I’m beginning to understand why they say that you shouldn’t be judgmental of how other people raise their children. In parenthood as in other aspects of life, what works for other people may not work for you, and vice versa. This can be difficult to understand and accept until, like me, you find yourself on the “wrong” side of a controversial issue.
I believe breast milk is better than formula. I believe all mothers who are physically able to breastfeed should at least try it. I know from experience how difficult it is, how it clashes with a modern lifestyle. But it’s better for your baby, so if you can make it work, you should.
But for some people, it just doesn’t work, no matter how hard they try. And for those mothers like me, heartbroken over their inability to adequately nourish their babies with breast milk, using formula is a painful, but necessary, choice. Babies need food.
I still tear up when I think about it. I wanted so badly to do what was right for my son. But, as I still have to keep reminding myself, I did. “Right” just wasn’t what I had thought it was. After all, what’s more important? Breastfeeding or nourishing your child? Because if breastfeeding isn’t nourishing your child, then it’s not right.
And, oh, the difference it made in our lives when we switched to formula! Our son started gaining weight. He started sleeping more and crying less. My husband took over some of the nighttime feedings and I finally got some sleep. And with sleep, I started to feel human again. Alive. Happy to have a baby. So much better!
Now, when I hear other people criticize those of us who use formula, it just makes me angry. How dare they judge! They weren’t there every night trying desperately to rock a hungry baby back to sleep. They weren’t there to see our son grow thinner and thinner. They weren’t there when our pediatrician said we absolutely needed to give him formula. They weren’t there to see me cry when he gobbled down his first bottle. And they have no business trying to make me feel bad about doing what I had to do.
So today, on this lovely Mother’s Day, while you’re celebrating your awesome mother (or your awesome self, if you are a mother), try to remember also to be more tolerant of those mothers who don’t do things exactly the way you think they should. They have their reasons. And sometimes those reasons are so much righter than you know.