Saturday, January 13, 2007

Breastfeeding and working

This great post at Feministe is months old, but I can't sleep, and my pain medication makes me think I have great things to say on every topic.

Even this one, when I've never been a parent or even worked!

I'm so full of shit.

But I am a kid, and my mom had to deal with the issues in the post - breastfeeding - childcare, really - vs. her job.

My sister and I were both brestfed. I was a premie, but very healthy until puberty. Becky was right on time, but very sick - of course, Italy was so polluted most of the babies were sick. We're both smart, and school is a cakewalk, but that may have more to do with our military upbringing - there's nothing to do in Iceland but read and play in the snow. (Seriously, though, Becky said her apex class was all navy brats at one point. Interesting, no?)

Onto the subject at hand - women in corportate America get 'lactation rooms' if they choose to pump their breastmilk, complete with all the high tech gizmos and whozits, maybe a breastpump made to look like a baby next? While the women who aren't up there get the restroom, if they're lucky.

Something is fucked up with the way we treat life in America. It doesn't end at conception, that embryo turns into a human being, remember? And they're not self-sufficient. I know, lazy bums!

Child care's expensive, schools are dumbed down by testing standards, and maternity leave's a joke for most women.

Take my mother.

She joined the military at my age, in 1980. She had nothing else to do, her brothers had joined, her dad had joined, why not? She had fun, once she got past bootcamp. She went into the medical field, a corpsman, she's so cool, she drove an ambulance. (May explain my fear of driving - my instructor's too qualified - especially on Memphis streets.) She married my dad in 1984, they went to Japan, and then came back to the US a few years later.

My mom says there were two incidences that made her leave the military after 8 years, instead of staying in to get retirement benefits. She left when she was pregnant with me.

1 - A man's attempted suicide. She realized that this was somebody's child, just like the one inside her, and she couldn't do it anymore.

2 - The redtape bullshit a single mother had to go through to leave work to pick up her sick child at the base's daycare.

No! My mom was going to be there for her daughter.

My dad could support the family, so it was okay financially.

Of course, her leaving had negative consquences. After we left the US for Italy, my mom tried to join DEERS as my dad's wife, but woopsie, he's already got one! He shredded her papers and told her to leave the country as soon as possible, so he wouldn't get into trouble. That was no picnic.

Not sure how that ties into the current topic, but I could fill at least 1% of the internet's many tubes with tales of my lovely padre. (He's a Republican, by the way, and told me he'd rather vote for Dixie than a democrat. I agree, Dixie's a much better politician than any of the quacks in office, but he's still a pain.)


Violet said...

I'm confused. Was your Dad a bigamist?

Kaitlyn said...

Not quite.

He married one woman, had two kids, divorced her, married another woman, had one kid, didn't officially divorce her, married my mom, etc.