Our society has become conditioned to believe that every situation is an invitation for commentary. Due to the widespread use of social media and the internet we are able to like, comment on, or share anything. We are allowed a great opportunity to have more widespread information, to know what is going on outside our own community and circle of contacts, though not all that information is good or wanted. Unfortunately, because of our belief that we have the right to comment on anything we see, hear, or experience online some have taken it upon themselves to express their opinions – particularly their negative opinions – on unsuspecting persons in public.
Answer me this: why does my breastfeeding in public, or at all, invite your remarks of “Disgusting” or “Just give her a bottle”? Why does my political opinion give you the right to bash what I believe? Why does my gender identification or sexual orientation automatically put a sign on my back that says, “Tell me again why I’m going to hell”?
We, as an American society, are given so many liberties and are protected from so many things. What we need to be protected from now, it seems, is each other.
As a new mom I find myself in the crosshairs of all manner of suggestions and tips on how I can do what I’m doing better. Parenting, especially at the beginning, is decision after decision after decision. Do I do this or that? Which brand is better? Is my home baby friendly? The list goes on and on. The topics I’ve found are the hottest, or at least the most prevalent in my own life, as far as the “right choice” are
- Breast- vs. Formula feeding
- Cloth vs. Disposable diapers, and
- Baby wearing vs. Stroller.
The first topic is a passionate one for me. I’m a breastfeeding mama and have been since Roly Poly was born more than 7 months ago. I knew long before I got pregnant that I would breastfeed as long as my body would allow and have been blessed to be able to do so. Many other mothers are in the same situation and it seems that using our breasts for their natural purpose is disgusting and unnatural (really?). We are being asked when we’ll switch to a bottle or table food, even if baby is not yet ready for it. My decision to breastfeed my child is none of your business and your opinion on how I’m feeding her is not needed or wanted.
I have been on both sides of the second. While pregnant, I was introduced to cloth diapers and decided right then that I would never use them. Disposables were what I knew and were the easiest choice. I hadn’t really given them a chance but didn’t want to either. Fast forward 3 months and I’m given some cloth diapers from a friend, use them off and on, decided I didn’t like them but wanted to get others. Now I’m cloth diapering full time and love it. I chose this route for environmental reasons (lessening my trash output) and financial reasons. However, I’ve been told from both my husband and my mother that disposable diapers are just so much more convenient and why wouldn’t I want to just go with those. Luckily, they are not outwardly hostile toward my decision but I know other mothers have experienced hostility. Again, it’s a personal choice and not an invitation for rebuke.
The third hot topic, for me, is a split. Depending on my mood, and more importantly on Roly Poly’s mood, I will either wear her or use the stroller. Arguments on this topic range from you’re going to spoil your child by wearing them all the time to they won’t learn to crawl or walk if you carry them everywhere. Though, admittedly, the argument that they won’t learn to walk or crawl until late can also be made for putting them in the infant carrier or stroller all the time.
Social commentary has a time and a place. Public forums, friends’ Facebook pages and twitter accounts, and blog posts are almost made specifically for that purpose. Everywhere you look there are places for you to add your two cents or “like” what was said. In public, however, I can almost guarantee that you will not find a “comment” button sitting next to the woman breastfeeding her child without a cover. You will not find one at the local burger joint inviting animal rights protestors to condemn the patrons who choose to eat the (delicious) double bacon cheeseburger. Protect others from your uninvited and uneducated commentary because 99% of the time it doesn’t concern you.