‘Why are you still nursing her? Isn’t she too OLD for that?’ Mom shamed for breastfeeding 1-year-old daughter

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“When I became a mom, I lost myself for a while. My personal goals and passions were put aside and my 100% focus was on my kids and my job. I lost who I was. I lost that fun, carefree girl who was full of life and replaced her with a stressed woman who was full of anxiety. Full of constant comparison to others. Full of fear that I wasn’t enough. Full of anxiety that something bad was going to happen at any moment. But no one knew those fears or anxieties, as I kept them inside for a long time. 

Courtesy of Holly Bailey

Unlike any other job, motherhood is one that is left open with others constantly telling you how you should do things. How you should feed your kids. How they should act. What you should do when they are sick. When does it all stop? I remember when my daughter was a little over 1-year-old, and I was nursing her, someone said to me, ‘Why are you still nursing her? Isn’t she a little too old for that?’ I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I could write an entire book about my breastfeeding struggles as people are so opinionated on the topic!

I felt the need to try to please everyone all the time and listen to others’ advise. I became a pleaser. For the fear of letting anyone down, I just did whatever I could to make everyone happy, meanwhile, I was losing myself more and more. 

My life became a to-do list, schedules, appointments and so on. I felt like a failure at everything. A failure as a mom, teacher, wife, and friend. I felt that if I gave 100% at home that my job would suffer, and vice versa. That I was a horrible friend because I was so exhausted to go for a girl’s night I felt constant mom guilt. Constant guilt that I wasn’t doing enough. That I wasn’t enough. 

I came home from work one day and the house was a mess. I made a dinner that no one ate. As I was cleaning the kitchen, my mind began to go in overdrive. I felt robotic and lifeless. Is this what I was meant to do? Just go through the motions every day? My heart began to race and my anxiety was in full force. Is this what life’s about? Who am I anymore? I felt empty, lonely and afraid. I felt desperate for something more. There has to be more than this.

My thoughts were quickly put aside that night to meet the needs of my kids. Homework had to be done, lunches made for the next day, baths and the grueling bedtime for my toddler (going to sleep was not a favorite thing of hers).  She has slept with us since she was a baby.

Courtesy of Holly Bailey

That night when I was finally able to lay down, my mind went back into overdrive. I began to search and think of what I could do to turn things around. It was then at this moment, I realized the past nine years I had forgotten who I was. I had forgotten how to truly enjoy life. I had forgotten about myself.

Courtesy of Holly Bailey

A few days later is when I decided to make a change. My son was a bit shy of turning 9 and my daughter was 2, I decided enough was enough and decided to slowly start doing things I enjoy. I joined a gym and started working out and practicing yoga. Then, I started using my marketing degree to create a social media account that focused on motherhood. Slowly but surely the stress and anxieties dwindled down.  I felt free and I started to feel a little more like that girl who was full of life nearly 10 years ago.

I’m not that 115 pound, carefree girl I was in high school.  I don’t want to be her, because who I am now is so much stronger and so much more capable of doing anything she puts her mind to. 

Preston Smith Photography

Not that I don’t have anxieties or fears anymore. Because believe me, I do. I have learned that when I start to feel overwhelmed or stressed, I need to take some time to myself. I try not to fake a happy face or vent my frustration towards others. I just know that this feeling is temporary and maybe a yoga class or just a few moments alone really help. I have found when I stop pretending that everything is ok and that I have it all together (which I don’t) and deal with it right then… it helps. Keeping it inside causes you to carry such a heaviness around.

I feel like I have accepted the fact that I am not a perfect mom, perfect wife or perfect teacher. Is there really such a thing? I believe we all have our flaws, yet we all have our perfections too. Having a creative outlet helped me realize that I am enough and that I accept myself for all my flaws and all my imperfections. 

I know that every mom out there is more than just a mom. You are strong! You are beautiful! You are enough! Find that passion you have and take time for yourself each day. Don’t wait almost 10 years like I did!”

Courtesy of Holly Bailey
Courtesy of Holly Bailey

This story was written by Holly Bailey of Forth Worth, Texas. You can follow her on Instagram hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear about your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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