I think support is crucial to a breastfeeding relationship. I was fortunate to have it in spades and chose to become a LLL Leader to be a source of support for others. I acknowledge LLL is not for everyone; these are volunteer mothers who have been through a rigorous training period, but they are people first. And sometimes people can be over the top. I've surrounded myself with Leaders and women who live the idea, "meet the mother where SHE is." If you want to nurse for 6 weeks, 6 months, or one year and beyond, I want to support YOU in making that happen.
To all the women who have come to me with questions about getting your child to the breast, or nursing joys, or how to wean, I hope that I have fulfilled my goal (which is also LLL's) of providing mother to mother support. If I have not been helpful or come across as judgemental, this was never my intent. But if I did, will you please let me know? I like constructive feedback - how else will I grow?
Breastfeeding made me a better mother, but it doesn't make me better than you. It made me a better mother for my sons because it set me on a path of motherhood that worked for me. I know I just went nutso on the italics there, but I must be clear. There is much too much mommy competition going on and that’s what I want to avoid. In real life, I have friends who never breastfed and friends who did for varying lengths of time. I would never, ever say to their face the mean and cutting things people say with the anonymity of the internet. I don't say them online either. There shouldn't be sides. It would be so much better if we could just compliment one another on not sending our kids running to therapy (yet), give a real or virtual pat on the back, and be on our merry way.
Yet, the whole notion of opposing teams is perpetuated. Case in point?
|Photo credit: http://lightbox.time.com/2012/05/10/parenting/#1|
Are you mom enough? Really? Way to imply there is one right way of parenting. Well, there is, actually - the right one for you!
The divisiveness is driving me up a wall. The Mommy Wars, childfree feminists versus feminist moms, Democrats and Republicans who refuse to cross the aisle ... Seriously, I've had enough. As we often encourage in LLL, "take what you like, and leave the rest." If you don't agree with a political position or a parenting philosophy or a feminist stance, just leave it! Don't wield your words to hurt your opposition. Even better, don't look at it as opposition, but rather a different point of view. Simple as that. It should be, anyway.
In all of this, shame on Time for using a headline and a picture intended to stir controversy and create sides. Mothers are rightfully hurt by the implication they are not "mom enough" and AP supporters are frustrated at the misrepresentation of the parenting style that suited their family best. Crummy mothers exist. And what defines them as such? It isn't whether or not they breastfed or co-slept or used baby carriers. No, it is the ones who beat their kids or are verbally disdainful and resentful of the kid in front of the child. Those of us, the ones who love our kids and have bad days but are trying and always keep our family's best interests at heart - we are all mom enough!
If you are seeking more validation of that sentiment, @MariaMelee compiled a list of tweets that proclaimed we are enough and mine was included! Check out the blog to read how,
"Even when debates are manufactured and placed in front of us, it’s possible to rise above volleyed insults and defensiveness to recognize that we’re doing our best, and that the paths we choose are our right."
Do what works for your family. Do it with love. That's what matters.