Why I Refuse to Join the Mom Bashing Club.

May 11, 2011 at 3:44 pm 2 comments

Besides the fact that it is ridiculous, juvenile, and basically just mean, it goes against everything that new parents need first and foremost, a strong support system.  I am a lover of all things pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding and parenting blogs, and I love the communities that have been created as a result of these blogs bringing women from all the world, all different situations, together. And before I go out on a tangent, a bit of a rant, I should preface myself by saying that there are several possible reasons for why I am about to say what I am going to say: 1) I am mighty sensitive (to language, and sometimes, to life) 2) Everyone thinks they have all the answers and are doing things the best and right away (I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong about this, however, can we still not at least be like, “dude, you do things hella different than me, but know what?  I’ve got your back” 3) Mom guilt sets in and makes you rethink every decision you have made, every interaction you have had with your child (maybe not every single one, but a lot of them, mom guilt is the worst, GUILT is the worst in general, let’s ditch it, all together now, 1, 2, 3, NO MORE GUILT) 4) People are just mean and/or insensitive and there is nothing more to it.

As I so bravely confessed on Facebook last night, I have an addiction to reading blogs about birth, parenting, cloth diapers, breastfeeding… you name it.  Not only that, but I am a junkie for talking about and learning about all things birth and babies.  I want to take in as much information as possible, and because of that, I am often subjected to a lot of information that is counter-productive to what I am seeking out, which is support and community.  I guess thems the breaks right?  Can’t have it all, can’t have it all.  I hate when I stumble across some super strong one way article or post, one that proclaims to be the be all end all to one particular subject.  This was even worse when I was 4 weeks postpartum and ridiculously hypersensitive to everything I read.  But now, it just makes me mad.  And sometimes sad – I’m not going to lie, while I do consider myself a confident person, and fairly self-aware and strong in my values and belief systems, and can feel good about that, sometimes people make me doubt myself, and sometimes people make me feel sad.  OMG!  Human and emotional being, alert.  I’ve seen it more than I’ve needed to, one group of parents bashing the other, or at the very least, not supporting.  I get that we all have our own ways of parenting, our own ideas of what is best for our own children.  I get that some of us might follow one specific set of ideas over another.  However, what I don’t get is why some of us feel the need to pinpoint mamas who aren’t doing the same thing, to run them down, to attempt to make them feel like balls.  There are always situations in life, in our daily interactions, in our work, where we will have differing opinions and different beliefs, so why does it seem like when this happens in regards to parenting, birthing choices, rather than attempting to come to an understanding, and learn (NOT adopt, I simply said learn) about what another woman is doing with her children, and what her reasons are, we go into attack mode and full-on pull out the harshest Weapons of Mass Destruction – our words used in anything but a lovingly, nurturing and supportive way?

I had a bit of experience with this the other evening, after I posted a comment to an article about breastfeeding, and why one mom chose to breastfeed.  The article was great, and was written in a very supportive tone, in a way which did not berate anybody, but rather, shared her experiences and encouraged others to do the same.  Since breastfeeding is very dear to my heart, I of course had to leave a comment, briefly touching on my experiences and the support I had/have.  I talked about not knowing why my milk supply never fully came in, and I mentioned that I thought that maybe it might had something to do with the epidural, induction, pitocin and IV.   Another poster commented about how she wished there was more support for breastfeeding mothers to have a natural labour and delivery, so as not to interfere with the body’s processes and to further encourage breastfeeding.  In total, there were 34 comments, most of which were positive, supportive, and a sharing of individual experiences, however there was one that made me angry.  In short, the poster suggested that since she had had an epidural and been induced and had more milk than she knew what to do with, and this was the situation with most people with similar experiences, that she did not like how women “put the blame on those things.”   My reply to this was, I didn’t suggest epidural/pitocin/IV because I need something to ‘blame.’ I think we need to be careful around the language we use in terms of breastfeeding (read a good article about that today, can’t find the link, sorry.) Suggesting that there needs to be some sort of blame placed suggests that we need an excuse for not being able to breast feed. I would like a REASON as to why I cannot produce more milk, and I have had tests, blood work done which has produced no answers. I have read a lot of studies that talk about how epidural, pitocin and excessive IV fluids MAY affect breastfeeding and milk supply. I’m not saying that this is why I am unable to exclusively breastfeed, I am just lost as to what another reason might be and think this might be one. Thanks to all the women for sharing their stories. I think that as mamas, there are so many pressures, so many issues that we face. First and foremost, we need to support each other in this sometimes rough, but mostly beautiful journey.

I admit, I am sensitive around this issue, and perhaps take things in somewhat of a defensive manner, however, I do think that as part of this whole ‘let’s just be supportive’ thing, we need to be careful how we approach these very personal issues.  As I have written before, breastfeeding is highly personal and highly emotional.  So is birth, and so is pregnancy.  For some, it is a rite of passage, and for others, it is a journey to hell.  We need to be respectful of each of these journeys, no matter how they differ from ours, and instead of bashing, accusing, or disrespecting our soul sisters, let’s engage.  Let’s talk about things, let’s put our fabulously expanded and wise brains together to figure things out, to brainstorm.  Let’s learn, let’s educate, and let’s share information.  I promise, we’ve all got a lot to learn, be it in line with the way we live our lives or not. 

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Entry filed under: Mamabear, Post-Partum Party. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Hang Tight, Dear Ones. Cheeseburger Cupcakes!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. trivialpursuits  |  May 11, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Good post. It’s so hard not to get emotional and defensive when talking about these issues.

    Reply
  • 2. Lindsay Jo  |  May 13, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Yay! And screw the Mom Bashing Club. From an “outside of parenting/ motherhood” perspective, I am sometimes appalled at the shit Moms throw at each other when they should be supporting each other. *Especially* in regards to something like breast feeding– it’s silly, and sometimes it’s down right mean.

    I will admit that ‘mom guilt’ kills me, too. Not so much the angle of fretting over doing what’s best for your child, which is totally understandable, especially when people are a new parent. I am referring to the guilt that many women seem to have in regards to adhering to a particular image of what moms are supposed to be, and feeling guilty if they don’t precisely meet that image (which I believe is strongly affected by that Mom Bashing Club). I’ve seen a shift in this among my own peer group as my friend’s children have gotten older, especially among my friends who have endured particular strife in their lives, like messy divorces, etc., and I assume this is because these people have had no choice by to abandon the ideal and reconceptualize what being a good parent means to *them*.

    I loathe what I refer to as The Mom Apology: when moms apologize for momentarily straying from society’s mommy ideal and showing their own human complexities and weaknesses. I don’t loathe it in the sense that I look down at moms when they apologize or feel guilty about certain things. I just find myself wanting to give them a hug.

    Reply

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