Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Breastfeeding discrimination part 2

Ok so since I've made you wait for more of the still unfolding story I now have to dissapoint you with the fact that part 2 isn't all that interesting, although part 3 will be and hopefully there won't be a part 4 but I'm betting there will be.

So, where was I. Oh yeah, in the car feeding my sweet baby. So after my brilliant husband marches back into the hospital and starts taking names we go around to the main entrance of the building and walk up to the information desk where a friendly and slightly alarmed looking older grandma-type woman called someone for me. We sat in the waiting area and a very nice woman came and took us to a conference room and told us that some people would be in very shortly.

In walk a man and a woman, sorry I don't really have any pet names for them so we'll just call them V and A. V is a rather gangly looking man with a notepad in his hand, A a friendly looking RN whom I'm figuring is slightly more than just an RN by the look of her attire. They asked us what happened and Craig and I told them the whole thing. They were apologetic but neutral, didn't offer much conversation but were nice enough. After taking notes on what we were saying they told me that they felt the priority at the moment was to get me the scan that I had initially came for, so as not to delay my diagnosis and treatment. Fair enough but I didn't really want to go back down there........ understandably.

V was nice enough to arrange for me to be taken directly from the conference room to the CT scan room and Craig and the boys to the CT waiting area. The nurse who did my scan was very nice and it was over quickly. So thankfully I did end up receiving my test after all.

For the past 36 hours or so I've been contemplating what to do about all of this. On one hand I have no reason to suspect that V wasn't going to handle the situation and have a chat with O about it (my initial pet names have been changed so as not to create drama) . But is this one time occurance really the issue at stake? No, it's not. There are a million more "O's" out there doing this every day.

Today while eating out at Burger King (girls from P1, I know you are giggling.......) I found myself very uncomfortable when Nathan had to eat. A feeling I had honsetly NEVER felt before. I had never thought twice about feeding him anywhere, except when he was a newborn and we had weeks of latch issues and feedings were horrid. I looked at my sweet baby, just wanting to eat and the familiarity of being snuggled against mommy and was deeply saddened that our breastfeeding relationship, the cornerstone of the deep bond between my son and I, was now tainted with this stigma. I realized that if I did nothing at all, I was allowing them to take something away from me and my child. I was allowing all the O's and NK's in the world to take this away from other babies and thier mothers. I would never forgive myself for being part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

So after much emotional drainage, on Friday afternoon, a news crew is coming to my house to interview me. I don't hold the hospital as a whole liable and I know that you can't blame an entire organization for the views of one or two of it's members. But I also truly beleive that we have to start somewhere, we have to be an example, and we have to drill into people's heads that without education, these things will continue to happen. So if the hospital has to take some publicity for the wrong doing of thier employees, then that's what has to be done.

I understand completely that this will come at great cost. There ARE a lot of O's and NK's in the world after all and they are bound to disagree with my views, disagree with how I handled it. And I'm ok with that. I will also probably have to leave my pediatrician and midwifery group in an effort to not have to go to that hospital again......... I'm ok with that too. Because you know, if just ONE person at ONE business THINKS about this the next time they see a nursing mother and squirm, knows better than to ask her to go to the ladies room, or put a blanket over her child's head, or to leave the establishment, but instead OFFERS her a secluded area to nurse her baby in, it will have been worth it a million times over.

I have two quotes I think are relevant for tonight and I don't know who to give credit for either of them I'm sorry...

"It is rare for well behaved women to make history"
"It's not about my right to breastfeed, it's about my child's right to eat"

Stepping off my soapbox.... if only for a moment to clarify something. I don't want readers of this blog to misunderstand my views on Formula feeding simply based on how passion for breastfeeding. I do not for a moment feel that mothers who formula feed thier babies are bad mothers, uneducated, or selfish mothers. I beleive that as a society we fail moms and babies. I hear all too often in my line of work from mothers the words "I started out breastfeeding but my milk hadn't come in on day 3 and she was starving to death so I got a bottle" or "at about 2 weeks old my milk dried up, I noticed it because she wanted to eat all the time and was very fussy", or the multitude of other comments and it saddens me. If just ONE person took the time to tell the mother that these things can be a normal part of breastfeeding or here's why that's happening the breastfeeding relationship may have been saved, but as a society we tend to just nod our heads and say "oh, yeah you are probably right, give her a bottle so you know she's getting enough". We don't give support and encouragement, we maybe unwittingly fuel the "i couldn't nurse because....." monster. As I've said a million times, we as a society FAIL OUR OWN. Now are there mothers who honestly due to illness, medications, or other reasons CANNOT breastfeed thier babies? Definitely! I don't really understand why some mothers choose to formula feed aside from solid medical or past abuse reasons but do I blame them for it? Nope........... I blame the rest of us. We should all be ashamed of ourselves.


Anonymous said...

Amen on the b/f comments - and - you are going to be FAMOUS!! lol
Well done for standing up to all those small minded idiots with warped minds and x-ray vison

Elspeth XX

tanya@motherwearblog said...

Good for you! It's not easy to stand up for something like this.

Someone just sent me this quote:

“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
- Winston Churchill

- Tanya

Robin (mama2abc) said...

"Well-behaved women rarely make history." -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Trista said...

HERE HERE SISTER!!! I was flipping my lid when I read this.

The only thing I was thinking was, HEY MAN I am sorry you are feeling uncomfortable... are you gay? Do you prefer balls to breasts??

Not that, THAT is bad either, well I am just going to shut up now. Remember how crazy I get with people that cant be controlled?? Like the lady who was always picking at herself? YAH ok, I AM SHUTTING UP NOW.

Can I drive by your house a million times tomorrow?? LOL

Angie said...

Kat, I have to say im dissapointed. If you were in my shoes you would understand why some women just cant be supermoms. I am young..I have 2 young children..I HAVE to work, I have no other choice. Just because I work doesnt make me a bad mother. But after reading your opinions I feel like you are discriminating mothers that have to work and make the choice to stop breastfeeding. I feel that your comments are somewhat ignorant. I am very offended, sorry to say. Hopefully you can open your mind a little to other types of family lifestyles. Just because I work does NOT mean my children are not loved.

Kat said...

Angie, I offline messaged you, I think you misunderstood what I said.

Anonymous said...

Kat I'm very proud of you for standing up to fight for what you believe in. I do agree on a lot of what you said. A few things I disagree on. But it doesn't offend me in anyway shape or form. The only thing that bothered me was the "My milk supplied dried up" thing. But thats because it was a big problem for me. I was put on medication for it with while trying to nurse Breanna but my body just was being stubborn. I was able to breastfeed Steven longer then again same problem. But hey, you know my deals LOL & You know I've been a stay at home mommy for a long time. But again, I'm very proud of ya hun! I luvs ya gal!

Kat said...

Kris- Don't get me wrong, What I was reffering to are the people who think they are out of milk because the baby is having a growth spurt or what not and no one bothers to tell them that it's normal. It was nice to hear from you!