‘we are more alike my friends than we are unalike’
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TOPICS WE DISCUSS IN THIS EPISODE
Some quotes from the show:
“To pretend that you feel fine is actually a massive effort’
“It’s a very different state of mind when you are bleeding from the rest of the month”
“When I am bleeding I’m tired of everything, I’m even tired of hearing myself talk”
“Allowing yourself to say, you know what I can’t do it and if you do that even the weight of it and the struggle becomes lighter because you are acknowledging it, part of the weight of it and part of the struggle is actually because you are the whole time trying to pretend like you can cope.
“All the adverts for sanitary towels and tampons are about how you can do anything if you use then your life can continue as normal”
“When you are bleeding might be a really go time to think inside of yourself, to do creative stuff, because you are in that slightly altered state of mind, even if you shut yourself in your room to be with whatever you want to be. Then when you are ovulating, that’s the time to go out and have business meetings, you should try to organise your life in a way that respects your cycle basically”
“I guess it requires a lot of practice and a lot of acceptance”
“There’s a few days before I bleed when I am really quite nasty, but I am so productive on day 14 or 15, I’m like, yeah, I can do this!”
“Something that has been happening to women forever, it must have been, it’s part of how the life of our planet is sustained, this ability to create and shed life in our wombs – so why have we made it in to this thing that we have to pretend doesn’t happen?”
“all these times in school growing up how shameful it would be because a bit of a stain would show on your skirt, you stress over that in class, you aren’t even concentrating”
“It’s time we should teach our children that its ok, a normal thing and this should start at a younger stage, it needs to be normalised”
“Growing up for my was different, right now you get hygiene and cleanliness education in school, children now a days know more, us growing up was different, we stayed in for seven days when we began to bleed”
“I did not know about menstruation until I got it”
“It wasn’t like you could talk about it in school, I was like ten, quite young and you couldn’t put your hand up and say ‘I started bleeding’, so although it was factually open at home, at school it was this thing you were trying to hide the whole time, hide the tampons in your bag, not let there be a stain on your skirt, the whole day worrying”
“We could work with them if we had that awareness, the taboo is holding us back and making it more difficult”
“It happens to us until it stops happening, it shouldn’t be scary, it should be something as women we can talk about and teach our young women that its ok, not to feel ashamed and embarrassed”
Links and resources related to this episode
Red School: Awakening Menstruality – learning and resources to help you get more in touch with your own cycle
CODE RED: know your flow, unlock your monthly super powers and create a bloody amazing life. Period – an awesome book by Lisa Lister
UK company to introduce ‘period policy’ for female staff – Article about Coexist in Bristol launching a policy attempting to synchronise work with the body’s natural cycles.
It is 2010 now and I find myself at an evening workshop for people who want to change their careers – it’s called something like, ‘Change your job, Change your life’.
The room is full of people who want to leave corporate jobs and ‘do something meaningful’. I feel totally out of place. I have a ‘meaningful job’. I am the Director of a small charity which works with disabled children in Africa and my work is super interesting. I have a lot of autonomy, I travel regularly to interesting places and I have learnt how to do so many things. But I am exhausted, worn out and fed-up. I feel out of place because I can’t blame anyone else the way the other people in the room are blaming their corporate bosses. The only person I really have to blame is me.
I am working 50 hour weeks, trying to make the books balance financially and I am not getting on with my new boss (the Chair of the organisation). He has, it turns out, a totally different vision for the future of the organisation to me. We are like chalk and cheese with it. I think I am running a small charity uniquely placed to do important work and ‘punch above its weight’. But he thinks that we were too small to do much and should be more realistic.
I turn to meditation. Well, I turn to my own version of it.
When I am done I light a candle and imagine letting all those problems go and achieving the best outcome for everyone with my day and then I meditate on that for a few minutes before I start work. And it helps. It really helps. It gets me through some really challenging days. And all the way to finally resigning from my job – and though it’s not the first time, this time I mean it.
And so in early 2011, I leave my job – and some other responsibilities I have been carrying for a women’s refuge as its Chair. It all happens (accidentally) on the same day. I go to the seaside for a few days and then I start working for myself. I still work on some similar projects in the development sector.
Most importantly I start writing things for other people to read again. I start with something called Partnership Matters, which is about the importance of building equitable relationships with development partners. Then I start interviewing older women and Listening to our Grandmothers is born. I begin working on a novel. In the process of all of this I am guided by a friend to Nia – a sensory-based movement practice. I remember how I loved to dance as a child and I get passionate about Nia. It’s helping me to get back in touch with my body as my unique vessel for being here on this planet and figure out more about what it needs.
