People always have opinions. It is human nature. But when did those opinions start to undermine who we are as mothers?
I choose soda over water a lot of the time. It’s handy, although annoyingly expensive at the grocery store check lanes, it’s refreshing and it tastes really good. My husband prefers water. For him its handy, it’s refreshing and it tastes really good. Am I a bad human being for drinking something so artificial? No of course not. Is it my choice? Absolutely. The important thing in this analogy is that we are both getting hydrated. It is our choice how that happens but our thirst is quenched.
A baby is born whether it is by cesarean or vaginal delivery. A baby is fed whether that is by breastmilk or formula. The important thing should be having a healthy happy baby and watching them grow.
Cesarean Awareness Month has brought up a lot of personal feelings regarding birth and breastfeeding, in particular, peoples constant need to give their opinions on them. I suppose that is what I am doing now, but I need people to understand that you are no less of a mother if you have a cesarean or formula feed.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong advocate of breastfeeding. We all hear the benefits for both mother and baby, and I am a Breastfeeding Counselor, but that does not mean I would ever judge a woman for choosing or being unable to breastfeed. I am also a Birth Doula and more often than not deal with vaginal births over cesareans. However, I myself have delivered both vaginally with my first child and via cesarean with my second. Does that make me any less of a mother to my second child? I struggled to breastfeed my first child, if I had decided to formula feed him instead of battling the medical staff, would that have made me any less of a mother? No. I am a mother because I am raising my children. I am helping them every day. I am providing nourishment and showing them love and affection. I am wiping away their tears and I am putting band aids on their grazes. That is what makes me a mother.
The definition of a mother, according to Webster’s Dictionary (http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/Mother) is:
Having a child is one of the greatest gifts there is. Some people are not as fortunate to have such a gift without help from others. Does this make them any less of a mother? Adopting or having a child via surrogate still means you are a mother.
The debate around breastfeeding is often a more vocal one. How can you judge someone when you do not know the reasons behind their choices? A woman may decide not to breastfeed because of many reasons, including medical reasons, which are no one else’s business.
When did everyone develop a right to comment on being a mother? Please next time you see a mother pull out a bottle for their baby, consider the reasons behind that decision, or consider that the bottle may be filled with breastmilk or formula or soy milk. Please just note that the baby is being fed. That is the important thing to comment on if you must.
Next time you congratulate a woman on her new baby and she comments that she had a cesarean, please do not imply she is any less of a mother or say that hopefully next time you can give birth properly. Many women do wish for a vaginal birth following a cesarean. I don’t think its anyone’s wish to have major surgery in order to meet their baby, but if that is the way the baby comes into the world, it does not mean they have failed as mothers and I think we need to start acknowledging that. That mother will probably still have bladder weakness and stretch marks and bags under her eyes due to lack of sleep, all because she is a mother.
There is not a right and a wrong way to have a baby. You have a baby and that is the miracle. There is not a right way and a wrong way to feed a baby. You are feeding the baby and that shows love.
You are a Mom. You are awesome. You are brave, and strong, and fearsome. You are a Mom.