Monday, November 23, 2009

Facebook Conversations Volume 1: Breastfeeding Updated

Late last night I wrote about a conversation I was having on Facebook regarding my apparent barrage of Facebook statuses having to do with breastfeeding. This morning when I checked my Facebook there were several new comments to the second status. I would like to add those, and my response, here. I will be including the entire conversation regarding this one status. (The first response was not included in my original post because it didn't have to do with where the conversation was headed.)

Status:

In order to appease the masses who are apparently annoyed/offended by my posts via Twitter about breastfeeding, I have suspended the connection btwn Twitter and Facebook. If you see a post ending in #fb it's a "selective twitter" post - a post coming from Twitter that I specifically posted to Facebook as well via Twitter. Censorship at its finest people.

Responses:

J: wow, people are still annoyed/offended about breastfeeding?!?! now that's appalling!

Me: Yup - Go check out my previous status and the comments...

T: wow really? Is attention that imortant to you and your twitter status Erin? Because I exercise my first amendment right and make an inquiry about your status updates/twitter posts you start another post demonizing my me? Come on if this is not the back bone of the feminist movement I don't know what is, ie. making a large deal out of a non-issue. No body give a shit whether you breast feed or not, except maybe for a few dense assholes, but that is not good enough for you. You need something to tweet about, so you chose an old, dilapitated subject. Compared to the real life issues weighing on our world today, the subject of bra burning feminist waving their tits to and fro for "equal rights" seems a bit shallow and pedantic. But hey if twisting my words and questions around help you get a few more fans to "make a difference" and boycott Nestle or some shit more power two you. Just remember freedom of speech is and always has been a double edged sword.

T:
BTW, "appease the masses?" Savior complex much? ONE person made ONE comment, come on you are no rosa parks here, lets take a step away from the high horse.

Me: Yes, really, T. And way to make it all about you as well, sir. No, it's not just about you. You're not the first to comment and I'm sure you wouldn't be the last either. I don't see how I "demonized" you, but if that's what you choose to think, more power to you. If you are bothered that much by what I post, then delete me. If you don't like what I have to say in regards to what you and other people say, don't read it. It is my First Amendment right to respond as I see fit.
Personally, I don't see how this is a non-issue. You bring up the Nestle boycott. Do you even KNOW why I'm boycotting? Are you aware that because of Nestle's immoral marketing in undeveloped countries, women who are perfectly capable of breastfeeding instead opt to use formula they often can't afford to buy (thus forcing them to thin it out, giving their infants less nutrients than they need, using unclean water). In the US alone (a developed country, as opposed to the above noted) infant mortality rates are reduced by 21% in breastfed infants. I don't know about you, but I don't see how that is a non-issue.
I am not trying to play the martyr. Sure, my comment may have been a little passive aggressive, but so is telling me, "Hey, no offense, but you're not the first to breastfeed or give birth." Like I said before, you're not the first to make this kind of comment. You couldn't possibly think that you're so original as to be the only person bothered by posts about breastfeeding, could you? I realize that it's not for everyone and that not everyone wants to read about it. That's why I changed my account connections. I have no intention of not saying what I have to say, but in order to choose my battles (an effort which apparently is a moot point now) I have changed the layout.
And in as far as attention is concerned, feel free to direct yours elsewhere. It's not wanted here.

K:
I'm actually writing a paper on censorship of the arts. I'm not sure if breastfeeding would fall under that category, but if it does, ill write the paper in your honor.

Me: Haha, thank you, K. It's not actual breastfeeding that I feel censored in (although there have been, as I have said, many times I have been harassed over doing it in places other than my home) it's speaking/writing on it. I would like to add that T's comment is only the straw that broke the camel's back in my decision to cut ties between Twitter and Facebook. I have had several people make comments regarding my posts on breastfeeding - some online, some off; some private, some public; some tactful and non-offensive, but mostly I've received comments like T's follow-up responses. There's nothing like hearing "we don't give a shit" that will make you want to censor yourself.

