Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mommy Wars

As I was walking out of work last night, I caught a glimpse of Grace's birthday picture, stuck inside my ID case. I looked at her pudgy little cheeks and thought, I'm so proud we made it a whole year with breastfeeding.

...and then I instantly felt like I had to qualify that. To myself?! Yeah, I know. Anyway. Because breastfeeding is up there with vaccines, cosleeping, and circumcision in the world of mommy wars. When we want to be hard on each other, we chooses any of these topics to judge each other, look down on other people's decisions, and assure ourselves that our way is best and anyone who disagrees is wrong. And, gasp, maybe they don't even CARE!!!

It's not okay. We have to stop being so shitty to each other. And the thing is, I think we all know that. But we're all so insecure about what we're doing, and looking for validation that we're doing the right thing, and sometimes the way we do that is by looking down on other people's decisions. Other times, we've decided something after careful thought and research, and our choice seems like the ONLY choice. And sometimes we're just being assholes.

So I instantly feel guilty for being proud of something like nursing for a year, because it feels like I'm looking down on all the other moms who chose differently. And I'm really not. I mean, when I feel proud about having run a marathon, I'm not looking down on everyone who didn't, and nobody would think that for a second. Nobody would say, "Yeah, well you know, I tried really hard to run a marathon and I coudln't," or "You know there are other valid choices besides running a marathon. Walking a 5k isn't rat poison." (Ok, that analogy doesn't play out as well, heh.) So why do I have to qualify this? Is it something so totally unique and personal about motherhood that makes us all feel so defensive of our choices?

I am proud that I nursed Grace for a year. It was a lot of hard work, teaching her how to latch on, coaxing her back when she went on strike, pumping for what felt like hours at a time, carrying around extra weight for a whole year so I wouldn't risk my supply, and on and on. And I can be proud of that without judging anyone else, without thinking they made the wrong choice or judging them. But it doesn't really feel like it...

I don't have anything profound to say here, obviously, just something that's been rattling in my brain since yesterday.


Brandy said...

you should be proud! it's an accomplishment. a great one. I was formula feeder and I still think it's awesome you did a year!

Crabby Apple Seed: said...

thanks Brandy:) I think it's hard because ALL of us should be proud to survive the first year, and I genuinely don't want to take away from anyone's experience, ya know?

Laura said...

I'm proud of you, lol. :) Now when people ask me "Do you actually know anybody who made it a whole year?" I can say "Actually, I do."

good job there mama. They could make battleships from the stuff you're made of.

Mom and Sons said...

Kathy – agreed! I’m sorry … I think we should have t-shirts made up that say we made it a year. It’s hard work – and it’s not just hard work in the beginning … it’s hard work all the way to the end! I kept joking that I wanted my damn gold star … because it would be the only recognition I ever received for putting myself through hell (granted - mostly upon my own doing) for an entire year to successfully feed my child. Do you ever think that our children will thank us for it?