mercoledì, dicembre 12, 2012

The politics of the bosom

Godzilla was up all night again, attacking my bosom. Another growth spurt is due, so that's fine, and I got in enough sleep early in the morning to feel reasonably human now. I keep reminding us that this period is probably the worst period it's going to be sleep-wise, until or unless we have a second child, who could possibly be colicky (Godzilla is coming up to a month with no danger signs so I think in his case I'm starting to count my chickens, and say he is not a colicky child), and whose needs as an infant will overlap with Godzilla's needs as a toddler. Another reason to move to Europe for the next one - it'll be easier to persuade some family to come out to help out.

I'm tickled pink breastfeeding is going so well and that the behemoth is thriving on the bosom, but I've decided to forever give up on being judgey about women who don't do it. The health benefits of breastfeeding are demonstrated and unignorable, and formula is pretty gross. But breastfeeding is hard. It's tiring in terms of the waking for feeding, it's tiring in terms of the milk production, it hurts until you get it right, and it's all down to the mum. If she's not well supported by her spouse, like I am - if she doesn't have good guidance in the beginning, like I did - if she doesn't have a flexible enough schedual in terms of how she makes her money, like I've got - how the fuck is she supposed to do this?

All my Chinese colleagues breastfed, despite working crazy long hours and having retardedly horrible commutes. For a full year, at that - that seems to be the magic number there. That involved a LOT of pumping. I admire their dedication but the fact that a year is so much the norm there was something helpful for them, no doubt - nobody would be giving them funny looks for stepping out for half an hour at a time to drain their ladies, or storing the milk in the communal fridge, etc.

Bottom line, this is not easy, not at all easy. It needs a lot more support than I'd understood. All women should have the opportunity to do it for at least the six months it's been conclusively demonstrated that there are huge benefits to mother and child in terms of full-time, exclusive breastfeeding, but what that means in effect is that all jurisdictions need to be providing at least six months of maternity leave at full pay and with job security, which is the case in so few countries I think I could count them on my fingers.

And the marginalization of fatherhood, both in terms of leave opportunities and in terms of the infantilization of men . . . well, that's probably a blog post for another day, as Godzilla is stirring and my bosom is preparing for the next onslaught. But Australia being the fucking cemetery of masculinity as a useful concept that it is, I've been coming across some doozies that I'm bursting to rant about.

2 commenti:

e.f. bartlam ha detto...

There was a lot of pumping at our house, in the car, at I made that up.

It held up my supper being made more than once but, like you said...without an understanding spouse..:).

Martha's worked for the same fella for 15 years and she just told him that she would be working at home until...

Go Godzilla!

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I was able to do what Martha did more or less, but I understand a lot of people work for the Combine, rather than for actual humans.

Martha's lucky to have so much famished and patient support.