Friday, August 13, 2010

Gisele Bundchen, Breastfeeding, and Other Keywords

I have been thinking lately (Yes, thinking is entirely possible for me, even though in my case it's not often obvious).

While I was in the hospital recently, I heard news of the mini uproar that a breastfeeding comment made by supermodel Gisele Bundchen generated. My own very first thought when I heard that Gisele said in an interview, “There should be a worldwide law…that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months” was that I am way more famous than Gisele and they should really interview ME about MY thoughts on breastfeeding. So I'm posting them here instead!

What has really gotten my (Christmas) undies in a bunch has been the mini uproar I alluded to. I mean, for the love of Pete, people. The woman was just trying to make a point! I doubt she really meant that breastfeeding should be a law. And, if she did, well…I’ll get to that in a moment. Yet critics have been having a field day with Gisele’s statement.

“It’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard,” actress Bethanny Frankel retorted regarding Gisele’s remarks, felt by some to be highly insensitive.

But you know what? The more I thought and thought about it, the more I realized how utterly not “absurd” Gisele’s statement actually was. At least not when compared to all the other laws our own country has as it regards the care and health and well being of children. The fact that folks are so upset about the notion that breastfeeding should be a law screams irony in the loudest way.

Bethanny, after calling Gisele’s opinion “absurd,” went on to say that “breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding experiences, but it isn’t for everyone.”

I just wonder if the idea, whether Gisele literally meant it or not, of a law supporting breastfeeding is really as far-fetched and ridiculous an idea as some people are making it. Or, at the very least, if it’s really that different than other laws or beliefs largely agreed on by everyone.

If it is so “absurd” to entertain the idea of a law supporting breastfeeding, then why oh why do we have throngs of people, and a President who probably wasn't even born in the US, in support of mandatory vaccination of children via the public school system? Why are their laws saying that we have to strap out children into car seats? Why can't we beat our children or murder them? All of those things are exactly equivalent to each other and to breastfeeding, obviously. That's right, I'm equating not feeding your child breastmilk with intentionally endangering their lives by not buckling them into a car seat. Have I gone completely insane? BASICALLY.

Ahem. Anyway. Do you see where I’m going here? I cannot, just cannot, wrap my mind around the notion that the angry mob attacking Gisele’s words (We're on a first-name basis because I'm super famous!) has been clinging to: that the government has no business telling us how to best care for our children when these same people daily support the government in fact stepping in and telling us, in other ways, how to best care for our children.

Even Bethanny’s quote that “breastfeeding is one of the most rewarding experiences, but it isn’t for everyone” kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It was as if she was saying that the benefits of breastfeeding are solely for the mother. What if taking the time to buckle our child into a carseat “wasn’t for us”? Or if making sure our children had enough vitamins in their diet just wasn’t a concern of ours? I venture to say that it shouldn’t matter. Breastmilk is best for our children. Carseats are the safest way to travel. Why the severe digging in of heels when the notion of a breastfeeding law is brought up, then?

I don’t know why. I just wish that the same intensity with which so many people bristled (and rightly so) at the idea of a breastfeeding law would be also afforded to other areas of mothering. We should be able to do whatever we want, whenever we want, without the government intervening with its pesky laws.

At least, I THINK that's my point. It's a little hard to figure out what I'm actually thinking or saying when I ramble on and on and repeat myself numerous times and then throw in some italics and big words to make myself sound smarter than you are. And I am pretty sure Gisele would agree with me too.

What think you?!

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