Last week I shared the first instalment of a story on this blog, as story which is designed to give you a flavour of how I got to where I am, and how I come to be doing the work I am doing right now. And, as promised, here is the second instalment:
It’s May 2009 and I am just back from a weekend workshop for women and I can’t quite explain it to anyone – not least my neighbours who are having a barbecue in the garden – but for what feels like the first time in my life I feel really different.
I don’t even really know why I went on the weekend in the first place but I had a funny feeling that I should! Since I started doing Action Learning I have been thinking differently at work but I am full of confusion about what I want in my life more generally. I don’t know how to figure it out at all really. If I am totally honest it is almost like an alien question.
My friend Jo had been sending me the information about the weekend, which is called Women in Power, for years and I like the sound of it. Even though I am not 100% sure what it is, and it looks at bit wacky. I felt drawn to it mostly because the invitation reminds me of the amazing book “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estés that I first read and loved years ago when I was still in College and because the invitation comes from a woman who I love and respect. And now it’s over and I don’t exactly know why but these women have got to me. They have challenged me. They have made me remember something about who I am.
I know now that I need to think more about me and a bit less about all these things that I am trying to do, all these people that I think I am trying to help. The upshot of it all is that, though I am exhausted and I have been camping in a field for three nights (without much to lie on because characteristically though I had a big bag I didn’t actually go very well equipped) – I’m elated,
I’ve said it to myself and I have said to some other people and they didn’t tell me I was selfish. They acted like they understood. And I believed them. So now the real journey starts. I have to work out what this means for me in the rest of my everyday life.
And so, because I can’t go on the way I have been, exhausted and a bit depressed, making decisions by working out what I think other people want me to do and struggling completely to figure out what I actually want, I start.
First I sack my therapist – I realise that I have been lying to him as well as to myself in my therapy sessions. Then I start following every lead I have to get support with unraveling my life. I try Shadow Work. The first time I go, all I do is sit on someone’s sofa and talk.
I start to realise that I have a story I tell myself that I am lucky and that I should be sharing the luck out, helping other people, but that actually this story is vicious with me. It ignores my anger and pain about the things in my life that haven’t gone so well. And while I am busy sharing the luck out, I am ignoring my feelings.
Sure I’m pretty good at looking after others and at analysing and understanding situations but I have my own pain and anger and sadness in shadow. It leaks out sometimes but I have no clue how to embrace it, feel it and well, basically, let it out.
Slowly, gently and so cleverly a shadow work coach supports me, over a number of session over the next year or so, how to own my feelings and be pissed off about stuff that didn’t go so well after all.
Encouraged by a friend, I try writing too which is something I used to love as a teenager. I write how it actually was for me all the times things didn’t go quite so well. I start to see, when I write about my childhood, a little girl on the page that I have almost, if not totally, forgotten about. She is me of course but now I see her energy and enthusiasm for life and her big heart – which is so apparent in this picture of me dressed up as The Queens of Hearts for a fancy dress competition in the early 1980s!
It’s the me before I learnt to obsessively please people and do my funny chest hiding walk (more about that next week!). I’m a thirty something now and as I start to see these parts of myself, I am slowly and determinedly finding my way home to the whole of me.
Six years later I support others to write and reclaim their stories through my StoryPower work and I am also an accredited Certified Shadow Work® Coach. I will be opening up more ways to do this kind of work with me in the coming months as part of a new project I am launching this autumn. To be sure you hear about it join my mailing list below:
Over the coming weeks I am going to be looking back a little bit on my blog, looking back so that I can share a story with you. When this story is complete it will hopefully give you a flavour of how I got to where I am, and how I come to be doing the work I am doing right now. Here’s the first instalment:
It was the summer of 2007 and the weight of my job as a Charity Director was having an impact on my state of mind and I suspect also on my health. I know I am working too hard. It feels unsustainable but somehow there is no one else to do things. I am like some kind of crazy martyr who behaves like it has to be me that does things. Or perhaps I am secretly arrogant enough to think that I alone am super woman. I can’t quite decide which.
I have taught myself how to do most things that happen in the office and so even when my Assistant Director (the only other member of staff) leaves and we can’t afford to replace him, I soldier on alone until we can afford a part-time admin person and a fundraiser.
