I’m moved and inspired by the recent Guardian article: “My friend breastfed my baby” by Elisa Albert.
‘I had never heard of anyone I knew nursing another woman’s child and I never wondered why,’ says Elisa Albert.
A friend breastfed my son too. I was taking some soul-saving time out one afternoon and hadn’t checked the supply of pumped milk. I got a desperate call from my husband and rushed home. On the way home I got another call saying “it’s okay, Kristina fed him!”
“Huh? Err, … great!” I think was my response. I felt relieved mostly, surprised and just a little weird. But there was a “ooh, this is something edgy but exciting” feeling too.
It got me thinking. Why is this such a taboo? Baby’s happy. Mommy’s happy (out galavanting for once!). Husband is relieved from a crying baby. Friend felt more connected to my son and felt good about helping. Isn’t this a nice kind of society?
Here’s another thing. Each time I see a new mom, I have a deep instinct just to go up and talk, see how it’s going, see if they want to chat, or if I can be of help in any way. I even thought about buying a load of flowers and giving them out to new moms I see on the street, saying “you’re doing a great job”. But something stops me.
Elisa talks about the “deep and wilful isolation of women from each other”. Are these stories and the existence of this taboo somehow part of that? I think so. The insidious thing to me is that we are doing it to ourselves, to each other.
What on earth is going on? What needs to change in our discourse as a society, and between moms, and within families to change this?
There are many levels to the answer I think. One pleasing development from my front is that I’ve recently created a Mom’s Art Night once a week, and I co-created an initiative using Facebook that will link local Mom’s to each other with an intention of finding practical ways to mutually support each other: tot-swapping, meal sharing etc. From the ground up, right? Anyone else got ideas to share, or thoughts?