Judgmental Lactivists responsible for the antiformulist movement
I’ve done it. I’ve decided to brave the outside world and take my son to the mall. As if the anxiety of being caught miles away from the sanctuary of our home without some item of necessity wasn’t enough to keep me from walking through the door, I never even thought about there being other people there.
Strangers with their germs, loud voices, and the inconvenience of having people stand in your way (don’t you people understand what will happen if I stop moving this stroller for even one second?!). If all that wasn’t enough, we introduce an all new anxiety-provoking element: judgmental lactivists.
I’ve been out for over an hour and my son starts his familiar hunger whines. I find the perfect bench outside of Macy’s to crack open an ever-so-convenient bottle of pre-made travel formula and snuggle with him as he slips back into a nice bottle-induced drunken state.
As I’m sharing this moment with my son, I notice several women pass by. Most smile, but a few – lactivists – sneer at the sight of my formula bottle. They look me in the eye with the most displeasing look ever. It takes everything in my power not to scream across the walkway “It’s not my fault!”
It’s not my fault I was born with a congenital heart defect. It’s not my fault that despite being told I may cause irreversible harm to my already damaged heart by getting pregnant and giving birth, I was then unable to breastfeed due to the metabolic demands of becoming a human cow. That I tried for four weeks to breastfeed because I know breast milk is best. That I suffered fainting spells, low blood sugar emergencies, and worked with three different lactation consultants for those four weeks. It’s also not my fault that then, finally, when my physicians asked me to cut back to only one to two breast feedings a day, thus giving up my dream of exclusively breastfeeding, I was plagued with guilt and depression over it.
So, I am sorry I wasn’t able to breastfeed, but I’m not lazy and I certainly do care about my son’s development, so stop looking at me like I just won the worst parent of the year award.
Yes, breast is best, but you know what is even better? Women who understand that motherhood is a challenging experience and each mom makes a parenting decision based on what is best for their individual situation, which most likely isn’t best for you and your child. Society puts so much pressure on mothers today to do “the best” and unfortunately there are several different opinions on what “the best” even is.
Ultimately, unless a mother is performing an unsafe or harmful act (ie; beating her child to a pulp in the parking lot) stop the judgmental looks or offering rude parenting tips because you have no idea what that mother has been through. Just smile, she will always accept friendly encouragement.
New mom lesson # 15386:
There is nothing better than getting your 3-month-old to settle down in your arms for a nice long snooze. He’s so soft and squishy, and snoring like a trucker, it makes up for the hour of crying and constant rocking that preceded this moment.
Then it happens. It starts with that little tickle in my throat. The momentum grows – sneakily. Oh crap, I know it’s coming. Do I have time to quickly but seamlessly transfer him to the crib before it hits? Oh damn, no, and so it begins: the cough attack of a lifetime.
I try to stifle the coughs and turn my head away from him, but nothing disturbs a peacefully sleeping child like his mother convulsing and dripping with the cough sweats.
So he starts to whimper, and as I try harder to not cough, the urge to grows, as does my son’s wiggles. Before I know it, I’m hacking away with tears streaming down my face. The tears are part pressure from the held-in coughs and part exhaustion from knowing this act will probably lead to at least one more hour of constant rocking motion.
Then, to my surprise, I look down to see my son wide-eyed and smiling. Nothing could be funnier to him, and so I continue fake coughing purely for his amusement. Yes, we will start the fuss/cry/rock cycle all over again, but from now on I’ll keep my bottle of water a little closer.