Monday, 14 May 2012

Wholesome Talk

This weekend I had the misfortune to be referred to as militant when it comes to breastfeeding. Not to my face.

I'm not militant, or, at least, I have tried my hardest not to be. I am passionate and interested, and I know how difficult breastfeeding can be and how little support there is. So, if I come across an article or blogpost that I find interesting or busts a myth or could help someone, I pop it on Facebook. If this comes across as militantly forcing my opinions, then this is because of people's lack of understanding when it comes to social networking. I have never sat anyone down and forced them at gunpoint to read anything I put on Facebook or Twitter. Nor have I ever been unkind to someone who has chosen to feed or parent their child in a different way to me. If my friends aren't interested, they don't have to read what I post. They have a choice - social networking sites provide the option of not seeing things if you wish not to. I've made use of this. I no longer have to view offensive comments about my faith, dull comments on the weather or attention seeking statuses.

The Bible says:  

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

This made me think. Why do people think that it is acceptable to gossip about someone behind their back? Why do we think it's alright to knock people down with our words, simply because we disagree with them on something? I'm guilty of it, don't get me wrong, but I'm much better than I used to be. And I do try to say what I think to people's faces - it provides the opportunity for discussion, clearing up misunderstandings, reconciliation. Gossip is unwholesome.

On the other hand, being supportive of feeding how nature intended appears to be unacceptable. Offering help and advice on breastfeeding offends. I don't know why. One of the biggest obstacles to good breastfeeding rates in this country is the idea that it isn't normal. The normality has become using a plastic breast substitute to feed human babies with milk designed for baby cows. I find that very strange. Not normal, in fact. But we're not really allowed to say that, are we?

As an aside, I am the last person to say formula feeding is wrong, to judge those who do it - without formula my daughter would have starved to death because I suffer from mammary hypoplasia, insufficient breast tissue and polycystic ovarian syndrome. My body doesn't work properly, unlike the bodies of 98% of women. So, I am grateful for formula. It's formula companies that make me mad, with their lies1 and their flagrant flouting of the law.2  However, I still breastfeed in addition to formula, and solid foods now too. I can because I educated myself. Breastfeeding was, is, important to me for very many reasons, and so I made sure to find out what I could about being successful. In doing so, I discovered a lot of ignorance out there. Many people don't know the facts. Ignorance is another of the obstacles in the way of successful breastfeeding.

In an attempt to use words to build others up, to benefit others, I have tried in my own small way to provide information about the benefits and reality of breastfeeding and encourage women who are having a difficult time. If that has offended, then that is their problem, not mine. I make no apology for being honest, supportive and encouraging. I make no apology for wanting to help women who struggle. And I make no apology for posting interesting articles on Facebook!

Here is a little rule of thumb to remember before you speak or write something:
  • Is it TRUE?
  • Is it HELPFUL?
  • Is it INSPIRING?
  • Is it NECESSARY?
  • Is it KIND?
    • No? Then keep it to yourself.



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