By now I’m sure you’ve seen the latest issue of TIME. You know, the one with the mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old son? (I’m not posting it here because I think it’s gotten enough play in the media already. And, this is my blog and I think my baby is cuter. ) I find lots of things wrong with the magazine cover. (Can we say “humiliation” for that kid when his friends see the picture?) But what bothers me most isn’t the photo, it’s the text. The cover asks “Are You Mom Enough” Four simple words that pit mom against mom. Four simple words that cause judgement. That cause doubt. That cause pain. Just in time for Mother’s Day.
As if us moms don’t have enough on our plates, already. As if we don’t question every decision we make. As if we don’t feel like failures at least half the time. As if.
Now TIME tries to make us feel “less than” on Mother’s Day.
“Breast or bottle?” is one of the most personal choices a woman will ever make. It isn’t something that any mom takes lightly (at least none of the moms I know) It’s serious business. It’s about the nourishment, and survival of our babies. The breastfeeding choice brings many other decisions to be made, like, “how long?”
This cover (though, I have not yet read the article itself) seems to say “If you don’t breastfeed your kid through college, you’re a failure….you are not ‘Mom enough'” I know it’s about more than breast-feeding. Attachment parenting also includes things like baby-wearing and co-sleeping. But since the photo is clearly the big topic of discussion, breastfeeding is what I’m addressing here.
Avery is almost 6 weeks old. For the last 6 weeks I have struggled with breastfeeding. It was difficult from day one when every nurse at the hospital gave different (terrible, tear and rage inducing) advice. At first we thought it was just the typical learning curve and we’d “get it” sooner or later. But then we discovered (after a week of tears–both mine and Avery’s) that she couldn’t latch due to an issue with her palate. We got a shield, and things seemed to work, but she was ALWAYS hungry, and clearly not getting enough milk. I’ve worked with a lactation consultant, and my doctor, yet, for some reason, my body doesn’t produce much milk. Not a day (or feeding) goes by where I don’t feel upset that I can’t feed my baby as nature intended. (If we were animals, in the wild, Avery wouldn’t survive. She’d starve to death. Fortunately we’re not. And we have formula for those of us who are unable or who choose not to breastfeed. ) But I know I have done all I can do.
I was “Mom Enough” to ask for help.
I was “Mom Enough” to take fenugreek supplements for weeks.
I was “Mom Enough” to sit home for 72 hours and pump every 2 hours around the clock.
I was “Mom Enough” to keep trying even when I could only pump a heartbreaking few drops of milk.
I was “Mom Enough” to ask for help (again)
I was “Mom Enough” to realize that it wasn’t working.
I was “Mom Enough” to know that feeding my baby was the most important thing.
I was “Mom Enough” to see that Avery was thriving on formula.
I am “Mom Enough” to do what is best for myself.
I am”Mom Enough” to do what is best for my child.
I am “Mom Enough” to know that each mom makes choices based on what works for her, and her baby.
I am “Mom Enough” not to judge those choices.
I am “Mom Enough” to love my baby girl, and know what is best for her.
Maybe I’m not “Mom enough” to breastfeed my child into adulthood, but I am”Mom Enough” to know that I am “OK” with that.
We are all “Mom Enough” despite what some magazine covers and other, nasty and cruel moms may try to make us feel.
If you are interested in this topic, Carla from “All of Me Now” is running a series on How The Mommy Wars Were Won. It will address topics just like this, and talk abut how we can stop fighting and realize that, as moms, we’re all in this together. I wrote a post for it, and hope to write more. Check it out!