Mommy Wars – When Will It End?

5 Comments 22 June 2010

Mothers, put down your fists and take a deep breath.

Whether it’s about breastfeeding, co-sleeping, parenting, or where we choose to give birth, a mother will have an opinion about what is acceptable and right and what is not.

Sometimes we lash out at each other because of our own feelings of guilt or inadequacy. Perhaps we feel threatened or judged.

Sometimes we think we’re helping by inserting strong language to imply the importance of a certain way of doing things. We’re only trying to help, but it may come off a little…harsh.

We get offended and defend ourselves; our position, our story, our situation…and hurtful things are said. Assumptions are made. Generalizations. Stereotypes. It’s a vicious battle ofwords where one rarely walks away unscathed.

We take it too far when…

We take opinions about birthing and parenting too far when we start using the word “should” and/or saying a certain choice is wrong.

For instance, let’s consider the Facebook group I learned about called “Mothers Against Co-Sleeping.”

Couldn’t the group be just as, (or more so) informative and inclusive by being called “Mothers For Safe Sleeping,”? Now that I might join. But if anyone is blatantly against a choice, as my daughter Ella would say, “neh, neh.”  :(

I’ve written about this topic before when I wrote about the ability to have a peaceful, natural birth in a hospital.

Because you see, although I am a home birth advocate, I will never imply or say women cannot have a positive natural birth in a hospital. Many have done it before and many more will. And I don’t believe it is my place to say where someone should give birth!

But here I am again, writing about the topic again, because I stumbled upon  one of these vicious wars of words this morning at Peaceful Parenting (the comments were not so peaceful).

Now, I’m not blaming anyone for having an opinion. Far from it.

What I’m pissed about is the judgment women pass on each other!

Empower, inspire, educate, motivate, but please don’t judge!

This is the comment I left at the blog post, “The BBC Says Scrap the ‘Breast is Best’ Slogan,” via Peaceful Parenting:

“Goodness. This really is a touchy subject. But when facts are introduced, as they are, why such a war of words? Why do we need to be so damn particular about how we say it? Breast is best. It’s proven. Saying that doesn’t imply any emotions or opinions – we put our own meanings and feelings on the statement.

I have two good friends who weren’t able to breastfeed. And they tried. Lactation consultants, pumping, you name it. Each ended up making the switch to formula after months of trying. Neither of them would claim that formula is better for babies or that breast milk isn’t the “best” (normal) way to feed your baby. It just didn’t work out for them. Sometimes they feel regret, wonder if they could have done more, feel as sense of loss, and perhaps judged by other mothers who easily exclusively breastfeed.

I think the most important thing is how we talk to each other as mothers, not what a slogan or commercial says. Women talk to other women all the time (like this very thread) to gain insight, make observations, access new ideas, etc. The belittling, name calling, judgment has to end! Don’t you see that WE, as in US – mothers – the commrodery of mothers and the support we give each other, is what will make the difference in successful breastfeeding, supported wet-nursing/breastmilk donation, etc.

The same goes with several mothering issues from co-sleeping/bed-sharing, birthing choices and parental styles. If we seek to understand each other, reach out, empathize and support our choices without judgment, we will see the shift take place in a much more resistance-free and peaceful environment.”


So tell me, what do you do to embody inner peace?

Do you approach a subject with love, empathy and understanding?

Share a story how you have taken a deep breathe and provided empathetic support to a fellow mama.

Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Thanks so much for posting this. I had a natural homebirth with both my babies, but was unable to exclusively breastfeed, so we’ve done supplementation with formula. We also opted to have our son circumcised. We co-sleep, and wear our kids in slings, don’t vaccinate, and believe in spanking. Those are our decisions. My husband and I realize that our parenting style is different than others, and that our style does not work for everyone. In the end, parents have to choose what works best for them, so I try not to pass judgment on those who parent differently than me.

  2. Lindsey says:

    I really try to live by the Biblical principle, “As far as it be up to YOU, live at peace with everyone.” In other words, there are plenty of times when I really want to speak my mind, but I choose not to because it’s more productive to live peacefully with others, hoping that someday the opportunity will arise for me to speak that truth out of my mind in a way that will be received well.

    Definitely difficult though, especially when it comes to birth/parenting, which are the things I feel most strongly about!


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