Om Namah Shivaya


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Dear Mayor Bloomberg, got formula?

So an old friend of mine facebooked me today asking if we have decided on what variety of formula we are going to use to feed JP because she has some "formula checks" that she'd like to mail me.  She is what, in the pregnant/mom world, is called an "EBF mom".  EBF stands for "Exclusively Breast Feeding".  I, on the other hand am an "EFF mom", which stands for "Exclusively Formula Feeding".  

For the sake of igniting any controversy for those of you who aren't aware, I can NOT breast feed.  Notice I did not say "I don't want too".  I mean it when I say I.Can.Not.  I battled Triple Negative Breast Cancer from May of 2010 through October of 2010 in which the end result was a double mastectomy where *ALL* of my breast tissue was removed and replaced with silicone implants.  And when I say all, I mean ALL, nipples included.  So, unless my child can puncture himself a hole in my boob & ingest silicone, which I find *highly* unlikely, breast feeding ain't gonna happen for this mommy-to-be.

But I digress...

 I'm on facebook responding to her post when the idea strikes me to toodle on over to the pregnancy discussion board I frequent and put it out there..."EBF moms; got formula checks?"  I have received numerous responses so far in the positive, and one gal mentioned the whole NYC/Mayor Bloomberg "Latch on NYC" debaucle, er, debate.  While I don't think me writing a letter directly to him, seeing as I live in the Midwest, would do a darn thing, I did think that putting my thoughts about *that* ridiculousness down here could be...interesting.

So here it thoughts on the "Banning of Formula in NYC hospitals"...

On behalf of all cancer survivors who also survived a double mastectomy, thus having their ability to breast feed taken away from them, and also on behalf of ALL the women out there who for one reason or another can not or choose not to breast feed, I write this for you, for me, and for us.  

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

With what little information I have read about this "campaign", and from what I understand it is *completely* and *utterly* despicable that a MAN, sitting in an ivory tower should be dictating what WE, as women, should do with our breasts when it comes to the feeding of the child WE CARRIED FOR NINE MONTHS IN OUR BODIES.  

Our boy, 31weeks

I ask you, Mayor Bloomberg, did you create one of life's greatest miracles inside of you?  Did you carry this child for 9 months of "bliss" (let's get real ladies, it's not all peaches and cream is it), then push it out an opening that can't seem to *possibly* be big enough and is usually accompanied with great pain before, during, and after?  Did you gain 20-50lbs of extra weight growing this miracle, and watch your once familiar body turn into something out of an alien syfy movie?  I don't think so.

Our boy, 30weeks

Did you, Mayor Bloomberg, worry and obsess over every little thing you ate or drank, the air you breathed, the medicine you took, or the product you put on your body for 9 months?  Did you give up a beloved glass of wine in order to make sure this little miracle got the best start possible?  Did you research all the different types of bottles, pumps, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, toys, teethers, carseats, strollers, creams, ointments, boppy's, bumbo's, sound machines, bassinet's, and pack 'n plays till you were so cross-eyed you didn't know which way was up?  Somehow I doubt it.

Our boy, 21weeks
Did you then, Mayor Bloomberg, struggle with the decision of whether or not to breast feed?  Did you do the countless hours of research on the subject, then spend countless hours researching formula?  Did you spend sleepless nights worrying about whether or not you'd be able too, and if you couldn't produce enough milk for your child would everyone think you were a failure?  Would you think that of yourself?  Did you spend your days enduring the Spanish Inquisition from women in all areas of your life "Are you gonna breast feed?  Are you gonna breast feed?  Huh?Huh?Huh?!?!", then goodness forbid you say *No* because then the question turns into "Why not? WHY?WHY?WHY?!"

Send off party for the girls
*Or*, here's another one for you to ponder oh great and wonderful Mayor of NYC.  Did you battle breast cancer, endure chemo, lose your hair, lose your sense of self, and take a genetic test that came back to tell you that you were going to have to undergo a double mastectomy, which in case you aren't in the know means the *total* removal of both of your breasts.  And when I say *total removal* I mean it.  Everything.  Done.  Gone.  All milk ducts, all breast tissue, even your nipples.  So not only have you now undergone a massive life changing sickness, and a complete and total body-altering surgery, you have now had the choice of whether or not to breast feed completely and totally taken away from you.  You no longer HAVE a choice.  You HAVE to formula feed.

