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|You Bet I’m Mom Enough! guest post by Daisygirl|
May. 11th, 2012 at 10:22 am
My initial reaction (I was livid!):
Alright I’m gonna say it. I’m disgusted by the cover on Time Magazine. “Are you Mom enough?” That’s insulting to the rest of us who tried to breast feed and either couldn’t because mentally we couldn’t handle it or we just couldn’t make enough!
I tried my best and I wasn’t able to enjoy my son with the constant worrying about breast feeding, keeping my milk supply up, drinking enough water, what meds to take to make more milk, was he getting enough–am I doing it right?–and then finally coming to the depressing result of not being FIT enough or “Mom enough” to feed him. I was heartbroken.
My struggle to breastfeed debilitated me and I became depressed–suicidal even. I am a good mom, I keep my baby fed, clean, happy and guess what,”I’m Mom enough!” Women have to deal with the media-induced stigma of body perfection (skinny, but curvy models unrealistically portraying “normal” women) and other ideals of womanhood; I don’t need to be picked on about something so primal and personal as how I choose to nurture my baby.
The article doesn’t only talk about breastfeeding but also about co- sleeping, immediately responding to your baby’s cry, etc. If I got any actual sleep when my baby’s in our bed, I’d do it, too. But my baby thinks its play time and neither of us get any sleep.
This doctor (a man)has unrealistic standards for us to raise our children. He counsels us to not let our children cry; to always hold our children, and to breast feed until they are older. Only 44 % of women breast feed their children past 6 months according to CDC 2011. I don’t judge those who are lucky enough to be able to breastfeed after one year. It’s Time’s unfortunate choice of title that hurt me to the core. It comes off as criticism of women who didn’t breast feed their children past a certain point. (Although I’m not crazy about the picture on the cover. If they wanted to publish something positive on breastfeeding they should have taken a picture of a mother lovingly cradling her infant or toddler–not a women standing and her son standing in a chair. She comes off as arrogant, in your face and the child looks like he’s hanging off her boob, not being nurtured by his mother)
While I worry about the kind of adult this approach produces (Will they always feel the need for someone else to make them happy? How are their coping skills when life disappoints? What happens when their needs aren’t met by outside sources?), it obviously seems to work for some. And go them! I cheer them on! But don’t dump on the rest of us moms who desperately tried to do it all feel “less-than” failing when we did the best we could. We young mothers need to be on each others side, and refuse to castigate each other
The author of the article did make sure to mention that while she did nurse her kids till they were three, she used the ferber method to help her oldest sleep. Because she chose to let him cry for short periods of time, he is a champ at sleeping while her youngest is not because she didn’t use the ferber method on him.
There are so many parenting methods that we can take what we like and discard the rest. Breastfeeding is pure and natural and loving. That is not what the picture is portraying. Time’s intentions were to get a rise and sell magazines. Job well done, guys. But once again media has failed to capture the nuances and heartbreak of young motherhood and the wondrous process of bonding with our babies in our own special way.
Our goal as parents is to teach them things of life. Good work ethics , moral values, and to be indepent loving people. What we sometimes forget to teach them is that life is not always kind or fair. It’s not cruel to help our children to learn to comfort themselves; it’s a gentle lesson on how strong they can be.