Motherhood is tiring. I’m not referring to the actual mothering part of motherhood. I am referring to the judgment. The rules.
C-Section vs. Natural
Formula vs. Breast
Organic vs. Not
Wooden Toys vs. Plastic Toys
Co-Sleeping vs. Crib
Sleep training in general.
The list is infinite.
What inspired me to start this blog was that I always felt that I was on the wrong side of parenting. I was never parenting the “correct” way. It took me awhile to realize that there is no one correct way. The correct way is what works best for you. I’m of the belief of, why try to be a second rate imitation of someone else when I can be first rate of myself?
A was a c-section baby. Her birth was traumatic. I was in labor for 26 hours. I was bleeding. A lot. My baby was in distress. It was time to intervene. They wheeled me away to the operating room. “It won’t hurt.” they told me. “You will only feel pressure.” They were wrong. I felt pain. I felt cutting. They got A out in about 3 minutes. Then because of the pain, they knocked me completely out while they stitched me up. I don’t remember very much about my baby being born. Am I sad about that? Yes. I wish I remembered more. More important though, my baby and I were healthy. I am much happier about that.
A few months after my baby was born, I was telling someone about my c-section. They stopped me and said “Wait…was it really necessary? Did you have to have it?”
“No.” I thought, “I just wanted to get cut open for fun.” Were they crazy? Of course I had to have it.
I was telling somebody else another time. My story was met with a deep sigh. “Oh man….why do doctors push so much for c-sections? I am POSITIVE you would have had your baby naturally if you had just waited. The body knows what it’s doing.” “Well, actually…” I interjected. They continued, “ They induced you too soon.” “I was already over a week late.” I told them. Another smug look. “Well, how do you know that was your actual due date?” I was getting frustrated with the conversation. “It was necessary, and it saved mine AND my baby’s life!”
I was expecting empathy from people, but was instead getting shamed. As if I didn’t try hard enough.
“You’ll try for a natural one though next time, right?” people always added.
I actually wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through that traumatizing process again, and I definitely didn’t see where it was anyones business if I did or didn’t.
I learned to keep my mouth shut. I would see people’s Facebook posts bragging about how they had their baby naturally. How was I less of a woman? Just because my baby was cut out of my stomach? “Do you ever wonder what it’s like to actually give birth?” people would ask. “Well. I’m pretty sure what I did was childbirth.”
It was heroic to have a baby, but only if you did it the “right way.” Apparently, 26 hours of labor, almost dying, and then having a major surgery, wasn’t heroic enough.
A was also formula fed. I expected feedback on this one. It is very important to a lot of people. It was very important to me as well. A was breast fed for the first little while. For many reasons, I was not able to continue it.
There are articles. Articles informing formula feeders of the damage that they are doing to their kids with their selfish choice. Lowering their IQ’s, increasing their risk of cancer, robbing them of the amazing bond that can only be formed with your child through breast feeding.
I believe breast milk is the first choice. I believe that the mother’s antibodies are passed through the milk and do help the baby’s health. I believe that there is a bond that is formed through breastfeeding.
However, I also believe that breastfeeding does not always work. I believe that we have a great alternative. I believe that there is a bond that comes from feeding your baby with a bottle. I’ve felt it.
As hard as it was to get up with my babies in the night, I loved sitting there feeding them. Watching their faces. Watching them drink and fall asleep in my arms again. As hard as nights are, I feel like that is how I built my bond with A.
I don’t like that is it is hard for women who breastfeed. I don’t like that people feel like they have to hide it. I also don’t like that it is hard for women who formula feed. We are arguing over the best way to love our babies. It’s so absurd.
I wish both methods of feeding were more supported, and that we didn’t argue so much about what is best for our babies. No situation is alike and what is best for one, is not necessarily best for another.
I hated feeling guilty checking that box on the well-child check up forms that said my baby was formula fed. I hated apologizing to everyone about why I was formula feeding my child. I hated that every time A got sick, people would point out, “well, she is formula fed.”
What I have learned from being the “atypical” mother at times, is just how important it is to support others and not to judge. I definitely judged. In my frustration with feeling judged, I judged back. What makes us all so wonderful is how different we are. The best piece of mothering advice I received was this: I was asking for advice on potty training A. I told her that this book told me to do it this way, but I just didn’t know how I was going to make that work with my current situation. She said, “ Don’t do it. The best method is what works for you. If taking a longer time to potty train works for you, then do it. If a shorter method works for you, then do it. That is the best method.”