The other day, I happened across this poster on a wall in the paediatric OPD in a well-known hospital:
This irritated me on so many levels...
To start with, since when did motherhood become a right that could be given and taken away by some random authority? The last I heard, Mother Nature made it so that we could have babies and no man-made code of morality can claim to strip that away or tell us that the babies we gave birth to cannot call us their mothers. Sure, we may be good or bad mothers, but mothers we will be irrespective. Next, they will be saying that you aren't really a mother if you chose to deliver via an elective c-section. Or if you don't want to give up your career and be a 24-7 mom. Really, who gave anyone the power?
And yes, I agree, they are people who do not deserve to have children - but they are the ones who knowingly harm and neglect their children. I don't believe that choosing not to breastfeed even makes you a bad mother, forget about being one who should relinquish her right to be a mother.
Don't get me wrong, I am HUGELY pro-breastfeeding myself. I fed Ayaan for eleven months, even though it was one of the hardest things I have ever done - pain, endless fussiness, lots of tears (his and mine) and poor weight gain were all part of the package but I kept at it because of a deep belief in it still being the best source of nourishment for him in his first year (his totally rejecting the bottle also had something to do with it). Feeding Tarana has been much easier and at nine and a half months, we are still going strong. Both times, I have chosen to put my career, social life and beauty sleep on temporary hold because this is the one thing I did not want to compromise on.
But, that was my choice. And while I don't necessarily understand and agree with women who don't want to give breastfeeding everything they have got, I accept that that is their choice. And it is not as monstrous a choice as the breastfeeding Nazis make it out to be. So give it a rest, people. The choice to breastfeed is between a mother and a baby and no one else should have the right to interfere and judge. I think women should be provided with all the necessary information and support and then left to make the decision about what is best for their babies and themselves.
In other news, supermodel Gisele Bundchen has been shooting her mouth off and saying that there should be a law that requires women to breastfeed. So what now? Prison time for women who won't??! Because obviously the only thing better for a baby than breastmilk is a mom locked away in the slammer...
This is one issue on which people really need to lighten up. This kind of rabid extremism really gets my goat.