Part of the Graphic Design program I’m taking has us discussing various advertisements and their impact on society. So, I wasn’t entirely surprised when one of my classmates placed this months’ Time Magazine cover titled “Are you Mom Enough?”, on our class Facebook page…encouraging comment.
Funny enough, only a few months back we learned how to “close crop” photos around a Magazine’s Masthead! While I chose to create a replica of More magazine…a magazine for women over forty…a number of folks in class chose to recreate Time magazine…perfectly cropping their heads around the famous letters at the top of the page.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, this months’ TIME cover shows a twenty-six year old woman breastfeeding her three year old child as he stands on a stool to reach. While it’s definitely causing controversy…I thought I’d add my two cents…
I didn’t read the article because I can’t get past the cover but to be totally honest…while I think it’s sensationalized…it’s not the picture that gets me but the large, uppercased words of “ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?”
Am I MOM ENOUGH???
Pardon me…but I’m left with the feeling of wanting to drop the “F-Bomb” but for the sensitive ears of the darling three-year-old gracing the magazine’s cover!
Again…I have no idea what’s in the article but over and over we’re pitting Mom’s against one another with what’s right, what’s wrong, what’s best. Shouldn’t we instead be supporting one another in what ultimately works in each particular situation without all the judgement and guilt?
I didn’t breast feed my first. I was twenty two…uncomfortable with being a mom and the circumstances I was in and not entirely sure what I was doing having a baby let alone faced with the task of feeding her! I was doing absolutely everything I could possibly do to keep my head on straight and scared to death that I didn’t have that “magical maternal moment” some women are blessed with.
For lack of a better word…let’s call it postpartum.
I loved her…desperately…but for the sake of both of us I researched the various types of formula and settled on what I thought was best while my amazing mother, donning a Hazmat suit, boiled glass baby bottles and rubber nipples in a huge pot in our kitchen removing each hot item with a set of sterilized tongs as if it were the 1950’s.
To be honest…had I breastfed…she may have sterilized me as well!
I didn’t know what to do…but luckily I had a loving, supportive, caring mother who picked up the slack and taught me everything I needed to know without any amount of judgement or pressure whatsoever. My child was happy and content curled in my arms drinking “fake milk” through a sanitized bottle and while I was told she wouldn’t have the high IQ of the breastfed children…I took my chances.
By the time my second was born…I was older. More comfortable and confident with who I was but the pressure for breastfeeding was on from the moment my pregnancy was confirmed and a “Breast is Best” pamphlet was placed in my hands. My son’s father had asthma and I’d read various reports telling me breastfeeding would decrease the chances of my child having asthma as well. To be honest, despite the pressure and opinions I was quite fine with it all. I welcomed the experience at that time in my life and truly believed I was doing what was best for both me and my child but not that long into it…I was riddled with one infection after the next soon passing it on to my baby!
Mastitis. Blocked Ducts. Any number of ailments and infections you could possibly throw at me leaving me with daily visits to the doctor, multiple pills, various salves and purple dye on my chest.
Suffice it to say I suffered. My son suffered. I cried from sheer pain and frustration and he cried from simply having a mother with rebellious breasts and lack of milk. He was hungry and losing weight!
When my mother arrived.
While sitting with toes curled, back arched and wincing in agony as my child latched on she told me I wasn’t exactly a “glowing advertisement for breastfeeding!” With love and encouragement she convinced me to “work in a bottle to give myself a little break”…quite possibly more for the sake of her grandchild but again…she did it without judgement.
However…the pressure and guilt society had thrown my way had me insisting I HAD TO NURSE MY BABY…I HAD TO STOP THE ASTHMA…and I persevered through the worst of it despite warnings from my doctor that I was out of my mind and I’d pushed it too far!
YES…I WAS MOM ENOUGH!
Through pain…misery…sheer peer pressure to do what I truly believed was right…I got through it. In the end, once healed and calloused, I began to truly enjoy breast feeding and honestly thought I’d continue for quite awhile longer but all of a sudden the baby was ten months old and once again I was having trouble producing enough milk to keep up with his demand!
I went to the doctor to see what was wrong…and discovered I was pregnant with my third.
I nursed her for a mere four months.
Stopped because I couldn’t go another summer night hot and sticky and miserable.
So…here’s my opinion on breastfeeding…MY OPINION DOESN’T MATTER!
Every single woman out there has a right to decide what works best for themselves, their baby and their family. Sometimes what you think is best…isn’t. But isn’t that what parenting is all about? Trial and error? Trying your very best to get it right? It’s not up to anyone else to add more pressure to an already pressure filled situation. You research…you decide what fits…with a mix of hesitation and determination you give it a try. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you get it painfully wrong.
BUT AM I MOM ENOUGH??? You’re damn right I’m mom enough and thanks so much for the reminder this “Mother’s Day” but BACK OFF ALREADY. There’s enough pressure in our lives as parents trying to decide disposable or cloth, pacifier or thumb, natural or epidural, work or stay at home, nanny or day care, public or private, Harvard or Yale… the list goes on!
The photo sensationalism was all about selling a few magazines…but the tagline was heartless…whatever the article entails.
Stop beating us up…we do that enough to ourselves already!
Happy Mother’s Day to every Mom out there trying her very best.
OH…and as my instructor pointed out…nice “close crop” on the masthead! It’s really the only comment your cover deserves.