Friday, May 11, 2012

Why Im leaving the “TIME” lady alone (and why you might at least consider it too).

Yes, every one is in an uproar about this attachment parenting thing, after this weeks cover of TIME.

And I get it - they certainly didnt publish the cover photo so that everyone would say “look at that nice mom who is breastfeeding. That looks nice and normal, nothing to really talk about there”. They put the exact photo, that exact way, so that people would talk.

And they are. And now Im one of them.

But, instead of waxing on about how the mother (Jamie Grumet, a 26 year old from LA) is right or wrong, Im going to do one better. And say shes neither.

TIME got itself a story, and a Facebook buzz, and probably a trending Twitter tag (#extremebreastfeeding). People quickly came out to say that what she was doing was disgusting, criminal, psychologically scarring. People who formula feed, people who breastfeed, people who dont have children - the consensus was that, no matter how fucked up THEIR way is, at least its not Jamie Grumet fucked up!

The only thing I see wrong with that, is its setting ALL camps back, after everyone has been fighting for so long. No matter how we feed (or discipline, or diaper, or parent in general) our children, we want to be respected. We want someone to tell us, “youre doing a good job”. We want people to look at us and say, “thats not the way I did it, but what a great idea. It may not work for us - but good for doing whats right for you”.  We want that - but we dont want to give it.

So Im going to applaud Jamie. Not because I would do what she does (yes, John is breastfed, but no its not going to be for that long), but because I admire her courage. It cant be easy to expose yourself to the world (both your extreme idea AND your breast) and let in the barrage of opinions. According to a follow up article she has been approached and called a “child molester”, a “horrible mother”, and “a sinner”. I cannot fathom the heartbreak it would cause me to hear those words from someone. I cannot imagine how it would feel to see the community call you a shitty parent, when the exact reason you made such an extreme decision was because you loved your child so much.

So Jamie Grumet, where ever you are tonight - thank you. Thank you for having enough bravery to show the world that there are many different ways to be a good mother. Thank you for making us think outside the box, go outside our comfort zones, and make parenting today (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the naked) a topic of water cooler conversation. Maybe because of that bravery other mothers will be able to say, this is how I parent. Its not for everyone, but its for me.

In addition, I watched Jamie on the Today show, and she spoke about the cover. She said she understood why TIME used it (for controversy of course), but that its not exactly as it seems. That when she breastfeeds, its a loving, nurturing time. Its not all day, every day. Her son does not stand on a box and grab a boob. There is nothing sexual about it (and dear God, WHY can we not get over this boobs as a sexual object thing? To a grown man? Yes. To a baby or young child. NO!). Like I said (and I want to be clear on this) I would not practice extended breastfeeding in this manner. Its not for me. But I feel like the bigger picture is that a mother should be able to do what she chooses with her children AS LONG AS THEIR HEALTH AND SAFETY ARE NOT COMPROMISED.

And is this way of feeding compromising her sons health? At least mentally? I guess you could argue that. Im sure in some way it might be. Then again, there are a number of things we do as parents over the years that may cause the same mental harm - but we dont mean it. Parenting is a series of guesses - you win some, you lose some, and you hope you dont fuck them up forever.

Anyhow, thats my opinion. Everyone has one, no ones is wrong, but it sure is a shame to see people spitting hatred at someone they dont know, for a choice that she genuinely made out of love. Then again, I guess if you dont want to be judged you just do everything behind closed doors.

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