“Let me get this out of the way. I am a C-section-having, formula-feeding, vaccine-giving, disposable diaper, working kind of mom. I do not regret it and am proud of the way my daughters have been raised thus far. I would do it all the same exact way again if I had to, but I don’t. I don’t plan on having any more incisions cut in my belly and thankfully, my girls are on cow’s milk. I don’t need a lecture on how breastfeeding makes kids smarter or how vaccines can cause autism, much less do I need a lecture on how I apparently don’t love my child enough, because I would rather work than stay home with them.
Let me make this statement loud and clear: Breast is best? NO! Fed is best. I love my daughters enough to not expose them and lessen their chance of getting measles, polio, or whooping cough. I saw a shirt the other day that said, ‘Vaccines Cause Adults.’ Hashtag truth. I will cheers to that. I love my girls so much, I would rather them have social exposure with kids their own age and provide them with teachers that I trust to teach them the things they need to know for later in life. I don’t trust myself enough to teach my girls the alphabet or shapes. I’m getting ahead of myself and as I’m writing this, my heart is a-racing. I’m passionate about these topics and they get me a tad heated when someone tells me I’ve been parenting wrong. Let me break it down for you.
When Andy and I found out we were pregnant with our first daughter, the last thing on my mind was developing a ‘birth plan.’ The only thing I pictured happening the day Grace would come into this world was my water breaking (hopefully not in anyone’s vehicle), getting an epidural (that was definitely planned), pushing a few pushes (maybe 7) and watching Andy cut the cord. And secretly, because of previous horror stories I had been told, I was already trying to figure out a way to not feel ashamed for when I may possibly poop in the bed while doing those seven pushes.
Obviously, from the title of this section, I did not have a vaginal birth. I did not get to watch Andy cut the cord and lucky for me and everyone surrounding me at the time, I did not poop in the bed. Instead, I had about 12 solid weeks of blood pressure problems and learned Grace would be induced early at thirty-seven weeks. Andy and I went into the hospital on an early Monday morning, only to have a Foley bulb painfully inserted to help my cervix ‘prepare.’ We spent the next 12-14 hours watching ‘Cops’. It was honestly miserable. I was in pain the entire night, telling the nurses I was experiencing contractions, and apparently, I wasn’t. My OB came in the next morning at 9 a.m. and broke my water. Obviously never having to experience that, it’s a good thing it didn’t happen in anyone’s vehicle, or even anywhere else for that matter. During the next nine hours, I had four – FOUR epidurals. The Pitocin I was given wasn’t helping steady my contractions and I could not progress in dilation past 7 (for about 3 hours.) At 6 p.m. that night, my doctor came in explaining that she thought a caesarian was the next best step, due to my blood pressure issues and the baby’s heart rate. I had already ‘been in labor for 45 hours,’ and therefore, I was ready to go. Andy and I were prepped to go meet our little girl. At 6:51 p.m., after feeling like my intestines were being ripped out of my body, Grace Anne graced us with her presence. I held her for about 10 seconds and I’m pretty sure my first words were, ‘she has really long fingernails.’ I then handed her back off to Andy and explained that I felt sick. You don’t want to know what happened next, but let’s just say I drifted off to heaven (worrying on my flight up there how Andy was going to do it on his own). I eventually made it back and when I awoke, I was in a different room waking up to no one. Andy quickly came through the door, telling me everything was okay. However, due to my body’s response to the C-section, he needed to know if he could go ahead and feed Grace her first bottle and give her first bath. ‘Take pictures,’ I shouted
Having a caesarean was most definitely not on my birth plan. I never even thought of the ‘what if’ until my doctor walked in on that Tuesday night at 6 p.m. and told me her recommendations. Here’s the thing though, I trusted my doctor. I trusted her nurses. And I don’t believe it was their intention to have me go through 45 hours of labor with Cervidil and a Foley bulb and multiple epidurals just to look at me and say, ‘Nope, we want to give you a long scar on your belly.’ I’ve since read that some people believe C-sections are the easy way out. They sure are.
