A Class Apart – The Pashmina Mums

26 06 2009
Hell of a long time in editorial meeting this week. Last week’s feature on baby bottles brought out all the usual nipple nazi loonies, and I spent far too long with the new editor explaining again… he really is pig shit stupid… that woman HAVE TO HAVE A CHOICE. He mumbled on and on about the comments about the WHO code thing, and I told him AGAIN it’s all codswallop and just to ignore the fascist frenzy. He appears to have forgotten that I told him to freeze the comments on the column as it was about bottles, and the bullies would be out in force. I was exceptionally good ‘tho, and didn’t scream IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT in his face, and told him if he was really worried, doesn’t he think the lawyers would say something? He backed down then, and I moved in with “It proves they’re reading my column, is that a problem?” He went off in one of his silent and pensive moods. If he does this again, I swear I’ll tell M I am going to resign. Idiot has no business editing women’s features, if he doesn’t get CHOICE.
Got copy in for next week’s column and celebrated at Magio’s with J. Allowed myself the double cream lemon torte, which is 800 calories a slice. J watched me swallow every mouthful. She isn’t back to pre-birth yet, and only allowed herself the coffee biscuit. It was worth it, even if I had to skip supper with L later. When I got home, there was a package for me, a freebie of a new ‘scarf’ based ‘breastfeeding aid’, made by a Mum (whose husband owns a promotions firm). It was a lovely soft lilac, with a very clever fold in one corner, that lets it be tucked up and over very securely. But you’d never know it’s not just a normal scarf when it’s on. Phoned her for a short discuss, to provide some fleshing out when I do the ‘cover up in style’ feature next month. So much lovelier than most of the shower curtain things I’ve been sent. She said she’d thought of it after someone made a rude comment to her, in her local cafe, and didn’t want other mothers to have to go through that. I felt this was a lovely ‘hook’, showing concern for all new Mums, and after a few minutes she’d promised to send me the rose pink and the primrose ones – so nice chrimbos there for sure.
Had an appalling time fighting my way through to the Nursery pick up, with traffic just Out Of Control. By the time I’d loaded them both into the back seat, we were running very late for 1’s piano lessons, and 2 was screaming hungry. Cracked open an emergency UHT carton from the boot with disposable push thru teat thing. Silence was Golden. Thank you Katie Price! Must remember to mention this on next suitable column.
Dropped in the Mums’ group, on my way to the gym. Was very harassed as not only had I found 1’s brie and grape sandwich in my shoe on the way out the door, L phoned to say he’d be very late tonight. Sat with J and P, and discussed that appalling programme on the 8 year old breastfeeding, again. J was mentioning it to P, as P’s little girl is nearly 8 months old, and she’s still only breastfeeding – never has had a bottle. P did confide she was struggling, and was unsure what do to. She was feeding in front of us, and we all got a rather unflattering flash as baby moved her head about to look at us. No pashmina was going to cover such a strapping baby, folded cover or not. This really was shower curtain territory. P turned bright red and stuffed herself back into her bra, whilst we pretended we’d not noticed.
Had very little sympathy actually, as both J and I had taken great pains to help her out earlier, and let her know she was setting herself up for trouble later. But P hadn’t listened, and had got very sniffy when J had said formula wasn’t poison. We’d been a bit worried actually, she was going to turn into one of those women, but we didn’t let it show. I told P I’d plenty of info on weaning, and I’d pop it round. J told her about the going on holiday technique, and that S had used weaning to get a two week break in the Seychelles out of her hubby. When she came back, baby was perfectly happy and never went on the breast again – and you don’t have to hear them crying. P said she wasn’t sure, didn’t the baby miss her Mum and her milk? It’s extremely unfair of P to talk like this in front of J. She knows J couldn’t breastfeed her own as her milk never came in, and I admire J so much for taking it on the chin so much, and still supporting Mums like me and P. I popped some weaning leaflets into P later, and also gave her one of the shower curtain things from my freebies. Said I just wanted some honest feedback on how easy it was to use, and would she do me a favour and review it for me, for the column, so she didn’t feel too bad. It was a favour to me, sort of thing.
Had the most outrageous row with one of those bitch lactivists, who was furious with me about the bottle feeding column for last week. It was very embarrassing, at K’s lunch time think tank meet, for the local community school fundraising. This woman had just joined the group, and went bright red when she was introduced to me – and asked me straight out if I was ‘that women with the article’. K didn’t know where to look, and it was left to me to try and make her back down. It was infuriating, she was spouting the usual nonsense ‘formula is poison, gives babies two heads and forked tongues’ stuff. I told her if she had actually read my column, she’d know I’d breastfed BOTH of mine, and that I was very supportive of breastfeeding, and often do columns on what equipment you need and things. In fact I was preparing a new one now, on breastfeeding aids… it cut no ice. It never does with these sort. Obviously, I wasn’t breastfeeding an 8 year old, so I don’t count! I asked her what about mothers who couldn’t breastfeed what were supposed to do, and she went on about making sure they got good support in the units. I ask you! J’s nipples were blistered raw from trying, with no milk, and her midwife has told her there was no milk in her breasts at all. This nutcase just did the usual tirade about ‘no such thing as no milk’ for most women who gave up and I just had to tune her out, I tell you. Does she think midwives are idiots and maternity staff don’t have any sodding training? I wish these women realised what harm they do. The rest of the meeting was very difficult, and after an hour, she made her excuses and left. K apologised and I told her no need. It’s not as if we’re not used to it, is it?
