Saturday, February 25, 2006

A great article from an almost surprising source and personal tangents

This started making the rounds on a few of my message boards last month and it just resurfaced. It's from Mothering and titled, "Regrets" by Peggy O'Mara. Here's an excerpt that really spoke to me :

Trying hard enough is a real issue for women whose breastfeeding experiences have not turned out as they hoped, or who have been told they “failed” at breastfeeding. I spoke to such mothers at Hollyhock, and Mothering receives letters from them. Some of these mothers got bad advice; others got good advice, but still, nothing worked.

Women have told me that they feel so ashamed when they don’t breastfeed that they hide the fact from friends and never bottle-feed in public. What a reverse prejudice this is. While we want mothers to feel welcome to breastfeed in public, it is ironic that bottle-feeding mothers would feel unwelcome. They fear they will be labeled unenlightened mothers. Seldom do we suppose, when we see a bottle-feeding mother, that here is a woman who may have tried so hard to breastfeed that her heart broke when she could not.
It has most recently resurfaced on an Attachment Parenting board that I frequent and to wonderful response. Many posters have responded with resolutions to be less judgmental and more empathetic. It's also opened a short dialogue about parenthood which is very refreshing. I'd love to think that it's signaling a subtle shift in the board, but I'm sure there will be another rant posted soon that will completely dispel any of the warm fuzzies.

I'm far from perfect and I know I can be very judgmental sometimes (unfortunately it's usually focused on myself, but many of you already know that). I try my hardest to be as nonjudgmental as possible because I haven't walked a mile in their shoes and there may indeed be a lot of baggage and heartache behind the casual or flippant comment that sends my skin crawling (except hitting or spanking - there's never an excuse for perpetuating the chain of violence).

I spoke with my therapist the other night about what's going on with Michael, this driving need to do everything I can to help him, how time is of the essence and how important it is to start things yesterday, and the stress and guilt brought on by the resistance I keep encountering in myself. She brought up the fact that I'm already being driven by an incredibly huge thing - trying to break the chain. I work every day trying to be the parent mine were not and not to be the ones they were. The emotional and physical abuse is not something I'm going to pass on to my children with their hazel eyes - it stops here. She helped me realize exactly how consuming this is and how it extends to everything Michael. It's no wonder that the prospect of 3-4 hours of intense playing with him a day and special diets send me into a tail spin - there's nothing left for them. I do a lot already for him - much more than I thought, and while it may not be broken into discrete 30 minute one-on-one sessions, it still fits the spirit of what is necessary for him to grow and thrive.

Hell, there must be some reason why the first thing out of every new doctor or therapists mouth is some sort of praise for how good I am with him and how extensive my knowledge is of him and his issues.