because they’re people, not just mothers. They have hopes, and dreams, and desires and goals and wants and needs. Jana made the choice to double her happiness, and her sacrifice, by having a child, and it’s beyond courageous of her to continue her training. Did anyone stop to ask how torn she felt? I’m sure she brought her son over to train with her because she wanted to take care of him while training at the same time. Did anybody think that maybe she had a difficult time making the decision to send her son back home where he was happier, and looked after by his Gran, while she stayed to train for something she might not ever get to do again? I think making the decision to send him home to his grandmother was a better one than some of the suggestions of flying a Nanny over. The point is that her son obviously wasn’t adapting to the different time zone, or the climate change, and he was much better off flying home than flying someone else in.

Heather on

What this is, is personal choice. Only mother and baby know what is best for them. Jana shouldn’t be criticised for doing what she thinks is right, but neither should those people defending Jana’s actions be criticising what other’s choose to do.

As long as their family is happy that’s all that matters.

I personally don’t think I could be away from my child for that long, but there is no right and wrong and I don’t think it’s fair to criticise other people when it obviously works for them.

@ Stephanie, I completely understand you and other’s have a desire to go out and succeed in that way, but I feel your comments about stay at home mother’s are slightly offensive. What exactly, is wrong about being a stay at home mum? When I have children I plan on doing so, (simply because i personally don’t see the point in having children if you’re not there to see them grow up – again personal feelings) but just because i will stay at home full time and not work, doesn’t mean my view on this is archaic, or that I don’t have wants, dreams, etc. My dream would be to have children and to have the financial ability to stay home with them. That doesn’t make me less of a person than the people who choose to work (or compete).

With father’s it is different (I have noticed a lot of people saying that when father’s are away from their children they aren’t criticised in the same way). I’m sorry but for anyone who claims that a father has the exact same bond as a mother to a child, i don’t believe them. It is not the same, and it never could be. That’s not to say that their bond is necessarily less, but it is different.

tink1217 on

Heather, I do not find being a SAHM archaic either…I am one and have been for 18 yrs off and on and 10 yrs straight. My hopes and dreams were to have a family and be a mom. Maybe some people say it is a waste, which I have heard, “You are wasting your talent”. I feel being a parent and raising children is the most important thing a person can do. It is shaping the future. But that is just me. There are so many opinions and views and none of them are wrong. They are all just different. That is why some people go to medical school to become doctors and some become lawyers or scientists. All these professions are important. If it fulfills you and makes you happy then great!! What fulfills me is being a mom and a wife. If jana is fulfilled by her Olympic dream that is ok. I just know I personally couldn’t do it. That doesn’t make it wrong for her or anyone else that wants to pursue their dreams.

Stephanie on

Heather (and everyone else),

I apologize. I didn’t intend to make it sound like being a SAHM (or WOHM) was anything bad at all!!! My intent was to criticize those who would believe that all mothers must stay at home with their babies, and those who work or are separated from their babies for any length of time are damaging their children, or will cause them to grow up to be bad people. I certainly didn’t mean to make it sound like moms who choose to stay at home are archaic, and I should have found a different way to get that point across more clearly.

Kate2 on

Heather: I didn’t see anything offensive about Stephanie’s post. She was merely pointing out that not everyone should be expected to be a stay at home mom. I find it incredibly offensive when women are expected to be SAHM’s just because they have a child – because I think being a SAHM is only a good thing if it’s a choice that the mother made because she truly feels it’s best for her life and her child. No one should be told she SHOULD be a SAHM. And no one should be told they are a bad mother for choosing not to be a SAHM.

Bel on

Well. Not really much to add because I’m lucky enough to be a SAHM parent. I wouldn’t hesitate to leave my babies with my parents should I need too, a close, loving extended family is a wonderful thing.
But anyway, Amanda, whoever told you that ‘Sod’ was another word for ‘F#ck’ here in England was completely wrong. It’s a harmless word, often used in the same way as ‘poor little mite’. And it’s allowed on daytime tv, so it can’t be that bad (har har)

tink1217 on

stephanie, don’t worry about it!! LOL, I don’t know how many times I have used a poorly chosen word and gotten blasted. It happens. Its only one word, I got the meaning of what you were trying to say after reading it again. Like I said before…to each his own and whatever makes a person happy. It is different for everyone!!

Melea on

I’m going to try so hard to make this short and sweet.

