I Am Mom Enough

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Have you seen the latest issue of Time Magazine? I haven't had a chance to get a copy yet, but have read excerpts and have seen it discussed all over the web for the last couple days. Regardless of the tone of the articles or any spin that the writers may put on the issues, I find it really encouraging to see mainstream America opening up and talking about topics like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and positive discipline, because ultimately these issues affect not just parents and children but on many levels our society as a whole.

I do find the cover photo to be a bit exaggerated.  I am sure it was purposely posed to incite controversy and drive magazine sales. I personally know lots of Attachment Parents and extended breastfeeding moms including myself. I have seen some wild gymnustics and lacrobatics performed by active toddlers intent on exploring and looking at everything while nursing. I wouldn't be shocked, but to date I have never seen a preschooler drag up a chair to stand on while nursing.  Little people can be intensely creative problem-solvers when they are trying to get what they want, so I guess this scenario, although it's not typical, isn't completely unrealistic.  If it was girlfriend of mine and her preschooler, I'd probably have a good-natured laugh. Then, I'd say let's all go sit in the living room where it's more comfortable for nursing.

Here are two moms, who are part of a local moms group I started, giving their take on the Time feature on ABC2 News in Baltimore:

I completely agree with what Jessica said about her daughter Payton nursing, "When she turned a year old, I just was like I can't take her away from this. She loves it. She relies on it. It's her comfort, puts her to sleep." I felt this same way.

When my youngest daughter turned one, she was already scheduled for surgery the following month to correct a slight birth defect of her ear. I knew we wouldn't wean before the surgery, because breastfeeding was such a comfort to her and also because breastmilk provides pain relief and promotes healing. Originally my goal was to breastfeed my baby for at least a year, and we made it YAY!!!  I thought after she recovered from her surgery, we would be done.  But then around that same time, I learned that The World Health Organization and many health organizations world-wide actually recommend breastfeeding until at least the age of two.  Before I had children, I never imagined myself nursing a toddler, but  it felt so natural to continue, and I am so happy that we did!

" . . . people have to realize this is biologically normal. It’s not socially normal. The more people see it, the more it’ll become normal in our culture. That’s what I’m hoping. I want people to see it. There seems to be a war going on between conventional parenting and attachment parenting, and that’s what I want to avoid. I want everyone to be encouraging. We’re not on opposing teams. We all need to be encouraging to each other, and I don’t think we’re doing a very good job at that." from Q&A with Breast-Feeding Mom Jamie Lynne Grumet -- A conversation with the woman on TIME's May 21 cover

I talk regularly to moms who think attachment parenting, child-led weaning and gentle, loving parenting are integral to raising happy, healthy confident kids. I think every good mother does the best she can at the time with the resources and information that she has. The more we learn and share, the better parents we become. I intentionally chose the moms in my circle of friends for their desire to be the best mothers they can, to grow and learn as both women and mothers, and for their ability to be understanding and supportive.  Motherhood can be hard at times even without feeling like you have to justify your every parenting decisions or impress everyone around you with your stellar mothering skills. Raising children is not a contest to be won. I don't need to be "#1 Mom!" I do need to be able to share openly with my fellow moms without fear of being judged as not "mom enough."

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