Monday, November 7, 2011
It's easy to judge
I know a mom who did everything she could within her limits to breastfeed. She was failed by everyone around her though. The doctors, nurses, peds, specialists, lactation consultants. She had a community of women who did everything to help her. She did everything she could to make it work...and yet, it didn't. Baby is on formula after months of trying. I personally watched her go through this struggle and I, with my knowledge and passion, can't think of ANYTHING this amazing mama could have done differently. She truly did it all.
Watching this all has made me take a really good look at myself. Externally, I always say I try not to judge but if I'm out in public, before I can catch myself, I judge. I see a bottle with what I know is formula and I think, UGH! Luckily, I KNOW that so many women are failed by the medical system and that's a large, overwhelming reason why they are not able to successfully breastfeed. I have been in that position...I know what it's like. But that doesn't mean that my first reaction is sadness and irritation at all the bottles I see propped in babies mouths.
It's easy to judge. It's easy to sit there, with my beautiful baby at my breast who went through so much to live and breastfeed and make a quick judgement. With Ella, it was TOUGH. I went through A LOT to get her to breastfeed. I'm not looking for a pat on the back, it was really, really hard and if I hadn't had the support I did, I don't know if I would have made it through it. Maybe I would have, I don't know. But I *did* make it. I did, and here I am, breastfeeding with no issues, happy as can be. It's easy for me to sit on my pedestal of breastmilk and look at the artificial nipples in babies mouths with slight disdain.
Now, I admit, I'm being very melodramatic here. I don't actually look at all these bottle feeding mamas with disgust or disdain, I just have a brief flash of diasppointment, some judgement and then I talk myself through it. I remind myself of my first daughter...of this friend who did everything she possibly could, but still wasn't able to breastfeed. While it's easy to judge, we have to remember that it's not helping to judge these mamas. Educate gently. Support. And be a shoulder to cry on for those mamas who just couldn't do it. Whether it was because they weren't educated about breastfeeding, they had no support or they literally did everything they *possibly* could to make it work but it just didn't. All we can do as breastfeeding advocates is educate and support.