I do NOT leave my son. Period. That’s my choice and that does not make me a bad mom. That doesn’t mean my son doesn’t bond with other members of my family, it doesn’t mean he is sheltered. It doesn’t mean I’m overbearing. It means that I love him and I do what is right for ME AND HIM.

Other parents leave their children. If it’s to go out with friends. If it’s to go to work. If it’s to just get away for just a bit to relax. That’s what works for them. Doesn’t mean they are bad parents. It doesn’t mean their children aren’t bonded with them. It doesn’t mean their kids will grow up thinking their parents didn’t want them around. In any case it will show their children that a parent can have a life other than being a full time mom 24/7. That your life you had before kids doesn’t stop just because a baby is involved.

Some think thats a good thing, some think it’s not. That’s where parenting styles come into play. Either you are all for leaving your child in safe hands, either a nanny or family member… or you aren’t. As a parent you make the best decision for your family as you can. It’s all an opinion on how to raise a child, no right or wrong way. Pro’s and Con’s to each choice.

To judge this woman as a mother is wrong. I would never leave my son for a week, let alone overnight, hell I’ve only left him three times for about an hour each time in 13 months and today we are leaving him with his grandmother so we can go to a movie. The point is, no one knows this woman well enough to judge her as a parent. You can voice your opinions but doing so in such a rude way (some of you that is) is flat out hateful and makes YOU look bad, not her. Just because some believe she is doing this as a selfish thing or maybe think she is a mom now and she should have thought about training and competing BEFORE she had kids doesn’t mean you are right so maybe step back, breathe, and keep certain opinions about how other people parent to yourself or at least say that it’s your opinion and doesn’t make you right or wrong.

Can’t everyone on here say that they do what is right for THEIR family, not what is right for someone else? Sorry, did not come out short and sweet… LOL

tink1217 on

well said Melea.

J-Lin on

I can’t believe how many parents think Jana is wrong, but I guess I can because I think your kids are usually the ones that don’t know how to cope without Mommy and disrupt my child’s learning experience. Purposely making sure your kids can’t survive without you is not healthy. These kids grow up not able to stand on their own. They are having nervous breakdown and committing suicide because they have not learned to deal with life on their own without mommy and daddy’s help. People, be good parents and let your kids learn how to survive without you. 7 days isn’t going to kill the kid.

Luciana on

First of all: What does SAHM/WOHM means? I’m brazilian, so my english is far from perfect.

Second: Who cares??? People should learn to take care of their own lives! It’s not like she left her baby at home with a nanny to go to Vegas to party with Britney!

I wouldn’t do it because TO ME a baby should be breast fed until the age of 2, but hey, Cor is not my baby! I don’t know what’s the best for HIM!

And it’s not like he is going to become a bad person just because he lived with his grandparents for a while..

Sarah’s note: Stay-at-home-mom; work-outside-home-mom.

Charity on

Wow, it’s a little heated in here.

Kath and Jackie, thank you so much for taking the time to answer everyone’s concerns/questions! And for being the kind of women who can support your daughter/daughter-in-law in her goals. I think that is great. No doubt you enjoy your time with your grandson!

It really comes down to every woman’s decision. Some never want to leave their children with anyone else. Yet, even SAHM seem to need a break every once in a while. Being a mom is a tough job. No matter whether you work outside the home or not, your children are always on your mind and heart.

The stories here of the women who work to support their children – kudos to all of you! There are many more out their. And the women who gave up careers to stay home to take care of their children, my hats off to you as well! No matter the choice, I believe every mother still works harder than most men ever will.

Jana, I’ll be praying you win the Gold. Not just for the US, but to show working mothers everywhere that you don’t have to sacrifice your children to your career. Clearly, you haven’t. Only giving up a week with your son is much less time than many other working mothers have to give up.

And let’s not forget the divorced mothers who are ordered by the court to hand baby off to daddy every other week or for a few days every week? And these women keep going, knowing that they will fight tooth and nail to see as much of their babies as they can. And keep them from harm, even if they can’t be with them every day.

Thanks for taking the time to listen to me! :)

tink1217 on

J-Lin, so all moms who are SAHm moms have kids that will be dependent and eventually commit suicide??? I find that very insulting. My daughter starts college this year and is perfectly fine, survives away from me and has not committed suicide. And I know tons of other SAHM whose children have gone on to thrive in school and away from their parents. I think what you said was waaaay out of line and I am surprised it was allowed to be posted as it sounds like a personal attack! Not particularly on me at all because I think Jana can do whatever she wants, but on the others who expressed their opinion which is different.

