Friday, August 3, 2012

Women of the World, No Matter Your Politics

Hi, Ladies.  Are you liberal? Conservative? Somewhere in between? Far beyond either of those? Apolitical?

Come, gather round, and prepare to be outraged.

Vor handed me his iPad last night with a slight wince, with an article pulled up for me to read.  After handing over the article, he fled.  This is a bad sign, folks.

Here be the horror: New York City is at it again.  I know some people are opposed to Andrew Sullivan, but you should read this as well (he does a nice round up of the responses.

Outraged? Peeved? Pissed? Disbelief?  You have got to be fucking kidding me, right?

Throwing out the formula swag, whatever.  I don't care.  I don't need a pen that says Similac on it.  But documenting a medical reason for every bit of formula that goes into a baby's mouth?

What exactly is a medical reason?  Is it because you're on a drug that would pass into the breast milk, or maybe you had cancer and had to have your breasts removed.  Well, that seems medical, right?  What about tongue-tie? A serve under bite, so that my baby's lower lip at birth was literally inside her mouth? A latch and suck so powerful that layers of my skin are ripped off, and I bleed everywhere? A breast milk allergy? What if my milk doesn't come in for two whole weeks?  You want me to keep trying, and listen to my poor baby scream in hunger? What if I never ever experience a let down when my milk finally does come in?  What if I never make enough milk?  What if I'm going back to work right away? What if my baby refuses to latch, and just sits there and screams?  What about us sexual assault survivors, who barely made it through birth with our sanity in tact?  What if breastfeed is a trigger for memories for that past assault?

Why is the government, without finding me unfit, trying to parent my child for me, and dictate my choices for her?  "With every bottle a mother requests and receives, she'll get a talking to."  Yes, world, and you patronizing liberal leaning (MALE) politicians who pushed for this.  I know breast is best.  It is.  I think people understand that.  Am I unfit because, because Lis gets formula? No.  Has there been any finding that I am unfit?  No.  I've never been investigated by CPS (given my job, wouldn't that be a laugh a minute?  "Hey, Caseworker X, how the heck are you?!?").  I've never hit my child, I've never neglected her, I've never even had a moment's thought about anything that would bring her harm (lucky me, no PPD).  I seek all necessary medical attention for her, I love her to pieces, I barely let her cry.  Yet... somehow, you think I'm unfit to make a decision as to what to feed her? Wrong.  I don't need a talking to.  I know what I'm doing.  I'm parenting my child the way I want to, in a way that is perfectly safe and healthy for her.

This is why every woman, every person, of every political persuasion or political aversion should never NEVER EVER NEVER trust the government.  When I say that, I specifically mean, electing your party, the party you think is int he right, and then handing them a blank check of power to legislate morals, decision, lives, finances.  Because, you know what? Neither major political party can be trusted.  If you're conservative, you KNOW the government can't be trusted to keep spending in check, keep marriage between a man and a woman, or keep unborn babies alive.  If you're liberal, you now KNOW that the government can't be trusted to... well, to trust you.  To do what liberals think is most important in their social, private lives: stay the hell out.  Tolerate me, and my decisions.

Confused as to my politics?  Good.  It doesn't matter.  This is just something everyone, especially every woman, ESPECIALLY every woman who has ever had a child, and either formula fed, breast fed, or did some combination of both, should be absolutely incensed about.

Obviously, I am.  Nanny state, indeed.


Proto Attorney said...

Ugh, bewb nazis. I'm mounting my soapbox, be warned!

How about "I don't want to breastfeed because breastfeeding is a horribly bad time?"

I breastfed both of my kids until 6months (although we did have to supplement with formula after awhile). I hated every single moment of it. It was awful. I wouldn't have done it, except that I was guilted into it by a bunch of bewb nazis. So I would never ever *ever* tell another woman that she *had* to do that as a condition of having a child, or even that she *should* because it's "best." It's a personal choice. And I don't give a crap what the research "suggests" concerning correlations between formula and obesity and lower IQ and whatever else. There are a multitude of factors that go into a child's health. The largest group that is being formula fed is comprised of the very poor (because formula is paid for through public benefits... which makes the government's motivation for "encouraging breastfeeding" suspect). What puts these kids at risk for obesity, asthma, and other medical problems is not formula, it's poverty. That's causation.

