Hey there, momma.
I just thought I’d let you know that I see you.
This week, social media is lit up with women shouting out about breastfeeding and all of the benefits of it. Pages of facts, encouraging quotes, and a never-ending supply of pictures with mommas and their latched babies. And as I see all the posts, I revel in these mommas and their individual journeys, but sometimes I wonder, “Where is my place?” Maybe you’re wondering this too.
My own personal feeding journey with my kids was a complicated one, involving kiddos who struggled to eat due to prematurity and loss of supply due to my own surgery. There was a struggle to push through and keep nursing when I had nearly no milk at all, as well as days when I would throw my hands in the air, ready to give up. No matter what, it wasn’t easy, it didn’t look like everyone else’s, and when this week in August would come around and everyone would praise each other for how long they’d been able to nurse for, I’d feel a little defeated.
Now I know that I don’t know your own personal story. Maybe you nursed for a while and then for whatever reason, you had to stop. Maybe you supplemented as you worked, maybe you supplemented with a low supply. Maybe, like me, different issues forced you to stop long before you were ready. Or maybe, the whole breastfeeding thing just wasn’t for you from the very start and you chose to bottle feed instead. Maybe there are even more complicated circumstances than I could imagine, involving medical issues or emotional decisions.
What I do know is this: the way you feed your baby in no way defines who you are as a mom. While I love breastfeeding advocacy and I will stand up for the rights of nursing moms, I will also stand up for the mommas who have chosen another road. What matters most is that your baby is fed, loved, and that you as a mom are supported and loved as well.
The mom-guilt epidemic is real. We as moms have more access to each other, in all corners of the world, than ever before. Alongside of that, we have this phenomenon of social media where we can say what we like, when we like, to pretty much whoever we like, and all they can see of us is our picture-perfect public profile. We as a group have become a mob of women living in glass houses wearing rose-colored glasses, trying to claw the specks out of each other’s eyes while ignoring the logs in our own. And this breastmilk-formula debate is one of the foremost fights that moms have on the internet, and I, for one, am deeply saddened by it.
So momma, here’s what I really want you to know:
You are a good mom. You are an amazing mom. If you already know that and feel confident in that, I am so glad. And if you don’t, I want you to read those first two sentences again and again until you start to believe it. You are. You are one heck of a great momma and everything you do for your kiddos is seen by the God who gave them to you. And I am fairly confident that He cares a lot more that your kiddos are loved, cared for, and prayed over than He cares about what they are fed. And at the end of the day, I want you to snuggle those babies tight and remember that what you are doing right now, by loving them and investing in them, is the greatest gift you can give them. That’s what matters.
So this week, with all the talk and all the pictures, I hope you are able to celebrate the mommas who are walking the breastfeeding journey. But I also hope that ultimately, you are able to celebrate your own journey, whatever it looks like, and feel confident in the mom that you are.
Much love to you, momma. You are simply doing awesome.