One mother wrote an article about her case against breastfeeding, how the research supporting it is spurious and inconclusive, and how breastfeeding is as repressive as 1950's housework.
"In Betty Friedan’s day, feminists felt shackled to domesticity by the unreasonably high bar for housework, the endless dusting and shopping and pushing the Hoover around—a vacuum cleaner being the obligatory prop for the “happy housewife heroine,” as Friedan sardonically called her. When I looked at the picture on the cover of Sears’s Breastfeeding Book—a lady lying down, gently smiling at her baby and still in her robe, although the sun is well up—the scales fell from my eyes: it was not the vacuum that was keeping me and my 21st-century sisters down, but another sucking sound."
My friend Emily wrote a well-researched rebuttal to this woman's mysoginist diatribe (to call a breastfeeding mother shackled is anti-mother and anti-women, because it rejects the natural purpose of my breasts and devalues my mothering). The comments are numerous and mostly gibberish with no research or backing, just moms who have to formula feed getting unnecessarily defensive - hey, moms, this article isn't about you!
But the age-old arguement of breastmilk vs formula (why are we still arguing over this??) isn't the damaging part of this article. The damage is the image of the mother who takes time to breastfeed her child as the repressed woman.
"And in this prison I would have stayed," she says, if not for her lucky sighting of a study that said studies showing the benefits of breastfeeding are "inconsistent."
Men, and now women, are forever trying to create things that replace mothers and undermine our contribution as anything but circumstantial. "Mothers don't matter" or "mothers can be approximated" or "mothers aren't any better than (fill in blank with BS)" are all cruel, anti-women messages.
I don't care what you say - daycare will never do as good a job as I do, formula will never do as good a job as I do, a stuffed bear with a fake heartbeat will never replace me. Nor do I want them to. I like being a mom.
This is the comment I left on Emily's blog:
Emily - thanks for the laugh. I love how defensive formula-by-choice mothers get. "Stop judging me for my opinion while I stand here and judge you about yours!"
The worst part about this article is the equation of breastfeeding to shackles. People who bottle feed because they want to "have a life" or "get more fulfillment at work" don't get it. They aren't parenting right if they feel that way about their kids.
Children aren't inconveniences to be managed or "putting your life on hold." These are little human beings, designed to imprint on the adults in their lives in order to learn how to become adults themselves. These are the future, and their importance cannot be overestimated.
To feel bored with spending your days with them, or constantly needing time away from them to feel refreshed, or not wanting to breastfeed because it's anti-feminist or archaic, shows that you do not yet understand how miraculous and important your children are.
Parenting isn't "life on hold." It's an amazing, sacred and essential life!
And if you don't feel that way, you aren't doing it right. You aren't valuing your children the way they should be valued. You aren't valuing motherhood the way it should be valued.
This mom doesn't know who her children truly are and how important her job is, or spending time breastfeeding a child would be as fulfilling as climbing a mountain or running a company. She is in the presence of deity and doesn't know it or believe it.