Michelle Noehren is the founder of CTWorkingMoms.com and has written this post in support of Moms for Moms campaign. Want to end the Mommy Wars? We've created Moms for Moms Day with CTWorkingMoms.com in an effort to support, encourage and stand behind each other's choices, judgments aside. Join moms (and moms-to-be!) by sharing your Mommy Truths with us.
When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. Formula feeding was not even on my radar; I didn't even entertain the idea. I was prepared with an awesome breast pump, my employer supported my right to breastfeed in the workplace and I had all the accessories I thought I'd need. I was ready.
My labor ended up being very long and difficult. I needed an emergency c-section (which was the absolute last thing I wanted) and my baby was born in distress. I remember laying on the operating table and when they took my daughter out of my body, I heard nothing. Nothing. No cries, no screams. It was the worst feeling in the world. Thankfully, she quickly recovered but the entire experience left me traumatized in ways that I had yet to fully realize.
I was able breastfeed in the hospital and when we were discharged I had every intention of breastfeeding at home. But when we got home I developed severe postpartum anxiety because of the trauma I experience during birth. I vividly remember sitting in the rocking chair in my daughter's room trying to nurse her. My anxiety was so high that I was crying hysterically. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. I finally got to a point where I had to make a choice and I choose to stop breastfeeding and start formula-feeding because I needed temporary anti-anxiety medication and the help of my family so that I could get the rest I desperately needed. I guess you could say it wasn't really a choice, it's what I needed to get myself back to a place where I could truly care for my newborn.
And I was lucky, my goodness, was I lucky. Upon making this decision my entire family supported me. No one judged me. No one questioned me. They could see the struggle I was in and they supported my decision 100 percent. Knowing that I had their support made me feel so much better. In fact, it gave me the freedom to take care of myself.
Why am I sharing this story? Because I wish all moms could have the experience of being supported and not judged. And not just about breastfeeding or formula feeding, but about all motherhood related topics. That's the premise behind CT Working Moms Campaign for Judgment-Free Motherhood. We all know how badly it feels to be judged by others. If someone in my family had judged my switch to formula I would have been devastated and it would have added even more negativity to an already difficult period of my life. So if we don't like how it feels when people judge us, why do we still judge others?
I really believe that we each have the power to quiet our judgmental thoughts, if we so choose. Don't get me wrong, I still struggle myself with judging others, but I'm working on it by noticing when I'm doing it and choosing to let those negative thoughts go. I can't control what anyone else does and I don't know why other moms make the choices they do because I haven't walked in their shoes.
What I do know is that when I'm less judgmental I have more room inside to love others and show compassion. And love and compassion feel so much better than judgment.
I'm thrilled that CT Working Moms is partnering with The Bump on Moms for Moms Day . Moms for Moms Day will take place on March 4th. The idea is to have a day designated to promoting judgment-free motherhood so together with The Bump, we're encouraging moms from all over the world to engage with us that day via social media. For all the details visit our website. And while you're at it, follow us on Facebook & Twitter. Looking forward to engaging with you and supporting this important message!
Let's love more and judge less. We're all in this together.
How are you working on being less judgmental?