You’ve Given Me Roots

I was inspired by a recent Breastfeeding Cafe post by Timbra at Bosoms and Babes to write this post. I decided the day my mom gave birth to me would be the perfect day to post this. If/when you read this mom, please don’t call me crying or anything. 😛

Dear Mom,

For some reason, our society views it as something awful to become like your mother. I won’t lie, at times I’ll do something random that reminds me so much of you that I feel horrified. I think that happens to every woman though. You do something that is so “your mother” that you begin to wonder if you really are your own person.

The majority of the time though, I aspire to be like you—but I’m sure that part is old news to you. I’ve been trying to be you for as long as I can remember. At times, I think I’ve gone a little overboard. It’s taken me a long time to find out who I really am. It took me becoming a mother myself.

Even in being a mother myself, you’ve given me the roots to get started. For as long as I can remember, I knew that you gave birth to me and my brother naturally and that you breastfed us. When I was pregnant, it was just accepted in my head that I would do the same. My heroic mother gave birth to me naturally even though she had pitocin—I should be able to do the same.

Me becoming a mother has even opened a new window of conversation for us where I learned that you also co-slept. I also learned that you didn’t breastfeed me for as long as you would have liked to. I learned that my pediatrician told you it was your breast milk that was making me spit up so much and so he told you to switch to formula. I learned how much that hurt you to stop and that it didn’t really even help my reflux by switching to formula.

That knowledge helped me when I, too, had a refluxy baby. It also helped me to figure out that I’m allowed to question my doctors. Both of these things gave me the roots that branched off into other attachment parenting things. They helped me make informed decisions like selective vaccination even though the American Academy of Pediatrics acts like you’re evil if you don’t do all the vaccinations and do them on time. It helped me to decide to keep co-sleeping even though our pediatrician recommended against it when Peanut turned one.

Sometimes I worry that I make you feel bad when I’m talking about breastfeeding versus formula feeding. I want you to know that I am never judging you (or any other mom who has formula fed for that matter). I want you to know that I’m telling you this information as a comrade-in-arms—which is exactly what I view you as. You are a fellow breastfeeder. You are my best friend. Both of which mean that I’m probably going to talk your ear off about breastfeeding statistics.

I want you to know that you did the best you could with what you had—in all facets of parenting. I know you sometimes worry about whether or not you were a good mother at times, but I want you to know you don’t need to worry. I hope that if I’m even in similar situations that I will be able to handle them with the strength that you did and actually come out the other side better for it. I know that you loved me as much as a mother could and that you still do. That’s what really matters.

I love that you’re one of the few people who has never questioned my parenting choices. I love that you’re such a great Mema—even if you do give Peanut a little too much cookies and TV time. I love that Peanut is so excited to see you that she squeals. I love how strong our relationship has always been and continues to be.

I love you Mom.


3 thoughts on “You’ve Given Me Roots

  1. I am a little relieved that I am not the only one that is sometimes horrified when I remind myself of my mother.

    Beautiful letter… and happy birthday?

  2. Your writing is poignant. However, I need to correct some language in this post. Many people blur these meanings. To say someone “gave birth to me naturally even though she had pitocin” is a contradiction. I’m not sure why people hesitate to say “vaginally.” But “natural” is not a substitute or synonym for “vaginal.” The reason I care about it is pitocin is a synthetic drug. It’s misleading to say natural birth involves pitocin. Nevertheless, every mother is a brave woman for giving birth! And I admire and respect all women’s choices. Every birth is a beautiful miracle and test of strength.

    • Though I understand what you’re saying, I consider “giving birth naturally” to mean that the mother doesn’t use any pain medication. If I were to say that she “gave birth vaginally” that could mean anything from no pain medication to an epidural. That’s why I refer to her birth as “natural”.

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