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Why my BFF didn’t do EC

GDF Podcast 62

My BFF didn't do Elimination Communication (or early potty training) with her baby. It even hurts to write it, but it’s the truth. Today I’m gonna share that story with you (and hopefully you can take away something useful from it - if you have a similar relationship in your life).

When we have so much knowledge on a subject, we want to share it. I’ve shared about EC and early potty training options with sooo many parents - so why wouldn’t a close friend or family member be open to the idea...especially when most moms I meet tell me "I would have done EC if I had known about it earlier”?

Today’s show is all about the heartache of missing this connection with my BFF, the unanswered offerings, and, most importantly, the core reasons why this new mom really didn’t feel like she could potty her infant instead of relying on the diaper for three years (Kellie bares it all in her honest answers!).

You will learn:

  • A few reasons why someone may choose not to do EC
  • How having support can make all the difference
  • How to support other moms, especially single moms
  • How to help support new parents in your town.

Links and other resources mentioned today:

Download the Transcript

If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:

Transcript download: Why my BFF didn't do EC

Watch the Video Version

If you want to watch me record today’s podcast episode, you can do that on my youtube version right here:

Thanks for Listening!

To help out the show and help more parents find out about EC:

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  • Share your thoughts by leaving a note in the comments section below!

How have you supported other mothers in their EC journey? Do you have any ideas or tips for our community? Please leave a comment below!

I look forward to chatting with you in the comments.

xx Andrea

Andrea Olson

About Andrea Olson

I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my husband and 5 children (newborn to 8 years old) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)

24 Comments

  1. Avatar Amy on October 1, 2019 at 7:50 am

    I can’t imagine how insanely hard it must be to be a single mum from the beginning. I hope your friend is totally comfortable with you sharing all those details about her situation.
    I personally didn’t EC despite having all the tools. My baby had very bad silent reflux, and by two weeks of age our household was full of pain, tears and despair which lasted for months. There was no chance I would’ve been able to notice his cues. He began to make the same face and cry for every need and become generally hard to read, which is common for reflux babies. Initially I tried to persist just with timing but it just got too hard. I’m really disappointed about not being able to do it.

    • Avatar LA on October 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Amy, I feel you about not being able to do EC because of silent reflux! The fact is that there are innumerable factors that make a super-involved program like EC difficult to apply in reality. I have had to go back to work at 4 months, and even working part-time, it has been difficult for me to figure out how to approach EC when I’m not with my baby all the time and cannot realistically expect his other caregivers to commit to EC when they have more than just my son to take care of.

      And I agree – I really hope Andrea’s friend is alright with having her story shared here… this post really bothered me. The tone, despite Andrea’s claim that she was being perfectly non-judgmental and is only “heartbroken” about her friend choosing the “lazy” way out…. it all comes off as supremely judgmental, with the continual emphasis on her friend being “lazy,” “checking out,” and “going to the beach” instead of focusing on teaching her baby EC.

      That sounds like a very lopsided way to portray a single mother’s dedication to raising her baby and herself as a new mom, alone, far away from support systems. I’m sure that Andrea meant well, but it sounds like she got hung up on the idea of her friend “going to the beach” and, in her imagination, this became some kind of carefree “beach life” scenario where her friend was off lounging in the sun while her baby sits somewhere, unattended and miserable in dirty diapers. The reality is more likely that her friend occasionally went to the beach with her baby as a desperate way to try and find balance and get them both some fresh air, while using every bit of energy and strength she had to just keep things together, to make the rent, to buy enough food, to heal herself, to feel that she could meet each newborn milestone without scrambling… to not just crumble under the intense loneliness, isolation and pressure. To reduce that whole struggle, without knowing all the details, to “being lazy” and taking the “iPhone parent” route of non-engagement – THAT is really, outrageously judgmental.

