Over on my Facebook page, FFF Alexandra posted the following comment:
“I was thinking just yesterday actually that maybe FFF needs to allow us a thread on the blog to list the MOST ridiculous insults ever lobbed at us – seeing them “en masse” like that should enable us to laugh at it all and hopefully give strength to those newly struggling with residual guilt.”
I love this idea, and am therefore inviting you all to post in the comments section and get this party started. What have been some of the worst reactions you’ve seen/heard about formula feeding? Have people been nasty to your face, or has it mostly been faceless, nameless, (gutless) folks on the Interwebz? I’d also like to open the thread up a bit, to include the most aggravating misconceptions you’ve heard about bottle feeding moms.
You know, it’s interesting – I can’t recall any fellow moms in my “real” life saying anything intentionally cruel about the way I fed my kids. My angst was more due to well-meaning friends saying things in my presence about people who didn’t breastfeed, or about formula, or alluding to the fact that I must be so devastated about not breastfeeding… I think this qualifies more as ignorance than rudeness or animosity.
Sometimes, though, I wished that people would drop the act and say what they really felt. It is far easier to deal with rudeness than pity. It’s the pity that killed me. I was proud of how I was feeding my children. In FC’s case, I was proud I confronted my own desire to breastfeed and realized that it was about me, and not him; proud that I figured out what was wrong with him and filtered through the formula-antagonistic propaganda to find a solution. As for Fearlette, I felt proud that I fought my guilt-demons and made a strong, confident decision to do something to ensure I could be present for her.
But I feel I can’t explain this to many of my friends. They stare at me blankly when I try, or get this look in their eyes…and I don’t feel like it’s useful to anyone, me or them, to push the issue. They have been told by “professionals” that formula is poison; that breastfeeding is the most important thing they can do for their babies. I can’t undo that kind of brainwashing, and as long as they don’t get in my face about it, I don’t get in theirs. That’s friendship, you know?
All the blatantly nasty comments I’ve heard, I haven’t heard at all. I’ve read them, online or in books. But in some ways, I find these comments from random strangers far more disturbing than if they came from my real-life friends – because these words are read by impressionable multitudes, rather than heard by a few sensitive ears. One cruel comment on a respected blog, or a disturbing anti-formula-feeder thread on a popular message board, can do a heckuva lot more damage than some obnoxious half-wit in line at the grocery store. Not that this means a whole lot if your understandably sensitive ears are the ones in question, of course!
And speaking of… let ’em rip. Gold star goes to the person with the most smack-em-upside-the-head-iest comment…