(The views expressed in guest blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of Unlatched. I just like giving people a place to voice their views or opinions. – Rachelle Unlatched)
Guest Blog by Becky K.
Becky K, is a mom of 5, Doula and breastfeeding mentor of 12 years. Runs the Facebook page, If At First You Don’t Breastfeed: A place for hope.
Have you ever met that woman who wants permission to quit breastfeeding? Specifically, the one who wants it after the fact. She is a royal pain in the ass.
Now, don’t get me wrong, *raises hands in the air so as to show you that I AM unarmed* slow down and hold your horses, because this is not a bashing venture. It is a revelation journey. (See, no weapons)
Let’s start with a cold hard look at our society and what it asks of women. They want us cold and dependent-less, yet warm and motherly. They want us to hold our own in the workplace and on the battlefield, but don’t want to pay us our due when we hold down the fort. They want us interchangeable with men in all ways but ignore our humanness altogether.
(Yes, I am well aware that I am making up words. If you can honestly tell me you don’t comprehend them I will fix it. Until then, don’t judge, just read.)
What they don’t want is to allow that humanness to dictate our path, to be the guiding light we honor most.
And boy does that screw us up.
Every day we ignore our basic human functions in favor of the current status quo system. Nurses don’t pee, doctors don’t sleep, teachers don’t… Lawyers don’t… garbage men don’t… (fill in the bodily function you ignore in favor of your work) and human women pay other human women to care for their children and feed them artificial milk so they can make money to pay for childcare and artificial foods because that is what society asks of us. Which is just fucked up as far as I’m concerned.
I don’t care if a mom chooses to work. It’s when they are pressured and even forced to work that puts the twists in my knickers.
Who the hell can meet the demands of our society AND the demands of human nature without cracking under the pressure at some point?
Sure as hell not me.
And, not you either.
Nobody is immune.
Is it any wonder that breastfeeding mothers see the world in terms of what they are not doing rather than what they need to be doing?
-Wash dishes. -Nurse baby
-Watch 5 other -Nurse baby
-Run errands for -Nurse baby
The list goes on…and on….and on…(ad nauseam)
Add the generalized cultural ignorance of breastfeeding to the mix and you have a wildly out of control fixin’-to-quit-at-the -first-sign-of-trouble.
Usually you have the pressure to give formula way before the baby is born. But that only discourages so many. Then you have poorly educated care givers at birth. That takes out a fair number. Mix with lots of, “Helpful,” comments from well meaning- and some not so well meaning- nimrods in the peanut gallery, *eye roll* fold in lots of lists of what needs doing and a heavy dose of “I’m not keeping up with my old life/my old friends/my new friends/my new life(the way it looks in my head, anyway,)” a dash of insecurity… make that a batch… a heap of more-exhausted-than-seal-team-six, and two cases too many of mastitis, and what do you have?
Give. The. Damn. Bottle.
I’ve been there.
14 years of breastfeeding under my belt and damned if I didn’t daydream of the freedom of formula as I pumped at three am while my husband fed the baby. For the ninth week in a row.
But I had those 14 years to tell me this too would pass, a husband who never complained, and two friends who let me vent.
But most don’t. Most fall off to the side of the road lucky to ever be found by the proverbial Good Samaritan. And so, weeks and months after she has given in and given up, she wants it back. But she doesn’t. She wants permission to quit in order to absolve herself of the guilt she feels over whatever aspect (usually simply the giving in). What she gets is what she asked for; advice on how to build her low supply. Which she gets in abundance and to her great frustration. In asking a few questions, you find that she doesn’t have a low supply. She has NO supply left. It has been days, weeks, even months since she last even pumped. She doesn’t need to boost her supply, she needs to relactate altogether. It took me a while to figure this pattern out, but it exists. She asks how to bring back her supply out of guilt and that is not enough of a reason to relactate. Nor is it anyone’s job to absolve her. To redo what has been so thoroughly undone she will have to start all over, giving up everything she quit breastfeeding for. Once you explain it in these terms it is too much of a project for her. Too many sacrifices will have to be made. Too much of her life will have to be wrested back from society.
These women are not to be given any negative label. Not one. Okay, yeah, I just said she is a pain in the ass. Why? Because the whole process of sorting through to the root of the problem, hoping that the predictable end isn’t lying there at the bottom of the pit smiling up at you smugly mocking your efforts to help, is simply dreadful. But they are only products of their world. I won’t give them that permission. It isn’t really what they are seeking anyway and the more you “help” the more frustrated they become and the more negative towards breastfeeding. It’s a battle within themselves that must be overcome on their own. If you are faced with one, ask questions of them before handing out the lactation cookie cook book so you know who’s who. And if your questioner is one of these permission seekers, give her the lowdown on what relactation really is.
Now, to these women: Stop it. We would love to help you if that is what you really want, to understand what happened or to get your supply back, but stop jerking our chains. If you want to quit, say so. It’s fine by me. Am I sad for you that this wasn’t a good experience? Yes. Am I going to spend my time agonizing over it? Well, maybe a few minutes… but over all, no. Now, not everyone will see it that way, but why do you give a rat’s ass? We all judge, but if we are smart, we use our life experience to reason our way out of it. Love is what we all have in common and we better start showing it. And I will just as soon as I’m done venting here. OK I’m done.