Did a web search and found this woman posts in a lot of the ‘lactivist‘ communities. Knew that B was preparing a column on nipple nazis and how they practically drive women to suicide, so knew she’d like some of the ‘posts’ I found. Copy and pasted them over to her, with a short note about yesterday’s horror. B responded quickly, and thanked me. Looking forward to B’s column in two weeks.
L went into the office again this morning, so I took 1 and 2 to the park, and mused on this week’s column. Sent a note around my flist, asking for horror stories on being bullied to breastfeed, and started a file. N phoned later on that afternoon, her Dad was in hospital for a routine procedure and had caught a bug in there, and ended up staying for three weeks so far. N had gone in to find him in dirty sheets with his hair uncombed and his face not shaved for three days. He’s lost weight and doesn’t appear to be eating. I calmed N down and sent her over several articles on how the NHS fails elderley patients, and gave her the details on how to complain to her PCT. She was very grateful. She phoned back later to say she’d sent a rocket up one of the consultants, and her Dad have been moved to a private room. Success! It never fails me how often you have to remind people to complain about shoddy service with hospitals – people are too timid. Glad I was able to help N.
Blissful lie in, whilst contemplating this week’s column on new cot designs. L took the kids whilst I worked all afternoon. Would have given my first born to have had the interactive ‘home unit’ cot, with the air conditioning, the TV on the side and the sound bafflers. Of course, if I’d given my first born, wouldn’t have needed the cot! Must get our Stokke on Ebay, as we’ve decided No More Rugrats!
Arrgghh. I am going to kill him. He’s said he’s unhappy with the ‘cover up in style’ piece, as I’ve not mentioned the Equality Bill and how Mums can breastfeed in public without covers if they want to. I told him I knew that, as UNLIKE HIM I’m a breastfeeding mother! And if anyone should know how needed a column on how to do it with some style and class was, it was me! I’m not a political column, I’m a light and frothy piece on the travails of intelligent motherhood… and if I wanted to do politics, I’d join the news desk! He was _so_ close to me calling him out for sexual harassment, and I think he knew it, which was why he backed off. I could spit tacks. Phoned B and had a long rant, she commiserated, as her editor is also a a bit dim. Although hers is never stupid enough to leave the comments column open if they ever mention anything to do with breastfeeding, or bottles.
Submitted copy on the cots and met up with J at Magio’s again. P came too and thanked me for the weaning leaflets, which she’d found interesting. A relief to know other mothers went through the same pressures. Both J and I refrained from a chorus of “We told you so.” Thankfully, baby was asleep entire time, so didn’t have to worry about her flashing Magio’s staff. No shower curtain in her nappy bag, that I could see… R turned up and was down in the dumps about her weight loss sponsored bike thing. She was thinking about packing it all in, as she’d got a bit down on how much work it was, and was it all worth it? We told her – never give up, she can do this: woman are strong! R left considerably cheered to go back to the gym, and J went with her to drop round to her printers to check on proofs for her new book on sleep training – CBC is doing the intro, she had confirmed. What a catch! P and I chatted for a few minutes, and confided again, that she was struggling with the breastfeeding. I told her straight – she’s not a martyr, and she needs to think of herself first – all babies need a happy Mummy, don’t they? That’s all that matters. I’d given it 4 months and mine were fine, weren’t they? She seemed happier too.
Felt drained from how busy it had all been, so checked myself in for a spa and a massage. L made supper tonight, and I had a half a bottle of red wine. Made a note to mention to P, that another advantage to weaning would be she could drink again.
Opened my inbox to find an explosion of emails about a new breastfeeding campaign Up North somewhere, that has a picture of a toddler breastfeeding, with the words “Normal, natural and healthy” under it. I ask you! Fired off some replies as the phone was ringing. It was A, a girl I went to Uni with. We’d kept in loose touch, and she was now writing for the local newspaper in the area with the poster. Was more than happy to give her a couple of quotes. Then I pasted over some of the ripest comments in my inbox to both B and R to read. B was already hot on the case and had posted several times in the comments in the local papers.
After much hassle and several trips to several newsagents, got a copy of the local. A had done me proud, and had quoted me almost verbatim. I carefully opened the pages at the article, and folded back, tucking it under my arm. I placed the paper on the table at K’s, just as the meeting on the school fundraising started.
“What these extreme lactivists don’t realise, is how much harm they do. Breastfeeding is not the only factor in a Mum’s life, and alienating all the other mothers, and berating them for being abnormal and unnatural for bottle feeding, the way this offensive poster does, is completely unacceptable. We live if a society where women have choices, and must be free to follow their own choice, and do what is right for them, without others interfering. All mothers should feel supported, not criticised for their feeding decisions. “
It was of no use, she didn’t turn up. Not that it would have made much difference anyway – some people never listen, do they? There’s none so blind as those that will not see…



4 responses

27 06 2009

You had me worried for a moment there Morgan!!But I think the subtlety will be lost on many, sadly, in some ways you're TOO clever.It is, of course, a beautifully observed and crafted piece, but then I'd expect nothing else from you!!

28 06 2009

My goodness. I was a touch confused for the first paragraph. Very clever. Made me so agitated by the end I wanted to slap someone.

28 06 2009

.. I know the feeling…. 😉

4 07 2009

Genius, although I suspect I'm losing some cultural framework/references that would make it truly exquisite. An excellent piece of satire, and entirely too close to truth for comfort.

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