by World Moms Blog | Jun 11, 2015 | 2015, Family, Guest Post, World Motherhood, Younger Children
Her feature on The Huffington Post is going viral, and her e-mail inbox is currently overflowing with media requests. Caitlin Domanico of “United We Feed” is a World Mom on a mission through photography to unite mothers in how we feed our babies. We look forward to following the journey she has launched as she continues to capture the diversity of mothers feeding their babies around the globe. We are excited to bring you her guest post on World Moms Blog today…
To the mom who is feeding her baby,
You decided how to feed your child long before they were ever born.
“I am going to breastfeed.”, you said. Or maybe you said, “Nursing is not for me, I will pump.” Maybe neither of those were an option for you. Maybe formula was your milk of choice, or maybe, just maybe, your doctor informed you that it will be necessary to use a tube to help your child thrive.
I see you. I see you feeding your child every single day.
I see you feeding your child on very happy days, and on very sad days.
I see you feed while you sing and coo and gaze into your baby’s eyes.
I see you feed while you are filled with pain and sorrow, as you try to find a smile through the tears.
You feed at first thing in the morning, you feed in the wee hours of the night while the rest of the world is sleeping.
You feed while you are out to eat, and while you are on vacation.
When you are at work or at the store, you leave your baby with a loving caregiver and ensure they have enough to feed your little one.
One thing is very apparent while noticing you and your baby — the insurmountable amount of love that exists between you.
You smile and your baby smiles. You frown and your baby frowns.
Your baby holds your shirt, your hand, twirls your hair, and kicks her feet with joy and contentment.
Your baby loves you and you are smitten over him.
Maybe your bottle was filled with pumped milk, or maybe is filled with formula, but that doesn’t matter to me.
Maybe your baby gets her milk from you while breastfeeding, or maybe she nuzzles in close and as her pump delivers milk directly into her stomach so that she can grow and develop, but either way, it doesn’t matter to me.
I know it matters to you, and it should.
Please don’t take that to mean I don’t care, and that I don’t respect your choices as a mother, because actually, it is quite the opposite.
I care about you as a mother.
I care about your beautiful child.
I support and respect you, because you are a good mom. There are so many ways to be a good mom, and you are one of the best.
You see, I fed my first child with breast milk and formula, and now, six-years-later, she is a gem. We are close, so close that at times, I wonder how I ever lived without her. She had both types of milk and she is absolutely lovely, just like your little one. My second daughter only had breast milk, a decision she made when she refused a bottle. She is incredible, just like your little one. She loves her mama and takes every opportunity to snuggle in close, just like your little one. I know where you have been, because I had the cherished task of feeding my babies, too.
Motherhood is tough, and mommy guilt has worn-out it’s welcome here.
Tonight, when you hold your dear one close and feed them before bed, feel proud that you are apart of a community of women who love fiercely, protect feverishly, and support one another, no matter how they choose to feed their babies!
United We Feed
About the Author:
Caitlin Domanico grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania on a small horse farm. Now a mother of two, Ava (6) and Genevieve (nearly 2), Caitlin resides in Montgomery County with her daughters and her husband. She operates a photography studio in the center of her town, where she focuses on capturing families and specifically, documenting motherhood. During the week, Caitlin can be found having dance parties with her daughters, photographing families, or part-time teaching as a special education teacher in birth-3 services. Caitlin’s photo series “United We Feed” had gained international recognition for empowering and uniting women and the many ways they nourish their babies. For more photos head to her photography site!
Photo credits to Caitlin Domanico. This has been an original guest post to World Moms Blog from Pennsylvania, USA.
World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children.
World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.
by Shaula Bellour (Indonesia) | Jun 11, 2015 | 2015, Awareness, Bilingual, Communication, Cultural Differences, Expat Life, Eye on Culture, Family, Indonesia, Living Abroad, Shaula Bellour, Travel, World Motherhood
As a British-American family living in Indonesia, we seem to speak a special sort of English in our house. Although our kids attend the British school, their classmates are from all over the world and the accents they hear are typically mixed. While my daughter generally sounds American, my son tends to favor British vocabulary – he enjoys maths, plays football (never soccer) and cheerfully reports that his day was “brilliant.”
To an American ear, my own accent has a British sound, while to a Brit, my British husband sounds subtly American. We joke that our accents have merged over time, which is further reinforced by living outside of our home countries for many years.
In our family we use British and American terms interchangeably – we have torches and flashlights, throw away rubbish and trash, wear pants and trousers, and occasionally enjoy sweets and candy. Our kids have recently started to recognize and understand some of the differences. The other day my son informed me that I was pronouncing “vitamin” wrong. I explained that I say it differently and my daughter quickly jumped in with her support: “It’s okay Mommy, I say it that way, too!” Tomayto, tomahto…anything goes in our house.
In a few weeks we will be heading back to the US for summer break. While our friends and family are generally charmed by the kids’ way of speaking (“so cute!”), my own hybrid accent mostly confuses people. I once had a job interview after moving back to the US from abroad and the CEO took me aside afterward to excitedly ask where I was from. “I’m from Seattle originally,” I responded. “No, where are you really from?” he continued. “Uh…Seattle?” Clearly not the exotic hometown he expected.
Although it shouldn’t bother me, sometimes it does.
When I first studied in the UK many years ago I was very self-conscious about my American accent. The young people I worked with would often imitate me and I was continually aware of standing out whenever I opened my mouth. Now, with my mixed pronunciation, I blend in more easily and comfortably slip into colloquial Brit-speak whenever I visit. I still sound different but I don’t mind.
Yet for some reason, it does bother me to be labeled as different in the place I am from. Partly I think it’s the perception of being “other” that gets to me. Living in Indonesia, I am used to feeling this way. But when I return to my hometown, I want to be able to fit right back in – even if it’s been years (well…decades) since I’ve lived there.
Despite my pre-vacation efforts to Americanize my accent, I can still hear the well-enunciated sounds tumbling out of my mouth and the British-style intonation. I try to re-train myself to soften my Ts, pronounce my Rs and say “really” instead of “quite”. Yet as much as I try to flick the American switch in my brain, I know I won’t always get it right. I’m bound to ask where the “toilet” is instead of the restroom and I might accidentally order in Indonesian, just to further confuse things.
I sound different because I am different. Perhaps it’s time to embrace it.
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by our American-mom-of-twins writer, Shaula Bellour, currently residing in Indonesia.
The image used in this post is credited to Jeremy Keith. It holds a Flickr: Creative Commons attribution license.
Shaula Bellour grew up in Redmond, Washington. She now lives in Jakarta, Indonesia with her British husband and 9-year old boy/girl twins. She has degrees in International Relations and Gender and Development and works as a consultant for the UN and non-governmental organizations.
Shaula has lived and worked in the US, France, England, Kenya, Eritrea, Kosovo, Lebanon and Timor-Leste. She began writing for World Moms Network in 2010. She plans to eventually find her way back to the Pacific Northwest one day, but until then she’s enjoying living in the big wide world with her family.