We have a society that is full of differing views, experiences, thoughts, beliefs, ideas and persuasions. Mothering and in this case breastfeeding or bottlefeeding is no exception.
There is no particular one “right” way to do things – we have those who are independent thinkers that don’t choose to follow the mainstream advocacy. When it comes to feeding our babies/children you can, as a mother/parent, make choices to do what works for you – breast, formula, another species, wet nurse, milk bank, etc.
We have many choices, are they informed choices? Who knows yet we can still choose?
We choose based on our circumstance, experience of birth, our own experience as a baby, what we see, hear, read, are influenced by etc. The options toward making a decision are endless and sometimes simple, sometimes complex.
We also have a bullying mentality toward those whom openly support breastfeeding (and when I say breastfeeding I mean for one day or eight years – breastfeeding is breastfeeding). Generally we see people react against breastfeeding advocacy which is sometimes solely based on an emotional charge – the reasons for which there are plenty – still there is no right or wrong here.
In my observation as a woman who “came out” into the worldwide media breastfeeding my “older” child till she was 8 – with my message that this is biologically normal and a possibility – add in breastfeeding in public too – whether you are a “man” making a comment in the wider media or a woman telling her story, there is a lot of attacking and shaming whichever way you turn. And the reasons/opinions are just as colourful.
In Jamie Oliver’s instance the presumption that he cannot make a comment around women breastfeeding is purely because he’s a man – what would he know?? We also have many women pleading and wishing that their male partner would support their breastfeeding choice and they lament with “if only” he would I would keep going.
Secondly Jamie’s wording was simplistic and hurtful to many women – and I can fully understand how this would be hurtful and thoughtless – to say breastfeeding is simple and easy. His foundational message under those basic words was I believe a genuinely positive one supporting the healthfulness of breastmilk – that which is biologically the norm for a baby – human milk for a human baby – that is an undisputed fact that is scientifically sound as the most optimal baby/child food.
After 20 years experience in the birth world – I know pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding is a very delicate and individualised experience that does need to be covered with awareness and a non judgemental openness so we can all feel inclusivity and connection. Just like our babies – we want them to feel loved, cherished and connected and we as mothers want the same recognition.
SO I want to genuinely say this here and now – loud and clear – from my heart to yours.
To ALL mothers I honour and respect everything you are doing and have done. I LOVE you. I SEE you. FULL STOP.
We do what we can with what we have and in the circumstances we find ourselves. If we had a society that actually revered and honoured our journeys, not just as lip service to shut us up – as true recognition for all we have experienced then I believe we will implement a real and loving authenticity of compassion that would favour ALL mothers /parents, babies/children with a reverence for all to elevate Love consciousness and bring us closer to our Hearts.