The Mommy Wars
Ever since I had Gunner, I noticed that there is this “Mommy War,” waged between women. I was reminded of this as I nonchalantly browsed through Facebook and happened upon a Babycenter status post informing fellow mommies about the Gerber formula recall, which by the way is an involuntary recall – apparently the tub of formula is giving an “off” odor. I, being a glutton for reading (but not participating in) internet drama just had to check it out because this happens every single time formula is mentioned. The women who strictly breastfeed are making remarks along the lines of, “See? That’s why I breastfeed! Breast milk has never been recalled,” and the formula feeders are getting on the defensive as to why they don’t breastfeed and highlight every single problem they ever had while breastfeeding. I was appalled at how both sides were treating one other. Some of the breast feeders were calling out formula feeders for not trying hard enough, not to mention the thousands of times “formula feeding cannot even compare to breast feeding” was mentioned. I find this amusing because most formula feeders DO realize that “breast is best.” I actually saw a post saying, “Instead of making excuses as to why you failed at breastfeeding, why don’t you support us who do?” And then cue the formula feeders calling the breast feeders “breastfeeding Nazis” and so on and so forth.
Why can’t we all just get along? I theorize that both groups of women are doing this because they are seeking validation – Validation that they are doing the best they can for their children. And guess what? They ALL are! Breast feeders want a pat on the back for the sacrifice they are making for their children. Yes, it is a sacrifice. Monitoring every single thing that enters your mouth, breastfeeding in public which is actually frowned upon by some ignorant folks, shutting yourself in a room to either pump or feed your child if company is present, not to mention the possibility of pain, and the constant fear of a dwindling supply. It is hard work! I totally get it. I was one of those who did not succeed at breastfeeding, and I was totally heartbroken. This is where the formula feeders come in.
Before I became a parent, I was the perfect parent. I planned on strictly breastfeeding – formula feeding was NOT an option. It was actually to the point I was pretty snotty about it. I planned on making all of Gunner’s baby food, cloth diapering 24/7, reading one book per day, teaching Gunner sign language, NO daycare, you name it, I had my plan set it stone. Now that Gunner is here, the only thing I do now is the cloth diapering. I would even consider it “semi” cloth-diapering because when we travel, I prefer to use disposable. I try to read to Gunner, but he doesn’t sit still enough to listen to the entire story, so I probably read him one page of a story per day. Every two days or more if he is being fussy.
Being a mom has definitely humbled me, particularly in the area of breast feeding. I expected it to come naturally to me; hell, I’m a woman! That’s what these suckers were designed to do! After 3 weeks of pain, bleeding, and crying (both me AND Gunner) until 5 am, I decided to pump. I pumped for 3 months, but my supply got worse and worse. I eventually switched to formula completely, and unfortunately I’m still ridden by guilt today. So what do the formula feeders want from other women? I would say more sensitivity. We are not bad moms because we formula feed. Gunner just turned one and is now drinking cow’s milk, and reading some of the awful things I read brought me back exactly one year ago to all the problems and regrets that I had when I decided to formula feed.
What is the point to this insanely long post? It doesn’t matter whether you breastfeed or formula feed, use disposable diapers or cloth diapers, have a natural no-meds birth or an epidural, feed your child homemade baby food or jarred food, vaccinate or not vaccinate. Guess what? Either way, in the end your baby is having his basic needs met. As long as that baby is hugged and kissed and feels loved, why are we nit-picking with one another? Who are we to judge what another parent does? We should be supporting each other through this journey! Parenthood is hard enough! At the end of the day, I think we all deserve a pat on the back!