Dear nurse of my son,

Although I really think you’re a good pediatric nurse and truly value how nice you are to my son, I was wondering if you could maybe be half as nice to the moms that come with their babies to your practice? 

I know you’re very pro breastfeeding and probably you should be pro in your position since the pediatrics association recommends breastfeeding for at least two years. I get that, I mean wouldn’t it be amazing if all mamas could be breastfeeding their child for two years? But you being critical and judgmental on if and how long we moms breastfeed isn’t really helping anyone. And besides, two freaking years? Do you know how long that is? No, you don’t, because you have never breastfed anyone. Even if we wanted to, that’s not really feasible for some of us.

Since first-time moms trying to get the breastfeeding going are already the most stable and most secure people on the planet, your approach is not really helping. You can’t imagine how many times you made me cry because the breastfeeding didn’t go too well, my baby was underweight and you kept telling me every few days that I had to try harder because I had to do what was best for him.

You made me feel like a failure because apparently, I was doing something wrong because I sure didn’t have enough milk to get my baby back on track for his weight. You made me feel that the pain I had for weeks every time my son latched on (which was every freaking hour!) was just part of being a good mom and that the fact that my nipples were so destroyed and bleeding that even putting a bra or a t-shirt on was hurting like hell was a sacrifice I had to make. You made me feel like a complainer when I told you that this whole breastfeeding thing maybe wasn’t for me since my son was such a slow drinker and had to gain weight basically meaning I had 40 minute breaks in between feeding sessions, day and night, and I was completely exhausted. Instead of consoling me, you looked at the black circles under my eyes and told me this was my life right now. That a pregnancy wasn’t just 9 months, it was at least 18 months, that I was a kangaroo who had to keep her baby in her pouch 24 hours a day. 

Don’t you think this whole new mom gig was already challenging enough? Did you really think that I wasn’t already an emotional wreck without your judging and great advice of acting like a kangaroo and basically forgetting about every possible self-care? You probably don’t know since you don’t have any kids yourself but still, can you at least try to imagine what it’s like and how hard these first weeks can be?

And I can’t even envision how “good” my hairdresser must have felt when you told her son that “his mom doesn’t want the best for him” because she decided not to breastfeed. I mean, seriously, how dare you?

When I decided to stop breastfeeding after 8 months, instead of feeling proud of myself for keeping up with it so long despite the big problems in the first couple of months, I felt guilty. Guilty that I “already” gave up and wasn’t up for continuing until my son was two years old. I was nervous for his next checkup because I knew you wouldn’t be happy with this decision and you would let me know. 

I know it’s my own fault. I should not have let you get to me like that. I shouldn’t have taken your “advice” so seriously. I should have been stronger and made my own decisions. But you know what, as a first-time mom who has no clue what she’s doing, who is exhausted and feels so insecure (and let’s not get started about hormones), I just believed that you knew what was best for my son. But one thing I know for sure, if there will be a next time that I come with a newborn to the checkups, I will be the one in charge of deciding what is best. I will make the decision if I breastfeed or not and if so, for how long. So just save yourself the effort and start minding your own breasts instead of mine. 

Thank you!

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Tineke Franssen

Tineke Franssen is a working mom abroad that is trying to keep her sanity amongst cultural clashes both at work and at home (Spanish parents in law anyone?). When she is not in the office or working through piles of laundry, you can find her drinking wines with friends, watching Grey´s Anatomy, playing fieldhockey or writing on her blog http://workingmommyabroad.com/

Organized Sports Aren’t Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young girl with Alpaca, color photo

Today I watched my little girl walk an alpaca. His name is Captain. Captain is her favorite. He’s my favorite too. I met his owner on Instagram of all places. She thought I was in college; I thought she was a middle-aged woman. Turns out, she is in high school, and I am a middle-aged woman. This random meeting led to a blessing. We call it “llama lessons.” We take llama lessons every other week. It’s an hour away on the cutest hobby farm. Our “teacher” is Flora, who boards her llamas at the alpaca farm. She wants to teach...

Keep Reading

I Had to Learn to Say “I’m Sorry” to My Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Mom hugs tween daughter

My two oldest kiddos are at the front end of their teen years. I remember that time in my own life. I was loud, somewhat dramatic, I let my hormones control me, and I never—ever—apologized. This last part was because no one ever really taught me the value of apology or relationship repair. Now, I could do some parent blaming here but let’s be real, if you were a kid whose formative years were scattered between the late ’80s and early ’90s, did you get apologies from your parents? If so, count that blessing! Most parents were still living with...