At some point in the midst of this I begin to realise that perhaps I am losing it and maybe I can’t do this all alone. Perhaps I need some advice from someone who has walked this way before. Up turns a mentor called Bernie who had previous in the Charity Director stakes. I don’t actually admit to him the details of how much I am trying to do with exactly what resources though I do give him a general sketch of the way things are rather “me heavy”!
I like Bernie and instinctively trust his judgment. He’s the kind of guy I can drink coffee with for two or three hours and forget what else I am supposed to do.
The first day I find myself hating the idea of it. There are eight of us in a room. All people who apparently have senior roles in organisations. Most of us have never done this before and so there is an edge of trepidation in the room with us too.
The facilitator explains that in this new world of action learning, when someone describes a challenge they are facing, you aren’t meant to give them advice. Instead you are supposed to be content to listen and ask them what she calls ‘open questions’.
There is a strict structure to the process too. And I don’t like the idea of that either. What is wrong with free flow, free thinking, taking life the way it comes?
I feel like giving up already but the facilitator lady asks us to think about whether or not we would like to work on a challenge or issue we are facing.
I immediately say I’m not ‘ready’ to do that today. Actually I don’t want to. Ever. This was a stupid idea after all and I’m not sure why Bernie is so keen on it. I promise myself I will watch what happens next and figure out everything that is wrong with Action Learning.
But I am surprised. The people who are brave enough to work that day seem to get a lot out of it. And so when we met again six weeks later I agree to try it out for myself.
I share a current predicament in my work.
That in the simple yet precise process of Action Learning I am being offered a container that actually creates greater freedom to express myself. Until now all that structure brings freedom stuff was all A-level philosophical theory to me rather than something I had real experience of.
I talk about all the problems I am facing at work – and they aren’t allowed to interrupt me or tell me what they think or what they would do. It is such a relief.
I realise how much I have been listening to what other people think without even noticing. And how much I change what I say in response to how I think they are reacting.
Then when the other group members begin to ask questions I see that there are other ways I could see and approach things. Approaches I had never thought of. Most of all I begin to see what I mental bind I have myself in. I think I am the only one who could solve the problems that the organisation I am leading is facing, but I am letting myself and the rest of my life down as a result.
After the session, I am waiting at a bus stop nearby and it occurs to me for the first time in a very long time that perhaps my life could be different. Perhaps if I thought a little bit differently, I could act differently and things might shift. Perhaps it is genuinely is possible to change things in my world.
I am now an accredited Action Learning Facilitator and use Action Learning in The Birthing Circle process. I will be opening up more ways to do action learning with me in the coming months. To make sure you hear about it join my mailing list below:
In memory of Bernie Trude. Some of the content of this Blog post was originally published as part of a download previously available on this site called ‘Finding Your Way Home’.
In March I created and launched the birthing circle, the group process with one to one support from me that I had been longing to create for some time and that is designed for women wanting to launch a project, idea or piece of work into the world – which supports them to birth it.
The Birthing Circle started off as six month process but we’ve recently decided amongst the first group to extend it by three months making it nine months in total! That’s how long it takes to birth something, it seems.
But the biggest surprise for me along the way is the extent to which sharing this process I’ve designed with the group has led (totally unexpectedly) to me envisioning and preparing to birth a whole new initiative of my own.
It’s not quite ready for the world yet but by the end of the year, it will be. You could call it a re-brith as though it will involve lots of new content and some different ways to work with and interact with me it will also include my existing offerings (StoryPower, The Birthing Circle, the RedTentOnline recordings) being delivered in a new way.
I’m in the thick of it right now making decisions about exactly how it’s all going to work – you could say I am in the creative mess of it I suppose – this is a place I would so rather avoid where you get stuck in and, as you do, you start to question the great idea you’ve had as you try and put it into practice. Where you think of all the things that could go wrong and wonder if they are insurmountable….
This time I’m not running. It’s not just because I want to share my experiences with the group (though that is a helpful motivation) but also because I’ve really got the message recently (partly as a result of Julie Daley teaching me to map my process at the beginning of the year) that this place of deep questioning – the creative mess – is part of the process – that you can’t create something new, something you really want to do – without going through the ‘messy bit in the middle’. Brent Brown talks about this messy middle in this edition of Being Boss. I think it’s really worth a listen if you are in this kind of struggle yourself right now.
