I was only just thinking the other day, you know what the world needs more of? Mother’s guilt.
And it seems I’m not alone. Somewhere out there on this big green and blue coloured rock of ours, a whole country has decided it is now mandatory for all mothers to breastfeed their children until the age of two.
Mandatory. To the point where husbands can sue their wives, and mothers can be punished by the state. I didn’t believe it at first. I felt for sure this was going to be a fake story from The Onion.
‘So what if the mother can’t breastfeed?!’ I’m pretty sure I hear you scream.
It’s okay, they’ve thought of everything. You’ve heard of wet nurses, yeah? Well, if you can’t breastfeed, for medical reasons, then you can get yourself a wet nurse. Because they’re a dime a dozen, wet nurses, aren’t they? Big cottage industry here in Australia.
But fortunately, it’s not Australia bringing in these laws. Which I could tell straight away because there were still women in the streets of G-town today instead of estrogen fueled mobs with flaming torches and pitchforks hunting down our local government representatives.
These laws have been introduced in the United Arab Emirates.
That’s right, the country which brought us such down to Earth ideas as sky tennis, man-made islands in the shape of the world and…who am I kidding?! I love the shite Dubai comes up with. I mean, an underwater hotel and an indoor snow slope in the desert and a high-rise where every floor rotates and, that big Arabic phallic symbol, the Burj Khalifa! Awesome! They really know how to think outside the box.
Until…well, women. Which, judging by this decision, is when they start thinking with the head of their much smaller phalliccy bits.
Like motherhood isn’t hard enough! Like there isn’t enough to worry about! Like there isn’t enough guilt associated with trying to do the best for your child!
My wife had trouble breastfeeding with almost every one of our five kids. She had infections and lumps and pain and all sorts of horrible complications. Breastfeeding has been a constant topic in this house for the last ten years of our lives. But she persisted. Usually until the doctor said to give herself a break and stop, but sometimes long after that. We’d either switch to the bottle or, more usually, combine it with her attempts to keep breastfeeding.
But at no point did I consider asking my local politician for his input.
Can I just add, as a bit of an aside at this junction, you can tell I’m fired up about this topic because I’ve used seven exclamation marks so far in this blog piece. But I’ve really, really, really been holding back and I need to get this out of my system.
I just can’t fathom the stupidity of this!!! The unfairness!!! The ridiculousness!!!
Even if you’re a flag-bearer for the breastfeeding fraternity, you’d have to think the benefit to the baby is probably heavily outweighed by the disharmony in a family where Dad intends suing Mum on your behalf just as soon as she gets out on parole.
You know what? In my experience most mothers already give themselves a hard enough time over whether or not they’re doing the right thing for their baby.
And if a mother is going to feel guilty about anything let’s stick with the important stuff, like the heinous crime of postponing having sex even though the little tit-hogger entered the world six weeks & one hour ago and the doctor’s recommended hiatus of bedroom sports has ended.
Priorities, Dubai! Priorities!
For more on this:
Original story Jan/Feb 14, but I only just read about it and…*fistshaking at the sky! …I got a little annoyed.
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs”
Hahaha. Priorities! Awesome!
Despite the fact I breastfeed my 2 year old, I think this law is just unfathomable.
I have had so many problems but at least I knew in the back of my mind that if I couldn’t bear to do it anymore there was another viable option.
No government has the right to control a woman’s body for 2 years.
I am fortunate enough to be part jersey cow, but with my first the best gift I was given was a tin of formula and some bottles. I never needed them, but the simple fact that they were there should they be needed was a huge help in those early painful days and the nine months of engorgement that followed. There was an option. And that made all the difference to my success.
I feel awful for all those mums with no other realistic options. This is not the right way to encourage breast feeding.
Australia really is the lucky country. I bottle fed all four of my children. Not cause I really wanted to but because I couldn’t breastfeed. I had a lactation consultant to help me but her exact words were:”Kerri, not everyone can breastfeed. Please don’t feel guilty because the main thing is that you are relaxed and can give your baby all the love she needs.”
Not sure I was ever totally relaxed with my first! The point is, all my children grew up healthy and happy. We all do the best we can for our children and sometimes, some women cannot breastfeed due to a number of reasons. Even beyond medical reasons. The law is ridiculous!
Looks like a win-win to me… women of rich families can now pursue a career and those that can’t afford a wet nurse and are stuck at home with a bub on the boob can always hire out to feed babies for the rich and beautiful people and earn an income from home. They’ll have zero percent unemployment in no time…