Lactivism - or, One of My Saviours
Any mama who has had trouble breastfeeding, is currently having trouble breastfeeding, can't breastfeed, is currently crying over the state of her cracked and sore nipples, should immediately pick up a copy of Dr. Courtney Jung's Lactivism. I will have more to say about this masterpiece, but for now, here is the email that I wrote to Dr. Jung which reads with the kind of enthusiasm that giddy schoolgirls who sent Elvis their undies via the mail had back in the heyday of pelvis gyrating.
I hope you enjoy!
Dear Dr. Jung,
After hearing you recently on CBC's The Current and immediately ordering Lactivism and reading only the Introduction so far, I want to express my sincere gratitude for your work.
I imagine you receive much feedback on your book - both good and bad - as what you are tackling here is a key hot-button issue in the brave new world of mommying. Let me just say that this is probably my first thank you letter to an author and I am going to try, but just can't complete express in words how much your work and your framing of the experience of mothers who cannot/choose not to breastfeed resonates deeply with my own experience and how grateful I am to you for seeing it expressed so clearly and with so much passion.
My own breastfeeding story is a relatively simple one: desperately wanted to, couldn't, the pressure (from myself, my lactivist midwife, and the very culture of lactivism you describe) to contributed to my spiral into severe postpartum depression.
I'm happy to say that despite this, my healthy little girl is none the worse and is approaching her second birthday. I still struggle with the smugness you describe, the moral self-righteousness, and the unceasing pressure that still lingers because few understand how devastating it is to not be able to do "the best" for their new baby.
In any case, I am deeply passionate about a woman's right to choose on this issue (as I am for all issues concerning women's rights to do what they will with their own bodies) and I will continue to spread the word about my experience so that other mothers in my situation will hopefully feel the deep sense of relief I did when I found another bottle-feeding mother or other non-judgmental ally who comforted me in a very vulnerable and difficult time in my life.
Again, thank you for articulating our struggle in this book and thank you for strongly supporting a woman's right to choose. I am grateful I have a book to offer those who find themselves in my previous position.
With sincere gratitude and appreciation.
The ultimate radness is that Dr. Jung got back to me roughly 24 hours later to say not just thank you for my email, but that The National newscast had been by filming a piece on this very topic and that she read my email on air! Holy SQUEE!!! You'll hear a tiny snippet from this newscast. DOUBLE SQUEE!!!
And, don't get me wrong - this was my experience and not a judgment about how other mamas choose to feed.
Ultimately, fed is best.
And that's that.