Kids Motherhood

To The Nurse Who Made Me Feel Like A Terrible Mother

To The Nurse Who Made Me Feel Like A Terrible Mother www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Tineke Franssen

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!

About the author

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/

11 Comments

  • I have been there! My son will be 1 years old next month. When my milk supply dried up (when he was 7 months old from stress and inability to pump during work hours) I wished my mom guilt would have disappeared right along with it.. Kudos to you speaking up for all of us judged mothers!

  • Pediatric nurses drive me nuts…with every one of my babies, one of them has done something to invoke my wrath! Breastfeeding wasn’t one of our challenges, but there have been plenty of others! As a mom of 4 (soon to be 5) kids, the childless nurses really need to take a step back and put themselves in the shoes of a new mom. Emotions and hormones run rampant for months. Exhaustion rules forevermore. For what it’s worth, I don’t really put much stock in much the medical profession has to say.

    It doesn’t really get easier after the first one either, just different. Every one has a different challenge to overcome. You have to trust your momma instincts! Do what’s best for your baby. If that isn’t breastfeeding, so be it.

  • Wow. I am enraged right along with you. And that comment to your hairdresser’s SON; your reaction is totally correct. How dare she?? I just can’t believe she would shame you so much when you were clearly trying…It’s not as though you chose not to breastfeed out of vanity or something. And even if you had, well, there would probably have been a psychological reasoning behind that, possibly even some domestic abuse going on, and it STILL would not have been appropriate.
    If it makes you feel any better, I had a lot of complications with my middle daughter and I was never really able to breastfeed her. I mean I certainly tried very, very hard for two months but ultimately my milk production was no good and I couldn’t breastfeed her. My youngest is almost two and although my supply is extremely limited, she still comes for her ‘tete’ every night…and then all night…and obviously my husband can’t help so…maybe your nurse would have approved, but it’s not so wonderful! I mean yes the bonding is nice, but…sleep would be pretty nice too…sigh..
    Don’t listen to this nurse. You have to take care of yourself, or you won’t be able to be there for your kids.

  • This makes me so sad!! Everyone has their own personal reasons and story about being a mother. It is so ridiculous that someone would make you feel that way. Good for you for realizing the wrongness and coming out on the other side. This is great that you shared!

  • I totally get you on this, even here in England they can be pretty bossy when it comes to breastfeeding. I think everyone has their own personal reasons…she should mind her own life. Great post.

  • Not appropriate AT ALL. I am sorry you had to endure that kind of care. You are a good mom no matter how you feed your baby!

  • You went 8 months – thats amazing! Well done!!

    I love my children a whole lot and was good with the breastfeeding there but I would never ever do it for 2 years, all those teeth.

    I’m sorry that you were bad to feel like a bad mom – I’ve experienced that with nurses too and I think it is completely out of place!

  • I’m so sorry you felt inadequate. That nurse should have supported you in your struggles and helped you succeed no matter what the circumstances. You should feel proud for breastfeeding for 8 months!

  • Surely you’d think nurses would understand a bit more that not everyone can have success? Fed is best right?! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday