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Babies vs bodies

 
Are we too concerned about our bodies rather than the natural processes of birth and breastfeeding?
By Sally-Jane Cameron

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
We can’t get away from the fact that our society is ruled more and more by looks.

And not even normal, attainable looks. No, instead, airbrushed, digitally-enhanced, dangerously-thin models are set before us, as the gold standard.

Traditionally the image of a woman that was revered, was the one that looked fertile and healthy: Wide hips, rounded stomach and generous breasts were all part of the ideal woman. But now, when the modern woman gets to fulfil her role as a mother, it seems like the ‘toll’ it takes on her body comes at a dangerously inflated price.

For various reasons, caesarean sections are more and more popular. It’s a life-saving technique that is very necessary to save moms and babies that need it, but for many women the choice is simply because they are worried about the damage that might be done during birth. They are concerned that they will no longer be appealing to their partners, and sex will not be the same after a vaginal birth.

One can certainly understand this fear, but to allow it to change the way we birth, because of society-imposed pressure, seems to be all wrong.

Woman have been more open about their birth choices for reasons of preserving their bodies, but another emerging trend, is choosing not to breastfeed, in case it ruins shape of the breast. Perhaps few woman are willing to admit that their body image comes before the nutrition of their children, but it is happening. Woman want their bodies back, and some, view breasts primarily for their sexual function, and find breastfeeding rather creepy. They feel that their partner should have first access.

To be clear: I do not for one minute think that all women who bottle feed are doing it because they are worried about ruining their breasts. I know that there are a lot of women who would desperately have loved to breastfeed, but for whom it just never worked out, usually because of the lack of support in mastering the all-important latch.

It seems to me that the awe and amazement at what a woman's body can do when she bears children, has been lost. We do not honour her. We see the miracle as a risk management scenario. How can we limit, what our society views as ‘the damage’?

I wonder if babies could be grown in test tubes and then incubators how many woman would think this was a better option than risk their bodies getting stretch marks, or feeling like they are never quite the same again?

We place such enormous pressure of woman to look ‘perfect’, that the very act of carry her child, something which should be joyous, becomes a debilitating, self-worth, conformity concern. Surely these changes and marks of womanhood should be celebrated and not scorned?

Has our society gone mad? Have we so lost the real values, that we think beauty and a perfect body is more important that the natural process of having and feeding our offspring?

Do you think more women are concerned about their bodies than their babies?

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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