Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Love Thy Mommy Friend

I already had this topic on mind to perhaps blog about, but after reading this article I decided to definitely post this.

I am really blessed to have a group of mommy friends that are non-judgmental and overall they don't try to bully other moms in the group into "their" way of doing things. Many women, are not so blessed and I actually started thinking about it when I left a get together with some mommy pals and started thinking about how different we all are, but yet we don't judge each other about our decisions as mothers.  We have women who have birthed naturally, at home, in a hospital, with interventions/medication, breastfeed, formula-feed, are vegetarian, cloth diaper and pretty much anything else you can think of.  I love how diverse we all are and the dynamic our relationships have.
Then I started thinking about when I got pregnant with Leonard and joined a new mom message board online because I worked FT and just didn't have many mommy friends.  WOW.  I ended up leaving the board one week later because I was just outraged by how critical and just downright MEAN some of these women were to other women.  It's one thing to offer advice, but to tear a woman apart for what she does regarding her own child just seemed so foreign to me.  Like who really cares?  It was like the movie "Mean Girls" but with moms.

I was only able to breastfeed my son for a few months before I went back to work and pumping just didn't work out.  I admit there was some shame in having to formula feed him, but I honestly believed it was MY decision and no one else's, so why would anyone else care?  With my daughter I was a new SAHM with a 15 month old and when she fussed at the breast I opted to go the route of sanity and just formula feed her.  My children have not developed a 4th head or anything so I am assuming they are fine.

I have been pretty open with most of my friends about my Post Partum Depression after my daughter was born.  I feel like the more open we can be with our mommy friends, the better support system we can be to one another. 

I had my kids in a hospital, I had an epidural and I enjoyed every minute of it.  Both my children's births were peaceful and joyful occasions and I wouldn't change a thing.  So why do some women feel its their obligation to make others feel shame for what is ultimately YOUR OWN decision?  I don't care what anyone says, no one can convince me that my birthing plan wasn't the right plan for me, regardless of your statistics or ideas.  Because they are yours, not mine.

I guess from some people's perspective I haven't done everything right, but I have amazing kids that love me and I am healthy and sane.  And opinions are like bums ya know, everyone has one :)

I guess I am saying all this to say that it is so sad that we as modern mothers feel the need to tear each other down instead of supporting each other in our decisions and creating strong bonds of friendship so we don't feel alone in this journey.  Can you think of someone that you may have hurt or alienated because you went to far in sharing your opinions? I pray I haven't.  I would hate to be the one to make another mother feel like she isn't good enough.  If you look at it that way, you are less likely to spout off in an inappropriate way.

I think we all have something to offer.  We all have different and sometime similar experiences and I love to learn from all my friend's experiences and hear what they have to say.  Let's just all remember to keep conversations positive, uplifting and judgment free.  Remembering to LISTEN when we need to and speak kind words when needed as well.

I hope I am a good mommy friend (please let me know if I am not!) 


Juleen Kenney said...

How ironic that you chose to write on this subject, because despite the fact that I am not yet a mother, these issues have weighed heavily on my heart lately. It seems like all I hear about is how you should have a natural birth, breast-feed then serve only homemade organic foods, co-sleep, homeschool, and so on, and so on! Such pressure! I love my job as a hair stylist, and right now my husband and I are not in a financial position that I could be a stay at home mom, nor can we afford childcare if I choose to continue working, so at 34 years old we have not yet started a family. Then l get criticized for putting off having children, because apparently that's not how it supposed to be done! I have been chastized that I'm just not trusting God to provide, when in fact I'm waiting patiently for HIM to do the providing rather than relying on the state welfare program! The pressures of motherhood are awfully heavy before the mothering even begins!

Rebecca said...

I think you are a wonderful Mommy Friend to me! We are different, but get along great. You are always encouraging and super fun to be around. I am thankful for our Mommy friendship. =)
{insert cheese right here, even though I am being 100% serious}

Eva Scott said...

Great and personal post!

There have been several times that I've been reading something and had to stop because either the article or the comments were so terrible. I can't fathom talking to another mom like some people do. And there's been other times that I've seen an article title and just chosen not to read it because I could tell it was going to be hurtful.

You know from a post I did a while ago, that I feel the same way. Being a mom is at times and the last thing we need from our friends is to be belittled. I honestly have a "friend" that I was pretty close to and she's so opinionated and hurtful in her comments and facial expressions that it makes it extremely (not even a strong enough word) to be friends with her.

I've battled lots (and still do) with having a c-section. I've talked to people and cried a lot. I talked to a friend this pregnancy and she said, "Go for the vbac and recognize if something happens and you need a c-section, that this is how God is keeping you and your sweet baby safe." And that's what I am choosing to look at. God is keeping me safe in MY situation.

It's just hard how people word things and lots of times they have no idea how hurtful it is. Even the work "natural birth" seems wrong to me. Every birth is "natural" ya know?

So, anyways, I'm with ya. We should be encouragers, encouragers, encouragers to one another!!

Joanne said...

YOU are an amazing mommy and an amazing friend!!! Thanks for sharing your heart. We are all different.. but we are all still fabulous moms!!!