Since becoming a mother I care a lot about the rights of mothers*.
I have had an amazing breastfeeding journey** and I want every mother to have the resources to meet her breastfeeding goals. I am very keen to delve into this at some point in the future. I don’t like the pressure that is put on women to breastfeed, and the guilt women feel for not breastfeeding – for whatever reason. On the other hand, in my experience most people do not know the full extent of the wondrous powers of breastmilk and the breastfeeding process. I want that information to be getting out there, in the right way and to the right people. I want to support mothers, while challenging society in general to be more breastfeeding-friendly.
I had great post-partum care and I want every mother to feel nurtured in those first six weeks, as I did. The social isolation of new mothers is something that weighs heavily on me. Newborn mothers are so vulnerable. At this time the weight of the pressure of every idea you have ever internalised about what it means to be a mother can come home to roost. You can feel the pressure to be the caring one, when really it’s you who needs to be cared for.
I had a beautiful, empowering birthing experience and I want every mother to be as protected from the obstetric hospital industrial complex as I was.
I went back to work after 18 weeks for financial necessity and I wanted to have a year of paid maternity leave; I want that for every mother. On the other hand, I was able to transition to work seamlessly by working from home with someone else looking after my baby, and paid lactation breaks, and I want that kind of accommodation for every mother.
I still have a toddler. I am writing this in what feels like stolen time. Matt is looking after Finley and I have disappeared into the study and closed the door. It is 4:18. Pretty soon I will have to open that door, start to make dinner for the next two nights, make lunch for Finley and pack the daycare bag, tidy Finley’s room and get ready for the evening routine.
I want to be an activist for mothers. I want to lobby the government to legislate maternity leave. I want to be a post-partum doula. I want to work with the Australian Breastfeeding Association and do actual research into how we can increase the breastfeeding rate while being supportive of women’s choices.
But right now, I have to attend to my household.
*Some of the ways in which I am using ‘mother’ here presumes the mother who is also the birthing mother and is not inclusive of adoptive mothers. I can’t think how to rewrite so this is not the case, so I am acknowledging it here.
**It’s not perfect! My son is 16 months old and still breastfeeding. My preference would be to not be breastfeeding him anymore, but I am weaning him gently and trusting that eventually I will get my body back.