Thursday, May 10, 2012

Are you MOM enough?

I am not even sure why this is the title regarding attachment parenting in the upcoming issue of TIME magazine, but it is. The cover (which you can view here) shows a mom breastfeeding her son, who is now 3 (which is salacious and will sell articles and make TIME lots of money - I personally cannot wait to read it a year from now in a doctor's waiting room).

What is this title supposed to mean? That you are not mom enough if you didn't breastfeed? Or if you only did it for 3 months, 6 months, a year? At what point do become mom "enough"? I have written before about my issues with never measuring up, about never being "enough" and the depression and anxiety that it caused me, and here is yet another magazine cover trying to convince me that somehow I did it wrong - again.

This article is based on the idea of attachment parenting, one of the most outspoken (and famous) proponents of that is Mayim Bialik (yep, Blossom).

I chose to breastfeed my daughter. It was probably the hardest thing that I have ever done up until that point. It hurt - SO much more than anyone that has ever nursed a baby will ever tell you. I had one friend equate it with driving nails (NAILS!) into your nipple every two hours every day. I had another friend that said that it was like someone was sawing at your fun bags with a cheese grater. I can't say that these are over-exaggerations. I was thankful for the morphine drip for the first 12 hours post C-section because it numbed me just enough to not scream and cry every time that darn baby would wake up.

But, those moments got better as she learned what she was doing and I learned what I was doing, and we fell into a comfortable routine.

Then, I was hospitalized when she was 8 weeks old and placed on IVs full of antibiotics. And they told me that I could not feed her, that she would need to have formula while I was in the hospital. Know what hurts worse than nursing a newborn? Not being able to nurse a newborn that is screaming in your face because she smells you and she is hungry, but she won't take the bottle of formula and there is not a darn thing you can do about it.

That hurts pretty damn bad.

Guess what she's doing...
Breastfeeding for her first year is what worked for our family. It is what enabled me to sleep soundly with her in the bed with me each night, instead of having to wake up to prepare bottles of formula. Co-sleeping with my child is what worked for our family, there was just something about hearing her breathe and feeling her move next to me that enabled me to get a good, full night's rest rather than waking up every so often to check on her. All night long. Holding her and wearing her in a sling (for the short time that she would let me) enabled me to function without the screaming when all she wanted to do was be held by her momma after a long day at daycare or with dad. .

But I recognize that it is not what works for all families.

The comments about a woman caring for her own child, in the way that she and her husband have agreed is right for their family, are disgusting. And there are a lot of them. The indignation and perversion that these people have for a woman attempting to educate the public about the choices that she has made for her family and for her life are revolting. From what I can tell, her blog is shut down from too many people trying to go there to - to what? To blast her for doing what she feels is right for her family? To tell her how disgusting that they think that she and her family are? To spew their hate and perversion at someone who was only attempting to educate?

So, yeah, I'm mom enough. I am mom enough to read and listen and learn about how another parent is choosing to raise her children. I am mom enough to teach my child tolerance of others, even when they make different choices than we would. I am mom enough to admit that I fail on a daily basis as a parent. I am mom enough to admit that I was eager to wean my daughter at a year.

I am mom enough to recognize that the internet is not as anonymous as people seem to believe, that the people that are venting their disgust, anger, and repulsion towards are parents as well as people's children, sisters, aunts, etc.

To everyone that feels that they have a right to an opinion about what a mother does with her own child and her own body, the BEST thing you can do for your child is what works for you and your family. Beyond that, it really is no one else's business.*

*Unless you are abusing them, then it is everyone's business and you should be prepared for when that day comes, because no one - NO ONE - has the right to abuse a child and the universe (or God) will get you for that. 

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