May 12, 2012

This Week the Trend: "Are You Mom Enough?"

Photo credit here
Before I head off to bed tonight, I wanted to take a moment to write about the trending TIME magazine article on extended breastfeeding and "attachment parenting". I've read plenty of blogs and comments about the article (and I know for a fact that there's many more than I had time to read), and it's safe to say that emotions are flying all over the place.

My initial open-mouthed reaction to the cover was actually not in regards the photo, but to the bold letters of the title, "Are You Mom Enough?" I couldn't help but wonder how much more damage this article will do between mothers who should be building each other up rather than tearing each other down (as I wrote about here). I've recently come to the understanding that it is possible to have genuinely good friendships with people who may have very different views on bringing up babies- as long as you can agree to disagree- but most of my experiences are that conversations on parenting and motherhood easily lean toward a no-holds-barred scrimmage to determine who's got it all wrong (cue Woman Guilt). It shouldn't be this way. As Huffington Post columnist Lisa Belkin wrote:

"Breastfeeding is not a macho test of motherhood, with the winner being the one who nurses the longest. In fact there ARE no macho tests of motherhood. Motherhood is -- should be -- a village, where we explore each other's choices, learn from them, respect them, and then go off and make our ownWomen who breastfeed their children for three years are outliers, but they are not spectacles, and we shouldn't hold them up as either Madonnas or freaks. Women who do not breastfeed are not monsters, and we should not condemn them, or really have any opinion about their decision at all."

I think it is a good thing that TIME is bringing the issue of breastfeeding into the public awareness; however, I don't think it's as wonderful as some would make it out to be. In my opinion, an article like this will have a negative effect of keeping breastfeeding from becoming a normal, healthy part of American culture when TIME has these parents and children on display like some sort of outlandish exhibit at a museum- a curious, foreign display of human behavior to shock the masses. Mothers who aren't afraid to nurse in public- a great example is Joanna from A Cup of Jo- and stand their ground (after all, the law gives a mother the freedom to breastfeed anywhere she is legally allowed to be) are the ones making the real shift toward a positive attitude about breastfeeding.

As for "attachment parenting"- I just know that, personally, the only label I want to fall under is Miles's Mama. When my son smiles and lights up as soon as he sees me, when he laughs at a silly game we're playing, when he snuggles up against me and falls peacefully asleep...all is right with the world, whether or not I fall into a fabricated category of mothering.

To each their own.
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1 comment:

Whitney @ The Sweetest Things said...

I really love your take on it. I completely agree and I had the same thoughts as I was reading all the stuff that's been coming out on blogs and twitter and wherever else it surfaces. Nothing wrong with breastfeeding for a little bit or breastfeeding for several years, it's all personal preference and shouldn't be used to bully or tear down other moms. Thanks for writing this post :) I enjoyed it.