Thank you thank you thank you all for your comments on yesterdays post. Just confirms my belief that there are more good people than not so good, and most definitely more people who have a sense of humor! What it must be like to live every day with no sense of humor...
Today I said I would be discussing my second most controversial post that I have written, however, unlike I Dress For Men, this post was written for an entirely different reason. The post I'm referring is titled About That Time Magazine Cover. I really don't want this to turn into a breastfeeding versus bottle feeding debate, so before you make any conclusions, please read this post in its entirety. You may be surprised how it ends.
When the controversial Time Magazine cover came out of a mother breastfeeding her 3-year old, it elicited a lot of different reactions among women. Some were proud of the cover, saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with a mother breastfeeding her child anywhere, anytime. Others were a little more extreme, saying it was "gross," "offensive" and "porn-like."
I was one of those extreme people.
I cringe whenever I go back and read that post. It's probably the post I regret writing the most. What I had written, in part, makes me extremely embarrassed and I regret deeply parts of what I said. It would be much easier to just take the post down (eta: I did end up taking down the post, for personal and private reasons), new readers would be none the wiser that I ever wrote such a thing and all could be forgotten. But as I explained in yesterdays post, that's not how I wish to do things. And before we go on, I would like to publicly address what parts of that post I apologize for.
* I do not think the cover photo is porn. In any way, shape, or form. Real porn is disgusting and degrading to women (unless, of course, you're into that sort of thing, then by all means, have fun!) Believe it or not, but I have grown and learned a lot in the past year, and a woman feeding her child should never ever be associated with that word. I am ashamed I wrote that, and I sincerely apologize.
* The things I wrote about children that are breastfed for an extended time. Saying they are "weird" and will most likely end up getting bullied. (I shudder as I type that, I mean, what was I thinking?!) The truth is, I have no idea how those children turn out. I would assume they turn out just like any other child, breastfed or not. I mean, it's breastfeeding for crying out loud, it's not like they are being raised by sociopaths. Again, I apologize.
* Last but definitely not least, I want to apologize for linking an article that talked about the child in question "acting up" during an interview his mother was giving, as if in some way, he was behaving that way because he was still being breastfed. I have two boys, five and almost three, and I can't count how many complete breakdowns I have almost had while at the grocery store, the restaurant, bank, doctors office, the zoo, my own home, basically anywhere! Little boys are crazy! Their interest span is smaller than a grain of sand! I live for the moments I get to myself, in peace and solitude, even if it's a gynecological appt., for at least I get some reprieve! So for me to even make fun of a little boy for doing what little boys do is reprehensible and of all people, I should know better.
And to Jamie Lynne Grumet, the woman on the cover of that Time Magazine, I've read your blog, I know you have seen the post in question, and mother to mother, I sincerely apologize for any hurt it caused, I was judging harshly when I had no right to, and more so, I was speaking about a topic I was uneducated on. For what it's worth, I have since completely changed my now semi-educated mind on the subject and think that breastfeeding, no matter for how short or long, is nothing but a wonderful, loving thing. You and your family seem like amazing people.
Now I want to explain why I wrote that post, and don't mistake what I am about to say as "defending" the post, as everything I mentioned above I completely apologize for, and there is no excuse for. When it comes to breastfeeding, it has been a very sensitive topic for me early on, before I had kids.
I was convinced, one hundred thousand percent convinced that breastfeeding was the only way to go. I researched and researched, and I talked to many pro-breastfeeders who in no uncertain terms made it clear that they believed without a doubt that breastfeeding was THE healthiest, THE wisest and THE best decision when it came to feeding a baby. But it's what they always said to me when I ever mentioned formula feeding that struck me the most. Almost all would check off a laundry list as to why formula was SO BAD. It was never that breastfeeding is a great decision if you choose to make it, it was always followed up by "facts" of how formula was terrible, synthetic, full of loads of chemicals and unnecessary things for a growing human to thrive. I had the mindset before ever giving birth that only "bad" mothers bottle feed, only lazy mothers who don't want to be "tied down" bottle feed and that it was my duty as a mother to breastfeed, period.
I was very interested in breastfeeding, it was what I wanted to do, it was what I was determined to do, and that determination was made even stronger when others kept telling me it was the only way to go, it was by far, by far! the very best thing to do for my child. I was so brainwashed into thinking breastfeeding was the best and only way to go and that formula was poison.
So imagine my surprise when I had my first baby, and I hated breastfeeding. With a passion. I left the hospital happy and ready to go, because for those first two days, baby breastfed great! Then I returned home, and found my supply to be very, very low. I kept going for a month, and there were many many times where baby was attached to my breast for hours. Waking every hour at night, never seeming satisfied. I tried everything...massage, restricting certain foods, eating certain foods, fenugreek pills, naturopathic pills, I tried every different position trying to make nursing more enjoyable. I dragged my beloved Medela double breast pump through the mud, sitting there far beyond the recommended time, only to walk away with two ounces, maybe, total.
I was sad. I was disappointed. I was devastated. I remember exactly where I was when I decided I would no longer continue to breastfeed. I cried. I cried hard tears, silently telling my one month old baby how sorry I was for failing him.
Failure. I felt like a failure.
I mean, isn't that what I had been told? That giving your baby formula was a detriment? I know so many pro-breastfeeders out there who swear up and down that they do not put down mothers who choose to go the formula route. That they do not try and make someone "change their mind" when it comes to their decision to formula feed. I'm sorry, but in my experience, I have met far more women who do just that, than who don't. They will always say "no, that's not what we are doing at all! If you choose formula, and that works for you, great!" and in the same breath, they will say "BUT DID YOU KNOW" and then rattle off ten reasons why formula is, in fact, bad for your baby. Why can't they just end the conversation at "breastfeeding is wonderful, however, if it doesn't work out for you, well, bottle feeding is wonderful also."
Because you know what? Bottle feeding is wonderful also. Both my two boys were formula fed, and they are happy, healthy, thriving little boys. And I was so much happier bottle feeding them. I didn't dread feeding time anymore. I felt relaxed and content, and therefore was able to really bond with my babies.
So when I saw the headline on that Time Magazine cover that read "Are You Mom Enough?" when it was clearly indicating being "mom enough" was not only breastfeeding, but breastfeeding for an extended period of time, it really pissed me off, and all those insecure feelings of failing as a mom came flooding back. Because yes I know that breastfeeding is very beneficial to your child in a number of ways, but so is formula feeding! And I get so upset when "breastfeeding nazis" try to make other mothers who formula feed feel less than. I know how I felt when I made the decision to stop breastfeeding, and how guilty and bad I felt, and I don't ever want any other mother to feel the way I did, hence why I wrote the post.
I can look back now, and see clearly that I wrote that post in an overly emotional state. Of course it wasn't the woman on the cover saying to me that I personally sucked as a mom. That I wasn't as good as her because she was still breastfeeding her child at three years old and I had "given up" at one month. I'm sorry she got lumped in with that offensive headline, as I directed my anger and hurt in the wrong direction. Still, I was angry and hurt. And I wrote that post in the moment. Some parts, like I said earlier, I regret to my core. Other parts, like the part where I know my heart was coming from, I stand by.
At the very end of this, I just hope that one day, we as mothers can just let it be. Just let it be.
You will never be able to tell in a room full of doctors which ones have been breastfed as babies.
And because every post deserves a good photo...
yuuuuuumm....I love my bottle!