A good friend of mine sent me a YouTube video the other day where a woman stated that calling breastfeeding “natural” is anti feminist and wrong.
As I watched this video on my phone with my kids pulling at my shirt for my attention several thoughts bounced around my head.
1. It’s so awesome that my male 30-year-old friend with no children not only watched a video about breastfeeding, but knew it would interest me and shared it. This same friend openly discusses breastfeeding with me, and is one of the few males in my life I will openly nurse my babies in front of.
2. This woman is insane.
At some point in the history of the feminist movement, women have lost track of what it is actually about. Women have turned anti woman, and tried to almost become men. Saying things like being a stay-at-home mom “hurts feminism” is inane; saying things like calling breastfeeding natural is wrong is insane.
Being feminist means supporting a woman’s right to do absolutely whatever she damn well pleases. Just like men can do whatever they want …
Now if a woman acts feminine or dainty in any way she is “hurting the movement”. This video in particular enraged me to no end. She made women sound so fragile, weak, and quite frankly dumb. As if we are unable to hear that breastfeeding is natural and still make an opposing choice.
Scientific fact: breastfeeding is natural. Scientific fact: breastfeeding is the reason our species survived this long, without mothers producing milk we would have never survived. Fact: formula was created to help save the lives of infants who lost mothers during child-birth, who had mothers that couldn’t produce and sustain their nutritional needs. Previous to formula mothers used wet nurses, but as a society we sought out other options, hence formula. Fact: formula companies saw an opportunity to make big big bucks and start mass producing it under the false claim that it is as nutritionally beneficial as breast milk. Fact: choosing formula does not make you any less of a mother than me. Fact: you are a feminist if you choose to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is hard work; it hurts, it is time-consuming, it’s body consuming. I don’t want to be a man with useless nipples, no thanks I’ll be a WOMAN who can sustain another life purely with my breast. Fact: you are a feminist if you are strong enough to recognize that formula might be the better option for you, your baby, your situation, your family. I have yet to meet a formula feeding mom who in some way doesn’t show signs of guilt. She might say she tried and tried and it didn’t work, her baby never latched properly, her milk didn’t come in, she had to return to work; whatever the reason she is incredibly strong and a good mother for knowing she needed alternative nutrition for her baby and in no way should feel like less of a mother or feminist for this choice.
The entire point of feminism is that we wanted equality. Equality doesn’t mean I HAVE to work because men work, it means I have the opportunity to work if I choose to. It means that as long as I am just as educated, trained and qualified as a man I should make the same amount of money and have the same advancement opportunities. It means that if I choose to start a family, my husband and I will decide what is best for our family, not society. Do I stay home? Does he stay home? Do we seek out a daycare option and we both work? At one point in time I earned more money that my husband, so he stayed home with Evie. When he graduated college and his earning potential surpassed mine, our roles changed.
And you know what? I’ve never been happier or felt more fulfilled then I do as a stay-at-home mom. Not every woman feels that way, and that’s ok. Life shouldn’t be a this or that, it’s never that simple. All woman shouldn’t fill one role, and all men shouldn’t fill the opposite role. Life, and people are far more complex. I’ve met miserable stay-at-home mom’s who were much happier when they finally returned to work. I’ve met some of the happiest men who choose to stay home with their children while their wives go to work. Not every woman wants to become a mother, and i’m sure that is a difficult conclusion to come to and it should be respected.
Your formula fed baby and my breastfed baby will all grow up and eat dirty Cheetos off the floor eventually, so let’s all do ourselves a favor and take a deep breath and trust our MATERNAL INSTINCTS. I will never relinquish the power that women have.
I have done an amazing thing for the movement just by talking to men about breastfeeding. By nursing in front of them, and having long debates with them about why it is perfectly fine that I nurse in front of them if I choose to. My husband and I are the first of our friends to have children. Most of our freinds are not married, or even in relationships yet. But when the time comes that they do meet a woman and decide to settle down, hopefully these men I call my freinds, will be a lot more supportive of their wives and children. Hopefully, I’ve done my part of the feminist movement and I’ve opened their eyes to how hard motherhood is. Hopefully my husband has done his part by showing his friends that it’s just as much his job to change diapers, feed the babies a bottle of pumped milk on the nights I want to drink, take responsibility for finding a babysitter if we want to go out for the night. Hopefully, everyone will one day see that it takes two to make a baby, and it takes two to raise a baby. Breastfeeding is natural, just as natural as it is for me to hand over my baby to my husband so I can down a bottle of wine after an awful week. Hopefully my girls will grow up seeing a relationship where both parents are present and equally doing their part; so they can grow into women who expect nothing less. We women are more than strong enough to do it all, we don’t have to choose one or the other. We are strong enough to fight for equality in our work place so we most certainly should in our home.