*** This post may be triggering if you are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) and are sensitive to negative news events***
Nothing recently has truly sparked my desire to blog…that is, until tonight. One of my Facebook friends had commented on an article on a public page, so it popped up on my Facebook feed on my commute home from work. The post was titled “Charlotte Bevan’s death: an indictment of a breastfeeding culture that ignores the needs of women,” written by Amy Tuteur, MD.
One of my biggest peeves is an extremist, misguided, self-serving, selfish, hateful and highly narrow-minded viewpoint, whether it be about politics, guns, religion, bigotry, misogynism, women’s reproductive rights…..or in this case, breastfeeding. I’ve previously blogged about how breastfeeding zealotry led to the deaths of a mother and her baby, and here I am again, blogging about another PREVENTABLE AND SENSELESS DEATH of a new mother and her baby.
WHEN IS IT GOING TO STOP?
If you are in the medical healthcare profession, you MUST place your patients’ wellbeing BEFORE your religious and biased viewpoints, which have NO PLACE in a profession in which lives are at stake. And should you NOT know the appropriate protocols for specific conditions, drug interactions, consequences of taking someone off medications, etc., then you have NO BUSINESS being in your profession. PERIOD.
Sure, breast is best if it’s best for baby AND MOM. BUT DO NOT EVER FORGET ABOUT THE MOTHER. If she is healthy and wants to/can breastfeed, then great. If she is healthy and does not for whatever reason want to breastfeed, she shouldn’t be forced to/guilted into doing so. If she is not healthy and cannot breastfeed, then stop guilting her into doing so. Let her formula feed in peace.
If she has a mental health condition (as in Charlotte’s case) that requires her to continue taking medication, then she MUST do so. If she has a mental health condition and wants to breastfeed, then have her continue breastfeeding if–as in this case with risperidone–the medication she is taking is compatible with doing so based on research. If she prefers to feed her baby formula because she is uncertain about breastfeeding while on the medication, then let her feed her baby formula. Let her formula feed in peace.
Whoever let Charlotte go off her anti-psychotic medications without monitoring her to be sure both she and her baby were okay are directly responsible for her death. Here again, we have the insidious belief that a baby deserves to be fed “liquid gold,” the life of her mother be damned. Bottom line, those whom she entrusted her care might as well have just pushed her off the cliff themselves. Death by negligence. I believe they call it negligent homicide here.
Women around the world continue to be viewed as baby incubators and milk machines, and as such, their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing do not matter in the grand scheme of things. Their needs as new mothers don’t matter. BUT THEY DO MATTER.
I had to quote an excerpt out of the post written by Dr. Amy Tuteur here, as it’s perfectly on point:
For most of human history, women have been reduced to three body parts: uterus, vagina and breasts. Their intellect was irrelevant; their talents were irrelevant; their wants and needs were irrelevant. For a while it appeared that we had moved beyond this deeply sexist and retrograde view of women, but now it’s back in a new guise: natural parenting, specifically natural childbirth, lactivism and attachment parenting. These movements place the (purported) needs of babies front and center. They ignore the needs of women.
I firmly believe that extremist thinking is in and of itself an illness. It is delusional, obsessive and destructive behavior that MUST BE STOPPED. This tragedy wasn’t just a wake-up call. There have been all too many wake-up calls. IT IS TIME FOR US TO WAKE THE F*CK UP.
Women are more than baby incubators and milk machines.