Friday, August 20, 2010

Lactivist

I consider myself to be a laid back person, though I realize not many people would agree with me. I'm often aware of the irony that I strive to be relaxed, or to seem relaxed to others. Honestly even if I am in a heated discussion, chances are that inside I'm pretty peaceful no matter what. There's not much I care about enough to get really upset over. What you believe probably doesn't bother me as much as you think it does, because at the end of the day it doesn't affect me.

However, no matter how much I bite my tongue (I swear I do sometimes!) or look the other way or smile and nod or try to sound understanding... I'm still a hardcore lactivist. I have an extremely hard time with women who choose to not breastfeed. I am just as upset by that than mothers who smoke in front of their children or do drugs. I'm not comparing, I'm just sharing my feelings (and if you are pissed off by now, just save yourself the anger and stop reading). I will look at a woman telling me about her choice to not breastfeed (it hurt too much, it felt weird to me, I didn't like it, it was inconvenient) and I will tell myself I'm not going to judge, but the verdict is already in. To me not breastfeeding screams selfishness and nothing anyone has ever said has convinced me otherwise.

I want to know what these mothers are telling themselves to get passed the many facts we know about the benefits of breastfeeding. Are they not researching? Are they flat out ignoring the studies and statistics? Telling themselves the information is false or blown out of proportion? (And if you don't know the facts, PLEASE, ask me) And the so incredibly ironic thing is that I meet mothers who are actually worried about things like plastic bottles or tap water but they didn't think twice about not breastfeeding. I need Seth and Amy here because REALLY!?!? You are stressed out about white bread but you deprived your child of the most perfect source or nutrients on Earth and of the amazing bonding experience you two could have shared???

I try to be sensitive. I do. And trust me, my frustrations have NEVER extended to those women who desperately try to breastfeed their child and after trying everything, seeing lactation consultants, and after keeping at it for weeks and weeks on end eventually have to give up, or because of medical reasons never even have a choice in the matter. Honestly, hearing from the women who struggle, and sharing in their heartache makes me that much more frustrated with the women who don't try, or give it a few days, maybe a week or two.

I don't understand it. I almost don't want to, because every explanation I hear is worse than the next. I don't understanding having a child, and then flat out refusing to do what it best for him or her. I'm less surprised by the teen moms (watch 16 & Pregnant, I haven't seen any one of them become breastfeeders) but for the rest, there's just no excuse.

I always hope that women who choose to not breastfeed their first will reconsider for their next child. And even if anyone finds my attitude towards non-breastfeeders insensitive or judgmental, that's is really just me caring SO much that I turn into a bitch. That's what happens when Italians care, they get angry.

Though every moment of success was pure joy, I still struggled through breastfeeding my son. I'm sure there are many boob nazi's out there that would frown on me for "giving up" when Milo was 8 months old... and that's still a decision that saddens me. But I gave it everything I had, every day... and for a mother to choose to give any less just boggles my mind.

6 comments:

  1. BLAST! I waited as you typed this after seeing your facebook status. I read it, wholeheartedly agreed with it, and typed a super big and beautiful response, then accidentally clicked on 'judging' under your 'labels' and it was a link that navigated away from my comment. ARgh! It's never the same the second time around...but I will sum up.

    People are aware that they make bad decisions. They feel guilt...and want to be rid of that guilt...so they lie to themselves and others about what is really going on. Some moms who chose to never try to breastfeed, not only fail at justifications, but will actually fabricate heartbreaking stories about trying and not being able to, so they can steal people's sympathy in order to avoid the scorn they know they deserve. It's sad for the people who really struggle because people are always second guessing them. It's gross. And, I don't know if you read my novel/blog of the day, but it's the same exact thing on a financial plane. The people who buy Louis Vuitton bags and new $40,000 minivans, yet take advantage of the WIC program because they are "poor" feel guilt for living so disgustingly beyond their means, and try super hard to convince themselves and others that what they are doing is just fine. They will even lie to convince you they have savings and no debt...but who are they kidding? Themselves.

    People need not justify their choices to us. They need to look in the mirror and sincerely try to justify their choices to themselves, whether it be regarding breastfeeding or leaving a lifestyle that they have not earned. They cannot do it. There is no way they can do it. All hat, not cattle. That is sad. I'm not Italian, but caring about people gets me super pissed as well! :)

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  2. I "thumbs up" this! Never apologize for your beliefs, I don't.

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  3. Amy, I think that's what upsets me the most, the lying. A mother starts with "I couldn't breastfeed" and after a little prying we come to find it just hurt too much (join the club, it's called motherhood) or they couldn't get a good latch (but didn't bother to see someone about it). I feel so, so much for the women who really can't breastfeed, I cry for them, I want more than anything for them to succeed... So I find it SOOO offensive that women try to sneak onto their boat for a judgment free ride.

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  4. I find myself especially getting angry at women who choose not to breast feed because of the inequity of it all. I am a mama with a low supply because I had a breast reduction 10 years ago. I jump through more hoops than Shamu to breast feed my daughter. I take (and I'm not exaggerating here) 30 pills 3 times a day to increase my milk supply. I scour the area and often pay large amounts for shipping from outside the area to get donations of breast milk. Every feeding is done via a supplemental nursing system (SNS) that delivers donated milk via a little tube that runs alongside my nipple, so every feeding stimulates my supply. She has never had a bottle. It has never been easy, it has been an uphill battle from the start. I don't feel a letdown at all, so I often lose upwards of half an ounce to leakage before I notice that I have leaked (and when you have a low supply to begin with, losing half an ounce SUCKS).

    I'm not saying all of this for sympathy, because I'm actually quite proud of the lengths I am willing to go to get what I believe is the best for my daughter. But I get SO frustrated at women who can easily breast feed without going to such extremes and yet choose not to.

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  5. Aimee, I seriously feel for you. I struggled from when Milo was 3 months until the day we weaned him (actually, I weaned myself, Milo couldn't have cared less about it). My supply was very good early on but just dropped. I did everything I was told to do, my body just doesn't like to produce. Fortuntely I knew about how diary cattle worked so I didn't feel so bad. You can feed two cows the same and one will produce a ton of milk and one will produce barely any. I'd be a bad cow, it's just who I am. But I still worked by butt off for 8 months (though I wanted to go at least a year). I applaud you!

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