Tonight I suggested something to my husband that I have never mentioned before. ”What do you think about getting an RV instead of a second car?”
“Have you been watching too many My Big Fat Gypsy Weddings?” he asked before entertaining the idea.
As the night wore on, the idea grew on him. For two people embarking on a new chapter, the idea of gypsy living has an immense appeal right now.
“What should we name it?” he asked. We throw out some names we don’t love until I suggest, Choose Your Own Journey. (Ahem, thank you blog!) He agrees. We picked the name of our future-RV in less time than it took to agree on our wedding song, (not to mention a child’s name). Prior to writing this post, I googled appropriate signs for my soon-to-be RV. Isn’t that what manifesting is all about?
But when I begin to go off my tangents with ablaze, it’s often that I’m neglecting some other details in my life. What am I avoiding? I coach myself, writing in my journal.
Unexpectedly, something comes to the surface that I have been harboring for a week. I didn’t think I held onto anger. I haven’t held a grudge in over a decade. I used to have a terrible habit of ignoring someone like a passive-aggressive priss rather than having the huevos to take the bull by the horns and hash it out. (That was until I entered an 11+ year relationship with Mike and learned that didn’t work so well.) The only way out, is through.
At times I go to the other extreme. I let things go. I excuse behavior. I say we are only human, no one is perfect. I forgive before allowing myself to feel, never using my anger for purposeful action. This irking has not gone away, requiring me to pay attention rather than purchase an RV in the moment.
I’m not angry at a person. I’m angry about the judgment in some comments following a post in Mothering Magazine. I had hoped to blog for this magazine in the near future, but I’m wondering about my chances of being well-received by their audience after this beef.
And I am not a breast-feeding basher. “Breast is best,” we are told repetitively as new moms. (Was there judgment there???) That’s just my own stuff, so just let me have a 30 second soap box. I would have LOVED to do upside down yoga while breastfeeding my son, but unfortunately some of us are not engineered this way. I always assumed I would breast feed. As a new, young, condescending speech-language pathologist who was determined to understand everything about feeding disorders in infants, I believed that allergies could be prevented by breastfeeding. Yes, breastfeeding would have been my choice.
But I made another choice. I chose to cut off my breasts in order to have a child. I hate how that sounds, and it’s not meant to be so cryptic – but that’s the way I feel. It’s the way I felt when strangers approached me in the grocery store asking me whether or not I planned on breastfeeding when I was pregnant. It’s the way I felt after Evan’s birth, thinking I needed to explain myself every time someone asked how breastfeeding was going. It was the way I felt when I knew with crystal clarity that I would have a prophylactic mastectomy to reduce my risk of breast cancer, with the desire to have a child outweighing anything else I ever wanted in life.
God bless my mom. When I lamented about my regret of not being able to breastfeed before my mastectomy, she said, “Who knows if you could even breastfeed? It’s no big deal! I didn’t with you!” (She would probably not be the type of blogger Mothering Magazine wanted either, and for the record my only allergy is amoxicillin.)
The article from Mothering Magazine is here. The author is against handing out free samples of formula in hospitals. She states that she is “pro-choice” about breastfeeding but thinks that providing free samples in the hospital preys on new mothers at their most vulnerable, suggesting women bring their own formula from home. I would so love to put on my college debate-team hat and argue each point in contention, but for the sake of this blog post I’ll break it down in simple terms. For someone who is “pro-choice” why should it matter if hospitals hand out formula samples? Can you imagine the uproar women would have if environmentalists wanted to ban diaper companies from providing free samples of newborn Pampers advocating that cloth diapers were better for the environment? Why give Pampers to new moms at their most vulnerable (i.e., their baby’s first icky diaper change!) who might otherwise choose cloth diapers?
With each comment supporting this ban, I could feel my skin boil. One member commented that she thought mothers who receive assistance from WIC should be required to have a doctor’s note as to why they could not breastfeed. (If Facebook had a dislike button, I would have pushed it multiple times.) The best analogy I could think of was to something from Rick Santorum’s political platform. When we restrict others by what we perceive as being “best” we take away the right to choose. How does that flow with the theory of natural parenting?
There is no accident that I began to write about choosing my own journey in the past 3 years following my mastectomy. Choosing my own journey is what has given my life meaning.
After giving birth, the nurse brought my son to my breast. “I’m not going to be able to,” I told her worried she would think I was a bad mother only minutes into the parenting game. “I had a mastectomy.”
She reassured me that learning to suck was an innate reflex, then handed me a bottle of formula. I will not forget the relief in being able to feed my baby knowing my body could not. Imagine denying women access to formula samples, requiring them to bring it from home if that was their choice. I could barely remember to pack a toothbrush when my water broke a week before my due date, and I rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night. Formula samples were more foreign than the installation of an infant car seat before the birth of my son. I was GRATEFUL to the nurses for each sample bottle, since I was a new mom learning to feed my baby my own way, even if it wasn’t “the best.”