Mel on

I personally think this has all gotten a bit ridiculous. The fact is that Jana could not have Cor with her as she is in the athlete’s accommodation where she MUST stay while she competes. Why should she pay for her mother and son to stay in a hotel when she is not allowed to leave the village to see them anyway.

I personally believe that he is much better off going home to stay with his grandmother and grandfather than he would be with just the 2 of them in a strange hotel together.

Think about this: would you be more or less critical of Jana if she did not take Cor with her for as long as she possibly could and only leave him for the shortest amount of time possible rather than leaving him behind for both training and competition.

Some mothers have to leave their children for work. I have left my daughter behind with her grandparents for a few nights while I travel for work. Not only did she not “suffer”, but she has a wonderful bond with her “nana” which ensures that they have a great relationship.

Grandparents can be a wonderful and loving addition to any child’s life and better that he is staying with people who love him and have been involved with his life for the last 8 months, than someone he doesn’t know.

tink1217 on

a little off subject here…buti remember back when Tara Lipinksi and Michelle Kwan competed in Nagano…didn’t one of them choose not to stay in the Olympic village???

J-Lin on

You missed the point Tink. I know many SAHMs who make sure their kids are independent, but some mothers have said they are never a part from their children and that’s not healthy. Many colleges refer to this as “helicopter” parenting and try to educate their students on cutting the cord because so many students have so many issues because they don’t know how to do anything without mommy and daddy. Feel free to Goggle the term. Smother your child and you set them up for failure later in life.

lola on

the child is eight months old, and i do NOT understand what the fuss is about!

leaving him for a week with someone who loves and adores is not a big deal! good Lord, you people need to relax. how many of you left your 6-month old children with a parent or in-law for a weekend or extended weekend? a few extra days will not require the child to get therapy when he’s 20.

after my second child, i’d be thrilled to take a vacation and leave my children with their grammas for a week! hallelujah!

stop judging, everyone. you have no idea how these family dynamics play out.

and HUGE KUDOS to Jana’s mum and mum-in-law for posting comments on this blog! hopefully people can read their comments objectively and get educated. the bottom line, it’s not your place to judge and throw nasty, snide comments about Jana and her hubby. it’s like watching mothers gossip on the playground, targeting another hard-working mum. very, very sad.

Kate2 on

I think it’s interesting that there are so many people who are insulting Jana for being away from her child for 7 days, and yet there is a post about Jennifer Garner being in another country, away from her daughter, also for work and no one is insulting. I guess it’s okay for some mothers to be away from their child, but not others. I’m not understanding the double standards that are going on here.

Ashley M on

Great point about Jennifer Garner, Kate2!!

Jen on

Wow, I find it incredibly sad that there are so many hurtful comments about a mother/athlete who frankly deserves a lot of respect for balancing a career and family! I have a toddler and a fulfilling career and this works best for me and my family. Women are in a very unique situation in that we can actually make choices regarding our education, career paths, how to balance family, etc., which is a benefit that women in generations before us would have loved to have, and now it seems that we’d rather judge and preach than support.

alexandra on

lynne’s post is actually filled with lots of information that can be backed-up with studies. kate2, which parts do you question? i’m assuming it’s the stuff about breastfeeding/mom-child attachment…

also, i think the reactions to jennifer garner leaving her child are different because of the age difference between the two children involved. an eight month old doesn’t understand why mommy isn’t there, but an almost 2 yr old can begin to grasp that she’s coming back.

Kate2 on

alexandra: As a former nanny I can tell you that it’s not that easy for a child Violet’s age to understand where their mother is either. So I still say it’s a double standard to be insulting Jana when other celebrity mothers are not held to the same standards, and fathers certainly aren’t.

And saying that Lynne’s opinion can be backed up with studies is not the same thing as actually telling what the studies are. Anyone can claim that they have studies to back up their opinions – but I have yet to see any proof provided. If a person wants to live by certain beliefs in their own life then I can respect that. But if someone is going to make blanket statements that something is bad for all children, then I want to see some actual proof.

Wow on

Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves for making such self-righteous judgments about how this woman and her family are living their lives. The baby is 8 months old…not 8 days, for pete’s sake.

