By Emily Harrington
While my husband and I let the pregnancy gods determine my uterus’ fate, I have time between tests to obsess about our future with children. There are so many variables and choices to consider. I think about everything from baby names, nursery themes, how our psychotic dog will handle a new pack mate, and my burgeoning body.
Again, I do not have babies. I am simply in the research and experimentation phase of conception. I observe my friends, family and coworkers and base my opinions from their experiences.
Based on my research, here are two points that top my list of things to think about:
Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. The research and media clearly states the breast is best. You’re encouraged to breastfeed and made to feel guilty if you don’t. Moms feel sad and disappointed in themselves if they are unable to feed their babies from their own bodies.
I’m falling somewhere in the middle. It’s hard for me to imagine what has previously been a sexual body part as a tool to sustain your baby. How will I ever look at my boobs the same way again? But, it’s cheap, healthier for the baby and, according to moms who breastfeed, breastfeeding helps you get the baby weight off sooner.
Ideally I would like to use half breast milk and half bottle feeding. This way my husband can participate in the feeding process. If the baby never takes to the breast, I’ll have to be flexible and solely turn to the bottle. Knowing my personality, I’m sure I will feel like a failure and be riddled with guilt. But, knowing that my friends have gone through the same thing will help.
Stay at-home-mom versus working mom. Have you ever seen two dogs circle each other then suddenly attack? This is the way the contentious subject can explode when a jab is made about a mom’s decision to work or stay at home full-time. Do not talk about all the alleged time a stay-at-home mom has on her hands or allege a working mom is neglecting her children. It will not end well.
I’m the health insurance provider in our family. It will be hard for us to lose that. Preferably, I’d like to work part time. I marvel at the women in my office who come to work with their shoes on the right feet, hair combed and lipstick on. I truly admire them. I go about 80 miles-an-hour down Race Street with my heels in my backseat while applying lip gloss to get to work 15 minutes behind schedule. My time management will need a little work. Or maybe I won’t be able to let my OCD get the best of me as I Clorox wipe the bathroom floor each morning before I leave.
My cousin is a stay-at-home mom with four beautiful babies. Recently, I saw her at Walgreens and an image of a momma duck with ducklings popped into my head. She had a baby on her hip and three other children grabbing items off the shelves saying, “Can I have this?” at every aisle. She was so patient. She managed to have a conversation with me, tell her three children “no” and coo at the baby simultaneously. Talk about multi-tasking. It was inspirational.
How do they do it? I ask the moms in my life that question all the time. There answer: Like Nike says, you just do it. You find strength and love that you never knew you had. There are bad and sad moments. But, there are magical moments that make every struggle more than worth it.
My conclusion is this: There’s no right or wrong answer to breast versus bottle, working versus staying at home. Each mom has her own reality. Mom A thinks her way is the right way: working mom who breast feeds. Mom B can passionately defend her position: stay-at-home mom who uses formula.
They do what works best for them and their family. My husband and I will just have to figure out what works best for us when the time comes.
Emily Harrington is a 28-year-old townie on the cusp of full blown adulthood. She’s a wife still in the honeymoon stage and a mom of a borderline psychotic mini-Australian Shepherd. She has a full-time job in communications/marketing and a full-time life outside of work.