Let me tell you, I didn’t feel ANY pain, I didn’t have ANY emotions. I didn’t feel like a complete failure. I didn’t die and go to heaven during my C-section because it was the easy way out. I experienced all of those things, every last bit of it. And the worst thing I felt was sad. I was sad that Andy didn’t get to cut the cord on our very first child together. I was scared I really had passed away. That’s a VERY scary feeling. I was scared of what my scar would now represent and how people that saw that personal side of me would view it. But I don’t really care anymore. That scar is my favorite. It may have saved my life, but definitely saved my daughter’s life. Having a caesarean does not make me less of a woman, nor a mom. It is a daily reminder that I carried my beautiful daughters for 9 months and did what I had to do, in order to have them brought into this world that I love so much.
Having a C-section takes courage and bravery and sacrifice. It is mothering in its purest form. Mothers like me. We are BRAVE. Birth is amazing, no matter how it happens. And would I do it again if given the opportunity? No. My birth story with both of my daughters is beautiful. It’s mine to tell.
Several months after Grace was born, I was at a park with a friend, who also had her baby about the same age as Grace. We had been pushing the girls in their stroller around the lake, comparing our new motherhood stories and taking selfies of us and our sweet new baby girls. The one picture I failed to take or have someone take of us was when we stopped pushing the strollers and decided to take a break on one of the benches with the girls while we fed them. We didn’t sit on complete opposite ends of the bench, but more together in the middle, so we could still talk. From the back of that bench, you would have seen just that. The two of us talking. From the front, it would have been totally different. Sarah and I continued our conversation while I was bottle feeding my child and she was breastfeeding hers. It would have been the perfect picture to show others how differences can be had, and we could still be friends. It would have been the perfect picture to simply show, ‘fed is best.’
You see, I had absolutely NO intention of breastfeeding any of my children. I just didn’t and I couldn’t even tell you why. Probably because I realized how difficult it would be to do the pumping, in the middle of the night or during work. Probably because I could only imagine how difficult it would be on me and Andy to figure out how to still do the feeding thing equally. But really because I just absolutely had no desire to. And this was a quick little debate Andy and I had one with another because he, in fact, WAS breastfed as a baby.
See, while I just had no desire to do so, although my boobs leaking would have told someone I could really produce some milk, there has to be this understanding that some mothers just physically, mentally and emotionally can’t breastfeed. Say it, I was stubborn in this category. Some women really truly struggle, to the point of tears, that they can’t breastfeed. And without science and the creation of formula, babies would die. It’s the truth. Let’s cut some of these formula feeding moms some slack and just simply ask, ‘Is your baby eating?’ Formula feeding mothers often get scolded for not breastfeeding, some calling us lazy. Lazy?!? Yes, because after we feed our babies with those bottles, that some people spend HUNDREDS of dollars on because their child will only take a certain nipple from a certain brand, we throw this bottles in the sink, hoping that a little bottle fairy appears to take them apart and clean them well and sterilize them so there is no risk of thrush and there is always a bottle ready to go when needed.
Formula feeding is NOT bad. It is NOT wrong. If I’m being honest, I think not breastfeeding saved me some sanity, even though formula feeding cost me some dollars. I have several friends whose child was breastfed and guess what? Our kids and her kids probably both eat the same things off of our vehicle floors: stale French fries. I’m positive that my kids and her kids sometimes just eat ice cream for dinner sometimes. I don’t think my oldest daughter had to get glasses because I didn’t breastfeed her, just like my friend’s son didn’t have to get glasses because his mom didn’t formula feed him.
And, since this entire blog article is about my beliefs, centered on my children, I’m not being biased here, but I’m almost certain that Grace is one of the smartest kids in her classroom at her school and she is something special. She is going somewhere in her life. And Addison is on the same path. Both of my daughters are very bright. Very inquisitive. If anything, it’s probably because I formula fed them.
Just kidding, it’s really just because I fed (and still feed) them and teach them other life lessons to help them blossom into this world.
