The StrongMoms® Empowerment pledge is something that I think every mother needs to hear.
“Moms face tremendous pressure to make the “perfect” parenting decisions, only to be judged or criticized by other moms. From going back to work and feeding your baby to education, discipline and bed times, everyone has an opinion.
I pledge to create a more supportive and less judgmental environment by empowering moms to feel good about the decisions they make for their children and their families.”
I’ve been a vocal supporter of breastfeeding for all of my children. Five home births and four exclusively breastfed babies. And then what happened? A year ago this month – When Vivian was 3 months old, I got sick with what I thought was the worst stomach bug of my life.
I finally went to a clinic for nausea and severe pain 3 days later (yes, I AM that stubborn), and the doctor immediately sent me to the ER. “I can’t say what’s wrong with you, but I can tell – it’s not good.”
And that was an understatement. By the time I was checked into the ER, I was turning jaundiced. My pancreas and liver were shutting down because of what turned out to be gallstones. I called my sister and told her to go get some formula for Vivian – this wasn’t going to be a short visit to the doctor. When you have a 3 month old baby, and the doctor says, “You are too sick to even withstand a surgery, but hopefully you will recover enough after a couple days to be able to tolerate the surgery,” you need to do something right?
So what does this story have to do with the StrongMoms® pledge? In the midst of all this a friend of mine, a fellow lactavist, accused me of “selling out.” It was SO hurtful! At a time when I was already struggling with so many things.
Of course I was, and still am, adamant about breastfeeding being the best option for your child. I found donor breastmilk from two amazing and giving friends before I had even checked out of the hospital and used it each day to supplement the formula Vivian was receiving. For the next two months, I tried relactating and boosting my milk supply and was able to supplement about 2-5 ounces per day from my own milk as well until she hit another growth spurt and we had to wean, (triggering some postpartum depression in me). But she NEEDED more than I was able to give her, and I’m grateful that we had access to healthy formula options for her when I truly needed it.
The judgement from someone I had considered a friendly acquaintance was so hurtful. Why do we do that to each other? If anyone could understand how HARD it is to be a mother, wouldn’t it be another mother? If someone knows all the facts and options and makes a choice that is different than the one you make, that doesn’t make them automatically bad, wrong, or “a sell out.”
I am participating in a blog campaign with One2One Network. I have not received any payment. This story and opinions are all my own.