At chemo

Do you know, Mayor Bloomberg, what that does to a woman?  Do you know the thoughts that went through my brain the day I got the call from my Oncologists office and the words "The test came back positive" entered my brain?  Here were a few...

After the mastectomy, 10/15/10
"Will I still be a woman without breasts?"
"Will it hurt when they take them away and then give them back?"
"Will I be okay?"
"Will this ensure the cancer never comes back"
and the ever fabulous...
"Will my husband ever look at me in the same way"
"How am I going to bond with my baby when that time comes and ensure he or she gets the best start in life..."

and then I cried.  I cried out of fear, out of shame, and out of heartbreak for a child that wasn't even a twinkle in my eye yet.  I cried for my breasts who had already been through so much and who now were a "danger to my life" and had to be removed to save mine.  I cried over the fact that I wasn't going to be able to do the *one* basic thing that these "girls" were intended nourish my child with nature's most perfect formula...Breast Milk.

5th wedding anniversary spent at Chemo
You see, Mayor Bloomberg, in my opinion, you are essentially doing the same thing to the women of your great state, that the cancer did too me.  YOU, my dear sir, are taking THEIR CHOICE away from them.  Oh I know, if they can provide a "medical reason" then the nurses can whip out their magic key, unlock the closet, and produce the formula their baby will so desperately need.  I know, also, that you are not talking about women like me who literally can NOT breastfeed, no matter how much we may want too.  It is simply a physical inability.  Yet, do you realize the message you are sending?  You are basically saying that there is something WRONG with those of us who either can not or choose not to breastfeed.  

You.  A Man.  Mmm-hmm, yeah, excuse me while I have a good chuckle at that...

Our boy, 15weeks
I mean, really.  Who are you to tell women what they can and can not do in deciding *how*
to feed their newborn?  Of course breast feeding is best, but shouldn't that be something that is decided upon by her and her significant other?  And why "lecture" the new mother on the benefits of breastfeeding before unlocking the cabinet?  Don't you think that's going to be a little harsh on the emotional psyche of a woman who has just been through 9 months of pregnancy and goodness knows how many hours of labor to push something the size of a watermelon out of a hole that's not near as big??  She may already be feeling down about not breast feeding, but seeing as you most likely don't live her life, you don't know WHY she has chosen not too.  Don't beat her over the head about it, just give her the damn formula and wish her well with her new bundle of joy.

And I ask you, what's next?  The government is already trying to regulate our uterus's and our choices regarding birth control, so what's next?  Are you going to ban epidurals because having a "natural, unmedicated birth" is better for the baby? about *you* try pushing a watermelon out your pee hole, *then* we'll talk about the benefits of an "natural birth" versus a "medicated birth". 

Look.  It's your city, you do what you want, you've already banned smoking in parks, and large sizes of sugary drinks, and I refuse to read all the particulars of your "initiative" because it would be time wasted out of my busy life that I could never regain.  I'm also in the Midwest so this, at least right now, isn't going to affect me and honestly, I eagerly anticipate the "swag bag" from my hospital that will set me and our little boy on the right path towards healthful nutrition.  I just hope you take a second to think about what message you're TRULY sending to the women of your great city because *we're* not wrong, your message is wrong.

Think about it.


A Proud EFF Mom-to-be

Our little boy, 31weeks

1 comment:

  1. Because pregnancies are now planned rather than simply inevitable it has become an assault course on which you can be judged and found wanting. Ugh.

    No pain-relief. Water-birth. Whale music. Be a better mother. Violin lessons at age 3. No formula. Organic avocadoes. Whatever.

    Do the best you can with what you have but women and men and siblings have lives too and it will never be perfect no matter what you do. The mayor can just shut up.