I’ve been really wondering about this mentality lately. What is it about some breastfeeding mothers that had a hard time that makes them think that if they overcame that it’s doable for all mothers? I guess I ought to count myself in that category now, one of the ‘overcomers’, though for seven or eight months I really felt like a failure. I mean, I’ve stared failure in the face and it knocked me back (in my eyes because I didn’t meet my goal. I still limped along until I could meet an alternate goal) and all it has done is made me more compassionate, more eager to give information and more willing to support. So what happened with the women that had a hard time and got through it and then become critics of those who didn’t?
I guess for many of those women they feel that they were wholly responsible for making breastfeeding work and thus everyone is. I wonder if they believe that everyone’s circumstances are generally the same and that all that is needed is to for the mother to soldier on. Which completely disregards any time that it’s unhelpful professionals, bad advice, scary situations or the baby who isn’t bringing the necessary help to the booby party. It’s not all about bloody nipples, cluster feeding and sleepless nights for some of us.
I guess I just feel like people who come out on the side lacking compassion must feel resentful of their own breastfeeding experience and thus direct their anger at those who do stop, for whatever reason. I’ve got to say, direct your anger where it’s due. And it’s not due at other mothers. Have empathy and realize that everyone’s struggles are different. Be proud of your strength, but don’t condemn what you might see as weakness in others. Pride does not need censure to raise itself up. Depreciation of others makes your pride look cheap. Say: I’ve been there, I know how hard it was. It could have been me. And leave it at that.
If a professional set you on the path of unnecessary interventions and damaged your milk supply, then direct your anger there-NOT at the mother who faced something similar and took her professional’s advice and thus ended her breastfeeding relationship prematurely. If you have unhelpful family members picking at your normal breastfeeding relationship until in a moment of exasperation you give in to their nagging and things go south from there…direct your anger at the unhelpful attitudes you encountered-NOT at another mother that fell into that trap and didn’t make her way back out.
Most of all, if you suffered through painful, exhausting, stressful days let other mothers know what helped you. Don’t be angry that no one helped you when you wanted it. Help them. Break the cycle.