I am STRONG!
I am a mother to two beautiful girls. I love them more than anything in the world. They literally make my heart swoon whenever I sit and think about them. I have worked hard to provide a wonderful life for them (alongside my husband). I stand strong as a mother and a woman, and have never let anyone make me feel like anything less than I am-a hard working, crazy, strong, loving, caring mother. This weekend husband and I went to an art festival in town with my SIL and her boyfriend, and the girls were having a rough day. I ended up carrying both of them in carriers (one on front, one on my back) because it made the trip bearable for all of us. We went into a venue to see the art, and decided to grab a beer. As any mother would do, I continued to carry my girls, and sip on my ONE beer. Some lady decided that her judgement was worth sharing with me. She says, “I guess you’re not breastfeeding (while staring my beer down)....then again, I guess you could just pump and dump”. This may seem like a silly thing to be upset over, but I can’t help but feel upset. Her words dripped with judgement, and her eyes confirmed it as she and her friend talked about me a foot away.
What she doesn’t know is how badly I wish I could breastfeed. How badly I wish I could provide my daughter with that “liquid gold”. How my breasts ached, and my nipples tingled during pregnancy, despite the fact that I knew I would never breastfeed. How I have cried knowing my daughter was in pain because the formula didn’t sit well, and I didn’t have anything better to give her. The tears that dripped down as I sat in the shower crying because my daughter crept up, and latched to my breast trying to do what was most natural to her, only to find a dry nipple.
See, 3 years ago I made the choice to protect myself and my family from the extremely high risk of developing breast cancer that my genes left me with. After watching my family grieve loss, fight cancer, lose moms, grandparents, sisters, and daughters, I made the choice to stop it before it began. I had a mastectomy before having children, even though I knew it meant I could never nurse my children. It was undoubtedly the best decision I’ve ever made, and I stand strong by my choice. However, I HATE that I allowed this one woman to make me feel so little in a moment of weakness. Then I thought, “wow. This is ridiculous. Here I stand, 4 surgeries, with two beautiful babies attached to me, later” and remembered that the most important thing is my love for my girls.
I don’t care why you do or don’t breastfeed...be it an inability, a dislike for it, personal sanity, or whatever reason, we are all mothers. We all deserve to enjoy our lives without the judgement of others. My one beer, your night out with the girls, another mom who hides in the closet eating the last chocolate bar where the kids can’t thieve it, we all deserve a reasonable level of relaxation and enjoyment without a stranger making us feel bad about it.
For the moms/people who feel the need to point out other people’s shortcomings, please think before you speak. Most of the time there’s a bigger reason for what is going on, and even if there isn’t, a mom is still a person. She deserves respect, or at least for you to mind your own business. F
or the moms/people who have felt the sting of judgement that wasn’t deserved, just know you are amazing, and you’re a great mother.
Stay strong, and stay kind. We are all human, and I hope everyone realizes that words can hurt, even for the strongest of women. Thank