Another evening my future mother in law started to talk about how healthy are babies who receive mother’s milk. “I read that those babies become much more intelligent than the ones who were given a formula.” Right after I told her that, according to this, her granddaughter may won’t be first in her class. That’s how she found out that I won’t breastfeed.
Actually, I always knew I won’t do it. Even before I was pregnant. When I pictured myself as a mother, I never had this image in my mind. More over, the idea of it made me feel uncomfortable, even sicken.
All the troubles started when I was carrying my first baby. Many people were curious to know will I nurse. I always denied, and reactions I received were never positive, especially from the “alpha-mommies” who were rolling their eyes and grimacing every time I took out the bottle. Some of them just couldn’t keep their mouth shut.
I remember dinner party with friends, where one woman who just delivered a baby asked me about the breastfeeding. I’ll never forget how she yelled “What? You don’t care?!” in my face with the look like I don’t even deserve to be called a mother. I was crying all the way back home and a few days after.
Did I already mention how cruel some mommies are?
After that night, every time I had a conversation about the feeding, I used different statistics about mothers who give up breastfeeding shortly after trying (60 percent in France, by the way). I mentioned my vaginal delivery to point out that I did something “normal” and “natural”, but after the questions about epidural anesthesia, I understood that even there I failed. Turned out it wasn’t “natural” enough!
I felt really insecure and embarrassed whenever I couldn’t answer the “Why?” question. Like I already didn’t feel guilty enough, I constantly had to justify myself.
So here I am, doing this again.
I’m not “selfish” or “lazy” and for sure I don’t “put my own needs before baby’s”, and I do “care”. I wish I could be one of these “alpha-mommies”, who don’t sleep at nights and do all the “right” things perfectly. As I wish I could also feel so secure about myself as a parent as they do. However, I’m in another community of “I-don’t-want-to-do-this” formula moms who are left without a chance of being considered as a great parent like these Lactivists, because what I’m doing is not enough.
Now when I see that my baby is healthy and has everything she needs, I feel more confident. I don’t need someone from the outside to tell me that I’m a good mother. However, all the pressure I still continue to receive, whenever it’s another mommy or the article from Smart Parenting, makes me feel concerned about the fact that my baby doesn’t receive all the best. I know what I’m doing is not enough, even if I try to do my best. There’s no need to remind me that.
We can’t affect how other person feels his body. Deciding the best way to feed a new baby is a very personal choice for a woman. Whether she chooses to breast-feed or use formula, feeding time is an important opportunity for a mother and baby to connect with one another.
So, dear super-moms, please stop to bully other mommies who don’t do the things exactly the way you think they should be done. Be confident about yourself as a parent, and there won’t be any need to seek a self-affirmation by putting other people down.