Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Speaking of Female Issues

(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)Monday, January 29, 2007Speaking of female issues...



That being said...carry on if you dare. But do me the courtesy of reading it all the way to the end before you write to rip my head off.**********************************************************

Saw a news story today on some nursing mother's staging a "nurse in" at an airport in Portland. ( The focus of the article is that nursing mothers are being ostracized for doing what God has invented the female breast to do…Feed babies. The "nurse in" was in protest of a woman removed from a plane in Vermont for breast feeding her child.

As a former nursing mother, I was a little miffed that someone would be removed from a plane because they were nursing their baby, in a seat they paid for. They won't remove the paunchy, balding guy with halitosis who insists on pestering you throughout your flight, but they will remove a whole entire family for a little breast-feeding.

I was a private breast-feeder, choosing to keep my breast and baby covered from view. Nothing wrong with that, it was my choice. I would much rather sit comfortably in the quiet ladies lounge in the mall, than plop it out for all to see in one of those awkward little benches in the noisy crowded food court. But I understand the idea that something so natural should not be such a big deal.

Skimming along (former speed reader here) I missed a very crucial detail that may very well be at the heart of all the flap. I didn't notice it at first, but further down in the article when another mother recounted her experience in a Las Vegas restaurant, I had to stop and reread the article again, paying very close attention to a very interesting detail. Both of the children mentioned were 22 months old. Not 2 months old, nearly 2 YEARS old.

Okay, I consider myself to be of above average intelligence. I know and can argue all the health benefits of breast-feeding ( and good grief, please don't write me about this, because for the most part I am on your side!) but when my daughter was 22 months old, she could ask for and feed herself regular food. She could also ride a tricycle, start the VCR and sing "War Eagle."

Being kinda sickly growing up (I'm allergic to darn near everything), my mother always said that she regretted not breastfeeding me, even for just a little bit, so that I would have had some of the health benefits it offers. Knowing this, coupled with the economic benefits, I chose to nurse my own daughter.

I stuck it out for the doctor-recommended six months (despite the fact she had developed several sharp teeth during that time) and she has been blessed with outstanding health ever since. I was quite relieved when the time came to wean her because I began to feel much more like a cow than a mother. That, and the aforementioned teeth. Besides, I was ready to have my body back. If I wanted to eat that double jalapeƱo chimichanga and chase it with an icy, smooth, fish-bowl margarita, I no longer had to pass up the opportunity.

Since I've never been able to transition through anything with a moderate amount of drama, suffice it to say, we went through several formulas before we found one that she could handle. Of course, it had to be ordered through our pharmacy and cost quite a bit of money.

It was during this time, various family members chose to share with me a family story that borders on urban legend. Apparently sometime during the Great Depression, a female relative of mine served as the church pianist. She had several children, the youngest of which, at the time of the story, was reportedly 3, almost 4. The story goes that smack in the middle of Sunday service, this lad decided lunch could not wait, and marched to the front of the church, where he proceeded to help himself in front of the whole congregation. Though she had died long before I'd ever heard the story, I was instantly horrified and embarrassed for her! ( My face has flushed now, just thinking about it !) The story went on that, despite him being her "baby," it was decided when he was old enough to serve himself, it was time for weaning.

(Not long after that, I saw an episode on one of those day-time talk shows, about a group of women who were still breast feeding their first graders! That's really a bit much.)

I've always been a "to each his/her own" type of gal. But I can say, I can see where folks are getting uncomfortable. Seeing a mother nursing an infant is one thing. Seeing the child run up and ask for it is quite another! My best friend's son is 22 months old. He eats table food really well. He can tell you that he likes rice but hates carrots. And he's biting for defense now. I could just imagine her trying to nurse that one!

The article went on to say several states that "exempt" breast-feeding from their public indecency laws. Several, but not all. That is why nursing mothers are being booted from planes & restaurants and harassed, even ticketed in public places.

This whole topic raises a bunch of new questions for me: Why do men have nipples if they can't use them productively? When was it decided it was okay for men to walk around bare-chested and not women too?(not that I would) Why is it not indecent for those guys (usually not the best physical specimens either) that you always see on t.v., to paint themselves up, get drunk and dance around at football games? Has anyone ever stopped the guy on the beach, who obviously had no business in the Speedo, and asked him to cover up because he was making people uncomfortable (have you ever tried to stifle a laugh for a long period of time? Darn uncomfortable!)? And what about the guy down the street that insists on mowing his lawn shirtless, but won't shave his back? I think that deserves a ticket, don't you?!

Laws on these would be much more beneficial to society, don't you think?

Oh and while they're at it, find a way to get Mr. Halitosis booted from my next flight too.

1 comment:

Joy in AL said...

Since I wrote this post, I did find out, through a friend who has survived breast cancer, the longer that she nurses, the less chance she has of reoccurance.

You learn something new everyday!

I am not against breastfeeding, I only ask that it is done modestly.