Friday, January 5, 2018

Could We Squash the Mom Judgement Already?

Not a breastfed baby.
Last year, an Austin mom tore apart my Fed Is Best blog. It’s a topic sure to rile folks up, however, a truck driving into my gut is what I got in the comments.

I believe decisions should be about what works best for you and your family. In between me, my husband, and our daughter, we’ve got a lot of values, personalities, and perspectives to sift through when finding the best route.
I don’t expect each individual to agree, but I do expect respect for our family’s journey. 
This mindset is how I approached my blog about our breastfeeding journey, which quickly became an exclusively pumping journey. Her comments included that not breastfeeding was akin to feeding your child Oreos, dangerous, the bare minimum right above abuse and neglect. The commenter implored mothers to do more than keep their children alive, to help them thrive. With breastfeeding being the only way to achieve such status. In a final stab, the commenter said that she wouldn’t get all emotional like me if she couldn’t breastfeed.

Her words were hurtful as they weren’t about taking a different path but about trashing our path, our journey, our story. We lived that story. It was deeply personal and not only took vulnerability but the willingness to take myself to a place of hurt to write. To have our story and my feelings toward the story be likened to dangerous was enraging, frustrating, and par for the course.

Her words matched the online sentiment when I desperately searched for support during my breastfeeding struggle. Her words echoed what I heard from family, friends, and strangers. While I did have supportive folks in my life, it wasn’t the norm.

My gosh, why not make support the norm? There are days when motherhood feels like a series of battles you can’t win. I’m scolded for feeding my child breastmilk from a bottle while a friend is scolded for breastfeeding in public. There are days when motherhood feels like a competition. Who lost the most weight after baby? Whose child slept through the night first?

Being a mom is a wonderful, but tough job. Your heart is already walking around outside your body. Adding in the emotional energy of being judged by other moms is exhausting. Part of me says, “Shake it off, Court” and the other part of me wants to tell the other mom she’s a jerk. I’ve landed somewhere in between.

When the blog first came out last year,  I regretted sharing my story. The hateful comments opened a healing wound. I don't need to be seeking out hate, there's already plenty out there. But in retrospect I’m glad I shared my story. The more I share the more I can help combat the belief breastfeeding is the only way. The more I can help show there are many ways to tackle the same challenge.

So, I'll keep sharing and I hope you'll share your stories too. If we all did a bit more sharing and supporting, instead of judging others for having a different journey, our world might be a little kinder. And this world could use all the kindness it can get.

If you're struggling with breastfeeding or any other parenting challenge, I'm a great listener! Drop me a line or add a comment below!

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