Until my re-birth is ready you can still find me at www.maryannmhina.co.uk where you can still access my free monthly RedTentOnline recordings. Meanwhile If you are interested in joining a future birthing circle, go here and register your interest -where you can download my Getting Ready to Birth your Idea Worksheet and sign up receive an invitation next time I make the Birthing Circle available
About 4am this morning
It finally dawned on me
That this feeling is fear
I didn’t think I’d be afraid going back to work after my maternity
I work for myself after all
And I’d been doing odd bits and pieces to ‘keep in touch’
I’d be writing quite a bit
And reading and working with some other people’s very smart material
But in the last few days a kind of foggy confusion took hold of me
I couldn’t name it initially
And then, unable to sleep
It dawned on me
I am about to put myself back ‘out there’
On the 2nd I’m telling a story at The Story Party
No matter that I am a co-founder of the event. I haven’t spoken in public for of a year. No really.
And on the 4th (same week what was I thinking?)
I start teaching Nia again in a new venue and area (The Green a beautiful new community facility in Nunhead)
And I’m quietly petrified
There. I’ve said now
I’m bricking myself
That no one will show up (even though the Story Party is sold out)
That I’ll forget the story I want to tell (unlikely)
That I’ve forgotten how to teach Nia (I know this isn’t true)
And so on
Fear Fear Fear
It’s such a relief to acknowledge the fear
I’m even trying to welcome it
Because if there is one thing that I know now that I didn’t know a few years ago
It’s that we can’t dodge the fear
It always comes up
Even when we try and forget about it
It’s part of what happens when we share of ourselves
When we strive to be authentic
It has information for us
About what really matters
In our lives
Generally I find. The greater the fear. The more it matters.
This post was originally written for Neighbourhood Midwives who were my amazing birth support team. I’ve decided to share it here as well because birth is important to me. I know for some sharing a story of something so intimate and personal so publicly may seem strange but I’ve come to believe that it is important to share our stories about the parts of our lives which we don’t often talk about and so I am choosing to share this with you. I hope that, when you read it it might inspire, reassure or comfort you. Positive are experiences are possible and I believe that how women are supported to birth very often has an impact on the way things turn out.
My earliest memory is of my sisters’ birth at home in our parents’ bedroom in the house where we grew up. That was in 1981. I was just three years old at the time but I think the experience gave me faith in the possibility of intervention free natural birth that has stayed with me ever since. When I was a postgraduate anthropology student I also remember reading a book called The Woman in the Body by Emily Martin. In it there was a chapter that described the growth of intervention in childbirth and the extent to which it had robbed women of their power.
I began investigating alternative birth support options for myself after an unsatisfactory visit to see the midwife at my GP surgery. I left the appointment feeling that my choices were being restricted because I had been identified as high risk. The increased risks were supposedly due to my age (I was over 35) and BMI (which was in the 30s). Unfortunately that pregnancy ended in miscarriage as did the next and by the time I was pregnant for the third time I was clear that I wanted to look for someone to support and reassure me through my pregnancy and help me to make the right choices for my birth. That was when I stumbled across Neighborhood Midwives online.
I was apprehensive when I first mentioned their services to my partner Matthew because I wasn’t sure that he’d be willing to support me cover the cost. I also felt some reluctance to pay for something the NHS provides for free. I had never paid for private healthcare before and the idea did feel somewhat indulgent to me at first. But Matthew was encouraging when I broached the subject and when we met Rene from Neighborhood Midwives we both immediately recognised that the investment would offer me the reassurance I wanted during my pregnancy and the opportunity to choose the homebirth I had set my heart on despite my ‘high risk’. It also provided a level of postnatal care that I felt might be particularly important for me because I have suffered from depression in the past and was worried that I might struggle post-natally. The fact that Neighbourhood Midwives is an employee owned social enterprise seeking to promote the availability of the service they provide to more women also made me feel less reluctant about our decision to pay for independent midwifery.
The rest of my pregnancy went extremely well. I was pretty tired the first four months but otherwise had few issues. For the first trimester I even continued to work as a Nia teacher. My body felt great. My regular check ups with Neighbourhood Midwives did provide reassurance and luckily neither I nor my growing baby ever had any health issues of concern. The fact that the appointments were flexible and in our home also meant that Matthew was able to be there for most of them which he really appreciated. It meant that we both knew and understood how I was doing and the choices that we were making about the birth of our baby.