Worry about your own kids.

Michelle Nicole on

It’s so sad that we live in a society that is so damn judgmental. We criticize and pass judgments about situations we know very little about. Jana or her family should not have to read such harsh, rude and unkind criticism, some of you were down right mean and basically suggesting that she’s a bad mother. Celebrity Baby Blog is my favorite site, because the stories are so touching and nice to read. We all do what’s best for our families, why not allow Jana to do the same. I believe in “It’s Take a Village to Raise a Child. Let Jana’s son enjoy his village.

Michelle Nicole

tink1217 on

JLin, thanks for clarifying, but after re reading your post it did not come acrosee the way you intended at all. I did get the point you were trying to make, believe me, but I think it could have been said in a different, less drastic and scare tactic sort of way. That was my only point.

alexandra on

kate2, i certainly don’t think it’s right to leave a 20-month old, either… i was just trying not to be judgemental!
here’s dr. sears’ page on the maternal benefits of breastfeeding: http://www.askdrsears.com/html/2/T020700.asp
a great article (with sources!) about attachment parenting:
http://www.attachmentparenting.org/artchemistry.shtml
and i’m not going to bother posting links to articles on the benefits of extended breastfeeding because i think everyone’s read them and knows the drill! :)

Beccalovesbabies on

I too have read the studies that Lynne brings up. I’m sorry, kate2, that we can’t rattle off the publication/date/journal number, etc. to prove that we have read it. Can you tell us about studies that disprove Lynne’s points?

Also, people advocating breastfeeding aren’t loonies. Are people from the American Cancer Society or American Heart Association loonies because they tell people to eat healthy foods and exercise more?

If I told you that I had a potion that I wanted to give your baby that would lower her IQ by approximately 5 points, substantially raise her risk of allergies, nearly quadruple her risk of ear infections, increase her risk of being obese later, and that would increase YOUR risk of breast cancer and keeping your baby weight, you’d slap it out of my hand and call it poison. But that’s exactly what formula is compared to breast milk.

Stating facts is not loony, nor judgemental, nor even opinionated. Is every medical journal (as related to breastfeeding) loony and opinionated?

Beccalovesbabies on

By the way, in addition to my earlier post. . .

I don’t think that Jana’s decision was the end of the world. I personally would never leave a baby that long, but grandma IS a loving caretaker–it’s infinitely better than paid daycare!

I think a part of the problem was Jana’s language she used. It came across as very flippant out of context, and she may not have meant it the way it sounded.

criminy on

“Every medical journal” does not report the facts as you state them. The Lancet, one of the oldest peer-reviewed medical journals, reported in 2002 that breastfed babies have higher rates of allergies and allergic asthma later in life than those babies who were not breastfed. The authors were surprised by their findings and if you read the article, the authors provide an interesting discussion.
Sears, Malcolm R., Justina M. Greene, Andrew R. Willan, D. Robin Taylor, Erin M. Flannery, Jan O. Cowan, G. Peter Herbison and Richie Poulton. “Long-term relation between breastfeeding and development of atopy and asthma in children and young adults: a longitudinal study.” 2002. The Lancet. 360: 901-907.

In addition, this review in the American Family Physician (a peer-reviewed journal) http://www.aafp.org/afp/20070715/tips/5.html discusses the association between maternal IQ and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding moms tend to have higher IQs (and higher education status) than non-breastfeeding moms and hence, their children have higher IQs as well. This is also true of childhood obesity. Children at the greatest risk for becoming obese tend to have moms with lower IQs and lower socioeconomic status, and these moms also tend to not breastfeed. The relationship between the amount of soda that children drink is far more highly related to development of obesity than whether or not they were breastfed.

We should breastfeed our children because it is something that we love to do, because it feels right to us, and not because we believe we are giving our children an “IQ edge” or protecting them from allergies. The best things that we can do to promote those behaviors is to provide a stimulating environment in which our children can grow and providing regular, quality healthcare. Making healthy, whole foods more available and more affordable, especially for low-income families is one of the best things we can do to combat childhood obesity.

