Here is another ongoing battle of the bitches. Handbags ready, claws out! I have been thinking a lot recently about how us ladies are our own worst enemy. I had a discussion with a friend about Kathryn Blundell’s article in Mother & Baby magazine but I have been prompted to write this post by a blog I read last night by Blotted Copy Book.
Once again, we are trapped in battle where women challenge and question each others choices; ultimately, weakening our position, because we are fighting each other instead of supporting each other. In my experience, most women feel like they have been hit by a train when they have a baby. Nothing can prepare you for what is completely inconceivable in terms pregnancy, birth and motherhood. You can read every book on the frickin’ planet, you can have watched every one of your mates have kids, you may think you know what is coming, but the reality is ‘bam!! incoming one (or more) baby, buckle up and brace yourself.’ At some point in the journey, the little parasites will trip you up and mess with your brain. If you are switched on, you’ll realise that it’s war! An ongoing battle for supremacy, and it’s either them, or you, as you spend the next few decades trying to regain control of your life again. And I say all this with a deep, unconditional, enduring love for my little demons. I can’t tell you how many times, I scream at The Grenade, ‘do as you are told, you are not in charge!’ and he screams back, ‘why can’t I be in charge’. Sometimes we have long esoteric conversations about what he would do if he was in charge, but to cut it short, we would basically be living in the doyen of childhood dreams, that is going to Toys R Us whenever he wanted and staying there for as long as possible.
Before we all get our knickers in a twist. Bottle feeding is artificial but it is not fatal. I was solely bottle fed and I live to write this blog. There are many things about modern society, which are artificial and unnaturally prolong life. If The Grenade and I had laboured together as nature intended we would both have died. He had the chord wrapped his neck twice and under his arm. Both our vitals were fading, as they ran down the corridor to give me an emergency c-section. At the lowest point of the labour, if the doctor had said to me, “now, you may die.” I would have replied, “thank you.” The Grenade was delivered artificially with medical intervention and we are both alive because of it.
However, it is indisputable that giving babies breast milk is in their best interest. Breast milk is designed for them by the greatest architect in the world, mother nature. My biggest issue with Kathryn Blundell’s article was that none of her reasons about why she didn’t breastfeed were in her baby’s best interests, they were in her best interests. Being a parent is about sacrifice and the challenge is managing the balance between sacrifice and martyrdom. Somehow, we have to be leaders, offer guidance, teach, grow, build our kids while still coping with our own flawed existence.
We are all flawed. Nobody is perfect and we should stop fooling ourselves, if we think we are.
I love this poem by Philip Larkin.
Philip Larkin – This Be The Verse
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
So back to the battle of the bottle and the boobs. Breast is best but bottle will do too. It’s important to educate but not judge, to mitigate the risks and to not encourage over-feeding. It’s about time we had each others back. Women should support each other. There are many ways to skin a cat and constantly attacking each other is not the answer. I breastfed The Grenade until he was 4 months old, then I weaned him because he was a hungry baby. The Menace I breastfed, with one bottle at bedtime, until she was 8 months old. I really wanted to breastfeed and initially, with both kids, it hurt like hell. But both of my kids didn’t get their first cold until after they were 6 months old. I breastfed them because it gave them my immunity, which I had built up over 3 decades, and that I thought was worth fighting for and enduring the personal pain. But I know plenty of mums, who solely bottle fed for many different reasons. All these mums love their kids, which is the most important thing of all. In this complex world that we live in, there has got to be a better way than outrage, judgement and anger over the battle of the boobs and the bottle that doesn’t result in women once again being at each others throats.