I was scared to write this post, so I figured it meant I needed to. I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I stopped sharing articles about breastfeeding and being a stay at home mom (SAHM).
I still think breastfeeding is wonderful and I still get teary eyed when I think about the fact that I had to quit a job I LOVED because my family needed me to. So, what changed? I realized I was creating controversy when I should’ve been creating comradery. Sometimes my intention was pure and kind, and some of the time I wanted to shout from the roof top (and my rooftop is Facebook) that I am a mom doing things “the right way” snark snark snark. If I’m doing things the right way, then that must mean that someone out there is doing things the wrong way–if breast is best, then formula must be NOT best.
I don’t think there’s any one out there in the big, bad world of social media and internet that is confused about the benefits of breastmilk, if there is, you must’ve been under a rock all this time. We all know, guys. We all know that #breastisbest. We don’t need to be reminded. We don’t need a “Breastfeeding Awareness Week”. We don’t need a hashtag. (I can feel all of the breastfeeding moms painting me a traitor and kicking me out of the groups and hating me, and it’s ok.)
Do you wanna know why we don’t need to be reminded? Because it hurts people’s feelings. Not just a few people, not just the highly sensitive, not just someone I know or someone you know, but a big, fat group of people hate it when you or I post 30 articles back to back about our style of parenting or what you and I do with our kids and how it’s the right way. Because it comes across like you’re judging and deeming yourself better than them, and no one wants to feel like someone else is saying they’re sucking at this mom thing–we tell ourselves that enough.
There’s no Formula Feeding Awareness Week. That would be weird. Shouldn’t it be weird that there’s one for breastfeeding? Here, where we’re lucky enough to always have food available for our baby (whether it’s from your breast, from the formula you buy or the formula WIC aids you in purchasing), do we really need to talk so much about HOW and WHAT we feed our kids? If the way we’re shoving our lactating boobs in other people’s faces is making them feel put down or judged or guilty, is it necessary? Well, maybe it’s necessary for you, and that’s ok–no really, it is–, but it’s not necessary for me anymore.
I must be a slow learner because I accidentally hosted a lot of debates between the breastfeeders and the formula feeders and between the SAHMs and the working moms before I got a clue. The groups that I’m not a part of told me OVER and OVER that they felt picked on, and rather than listen I told them they were wrong. “No, you’re not offended, you’re just sensitive. I’m just talking about me–you’re making it about you.”
They were right. I was SO making it about them. I wasn’t sharing the article about the benefits of breastfeeding so that I would know them or so that other breastfeeders would know them. I was sharing the article (at least on some level) so the formula feeders would read it and come over to the RIGHT way of feeding a child. “Oh, the mom passes immunity to some diseases through her milk? Well, let me throw away this canister and start breastfeeding STAT.” Or so they would know how much better what I was doing was than the “easy” route they were taking.
If someone in a group you’re not in tells you that something you do is unkind or offensive you aren’t allowed to disagree with them. You can choose to do it any way, sure, but you can’t discount their feelings, you don’t know, you’re not allowed a vote.
So, you won’t see me share any memes or articles about one particular style of parenting or feeding anymore because now I think about how it might make others feel. They told me over and over and over that it was hurtful and I ignored them. I hope no one ignores me when I tell them that something they do OVER and OVER is hurtful.
We’re ALL just parents trying our very best, hoping and praying that it’s enough. We don’t need to be inundated with what we’re doing that’s not QUITE best. We already know. Everyone knows.