It’s not everyday that my little world of natural childbirth, homebirthing and breastfeeding mamas makes it to headline news. But every now and then, there seems to be a token celebrity either boasting of her scheduled c-section or, ironically, of her natural childbirth.
Now, on one hand, it’s pretty silly to take the words of any one woman so seriously, especially when they come out of her mouth for a fashion mag interview. But, one could also argue that more influential words were hardly ever spoken; given the mainstream impact of fashion magazines and world-famous supermodels.
So, as a homebirth midwife and homebirthing mama that has been breastfeeding for 8 years (and in that time tandem nursing three pairs of children), you may be expecting my enthusiastic agreement with Gisele Bündchen’s statement that breastfeeding should be made a worldwide law.
However, not so much.
Again, perhaps so much shouldn’t be made of her words. It’s great that she had an amazing homebirth, and maybe she’ll be able to influence a few more women to go that route too. Fabulous. But, if her words are taken seriously, I can’t help but cringe a bit. It’s kind of like that separation between church and state, you know? Government and women’s choices in birth and mothering just should NOT go together.
As much as I love breastfeeding, as much as I wish every baby would get this amazing, lifelong gift of nurturing and health, I just can’t agree that anything like that should be mandated.
It’s just too dangerous.
I don’t want anyone, anyone telling me what my choices are regarding how I create, birth or raise my babies. That is asking for trouble, plain and simple. Is it not bad enough that similar “mandates” prevent me from attending VBAC women, or women with twins? How would that be any different from another law that would force me to vaccinate my kids against my will?
No way. I will not get involved in the lawful fight of superiority when all of these issues-birth, breastfeeding and vaccination (to name a few) are CHOICES. Choices that require research and connecting with our intuitive power as women.
I’m not just going to criticize her honest suggestion, however. She’s entitled to how she thinks things should be, and so if I just take it at face value for a moment, I have a few things to add.
Sure. Let’s make breastfeeding something EVERY woman does for her baby. That’s a great idea. But instead of making it a law, for god’s sake, let’s make it something that every woman WANTS to do. Gee, how do we do that? We go back to the beginning. We help educate, inspire, support and love EVERY pregnant woman. Whether she wants to be pregnant or not. No matter how much money she has, no matter where she comes from. As midwives, and as birth educators and as doulas, we make THIS our mission.
That somehow, some way, every woman is supported enough to confidently make the choices that are right for her. And this does not mean that every woman will choose a homebirth, I know that… But if she has choices, a woman will almost always choose to birth with a respectful caregiver who honors her choices.
It’s not about birth outcome, per se. A woman who follows her truth will understand that so much of birth and motherhood is not controllable; and make peace with her choices. It’s then that women will unanimously begin to choose what is right for their bodies and their babies.
And breastfeeding is surely a part of that. We don’t need anymore laws that make choices for us; we need to provide the education that encourages intuitive birth and mothering.