authenticity - adj. - of undisputed origin, genuine
You may or may not know that in my previous life, I was an Internal Auditor. I was held to a professional Code of Ethics and was responsible for ensuring the Companies I worked for "towed the line" and were in compliance with accounting and regulatory requirements. Our writing had to be factual with opinions and conclusions, clearly identified as such.
So after doing that for 20 years, it's hard to "turn off" . . . thus I feel as if I have always been authentic here on my blog, with you my readers and followers. I promise I will never say I like something if I don't. I may write about it - and if I was paid to write about it - I may point out it's good qualities to you and let you make your own decisions. But I promise that every word I write here is the truth, or what I believe to be the truth.
Which brings me to the point of today's post. . .authenticity . . .and have I breached mine.
You may or may not know that I am a Breastfeeding Advocate. I volunteer and tweet for The Breastfeeding Resource Center in Abington, PA. I believe in their mission 100% and have seen what a wonderful service they provide to the community. I breastfed my own kids for a total of 5 years between the two of them. Yesterday, I attended an event in NYC that was sponsored (I'm assuming paid for) by Similac (yes - the formula company).
The agenda was NOT about formula vs. breast. The agenda was about Strong Moms Empower. About being confident in the choices we make for our families. (homeschooling, discipline, TV, chicken nuggets, etc.) When I responded to the invitation - I did not realize it was sponsored by Similac. I found out the day before, after my plans had been made.
I contemplated cancelling. . .truth be told, it made me feel "dirty". But the speaker list was amazing (two of my favorites - Danielle Smith and Dr. Michele Borba) and I was curious about their messaging. . .would there be subliminal messages about giving your baby formula?
So I went. . .I was not paid, they did not pay for my travel. I was fed a lovely lunch and given a bracelet as were all the attendees. I was not advised to give my baby formula. I was not required or asked to write about the event. I know that Similac was said to have co-opted messaging from Best for Babes. Of course, that is wrong . . .taking someone's words and using them for your own is wrong. We learned that in grade school.
And I also agree with those of you that tweeted me that we don't need a "Big Pharma" company to tell us how to be empowered . . .and you know what, you are right - some of us don't. But clearly, not all of us are empowered to do what we think is best for our families. Empowered or not, we are met with criticism and judgement at every turn, some of it meets the definition of bullying. So the messages and ideas presented by moms, Doctors and writers. . .were good ones. They were positive. They were encouraging. So while I am glad I went, I am still wrestling with whether I "should" have gone.
Funny - that's the same message we got at the event. Be confident in your choices. But sometimes. . .that is easier said than done, no matter how strong we may believe we are.
So if some of you are upset with me for going . . .I apologize. My belief in breastfeeding has not changed. I have not changed my mind about Similac's marketing practices. But I had the opportunity to hear some great advice on being a better mom and a better woman. Advice from professionals on how to support my friends, and strangers alike and how to identify my own judgements of other women and other moms.
And to me . . .that seems pretty authentic.
catch you soon -