Anyone see this article in the New York Times today? It’s a profile on Ina May Gaskin, the woman responsible for bringing midwifery and home birthing back into the lives of modern American women. The comment thread has me thinking about how some (not all!) of us treat one another when faced with women who make choices that are different from our own. This is particularly true when it comes to parenting.
Between breastfeeding vs formula and natural vs medicated births, it seems that the opportunities for women to judge each other are endless. The war on women’s health that is being perpetuated by (mostly male) politicians is so egregious that we need support within our ranks, not antagonism.
With the recent public dialogue about breastfeeding into toddlerhood, we’ve seen how we might not always have each other’s backs when it comes to parenting and the choices we make.
When I was pregnant I had a conversation with a lady about whether or not I would have an epidural. I said, “I’ll go as far as I can, then we’re plugging in.” She responded, “No! It’s such a wonderful experience. Be brave!”
Be brave?! Those last two words were exactly the amount of judgement that I DID NOT NEED. So I’m a coward? It was innocent enough, but her words stuck with me. Like gum on my shoe. I didn’t ask for her opinion, or her birth story.
Are you “mom enough” to give birth with no pain meds?
Are you “mom enough” to make breast feeding work?
Are you “mom enough” to stay home with your kids?
Instead of posing these types of divisive questions with their implicit judgement, we should ask ourselves if we’re “woman enough” to look at our fellow mothers with kindness (not condescension/disdain) and know that no matter what our choices are, we all love our babies, and we’re all doing our best.