N: (some information removed for privacy sake)
Its not that people dont give a shit, its that we dont like it thrown in our faces all the time. I know you breast feed kairi and Im glad that you do, but neither of my children breast fed and they are just fine- neither did gracie and she is just fine also. There are millions of babies, like my two, who wont take to the breast and have to bottle feed. It isnt the end of the world and it doesnt make their mothers bad mothers... breast feeding lasts a small portion of your life and hers... so why make such a big deal? I know dozens upon dozens upon dozens of women who breast feed and you nor anyone else would ever know because they do it for their child and not to cause a big fuss or make a "movement" out of it. They do it descreetly and privately.. so? So, so what. I know dozens upon dozens of women who breast feed for the first three to four weeks and then stop because after the baby gets the colostrom (mothers antibodies) then formula is just as nutricious and it becomes a war zone to breast feed. It is your personal decison to breast feed and it is your personal decison to make a big deal out of it. The point is, why talk about it all the time? Why force people to be so tired of hearing about it that they stop reading your posts or start making hateful comments? I love Kairi but even I don't read alot of what you post in fears it is about breatfeeding AGAIN and I just don't like reading about it every single day. I just think that now you are beating a dead horse and no one takes you seriously anymore. Your coming across as a fanatic with nothing to do but, to quote T, wave a burning bra in the air. Chill out on the subject a little and people will take you more seriously and stop being hateful about it. They arent hateful you are posting it, they are hateful you are posting it so frequently.

A:
Isn't the whole point of all of these social media self-expression? Letting the world (or at least those who choose to listen to your words) hear your point of view? I say, tweet/post on, my dear! If I'm grossed out, I'll skip over!

T: Thank you n, I honestly did not expect a female to actually take the time to understand my arguement, it is appreciated. And erin I actually did not know you were boycotting, jest through it out there, and yes I am up to speed with the basis of the nestle boycott you are not the only socialy informed individual. Bottom line: your posts do not "bother" me. Hearing about or seeing breast feeding has never bothered me. I was simpy asking a question.

L: I agree with A. People also have the right to choose whether or not to read your posts, just like you have the right to post or not post what you want. I don't think there is anything wrong with formula feeding a child, but I whole-heartedly believe that breast feeding is the very best option for your baby. There may be reasons why a child cannot breastfeed, latch-on issues, tongue tied, low supply, etc. But I also believe that most "issues" that mother's have are just an excuse to stop bf and go to formula. It takes time and working with your baby to teach him/her how to bf. They do not come out of the womb knowing how to bf. And in my opinion, some women who try and fail, fail because it is too hard and hurts too much. Trust me, I know, my nipples were raw and sore for 5 weeks before bf finally "clicked" for the both of us. But I kept on trying and teaching my son. And lets face it, pouring a bottle of formula or even mixing a bottle of formula sure does sound a lot easier than going through the stress of trying to get a crying/hungry baby to latch on at 3 am with little to no sleep. Tyler is right, you/I aren't the first to bf or give birth, so what about those women and children years ago who didn't have formula as an option to give to their child? Did they just starve their child? No, they somehow made it work. Anyway, I can go on, but I hear my son calling for me. I hope you do not stop your posts. It's because people like you and me who are advocates for bf, that will help get the word out. Did you notice that there are only bf commercials on during the month of bf awareness month. That is sad.

N:
For whatever reason a woman decides to or not to bf it is HER decison and no one else's. No one has the right to judge a woman for bf-ing or not. My son was an emergency c-section. By the time I was able to try and bf he had been given three bottles of sugar water therefore he refused the breast. My daughter for some reason couldn't latch, she lost so much wieght in the first two days the doctors told me to bottle feed. She has fought her weight since the day she was born and now has to see a growth specialist. By the time she went home she had lost over a pound and it was down hill from there, if I had continued to try and breast feed she might have died. It was far from laziness, it was the best decision for my child and I still stand by it, eleven years later. Erin made reference to people not being offended by someone referring to a woman's "nice rack" I sure the hell am offended and I sure as hell will say something... anyone who knows me knows I will. I wont, however, say something to a breast feeding mom. Its her decision to do so. But, I mean, come on, if my two month old is screaming uncontrolably I am going to leave the store or restaraunt or where ever I am out of respect and courtesy. If I have to go to a "dirty bathroom" or out to my car to handle the situation am I going to whine about it? No because that was my decision. First it was my decision to be a mom in the first place and second it was my decision to go to the public place knowing my child might get cranky. It is basically the same thing... plus babies are on schedules. You know if you just fed or if it has been long enough that you should wait and feed before you go. Do you take your infant out of his/her carrier to feed while driving down the road and risk his or her life? No you don't. You pull over or you wait til you get to your destination. The bottom line is there are draw backs and disadvantages to breast feeding and if you mkae the decision to breast feed you deal with them. Personally I became thankful my kids didnt bf. #1 their daddy, grandma, aunt, uncle, daycare provider or sunday school nusery worker can feed them. #2 I didnt have to worry about feeding in public or if I had to for some reason be away for any length of time. What if you decide to go to an all day outting at your older child's school and you cannot take the baby? What then? Do you tell your childyou cannot go because the baby breast feeds? Real life dictates that shit happens. Period. All we can do as intelligent human beings is deal with it and move on.

