Today I sit here baffled by the fact that I'm about to have a two year old. Around this time two years ago, I was having not just one but THREE amazing baby showers from the end of August to the beginning of September. Mainly that was due to having giant families... but still! Yesterday I stumbled across these gorgeous pictures taken by the endlessly talented Morgan Trinker -- photographer, expert home-remodeler, and (as you can see) President of Flawless Parties.
So I just read a NY Times article about how much unhappier American parents are compared to parents in other countries... pretty sad, right? Oh, "Land of the Free", why do you have to be so restricting sometimes? August is National Breastfeeding Month, and I've been thinking a lot about the vast differences between all the mothers in the world and in our country. What we do have in common is the lack of paid maternity leave, restrictive hospital practices during birth, and the idea that all women must be and do all things.
But isn't it insane that a common life experience sometimes couldn't be ANY more different if you compared two different kids or parents?
...those couples that struggle to get pregnant vs. those who have a surprise pregnancy, stressful breastfeeding journeys vs. those who find it easy, families with relational conflicts vs. those with financial troubles... It's a wonder anyone can relate to each other in adulthood with how differentiated our lives can become.
Remember how clueless you were before experiencing college, or marriage, or your own pregnancy? Well guess what? Your experience in those topics have only gained you knowledge about your own life and a GENERAL knowledge to relate to others in similar life stages. But the fact of the matter is that we are still mostly clueless to each other's lives, and we have no idea what it's like to be married to their spouse, have their job, or parent their children... and etc. and etc. and etc... AAAAAND soap box over! Isn't it mind-blowing though? Well, it is to me anyway.
And it truly explains why so many mothers have a hard time understanding their friends... and how you feel so much loneliness and isolation when your experience isn't matching up with others in a group. It's all common sense that everyone's life is different, but for some reason in parenthood we feel like we are all in this thing now, and we are all supposed to "get" each other. Again, maybe it's just me.
This month marks 22 months of my "extended" breastfeeding journey, and let me just say that I don't have a whole lot of people in that club with me. haha!
I'm sure that nearly every mother -- no matter what their journey of feeding their baby may be -- feels shame in one form or another. So I thought I'd share some of my moments of shame heaped on (unintentionally and intentionally) by others and our American society. Maybe they will help someone...