Hi, my name is Jennifer. I’m 31 years old and… I have been cosleeping for 2 months.
There, I said it. I said it not because it needs to be said but because it needs to be openly heard.
I love being a mom so much, it’s been one of the most satisfying and fulfilling experiences. But part of that experience has been realizing the struggles that come with. I was warned early on in my pregnancy to be prepared for all the unsolicited advice I was going to get. The endless amount of stories I was going to be told. The recommendations and the “shoulds”. I knew that it was coming, but what I have witnessed is not just an endless stream of unwarranted advice. I have discovered a war. A scary war. A scary war among mothers.
I can understand why other mothers like to give advice. Motherhood is remarkable. Any birth story is a story of victory over the human body and life. Postpartum recovery is nothing short of miraculous. Raising a child, especially for the first time, comes with an invisible medal of honor in the form of a child that sings “I did this”. How can mothers keep themselves from boasting and sharing when they have been such champions??
With that being said, I noticed we often forget to champion each other. I’m in a countless number of facebook mommy groups and the battles I see in those groups are scary. No, terrifying. There are a “few” hot topics that when I start skimming through I know it’s going to be heated. For whatever reason, we have stopped championing ourselves and each other but have started accusing each other. The way a mother decides to sleep her baby, feed her baby, medicate her baby… even the products she uses to bathe her baby… has all come under scrutiny. The fact of the matter is, as moms, we’re all trying to figure it out. We all want what’s best for our baby and we are all trying to provide, protect, and be present. We as mothers need to learn to follow our own instincts more.
My mother once said to me that mothers are going to be blamed for everything and anything. If that’s the case, why aren’t we as mothers lifting some of that blame off each other? Why is it that in the short amount of time that I have been a mother I have received so many passive aggressive comments? Heard so many sentences that start with “why aren’t you _________?”. Been told I’m creating bad habits? Reprimanded that my baby was unhappy because of my choices? Shamed for my decisions?
And because of that I’ve been almost fearful to admit the decisions I make. But forget it. I’m not going to hide because I’m proud of the choices I made and I’m making the best decisions that work for me and my baby. So here it is:
I cosleep with my baby. And before we go to bed, I nurse him until he falls asleep. I don’t let him fuss longer than a minute before I dart across the room to pick him up and coddle him. I don’t have a schedule; I feed, play, and nap him on demand. I exclusively breastfed since birth, so I did not give him formula those first few days and we struggled through it. I will most likely continue to breastfeed him for at least the first full year of his life. I am vaccinating him and give him daily vitamins. I try to bathe him everyday, but give myself some grace if I skip a day. And if I were raising your child, I would probably be making different choices because our babies are different and they have different needs.
So what are the choices you’ve made? Because I’d love to champion them with you.