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Finding The Happy

Looking for joy in all the right places

Date

1 May 2011

Presenting… the anti-bodies

ElilyMommy alerted me to the fact that just as the world breeds Breastfeeding nazis (my words, not hers), the world also breeds Anti-breastfeeding nazis.

Wha…?

Curiosity killed this cat – with laughter. I had a quick Google, and found the following gems without looking all that hard.

  • Anti-breastfeeding campaign – serious whack jobs on a massive scale. They hate God. They hate breastfeeding slightly more. The good news: I’m pretty sure it’s satire. A lampoon of misconceptions and prudishness surrounding boobs and babes. The bad news: remember how art imitates life…?
  • Found this on Yahoo Ask – but my absolute favourite was the mother who purportedly saw the act of breastfeeding as akin to animal behaviour, adding “We’re not in Uganda!” as a debating point. Yuh.
  • The one with the dentist – although interestingly, the whole cavities by kissing thing seems to have legs. Huh.
  • Anti-breastfeeding Bingo – for every time you hear that comment…

On a more serious note, this journalist puts across some valid points about how breastfeeding fascism, as she calls it, is uncalled for – and has ramifications of its own. I guess the most important take away for me is that “scientific theory”‘ changes all the time, and unfortunately I’ll have to hone my own mommy instinct and figure this out, while growing thicker skin.

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Making a clean breast of it

Lots of mixed messages on the baby milk front. I’m almost certainly getting the message that if I don’t attempt to breastfeed my child for at least 6 months, there will be a special place in hell for me. Usually, that message gets tagged with the perfunctory, “but it’s ultimately your choice, and formula for babies is OK too.” But who are they kidding. The moment you whip out a bottle, you become the Irresponsible Mother. I’ve seen the dirty looks cast upon bottle wielders. It ain’t pretty. 

Take the personal history forms that the hospital sends you. There’s a page on your allergies and bowel movements and BMI and whether you speak Engrish or need an interpreter… there’s a spot about your feeding choice for the present birth (breast/formula/undecided)… which is then followed by two whole pages on breastfeeding and the education you need.

I think breastfeeding is preferable. But I loathe the societal pressure.

Anyhooo…

Here’s something in my 2-page antenatal breastfeeding form that you’ll never find in any Singapore hospital.

When asked: “Would you like any (or more) information related to breastfeeding on the following?”, one of the options includes…

*drumroll*

… Illicit drugs. As if you’d ever admit to wanting to breastfeed your child while snorting la-la powder.

But I guess it happens enough for the hospital to add that as an option. Go figure.

The career change

It’s just dawned on me that I have about a month to go before I stop corporate life for a year. My theoretical last day in the office is Friday 3 June, barring any last-minute complications or maybe a change of heart. (Kidding, boss.) I’m not sure I’ve made the mental gear change yet. But today, I looked at Tony’s watch, realised that April doesn’t have 31 days, nudged him to adjust his watch and then – bam! It’s May. 25 working days to go. Holy cow.

I’ve worked for a decade, thereabouts. And even though I will be getting paid to an extent while I’m on leave, the idea that I won’t be actively bringing in any dosh is still new and not altogether welcome. It’s got nothing to do with how Tony and I view money in our marriage – we pool everything we have in the one account, and have never counted pennies the other’s spent. (Which works out really well for me, since I’m the one that shops. Heh.)

But I remember the early days of our marriage when my working visa was still shiny and I was an employment campaigner. I had never felt so miserable. My secular worth, I realise, has always been tied to my contribution to the workforce and those awful first three months really drove that fact home. I didn’t go out, tried really hard not to spend any money, and just felt guilty and useless. The house was immaculate and I cooked up a storm, but I still didn’t feel I was pulling my weight.

I didn’t feel I had a right to enjoy my life, until I found useful employment.

Tony has never, ever made me feel any less for being a homemaker. I want to get that fact straightened out right here. He grew up with a lovely mother who alternated between homemaking and working as a part-time librarian, and so it doesn’t bother him whether I stay home or play Super Corporate Gal. But for three generations, all the women in my family – through necessity and nature – worked their backsides off. And while I have nothing against women who choose not to – while I hugely admire many women around me who are fantastic homemaking wives and mothers – those three months taught me a lot about myself. I am not a homebody. I get massive cabin fever. I need to work.

And so here I am, on the cusp of leaving the workforce – at least for a little while. And yes, I know I’ll still be gainfully employed these next 12 months, except the pay is crap, every day will be casual Friday, and I’ll go from 50 stakeholders to 1. And yes, I know motherhood is work. I’m not knocking it. And no, I don’t think I’ll be sitting around the house having it easy. But I’m still nervous. I guess any time we’re called upon to embrace the unknown, it’s bound to cause some level of anxiety. So this is me, doing the verbal equivalent of wringing my hands.

In typical Velle fashion therefore, I’ve lined up a couple other projects to try and take on through the year:

  1. Baby craft.
    Yes, I will try my hand at cute-ing up the nursery with my bare hands. This includes making my own baby mobile. I will probably make a complete mess of things or get half an owl done, but this is the good intention for now. Ask me again in 2 months.
  2. Advanced diploma in project management
    Considering I’m now working weekends and public holidays, talking about good time management seems a tad hypocritical. Nevertheless, I’ve done the training and now have to find the time and motivation to do the course work. In between breastfeeding and falling asleep in the middle of laundry. Wish me luck.
  3. Cleaning up the church website
    You know what they say about chefs and advertising agencies – they’ll do great work for others, but their own house can be in shambles. The church website has fallen by the wayside, even though some of us know a thing or two about good web practice. Time to take out the feather duster and start re-thinking our online communications commitment.
  4. Writing
    I desperately want to get stuck into writing, my one true hobby and love. This may include attending actual courses that can give me some form of structure, discipline and motivation. I get sent the odd one to attend now and then, but just never find the time to actually go do it. Today’s invitation was probably the funniest one I’ve received to date: 

    “You’ve got two weeks to sign up to attend my workshop on writing sizzling sex scenes at the ACT Writer’s Centre.”

    What’s not to like!

And who knows… maybe I’ll fall in love. Maybe I’ll take to this like a duck to water and never, ever want to step into an office again. Never underestimate God’s ability to change and reform the individual. Plus, He’s always had a rather ironic sense of humour, so we’ll see.

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