Friday, March 18, 2011

The Choice to be More Than a Woman

"Welcome to the first Milk Mama Diaries Carnival (March). To celebrate National Women's Month, our participants share how breastfeeding has changed them as a woman. Please scroll down to the end of this post and check out the other carnival participants."

Women are human beings who menstruate, gestate and lactate.

Now, I know some have been able to control their menstrual cycles by tampering with it. And if we want the circle of life to continue, we really have to get pregnant because the men just can't (at least, not yet).

And we lactate because the same miracle that allows us to grow a child inside our bodies made provisions for us to grow that child once outside of us.

Now, a woman can choose if she'll have her period, whether or not she'll get pregnant and whether she will breastfeed or not. Yet, she is no less a woman. She is no less a human being whatever she decides.

Still, I like to think of the decision to breastfeed as something that allows women to be more than what their bodies dictate, even if it starts out as a physiological capacity. It's a decision to extend the time that your body is not yours. It's a decision to feel exposed when you're nursing in public. It's a decision to get a special wardrobe that can accommodate this choice. It's a decision to be attached to a child for six months, or two years, or more. It's a decision to make breast milk storage experts out of working moms. It's a decision that makes you fight for your beliefs. It's a decision that causes stress when dealing with non-supportive or uninformed medical experts. It's a decision that challenges lifestyle choices, work setups, family dynamics and even government decisions.

For some, it's a decision to make them fight for all the other children not being breastfed. Or at least, a decision to save their family from some expense, or the earth from some pollution. And it's only true reward is in the doing because it cannot really generate income for you that will make you ludicrously rich.

Breastfeeding is a choice to be more than a woman because it makes us intentional parents and life advocates. It requires a commitment greater than just 'putting food on the table' because it requires so much from us women. And with this decision, we have effected changes. The progress has been slow but its progress made nonetheless. None of us who got pregnant had to breastfeed, especially those of us who can afford formula milk. But we do it. We do it even when it doesn't make sense to the modern world of quick fixes and convenient measures.

Breastfeeding is one of the ways how I love my children. There are so many... but none as truly demanding, nor as truly rewarding.


Pleare read all the other insightful entries :)

Nurturing Rafael, same old brand new me by Dinna

The Breasts and Me by Apples and Dumplings/Cai

Of Nursing and Self-Awareness by Tea Cups and Melodies/Christine

Breastfeeding made me a better and stronger mom…and woman by Ethanmama/Doc Joey

The Adventures of Supercow by Rheea

Please Think Before You Comment by Jenny of Fabnaima

Breastfeeding has made me a better Woman by ruly Rich Mom Tina

My Breastfeeding Story by Manila Fashion Observer

Loving Jaden, Changing Me by Misis Teapot

Juggling Mommy Act: Breastfeeding While Caring for ME by Handy Mommy Ichel

Breastfeeding and My Career by Touring Kitty

feeling Fab at 40 by Pittipat

Breastfeeding and my Self-Image by Topaz Mommy

Joining the Milkwagon by Dotty


Jenny said...

"She is no less a human being whatever she decides." -I'm also all for freedom of choice. But what gets my goat is that some moms don't this freedom because they are not given the correct information more often than not, they are not given a choice at all (hello nursery nurses who insist on that 2 oz bottle of formula!). as i go along this breastfeeding advocacy path, i realized that promotion is not sufficient - changing the mindset AND countering the marketing efforts of milk companies is necessary to increase our breastfeeding rates.

Mec said...

True... in this day and age, one would think people already know what things are attached to the choices they make. But a lack of information and support leading to a NO, THANK YOU is not much of a choice too!

Unknown said...

Let's go go go on our breastfeeding advocacy efforts! :-) Count me in girls! :-)

LOVE your post Mec! Very thoughtful, well-written and inspiring! :-)

cd_mfo said...

What a thoughtful post! That's true what you said about how stressful it is to deal with non-supportive or uninformed people. It can really get annoying at times. Moms really have to be firm in their decision to breastfeed and not let anyone dissuade them otherwise. It's a matter of being informed and being resolute in one's decision to breastfeed to be successful at it.

Ree said...

'Intentional parents'--I like that. It's a totally different thing, being an intentional mom, compared to being a mom because of biology. Thanks Mec, that really gives me something to think about.

Stella Esquivias said...

Inspiring! This is such a morale booster for us who made the decision to breastfeed :)