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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Emotions Aroused by Breastfeeding

Lately, there has been a lot of positive and negative articles written about breastfeeding - much of it is laced with emotion. It is hard to understand - now that I am "born and bred in the natural path" - how the simple act of breastfeeding can generate so much anger, emotion, and anxiety among women.

Recently a NFP student of ours wrote an email registering disappointment about the way I promoted breastfeeding in class. She accused me of being overly opinionated on the subject! Not sure if she remembered that I have written a book about breastfeeding! She also put us on notice that she and her fiance were no longer interested in talking to me (us) ever again - even about NFP - because of my zealous promotion of breastfeeding. An over-reaction? Certainly. Could I have been over the top by my explanations? Certainly - advocay can be a difficult thing to contain. But one thing strikes me as kind of odd - and it seems to be the sort of thinking that is happening all through our culture. Since when does lack of experience coupled with lack of knowledge allow someone to completely disregard years of personal expereince, research experience, and knowledge? Is it that thing called Pride? Is it not apparent to her that her accusatory positions also come across as insensitive, judgmental, and opinionated - of which I was accused of having?

Funny how much she reminds me of myself years ago when I also was very defensive and against breastfeeding. It was at that time that I had the opportunity to go toe to toe with a very big advocate of CCL, NFP and breastfeeding! His name was Dr. Herbert Ratner. Tired of my arguments, he came flat out and told me that I was self-centered, egotistical, and prideful. Do you wonder how that would have gone over in class? His comments stung but they also made me think! It made me answer the question: why was I so adamantly opposed to breastfeeding? The reasons I could come up with were just as he declared: pride, self-centeredness and selfishness. I could not yet imagine how much I would grow and change by giving (career, $$) all up for someone else.

Well his comments changed me! And to this day, I am thankful for those insensitive comments. Hopefully, God can use my insensitivies for such good purposes as well. Maybe one day this young woman will reconsider her "opinions".

One final point: have you ever noticed that many women fall back on the argument that "well, many women can't breastfeed?" They fail to realize just how few that number actually is! discusses how many Fiji women successfully begin breastfeeding! True, though is that this "number" mysteriously increases exponsentially in an unfriendly breastfeeding culture! For women who actually cannot sucessfully breastfeed through no fault of their own, infant formula and baby bottles was (and remains) an important invention for their baby's sake (and orphaned babies)! But in reality, technology has rendered the simple act of loving one's baby through breastfeeding into a battle that pits women against women! The abandonment of breastfeeding has itself become a battle of rights and freedoms! So much emotion is wasted because men and women fail to appreciate the simplicity of God's design for love and life. And for my poor ability to witness properly to those not yet ready to hear what the design entails. Thoughts and Comments?