9.10.2014

that time i was blocked from a crunchy parenting page

Y'all. I was blocked from Motherwise. You know that super helpful crunchy parenting page on Facebook that everyone loves? The one that posts inspiring memes and helpful articles about everything from breastfeeding to co-sleeping to gentle parenting? That one. Apparently I'm not crunchy enough, or my holy anger toward formula companies isn't fiery enough. Or something.

I made two comments. They were both deleted and I was blocked from the page.

Funny, since I'm a breastfeeding mom. A breastfeeding mom who -- like the majority of the women commenting under the original post -- wishes formula companies didn't send samples to every new mother, because I know that it can be harmful to a mother who's struggling to breastfeed. I know it's a marketing strategy, and it makes me sad. I want all mommies to have a successful breastfeeding relationship. You know how I feel about breastfeeding -- I mean, come on. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, at all, you know it is something about which I am passionate.

But I also know that there are many mamas who can't breastfeed, or who have simply chosen not to. Whether that's from misinformation, lack of support, for the mental health and well-being of the mother, or just a choice she has made because she felt more comfortable -- really, it's none of my business. I also know donor milk is not available or realistic for every baby, sad as that is. Many women don't even know donor milk is an option. And certainly, if you don't have a few women donating milk, the average American family can't afford to buy breastmilk, which usually costs about $5 to $7 an ounce. I think selling breastmilk is unethical, but that's the reality of it. It's just a fact that some families must use formula, because they have no other option.

I've learned in my five short years of parenting that anger doesn't get you very far. Neither does spreading half-truths, fear, and guilt. Support and loving words are what all mothers need, whether they breastfeed or choose formula. Saying formula should be "thrown in the garbage" or that it's "full of GMOs" is marginalizing. That attitude and approach pushes people away, and makes new mothers feel unneeded guilt in a vulnerable time that is already brimming with emotions and struggles.






Here is the original post. I feel for this mama -- I do. First of all, I remember how passionate I was about breast being best when I was a brand new mommy. (I still feel like a new mommy; heck, my oldest just turned five. But you know what I mean.) So I get her anger. Do I agree with it? Well, not any more. But I could have written this very post when River was an infant. I would have thought my anger was justified and I would have shouted it from the rooftop, appalled at evil Similac -- Um, EXCUSE ME. I am a BREASTFEEDING mother. I don't need your FAKE FOOD for my PRECIOUS BABY.

Yes. I know. Sorry.






This comment was toward the top. I thought it was a great testimony to some people needing formula. Choosing (or having to use) formula for your baby does not mean you love them less! And here in America where we have access to great    good    better-than-most healthcare, it doesn't even necessarily mean your child will be getting sick all the time! (Imagine that?)






One of the more heartless comments. Look, comments like these are not only unhelpful, they're just rude. Try putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Consider their situation for a bit.






One of the more ramped up comments. Which I, uh... totally agreed with. This comment wasn't deleted, by the way. But this just shows you, this was about as "bad" as it got. People were being respectful.






So pretty much this: Formula should never get used. Even if you need it. Don't use it. Under.any.circumstances. (Because it's evil and killing your baby, right?) Screw donating formula to people in need! How can someone even THINK about feeding their baby that filth?!

Another completely unhelpful comment. Yes, donate breastmilk. Help out at WIC offices being a peer counselor. Give breastfeeding information to mothers who want it. But don't throw the formula away... for goodness sake, some babies actually need it.

(And as for homemade raw goat milk formula -- yes, I've heard of this recipe, but I'm sorry, count me in as a mother who would not make or feed that to my baby. I'm sure in a best case scenario, it's healthier than canned formula, but you can't always depend on best-case scenarios. Some mothers may not even have access to high-quality, trustworthy raw goat milk.)





My first comment. The majority of the comments, I'd say 90%, said pretty much the same thing -- donate the formula to those in need. Nothing striking or original about my comment. I actually posted it before reading the other comments, otherwise I probably wouldn't have commented at all, to avoid sounding like a broken record.






This is when I decided to start taking screen shots. No one, in my opinion, had said anything remotely offensive. They were just advising the mother to donate the formula. I have seen MotherWise go on about this many, many times: saying that people were calling breastfeeding-supporters judgmental and sanctimonious. I'd never actually witnessed it myself. I looked through all the comments (yes, I read every single one) and did not find a single comment where someone was calling some of the mothers "judgmental" and "pissy." Other than a handful comments that were really offended by the original post -- either by the fact that the formula was sent, or by the angry attitude of the original poster -- most of the comments were just suggesting the mother donate the formula, or call the company and request her name be taken off the list. 




So I asked.


And apparently, you don't question the goddess of MotherWise. Because I got my ass deleted and blocked in a hot minute. 


Why am I posting this? Because I am so utterly tired of this mess. I'm sick of seeing mothers treat each other like this. I love the natural living community -- I've considered myself a part of it for a long time. Before my kid was even born! But I am tired of the guilt-hammering and fear-mongering. 

As I said above, I could have easily written that original post. I used to get angry, really angry, about things like this. What changed? I have known friends personally who made certain decisions for their children because their first choice wasn't attainable. I have seen homebirth tranfers turned c-sections because they labored for days and their babies got stuck. I have seen breastfeeding dreamers turn formula-feeders because their nipples were cracked and bleeding, or because they suffered from postpartum depression. And when the people I cared for turned into the mothers who were on the receiving end of this sort of treatment, it hurt my heart. It really did. I felt embarrassed and horrified that I could have ever been a part of this kind of behavior, that my hands ever typed comments that could be taken as heartless and hurtful.

The fact is, we don't know everyone's story. And also, it's none of our business. No, really... it's not! Let's do the best we can for our families, and when you see children who are obviously loved and cared for, yet their parents do something so completely different than what you would choose for your own child, let's just assume that parent is doing the best they can in their situation. 

And language. Please, let's change our language to be helpful, not hurtful. Encouraging, not discouraging. Remember that old saying that's been around forever? Something about attracting flies with honey instead of vinegar? Remember that anger only gets us so far. Even justifiable anger.

3 comments:

  1. you are much wiser than most. it's not fair they blocked you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just went to the fb site and made a post about what a breast cancer survivor can feed their child that would be nutritious. I am a breast cancer survivor but not expecting. I just wanted to see how the 'wise mama' would react to that scenario. Yeah..i know,but it's fun! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sarah, great idea!! What kind of response did you get?

    ReplyDelete

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