Making Milk Is Not a Superpower-- Parenting is

Making Milk Is Not a Superpower-- Parenting is

I've been searching for a way to put this a diplomatically as possible. Still, I know this post will somehow inadvertently offend someone. Let me caveat this simply by saying I have no intention of offending anyone. I just want to address something that has bothered me for quite a while now.

For whatever reason, this statement has always bothered me. It's especially interesting that it troubles me because I breastfed my own daughter for 15 months. I suppose I should feel proud of myself when I see this statement, that I should feel empowered and strong, but honestly it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I think of how this statement affects the women who, for whatever reason, either choose not to breastfeed, or are incapable of doing so. I think about how it may make them feel and instead of feeling proud, I feel sad.

It almost feels as if this statement is telling other mother's that they are inferior to me because I breastfed. That is not the message I want to send to other mothers. I want other mothers to know that I respect their decisions; however different they may be from mine. I realize that I don't have all the answers when it comes to parenting--most days I feel as if I'm screwing my job up one day at a time. Like most mothers, I just try to do the best I can and hope like hell something sticks.

I wrote a post about birthing a few months ago that I feel really touches on this topic. For whatever reason, parenting and birthing styles have always been extremely controversial topics in the mommy circle. Whenever either topic comes up, the claws come out-- friends turn against friends, cruel things are said. I'm not trying to add to that. I just want other mother's to know that it's not breastfeeding, co-parenting, or homeschooling that make you a superhero; in the eyes of your child, loving them is what makes you the superhero.

So, how do you handle the stress of other parents who criticize your parenting decision?

  


11 comments :

  1. Ignore them! I also nursed my baby...and though I believe it is the best thing for them, there are extenuating circumstances that I don't pretend to know about. To each his own. Like you, it seems, I get a little annoyed with fellow nursing mothers who take their decision to the next level. What especially ruffles my feathers is the "nurse in" groups of women are doing at various public places to try and prove a point. I nursed in public but it was always discreetly and tastefully done...and no matter how natural it is, it is also natural in our society to view a woman's chest as a sexual object...so if I have to cover myself to give MYSELF respect, than I don't see the big deal...and I personally don't think it should be the norm to just whip it out wherever whenever without taking precautions to be modest.

    Sorry for the rant, but in my defense, you started it! ;)) Just kidding, and no offense to anyone! Just personal beliefs (I certainly would never approach a nursing mother to scold her!!!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol, sorry I got you all fired up. It's definitely a fiery topic though. I've nursed my daughter before in public and just as you, I've done it discretely. I recognize that just because I'm comfortable doing it doesn't mean that others are comfortable seeing it. I also realize that it's not MY place to try to parent someone else's child. A parent may choose not to expose their children to the nudity that comes as a result of breastfeeding. Who am I to try to force their hand? That is overstepping boundaries on so many levels.

      I've yet to see one woman who was discretely breastfeeding get harassed or told to leave. It's the one's that are purposely stirring the pot that have make us all look like breastfeeding Nazi's.

      Delete
  2. I wanted to breast feed my daughter, at the hospital I kept getting forgotten by the lactation consultants and my daughter just wasn't latching on. By the end of our first 24 hours I was emotionally drained (we had a hearing scare at that point too). I felt like such a failure asking the nurses for formula - and they did everything in their power to make sure I felt like a failure. They told me I wasn't trying hard enough and I wasn't doing the best thing for my child. Looking back now I am disgusted they treated me the way they did - but I was so overwhelmed I just took it and ugly cried when I first gave her the bottle. I tried again over the next few days but no milk ever appeared. Guess I wasn't supposed to breast feed after all.
    Now, just because it didn't work for me doesn't mean I am offended by other women breast feeding. I don't agree with women being singled out because they nurse in public etc, but what works for one doesn't always work for the other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry to hear that Holly. And that's exactly why I wrote this post. I know how challenging it can be, especially if your body doesn't want to cooperate. As I said before, it's not breastfeeding that makes your child love you, it's the fact that you love and take care of them.

      I wish people could find some sort of middle ground when it comes to breastfeeding and understand that different people have different circumstances.

      Delete
  3. Great post! I don't have kids, but I can see how some people come across as if their decision to do ________ is better than someone else's decision not to. I already have some ideas of some things I want to do when I do have kids, but I never want to come across as if my idea is the best way. I think you have to do what you feel will work best for your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Megan, parenting is a scary, scary world sometimes. I was unfortunately shocked to discover just how rude and judgmental mothers can be to other mothers. That said, I'm sure you'll love being a mama! Come on over to the dark side. We have the animal shaped cookies ;)

      Delete
  4. Well said Reese. The whole mommy thing where this is better than that is so overdone. Sometimes I wonder if people just want to feel superior or create controversy. Or if that's the way they really feel?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle, I actually listened to two ladies arguing in the supermarket over organic food choices. Incredible. And scary. It's like we're so convinced that our way is the "right way" that we are trying to force others to live as we do.

      I don't necessarily relish the idea of another Reese running around who thinks and speaks just like I do. I love the fact that we're all unique and have our own opinions. That's what makes us human. We need to embrace our differences, not fight against them. Think of how many worldwide issues we could end if we all just agreed to disagree and focused on how we're living our lives and not how others are choosing to live theirs?

      Delete
  5. Hi Reese. I think you are so right on with this. It actually fits in so well with the theme of the week (did you know today is Public Display of Breast Feeding Day??) AND I wrote a post that I think goes right along with what you just said. I hope you'll stop by and read it. Because you are right, not all of us have an easy time breastfeeding, and it's unfair for other mothers to make us feel inferior! http://katbiggie.com/the-boob-olution/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great timing! I did read your post and loved it. (sorry about the short novel I left in the comment section ;)

      Delete
  6. I breastfed my daughter for 14 months and I am currently breastfeeding my son. Honestly, I do not feel any special power from BFing. Some women claim that they feel a certain bond when they BF. All I feel is a baby sucking on my boob. Sorry. So I feel the same way you do. I'm happy just being a Mom BFing doesn't make me feel any more special. Yes. I am happy that I am able to give my kids some of the best milk on Earth but I don't feel any better than the next Mom because of it.

    ReplyDelete

Sharing is caring ;)