      Andrea, EC is important to you, obviously, and it’s wonderful that you care so much that you have committed to sharing your experiences with us all. But like any evangelist, if you can’t break the mindset of “this is the only correct way to do it; if you don’t do this you’re WRONG and should feel remorse for being wrong”… you’re going to ultimately only connect with people who already think like you.

      It doesn’t sound like that’s what you want: you want to spread this knowledge to fellow mothers who need it, not to moms who are already doing it with relative ease and plenty of support. A great place to begin would be to step back, ask your friend in private how she truly feels, without jumping in to label her, and promise her that you’ll really listen this time, even if it hurts to hear that you weren’t a good friend in her time of need.

      In the meantime, I have to agree with Ian: although I’ve been following your posts and have been interested in trying EC soon, your tone and approach here are a huge turn-off. Maybe find a coach who can help you locate your biases and tone things down to be more neutral, less judgmental, if you don’t want to lose parents who are simply working hard to keep things together and don’t have spare energy to defend themselves against accusations of laziness.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:27 pm

      Don’t be hard on yourself Amy, you tried and it didn’t fit your family. That’s okay. I am so sorry your little one had reflux, it is so difficult to deal with. My Twyla had reflux as well, turned out it was caused by a tongue tie. xx Andrea

  2. Avatar Marianna on October 1, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Thank you Andrea for an amazing podcast as always. I completely understand this single mom and her perspective. I’m in a similar situation. I had a great birt after a healthy but very stressful pregnancy. In the weeks and months after the birth I never got to properly rest or properly eat. and despite my physical recovery was kind of ok my mental and psychological one is still a work in progress. I had dark times despite the fact that I long-awaited this rainbow baby after we lost out first conceived. I longed to be a mom but because of my exhaustion I failed at the thing I cared about the most, which breastfeeding. I was heartbroken. I read the go diaper free book during pregnancy and I was so excited to start EC, but so far it’s been 5 months I couldn’t get the chance to do it, because I desperately wanted to just have some quiet time and make things as easy as possible. I needed to be lazy in order not to go crazy. When you are a tired first time mom any additional thing to do is too much. You can barely do the basics. You’re so tired you can’t read your baby, you don’t know if this whole thing was a good idea, you don’t know how you’re gonna survive and you don’t know if you’ll be able to properly care for your baby. You feel like a failure, and accomplished moms scare you, because they remind you of how much of a failure you are. I would never say to a mom that she is a failure because of course we all do our best. All moms are heroes no matter what. But in reality your baby doesn’t get the best he can just because you did your best. You would want to move mountains for your baby but your best is not enough because you are at the end of yourself.
    This society fails mom’s every single time. No one helps you find and empower your motherly instincts. A natural pregnancy, birth and postpartum and natural care of a baby are something out of normality. And any idea different than normality that you have, you have to fight for it and justify yourself with everyone. Everyone doubts you and questions you and tells you what to do. It’s hard to fight for your ideas when you’re tired and overwhelmed and trying to find your new identity. EC is particularly tricky if done on our own. You have to make people study in order to help you. You have to convince them that it is a good idea. And maybe they already think you’re a hippie because you want to co-sleep or hold the baby when he cries. Even in a supportive family you always have to remind them that you are the mother and that they have to take you seriously. It’s a lot of work and not all moms have enough energy to do it. So you just throw in the towel and think you’re going to be fine in the end, because everyone potty trains at one point and kids end up just fine.
    I honestly think I’m too weak to be an accomplished mom, because I can barely take care of my health or have a proper nutrition while caring for my baby. But I believe that if I had baby experience previous to my pregnancy, if I saw young mothers do their thing when I myself was younger, if I were part of a community of mothers, things wouldn’t be so hard.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story Marianna. I am so sorry you are struggling, it sounds like you may have PPD. I hope you are seeking help. I agree completely, mothers are sent home with a brand new little human and no support. Even friends and family often don’t give the support that is needed. I will say that first and foremost you need to take care of yourself as a mother. Even if you can’t do everything you hoped with your baby, a healthy mom is the best gift in the world. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, tell those around you exactly what you need. xx Andrea

