Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Unfeminist

So, not to be too dark and dreary, but I was reading an article in World Magazine today about China's 1 child per family policy and it was truly heartbreaking. A mother shared a story of getting pregnant and not having a birth permit. She had no choice but to go to a rural village and try to hide. The authorities found out she was pregnant and she was taken to a disgusting hospital and held in a room with many other moms in her same position. Then they forced an abortion on her. Her baby was near full term and she had to lay there and watch them pull and cut the child apart and throw it in the garbage. Her testimony at a town hall type meeting was that although her body took only a year to heal, pyschologically and spiritually she will never fully heal and that she's only found peace through becoming a Christian and having a personal relationship with Jesus. WOW. There were more details in the story but I'm trying to keep it less gruesome for the blogging crew. I guess it just really made me grateful to live in a country where we have such basic human rights as not being forced to have abortions. I can't even imagine going through what that woman did. Of course America is flawed and there is a lot that needs change and reform. However, I don't fear repercussions from getting pregnant or saying something the government will arrest or kill me for. These are considered basic rights to Americans, but yet in other countries in this very moment people have no rights. Be grateful for all we have, right?

I know I haven't talked much about breastfeeding lately and that's just because I'm not currently breastfeeding :) In another 5 months it'll be fresh on my mind again. I did however join a Boycott Redbook page on Facebook yesterday. I commented on this blog about an obnoxious and offensive article against breastfeeding in one of the recent magazines and apparently it's now posted online, too. Ugh. And then on top of that they've stated it's best for the husband to not be present during the birthing process. Um, what??? This is just so archaic and bizarre. The controversy about the breastfeeding article is because the author has cancer and was told to breastfeed for 6 weeks or less so she can get back on her cancer meds. I am not disputing the validity or importance of her situation in the slightest. What is frustrating about the article is that the author takes her specific (and might I say fairly rare) situation and uses it as fuel on why 'breastfeeding sucks and why it's ok to give your baby formula........especially since it makes your boobs sag and causes huge nipples'. And yes, Redbook did say those things! I just feel that it takes us back 20 years to when women's lib started and breastfeeding became uncool, unprogessive, and something that poor people did. Thank you Redbook for taking us back to that awful, selfish time!
According to Unicef, this is the hierarchy of nutrition:

