Let me say, I love being a mother. I love taking care of my son, I love watching him grow…labor and delivery wasn’t a cake walk, but I love what I have, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
But you know what I can’t stand? Other mothers. I’m sure you’ve heard it before. But it’s the truth. If you have ever stepped foot onto one of the ten million “mommy boards” online, you’ll maybe get a taste of what I’m talking about. It becomes a veritable pissing contest over who is the best mom.
“Oh, I breastfed my first baby from the time he was born until he left for college!”
“I’m going to do baby led weaning, but when I do, I just know I’m going to use all organic, non-GMO, gluten-free products.”
“I would NEVER feed my baby cereal!”
“If a mother doesn’t even TRY to breastfeed her infant, I consider her selfish.”
Those same comments go on and on, and are a frequent part of any trip to any board that claims it’s for moms. Now sure, not all women on these boards are like this. But the ones that are tend to be extremely vocal about it. And if you’re a first time mother, you can leave these places feeling like you’re the worst mother in the universe, instead of someone who is doing the best they can for their child.
I’m lucky that although I am a new mother, I have a wonderful support system around me. My mother and mother-in-law are both within a 30 minute driving distance, and they are both only a phone call away. So when I was making decisions about how to raise my son, I got a lot of input from both of them.
And I made a decision that has gotten me a lot of flak from the mothers in the community. I decided to Formula Feed from day one.
I’ve been judged. I’ve been called selfish. I’ve heard mothers extol at length the benefits of Breastfeeding, even for a few days. I mean, seriously, do these women not understand the inundation that most women get once they become pregnant? From your first appointment, the doctors tell you all of the benefits of breastfeeding. It’s not that I was ignorant of this information. But it wasn’t the choice for me.
I had a particularly difficult labor and delivery, complete with an episiotomy, which made recovery horrible. For at least the first day after delivery, I couldn’t get out of the hospital bed without immense pain. That meant that I wasn’t getting up to change or feed the baby. My husband did. And he was fantastic. And in order for him to share in that duty, we went with formula.
Another reason is that my milk never fully came in, and I didn’t really want it to come it. I was scared. And uncomfortable with the idea of breastfeeding. I know that it’s a natural thing, but coming from a family where it wasn’t done, just made me feel uncomfortable with the idea. Plus, I didn’t want to make a commitment I couldn’t keep. I had heard the horror stories of pain and sleepless nights…I know what kind of a person I am. If I had had to deal with that on top of my recovery, I would not have made it, and I know I would have felt guilty as a mother. A failure.
But you know what? I don’t need to justify my reasons to anyone. Why anyone feels the need to judge me for this, I will never understand. Does my baby get fed? Is he happy and healthy? Is he growing like he should? Yes, to all of these. R is four months old now, and weighs close to 18 lbs. He sleeps like a champ, from about 10pm until 8am. He’s happy and bright, is hitting his milestones, and has yet to be sick…AND I’ve brought him into the school where I work…twice.
Instead of making other women feel bad about their decisions, we need to work on building each other up. Motherhood is hard. Fulfilling. Rewarding. Magnificent. But friggin’ hard. I think it would be a lot easier if we had a support system of other mothers telling us that we’re doing what’s right for us and our babies, instead of making us feel like we’re inadequate.
Has anyone else experienced this judgement from other moms? Are you one of those mothers who judges others? Let me know in the comments! I look forward to hearing your stories!
~Aly, aka The Mommy Gamer