  3. Avatar Arian on October 1, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    I am a worse version of your friend Kelly 🤦‍♀️
    The biggest thing holding me from EC is pure laziness, my son is 18 months already. I listen to all your podcast & I know it works because I did try for a little bit, but then stopped bcuz of laziness & no support from society as well. Just want wish you all the best ❤️

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:32 pm

      That’s okay Arian! He’s the perfect age to potty train. Don’t be afraid to dive right in. I actually recommend just doing it, don’t bother telling family and friends. You’ll just get a lot of unsolicited advice and naysayers. You’ve got this! xx Andrea

  4. Avatar Jenny on October 1, 2019 at 4:14 pm

    I’m a new mom and EC saved my sanity! Maybe its a mindset thing. At the end of the day its priority… what are you willing to give up to get get what you want? My husband is away every three weeks so I solo it. I learned a long time ago that every life event is a choice and how you feel about is your choice. Take responsibility. for it. You will never be a victim again because if you created it… you can CHANGE it. The thought of changing a daiper instead of just flushing it away grosses me out. I love seeing how my baby sing and enjoys sitting on the top hat potty, sometimes even when I miss read her signs and she doesnt go… she sits there happy.

    • Avatar Mandy B. on October 1, 2019 at 5:12 pm

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:35 pm

      I am so glad to hear EC has been a wonderful experience for you Jenny! Sometimes it really does make a difference to feel like you have control over something simple, like where your baby goes potty. xx Andrea

  5. Avatar Sarah Kaye on October 1, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    Just wanted to take a minute to send some love after a few negative-vibe comments. It seems clear to me that you and your BFF were on the same page about you sharing this info, and obviously you know your friend and her situation and how to communicate with/relate to her better than any reader/listener here. I totally get your heaviness of heart here because I feel this way with a lot of our lifestyle choices (natural home birth, EC, vegan, etc.). I don’t judge those who don’t subscribe to similar practices, but when I have a close friend/family member who clearly expresses interest and agreement with a certain practice or mindset, but then has issues with the follow through due to lack of support, it’s hard to see. (Remember guys, Andrea said *years* before this is a practice her BFF saw firsthand and *wanted* Andrea to support her in and help her practice! This is why Andrea constantly checked in and offered any assistance via phone while her new mom BFF was living far away!)

    I hated seeing those negative comments. I get where those listeners were coming from, but I think they just misread and misunderstood your approach and presentation of the situation. It sucks to be berated for being misunderstood. I love your work and honestly could not have made it in EC without your book and podcasts! Keep up the great work! <3

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Sarah. Absolutely, I’m not judging at all. I just felt so terrible that my friend felt she didn’t have the support to do something she had wanted to do. Mothers need more support, that’s the takeaway! xx Andrea

  6. Avatar Kay on October 1, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    You sound so rude. I highly doubt she was checked out taking care of a baby by herself. Just because you have all the support and all the Time in the world to do whatever you choose to do with your baby doesn’t mean that she had to do that.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Kay, The point of this wasn’t to sound rude or judgmental. I know she didn’t have the support to do EC, and I feel terrible about that. The takeaway from this should be what I said at the end, “If you’re near other moms who are drowning in motherhood, please be there for them.”. xx Andrea

  7. Avatar Nechama on October 1, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    A handful of people react with inspiration when they see me EC my baby. MOST people say “there are too many things going on as a mom, I just wouldn’t be able to handle another thing to be on top of”. it IS easier to use diapers, without a question. I wouldn’t call it lazy, just busy, perhaps overwhelmed, and like you said, different priorities. EC is very important to me, but even to me not as important as my own peace of mind, say, or my children’s healthy food intake. It can’t come at the expense of anything. If its working in harmony with all of those other things then great. But honesty with yourself is crucial. Thanks for sharing this story.

