Monday, July 18, 2011

Last night I went to my first La Leche League Group meeting. This may sound odd as Grace is already 6 months old and we have been successfully breastfeeding for 6 months, but I figured it would be a good way to meet other moms. This is the second breastfeeding support group I have tried, and I have come to the conclusion that I am not extreme enough for either one of these groups. Many of the moms I have encountered in these groups are into natural childbirth, are addicted to cloth diapering (ie they spend more money on it then they ever would on disposables,) and are opposed to vaccinations. Many seem to look down on C-sections moms and preach that any problem can be solved by breastfeeding.

I have breastfed Grace for 6 months now, I am extremely proud of this as I believe that it is the best thing for both me and for Grace. I also cloth diaper and make my own baby food, but this is mostly because doing both has saved us a ton of money. However, I am extremely pro-vaccine. I have nothing against epidurals, and Grace was supplemented with formula in the hospital. I don't feel comfortable sitting and listening to women talking down about formula feeding, vaccinating, or medicated childbirth.

I distinctly remember sitting in the hospital NICU crying because the pediatrician told me I needed to give Grace formula because she was getting dehydrated and losing too much weight. She had an infection and needed to stay hydrated to help fight it. I felt like I had already failed her as a mother at 3 days old. Luckily I had people around me to tell me that I hadn't failed, I was being a great mother because I was doing what she needed to be healthy. Breastfeeding was not enough for her at the time. Formula did not hurt her. I continued breastfeeding and within days we were able to stop formula. When I got appendicitis, she again had to be fed formula because I did not have enough milk pumped to feed her the night that I was in the hospital. And again, she was not hurt by the formula.

One of my memories of childbirth was when my nurse asked me if I was interested in any kind of pain relief. When I quickly answered, "yes, I want an epidural!" She laughed and said she was worried I was one of "those natural patients." When I asked what that meant, she explained that the midwife in my OBs practice had scheduled my induction (the midwife was the easiest one to get an appointment with so I saw her a lot and she just so happened to be the one I saw when I scheduled my induction) so they figured I was her patient. Then they saw my mom walk in with my exercise ball (which was so comfortable to sit on during pregnancy as I had major tailbone pain.) She said many of the natural mothers were harder to deal with and she never understood why they seemed to look down on everyone else so much. Disclaimer: I have nothing against natural childbirth, I am all for it if that is your choice!

I guess the point of this rant is that I don't understand why women seem to look down upon other women for the parenting choices they make. No one gets a medal for giving birth naturally or for breastfeeding until their child is 1. It is your personal choice and you should not feel bad about it. So many books and groups try to tell you that their way is best, but realistically, every baby and every mom is different. No one should try to make you feel bad about your decisions for your baby. I do not regret my C-section, formula feeding, or letting Grace occasionally cry it out (more on that in a later post.) I will do what's best for her and continue to try to find people with a parenting style more like my own.

4 comments:

  1. Amen to this! My choices as a mother are mine and I could care less if another Mom thinks they are good ones or not. Kudos to you for doing what's best for you and your baby!

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  2. I plan to try and have a natural childbirth, but understand that some things are out of my control.

    I just recently lost a friend who thought her way was the only way. I politely reminded her that my choices were my business and could she kindly stop preaching at me. I don't miss her a bit.

    We, too, are planning to cloth diaper because of the cost. Sure, I'd love to have a couple of those cute, boutique diapers, but my stash won't be full of them. It sort of defeats the purpose!

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  3. You might want to try the breastfeeding support group at Centerpoint (unless that's the other one you've been to already) - moms there are from all places. And keep an eye out for World Breastfeeding Week activities (I'm speaking on the panel at Centerpoint on August 6th).

    And if you are interested in meeting other moms in your area, I can hook you up with my play group! We met at centerpoint, but all are very different. Some cesareans (some scheduled - some emergency), some medicated, some unmedicated.

    I agree that it harms more than helps when we stand in judgement over each other's choices. I'll admit though that reading what you've written here tied my stomach in knots. It's hard to hear opinions contrary to your own, no matter how gently they are related. Aside from just never sharing our opinions (which would mean no one is ever exposed to new ideas = bad), I think we just have to be mindful of the fact that most people hold opinions because they believe them to be the best for their child. Not many people would make a decision because it's best for *them* but sucks for their kids. At least not intentionally.

    It *is* hard though, to see someone else do something that you think *will* harm their child and not say something. Experience, grace, and a loving motivation all have to kick into high gear when we find ourselves tempted to say something about another's choices. We also have to remember that we don't *know* what is best for anyone - even ourselves. Sometimes we have to stand in faith that we're making the best choices we can with what we know - and sometimes we have to be willing to question our choices and change them if we find we're wrong.

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  4. Good post Steph! I agree in so many mom's (and even women who aren't moms!) feel they know everything and their way is the only "right" way. In the end, we should all look at our growing babies and know that they are healthy, loved and we as moms are doing everything we can for them!

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