This is continued from my previous post from a few days ago about breastfeeding, and I wanted to share how I actually feel about nursing this baby myself, which is different than my opinion about nursing. As I have said so many times in this blog, pregnancy is not what I expected at all, and I expect breastfeeding and childbirth will be the same way. Just because I do think breastfeeding is best, doesn't mean that it will work out for me the best, and I wasn't saying that it would. I don't think having a positive opinion of nursing and wanting to nurse myself means that it will go perfectly for me at all; but I can hope right? Isn't thinking positively about a difficult task the better way to approach it? That attitude, combined with being stubborn (sometimes to a fault) has helped me accomplish some tasks in my life that I am very proud of, like running a marathon or hiking peaks over 14,000 feet. So, I choose to adopt that same attitude about childbirth (our birth is planned for a birth center unless there is a medical reason that I cannot deliver there) and breastfeeding. But I don't think that necessarily means everything will work out that way, and if it doesn't, then I will bend in the wind and change. I don't think giving my opinion about nursing means that I am judging other people for not nursing, its just what I think, and when people comment with their opinions it helps me to learn and think about situations differently.
Clearly science has proven that breast milk is the best, I don't think anyone could disagree with that statement right? But saying that is not a judgement of those women who can't/don't nurse and we can have opinion without judgement, can't we? I am not looking down my nose at someone bottle feeding their child, that's just crazy and not the point at all!
Maybe this odd quote will sum up my philosophy in approaching difficult situations ; its a quote from a cross country coach at camp one summer way back in high school. Out of all the great quotes and inspirational stories we heard over that week each summer, I don't know why this one sticks with me after all of these years, but it has. "Aim for the Eagle, Bag the Pheasant, but you never eat crow." The coach explained it better than this, but; aim high and you won't likely completely fail, instead you'll bend in the wind when things change. This is how I have tried to live my life, especially when I am nervous about something difficult and I am definitely nervous about both nursing and childbirth.
But the bigger point I was trying to make in the blog post is that breastfeeding women are being pretty harshly judged by society, and I was enlightened by a comment that judgement goes both ways to non nursing mothers as well. I totally agree with that, but I think those mom's get a different type of judgement, and neither are right. We are still judging our mothers in society too harshly and that's not the point at all! In a previous post a gal had commented she got glares from a 16 year old for ordering coffee while visibly pregnant; but would that same 16 year old glare at her for nursing in public? Women who nurse publicly are judged by a part of society that think nursing is a private personal act and should be done out of the eyes of the public. While mothers who don't nurse are judged by those who do. At least, that is the opinions that I am reading into from the comments/emails that I received. Maybe I am wrong though? Seems like a lot of judging being thrown around, unfortunately, to mothers who only try to do their best for their child. Or maybe its that people are very sensitive to this subject and nursing /formula feeding is a topic like politics and religion that just should not be discussed because it's such a heated topic?
Another completely different point that was brought up in the comments section of the previous post is that the hospital experience during childbirth has changed significantly in the past 2 generations. Now, women are sent home after childbirth in 1-2 days; instead of the 5 days women use to stay in the hospital just a generation ago. During that 5 day stay, I expect women are able to rest up after childbirth (and last several months of pregnancy), have someone else assist with childcare, and have a nurse/lactation specialist very nearby to answer questions about breastfeeding when in need. I know some of my friends and sister in law received good follow up care with nursing if they wanted it after going home from the hospital, but I am sure not every insurance offers this and once at home a woman has to learn to breastfeed by herself without support of someone nearby when it can be painful and difficult. I absolutely think there is a correlation between the way we birth babies in this country (which has gone from natural to medical) and the decrease in breastfeeding. This is a great topic that I plan on continuing in another post along with my reason for choosing to birth in a center, not hospital.
All I had really hoped for with this post is to make people think a little bit more positively about nursing, it was mostly aimed at those people who tell women to cover up while nursing in public, or make ridiculous comments about nursing being sexual. It's that ignorance about breastfeeding that boils my blood, one just needs to read all the negative comments posted about nursing, or about the breast pump being deductible in a flex plan from my previous post, to see that people are very confused about what boobs are really for. They actually aren't for sexual pleasure; like all mammals, they were designed to nourish a child. Mixing up sexuality with breastfeeding is just nuts.
My husband said something really interesting after reading my posts; "I'd like to see a photo of a mother cow nursing her calf next to a woman nursing her baby and hear the comments people would have." Its the same thing, isn't it?
As for me, I'll be darned if I don't give nursing a really grand attempt, because I have carried these over-sized girls around all of my life and finally they will have a purpose to do something amazing! I will hope for the best and will bag pheasant, but not eat crow.