One thing we decided early one was that following our first scan (at 11 weeks) we wouldn’t go for any more scans unless issues arose that made our midwife feel that a scan would be particularly beneficial. There were a number of reasons for this. First having had two miscarriages we were longing to have a child and had decided that we would not consider a termination on any basis. Secondly following a natural miscarriage in my first pregnancy I had come to trust my body to end (as well as create) life and so trusted it would do so if necessary. Also many years working with disabled children had taught me that some conditions for which you might routinely be offered termination could be a blessing rather than a curse. Finally I was keen to avoid the unnecessary distress that I felt repeated scans might cause me.
I was surprised when I called to cancel my second scan that when I explained ‘that I had decided I didn’t want the scan’ I got the response ‘I hope for your own sake that you are having it somewhere else’. I shared my experience with Rene and she reminded me that scans (along with most of the things women are offered during pregnancy) are a choice. I knew remaining scan free for the rest of my pregnancy was the right decision for me.
My Birth Story
By the time my due date was approaching I had convinced myself that, because my mothers’ deliveries had been early and relatively uncomplicated, mine would be similar. I remained committed to a home delivery knowing that I absolutely trusted Rene’s judgment and would go along with it if at any point she felt a transfer to hospital was necessary.
I truly believed my baby would come early and so cleared my diary from before Christmas. By New Year’s Eve I was surprised (despite still being almost a week off my due date) that my baby hadn’t yet arrived. That evening I had some twinges that came to. In the morning I awoke impatient and tearful. I wanted my baby to come now!
It wasn’t till the full moon arrived the following Monday morning that I began to feel more consistent twinges in my back. Rene came for a planned appointment that morning and said that it was possible that my labour was about to start. The twinges continued and we went out for lunch. I was convinced I was in pre-labour and began to think that my baby might arrive that night!
Back at home I began to use a TENS machine for pain relief and as the evening wore on the contractions which felt like increasing pain in my back continued and seemed to become longer and more acute. They still weren’t regular though so Matthew and I spent the night half awake on the sofa waiting to see whether they would increase.
By the Tuesday morning I was frustrated and I began to wonder whether my body was not embracing the contractions because I knew that Rene hadn’t yet arrived and so we called and asked her to join us even though the regularity of the contractions was still in doubt.
When she arrived I was in the bath breathing through the occasional contractions the pain of which was being soothed by the warm water in the bath. Matthew began to fill the birthing pool and once it was ready I transferred to the lounge and got in.
It was early Tuesday morning by now and the contractions had already been going many hours. I began to listen to the hypnobirthing recordings I had been working with during pregnancy but I was really struggling to breath through the pain in my back. When I was thinking about my labour I had imagined I would use my Nia techniques and hypnobirthing tools to relax. But now the moment had arrived and the acute pain in my lower back seemed up worsen with each contraction. Despite all the techniques I had at my disposal, the pain was distracting me and it seemed near impossible to let go of all the thoughts jumbling around in my head.
Around midday we agreed that Rene would examine me. I hoped desperately that I was fully dilated but found I was only 7cm. I got back in the pool and continued to try and relax into my contractions. The pain in my back continued and I was getting frustrated. Rene examined me again some hours later I was still only 7 cm dilated. The baby’s head was also not in an ideal position and she couldn’t be sure which way around it was. Sally the second midwife had also arrived and we tried a few techniques to adjust the baby’s position and relax me. But I couldn’t relax. I was beginning to worry that I really couldn’t do it and that I would have to go to hospital for assistance – a journey I had really hoped to avoid.
I was struggling with the back pain as well as the lack of progress. It was early on Tuesday evening now and so I was also growing tired. Rene and Sally encouraged me to try Gas & Air. It eased the back pain and at some point I recall that I began to speak about how important it had been to hold on to my pregnancy as it followed two miscarriages and how I felt that perhaps I was afraid to let go. Voicing that seemed to finally help relax me a little and eventually I was ready to push.
I don’t know how many times I said I can’t do it, it’s too painful. My waters broke in the pool late on Tuesday evening but eventually I had to get out and push ‘on land’. It felt excruciating in my back but eventually, almost three hours of intense pushing later, my baby’s head emerged followed, in the next contraction, by his body. It was the early hours of Jan 7th, the due date I had originally estimated from my dates! Rene unwrapped the cord, which was wrapped twice around him and passed him straight to me. I looked straight down and saw that he was a boy. My placenta delivered itself spontaneously during the next twenty minutes as I cradled my son in my arms. I was exhausted but euphoric finally and began to feed him.
