Mommy guilt is something that all mother’s experience in varying degree’s. It is something that I’ve had grapple with time and again over the last two and a half years of motherhood. A lot of my own guilt comes from my own issues, wanting to be the best mother to Ava and to give Ava the very best of what I have to offer. I also have guilt surrounding how I battled with Post Placement Depression at a time when Ava probably needed me the most. I battle with issues of guilt knowing that our second baby, BabyVW, is going to get a much better, more experienced Mommy than the one Ava got. Just thinking about the mistakes I made and the things I will do differently the second time around, makes me want to jump into the car, race home to my precious child, hold her tight in my arms and tell her how much I love her and how sorry I am that I didn’t do better or couldn’t be better for her.
One of biggest guilt issues I struggle with is being a non-biological mother in a world overwhelmingly filled with bio-mom’s and more specifically, the norms that these mom’s take fore-granted and then try to push onto me & other mom’s like me. I cannot tell you how it hurts to read a “breast is best” argument, especially when it is levelled at me, how I’m overcome with guilt because if breast is best, then once again, I failed my child because I did not give her the best. I’m so sick and tired of the judgemental mommy types who believe that their way of parenting is the only way to parent and they judge other mom’s, who parent differently to them and believe me, there are plenty of breast feeding/mommy Nazi’s out there.
The irony is, the mom’s who are usually making the statements that hurt me and feed into my guilt are usually the ones who have no concept of what it’s like to parent a child that is not biologically one’s own. They have no clue the challenges an adoptive mother faces and when these challenges are explained to them, they refuse to acknowledge that circumstances surrounding parenting a non-biological child are different.
And I know I’m not the only adoptive/non-biological other who feels this way. One of the most overwhelmingly asked questions I receive on Trinity Heart is: How can I breast feed my adopted child? And of course, this comes primarily from the fact that any mother, biological or otherwise wants to do the best for her child and unless you’ve been walking around with your ears plugged, you will know that breast feeding is best and that doing anything less than breast feeding is not doing the best for one’s child.
But what if breast isn’t always best???
This week I embarked on a personal investigation of my own to find out how adoptive mom’s can most effectively feed and bond with their babies and it’s quite clear, especially with the child act as it is currently in South Africa with placement only happening after the final consent and when the baby is older than 2 months old, that in the case of adoptive mom’s, parenting older babies, potentially coping wit Post Placement Depression and taking into account the strong possibility that the baby will have post placement stress, breast is NOT best.
Read here about what is involved in breast feeding an adoptive baby. Jenny, the editor from Your Baby mag, also kindly wrote a guest post for Trinity Heart titled – When Breast Is Not Best and she gives some great tips on bonding with an adoptive baby through feeding.
Reading this articles made me realize that while I may have made numerous mistakes with Ava as a new mother, choosing not to breast feed her was most definitely not one of them!