I don’t know how to put myself out there without ruffling feathers. I wish I did, but I don’t.
I’ve heard bloggers lament over this same problem more times than I can count. How do I put my heart and emotions out there and let people in, without alienating someone? There’s always a way to construe what others write as personal, no matter how it’s intended. I can easily read any blog post on any blog and make it about me whether or not that person even.knows.me.
I feel strongly about so many “controversial” topics including: Breastfeeding and natural childbirth among others. I feel strongly about educating people about their options in these areas. I want to continue to advocate for women as others did before me because they made a difference in my life. But how are we supposed to learn from each other if we’re so quick to shut people out?
It’s like the quote, “The devil knows the bible better than any man.” Words can be twisted if they’re not read with the right heart. A sincere apology can sound fake. A post about a personal struggle can sound like an attack. It’s amazing what can be misconstrued when the inflections in one’s voice can’t be heard and we’re not willing to give the writer the benefit of the doubt.
I don’t want to shove anything down anyone’s throat. I especially don’t want to make any mother feel bad about the educated decisions she’s already made. All I want is for women to know their options in a world where we’re so often told what to do. I want women to know that one doctor’s word is not always the final word. And when it comes to breastfeeding, I want women to know that there is a difference between formula and breast milk and to have a shot at breastfeeding.
Last week, NYC Mayor Bloomberg made a decision, as part of the “Latch On NYC” initiative, to monitor the distribution of formula in hospitals and do away with the formula goody bags women receive when leaving. I found the reactions confusing. Several women were quoted as feeling the Mayor had no right to make such a decision. They felt he was forcing the issue and that women don’t need more pressure on them. I agree that women don’t need more pressure, but I’m confused because isn’t that the point of the initiative? To stop that?
After having a baby, women are at their most vulnerable. The world feels more uncertain than ever and every.single.comment made by a woman’s healthcare provider can make her question even the most thoroughly researched decision. Hell every “no mommy” said by my toddler brought me close to tears. Think about what the availability of formula during a hospital stay and the take-home goody bag say to new mothers who already want to breastfeed. It’s like saying, “ok, go ahead and try to breastfeed, but here’s the formula for when you fail.” I mean, really, the hospital staff may as well laugh in mothers’ faces.
I think Mayor Bloomberg deserves a standing ovation for handing power back to mothers. He’s not taking away formula. He’s requiring women to ask for it so it’s not being shoved down their throats. Isn’t that what we all want? The freedom to choose what’s best for us and our babies! I understand the guttural reaction we all have when we hear something’s being “taken away”. But how about just taking a step back and thinking about the mayor’s intention for a minute? This is the same guy who’s done away with smoking in bars, trans-fats in city restaurants, and over-sized soda sales. None of these decisions were popular at first, but don’t you think he’s trying to help make his city a healthier place? Can’t we just give him the benefit of the doubt that his heart’s in the right place?