As I recovered Rene explained the cause of my pain. It turned out that my Son had emerged back to back – rather than back to belly – and he also had his head a slight angle making it even more difficult for me to push. I knew immediately that I had achieved with her support something I would have almost certainly failed to achieve at hospital; the unassisted delivery of a long laboured back to back birth. I felt elated that it had been possible for me to have my Son in the comfort of my own home. Amazingly I also didn’t need any stitches and my body healed quickly.
I’d read that your birthing experience brings you whatever you don’t expect. And as an anthropologist I think of a woman’s first delivery as a right of passage, the physical trial if you like that takes you from maidenhood to motherhood. Some say it gives you the medicine that you need. So what did mine give me? It felt like a lesson in patience and in expecting the unexpected as well as a reminder that I can have utter faith in my body and my amazing birth support team. I want more women to know that with the right support they may be able to make different choices about how they birth. I have certainly found that when you know and trust your midwife you feel more confident and less fearful and as result many more options become open to you.
The postnatal support offered by Neighbourhood Midwives was amazing. Not only had Rene and Sally stayed with me until Edward was born in the early hours of Weds morning and helped clear up and make sure we were all ok finally leaving around 4am – they came back that afternoon to support me further as I figured out how to care for my Son and become a mother! In fact Rene came eight times in the first ten days and regularly for the next five weeks after that. I struggled with breast-feeding initially and Edward lost just over 10% of his birth weight. Rene’s regular visits helped me persevere with it, rectifying the tongue-tie he was born with and using nipple shields temporarily to help us continue feeding after that. Happily we don’t need them now and Edward is feeding and growing well. Comprehensive postnatal support has been amazing helping me navigate being a new mum with confidence and know that I always have someone to ask when I have concerns or questions.
Mary Ann Mhina, 18.02.15
Today rather than writing something new, I’m instead sharing an audio recording of a talk I gave last October at an event called In This Body which I dreamed up with Rona Steinberg and she executed with Catherine Stagg-Macey.
The talk was called On Being Pregnant but, I’ve named the post On Miscarriage because that’s what it is really about and, as you’ll hear if you listen, I found very little information online about dealing with miscarriage when I looked for it myself a few years ago and and so I decided that I want people searching for something to be able to find this.
The first two minutes are an introduction to the audience and can be skipped if you are short on time, though I have left them included in the recording as they are an invitation to the audience to notice how their bodies are doing and I invite you to do that too as you listen. I hope that this recording speaks to you whether or not you have a personal experience of miscarriage yourself.
It’s a bit of a shock when you first have to get your breasts out in public to feed your newborn, at least it was for me.
I have a vivid memory of my teenage self first realising that my breasts – which were beginning to grow large – were attracting unwanted male attention. I was walking down the street when I heard builders wolf-whistling and felt afraid and violated when I realised their leers were directed towards me.
As Laura Bates has illustrated so conclusively in her Everyday Sexism work many many women, perhaps all, recall experiences of unwanted attention and violation. So the idea of actually undoing my clothes in public to use my breasts for their intended purpose – namely feeding my child was daunting in the beginning to say the least.
And it was made even more so by the fact that breast feeding had proved a little more challenging than I had hoped. Some slightly conceited part of me had made (incorrect) assumptions about large breasts making feeding easier.
In fact I was still getting the hang of breast feeding when the (also incorrect) story broke that the Sun had given up on Page 3. Somehow the increased attention I was being forced to pay to my breast’s actual function (I.e. milk production which is life sustaining for a newborn child) brought breast issues in to sharper focus for me.
How did we get to a situation where newspapers print bare chests for ‘amusement’ but feeding your new born to provide essential nourishment is something some feel justified in frowning upon? I don’t need to remind you of the Claridge’s case, the comments of Farage or any other painful examples for you to (hopefully) understand the irony.
I for one am beginning to understand now, something which I wish I could have known and felt proud as that afraid teenage girl, that breasts are incredible – they provide – when all goes well (and I know that sometimes it doesn’t) essential food for our children – in short they have, for millennia, provided food which enabled the survival of the human race.
It’s mind blowing to think that such a powerful means if production is sold so cheaply, and in such an out of context way, as daily amusement. To imagine that anyone thinks that breast feeding should somehow be hidden away while the Sun is sold on every street corner goes to the very depths of what is wrong in the state we are in.
I’ve got used to ‘getting my tits out’ now be it in the park or on the tube, whenever my baby is hungry. Whilst I do wish I’d been better prepared for how hard the early days were, ultimately I am in awe of my body as I take in and witness each day, the reality that it is capable of growing and feeding it’s young. It seems to me that the power to do that is both sacred and ordinary. Somehow magical.