’ve been thinking about how to write this a thousand different ways a thousand different times. I think everybody who expressed their opinion about breastfeeding has reiterated my point about a thousand times, which is that breastfeeding, or not breastfeeding is an individual act, and it shouldn’t be viewed as a statement on feminism or motherhood or even as who we are as mothers. The act of breastfeeding is like a snowflake, no two experiences are ever going to be the same.Every time I write about my son in any form, it always bubbles up a lot of emotions and memories, necessary but bittersweet. I'm glad I got to share this with the tumblr crowd.
Which is why I find the act of judging someone or our own self-judgment on breastfeeding so upsetting. The story I’m about to tell isn’t completely about breastfeeding but about parenting on the whole. I currently have a three month old and the whole act of breastfeeding and parenting while still not completely painless, is not even as closely fraught with the anxiety, pain, frustration, and fear I felt with my son.
I don’t know where to begin when talking about my son, except to say that he is no longer with us. We lost him ten days before his second birthday a year and a half ago. I judged myself and felt judged by every freaking body on every decision I made and we made as a family up to and definitely including the decision to let him go. Nothing about his life and my life as his parent was quote unquote normal. And every decision felt laden with doubt, and the fact that he and his medical troubles seemed to dog us at every turn didn’t help.
And the fact that there were people in the medical profession who should know better JUDGING us didn’t help. I once had to almost literally restrain my husband from crawling over a conference table and smacking a Neurologist (who should've known better) from judging us about decisions we were making. Nobody, and I do mean NOBODY, should tell a parent, especially a parent of a special needs child that they know more about that child’s care than that parent! Because we are living in the trenches not that doctor, or nurse, or lactation consultant, or any other health care professional for crying out loud! If it is working for you, good. If it isn’t working for you, change what you’re doing tell you find what something that does and for God sake’s don’t beat yourself up about it or let any FREAKING body do the same. Because they don’t know what you’re going through, they haven’t walked a mile in your shoes and they don’t know the decisions you’re making on a daily basis until they have to make them for themselves, period, end stop.
Also, if you find that you are beating yourself up about breastfeeding or your parenting skills in general, take a deep breath and remind yourselves, that the decisions you are making could be worse, with much bigger ramifications.
Friday, December 23, 2011
Now that I'm doing this writing thing a little more consistently, I wrote a small essay for Drunken Bee's Feeding the Baby tumblr project. Sarah B. Was nice enough to post it on the site. I thought that I'd add it here in complete form: