Think Before You Speak
If I have one piece of advice to everyone in the world it would be to think before you speak. Specifically, do not ever tell an adoptive mom (or any mother who does not breastfeed for any reason) that they should go to a lactation consultant to “fix” their problem. Seriously. Just don’t say it.
Especially don’t say it when you know their story. When you know that they went through hell to have their child.
Because of someone’s insensitivity, I ended up having to re-live our experiences yet again. I didn’t have the courage to call this person out on her insensitivity, so once again I was left thinking to myself:
I always assumed I would breastfeed my child(ren). I also assumed I would be able carry a living child to term, not once in my life did I ever imagine a doctor telling me that I will never have a child compatible with life without significant intervention. Oh, and I also assumed that I would never end up saying goodbye to five lives that my body could not sustain. Nore did I ever think I’d end up in an operating room having emergency surgery to remove what was my child from my body and then less then a year later that I’d be in another clinic terminating yet another a baby’s life to save my own. I also innocently assumed that having our son wouldn’t require another mother to entrust us with her child.
Oh, and I don’t think this is a “fix” kind of situation. I couldn’t “fix” recurrent pregnancy loss regardless of the random advice people gave us – it turns out sexual position and pineapple cores are not cures. And guess what, I cannot “fix” that I am not breast feeding, nor do I think this needs to be fixed. I’m not broken, nor is my son.
Honestly, when will people realize that life simply doesn’t work the way we expect and some of us are doing the very best we can with the situation at hand. In fact, I’d say the last thing I should be told today is that I need to be fixed.
And it’s just insane and cruel that there are people out there who choose to help others by telling them that the way they feed their child isn’t good enough. And it is completely unacceptable under essentially any circumstance that someone that formula feeding makes them a horrible mother. Yes, if I were hitting my child, or leaving them outside in the snow or leaving them in a parked car on a hot day, then yes, tell me I’m horrible (and arrest me and take my child away). But, tell me I’m horrible for feeding my child a healthy food, that’s nothing short of insane.
I know their is immense pressure in our society to breast-feed. I know that’s the trend these days. But, honestly, come on.
And please, tell me, what else am I supposed to do? My body did not go through pregnancy and therefore did not have the hormones available to produce breast-milk. I made a conscious decision not to try to induce lactation, I just couldn’t bear the thought of failing another baby and I knew the potential consequences to my mental health were too great. As we were travelling internationally and without advance warning it’s not like I could ask a friend for their excess milk to bring with us, and no breast-milk donation centers were willing to provide to our adopted baby.
So, I ask, would I be a better mom if I chose not to feed my son in the absence of breast-milk? Would I be a better mom if I risked my own mental health in an attempt to force lactation and ended up under psychiatric care for months?
No, I wouldn’t.
I love my son just as much as any mother out there. I’d even be willing to say that I love my son more then some other mother’s out there. And, the fact is, he is well fed and healthy. He is thriving. That’s all that matters.
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