On “Being held hostage”

May 5, 2010

Wow. I just read an article from Redbook magazine that the ladies are talking about over at Kellymom.com’s Facebook page. I wont link to the redbook article itself, because it i rife with misinformation about breastfeeding. But there was one thing that really dumbfounded me. The article discusses the (supposed) pros and cons of breastfeeding, and one of the cons is that breastfeeding “keeps mom hostage”. Ugh! I am not going to address the logistics of breastfeeding out and about or pumping to leave baby with a sitter in this post. What I do want to address is this terrible sentiment that I hear echoed everywhere, not just in the context of breastfeeding, but referring to parenthood in general, that children are this awful inconvenience that prevent you from living the life you were living so seamlessly and easily before. Here is a fact: being a parent is different from not being a parent. Taking care of a helpless infant is going to require a lot from you. You are going to have to change your lifestyle. If you do not welcome those facts, you should reconsider having kids. If you expect that your baby is going to be born and then within weeks be completely assimilated into your world and your schedule, well, you are probably setting yourself up for a lot of frustration. But if you are open to the changes to come, the joy and challenge to devoting yourself to the development of a beautiful little person, and excited about the opportunity to help form them into the person they will become, well then, you might enjoy parenting afterall.

I do not feel like I am being held hostage. I love that taking care of my son has allowed me to slow down. Our days are (very) loosely regimented. I have allowed myself much more freedom than ever before. And I really can’t stress enough how much I love spending time with him. I would hate to miss a moment of it, he is so fun, every day he does something different. This is not what being held hostage feels like. This is what being in an amazing relationship with a beautiful little person feels like. And as far as feeding him goes, well, breastfeeding has given us almost complete freedom in our activities. I say almost because even though we don’t have to carry any feeding supplies with us, we still have carry the diaper bag full of diapers to a lot of the places we go. Now there is a parenting inconvenience, lugging diapers around.

Anyway, I say all of this as a stay-at-home mom. I certainly cannot speak to the unique challenges of a (breastfeeding) mother who works. But I tell you what, if I had to leave my little one all day, I would absolutely live for those sweet moments we would spendĀ  nursing when i came home. No hostage situations here.

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