I thought I was okay with baby ear piercing, but watching it is awful
I thought that because I can remember what it felt like to get my ears pierced as a tween, it probably wasn’t that bad of a thing to have done to a baby.
I thought that because it’s cultural tradition to pierce a baby’s ears in some parts of the world it wasn’t my place to say if it’s right or wrong.
I thought that I probably wouldn’t choose to have it done if I had a daughter, but since I only have sons it wasn’t up to me to speak about it one way or another. I opted out of having to form an opinion.
But just recently, for the very first time, I saw a video of it being done. I watched as this smiley baby girl put all of her trust in her parent, then found herself screaming in pain. Her face.
crazy to think I’ve been a parent for a dozen years now and have never before seen a video of a baby getting her ears pierced, but here we are. Through one 2-minute clip I’ve gone from deliberately neutral on the topic to feeling awful about it.
I wondered if it could be just that one clip that was so bad, so I clicked on another.
A voice off camera reacts to the baby’s cries by insisting, “But you look so pretty,” as though to say, ‘Never mind the pain, little girl, your appearance is more important!’
Faced for the first time with the reality of what baby ear piercing looks like, I find my tune changing. It’s not the same as when I elected to have it done as a tween and I signed up for the pain. It’s not the same as getting your baby shots, as there’s no greater purpose to the procedure beyond aesthetic. And, what’s hitting me most, is just because it’s tradition for some doesn’t mean that it doesn’t beg being reexamined.
There’s a line in a Tim Minchin song that I now can’t shake from my head. It goes: “I don’t believe just ’cause ideas are tenacious it means that they’re worthy.”
It makes me a little uncomfortable to have an opinion and share it, to pick a side and risk making waves. I’ve avoided doing so on a variety of topics for most of my life, but I’m finding that as I age I’m having a harder time not looking at things and evaluating them with my own critical eye. It’s not particularly fun, and sometimes it means realising I didn’t always make the best choices for my own babies.
I don’t plan to go on any sort of crusade against baby ear piercing, but I also couldn’t go without saying anything. Perhaps I’m not the only one who has stuck their head blissfully in the sand on this one?
Ultimately this is only one of many topics we as parents ought to delve into rather than make assumptions about based on norms, and the weight of that is heavy. Some days I think I’m getting it right, but on just as many I’m not so sure. I hope there are points for trying.