Oooh, here’s where it might get a little judgy. I am PRO-VACCINE. I believe ‘Vaccines Cause Adults.’ I work in a field that I have access to doctors that have spent years researching vaccines and various other medical information. And because of my access to them, I have access to do my own research on vaccines. Now, let me first put out that when both of my girls were set to get the MMR vaccine (with all that autism speculation out there and no scientific data to back it), I was still hesitant with giving it. I didn’t question my pediatrician. I really didn’t hesitate twice to signing the consent paper. I really just focused on watching the reactions my girls would have after receiving the shots, which was normal compared to the others – fussy, irritable and sleepy, which also meant some extra snuggles. And yes, my oldest daughter is only eight years away from being offered to have the HPV Gardasil series, which a few moms across our nation have said that was the vaccine that caused their child’s death. For a while, I really didn’t know if she would be getting it. I just kept telling myself I had ‘X’ amount of years for more research to be done, and by the time she turned 11 years old, we would really know the effectiveness of this vaccine.
Two years ago, I went to a conference where one of the key speakers spoke about her personal journey of being diagnosed with HPV and how it affected her entire life. I read her book within 3 days. Her personal story and book gave me the answer to my question. Will my daughters be receiving the HPV vaccine in eight years? They absolutely will! As mentioned, I work in a medical position that daily gives vaccines. Patients who are against, are simply asked to find a new doctor. But, why? Why won’t the doctors tend to the parents that want their children unvaccinated due to their ‘google research?’ BECAUSE, if you can’t trust your doctor on the vaccines you need to keep you and your children healthy, how are you going to trust them with other life-threatening situations or what medication is needed to heal an ear infection? I trust mine. Do you trust yours? And you may be thinking, ‘Come on, Sandi. Worry about your own children and their vaccines. If they are vaccinated, then why worry about my unvaccinated child?’ Again, I work in the medical field and see very many situations daily. I don’t just worry about my daughters. I worry about babies that are too young to be vaccinated, the children who medically can’t be vaccinated. They are all high risk and suffering from and spreading infection. Everyone equally deserves protection.
Quick and easy – I do disposable diapers because, for me, I’m too lazy to clean out the urine/stool from a cloth diaper and stick it in my diaper bag and then take it home to rinse out even more, before putting it in my washer for 45 minutes and dryer for another 50. It’s time-consuming and smelly. But, trust me, if there was disposable underwear, I’d be using those!
Another quick and easy topic. I do it. I discipline my girls. I don’t spank them. I don’t hit them. One time, Grace got in trouble for pushing a friend and pulling her hair at school (on the same day). When we got home, I asked her what she did, and she was honest. So, I pushed her (barely) and pulled her hair (lightly). She didn’t like it, but guess what hasn’t happened since then? I typically use a small chair I refurnished titled ‘Thinking Spot.’ If my girls disrespect me, hit, throw their food on the ground, or simply ignore us because they want to, they get to go sit in this spot and think about what they did for the number of minutes as they are years old. Afterward, I look them straight into the eyes and explain to them why I put them there and ask them to apologize for what they did (and they must actually tell me what they did while apologizing). We don’t go to bed mad. Simple as that.
There are three positions I say that I could never do in life: a restaurant worker, a daycare worker/teacher, and a stay at home mom. I mean, I would be a stay at home mom if my husband allowed me to, but with the stipulation that I could still take the girls to school. In that case, I would just be a trophy wife, without the hot mom body. Fact. I do not trust myself to stay at home with my children to teach them the things they should know and learn in their early life. I just simply do not. If I were a stay at home mom, I’m sure my children would be watching the Disney Channel or Nick Jr. all day, along with a couple of Lifetime or Hallmark movies. I’m amazed DAILY at what my girls come home telling me they learned in their classroom for that day. It simply puts me in awe and all I really want to do is go to their school and hug their teachers and tell him ‘thank you’ a million times. THEY are the reason my daughters are going somewhere in life.
