Monday, November 10, 2014

Just for the mother

I have a question.

A common criticism of extended breastfeeding is that it is "just for the mother." Critics don't seem to realize the benefits of extended breastfeeding and just assume that women are forcing their breasts into their toddlers' unwilling mouths. They obviously haven't been around a breastfeeding toddler. If you have, you know what I am talking about. You're not going to force a toddler to do much of anything, much less breastfeed. In fact, the toddler is probably the one forcing the mother to breastfeed. At least this is my experience.

A common criticism of home birth is that it is "just for the mother." Critics don't seem to realize the benefits of home birth and just assume that women are putting their babies lives at risk for the sake of "an experience."

Let's give mothers some credit, shall we? Not everyone wants to admit it, but the mere act of reproducing puts our lives at risk. Even if the risk is small, it is there. Not everyone makes it through the process. Thanks to medical advances, more people make it through this process than they used to. Mothers put their lives on the line for their babies just by the mere act of giving birth to them.

Mothers sacrifice their bodies for their children. Our bodies stretch and nourish our growing babies for nine months. At some point, most women experience significant discomfort in this process, whether it is the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy early on (or throughout the entire pregnancy), the backaches, hemorrhoids, or the discomfort of giving birth to a baby. Our breasts swell and stretch to provide milk for our babies.

We sacrifice sleep. All the glorious, wonderful sleep... gone.... with the birth of a baby.

Our hair falls out. Our skin gets dry. Our eyesight changes. Our bellies get kind of flabby. Our bones get out of alignment and our hips become wider. Our bodies leak things- blood, sweat, tears, milk... urine when we cough or laugh. All for our sweet babies. And these things happen whether we like it or not. Good mothers and bad mothers alike. It doesn't matter. We all experience it. If we have been pregnant and given birth, we have already offered our very lives for our children.

So even if we do something just for ourselves, and even if something like extended breastfeeding or having a home birth is just for US...

After all we have done...

I have a question.

Why is that so wrong?

I have the answer.

It's not.

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