If women want to breastfeed, then they should be given the utmost support. Places to pump at work, longer maternity leaves, etc. If women don't want to breastfeed, they should be left alone to feed their babies how they see fit. It flies in the face of feminism to have the government undermining those choices.

Attorney at Large said...

With Proto Attorney all the way.

I became the biggest bitch of an anti-boob nazi as a reaction to everyone who gave me crap for not breastfeeding. (Pea was preemie, couldn't latch, and I was on crazy meds because of the disaster pregnancy/delivery wrecked on my body.) My kid not only never lost weight (she didn't have any fat to lose), she went from less than 3rd percentile to the 90s. Maybe in 13 years I'll be kicking myself because she can't get into MIT, and I'll think it's due to my not breastfeeding...but I doubt it.

And selfishly, when the pediatrician said not to breastfeed? Biggest relief of my life. It was that same freedom you feel when you first learn to drive.

LawMommy said...

After the first two (hellacious) weeks, I loved nursing my kid. I loved nursing my kid because there is, hands down, nothing I love more than curling up in bed with a good book. Nursing my son (after the first two hellacious weeks) gave me carte blanche for an entire year to find a quiet bedroom and lay down and read a book and snuggle with my baby. And my baby was happy and I was happy and I was sad, very sad, when my son quit nursing. I do not miss anything else about my son's infancy. Not a day of it. I don't enjoy other people's babies, and I don't have warm or happy memories of my son's infancy, with the exception of those times, those hours and hours and hours of times, that he and I spent curled up in bed reading mystery novels and nursing.

If it hadn't been convenient for me, I wouldn't have done it. And I sure as hell didn't need the government telling me what to do. (I object to the government telling mothers that there are places that they CANNOT nurse as well.)

I am the queen of pro-choice here, and about as flamingly liberal as they come - but the concept that the government needs to keep it's head out of my vagina (and my boobs, I guess, in this case) - goes both ways.

I am behind the government saying, "you must feed your baby or we will come and take it from you" - because I am sure that you and I have both seen some seriously nightmarish bullshit when it comes to abuse and neglect of children - but, don't tell moms they can't feed their child formula. That's absurd.

Grace said...

It feels like (maybe?) a fine line for me to be walking, given my job and all, but there is an ocean of different between, "Hey, stop feeding your seven month old only McDonald's fro sties," and giving your baby formula, for whatever your reason. It's FOOD, not rat poison.

I suspect I would fall in the category of "no real medical reason" for formula. Except, no matter what I did, no matter who I consulted, it just would not work. So I pumped (ugh), and she had formula, and we're all peachy here, thank you very much.

So. I guess I am still stewing about this.

Grace said...

I would further argue that McDonald's frosties, no matter how tasty, are in fact rat poison.

RG said...

Jumping in late in the game to agree. I'm a very politically liberal woman, and kind of a moderate hippy when it comes to my kids. I nursed them both til about a year, but damn the man was it hard to keep up, especially in the face of societal hangups about bewbs, and how they belong only to men for pleasure, and not to babies for food. I also happily supplemented with formula after a bit with both boys, because some days I just didn't feel like offering up my body AGAIN - some days I had to take a work meeting rather than pump, some days I just wanted to nap rather than pump, and I felt not a scintilla of guilt on that score. I really, truly, honestly, for serious, couldn't care less how a baby is fed so long as it's fed. I'm an activist about creating space for breastfeeding in public/the workplace in America, but that does not translate into any concern whatsoever about whether women choose to do it or not. As long as your choice of using formula is not based on society being mean to you and making it impossible for you to breastfeed, I am happy to stay out of it. This stuff is hard enough, for heaven's sake, without trying to mix a paternalistic MAN's policy in the game.

alissa said...

Haha you took all the words from my mouth. Glad others feel the same way. My milk did not come in for 2 weeks and then I never had a real let down. We stopped after 3 months of trying and he was a much happier baby after switching to formula. Because he wasn't hungry anymore!! Good for you for saying it!