Recently, an article popped up on lotus birth and the choice this particular mother had made to create a kind of painting/print with the left over placenta. I was intrigued, mildly putting it, so I clicked over to her blog.
She is a proud homebirther, breastfeeder, unschooler, babywearer and feminist: all of which are admirable. I enjoyed reading through a number of her blog posts: they were a fascinating look at all the above things and how she incorporates them into her, and her child's, world. Those things by themselves can be seen to be quite positive things: I myself fully support a mother's choice (and right) to do all of those things (With the very mild exception of unschooling, but that is more because of my experiences with homeschooling).
But then I came across this blog entry: and was, well, startled!
Not all books are as much fun as The Gruffalo, quite a few require editing, such as the following book. The entire book is about love, how it makes the main character feel, that it's nice to let other people know you love them etc. Quite nice messages, and then you get to the end page and the illustration teaching readers how to express their love for family members:
deaths of millions of children around the world. This is just one of the many ways breastfeeding is ostracised in Australian society and artificial feeding is normalised. A woman's earliest lessons about breastfeeding are learned through childhood play: acting out baby feeding, seeing it around her, reading about it in her picture books. Given the dangers of artificial feeding and the importance of breastfeeding I believe authors of children's books have a moral obligation to show breastfeeding imagery if ever they wish to show babies feeding. So this page was torn out of "the bunny book". Furthermore, WTF is going on in that bunny family?! The washing can wait, Bunny mum, your baby needs feeding and connection to you! That's why you have breasts!
Errr....wow, just wow. I can't imagine how hurtful that would be to read as bottle feeding mother: particularly if you couldn't breastfeed for a legitimate medical reason. Whilst I agree that breastfeeding needs to be more promoted and supported (I come from a very long line of breastfeeders, and was a breastfed bub), I don't think that bottle feeding should be demonized either. It is my personal belief that breast is best, and should be attempted and be a normal, accepted part of society, but equally, those that bottle feed should not be hated upon for not being able to breastfeed either.
To me, you cannot complain about being ostracized for breastfeeding, but then turn around and do the exact same thing to other mothers whom made different choices to you.
It reminded me that there are extremists on either end of society. I can clearly remember my mother "editing" sections of my books because they contained things she didn't agree with (eg. the Laura Ingalls's books mentioning Jack Frost). To this day, I still hate having my books messed with (eg pages taken out, or scribbled over). It had an impact on me: certainly not the impact my mother intended, but an impact nevertheless.
I have posted a followup to this post: Different Stripes, Sames Colours Part 2