I refer to it as “drawing the line.”
We all have a line we draw in the hypothetical sand on what we will/will not do or participate in. Some might think of it subconsiously, but I’m more of a visual thinker, so I think of it as a line drawn in the sand that defines my “will” and “will not.” I think this goes for every area of life, but today’s focus is on breastfeeding.
The first time I was made aware that we all draw lines on our comfort level to breast milk was when my husband was feeding my first born with a bottle of breastmilk. My son innocently spit up some milk on my husband’s arm and the reaction he produced shocked me. You’d think my son just spit up acid as quickly as my husband put him down and ran – yes ran – to the sink to wash “that stuff off.” I stared in shock as he vigorously scrubbed his hands, wrists and arms as if he was prepping for brain surgery. I mean, didn’t he realize how much hard work it was to produce such a vital thing for our son to thrive and grow healthy with? Why was this substance so detested by him when I was excited and proud of every drop that came out of my body?
I never confronted him about this event, but he has now been made aware of it while reading this blog post. At the time I was so focused on simply picking up my newborn son and wiping his sweet face and neck of the regurgitated breastmilk that I simply forgot to react to my husband’s rudeness. However, from that feeding on I would cringe from shame every time my son spit up anywhere on my husband. Let’s be clear: my first son had violent reflux, so there was a whole lot of cringing going on for me.
Weeks later, after the initial incident, I was telling a close friend about it. She also happened to be breastfeeding and started to tell me how her husband had a disturbed reaction to her breastmilk – when he saw her taste it. She had simply tasted some breastmilk to be sure it wasn’t spoiled before feeding it to her daughter and her husband had jumped up and snatched the bottle from her hand. I had to use every strength of my willpower to control my facial features to not show how shocked, disturbed and grossed out I was. At that moment I realized my hypocrisy in this breastmilk discussion. Clearly she was comfortable tasting breastmilk as much as I was rubbing it into my skin.
I decided then that I would do my best to never judge someone else on where they draw their line in the sand. This stigma goes with every level of parenting. We all have different lines drawn in sporadic distances from one another. Judging the way a mother shows love, disciplines, feeds or communicates with her kids is only hypocritical of how you do tho
se same items. There is no “one size fits all” parenting style. If there was, that would make life real easy and boring. Kids are meant to keep us on our toes, to show us the strength and durability we have. Let’s be honest, every moment of the day, we are striving to keep someone alive to the best of our abilities. Who’s to judge that?
Let’s all just draw our lines and respect all the others we cross, or don’t, along the way.
originally published August 16, 2016