When I was pregnant, I was asked a few questions by every person I met. Are you doing cloth diapers? Are you going to breastfeed? Are you having a natural brith? These were loaded and emotionally charged questions for me. At the time I didn't have the answers myself. And the answers I thought I had were bringing on so many judge comments and sly remarks. I know of so many new mothers who feel unwelcome to the mom's club. It seems that we have put our judgements first and we have lost the village mentality of raising children. I would like to see this change. I would like to see mothers helping mothers.
I want to address judgement of the new mother. As a doula we are trained to forget judgements at the door and become neutral evidence-based information vessels who offer support and encouragement. I would like for mamas to start doing the same. Let go of the fact that your friend breastfed her child until he was 3. It was her choice for her family. Accept your cousin for talking about the great experience she had with a c-section even though it might not be what you have in mind for your birth. Understand that mother in the grocery store did not want her child to throw a fit on aisle 6. Remind yourself that we are all human and we don’t have all of the answers.
In the social media crazy world in which we live, we are bombarded with perfectly staged photos of families laying on crisp white sheets in the morning. Mom has a light dab of makeup, lighting is perfect, baby is smiling, there is no food crusted on the children’s faces, no tired bags under mom’s eyes, no fighting among siblings. This is the image we receive as we lay in bed drenched in sweat, boobs hanging out, baby spit up on the sheets from the night before. The similarity, we are both smiling at our babes. The reality is that we must admit to ourselves and to others that motherhood isn’t always white sheets and proper lighting. Admit it to yourself, you are a good mom. Although the bed is not made, that baby in your arms is happy to be close to his mama. That is all that matters.
The reality is that no mother truly knows what she is doing. With bucketloads of experts offering conflicting advice at every turn, it is up to you to make the tough decisions. Learn the important information and sift through the opinions. Decide what works best for your family. What works for you today.
Today I choose to let my baby nap with me in bed. Tomorrow he can nap in his bed. But for today, we are battling head colds. Frequent breastfeeding has kept us both sane and probably healthier. It has definitely led to more cuddles and more sing-a-longs. On days like this we get cosy and do some skin-to-skin time. Yes we do, even if he is already 7 months old. Please, don’t judge me. Support my decision to do what’s best for my family today.