Keep Reading

5 Things Your Child’s Kindergarten Teacher Wants You To Know

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child raising hand in kindergarten class

I am a teacher. I have committed my life to teaching children. Of course, before I began this career, I had visions of standing in front of a group of eager-eyed children and elaborating on history, science, and math lessons. I couldn’t wait to see the “lightbulb” moments when students finally understood a reading passage or wrote their first paper. And then I had my first day. Children are not cut out of a textbook (shocking, I know) but as a young 23-year-old, it knocked me right off my feet. I was thrown into the lion’s den, better known as...

Keep Reading

To the Extended Family That Shows Up: We Couldn’t Do This Without You

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Family visiting new baby in a hospital room

This picture—my heart all but bursts every time I see it.  It was taken five years ago on the day our daughter was born. In it, my husband is giving her her very first bath while our proud extended family looks on. It was a sweet moment on a hugely special day, but gosh–what was captured in this photo is so much more than that. This photo represents everything I could have ever hoped for my kids: That they would have an extended family who shows up in their lives and loves them so deeply.  That they would have grandparents,...

Keep Reading

You’re Almost Grown, But You’re Always Welcome Back Home

In: Kids, Motherhood
Teen in room studying with computer and smartphone

Dear child, In the days before you could walk or talk, there were times when you would wail—when my rocking and shushing and bouncing were seemingly futile—but it didn’t matter. Each day and night, multiple times, I always picked you up and welcomed you back into my arms. As a toddler and a preschooler, you had some pretty epic meltdowns. There were times when you would thrash and scream, and all I could do was stand by and wait for the storm to blow over. Eventually, you would run to me, and I would welcome you back with a warm embrace....

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

Parents Are Terrible Salespeople for Parenting

In: Kids, Motherhood
Tired mother with coffee cup on table, child sitting next to her

As the years of fertility start to wane, many of my childless peers are confronted with the question, “Should I have kids?” With hesitation, they turn to us parents who, frankly, seem overwhelmingly unhappy. They ask sheepishly, “Is it worth it?” We lift our heads up, bedraggled, bags under our eyes, covered in boogers and sweat and spit up, we mutter, “Of course! It’s so fulfilling!” It’s like asking a hostage if they like their captor. Sure, it’s great. We love them. But our eyes are begging for liberation. Save me, please. I haven’t slept through the night in years....

Keep Reading

Soak in the Moments because Babies Don’t Keep

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Roller coaster photo, color photo

I love marking the moments, the ones that count—making a note and storing them for memory. But I often miss out on them when it comes to our oldest. ⁣ ⁣The day he wanted to be baptized, I was at home with another kiddo who was sick. He called me from church excitedly, emphasizing he was ready and didn’t want to wait. I couldn’t argue with that, so I watched him go underwater through videos my husband and sweet friends in the congregation took. ⁣ ⁣On the day of his fifth-grade graduation, we found ourselves at the pediatrician’s office. Instead...

Keep Reading

Sometimes a Kid Just Needs a Sick Day

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy outside, color photo

My middle son stayed home from school today. He said he was sick. I’m not sure that is the truth. I was lucky enough to have a mom who was an amazing caretaker, especially when you were sick. She pulled out all the stops. A cozy clean space to be, a thermos with ice cold juice by your side, Mrs. Grass’s soup, and Days of Our Lives on the screen while she tidied up the house. It was the best feeling in the world to be home and cozy with my mom when I was sick. It felt cozy and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes We Need Someone to Just Sit With Us in Our Struggle

In: Kids, Motherhood
Sad woman sits on floor, black and white image

Early this morning, I told (yelled is more accurate) my sons to get up with the same furious ferocity I use every morning when I realize they should be ready to go, but are still unconsciously snoozing away. One son lazily said, “I’m up, Mom” (even though he was very much not up). The other son, who typically has no problems getting up, had overslept and immediately freaked out, thinking he would be late to school. He proceeded to have a mini-meltdown from the dark recesses of his bedroom. That overflowed into the hallway where I found him lying face-down,...

Keep Reading