Don’t tell me I’m too young to be a good mother

With a pink blanket under her head and her seatbelt nicely fastened I walked through our local supermarket collecting our groceries for the week with my daughter in the baby seat of my trolley. This particular week I decided to start purchasing foods for my daughter to try, now I’m not really about those premade baby foods (but if you are then you do you! nothing against it, just a personal choice) so I was putting things in my trolley like organic sweet potato, pumpkin and avocado. Unbeknownst to me the truth of societies still prehistoric views on parenthood was about to rear it’s ugly head.

As I turned the corner I very nearly bumped into a woman’s trolley which she had left in the middle of the refrigerated isle. I veered pretty sharply in order to miss the trolley,  which of course startled my daughter, no more then running into the other trolley would have anyway. She cried, like babies do, so I stopped momentarily to talk to her and comfort her out of her fright. Whilst I paused I unknowingly had blocked the woman from her stranded trolley, so she approached me with a louder than necessary “Excuse me!”. I pardoned myself and moved my trolley aside, my daughter still crying and myself completely in my own mum world deliberating whether to pick her up to stop her crying or to try and distract her with the dummy she had lost interest in five minutes ago. So it took me by surprise when the woman turned to me for a second time as said “she’s not yours is she?”

Now I’ve had my fair share of questions in public, mostly regarding my daughter being my sister and my own mother looking too young to be a grandmother which are all usually met with a bit of a laugh and then me explaining that she’s actually mine. This time I felt a sting of judgement coming through. I smiled at my daughter and looked at the lady and said “she sure is! isn’t she beautiful, she’s four months old”. She peered at me down her pointed nose and said “Well I don’t think children should be having children, but she is quite cute. Bit of a shame” A SHAME. If you know me you would know I hate confrontation, unless I know you well enough to pull you up on something I generally let it slide for the sake of saving an argument. This is my family though and I’ll be damned if I let someone tell me that it was a shame that my beautiful daughter existed as my daughter.

“Thanks for your opinion, although I didn’t ask for it. Not sure how many children you know but not many of them are in 5 year relationships with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Guess I’m just lucky hey? Have a nice day” my heart was pounding and I was out of there as quick as I could go, neglecting to pick up the butter I was in the refrigeration isle for! I pushed the conversation to the depths of my brain hoping never to think about it again but after seeing a few fellow “young parents” attacked on social media recently for their age and their apparent inability to care and love their own children I figured now would be a good time to think about it, and god forbid, talk about it because it is 100% not okay.

All parents, regardless of their age, love their children, they want the best for their children and they will do anything they can to help them grow into wonderful, compassionate and loving adults. Regardless of the house they live in, the clothes they wear, whether they are married, how much they spent on their car, if they’re homosexual OR if they’re still what you would consider teenagers. If they were mature enough to make the decision to bring a child into the world then they should be admired for doing so, and for doing the best they can for that child.

The love you have for your child can’t be measured by how many toys you’re able to buy them, whether you could afford to send them to an expensive school or buy them all of the latest gadgets. Love is measured by the smiles, the hugs, the kisses and most importantly the empowering conversations you can have with them about becoming the greatest person they can possibly be. To care for the people around them, to love unconditionally and be accepting of everyone regardless of their differences.

I might not be 25 with a mountain of savings in the bank reserved specifically for having in children, my partner and I might not be married but we sure love each other like we are and we’ll give our daughter every ounce of love we have to give before we will ever let her feel unwanted or unloved. Young parents, don’t let anyone ever discourage you, your baby thinks you’re the greatest mummies and daddies in the world, and without you, they wouldn’t exist. You’re doing an amazing job, and if anyone thinks any less then maybe they should take a look at what’s missing in their lives before they make any negative comments about how beautifully full of love your life is.

 

xx Emily

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Breastfeeding Without a Cover (gasp)

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I honestly find it hard to believe that now, in 2017, breastfeeding is still taboo. Society as a whole has grown so much in so many ways, yet here we are still chucking little tanties about babies suckling from nipples in public.

As natural as it is, it still makes people uncomfortable… The same way women talking about childbirth makes people cringe. It must be something to do with the fact that they produce milk, making them large, because last time I checked males have nipples too and even the ones who aren’t dads run around with theirs hanging out.

I’m not really talking about the instances of covered feeding, because thats pretty widely accepted. Because the little muslin wrap somehow makes everyone forget that theres a nipple underneath with a baby attached. I’m talking about uncovered, in the open feeding; no fiddling to get yourself covered, no baby pulling it off half the time. Just baby and nipple, out in the sunshine.

I breastfeed. Exclusively. Not because I am against pumping or formula but because it’s just damn easier. As difficult as childbirth was made for women, the gift of being able to breastfeed truly makes up for it a little. There is no cost, no need for heating (or keeping it cool in storing), no washing up and the best part, it’s always readily available. I currently take the ‘all-guns-ablazing’ approach. If I’m going to feed in public I’m going to do it my way, comfortably without a cover. And for some reason (well beyond my knowledge) a lot of people think that this gift, of feeding my child whenever and wherever they become hungry is, wait for the grown-up word… gross.

Because nourishing a newly growing human being from the organs made to do exactly that is somehow right up there with the gross things of the world like picking your nose and godforbid eating it in public.

So gross that you’ll be judged with an updown glare from a 14 year old in a crop top smaller than your maternity bra while her mother suggests you “cover up because there are children around who don’t need to see it”. Children. Lady, you do realise children are fed this way right?

Freedom of speech is all good and well but freedom to feed comfortably also relevant. Just as relevant as every other pressing issue of the 21st century from misogyny to racism. Insecurity around feeding only leads to added stress and greater difficulty in completing the task in the first place, and insecurity comes from unnecessary glares and comments. We’ve got a right to have our boob out, just as you have a right to look away. Don’t make something natural and beautiful difficult and uncomfortable when it doesn’t need to be.