Lauren on

Way to keep up the breastfeeding advocacy, Beccalovesbabies. You just keep telling yourself women want to hear you tell them they’re poisoning their children by giving them formula and that will in turn scare them into breastfeeding. You don’t sound looney or judgemental at all…

Kate2 on

alexandra: If you go back and reread my post you’ll see that I said I respect someone living their lives by their own beliefs (and therefore I would never expect someone to provide proof that their way is best if they are just applying their opinions to their own life) – it’s only when someone says “Everyone should do things the same way” that I ask: Where are the studies to back that up? I’m not expecting anyone else to live according to my beliefs, so why would you expect me to provide proof that my way is best for everyone when I don’t believe my way is best for everyone. There is no one way that is best for everyone. I’ve already stated that. And thanks for providing the links, however, I have yet to see anything in any of those links you provided that conculsively proves that any of those things are right for EVERYONE.

Kate2 on

beccalovesbabies: There is nowhere in my post where I stated, or even implied, that people who are advocated for breastfeed were loonies. So I’m not sure where you’re getting that from. What I did state was that I wanted to know where these people were getting their research from that proved that leaving a child for 7 days is bad for ALL children. And I have yet to see anyone be able to provide any proof of that. Not to mention, instead of providing proof of that a lot of people gave me links to info. on breastfeeding. That has nothing to do with the issue at hand, because due to a lovely invention called a breast pump mothers can leave their children for a few days and still provide them with breastmilk. So the issue of breastfeeding has nothing to do with Jana leaving her child for 7 days.

Beccalovesbabies on

Lauren,
You misread what I said. I stated some of the drawbacks of formula. When those drawbacks are pointed out–without being mentioned in the context of baby formula–ANYONE would call it poison!

Even leaving out the single study mentioned by criminy, breast milk is and has been proven over and over and over and over and over again to be better for babies and better for mothers’ overall health.

Formula is better than it ever has been, but it is an inadequate substitute. Most of the warm fuzzy points made about formula are from the PR departments of formula companies. They’re out to make a profit, and women who breastfeed aren’t making formula companies any money.

I’m glad formula is made, because women who adopt, and women who simply can’t breastfeed for several valide medical reasons, need and deserve to feed their babies a quality nutritious formula. But it will never be a perfect substitute.

Beccalovesbabies on

Sorry, kate2, for not stating that MamaDrama was the poster that said “breastfeeding loonies.”

I changed paragraphs, but I didn’t segue clearly when addressing posters.

I do think, though, that as a society, we’ve all become focused on what’s best for ME, what do *I* want, how do I get MY needs met.

I believe with a great deal of conviction that if you choose to become a mother, the needs of your child come BEFORE your own. And if you aren’t willing to put what is best for your child ahead of what you WANT, then you shouldn’t become a mother. It’s that simple.

winecat on

People get a grip! We’re talking about an infant spending 7 days with his grandmother. My sister left her 2 sons (21 months and 4 months) in my care for a week while she and her husband went on a cruise.

Said sons are now 19 and 17, mature, responsible, intelligent, loving young men.

Those of you who state the your children MUST come first might want to remember that children grow up and at some point leave your home. You might end up having no relationship with your spouse if you focus all your energy on your children.

Kate2 on

“Those of you who state the your children MUST come first might want to remember that children grow up and at some point leave your home. You might end up having no relationship with your spouse if you focus all your energy on your children”

Good point. The people who state that children MUST come first might also remember that it’s possible for a person to have more than one important thing going in their life at once. A person can have their children as the main priority in their life, and still have other priorities and interests as well. Mothers can be mothers and still be women, wives, friends, sisters, workers, etc.

ron on

Do y’all realize that competing is the woman’s livelihood? Sitting at home and watching the baby does not pay the bills. She did what she had to do, recognizing that (a) she will have lots of time to raise the kid after her competitive days are over and (b) she is looking after his future. It never cease to amaze me how judgmental this people on this blog could be, when there are parenting styles different to theirs. Geesh, if this makes her a bad mom, then she has lots of company because some people cannot stay at home and must handle their jobs. Plus, the kid is with his grandparents!! What’s the fuss? SMDH

lizzielui on

How on Earth did this turn into a breastfeeding debate all of a sudden? Never ceases to amaze me.

Beccalovesbabies,

I believe with CONVICTION that we need to respect the way other mother choose to raise their children. Who are we, as outsiders, to decide what is best for someone else’s child. It’s seven days people. Seven days with grandma.

