I’ve read a few different blog posts on the rhetoric the formula industry and the medical industry, and therefore the mainstream populace, uses to describe breastfeeding. And today, I posted this on a Facebook page I help admin.
Firstly, I must say here that I love Grumpy Cat.
Secondly, I hate getting called a martyr for doing things the way biology intended, especially when it comes to bearing and raising my children.
Tell me if any of these things sound familiar:
“Oh, I could never have a natural birth. I’m such a wuss.”
“Breastfeeding is so hard and kids are fine on formula anyway. Why torture yourself?”
“I could never home school. I need the break.”
“Cooking from scratch is such a hassle.”
My least favorite and the one that can be applied to all choices parenting is
“Don’t be a hero.”
How did humanity survive up until 100 years ago?
I am going to put a disclaimer here:
The option to use pharmacological pain relief, commercial formula, mainstream schooling and prepackaged foods are perfectly valid and I have no problem with someone else choosing those things for themselves and their family. If it feels like the right choice for you, go for it.
My problem comes from people using this type of language to make it seem like I’m punishing myself unnecessarily. I am not being a hero. I’m simply being a mom.
The choices I’ve made for my family were the right choice for us for several reasons but the primary one is that they are the biological norm. They are what our bodies, families and society have evolved to be the standard.
-We haven’t evolved past the natural birth being the way our bodies are designed. All of my births have been fast and relatively easy. I believe this is largely because they were natural, with little or no intervention. If I had intervened, it might have been a whole different and far more difficult ball of wax.
-Our babies haven’t evolved past breastmilk being what is designed for them to be nourished. Anything else is subpar, be it homemade formula or commercial formula. Can a child survive on formula? Most of the time, yes, but that doesn’t change that his body wasn’t designed for it and that it won’t do as well as it could have on breastmilk. There are very few exceptions to this.
-We haven’t evolved past education being the parents’ responsibility. Some parents hire someone else to take charge of that education, but it is still their responsibility to make sure their child is educated. I personally just cut out the middleman.
-The easiest way for our bodies to get nourishment is from whole foods. Not from synthetized prepackaged foods loaded with preservatives. Cooking from scratch can be a pain, but much less of a pain than the illness and suffering that come from being malnourished. Even less of a pain is having fresh fruits and veggies around to snack on. Are we perfect in this? No, we eat junk food too, but much less of it than we otherwise would because of the whole food options we have around. I also usually cook a big batch of something so we have leftovers for a couple of days, and then I don’t have to cook daily. I have a lot of little tricks for having healthy food around so I don’t have to spend every waking moment in the kitchen.
The thing about all of these that just kills me is how other people believe they could never do what I do because it’s too hard. Ask anyone who knows me personally: if what I did was hard, I wouldn’t do it. I do it this way because it comes naturally to me. How could I possibly be punishing myself if I’m doing things the easiest way I can think of to accomplish my goals? The only logical conclusion is that I’m not punishing myself, so I would love it if people would stop acting like I am. I’m not a martyr. I like convenience. The things I’ve chosen are convenient for me and for my family. If they don’t work for you, that’s fine. That’s why the other options exist. Just please stop making it sound like I’m sacrificing myself on the alter of homemaking, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. I’m just being the mom I need to be and I’m trying to be the mom I want to be.