I’m Not Fine

by Rachael on October 7, 2010

I was formula fed, and by the usual measures, I’m just fine. If my IQ was compromised, it’s not showing: I graduated with honors from one fancy brand-name college and then got a Master’s Degree from another fancy brand-name university. If my health was compromised, that doesn’t seem to be showing, either: I rarely get sick, and I’ve run three marathons, one of them at a pace I’m pretty proud of.

But. In one enormous way, I’m not fine at all. Fifteen years ago today, my mother died of breast cancer. Yes, she knew that breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer — but too late for it to have made any difference for herself. And maybe it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference if she had breastfed her three daughters, or even just one or two of us. But I do know that she wished that she had.

I’m writing this post not to tell you that formula feeding is wrong, because I believe nothing of the sort. I am writing this post, however, to urge you to support breastfeeding mothers and the women in your life who want to breastfeed. Be aware of the cultural and institutional “booby traps” that get in the way of women’s establishing and sustaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship. Get and provide good information about breastfeeding, such as at the sites recommended here. Read this post, because it’s awesome. And for goodness sake, boycott Nestlé.

Thank you.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber October 8, 2010 at 12:18 AM

I am a Nestle boycotter.

I know someone who had a mastectomy this week who breastfed her 3 children. Cancer can be very random. But that doesn’t mean that we should not do everything in power to fight it, whether that means breastfeeding or changing our diets or reducing our exposure to harmful chemicals. Because we absolutely should.
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Rachael October 9, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Yes, cancer is random. My mother took good care of herself, especially her diet. And yet.

My heart goes out to your friend.

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MyGreenMouth October 8, 2010 at 11:02 AM
6512 and growing October 9, 2010 at 3:56 PM

Deeply sorry to hear you’ve been without your mother for fifteen years. And thank you for speaking up.
6512 and growing recently posted… This Moment

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Dionna @ Code Name: Mama October 12, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Very powerful words. I am sorry your mama is not here with you :(
Dionna @ Code Name: Mama recently posted… Introducing the Natural Parents Network

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