1. Milk at the Mother's Breast

2. Mother's Pumped Milk in a Bottle

3. Donated Milk from Another Mother

4. Infant Formulas
That makes infant formula's actually the 4th choice, not 2nd as people assume.
Just today I saw this: about Perchlorate, a chemical that is used to create jet fuel and is known to cause thyroid disease, being found in infant formula!
How scary is that? I just think it's become so faux paus to talk negatively about using formula, but I personally (just my opinion folks, feel free to start your own blog!) think that we have milk ducts for a reason and that it's unacceptable to use formula because you're afraid your boobs will sag (that happens eventually no matter what), or your nipples will get bigger, or your date nights with hubby will be interrupted, or you just can't be bothered to fight through the sometimes very tough first few weeks. There are those that have chosen breast surgeries and therefore limited themselves in their feeding options (not talking about breast cancer, I am so sorrowful for those mamas!).
I have wanted a breast reduction for almost 10 years, seriously. But even at 18 I knew that I wanted to breastfeed someday and I personally couldn't make the decision to do something for myself when it would hinder my choices later. I hope to get the surgery someday when I'm done having and breastfeeding kids.
I just think in other cultures it's so normal to breastfeed and people don't even question whether they will or not; the older mom's teach the younger moms, you watch your aunts and cousins breastfeed,etc. It's part of who they are as mom's and it's expected, but in the best way possible- nurturing and loving your children the way God made you to. In America we are all so self focused. What house we want, what car we want, what vacation we want, what personal dream or accomplishment we need to's all about OUR needs and wants. We as women are encouraged to go to school, get a career, not wait around for a man or anyone (often God is included in that, like 'who needs Him!')- do our own thing! It's feminism still at work. I did go to school, both high school and college and had a 3.97 in highschool and 4.0 in college. I did have jobs and even a good paying, well benefited one when I got pregnant. However, for me personally the drive to have a career and all that jazz will never match my desire to love and raise my children with my own two hands. But the mentality that is encouraged in America makes women seem old fashioned or weak if they choose to put their kids before their job, manicures, tanning appointments, girls nights, etc....and thus makes it faux paus to make a big deal about breastfeeding not only being the 'standard', but being clearly the best- for mom, baby, and budget. Women deserve a 'choice' right? I will be unpopular and say not always. Should we make choices about where we work, who we marry, what we wear, where we practice our faith, what we say, where we live, how many kids we have, etc? A RESOUNDING YES. But the whole, 'stay out of it, let people make their own choices' seems like hogwash to me sometimes. Why are all the contaminates in formula not being put all over the news? Because it's faux paus. No one wants to be made to feel bad about their choices.
So, I commented on the Boycott Redbook page that 'difficulty in breastfeeding doesn't make quitting or not breastfeeding a good choice', and I received a scathing hate message from a mom about it, calling it an obnoxious rant. Does "difficulty in breastfeeding doesn't make quitting or not breastfeeding a good choice" sound like a rant? It is a very mild comment compared to other comments posted on the wall. I replied to the woman, "Have a nice day." Apparently a kind word does turn away wrath because after that she tried to apologize and just ended up putting her foot in her mouth worse. Whatever. I was proud of myself for holding my tongue and not going off on her for her ignorance.
I don't mean to be unempathic or rude. That's not my intent. I'm simply irritated and tired of all the excuses for not breastfeeding, especially the ones that are based on the physical appearance of one's breasts! Mastitis, flat nipples, inverted nipples, clogged ducts, inadequate milk supply, mother going through surgery, super preemie baby, failure to thrive baby, ETC, you name it and I've heard it at LLL and I've watched those mom's struggle and end up conquering and feeling such pride in themselves and their babies. Those mother's then become the best advocates for breastfeeding and share their wealth of knowledge with other moms. I can't help but think that was God's intent. He created us to live in community and that includes women and mothering :) I won't lie and say that breastfeeding is always easy. It's not. It was not for me. It has been simple for some of my friends but honestly it's been more of a challenge with the majority- at least with the first baby. I think it's kind of normal. You have to learn how to do it, your breasts have to learn how to do it, and that teeny little baby has to learn how to do it. Give it time, give yourself time, and you'll get it. I'm SO proud of you dear friends who have faced huge obstacles in breastfeeding and have educated yourself, sought out help, and perservered.
I guess you can call me the Unfeminist. So there ;)


  1. Di I'm not sure your thoughts on childbirth are but perhaps a future topic for a post? A friend recently told me how easy childbirth was for her and how it wasn't painful at all. Call my crazy but I believe the pain you're feeling serves a purpose and changing the chemistry in your body to make things easier for you can have all kinds of negative side effects for your body, your baby and your relationship with one another including breastfeeding.

    I agree so much what you're saying. There can be some legitimate reasons for stopping but I think few women are tenacious enough to try everything it takes. It would be nice if there was more support though in our culture. I've heard some stories that women didn't know how to solve and after not having much success on their own they ended up weaning. More often though I've seen women who simply didn't put forth the effort to solve their problems and just lived with them and supplemented or weaned. I think by blogging, talking to people, and being a part of LLL we can hopefully help change that though.

    On the same token we need to have compassion for women who struggle and offer help not send them a message they're not good enough.

  2. Totally Agree Mariena, and very well put!

    I agree with you about birthing as well. I'm learning so much during this pregnancy and really looking into things so much more. With Elly I did have an epidural but it didn't work. Hello ring of fire. haha! Even still I think the whole induction process (cervidil and pitocin) was very negative for me and caused issues in the first few days with Elly learning to latch and some other things as well :( I need to ask more questions of my doc, but it should be a future topic, good suggestion :)