I am so tired of hearing that because I work, I must miss out on so much of my children’s lives. I must not love them enough to stay home with him. Can I just take a piece of bread and wad it up and throw it in those people’s faces? My daughters are my absolute pride and joy. I would do anything for them and that anything includes me working full time to provide for them now and in the future. Although come Sunday night, I’m ready to send those girls to school the next morning, I miss them from the time I drop them off to the time I pick them up after work. I think about them ALL of the time. I worry about them ALL of the time. I wish my office had ‘bring your child to work day’ at least once a week because I would totally be all over that offer. I refuse to be compared to other moms, whether they be SAHMs, part-time working moms, or full-time working moms. I am the perfect mother for my girls, and I am a positive role model for them. In the three years that I’ve been doing this, I feel that I’ve done pretty well. My children say, ‘please and thank you.’ I haven’t heard of a biting case with them and their friends. They may be a bit sassy, but Grace is in that 3-year-old stage right now, and I’m almost positive every other three-year-old goes through this same thing. And well…Addi just wants to be like her big sister.
I work so that my girls will grow up seeing that I am working in my dream job, literally. I want them to know that it’s possible to have THEIR American dream, just as I’m living mine. If my daughters grow up to want to be SAHM’s, then so be it. I’ll hopefully be retired and can help. If my daughters want to grow up and become teachers or daycare workers, then so be it. They are saving other momma’s like I’m currently being saved by their teachers in helping them learn in this world. While I don’t think they will grow up to be daycare teachers (only because Grace has told me she wants to be a police officer AND a scuba diver and that Addi probably wants to be a train conductor), I do have a feeling they will be doing their dream job of what they see fit best for their life and their family. As a working mother, I am envious of the moms who get to go to the 10:30 a.m. library functions or take their kids to the zoo whenever they want, especially on the days that aren’t busy with hundreds of kids running around, trying to keep up with which one is yours. But do you ever think that those SAHM’s are envious of us? We get the adult social interaction we all desire. We get to be the quote, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder.’
I don’t share my feelings on these topics to start a debate with anyone. I simply share them because it is my life and the things, I’ve discussed are sometimes very controversial to some. But I’m living my American Dream. This is my life and my family is healthy and well. As mentioned in a previous, most of us didn’t become friends because our first conversation with one another was questioning if we were going to vaccinate our children, or how they would be fed, or what type of discipline would be used to help them grow into respectable teens and adults. Please respect my parenting views as I’ve always tried to respect your parenting views.
But seriously, if you are still struggling with ways you can debate with me on how I parent, here are a few more quick tidbits: My kids eat candy, chocolate, and fast food. Sometimes they really do eat ice cream for dinner. I don’t bathe them every night, sometimes not even every other night. Grace has regularly been sleeping with Andy and me in bed (and although it can make for a restless night, I wouldn’t change it). Both of my girls slept in a crib from night one of bringing them home. I let them watch their ‘phones’, too. (They have their own iPod thanks to their Grandma for Christmas). Oh, and I occasionally curse in front of them. I try not to, but Andy doesn’t hold back sometimes. My girls are going to hear those words in life. No doubt about it. I’m okay with teaching them at a young what they mean, and if they happen to use those words in the right context, respectfully to people, then I’ll just wait and see when I come across that to see how I deal.
But God made me their mother for a reason. He knew that only I could love them and teach them the way they needed to be loved. These girls are special. You’ll see one day.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sandi Chambers. Visit her website here. Do you have a similar experience? Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read more from Sandi here:
‘I was at your house earlier getting my car seat and I just can’t believe how messy your house is! I don’t know how you all live like that!’: Working mom gets receives criticism on her ‘messy house’ at worst possible moment
‘I’m a teacher, and I’m angry. Then I went to see ‘A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,’ and I don’t know anymore.’: Teacher says Fred Rogers reminded her that ‘grace doesn’t run out, there isn’t a limited supply’
‘I got the call at 6 p.m., left my kids with my husband and drove to her house with my socks crammed into my Birkenstocks.’: Mom urges others to ‘just show up’ when friends need you, ‘She didn’t need Pinterest, she needed me
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