Friday, August 6, 2010

Am I a Good Mother?

Fucking darn YES.

...although there are moments when I feel that I'm not.

Being a mother is probably the most challenging job in the whole world. I do not take any day for granted. After all, I fought for 3.5years with infertility to be a mum. I love being a mum. I truly believe in everything I do (though not always so), from breastfeeding my son to co-sleeping. The decisions that I make are good for us FOR NOW. It may not seem so in future but they work for us NOW.

Why am I writing this? Because lately, I've been getting some flak from friends about my soft parenting ways. I have never told anybody how they should parent their child. So, one of them who is giving me some well meaning assvice is my good friend. She is no longer my bestie cuz somehow we've just drifted apart. But we do call each other occasionally. Lately, she keeps asking me in a tone that annoys me, ARE YOU STILL BREASTFEDING HIM? WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO STOP? She made me feel like a freak to still be breastfeeding a 16month old toddler. Initially, I was defensive and said that it was hard to wean him off. And then I became tired to even explain what a breastfeeding relationship is all about. Babes says that I have mellowed a lot cuz if somebody had pissed me off in the past, I'd just bite back. But lately, I'm just really so sleep deprived that it's not funny.

I was inspired lately by 2 posts (pls have a read!):
1. Don't Muddy Your Milk: Shame, Valour, and Breastfeeding
2. Parenting 101


I summoned up my courage and at 11.45pm last night, I wrote her an email:

I've been meaning to write and time is never on my side. i'm sure time is neither on your side too, so it's ok, i perfectly understand.

Anyways, I hope you don't mind me saying this but I hope in future you won't ask me, SO ARE YOU STILL BREASTFEEDING? in a tone that makes me feel very ashamed. You keep remarking that because I am not working (thus, I have all the time in the world and am sooo free) and that because I have only 1 child so it makes breastfeeding very easy for me.

It is not. Because you have not had a breastfeeding relationship with both your kids until this age you do not understand what a breastfeeding relationship is. Your comments have brought a lot of unnecessary stress to both T and me. To me, I feel that sleep is a peaceful thing and to create such stress on a young child by letting him cry out loud and clinging on to me is not something that I can do. It's very heartbreaking for me. and when I hear such comments from you and friends who do not understand what we go through, it makes me doubt myself as a mother and think that maybe what I'm doing is wrong.

I have spoken to mothers who have breastfed their children and their kids weaned in their time. I do hope that T will wean but I'd like to do it with love. To me, crying out loud is not for me and T.

I hope you will read this article:

We are all good mothers - you and me. I have always respected how you choose to mother/parent your children even though sometimes I may not agree with some of your decisions.

I hope you respect mine too.


And after I clicked send, I felt so relieved. It felt so darn good to stand up for myself and for my son. I am not a freak to still be breastfeeding my son. I should be proud of myself that our breastfeeding relationship has lasted this long! In fact, I didn't even think I could last a day when I first started breastfeeding cuz the early days were just too darn hard!

I have been through infertility. And one of the lessons that I've learnt with infertility is to respect people's decisions. So whether you are a mother who is breastfeeding, formula-feeding, co-sleeping or not, doing the crying out loud, you do what is best for you and your family. Some of us are just thrown with more challenges than others. We have our good days and we have our bad days. It is OK because it makes us who we are. What kind of world would we be in if everyday is just a groundhog day of diamonds and roses? (lovely, i might add!) There are days when I go through my post-infertile blues and wish that I was a fertile and that I don't have a ticking time bomb going tick tick tick tick cuz I desperately want a number 2 and not knowing if I'll be lucky enough to have another miracle in my life. There are days when I wish I had more time alone to myself but there are days when I think that after fighting for so long to be a mum, I just want to wrap all these precious moments in my heart that I have with T because I know my time with him alone is so short. He is only so little in such a short time. Soon, he will no longer want to hold my hand. Soon, he will leave the house. Soon, he will be his own man and soon, he will make his own decisions that he will feel right for his own family.

I am a GOOD mother. NO, I'm a GREAT mother.

''To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.''

T is and will always be, my world.