A parenting motto, crafted. (In my dreams)
Similac’s Mommy Wars video
Similac produced a new video about the perils of the mommy wars and how ultimately we should come together and stop our battles. I posted the video on my mama.is.comic page because, ironically, the day the ad filmed I was in the park sitting on a picnic blanket. There also happened to be another mother/author who has written a book about attachment parenting standing there too. The irony put this ad on my radar, What are the odds?
When I was first starting out, pregnant, eighteen years ago, I learned everything I needed to know through the unsolicited advice of strangers. I bought books on pregnancy and birth and they sucked, they told me how to go along. It was a mother that worked with me that mentioned hiring a midwife, I had never heard of such a thing except historically. It was a group of mothers who told me that they had a home births. It was a group of mothers who told me that my idea, ‘breastfeeding for three months’ was a great place to start, but maybe I should reserve the right to continue. And finally it was at a La Leche League meeting that I found solutions for the millions of things that didn’t seem to be working about breastfeeding.
I found this new information through an archaic idea, mother to mother support, and it was awesome. The advice was non-judgemental in its intention and perhaps more importantly my perception. Mother to mother support created the momentum that built the surge in breastfeeding that we all experience and benefit from today. Mother to mother support is extremely powerful.
The Mommy Wars didn’t exist. And whether the first battle line was drawn by a judgmental mother, or a mother who erroneously perceived herself judged. The corporations that peddle baby stuff profit handsomely by fanning the flames. They make it all but impossible to go back to helping each other with their fake breastfeeding education and ‘sanctimonious forgiving’ if you have difficulty breastfeeding.
Mother to mother support is all but gone—unless a mother asks, and you can tell she really wants to know, and you phrase your answer perfectly well, and apologize profusely for any missteps—but why would she ask, when she believes a judgment is coming?
Now Similac wants to tell us that the Mommy Wars are silly and that we should just think of the children and stop. Better yet Agree to Disagree. This solution is still more of the same, divisive and controlling. It makes them money if we argue and don’t help each other. It makes them money if we agree that we are all equally silly and don’t have any help to give.
It’s still not Mother to Mother support in all of its glory. We shouldn’t agree to disagree as if all things are equal. All actions aren’t equal. And everyone of us still has things to learn.
We mothers are amazing wondrous caring people. We give birth and feed our young and most of the time we learn as we go. It’s a difficult process but Mother to Mother support can be transformative.
So please don’t buy into the idea that the Mommy Wars exist, don’t judge or feel judged and voila! they’re all gone. And the inverse, please don’t agree to disagree, or not help, or pass along your wisdom. It’s not the way we grow and learn. Instead, ask for help, seek out advice, offer support and maybe just maybe we can get our power back.
This is the 2007 comic that finished my thought process when I came up with the comic, One Word. They were both inspired by this article: Watch Your Language!By Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC which I read way back in 2004. Since then, the language of breastfeeding has gotten even more complicated. It seems like before a lactivist says anything that might promote breastfeeding over formula, they must first say something to the effect of: “I know not everyone can breastfeed…” and “I know some mothers try and try and still can’t” Or else they’ll come across as offensive, or arrogant, or thoughtless. So, we all tiptoe around trying to take into account every single person in our audience and all their different and disparate circumstances, when inside we *know* every single mother could breastfeed if they just had the RIGHT information, and the helpful support, and the best circumstances but… but… then again, we also *know* “everyone who wants to can’t, even though they try and try.” sigh. This language thing is very complicated, but here’s one simple thing we can all do, let’s call breast milk ‘milk’.