I won’t normally be using this blog to weigh in on news-related items as I think the world, especially the United States, is already opinionated enough without my two cents. But the release of Time‘s latest cover and stories on attachment parenting and how it draws mothers to “extremes” is an area that hits very close to home for me. Mainly, though, the overwhelmingly negative response that the article and picture has had has really, really bothered me.
The first thing I want to say is that I am proud of these women for standing up for what they believe in. For standing up for the way they want to parent. It’s not their fault in the least that Time chose to make attachment parents into a bunch of freaks and to blame Jamie Lynne Grumet, the woman on the cover, or any of the other moms who participated for the negative spin isn’t fair. Honestly, when I saw the cover, I didn’t think anything about it as that image is just so normal to me. A mother nursing her son. Big deal. But then her face speaks volumes. She’s not an unattractive woman but aside from that, I love the expression.
“This is who I am. This is what I do.”
There is so much power in that. This is who I am. This is what I do. She is unashamed and that’s exactly as it should be…she is doing nothing wrong.
If her son had been, say, sitting in front of a TV eating a Twinkie and downing a bottle of Mountain Dew, I doubt there would be such a huge backlash. But because we live in a society that only views breasts as sex toys, she has been called selfish, extreme, and, at the very worst, a child molester. I’ve seen so many ignorant and uneducated comments in the last twenty-four hours that have outright attacked her and other attachment parents, yet parents who routinely use the TV as a babysitter and overload their kids with sugar and junk food are, according to our society, normal. Why is anything else an extreme?
I used to have the view that, “if the kid is old enough to ask for it, the kid is too old to breastfeed.” But then, you know, I had a kid and breastfed him (and, in fact, breastfed him while I wrote this post), and a lot of things, the least of which was my opinion, changed. Neither side will ever be able to convince the other side that this or that way is the right way, so this is where we embrace the fact that parents have every right to pick their own way of parenting. Attachment parents are most certainly not an exception to this rule. I will continue to breastfeed my son until one of us decides that we don’t want to anymore. That’s the very best that I feel I can offer to him as his mother and what mother would give her son any less than her best?