December 31, 2012

Reviewing My Pledge

Last new year I made a promise to myself and other moms. I promised not to be part of the mommy wars, not to judge and not to respond to being judged, least an overzealous defense leads to someone else feeling judged. Now that I’ve been the mom of an “outside” baby for almost six months, I thought I would revisit my pledge.

Not judging others

If I was grading myself I’d give me a B on this one. For the most part I think I succeeded.

I fully recognize that every baby/parent/family is different and what works for one might not work for another. Further, while I may have opinions on the latest baby trends, I recognize failure to prove an approach or strategy works is not proof that it doesn’t work, and vice versa. I also recognize the placebo effect is a powerful thing. Just the act of doing something with a positive attitude could have positive benefit, even if the ‘something’ itself doesn’t work. I don’t begrudge anyone from trying any approach they think will work for their situation.

But, as I said, I do have opinions. There are some trends that go beyond silly and seem downright dangerous. When I voice my concerns over some new gimmicky gadget or baby strategy to my husband I can get snarky. If I’m not careful my opinion might leak out to someone less receptive. While I may be thinking “that strategy is stupid” what the other person might here is “anyone who considers that strategy is stupid”. I am by no means a baby expert, I should learn to just let it go.

Not getting defensive

I give myself a C on this one.

I sometimes feel like I have a scarlet f (for formula). The breast is best mantra is so ingrained in western culture that I feel as though I’m always bring judged. Even by complete strangers who have no idea how I feed my baby. If they know they will think I am a bad mother. I am in the formula closest, afraid to come out and be judged.

I’ve tried to write a blog post several times about our trials and tribulations nursing. Every time I start to I feel compelled to point out she’s mostly drinking expressed breast milk, or that we still do nurse. I think by making such comments do a disservice to myself and others if similar situations. By treating formula like “The Great Evil” I perpetuate the environment that leads to the feelings of guilt and shame for someone else forced into the same situation.

There is no shame in formula.

If I firmly believe ‘whatever works’ and ‘every situation is different’ for everyone else, why can’t I accept it for myself?

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