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Formula Buying, Today's Mom's Walk of Shame?

wendy-williamsI was dubious when I read that Wendy Williams “wanted to lose weight,” so she opted to stop breastfeeding at two weeks. Then I watched the talk show host tear up and talk about failing her child.

She got me.

Because, like Williams, two weeks in, I was miserable and feeling like a failure. My reasons were drastically different – she was dealing with the aftermath of bed rest and just didn’t want to do this anymore.

I wanted to – desperately – but felt like the world was conspiring against me (such is the life of a woman with post partum depression). My wrists ached from pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel (which four years later has not completely abated), making it difficult to hold my newborn daughter. Add in my aching breasts, a lack of sleep compounded by a demand by maternity ward nurses that I wake my child every two hours – round the clock – to breastfeed.

The list goes on and on. Problems tackled by other moms and won, sure, but as I soon found out, every woman and child is different. And a woman hiding in her bedroom crying along with her child does not make for a particularly good mother.

Cue Williams, found by her mother on her bedroom floor in tears:

And there it is – her mother took charge, called in Williams’ father and went off for the dreaded formula shopping trip. It’s one that many of us women who are clinging so hard to our dream of breastfeeding and being the perfect mother refuse to do. Because the formula trip equals total suckage. It means you don’t deserve to be a mother. It means you failed. Haven’t you been reading?

Formula buying is the mother’s equivalent to the walk of shame from your college years. I recall running into a mom in the grocery store a few years ago – studying the different cans in the baby aisle. She reminded me not once but five times that she was still breastfeeding – but she’d be leaving the baby with her parents for the night and wanted them to have a back-up to all she’d pumped. Just in case I hadn’t heard her the first five times, I was also treated to a production on how she just couldn’t pick because “I’ve never done this before.”

Voila – back to the breastfeeding wars! Breast is best! No, formula is better! We’re sooo much nicer to our kids. No, we love our kids more.

Enough already. Women like Williams  – who pride themselves on being pretty kick ass – are reduced to tears because they tried something and it didn’t work . . . and that means they failed. But failed at what, exactly?

Did we leave our babies on a doorstep to be raised by another family? Beat them? Let them play on the railroad tracks? Fed them strychnine? Hired actors to tell them the dog is dead?

Want to go after women for not realizing that breastfeeding is good for their kids? Time to dial down the “evil formula” message and refocus it.

Talk to the women who won’t even try, the women who refuse to believe the benefits of colostrum are there, the folks who would actually take YOUR right to breastfeed away.

Put the failures on the parents who really don’t give a damn. And maybe the formula trip won’t leave kick ass moms in a quivering mess on the floor.

Image: Wendy Williams Show

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