Me:
I'm going to try to address all the issues here, so bare with me.

T - You asked a question: Why do I post so much about breastfeeding? Because it's something that is important to me. It currently effects almost every aspect of my life. It's a lot like how when I was pregnant I posted a lot about being pregnant.
I realize that in your original question you posted "no offense,"and the first post didn't offend me. I posted a response, one that I felt was respectful and addressed your question. We had a couple more responses between the two of us, then I decided to try to sever the ties between my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Not just because of you, but because of, as I have said before, many people who have made comments about this issue. You jumped to the defensive (or should I say, "offensive") and jumped down my throat. Sure, my comment was a little passive aggressive, but I was a little annoyed with having to do this. As A said above, the point in social networking is personal expression. Breastfeeding currently is a big part of my life. I don't have a job outside of being a mother, I don't have a car, I don't have cable - I don't have a hell of a lot to distract me from what I am doing at home, and a good portion of my time is spent with a child at my boob.
I realize that there are plenty of people who don't want to hear about it on here. That's fine. I honestly don't mind severing the ties between Twitter and Facebook so that everything I put on Twitter doesn't spill over here. Last night I was aggravated about it, but it's really not that big of a deal. I understand that some people (probably most people) don't want it shoved down their throats, or at the very least wonder what the big effing deal is.
The point is, the change, and my attitude about it last night are not about you - your comments were just the straw that broke the camel's back in my decision to cut ties. I'm sorry if you took it personally.

N (and the others who have probably not spoken up about being afraid to read my posts because they might be about breastfeeding) - As stated, I have severed the ties between Facebook and Twitter. 90% (or more) of my posts regarding breastfeeding spilled over from my Twitter feed, so you won't have to worry about that. I'm sorry if I have shoved this down your throat/in your face/whatever. I hope there aren't any hard feelings.

I want to point out that I am not anti-formula. I realize that I post a lot about breastfeeding, but I am no more anti-formula than a pregnant woman who is posting about her pregnancy is anti-non-pregnant women. What I *am* against is the immoral marketing of formula in areas where it is unsafe to use as the norm.

I would also like to point out that after all of this went down last night, I counted my posts for the past 2 days... Of 22 posts, 4 had to do with breastfeeding, and only one of those was directly posted to Facebook (this one.) 3/4 of my posts had nothing to do with breastfeeding. Now, close to 100% of them will have nothing to do with breastfeeding.

T:
fair enough, did not know others had made comments about it, I wrongly assumed the post was directed at me. No hard feelings

Me: It's understandable - there was no context on my part suggesting otherwise.

There were plenty of issues that I probably could have or should have addressed in the responses, particularly from N. However, the issues have been discussed with her on previous ocassions and going down that road with her is both frustrating and futile. I can understand her point of view and although I don't agree with it, I don't feel like I should argue it further.

As for now, I think the dust may have settled. I am sure there will be further responses but I've said all I really care to say on Facebook. It's more than apparent that people, my friends and family, don't want to read about my experiences in breastfeeding, so I am not going to speak on it there. Period.

3 comments:

Amber said...

I went through something a little bit milder, but similar, with Facebook. Anytime that I posted something related to breastfeeding I received some responses that, if not negative, were at least defensive. Honestly, I tried to address individual concerns and let them know it wasn't about them, but I kept on.

I'm sorry you faced so much negativity surrounding this. I would say that I'm not anti-formula, either. But it would be hard for me to disregard statements about how formula is the equivalent of breastfeeding. You handled yourself very well under the circumstances, I think.

theadventuresoflactatinggirl said...

I can't believe that one of them actually thinks that formula is nutritionally equal to breast milk after the colostrum! It continues to provide antibodies, has vitamins that are much easier to process, and even has 3 different types of stem cells! Gah!

Mindy said...

Hey. Just followed this from your twitter status. I recently posted something about the health care bill and asked people to be respectful or place their "tirades" on their own fb statuses. I did it kind of tongue and cheek, but I think people are much nastier or outrageous when they don't have to speak with you face to face. I just got tired of fighting over "touchy" topics. If people want to have a respectful, intelligent conversation, it's one thing. But to be rude or suggest that you shouldn't discuss breastfeeding is out of line. If one of my friends on fb or twitter has updates that don't interest me, I just move on. It's unfortunate that your friends could not do the same. I breastfed and I wholeheartedly support it and want to support other moms in it. I find some of the discussions on twitter to be over the top for me, though, so I just let them be. I admire that you want to share this aspect of your life with others and normalize it! Keep tweeting away. :0)

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