When it comes to motherhood, all bets are off. Any woman out there will tell you that having a baby changes everything. Motherhood is an incredibly important job AND an incredibly hard job. There is no instruction manual to follow. No step-by-step guide for guaranteed success. We all just take a deep breath and jump in.
That being said, there is an enormous amount of pressure for us to do everything the “right way” when it comes to raising a family. This pressure comes from expectations we’ve set for ourselves, as well as from outside sources such as our own moms, family members, friends and yes, even strangers. And probably the harshest critics of all: OTHER MOMS. No one tells you before you become a mom that you will soon be entering the Mommy Wars. A place where everyone has an opinion of what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing instead, and why they want to punch you in the throat.
I think one of the hottest topics when it comes to bringing up babies is breast-feeding. There seems to be this ongoing war between moms about the pressures to breast feed, the successes and failures, how long to do it (short-term, extended), and the thought that bottle-feeding (not only formula, but breast milk as well- yikes!) somehow makes you inferior as a mother. This is all a bunch of malarkey. While everyone clearly understands that breast milk is best, there are barriers that keep 100% of all moms from breast-feeding. Some of these include milk production (or lack thereof), premature deliveries, latching problems, medications, single-parenting, working full-time, lack of support, etc., etc. Add to those the fact that breast-feeding is certainly not all sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, and lemon drops all of the time.
Breast-feeding is hard work. Bleeding nipples, cracked nipples, inverted nipples, flat nipples, blah, blah, ouch. Exhaustion, confusion, infection. Cradle hold, cross-over hold, football hold. The list goes on and on. You know what else is hard work? Yep, you guessed it- everything else that goes along with having a new baby in your life.
I am a breast-feeding mom. I extended breast-fed both of my children well past one year of age. I was extremely lucky and my babies were perfect little latchers. I had a great supply (I seriously could have fed a small country) and everything just seemed to click for me. What does this mean for you? Really, it should mean nothing. I am not in competition with you. I do what’s best for my kids and my family and I would expect you to do the same.
The greatest caveat to achieving and maintaining the health of my children and myself is AWARENESS. It is unacceptable for me to “just go with the flow” so to say when it comes to decisions that impact my family. It takes education, tons of reading, mucho support, and positive assurance to stand firm in my beliefs. I take what I learn and apply it to my life as best I can. If others warrant my opinion or advice, then I give it. I’ve created this blog to help, not to divide.
The bottom line: Be informed, confident and secure in the choices you make for your kids and there will be absolutely no room for others to knock you down. Be willing to have an open mind and to think critically outside that big old box.
I can only hope that sometime soon we see motherhood as a journey we’re all facing together.
So ladies, whatta ya say-
Shall we hang up the gloves?
Hang Up the Gloves is an oldie but goodie. It was published March 2, 2012 on newhealthom.com