    • Avatar CD on October 2, 2019 at 8:26 pm

      Wow…. I am honestly shocked at such a judgmental podcast from you. I read your book 6 years ago, did part time EC with two of my three kids, and have been following you on and off ever since. Andrea, you are an amazing woman with all that you‘ve accomplished!
      But, I think sometimes when you get very deep into something it is easy to lose perspective. As much as I love EC, please remember that it‘s only ONE of the many things that a loving, dedicated parent can do to connect with thier child.

      I did EC with the first two kids, but was too lazy (or overwhelmed….) to do it with the third. At the time I felt really bad, but now that‘s all behind us, and you know what? it‘s OK.

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:44 pm

        Hi! I am sorry this sounded judgmental to you. I fully realize EC isn’t for everyone. I just felt bad that my friend wanted to practice EC, had planned on it, but ultimately wasn’t able to because she was drowning in motherhood. I wish she had had the support she needed to feel like anything was possible. xx Andrea

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      You’re right Nechama, everyone has different priorities. Every family has to find what works best for them. I do think when mothers have more support they feel more capable of doing the things they want to do, instead of being in survival mode. xx Andrea

  8. Avatar Mandy B. on October 2, 2019 at 8:04 pm

    Okay. Let’s all keep a little perspective. I never heard Andrea say that parents who don’t do EC are lazy…I heard her say that her friend said it about herself. Some people do check out. Some people don’t do EC because they are lazy. Andrea is passionate about caring for babies and their needs. Andrea runs a couple businesses and cares for her family while helping others, so let’s give her a bit of a break. I wouldn’t say she has more time than anyone else! Andrea has encouraged me to simplify my life so that I can do what I want to care for my baby and work toward starting a business. Andrea has changed my life for the better.

    • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you for your kind words Mandy! xx Andrea

  9. Avatar Mandy B. on October 8, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    It seems like many people are missing the moral of the story. Support those who feel overwhelmed, especially single parents! Oh well. Thanks again Andrea!

    • Avatar Mandy B. on October 8, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      …My last comment sounded a bit condescending…not my intent. I do think people misunderstood what I think Andrea was saying. I gathered that she really believed in her friend’s ability to do EC. She encouraged us to support those who might be feeling overwhelmed. Laziness is often a symptom of feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated, defeated. Sometimes we make choices not to do important things because we don’t think we can. I think anyone can choose to do EC if they decide to. EC looks different in your house than mine. You might just catch a couple or maybe you catch them all! I think Andrea believed in her friend. Let’s support each other where we are at, but let’s not stay there. Let’s all continue to grow and do our best with EC and life in general! Love&Thanks

      • Avatar Andrea Olson on October 13, 2019 at 2:49 pm

        I agree Mandy, the point of the story was missed by most people. I wasn’t judging my friend, just trying to figure out why she hadn’t done something she had planned on and wanted to do. Finding out it was a lack of support broke my heart, that I couldn’t be there for her. The message I wanted to send was for people to support the mothers they know, be there, help. Give them the confidence to do the things they want to do so they don’t feel like they’re drowning. xx Andrea

  10. Avatar Mandy B. on October 8, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    …My last comment sounded a bit condescending…not my intent. I think people misunderstood what I think Andrea was trying to say. I gathered that she really believed in her friend’s ability to do EC. She encouraged us to support those who might be feeling overwhelmed. Laziness is often a symptom of feeling defeated or overwhelmed. Sometimes we don’t do important things because we feel like we can’t. I think anyone can do EC, in one form or another, maybe it’s just catching a few or maybe catching them all! If someone can change a diaper, then they can potty their baby. Let’s support those who feel overwhelmed. Let’s all encourage each other to do the best with what we have and where we are at in the process; not just with EC. Let’s give her friend a little credit, just like Andrea did.

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