Thursday, January 27, 2011

This is me, breaking the silence

Some days are harder than others in my motherhood journey. I experience many of those blissful moments where I just know that every difficult moment is totally worth it. Sometimes I feel completely on top of the world and like I have it all figured out. I think, "I am finally getting the hang of this motherhood thing!" Wrong! There is always something new, always something to learn, and there will always be something new to learn. A new baby was not the only person born on June 4, 2010. A new mother and father were born that day too! 
Unfortunately adjusting to motherhood has been more difficult than I thought it would be and more than I let on. And I let on a LOT! However I am silent about the hard times more often than I speak about them. I suppose I do not share all of my frustrations, difficulties and loneliness because I really am not interested in hearing about what I am doing wrong or how I should or should not be feeling. What I want to know is HOW it is anyone's business to tell another person how they should or should not feel in any given situation. Just because YOU feel a certain way about something does not mean anyone else feels the same way. I am not looking for a solution to my feelings either. I feel what I feel and that is that. It is difficult for people to understand that I may feel certain ways for NO REASON. It does not make sense, but it is what it is. Why must I have a reason for feeling a certain way? Why am I not allowed to just feel? It only adds to my frustration to have to explain my reasons for feeling a certain way, as if I must provide valid enough reasons as permission to feel that way. 
As if it was meant to be, I came across an article about breaking the silence when it comes to the difficulties of new motherhood by Busca from Birth Faith. I do not usually comment on blog posts, but I felt the need to share last night. My reasons for keeping silent are below.

I have several reasons for not sharing the difficult times.
1. I have the reputation among my close friends and family of being a negative person because I tend to vent my frustrations a lot.
2. Because I have been accused of being negative, I have been trying to change. I hold things in until I completely blow up. Then I get asked why I didn’t say anything earlier. Because if I do I get accused of being negative and irrational.
3. Because if I feel anything other than happy all the time, well I am a negative irrational person.
4. Children are supposed to be the greatest blessings ever. I need to be happy all the time. If I am not, I am ungrateful.
5. Talking about the hard stuff makes people uncomfortable, so I don’t.
6. I have no one to talk to, so I don’t.
7. My friends do not have kids yet. They, however, seem to be experts in parenting.
8. Certain family members do not agree with my parenting choices. They think I am stupid. If I told them that things are hard, they would be quick to tell me that I am doing everything wrong.
9. I share things with my husband sometimes, but he takes my feelings of loneliness and frustration so personally that I do not bother sharing what I feel most of the time to spare his feelings.
10. Because I was sure I was the ONLY mother who had trouble adjusting because no one else could possibly suck at motherhood as much as I do. Or no one else could possibly FEEL like they suck at motherhood because every other mother has it figured out and would have no reason to feel that way.
11. I don’t want to be the one to scare someone out of having children, so I leave out or glance over the hard stuff.
12. Really, who wants to hear about how hard motherhood is?
13. I don’t want to be the first to admit that motherhood is hard. What if I am the only one that feels that way? So I don’t say anything.
14. Because if I admit that motherhood is hard, then someone will take it the wrong way and think that I don’t love my baby. So I keep quiet.
15. When I am putting on my happy face, I hear people give all kinds of reasons mothers are selfish. “Mothers who _______ are selfish!” kind of comments. And sometimes that ________ is something I really wish I could do or I did do. So I keep quiet so people won’t think I’m a selfish mother.
That’s all I can think of for now! There’s more, I’m sure!

I was tempted to do some editing to lessen the blow of my raw feelings. I wanted to change "how hard motherhood is" to "how hard motherhood CAN BE." I did not change it because "CAN BE" suggests that there may be some lucky people out there who never experience difficult times. If that is you, wonderful! You are blessed. However, this is not for you. This is for those that DO experience difficult moments and are hoping to help someone else in the situation by breaking the silence. I am a new mother that experiences difficult moments in new motherhood, and this is me, breaking the silence.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Please don't ask, "Could you do that in the bathroom?"

We're a nation of tolerance, right? Everyone wants to be accepted for their choices and left to practice "whatever they want" in peace, whether they are outrageously flambuoyant or quiet as a church mouse about it. Republicans, democrats, independents, Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgenders, heterosexuals, boys, girls, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, friends and enemies, lactivists, intactivists, natural birthers, home birthers, free birthers, hospital birthers, epidural birthers, fill-in-the-blank-ers all want to be accepted and tolerated. 


Actually, I, as a Christian, heterosexual, wife, mother, natural hospital birthing, lactivist, intactivist woman, want to be LOVED and SUPPORTED, not just tolerated. But if "tolerated" is all I can get, I'll take it. It's expected of ME to tolerate any religion even though I am Christian. I am expected to tolerate homosexuality even though I am heterosexual. I am expected to be kind to formula feeding mothers even though I am a breastfeeding mom. I am supposed to NOT JUDGE those who use epidurals even though I chose not to have one. So if you are my friend, no matter what, if you are my friend, I like you! I accept you. I don't merely tolerate you. Please don't merely tolerate me. 


So when you see me sitting there trying to be as modest as I possibly can feeding my baby in the best way for ME and my BABY, please don't ask me if I could do that in the bathroom. Please do not ask me to go in the dirtiest, filthiest place where I do not even want to use it for it's purpose much less feeding my precious baby. I am already worried about what you think even though I shouldn't be. Even though YOU should be tolerant of my choice, right? As a breastfeeding mom, I need your support. I can't do it without you. You do not know my story. You do not know why I might need to be feeding my baby in that location at that moment. If you are honest with yourself and quit your judging, you might notice the frightened look on my face because I know you are judging me. I feel it. Even though you can't see anything, you know what I might be doing under there. Because I am covered. You know, though. And you give me a dirty look and go home and tell your friends, "Ew I saw this woman breastfeeding in PUBLIC!" You know you've told that story. In fact, I'VE told that story. And now I regret it. Because now I AM that woman. 


Some women are really strong and do not care what others think. I am not one of them. I care what you think of me. So I find people to support me and give me confidence to do what I feel is right for my family. It's not right for everyone, but it's right for me. (Remember, tolerance?) I have a supportive husband, parents, friends and fellow breastfeeding moms. I go to La Leche League meetings and I join facebook groups such as The Leaky B@@b. I do this because I need support. Unless you've been a breastfeeding family, you really have no idea how much support someone needs. And do a little bit of research and it won't take you long to understand WHY a mom would choose breastfeeding. 


And now, The Leaky B@@b has been deleted. Again. No explanation has been given yet, so I will not speculate. This has been my favorite page for help. I have received support from other moms when I asked, "My baby is biting me and I have tried pulling her into me. Do you have any other gentle suggestions?" or "Please help, I have recurrent clogged milk ducts!" When other moms asked questions and I gave answers, it was wonderful to hear, "It worked!" Everyone was there because they needed support in some way. 


If you know me at all, you know I never protest anything. That is not me. I never make a stir. I am mild mannered and sweet at all times. However, this is starting to upset me. At least a Bring Back the Leaky B@@b page, again has already been created. Please show some support to breastfeeding moms, because believe it or not, most of us need it!