Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Is this the hormones speaking?

So last night, while I sat in darkness contemplating the complexities of life and carelessly scrolling through my Facebook feed, I chanced upon this article.

Although I didn't quite understand why two of my friends had shared it (because it didn't seem to contain much information other than a mention that a mom of a 2-month old had committed suicide) it did strike a chord with me.

I've always felt strongly about self-worth and in cases of many new moms, it seems to be something that is ignored / forgotten / put aside. 

Breastfeeding is strongly encouraged in our day and age. Of course, with all the various benefits it provides to both mom and child, why not? But it also seems to be a cause of un-needed stress to many families. 

I've read so so many articles about moms commiting suicide because of post-natal depression tagged to the belief that their bodies were unable to provide nutrition for their young babies. So many posts about how moms were shamed for giving their children formula instead of "liquid gold". So many of my friends, who are shy to admit that they no longer breastfeed and quickly gloss over the topic for fear that some judgement may be passed. And seeing all this makes me feel so upset.

Upset at the fact that even something as natural and wholesome as a mother providing for her child can turn into a means to put an individual down or put someone on a pedestal. I've seen moms with great milk supplies boast about being "cows", wearing breast milk jewellery, YES, Breast Milk Jewellery, like a badge of honour and although I'm happy for them that they get to save on the exorbitantly-priced formula and of course provide their children with milk that is naturally the best for them, I can't help but wonder why, WHY do they liken themselves to COWS?

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against cows, but humans feed their babies human milk, and cows feed their babies cow milk, and cats feed their babies cat milk, and goldfish feed their babies goldfish milk........ (wait, what? You get my drift.) And you don't see Cats or Goldfish calling themselves COWS right? So, what's the deal?

This then leads me to my next question, does one not feel insulted when one is admired for the sole purpose of being able to produce milk? (It's not like one needs to make any effort to produce milk, the body kinda produces it on its own...)

Because the father of my kids referred to me as a milk dispenser that day, and I must say, I really did feel rather offended.

Now, I'm absolutely not undermining the amount of work it takes for a breastfeeding mom to nurse her child. Sleepless nights, aching back and shoulders, extremely painful boobs (if engorged), sore nipples, YES. It isn't easy. Especially the fact that in the first few months you are resigned to the duty of stripping off your shirt every 2-3 hours or so. But when your milk supply dwindles, does your confidence dwindle too?

Mine does. I have family members who live-in with me every once in awhile and when they are overly concerned about my milk supply, I have to say, I feel very worthless. VERY worthless. Because it's at times like these that you realise nobody really gives a shit about you. The shit is all about whether or not those boobs are producing the milk required for the baby. Whether or not you've had lunch is all about whether or not your body will be able to make the milk if you're running on an empty stomach. Sad, but true. I could be overly sensitive here but to a certain extent, it makes sense. Doesn't it?

So please, families of nursing moms, give it a break. The mom is NOT a COW.

Nursing moms, you are not a cow. You are a Mother. More importantly, you are your own individual, with a set of goals, ideals, aspirations and dreams. Never lose yourself. No matter how difficult it may be, find time to love you. 

Formula feeding moms, your child needs your love and attention and you being there for them. Thankfully for modern technology, there are so many ways to supplement your child's diet. So don't blame yourself, and don't let other people blame you. Only you know what's best for your child. Whoever tells you otherwise can take a hike.


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