14 May, 2012

creepy sick weirdo

when i was a teacher if i heard a kid used the word "gay" or "retard", i would always address it. i would ask them if they knew what the word meant. and if they said yes, i would explain that they never knew who was listening and whose feelings were getting hurt. i would remind them that, "you don't know anything about me. what if i am a lesbian? what if my brother has downs syndrome? you have no idea who you might be hurting."

i hope that when you get bigger that you will always think about who might be listening when you speak and about who might get hurt by it.

i know that i have made my share of comments in the social media about topics i am passionate about. i know that i have hurt feelings. but it has never been intentional or out of ignorance or disgust or hate or anger or fear. i have spoken out against circumcision in defense of the babies. i have never called anyone a bad mother, or tried to make them feel bad for a decision that they made that they cannot change. i have posted links about the benefits of breastfeeding and about the many ways that society has failed so many women when they have attempted to nurse their babies. i have never said that women who do not nurse their babies are bad mothers. or harming their babies in any way. i have written from the child's personified perspective about being left alone to cry in their cribs. i have not called anyone a bad parent for doing this. i have shared information about natural birth, even though i have yet to have one of my own, without ever implying that a woman who gives birth without an epidural is any more of a woman than those who deliver their babies with epidurals or through surgical birth. i have always made it very clear that i believe that we are all doing the best we can with the knowledge we have at the time. all of my comments have been made out of love and out of a desire to help someone who might be interested. i have written and posted in the hopes that others would hear something that might help them somehow. i have encouraged people to hide my posts if they were offended or hurt. i started a separate page on facebook so that my friends who weren't interested didn't have to be bombarded with information that they didn't want. my intention has never been to hurt anyone. i have never intended to make anyone feel like less of a mother because of any decision that they have made.

though i know that at times i have done that unintentionally. and in those cases, when i have been made aware of it, i have apologized and tried to explain myself. and in most cases, the conversation ended with a hug...either a real one or a virtual one.

so can you imagine how it feels to read in the social media and in the news and to hear on tv over and over again that i am a pervert? a child molester? gross? a creepy sick weirdo?

on mother's day weekend.

i'm hearing this from strangers, but also from friends. imagine all of those mothers who are not even as outspoken or as confident as i am in my choices as a mother. imagine the woman who nurses her toddler to sleep without ever mentioning to anyone that she does so. imagine how it must feel for her to be called a child molester. me? i am pretty tough. and pretty aggressive. i can take it, but i have to admit, it's starting to really wear on me. i am really starting to just feel sad about it. i love you. i do what feels right for me and what seems to feel right for you. i have messed up a lot along the way. but i have always listened to my instincts. and when a mother listens to her instincts, no matter what they tell her, how can that be wrong?

i am not a child molester. i am not damaging you. i am not doing anything that is unusual in the scope of the world. and actually, in our little part of the world, among the people we see on a daily basis, nursing toddlers is very normal. most of your friends are still nursing, or just stopped nursing recently, or have mommies who stopped nursing early on but don't even bat an eye when one of you kids runs up to your mother and asks to nurse. it is normal in our circles. in the tight circle and even in the outer circles.

i understand that some people don't understand why i would still nurse you. but they just don't have the same information i have. i don't understand why some people do a lot of things. but unless they are actually abusing their child in some way, i have to respect that decision. i will be honest, as i have said before, i find it difficult to understand how a mother can listen to her baby cry in a crib alone without responding. but i know that she is doing it because she believes that is the best thing for her baby. i believe that she is making the decision out of love, and she is basing that decision on the information that she has. i am against circumcision. i find it hard to understand how a mother can allow her son to undergo unnecessary surgery that is painful. again, this is my point of view. i have come to this point of view based on the information that i have. i don't believe that any mother has her son circumcised because she wants to hurt him. i do not believe that any mother purposely harms her baby or her child. even the worst of the worst. the real child molester and abusers. i can even see from a point of compassion that they do not WANT to hurt their children. no mother does. we are all...all of us...doing the best we can with the knowledge that we have. and we are all doing it because we love our babies.

i am sure that there are a few people reading this saying that i have hurt people with my words. that now i can feel what it is like to be on the other end.

well, i am always on the other end. nearly every single parenting decision that i have made is one that is neither supported nor respected by the majority. i am always finding myself in a place of defense.


this all being said, the last few days have been hell. i hate mother's day. i know. move on. get over it. i have you now who i can love and appreciate on mother's day. yes, i do. and i hope that someday i can love mother's day. but for now, i still hate it. it reminds me of mother's day in 2008 when i had no baby to kiss. when i was still mourning the loss of your brother and everywhere i looked i saw mothers and babies and pregnant bellies. it reminds me of the card i got from your dad reminding me that although i had no baby in my arms, that i was in fact a mother.

this mother's day sucked. even more than usual. for lots of reasons. one of those reasons being that because last week, time magazine released a photo of a mother nursing her toddler.

and the country went wild about it.

i love the photo.

i hate the title of the article. i hate the way it has successfully accomplished what it intended to accomplish. it has turned mothers against mothers.

and isn't that just the way to keep us women down? they give us something silly or irrelevant to focus on so we don't focus on important things like improving health care for our children or shattering that glass ceiling.

and we buy into it.

myself included.

and they released this at the beginning of mother's day weekend.

i still nurse you. and i love that i do. we nurse multiple times a day. standing up. sitting down. lying down. while i am cooking. sometimes while daddy is driving. and sometimes i nurse you in restaurants or in other public places if you really need it. and sometimes i tell you no and that you can wait. it all depends on your mood. and on mine.

you are two years and seven months old. you walk. you talk. you eat lots of solid food. you drink from a cup. and yes -- you ask for milkies and you even sometimes you lift up my shirt.

when you fall down, milkies help you feel better. when you are tired, milkies help you go to sleep. you love to nurse. you always have.

i never intended to be nursing a nearly three year old.

but here i am.

i nurse you because you are still really a baby. i do not nurse you because someone says i should in order to follow some set of rules in a parenting book. i nurse you because you need it. i do not nurse you because i have some weird need to keep you dependent on me. and let me be very clear here, i do not nurse you because i get some sort of sexual pleasure out of it. nope. i nurse you because i love you and because you are my baby. and because YOU need it and because it is normal.

do i think i am a better mom than anyone else because i am nursing my toddler? nope. do i think that other children are being damaged if they are not being nursed in their toddler years? nope.

but some people think that about me. they think that i think i am better. they think that i think that other moms are somehow damaging their kids.

they think i am a sick creepy weirdo. they think that i nurse you for my own pleasure and for some creepy need to hold on to you a little too tight. they think i am extreme.

that makes me sad. on so many levels.

when you get bigger, mason. i hope that before you speak, you try to have at least some information about what you are about to say. i hope that you are thirsty for information. i hope that you understand that the best way to win an argument is to have information about both sides of that argument. i hope that you think about who might be listening and whose feelings you might be hurting. and i do hope that you can learn to be more gentle with your words than i am. i know i have work to do there. i also hope that you know i do what i do and say what i say always out of love. and i try to always have compassion. and i try to always see things from both sides. i hope that you know that about me. and i hope that the world you bring your children into is better than this one.

i hope, like all mothers hope, that i don't screw you up too badly.

and as always, i hope, again, like all mothers do, that you know just how much i love you.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Thank you for saying this. I don't know you but you took the words right out of my mouth.