I have a few friends who are pregnant with baby number one. I can’t help but think back to that time myself. I felt good, I felt nervous and I wanted to be the perfect mom. This is why I read book after book “learning” how to be the perfect mom. I paid attention to breastfeeding advocates who wanted me to breastfeed my daughter until she was two, and those who believed that my epidural would surely cause my child and I lifelong harm. I watched in wonder as moms whipped up homemade organic baby food and had their babies fast asleep every night by 7 pm on the dot. I listened to the co-sleepers and wondered how one could survive never having time for themselves… not even while sleeping.
I was in labor with Mia for 30 hours and insisted on pushing forward because I was “smart” and was surely outwitting insurance companies who just wanted me to have a c-section to make money. When at 30 hours, I had a near emergency c-section, I realized that while outsmarting the insurance company, I could have killed myself and my child.
I know many mothers who cried for days when their infant didn’t “latch on.” Part of me thinks they were crying not because they couldn’t breastfeed, but because they felt like a failure to society. That makes me sad. I had many disapproving looks when I supplemented with Mia because I just needed a break. Was it wrong for me to need a break?
A child made a comment to me last week about McDonalds. The mom feverishly explained that they never ever go to McDonalds, it was just a one time thing. Who cares! Kids like a chicken nugget every now and then, and it’s not going to kill them.
The other day one of my friends paid me a compliment that might be the
best I have ever received. She said she believed my parenting style was authentic and that I was really “me” as a mom instead of who I “should be.” That makes me very happy because it has taken a long time to get here. It has taken a long time to let the outside influences go.
So as parents, let’s talk. Let’s be honest. Let’s admit to our feelings and stop trying to put on a show. We are all different, all babies and children are different, we all need different things to sustain our quality of life. And, it’s okay.