A Dream for the Future
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 4 July-August 2001, p. 132-133
Before I became a breastfeeding mother, and before I joined La Leche League and learned about the wisdom of mothering, I didn't know how fulfilling it is to be an at-home mother. I didn't know much about breastfeeding and didn't dare trust or even listen to my instincts. I am forever grateful to LLL mothers for sharing their timeless wisdom and experience with me. They inspired me to become an LLL Leader, which allows me to help other mothers experience the joy of breastfeeding their babies. This has been one of the best things I have done in my life.
Now I'm in the process of setting up a Group and if I'm honest, I must admit it's more difficult than I thought. I've often felt disheartened and felt like giving up. I've thought a lot about why it is so difficult, talked to my co-Leader and a loyal Group member about it, and the main reasons that we've come up with for the difficulties encountered are: low attendance at Group meetings and lack of positive publicity. We live in a culture where bottle-feeding is the norm and I often feel as though I'm swimming against the stream. A lot of the time I feel I'm simply not getting enough support from area health professionals at promoting the LLL Group to mothers. I know there are so many mothers out there who need our help and who don't get accurate information from health professionals. Adding to this is the pressure from friends and relatives who all mean well. This left me wondering what would happen if our country (Scotland) or even Europe went through a major environmental crisis, like a fuel crisis. Our knowledge would become absolutely crucial during these times because every mother would need to breastfeed. I can't help dreaming of a society where breastfeeding is the norm and mothers can feel comfortable feeding their babies anytime, anywhere. Does it sound achievable?
I was breastfed for only two weeks by my mother because she thought she didn't have enough milk. When I recently read my father's memoirs I found that he gratefully wrote about how much of a blessing formula was for my mother. Her grandmother in Germany sent the formula to her, as there wasn't any available in Romania where I was born. Even in such an "old-fashioned" place and time, there was not enough knowledge and support about breastfeeding. I remember feeling a mixture of anger, disbelief, and regret when I read this. Although I can understand that my mother did her best under the circumstances, I find it hard to understand how easy it was for her to doubt her body's ability to produce milk to feed her baby.
I am so proud to be an LLL Leader and if my mother lived closer (she lives in Germany), I would have more opportunities to let her see a successful breastfeeding relationship. I wonder how many generations it will take to change our culture. I know I've got La Leche League's strength and support behind me, which keeps me going. I know I can play a part in shaping the future and making my dream come true!