Vanessa on

It’s hard enough being a mom and wondering how every decision you make is going to affect your child and their future. In a perfect world we would all sit at home and nurse and educate our babies until they were ready to fly off on their own and do great things for this world, unfortunately this world is not that way. That baby MAY have been weaned early, MAY not be happy without his momma for 7 days, and MAY be alright, but when he gives her euelogy – I seriously doubt that he will say she left me for 7 days when I was an infant to pursue an olympic gold medal (assuming he has any relationship with her after being abandoned). He will be proud that he is one of a few children who has a mother that can achieve such a thing (my children have to grow up with an average mom). We, as women and mothers, need to support and encourage each other as much as possible and quit passing judgement on each other. No one mothers way is more “right” than another. If you are not an idiot and make sound decisions based on current circumstances and information – that is all we can do to ensure our children’s future. Now go out an nurse your babies or get back to work – whatever your circumstances make you do!

Beccalovesbabies on

lizzielui,

At what point do we draw the line in “Who are we, as outsiders, to decide what is best for someone else’s child?”

Say we stop picking on moms who don’t breastfeed and who pay others to raise their kids for them 50 hours a week. (40 hours, plus lunch, plus commute.)

What if we then start saying that mothers who feed their kids only twinkies, cheese puffs and soda should be able to do that without judgement? What about those mothers who decide that four hours of television in the evening really IS a great babysitting solution.

Why SHOULDN’T we as a society say, “You know what? Your kid would be better served by you if you did _______, and here’s why: _____________.” Our ancestors all did this. When did everyone looking out for the best interest of children become “being judgemental?”

I think we’ve become so individualistic (I may’ve made up that word, but it worked) and self serving that we can’t stand for someone to tell us we’re doing something wrong.

I also want to address another post, even though I don’t know that it was directed at me. Someone made the point that we need to maintain our marriages. Absolutely! Having a solid marriage IS a gift for your children.

That’s why I don’t believe it works as well to work full time, and then rush around all evening trying to spend a little time with your baby, and then having nothing left at the end for hubby! Guilt over being away from your baby for more waking hours than not doesn’t leave room for romance with your man! I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it, and I won’t do it.

Kate2 on

“Why SHOULDN’T we as a society say, “You know what? Your kid would be better served by you if you did _______, and here’s why: _____________.” Our ancestors all did this. When did everyone looking out for the best interest of children become “being judgemental?”

I wonder beccalovesbabies how you would feel if someone walked up to you and told you to do something with your children that you don’t feel is right for them. It’s easy to justify judging others, but when others are judging you and your parenting it’s not so easy to justify someone butting into someone else’s life and telling them how to raise their child.

Dawna on

Say, did any of the people that attacked Jana for “abandoning” her newborn baby to train for the 2008 Summer Olympics ever stop to think exactly what it is Jana is doing. She is going to work, which is training for the Olympics, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Don’t a lot of women go to work for 8 hours a day 5 days a week? What do they do with their children during those hours they are at work? Think about that before you all crucify Jana for just doing her job, which is being an Olympic athlete.

You know what, if Jana was Jack, those same people likely wouldn’t be all over him for having someone take care of his child so he could go and train for the Olympics. For heavens sake, this is the child’s grandmother that will be looking after him. Jana has likely thought long and hard about this situation, and has decided with the support of her family this is the best way to prepare for the Olympics.

Lynne on

“The Olympic medals aren’t just a “neat” thing.”

I absolutely agree that Olympic medals require extremely high levels of work, talent, and dedication. While it is inspiring for me to see people (women & men) push themselves/their natural talent to accomplish impressive physical feats, I also feel immensely inspired by parents who make the hard decisions to put some major life goals on the back burner for a few years specifically because they *do* recognize the critical importance of being present (physically, emotionally) during infancy and early childhood (birth to 3 yrs).

“[The Olympics] They’re an immeasurably valuable tangible goal that take an unbelievable amount of courage, dedication, strength, sacrifice, work, and skill to attain.”

I’d argue that good parenting fits this exact description as well. My own personal priorities will never reflect that an Olympic medal is more important or a more valuable contribution than is being present for my children and working always towards being a mindful, conscientious, responsive parent (which *is* hard work given that I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny!!!). I’m pretty sure we’re allowed to simply and respectfully agree to disagree on our own personal priorities.

For the record, I believe that an Olympic medal AND good parenting are *NOT mutually exclusive* — in other words, you don’t have to sacrifice one at the expense of the other. It might just take a lot of creativity and careful planning to find strategies that work well for both the baby and the Olympic athlete. And I am NOT commenting on Jana in specific here – in fact, I think given Jana & her husbands priorities (which I very much respect them for being honest/unapologetic about them!), they *are* making sure that their son is in the best, most caring hands possible… the grandmothers’! It is obvious that their son is *well* loved and cared for, is getting wonderfully responsive parenting from the grandparents during the frequent absences of the parents while pursuing her Olympic dreams.

Lynne on

Kate2 said, “I’m curious to see if you have any studies, statistics or facts to back up your opinion… It’s fascinating to me how some people take something that is merely their opinion and try to pass it off as something that it true for all babies/families/parents just because they personally believe it.”

There are so many high-quality studies out there that thoroughly address:
* the importance of the mother-baby dyad on infant health and development
* the critical (both public health and individual health) impacts of breastfeeding both in the short and long term for the health of both mom and baby
* the importance of a consistent and loving and responsive caregiver during the first few years of a child’s life

Those ideas aren’t new, they’re not merely my opinion, and honestly, I’ve done my research and don’t feel terribly compelled to do your homework for you (I’ve fallen into that trap before! I’m not into arguing with links – if you’re truly interested in some of this stuff, you’ll do your own research like I have). Not trying to sound harsh, just tired of people saying, “Oh yeah? Prove it!” when really all they want to do is argue & they’re not really interested in what the research says.

As far as trying to pass off something as “being true for all babies/families” — that’s your misinterpretation, Kate2. I do think that for the average human baby, it’s critical that he/she get human breastmilk, and that lots of the obesity, diabetes, and cancers we’re seeing among children and women are related to the very poor rates of breastfeeding in our country (at 6 months, a mere 10% of babies are still breastfed – that’s just so low it’s scary).

Does a baby’s biological blueprint of expecting breastfeeding/breastmilk mean that every baby and family must do it just that way or be overcome with guilt? NO. It means we need to recognize that biologically, babies expect certain behaviors from their parents to be raised most optimally AND when we don’t do it just the way biology intended, even though our species can survive with these changes, there may be repercussions of this down the road. I think we just need to be honest with ourselves about why we are making the choices we do, and accept responsibility for the outcomes of those choices. For example, if you don’t breastfeed your baby, only you know deep down inside whether that was a the result of a truly medical situation, a decision that you later found out was based on misinformation, or a personal choice that benefitted you more than it did your baby. Or maybe, that choice to not breastfeed benefitted you so much that your baby, even though they missed out on the biological qualities of breastmilk, had a strong secondary benefit of a mom who wasn’t stressed out by doing something she resented. See, it’s never so black and white… parenting is almost always varying shades of gray!

It might surprise you to know that I worked 50+ hours a week in corporate America after my first baby was born (pumped at work multiple times a day, breastfed during lunch break because my mother who was caring for her while I was at work would generously bring her to me at the office). It was what I thought was the best compromise at the time. Do I regret the time away from my baby, even though she was in incredibly loving and capable arms of her grandmother? Sure – I missed it, I’ll never get those early days back. And no, my daughter doesn’t show any detrimental effects from our daily separations (though that doesn’t mean there weren’t/aren’t any). And I know I am beyond lucky to have had my wonderful mom to care for my child while I worked. I accept responsibility for the separation from my child from months 3-9, and for whatever results came from that! But I don’t pretend that it was optimal *for my daughter* to be separated from me every day for 10+ hours a day starting at the age of 3 months old. And that’s why eventually, by the time she was 10 months old, my husband and I made some serious changes in our lives so that one of us could be home with our daughter (and future children) full time during their early years. We’re not perfect, not even close – but we absolutely take responsibility for our choices, even the negative aspects.

Far, far too few parents in our culture are willing to take responsibility for their choices – instead, there’s just a bunch of defensiveness and namecalling (helicopter parent, breastfeeding loonie, martyr mom, condescending) when someone else expresses a different opinion.

terri on

I’ve come to expect some mothers on this site to comment in a judgemental, self-righteous manner. I don’t know why you are so unhappy in your lives that you are constantly looking to deride others. Maybe you’re the ones that need to get away.

She did what is best for her and her family. You have no idea what her life is. Nobody would say such harsh things about a father leaving his son for 7 days. My dad was away for months at a time serving our country and we have a great relationship.

Try to show some compassion and understanding towards others. It’s what you would be teaching your children, if you weren’t so busy patting yourselves on the back for being mothers of the year.

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